Switching from Apple to Android/Samsung – What you need to know
I recently decided to switch from my Apple iPhone 6 Plus to a new Android phone; the new Samsung Galaxy S8+. Anyone who’s made the switch from Apple to Android or vice versa knows it can be a big change. There are a few things you should know before you make the switch.
Make a backup
I recommend backing up your iPhone before you start the transfer process. That way if anything goes wrong, you still have all your original data.
Inside the box of your new Galaxy S8 or S8+ you’ll find two adapters. For us Apple users, you’ll need the USB adapter, and your iPhone’s charging cable. This will allow you to move some of your data from the iPhone to the Galaxy S8.
Here’s how to use Smart Switch, and take note, you MUST follow the order of this procedure exactly.
How to use Smart Switch from Apple to Android
- Plug the adapter into the Samsung phone.
- Plug the iPhone Lightning cable into your iPhone.
- Plug the USB end from the lightning cable into the adapter on the Galaxy.
- You should immediately see a message pop up on your iPhone that asks you to “trust” this device. Select yes.
- Once this is done, you’ll see a list of content available for transfer from the iPhone to the S8: things like your contacts, text messages, call log, music, photos. Select all the categories you want to transfer and tap Transfer on the Galaxy.
Now grab yourself a beer because this may take a while, depending on how much data needs to get transferred.
You may not get everything transferred
While Smart Switch is great and worked very well, you’re likely not getting everything from your iPhone onto your Galaxy S8. You can choose when you make the swap what to bring over.
What will transfer from Apple to Android?
- calendar data
- text messages
- call list
- Wi-Fi settings
- voice memos
- Word documents
That’s a lot. But of course not everything went so smoothly.
My Wi-Fi settings didn’t transfer, so I spent a couple days thinking I was on Wi-Fi when I wasn’t. (Oops, data overages!) Yes, I should have noticed, but the phone’s layout just looks so foreign to me still, I didn’t realize it wasn’t on.
I have two sets of files for Apple Notes; one on the Cloud and one locally on the phone. The cloud files did not transfer, and unfortunately that was the bulk of my 150 notes. The locally stored notes, approximately half a dozen worth, did transfer over without issue. I’m still working on how to move the rest.
All my photos moved over to the new device, thankfully, but a weird glitch dumped some random old photos into the date queue on the transfer date. It eats up a pretty large chunk of real estate as I scroll through the photos, but at least the photos resume eventually on the other side of that batch. And this is nothing I can’t clean up when I have some time.
Music made it
I was pleasantly surprised that all of my music made it to the new device. Instead of living in Apple’s Music app, it all lives in the Google Play music app. While it looks a lot different than I’m used to. I’m sure I’ll get used to it.
I downloaded Apple’s Apple Music app hoping that I might be able to use that, but in this case, on an Android device, it’s only for the subscription music service so it’s no good to me.
One of the biggest frustrations in the transfer process was that none of my apps came over in the transfer. After I finished the swap, I had to go into the Google Play store and individually download every app I needed. This was quite frustrating, but understandable.
The apps used by Apple’s iOS and by Android are very different beasts. The code that works on one will just not work on the other. So you’ll need to know that if you’re making this switch, you’ll need to get your apps from scratch. I have dozens of apps I use daily from smart home apps to photography editing and graphic design. I’m still downloading the ones I need a week later.
And then the logging in begins…
Another time suck was the fact I needed to log into my many and various accounts for each app. Trying to remember passwords and usernames was of course very tedious. I ended up doing this log in process over several days, as I needed each individual app. I’m still working out it.
Swap your SIM card FIRST
I made a mistake when I switched over; I swapped all my data, THEN I changed my SIM card over. Big mistake. As soon as I popped the SIM card into the Galaxy S8+ phone, it said “Unauthorized SIM” or something like that, and then, ominously, “Wiping all data”. Sigh.
Fortunately in the time I had set up the phone the first time, it had backed itself up to the cloud… without me even realizing that was possible. So fortunately when I had to re-set up the phone it was able to download the most recent backup from the cloud which had all of the Android apps tied to it. Yay! That did save some time, though I did have to re-log in to all of them again. Sigh.
My advice to you is to swap your SIM card first, then go through the setup process.
Know changing Apple to Android will take time, plan for it
I badly misjudged how long it would take for this transfer to fully happen. The actual data swap can take up to a couple of hours, but then the downloading or re-downloading of apps and logging in can take significantly longer.
Don’t plan to make the switch and be done with it in an hour or two. Expect to have the process stretch out over a couple of days.
e-mail is… weird on Android
If you are solely a Gmail user, you’ll do well with this changeover. If you’re heavy into Apple Mail expect a wake up call.
There’s not really a native email App for Android; instead, each phone manufacturer has its own Mail app. And no, they’re not created equal. With Apple you only get one option for your email inbox, unless you want to download something specialized like Spark mail (read about it here). With Android you’ve got numerous options for how you want to manage your email.
In this case I started out using the Samsung Mail app. Right away I had problems with it. With about two thirds of my email, messages that were part of a long back and forth chain were displaying improperly. As the email chain went down the screen, the text was being squished so much that each sentence stretched on for pages, and each email became a line about two characters wide. It was impossible to read on the phone.
I use my phone for email a lot, and often need to reference longer emails for discussion chains. I reached out to the Android community on Twitter for help, but as yet there is no good fix for this.Though one person did suggest I try eight mail app called Nine. I did download it so I’ll have to see if it improves things.
One of the hardest new features to get used to is logging in on the Galaxy S8+. I’ve toyed with a couple of the various ways to log in. Up until now I’ve been using a fingerprint or passcode with my iPhone. On the iPhone you simply input your four digits and the phone on locks automatically. On the Galaxy S8+ you need to type in the four digits, and then hit “okay” – an extra step.
It’s also weird that you need to activate the screen from the Always-On display, to the home screen, then to the log in screen. Yes, this is just a couple extra steps, or in some cases a split-second of difference. But when you’ve been doing things the same way for so long, accessing the phone with more steps or clicks seems tedious. I presume it’s something I’ll just get used to.
I decided to switch to the Iris scan login, and that seems to be a bit better, as all you really need to do is look at the screen and the phone will unlock. Granted you need to have the screen angled correctly or it will correct you. But this seems to be the least tedious way of logging.
Why not use the fingerprint scanner? This is one of my biggest issues with this phone design. The fingerprint scanner is on the back, but not in the same place that Google Pixel phone for example, has theirs (centre back). The Galaxy S8+ fingerprint scanner is on the top corner of the phone next to the camera. It is not in any kind of natural location for the way I hold my phone. I’ve done some reading up about this and this appears to be a much complained about feature of the phone’s design. It’s also pointed out in some other blogs that’s trying to get your fingerprint scanned and missing the mark means you’re constantly smudging the camera lens. Not great.
You’ll carry two phones around for a few days
I did up carrying around both my Samsung Galaxy S8+ and my iPhone 6+ for about a week. It was the only way I could be sure I was actually getting messages (paranoid, yes). Plus, I needed to access some of my accounts and apps in order to double check my login name and other details. I would say within about a week I was comfortable leaving the house with only the Galaxy S8.
Tips and Tricks – Apple to Android switch
These are just a few things to be aware of if you’re going to make the Apple to Samsung or Apple to Android leap. It’s important to note this is not a list of complaints. It’s a list of adjustments. I’m confident I will be able to adapt to life in the Android ecosystem soon. But like adapting to any new environment it takes time.
If you have any great Android tips and tricks for me, or have any apps you can’t live without, I’d love you to share them in comments below.