Switching From iOS To Android? Here’s What You Need To Know

featured ditch iphone   Switching From iOS To Android? Heres What You Need To Know Having recently decided to abandon my iPhone in favor of an HTC One X, I’m in the unique position of being “behind the enemy lines” already. If you’re as frustrated as I am by Apple’s recent policies and lack of innovation as I am, here’s what you need to know about switching to Android. It’s not an easy ride, but it’s fun, and I hope you join me.

Picking your device

Unlike the one-size fits all Apple policy for phones, Android devices come in a gamut of shapes and sizes. Before choosing a device, it’s important you consider quite a few factors first:

  • Do you want an original Android experience with the latest updates, or would you be ok with a slight delay?
  • How much travelling do you do? Is a user changeable battery essential?
  • How important is the camera?
  • What exactly is your usage case?
  • Are they any absolute essentials for apps, or features?
  • What kind of screen size would you like?

I would say price is an important consideration too, but if you already own an iPhone then you likely either don’t care too much about the cost, or you’re going to be getting the phone on contract and therefore heavily subsidized – so I’ll assume you’re looking at top tier devices here. If you are looking for something cheaper than an iPhone, then your experience will be less than satisfactory; obviously, cheap devices don’t perform as well as more expensive ones.

It’s essential that when you’ve narrowed down your choices, you go out and actually play with them; test out the interface responsiveness, the basic look and feel. Do read as many reviews as you can, but try to pick out similarities between reviews and ignore subjective comments – the Android community is just as full of device fanboys as Apple.

Personally, I narrowed the choice down to either an HTC One X, or a Samsung S3. The key differences I found (from both online and playing with the devices) were:

  • Samsung S3 has user changeable batteries
  • In terms of UI customisations, I preferred HTC Sense interface
  • The Samsung device feels a little too “plasticky”, and a poorer (perceived) built quality
  • HTC has more camera features, like built-in panorama
  • The screen on the S3 is slightly darker
I’m certainly no expert on Android handsets though; the point is – do your research. New devices are released every week and each one is different!

Android versions are vastly different, and manufacturers complicate things

If you’re searching for a tutorial or reading about cool new features in Android, you need to bear in mind that each Android version tends to vary significantly. In iOS, we’re used to fairly smooth upgrade paths – anyone familiar with iOS5 would be right at home in iOS6; it basically looks the same and even settings tend to stay in roughly the same place.

However, the same is not true with Android – version upgrades tend to mean a major overhaul of the graphical interface, as well as significantly underlying changes to both features and settings. In other words, looking up a tutorial designed for Android 4.1 is not going to help if your phone is running 3.0.

To further add to confusion, handset manufacturers add a further level of customization on top of the core Android OS; only Nexus phones will have the “original” Android experience – that is, a stock install. If you have an HTC handset like mine, you have what’s called Sense UI; if you have Samsung, it’s TouchWiz. Tutorials for one manufacturer and features found on their handsets can be radically different from those on another; even basic things like swipe gestures.

My advice: always be specific when looking up anything about Android – look first for your exact phone model (“HTC One X camera guide” rather than “android 4.0 camera guide”), and if that doesnt work try a more generic search for the manufacturer.

You can install anything you want – but don’t

You may find you need to install unverified packages at some point – applications not found on Google Play – a prime example being the Amazon App Store. However, be careful when doing this from anywhere else – it’s an easy way to get malware.

malware   Switching From iOS To Android? Heres What You Need To Know

   Switching From iOS To Android? Heres What You Need To Know Generally speaking, you’re safe from malware if you only install Google Play apps; this isn’t always true, but true enough to not worry about too much. However, once you start installing packages from any old website you find, you’re running the risk of exposing all your personal data to anyone who wants it. That’s not a good thing. Be especially wary of downloading pirate apps, as this is a surefire way of catching something nasty.

Also take note of the permissions you grant an application when you install it. If that little “noise maker” app is asking for permission to access your contacts, your photos, and to send SMS on your behalf – that’s a good sign all is not right.

It’s probably best to install some free anti-virus software anyway; yes, this might seem ridiculous when you’re coming from the safe streets of iOS, but this is the price you pay for freedom.

Swype is awesome

This is one feature iOS certainly doesn’t have; the Swype keyboard. Installation is a little bit tricky and it is technically only beta software, I swear your mind will be blown once you install this. Put simply, you don’t type; you swipe your finger around the keyboard, moving over the letters you want. It sounds silly, and takes a little while to get used to, but once you do, you’ll find it much faster and more accurate than typing. It’s a special kind of black magic that makes this work, so don’t ask.

In fact, there are lots of neat little features you’re going to discover in Android; but I’ll leave that to you to find out.

Have you made the switch from iOS to Android? Do you have any other advice for both myself and fellow readers? If you could pick one amazing feature that your Android phone has and iOS doesn’t – what would it be?

Image Credit: sakjosep, Flickr

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41 Comments -

Imesh Chandrasiri

this is actually a nice article. I my self is an android user, but not into any high performance devices. I use an Xperia and the feeling is good. What I have with android and not with iOS is the ability to customize. Android is highly versatile and virtually you can customize every thing, from the camera app ( i know iOS already has this ) to the above mentioned swype for android and custom home screens. these are things that apple doesn’t want in their devices. I know allowing such customization will result in making the iOS more crappy but, if the user has an idea of what he/she is doing I don’t think that it’ll be an issue.

I have to mention this, what I got from my experience that, most of the people who take android instead of apple are people who want to discover new features in their devices every day. Even I mess with my android to find what new things are there in the device, and that feeling is awesome.

TCM

Regarding the Swype keyboard – sorry, but I’ve had that feature almost ever since the iOS App Store opened, in the form of an app called ShapeWriter. It IS nice – on iOS, at least. And by the way – installation was never tricky.

Muo TechGuy

Doesnt count, needs jailbreaking.

Lee

Actually, no. There used to be the app he was talking about (ShapeWriter) that was a standalone app that mimicked Swype. The major downside is that you can only use it to enter text in that one app, so to get it into another app, you have to copy and paste the text to another app.

More TechGuy, than TechGuy

In the same way that you can’t backup an android device, as titanium backup needs root you mean?

Muo TechGuy

You can backup most settings and apps fine without that. Titanium backup can do more root level backup stuff.

Also, sorry – why am I defending Android? I hate the damn things with a passion..

More TechGuy, than TechGuy

So, I’m trying a 30 days no iphone test. I’ve heard several people say that you can backup android.

1, the most common, you need to
a)root it.
b) Buy paid for software, the most common recommendation titanium something.

2, Similar to your comment, you can backup most settings and apps fine.

Ok, how then? I’ve got a shiny new Nexus 4. Some apps, texts/emails game settings etc, that if they were on ios, following a new phone/reset would still be there, what do you need to do in android to get that?

ryan

Why don’t you follow some of your own advice and “Do your research”?
The Samsung Galaxy S3 has built in Panorama picture taking capabilities.

Arron Walker

Hey, he made a mistake, so what? You could be more polite about it.

Gideon Waxfarb

That’s not the only mistake he made:

‘In other words, looking up a tutorial designed for Android 4.1 is not going to help if your phone is running 3.0.’

There are no phones running Android 3.0, because 3.0 was for tablets only. Since there are probably no phones (that you would want anyway) shipping with anything below Android 4.0, he should’ve said:

‘In other words, looking up a tutorial designed for Android 2.3 is not going to help if your phone is running 4.0 or higher.’

Muo TechGuy

It was an example to illustrate a point. Stop being pedantic.

Muo TechGuy

Thanks for the correction.

Arron Walker

Spot on – you’ve covered just about everything. I like to think of apply products as “uniform” – if you’ve used one, you’ve used them all. You can use anyone else Mac or iPhone, and it’ll be exactly the same as yours. And like a school uniform, I completely reject it. On the article: your point of price is spot on, and the points you tell them to consider are exactly what anybody buying any phone should consider. Everyone has different needs, and you should be thinking about them right away with what handset you choose. And with a bit of effort, you can customize Android to your software needs precisely. Apart from the apple ecosystem I guess. If you’re looking for Anti Virus, I’d recommend looking at avast. On a completely unrelated note, because I have no idea where else to put it… I think I might have found why so many people are having problems logging into make use of. If I log in on one tab, then forget and log in on another (I usually open 3 or 4 articles at once), the whole system breaks until I clean my cache and try again. Possibly something to look into?

Muo TechGuy

I can’t automatically update all your tabs …

Also, school uniforms have been proven to raise grades. Just saying.

Arron Walker

I’m not asking you to update all my tabs – I’m saying that a lot of people have been having problems logging in, and this could be the problem. User error if you will. The problem can be fixed by logging in before opening every new article I see.

Eh, perhaps they do, but it’s only a comparison/metaphor. I dislike apples rigidity and lock down. Also, just the interface in general feels weird, but that could probably be overcome. I prefer the freedom other systems provide. I can tailor them to myself better.

Seppe

If you don’t want to pay a lot of money for a device, a Xperia Arc S is a great option. It’s Sony’s flagship device from last year and it’s pretty cheap nowadays.

It has a 1,4 Ghz processor and is very easy to root. This device works with every app or game that is released even until this date.

Achraf Almouloudi

Ok, if Swype is awesome what would you say about Swiftkey which is amazing .

Harmoso

I agree… Swiftkey is awesome! The predictive texting is like nothing you have seen before. I regularly only need to type the first letter or two and the word appears. Living abroad and the fact that I’m using 3 languages (sometimes in one txt) without having to switch keyboards or whatever makes this a great piece of tech. So much so that I have traded in my new IPad for an Android tablet.

Try it and you will never go back (and you will pine for something like this on your IOS keyboard)

Edwin Williams

I love Android’s ability to make it your own! Rather than the Apple approach where they implore that you stick with what they have!

dubsub.net

sounds like this was written by a android fan boy

and in reply to the no swipe keyboard… if you look in the official app store there is like 30 diff ones you can try and no you don’t need to be jailbroken.

if your going with droid, stay away from samsung…

you want sony, lg, htc or motorola

basically anything but samsung.

Muo TechGuy

Android fanboy?

WOw. I just..

Wow.

You should read around my other articles before making such ridiculous accusations.

And no, there is no Swype for iOS, or alternatives – not any that work in any application. Thanks, but I dont want to be copying, task switching, and pasting, every time I write a piece of text.

Daniel Voyles

Actually if you are going droid your only option is Motorola on Verizon, since that is their marketing name for their Motorola line of phones.

If you are going Android, Samsung devices feel very plastic (since they are), but are well built devices.

People have their vices against certain phones, but I would tell anyone to stay away from the top phone manufacturer of a smartphones (Samsung). At least not without giving a reason why.

Jacob Mathew

Once you buy an Apple product, you are pulled into the Apple family.But Android makes sense.It’s the consumer’s choice all the way.

Muo TechGuy

You are pulled into the Apple family; because you realise Apple products are *generally* far better. They also work best with other products; that isn’t a bad thing, or some evil marketing tactic – it’s just a fact that components and devices made by one manufacturer will work best together. Same if you only bought Sony, I expect (you’d just get crap devices 0_o)

Poppy Seaberry

^^ This. I have an iPad and there really is no other tablet for me, for many reasons including monetary investment in the ecosystem and a better user experience overall; the iPad-ready apps kick the crap out of the same apps on Android, in general, and as an artist who uses a stylus for hours at a time, I have never found an Android tablet whose screen has been as responsive to the stylus. I can’t afford to lose that. But phone-wise I’m actually considering jumping ship. I have an iPhone 4s and it’s fine — runs more smoothly than any Android phone I’ve used, and everything just works without a whole lot of fuss. However, I’m bored. It’s been two years since my last Android phone experience, so the reports of vast improvement and app selection have me intrigued. I like both platforms for different reasons, so I wouldn’t mind owning both. I’m not married to syncing as I’m a heavy Google user (gmail, Google Docs, Google calendar, etc.). In fact, it would probably be easier for me on an Android phone to use that stuff. I would miss iMessage now that I’ve started to realize its potential, and I would miss PhotoStream. But I can’t really think of an app I depend on that isn’t available on Android now, and I kinda miss the customization options. Hmmm.

Muo TechGuy

Conversely, I’m getting really annoyed by all the little quirks of Android having now switched. Nothing works perfectly, and sure you learn to live with it, but I long for a solid and bug-free app experience again. I’m thinking I’ll use my wife’s contract to get an iPhone 5, and just give her this HTC One X (then I can still use it for navigation in the car, the only area where it absolutely excels far beyond iPhone maps).

Poppy Seaberry

Oh, I forgot to mention the form factor. I love the sleekness of the iPhone line, as well, and I would miss that, as I have not seen anything that approaches it by any other manufacturer.

Carl Jacob Saldi

or better wait for the next nexus device..

Vipul Jain

Since you are new to android, a few things you missed out or got wrong.

1. Do not install any anti virus app. It will be just a battery hogger + performance wrecker. Unless someone is really dumb and would install just about anything without reading about it or its reviews, anti virus is useless or instead a burden.

2. A main feature that usually people look for before getting a device is “How easily it can be rooted and good is it’s XDA support”
Many apps that are an essential like AdFree (removes all ads from free apps, or browsers as well), Titanium Backup (A must have app that lets you backup data, freeze battery hogging apps, where freeze means it wont uninstall but disable the app. So if you want to use it, just defrost it. This is one nifty feature)
Also XDA support means custom OS, Kernels to give performance boosts etc. Though this is not for the light-hearted :D

3. Also as mentioned S3 has built in Panorama, usually all devices with out of the box 4.0 and later have that included.

4. Another important factor is battery & Mugen power compatibility (for some). I have seen my friends Iphone 4s, it just wont bloody die :D
Unlike that, android devices tend to run out of juice pretty quick. For that one should see a device with at least 1500mAh to get him through a day at medium usage. Also Mugen Power battery or covers give those extra/double juice to you, so you can get through a day with max usage :D

5. A point most people dont acknowledge is that Battery saving/RAM cleaning/Perf boosting/Task managers apps, all these apps are an utter waste of battery and performance (like juice defender, Advanced task manager etc..)
Android has inbuilt VM (virtual memory) Heap that clear out apps as and when required to keep a smooth UI. Also keeping a check on wifi, 3G, brightness yourself is better than getting an app for that. Because at the end of the day, even that app is utilizing resources. :D

Muo TechGuy

Thanks Vipul, though your advice on AV softwares contradicts a lot of what I’ve heard from other Android users. Personally, I would never install an antivirus, same on PC – they suck resources, and other little protection, only serving to … ruin your life, basically.

I also wouldn’t care about XDA support. Though that’ll probably change when Android 5 is released and HTC doesn’t support it for 6 months, so I have to root and install it myself. Right now though, I’m good ;)

I looked for Mugen batteries, not available in the UK for some reason, which is a shame because my battery life really does suck.

Anyway, great advice, thanks for adding it!

Steven Wilson

I’m an iPhone user since the 1st Generation and have been 100% satisfied so far. FOr the sake of keeping open-minded, I’ve always wondered if a switch to android was realistic for someone with 100’s of apps and songs in iTunes. I read this article hoping to learn how apps and music would get transferred to an android device should someone decide to make the switch. Anybody know?

Muo TechGuy

Sorry I took a slightly different approach with article Steve, but I can tell you the answer to your questions now. None of your iOS apps are compatible with Android; though there may be the same apps available in the Google Play store, there’s no way to automatically scan your old iPhone apps and see whats for Android I’m afriad.

As long as your music DRM free, transfer is very simple; though I admit I haven’t got around to that yet. There’s a folder on the device called “Music” – you literally just throw songs in there. I believe there’s also a Windows appllication called DoubleTiwst which acts like a sync manager between your iTunes library and Android.

Steven Kim

Informative article..though i’ve always been android, first time exploring things would have been great if this was out,had to learn some things the hard way :)

kumar raja

Swype is awesome I think the Description should be more better than this

David Fielder

I love my One X more than I thought I would. It was a great step up for me from my iphone 4s. The iphone just got old and apples ethos on suing people instead of innovation good devices and good changes to said devices was getting old. I almost bought a samsung just because of apples lawsuits.

Cass Tayler

i love my iphone but android is kinda taking over…

Siddhant Chaurasia

I recommend the Google Nexus Phone to starters

Eric Thieszen

I was going to get an Iphone 5 but ended up getting the S3 instead and am glad I did.

shagans

Good article. Ive been on an iphone since the second gen. Now i have an iphone 5 and just bought a SGS3 to tinker with. I find myself wanting to geekout with my phone an ios is just locked down without a jailbreak.

Tofi

Hi
first of all thanks for this presentation & article , I am an Apple fan and IPhone user since, but now after Steve Job has gone I think Apple have visionary problem cause he was the one brining new , anyhow I was hesitating but now I am ordering a S3 or do you have any ideas please advice ?
and does anyone agree with google devices ?
thanks