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What You Need to Know When Switching from Android to iPhone

If you’ve decided to switch your smartphone from one running Android to an iPhone, you’re making a great choice. But if you’ve been using Android long enough to accumulate a decent number of apps and a good-sized music library, to say nothing of videos, contacts, and calendars, you may have questions about what you can bring to your new phone. Luckily, the answer is that you can bring most of your content and data, with a few notable exceptions.

Sync Content to Your Computer

Depending on how you’ve used your Android phone, you may have downloaded a lot of content, especially music, directly to it. It’s crucial that, before you switch to iPhone, you sync all of that music to your computer. If the music is on your computer as well as your phone, the likelihood that you can move it to your new iPhone is much higher (more on that in a minute).

But if your music only lives on your Android phone, there’s a good chance you’ll lose all those downloads when you switch.

If you get your music through a streaming service like Spotify, you won’t have to worry about losing music (though any songs you saved for offline listening will have to be re-downloaded on your iPhone). Just download the iPhone apps for those services and sign into your account.

In fact, you want to make sure that everything on your Android phone is synced to your computer before you switch to iPhone—not just your music, but also calendars, address books, videos, etc. If you use a web-based calendar or address book, this probably isn’t necessary, but better safe than sorry. Sync as much data to your computer as you can before starting your switch.

What Content Can You Transfer?

Probably the most important part of moving from one smartphone platform to the other is to make sure that all of your data comes with you when you change. Here’s some guidance on what data can and can’t transfer, and how to do it.

Music

One of the things that most people care most about when switching is that their music comes with them. The good news is that, in many cases, you should be able to transfer your music.

If the music on your phone (and now on your computer, because you synced it, right?) is DRM-free, just add the music to iTunes and you’ll be able to sync it to your iPhone. If the music has DRM, you may need to install an app to authorize it. Some DRM isn’t supported on the iPhone at all, so if you’ve got a lot of DRMed music, you may want to check before you switch.

Windows Media files can’t be played on the iPhone, so it’s best to add them to iTunes, convert them to MP3 or AAC, and then sync them. Windows Media files with DRM may not be usable in iTunes at all, so you may not be able to convert them.

Photos

The other thing that’s most important to many people is their photos. You definitely don’t want to lose hundreds or thousands of priceless memories just because you changed phones. This, again, is where syncing the content of your phone to your computer is key. If you sync the photos from your Android phone to a photo management program on your computer, you should be able to move it to your new iPhone. If you’ve got a Mac, just sync the photos to iPhoto (or copy them to your computer and then import them to iPhoto) and you’ll be fine. On Windows, there are a number of photo-management programs available. It’s best to look for one that advertises itself as being able to sync with the iPhone or iTunes.

If you use an online photo storage and sharing sites like Flickr or Instagram, your photos will still be in your account there. Whether you can sync photos from your online account to your phone depends on the features of the online service.

Apps

Here’s a big difference between the two types of phones: Android apps do not work on the iPhone (and vice versa). So, any apps you’ve got on Android can’t come with you when you move to iPhone. Luckily, many Android apps have iPhone versions or replacements that do basically the same thing (though if you have paid apps, you’ll have to buy them again for the iPhone). Search the App Store in iTunes for your favorite apps.

Even if there are iPhone versions of the apps you need, your app data may not come with them. If the app requires that you create an account or otherwise stores your data in the cloud, you should be able to download the data to your iPhone, but some apps store your data on your phone. You may lose that data, so check with the developer of the app. There are some really smart apps that come with the iPhone; like Notes.

Contacts

Wouldn’t it be a pain if you had to re-type all the names, phone numbers, and other contact information in your address book when you switch? Luckily, you won’t have to do that. There are two ways you can make sure that the contents of your address book transfer to your iPhone. First, sync your Android phone to your computer and make sure that your contacts are completely synced to Windows Address Book or Outlook Express (there are many other address book programs, but those are the ones iTunes can sync with).

The other option is to store your address book in a cloud-based tool like  Yahoo Address Book or Google Contacts. If you already use one of these services or decide to one to transfer your contacts, make sure all of your address book content is synced to them, then read this article about how to sync them to your iPhone.

Calendar

Transferring all of your important events, meetings, birthdays, and other calendar entries are reasonably similar to the process you used for your contacts. If you’re using an online calendar through Google or Yahoo, or a desktop program like Outlook, just make sure that your data is up to date. Then, when you set up your new iPhone, you’ll have the chance to connect those accounts and sync that data.

If you’re using a third-party calendar app, things may be different. Check the App Store to see if there’s an iPhone version. If there is, you may be able to download and sign into that app to get data from your account. If there isn’t an iPhone version, you probably want to export your data from the app you use now and import it into something like a Google or Yahoo calendar.

Videos, Movies, and TV Shows

The issues around transferring videos are very similar to transferring music. If your videos have DRM on them, it’s likely that they won’t play on the iPhone. They won’t play if they’re in Windows Media format, either. If you bought the movies through an app, check the App Store to see if there’s an iPhone version. If there is, you should be able to play it on your iPhone.

Texts

Text messages stored on your Android phone probably won’t transfer to your iPhone unless they’re in a third-party app that stores them in the cloud and has an iPhone version. In that case, when you sign into the app on your iPhone, your texting history may appear (but it might not; it depends on how the app works).

Saved Voicemails

Voicemails that you’ve got saved should be accessible on your iPhone. Generally speaking, voicemails are saved in your account with your phone company, not on your smartphone (though they’re available there, too), so as long as you have the same phone company account, they should be accessible. However, if part of your switch from to iPhone also includes changing phone companies, you’ll likely lose those saved voicemails.

Getting Started

Now that you know the ins and outs of transferring your data from your Android phone to your new iPhone, it’s time to get started setting up and using your iPhone. To do that, check out these articles:

  • How to Activate the iPhone
  • How to Sync iPhone to Computer
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