How to switch from Android to iPhone

It’s not you, it’s me.

There are pros and cons to Android and iOS, but with Google’s occasionally iffy privacy practices (contrasted with Apple’s ongoing commitment to protecting user data) for some, the move might seem like a no-brainer.

If you’ve been tempted to switch from Android to iPhone for a while now but don’t know where to start, you’re not alone. It can seem like a pretty daunting task at first, given the two operating systems don’t necessarily play nicely together, but it’s actually easier than you might think.

Here’s everything you need to know.

How to transfer data from Android to iPhone

Before you start

Before we get started with the actual data transfer, there are a few bits of housekeeping to take care of. Ideally, you’ll start the process with a brand new (or factory reset) iPhone. Though you can transfer data from Android to an iPhone that’s already set up, it’s far easier to do with a new (or factory reset) iPhone. Still, if you’ve already got data on your iPhone and don’t want to lose it, we’ll show you how to transfer your Android data without needing to reset your iPhone a bit later.

  1. Ensure your Android is connected to WiFi and plugged into a power source.
  2. Back up your Android phone either to the cloud or your computer.
  3. Plug your new iPhone into a power source.
  4. Ensure your new iPhone has the capacity to hold whatever data you’re transferring from your Android device.
  5. If you want to transfer your Chrome bookmarks, make sure your Chrome Android app is updated to the latest version.

Step 1

On your Android phone, open the Google Play Store and download Apple’s Move to iOS app. Once it’s downloaded, open the Move to iOS app, follow the prompts and accept the terms and conditions to continue, then tap “Next” in the top-right corner of the “Find Your Code” screen.

move to ios app

Step 2

On your iPhone’s setup screen, click “Apps & Data”, then tap “Move Data from Android” and wait for a six or ten-digit code to appear. Back on your Android device, type in the code from your iPhone and wait for the Transfer Data screen to appear.

Step 3

On your Android phone, select which data you want to copy across to your iPhone. You can choose to copy across any of the following: Contacts, text messages, photos, videos, Chrome bookmarks, email accounts and calendars. Some of your apps may also be transferred, as long as they’re free and available on both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. For others, you’ll unfortunately have to search for and download them again on the App Store.

After you’ve chosen the content you want to transfer, you may have to wait a while for the data to finish loading onto your new device, so it’s worth keeping both devices plugged into their respective chargers until the process is done.

Step 4

Once the transfer is complete, tap “Done” on your Android, then “Continue” on your iPhone. Follow the prompts to finish setting up your iPhone, and you’ll be good to go. That said, any Music, Books or PDFs may have to be transferred manually – to do so, you’ll need to download the Android File Transfer Mac app and follow the instructions to move these files to your new device.

How to transfer data from Android to iPhone after setup

If you’ve already set up your iPhone and don’t want to reset it, or if you’re having difficulty using the Move to iOS app, there are a couple of other options available to you. That said, the above process is by far the smoothest way to transfer data, so we’d recommend simply syncing your iPhone data to your Apple ID, factory resetting your device and following the steps above. Once you log back in with your Apple ID, your photos, messages and other content should return.

Still, if you’d rather not risk it, you’ll have to go with one of the below methods.

Third-party transfer apps

Though they’re not supported or endorsed by either Apple or Android, there are some third-party apps that can help. A cursory search of the Google Play Store brings up hundreds of these types of apps that work in a similar way to the Move to iOS app, without having to reset your iPhone. Just be aware that these apps may not be able to transfer all your data, so some files and content may need to be transferred manually.

iTunes

Speaking of transferring manually… I know, it’s very 2010, but iTunes is still alive and kicking and could be exactly the solution you’re looking for. If you’re on a Mac, you’ll also need the Android File Transfer app. Here’s a step-by-step guide for transferring content with iTunes.

  1. Connect your Android phone to your computer.
  2. On PC, in File Explorer, click on your phone to see its contents. On Mac, open the Android File Transfer app to do the same.
  3. Drag the files and folders you want to transfer into a folder on your computer.
  4. Disconnect your Android phone and connect your iPhone to your computer.
  5. On PC or older Mac, open iTunes and sync whatever data you want to transfer to the new iPhone. Mac users running macOS Catalina or later can do this in Finder.

And that’s it – your photos, music, videos, books and other documents should now be on your iPhone. Unfortunately, there’s no way to sync text messages, contacts, mail and calendars via iTunes. Contacts, mail and calendars are easy to sync as long as you’re using an online service like Gmail or Outlook. To copy your messages, however, you’ll need to try a third-party app or bite the bullet and factory reset your iPhone to go through the setup process again.