December 20, 2014

Moving from iOS to Android for Christmas? Here's What You Need to Know

So let’s say, hypothetically, you had that random family member who had been using an iPhone for a little while, and their jealousy of your phone caused them to desire to switch. If that story doesn’t work, insert your own. Chances are at least a few of you had friends or family who migrated either to or from Android this year. If that’s the case, Congrats from AndroidGuys! There are a great many things you can do with these amazing devices.

The first thing you should probably do, though, is move your contacts from your previous system to your new one. For most systems, this can be pretty easy. As I discovered this year, however, it is not easy for an iPhone user to migrate contacts away from Apple. If you use iTunes, and have your computer with you, you can sync your contacts with Google, which will then sync with your Android Phone. If you didn’t bring YOUR computer with YOUR iTunes account, however, you are stuck. Even in Exchange, your contacts don’t get shared, so you can’t move them. Call it a side affect of the infamous Walled Apple Garden, but it’s true. If you store your data with Apple, it’s not easy to get it back. So here you go, your first lesson in freedom. Here’s how you move your contact from iPhone to Android with the least amount of pain possible!

The first thing you will need is a Mobile Me account. If you have never used one, you get it free for 60 days. If you have already used your trial, I am sorry but you will need to pay to get Mobile Me. The second thing you will need is a web browser. Any web browser. Head to Me.com and activate your trial (Warning: requires a Credit Card). Once the account is active, give it a moment to sync all of your data from your iPhone (depends on your internet access). Now that you have your contacts available via a browser, you can choose to export it several ways. The two most common will be .csv and vCard. For the purpose of this article, I chose vCard, since it handles contact information in an easier to view format. It may take a few moments, but then you will have your vCards (again, depends on your internet access). Tag the vCards and head to Gmail.com, where you will be able to upload. Once this is complete, your phone will sync to Gmail, and your contacts will be successfully migrated.

To recap, that’s make  a Mobile Me account> Sync with iPhone>Export from Mobile Me as vCard> Import to Gmail> wait for auto Sync with Android.

While writing this, I was asked how you would export from Android. After all, it stands to reason that it’s possible that Android will not be the last stop in your mobile life. This is extremely simple. From any web browser, go to Gmail, head to Contacts, and export in whatever file format you wish. It couldn’t be easier, and you can do it from anywhere. This is one of the many examples of what is meant when Android is called “Open”. Typically, it has very little to do with Open Source, and much more to do with the combination of choice and integration. Data on your Android phone is shared across applications, instead of restricted and isolated within devices. You are free to choose exactly what that means to you, and with that I once again welcome you to Android, and hope your experience is a positive one!



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  • Drew

    This just makes me appreciate my Android even more. I had no idea it was so hard to get your contacts from Apple.

  • Dlanor

    I actually switched from android to iPhone and i setup my contacts as an exchange account with google (instead of using the gmail contacst option) and this way it auto syncs to my gmail account. If I ever decide to switch back this won’t be an issue.

  • Ragflan

    Why can’t you just setup Google Mobile Sync on the iPhone? It’ll sync the contacts and calendar entries as well to your Google account. Then when you sign in with your Google account on your Android phone, everything is synced to Android. It’s the simplest solution. No computers involved.

    Instructions here: http://www.google.com/mobile/sync/

  • Krister

    There is a simple and free solution to move contacts between telephones.

    1. Sign up for a free SyncML service such as Funambol (my.funambol.com, 90 days free)
    2. Get funambol client for iPhone or Android, Java client available for some other phones . (classic SE and Nokia phones have SyncML built in)
    3. Sync old phone, then new phone
    4. Done

    I’ve moved contacts between 5-6 different SE models, 2 Nokia models, iPhone and android.

    • Krister

      Note, many phone operators offer SyncML services, usually branded as mobile backup.

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  • Drew

    Just take your phone into Verizon and let the hook it up to the cellbrite machine and transfer your contacts over

  • Josh

    Transferring contacts from any phone can be just as big as a pain. I came from Android from an iPhone and my contacts were already stored with Google as I did not want to pay Apple the $99 MobileMe sync features, Apple allows contacts to be synced with Google as does the built in Apple Mail App, I also had some of my older contacts stored on my sim card that transferred over to my new Android phone, not one time while moving my contacts did I ever complain about Apples lack of being “open” as they did give me the option of syncing with Google. Do some research next time about what your writing about.

    • Russell Holly

      A significant majority of consumers save their contacts directly to the phone. That’s fact. It’s a small percentage that sync with Google/Exchange to begin with. The Sim can only store so many contacts, and typically does not store things like pictures or extended contact information. This method was the result not only of research, but actual deployment. A very close friend of mine moved his brother from an iPhone to a Captivate over the holiday and ran into this exact problem. I appreciate your comment, and hope that in the future the message I hoped to convey captures your eye before you stop reading and decide to comment.

  • Josh

    And a significant number of consumers that are using smart phones do not store contacts directly on the phone, you are implying that this task is made harder by the use of an iPhone due the “closed walled garden” that you had mentioned, any time you store contacts directly to the phone, it does not matter if it is iOS, Android, BlackBerry or more commonly, dumb phones, you run the risk of not being able to sync contacts to your new phone. My girlfriend has a Sony Ericsson flip phone that she adores but this phone lacks the ability to transfer stored contacts to an online service or the memory card making it very difficult to move contacts over to a new phone. It has been a while since my BlackBerry days but if I recall, it had the same problem. On my Mac, my contacts stored on my iPhone were transferred into iTunes and to my address book that I could then use to sync to Google, also the contacts stored to the phone could be synced with Google in the built in address book app on the iPhone. I am by far not an Android hater and I did get sick of the walled garden that you spoke of but I do not believe that this is a case of that walled garden. I apologize if I had offended you in my previous post, I assure you that was not my intent.

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  • Nushig

    Nice article. To move messages from iPhone to Android, I recommend a program called Backuptrans iPhone SMS + MMS to Android Transfer. Easy and fast. Transferring sms from android to iPhone is also supported.