It’s Christmas morning and you’ve just got your shiny new phone. You’ve got the new SIM card sorted (if you need it). But how do you transfer all your photos, contacts, email and music to your new device? And just how easy is it to move from Android to iOS and vice versa? Read on…
First, a word of warning. Regardless of what system you are moving to, back up everything on your mobile phone first. That way if something goes wrong, you can always get your information back. Also, don’t give away or reset your old phone until you are happy that all your information and content has been saved to your new phone.
iOS to iOS
Apple makes it very simple to switch to a new phone. If you haven't got automatic backups to the cloud switch on your iPhone, you need to back up the phone to the cloud first or connect it to iTunes – you can still do that – and back everything up to your laptop through iTunes. Depending on which option you choose, there will be certain things you will still have to redownload. With iCloud backups, for example, you won't be able to back up things that are already in the cloud, such as your photos (if you use iCloud Photo Library), Touch ID settings, and your iCloud Music Library and App Store content. Music or apps you bought through iTunes can be redownloaded if needed, and the backup should take care of app data.
With iTunes backups, you’ll have to redownload iTunes and App Store content, unless you transfer purchases during your backup when prompted. You will also have to resync your music, videos and books you imported to your device through iTunes, and set up Touch ID again. Health, activity and keychain data will only be backed up if you choose encrypted backups.
Once you have the backup sorted, it’s simply a case of telling iCloud (or iTunes) to hand over the backup.
Turn on your new device. You should see a “Hello” screen. Follow the on-screen prompts until you reach the wifi screen. Log into your local wifi network and follow prompts until you get to the Apps & Data screen. Tap Restore from iCloud Backup>Next. You’ll be prompted to sign in with your Apple ID, and then choose a backup. You may be prompted to sign into iTunes or the App Store. Once you’ve done this, the backup will start to install on your device. Leave it connected to wifi until everything has downloaded and you are happy all your content is there.
You may have heard that Apple was killing off iTunes at WWDC this year, but you can still run back-ups using the software – or at least I could as of Christmas Eve.
Switch on the new phone and wait for the “Hello” screen. Follow the on-screen prompts until you reach the Apps & Data screen. Choose Restore from iTunes Backup>Next. Connect your new iPhone to the PC where you backed up your old phone. Open iTunes and click on your device icon. You’ll be shown a screen with the option to restore backup, and shown a list of backups available. Yours will (most likely) be the most recent backup available.
Then walk away, have a cup of tea, catch up on some Netflix and let the software do its work.
You can then sync your iPhone with iTunes to get any content - music, movies, etc - that didn’t find their way back.
Android to iOS
Given that Android and iOS are both trying to poach each other’s customers, there is no surprise that changing your phone from one to the other has become a simpler process. In 2015, Apple introduced a new app, Move to iOS, that would help to shift Android customers to Apple more quickly and easily.
If your new device is running iOS 9 or greater - we’re up to iOS 13 now so it should - and your old Android device is Android 4.0 or greater, you can use the app to move everything across.
Go to the Google Play store on your Android phone and search for Move to iOS. Install the app. On your new iPhone, begin the setup for the phone from the "Hello" screen. But when you get to the Apps & Data page, select Move Data from Android.
On your Android device, open the Move to iOS app. Tap Continue, check out the terms and conditions and tap Agree>Next.
On your iOS device, you’ll see a screen called Move from Android. Tap continue, then wait for the code to appear. Enter the code on your Android device, and you’ll be directed to Transfer Data screen. Select the content you want to move - contacts, message history, photos, mail, calendars, free apps if available - then tap next, and leave the two devices to do their work.
Wait until the loading bar on your iPhone finishes, regardless of what your Android device tells you.
Once everything has transferred, continue to set up your iOS device through the onscreen prompts.
iOS to Android
You can bring your photos, music and contacts with you from iOS to Android, though any paid apps will unfortunately be left behind.
To backup your images, all you need to do is download Google Photos. You will get 15GB of space between all your Google services, including Google Drive, if you want to keep the photos at their original resolution; accept a little compression and you can back up unlimited images to your Google account through Google Photos.
Open the Google Photos app. If you have a Gmail account, sign in to the service with that username and password. Clink Menu in the top left corner, then select Settings>Backup & Sync and turn on backup & sync. All your photos will be uploaded to the cloud.
To backup your iTunes music, you will need access to a PC where you have your iTunes account. Download Play Music manager here and install it on your PC. You will need to sign in with your Google ID. During setup, you will be asked where you store your music. Choose iTunes, and select upload all songs and playlists. Once you have it all installed and ready to go, you can upload up to 50,000 songs to your account, which can be accessed on any device, and you can still use your iTunes account if you wish.
Contacts are the other thing everyone needs. As an iPhone user you’ll likely have been using iCloud to keep your contacts synced, but you can transfer them to Google. On a desktop PC or laptop, open iCloud.com and log in with iCloud ID. Choose Contacts, which will open your list of numbers and email addresses saved to your account. Choose All Contacts, and click on the gear icon in the bottom left corner. Choose Select All. Then click the gear icon again, and select Export vCard. All your contacts will now be saved as a VCF file, which you can upload directly to your Google account.
Log into your Google account on your PC. Go to Google.com/contacts and select Import from the menu on the lefthand side of the screen. Choose the location of the VCF file you saved, and click Import. You will now see a list of contacts in your Google account.
Android to Android
If you are moving to a new Android handset, it can be a relatively simple procedure. Some manufacturers have their own specific methods - Huawei has a phone "clone" option, Samsung has Smart Switch.
But in general, when you start the setup of your new handset, many will ask if you want to restore your information from a backup, and give you the option of specific backups in a drop down menu. That should bring settings, app data and so on over to your new phone.
To make sure it is enabled on your old phone, go to Settings>Backup and reset and select back up my data. That will back up your phone to the cloud.
Contacts and photos are likely to already be saved in your Google account, but if not, you can sync all your contacts on your old phone by going to Settings>Accounts>Google and choose your Gmail account address. Check Sync contacts is checked. You can also force a sync by pressing Sync Now.
Images that are on your phone are probably already saved to Google Photos, but if not, you can set it up easily. If Google Photos isn’t included on your handset, download the app from the Play Store.
Open the Google Photos app and tap the menu icon. Tap Settings>Back up & sync. Turn it on. To do an immediate backup, click Backup & sync>back up all.
If all else fails, you can transfer contacts, photos, videos and other content by Bluetooth, although it can be a time consuming project.
Apps that don’t make the cut can be redownloaded from the Play Store, or you can log in on a desktop, go to play.google.com/apps, log in to your Google account to see what apps you’ve downloaded or bought in the past, and choose which ones you want to install on your new phone. Once your new handset has an internet connection, the download will start automatically.