Official switch to Android app found unlisted in iOS App Store, but it still lacks time to bake

An image of an iPhone showing the Switch to Android app

The new Switch to Android app is still baking, but at least it shows you how to turn off iMessage.
Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

Since almost the beginning of the smartphone, it has been an Android versus iOS world. Unless you remember BlackBerry. Regardless of the platform, switching between Apple and Google’s ecosystems has not always been easy, although Apple released a practical “Move to iOS”App in Play Store in 2015 for Android users who make a move.

Maybe shake your boots at how easy Apple has made it for people to switch, and Google has finally softly launched its own branded Switch to Android app for those who go the other way. The app syncs your two devices to transfer data, while also guiding you through the process of disabling iMessage and moving yourself into the Green Bubble zone. (It really is not that bad here.)

Before, if you were to move from iPhone to Android, you would need to navigate to this Switch to Android page on the web to learn how to back up your stuff and move it using Google Drive. Going to a page in a browser is not the most intuitive way to switch platforms, and it certainly will not inspire a mass exodus of people from aging iPhone devices.

The new Switch to Android app aims to make this change a little easier, though it’s not baked enough to test it out thoroughly, and it’s likely to get a more official launch further down. The app is currently live unlisted in Apple App Storemight be afraid of Apple’s banhammer, and although you can download it to your iPhone and try it out, it currently lacks a lot of features.

A screenshot of the Switch to the Android app

This screenshot from the Switch to Android migration tool seems to suggest that there will be some sort of WiFi-Direct connectivity feature.
Screenshot: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

After installing and launching the app, the first prompt asks you to connect the Android device you are migrating to using the camera to scan a QR code. If not available, it is also possible to connect directly to a device using a WiFi Direct network name and password. It’s not entirely clear how it works, however 9to5Google mentioned that it ran into the same problem in its review. It is likely that the Android setup process has not been updated to work with the new migration tool. I even tried to dry mine OnePlus 10 Pro and set it up again to see if it would give me a QR code.

I was able to skip the first step and skip directly to the third, which turns off iMessage before I moved your SIM card. The fourth and final step is to sign in with your Apple ID to copy photos and videos from iCloud. However, the process sounds tedious as it involves sending a request to Apple to send a copy of your data. As such, I could notst it even before publication.

The app then takes you to a support page, and depending on your photo library, it may take anywhere from three to seven days to complete the copy. With that speed, you’re much better off manually uploading the images to Google Photos yourself.

Google’s Switch to Android app is not a total surprise. It was leaked and rumored last year, and that’s a natural move for the company given that Apple has done the same. Putting platform wars aside for a second is also crucial for Google to offer this, as many users are still unaware that they need to disable iMessage before moving, as disabling it can cause problems sending and receive texts.

But the Switch to Android app, as it exists now, hidden in an app store, is just a tool to move locally stored data like your contacts, calendar, photos and video. Google’s screenshot in the App Store entry for this app also shows only these four categories. There is no statement of messages and there is no mention of which apps you would use as iOS equivalents on Android, one of the biggest pain points of switching between the two platforms.

Switching to the Android app at least does not require a cable to connect two devices and move data between them, so that’s nice. In any case, Google’s browser-based Switch to Android page has not been updated to reflect the app’s existence. Hopefully some of the cracks will be fixed and more features will be added before this is officially live.