July 31, 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!