Google is preparing to launch a whole new way to move from Apple iPhones to an Android device. Here’s your first look at Google’s “Switch to Android” app running on an iPhone.
Update: Google’s Switch to Android app is now widely available.
When you move from one Android device to a new one, it’s easy to connect the two phones together – either wirelessly or with a USB cable – to seamlessly copy across all your apps, contacts, messages, photos and more. By contrast, copying your data from an iPhone to Android has not been near as simple a process as involving backing up your data to Google Drive and restoring it manually. Android 12 made things a little easier, allowing you to copy contacts, apps, and media, but only via a Lightning cable connection.
In the opposite direction, Apple has for over five years offered a dedicated “Move to iOS” app for Android that tries to make it as easy as possible to connect to Apple’s ecosystem. Back in July 2021, we reported that Google was working on its own app to help new customers turn their next phone into an Android.
Switch to Android has now been softly launched in the App Store as an unlisted application – a feature that Apple only recently launched – only available via a direct link that our APK Insight team was able to reveal.
With that link, we were able to install Switch to Android on an iPhone and run it. But even though everything seems to be ready on the iOS side of things, Android’s setup and restore process is not yet prepared for the Switch to Android app availability.
On the first screen, the app explains what exactly it will be able to copy from your iPhone to your new Android phone, including “photos, videos, contacts, and more.”
The next step asks you to scan a QR code to be displayed on your Android phone during the setup and restore process. Unfortunately, we were not able to access this setup flow, but the basic core is that your new Android phone would generate a hotspot that your iPhone would connect to. Once connected, most of your important data will be transferred wirelessly.
We can see a preview of how this step will work thanks to screenshots included in the App Store listing. In them we see shifts to “Contacts”, “Calendar Events”, “Photos” and “Videos”. During these shifts, there is a disclaimer that only the photos and videos stored locally on your iPhone will be copied over to your new Android and that media in your iCloud will be handled later.
Once the copying is complete, you will be reminded to disable iMessage to ensure that messages from your friends who still have iPhones are actually delivered via SMS instead of disappearing into the iMessage void. The final step in the Switch to Android process is to request a transfer of your iCloud data to Google Drive / Google Photos. The “Start Request” button simply launches Safari to an iCloud support page where you can “Request to upload a copy of your data.”
Update 19/4: In a statement given to TechCrunch, Google has said that they have started making Switch to Android available to iPhone owners, and gradually making the app publicly available in the App Store. In the meantime, the app is available to anyone interested via a direct link.
Monday night around kl. 18.00 PT, the Switch to Android app began to roll out to the public, Google says. The company says it expects this process to reach 10% of users by the end of the day on Tuesday, April 19 and 100% of users over the next few weeks.
Of course, switching to Android does not work alone, which requires some changes in the Android setup process, which presumably also rolls out now.
Update 28/4: Starting in a new tweet, Google is now actively promoting its Switch to Android app to potential Pixel customers, as well as through a new landing page on the Android site. By all accounts, it should now be entirely possible to copy a wealth of data from your old iPhone to a new Android phone, either wirelessly or with a cable. Specifically, you can copy over the following:
- Contact persons
- Locally saved images
- SMS / MMS / iMessage message and media history
- Whatsapp message and media history
- Free apps also available in Play Store
- Custom wallpaper
- DRM-free music
- Call logs
- Some device settings
All in all, Switch to Android is a nice straightforward experience that makes it as easy as possible to leave the walled garden of the iPhone ecosystem. It’s not clear at this time when Google intends to launch Switch to Android widely, but given how long Apple’s own “Move to iOS” app has been in the Play Store, Google’s alternative will come years later. , than it should have.
Dylan Roussel contributed to this article
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