Bulletins

Google is quietly making it easier to switch from iPhone to Android

Apple has been making it easy to move from Android to iPhone for seven years. Now Google is trying to do the same.

An image of the Apple App Store icon on an iPhone.

Google just launched an iOS app that helps iPhone users switch to Android.

Photo: James Yarema via Unsplash

Switching from iPhone to Android is easier said than done. First there's the whole iMessage thing, which keeps iPhone users locked in just to avoid the hassle of losing texts. Apple also encourages users to store their data in iCloud, which makes it easy to access across Apple devices. There are workarounds — for instance, uploading data to Google Drive and downloading it to a new Android device — but Apple makes the switch from Android a whole lot easier than Google has done for iPhone users. Until now.


On Monday, Google quietly launched a Switch to Android app for iOS, which, as you might guess, helps users transfer chunks of data from their iPhones to Android. If you search for the app in the iOS App Store, you won't find it — instead, iPhone users have to follow a direct link to install it. Google hasn't yet responded to questions as to when the app will be searchable in the App Store.

Hints that Google planned to launch the app emerged last year, when 9to5Google found mentions of a Switch to Android app in an update of Android’s data restore tool. Another update last month signaled that the app would be able to automate the transfer of photos and videos from iCloud to Google Photos.

Apple launched its version, Move to iOS, back in 2015. Android users can download the app from the Google Play store, then place their Android phone and new iPhone close to each other. The app then establishes a private wifi network, searches for the Android phone running Move to iOS nearby and transfers content wirelessly when users punch in a security code.

For most people the process is relatively fast — about 10-20 minutes. But often, users find their networks interrupted, which can create lengthy delays. For this reason, the app only has a 2.9 star rating in the Google Play store. If Google's version for iOS is less glitchy, that would be good news for users — but bad for Apple.

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