If you’re an Android user thinking about moving to iPhone (or if you’ve already made the switch from Android to iOS), you may be concerned about transferring all your data – music, photos, videos, contacts, calendar and so on – and making sure nothing is lost in the process. Luckily you’ve come to the right place.
The good news is that transferring contacts, music, photos, videos and apps from an Android phone to iPhone really couldn’t be simpler – it turns out that Google is great at this stuff. Even better, Apple has an Android app specifically to guide you through the process.
If you’d like to make the same journey in the opposite direction, see How to transfer from iPhone to Android.
Setting up a new iPhone from scratch with Move to iOS
Apple’s Move to iOS Android app wirelessly transfers a user’s “contacts, message history, camera photos and videos, web bookmarks, mail accounts, and calendars” from an Android phone to their new iPhone.
You’ll also be given some advice on apps. The switching process will suggest any free apps that were on your Android device and which are also available on Apple’s App Store, helping you to quickly get back on your feet, but the paid-for apps you owned on Android will need to bought again for iOS, unfortunately.
If you’re starting afresh with a new iPhone, during the initial setup you’ll see a page headed Apps & Data. On here is the option to Move Data from Android. Select this then go to your Android phone and install the Move to iOS app from the Google Play Store.
Launch it, tap Continue, agree to the Terms & Conditions, allow the app access to contacts, messages and the other things it requests, then page entitled Find Your Code tap Next.
Return to your iPhone and you should see a screen with the title Move from Android. Tap Continue and you will be presented with a code. Type this one into the Android app, select the data you want to move, then tap Next and the process should begin.
Once it’s completed, finish setting up your iPhone and you should now have all of your stuff from the Android phone onboard.
Apple has more details about the Move to iOS app here, and the app is available on the Google Play store. (You might be surprised by the app’s respectable rating. When it first launched the reviews were brutal.)
This app makes the process of moving from Android to iPhone far simpler. But there are other ways to get the job done.
How to transfer contacts from Android to iPhone
There are two ways of transferring contacts from Android to iOS. We’ll outline them both below, but if you’ve been using your Android phone for any length of time we strongly suggest you try them in the order given.
Transfer contacts using a Google account (easy)
If you’ve been using your Android phone and Google account (Gmail, Google Play and so on) for any length of time the chances are that all of your contacts will be synced to your Google account. At the very least the ones you use most often should be.
Make sure you’ve backed up your Android phone, then go to Settings and choose Accounts and Sync or similar. The variation between the different active versions of Android, and the different modded versions supplied by the various handset manufacturers, make it hard to be precise about the wording. For instance on our stock Samsung Galaxy S9 it’s under Settings > Accounts and backup > Accounts.
Enter your Gmail account details and enable synchronisation. Your phone contacts and Google Contacts should now synchronise.
Next, unlock your new iPhone. Open the Settings app, scroll down and tap Accounts & Passwords (or Mail, Contacts, Calendars in some older versions of iOS), then add your Gmail account. Make sure Contacts are enabled for the account. You should now find that, after a few minutes, all of your Google contacts are in your iPhone.
Transfer contacts with a Google account (advanced)
For belt and braces, and to make sure this process always works in future, consider doing the following, either on your iPhone after you’ve followed the steps above, or on your Android before you make the move:
- Open the Settings application on your iPhone.
- Select Passwords & Accounts (or Mail, Contacts, Calendars on older versions of iOS).
- Select Add Account.
- Select Other.
- Select Add CardDAV Account.
- Fill out your account information in the following fields:
- Server: Enter “google.com”
- User Name: Enter your full Google Account or Google Apps email address.
- Password: Your Google Account or Google Apps password. (If you’ve enabled two-step verification, you’ll need to generate and enter an application-specific password.)
- Description: Enter a description of the account (such as Personal Contacts).
- Select Next at the top of your screen.
- Make sure the Contacts option is set to ON.
Once you’ve completed the setup process, open the Contacts app on your device, and syncing will automatically begin between your iPhone and Google. Any time you set up any smartphone, Google should hold the key to all of your contacts.
How to use an Android SIM in an iPhone
This works only if your Android phone takes the same size of SIM as your iPhone (see Which size of SIM does my iPhone need?). You can, of course, cut down a larger SIM to fit, but do this only as a last resort – if you get it wrong the SIM and your contacts are gone for good.
First, save all contacts on the Android phone to its SIM. Next, insert the SIM into your iPhone, taking care not to mislay the iPhone’s SIM. Finally, go to Settings and select Contacts (or Mail, Contacts, Calendars in older versions of iOS) and tap Import SIM Contacts.
When the operation has finished, you can replace the iPhone’s SIM card with the original card.
How to transfer apps between Android and iPhone
There’s no easy way around this. If you had to pay for an app on Google Play, you’ll probably have to pay for it again on Apple’s App Store.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that in almost every case the app you like using on Android will be available on iOS, and if the app is based on user accounts and logins, the details you use on one are likely to work on the other. And hopefully any in-app purchases, extra content you’ve bought or services you’ve signed up to through the Android app will be accessible on your iPhone.
Open the App Store on your new iPhone, create an Apple ID account if necessary, and start searching for those apps you love. And remember that there may be free alternatives.
How to transfer photos & videos from Android to iPhone
There are a couple of simple ways of doing this. The first involves installing a data-transferring app.
Using data-transfer apps
You can find several such apps on the Apple App Store, but remember you also need to install the related app on your Android phone via the Google Play store. We recommend PhotoSync (iOS/Android) as it’s regularly updated, meaning you shouldn’t experience problems with newer versions of both Android and iOS.
Simply install your chosen app on both your Android and your iPhone, and you’ll be guided through the process of moving files from one to the other.
The other way to move photos from Android to iPhone is to use a computer with iTunes. Since the launch of macOS Catalina, Apple has retired the software, but if you’re running any version older than this or using a Windows PC then you’ll still have access to iTunes. You need only find the photos and videos on your Android phone, move them to your computer, sync them to iTunes, and then sync your new iPhone with iTunes. A similar process works for music, as we will outline below.
To transfer your photos from Android to iPhone, simply connect your Android phone to your PC or Mac. Choose the photos and videos you want to move, and drag them to a folder on your computer. For simplicity, we would create a new folder on the Desktop called ‘Photos for transfer’.
Now plug in your iPhone to your PC or Mac, open iTunes, and click your iPhone. Click Photos, select the ‘Sync Photos from’ checkbox, and choose the folder into which you saved your photos. Click Apply and the photos will sync to your iPhone.
Using Google Photos
Alternatively, you could use Google Photos to access your Android photos and videos on iOS without having to actually save each and every file to your phone. To do this, first download the Google Photos app on your Android device and back up your Gallery. Then download the app on iOS and sign into your Google account.
From here, you’ll be able to access any of your photos or videos when you’ve got an active internet connection. Alternatively, you can select all your files and tap the three dot icon in the top-right to save them all to your device.
It’s a bit of a longer process as you have to upload and then download your entire gallery from the cloud, but it’s easier than using iTunes.
How to transfer music from Android to iPhone
The principle here is similar to that of transferring photos from Android to iPhone. You need to get music files from your Android and on to your PC or Mac, then get those files into iTunes and sync up your iPhone.
The critical stage here is to back up your Android to a PC or Mac. Because most Android devices can be mounted and used as external storage, this can be as simple as dragging all of your music files from the mounted Android phone’s folder structure, and moving them into the music folder on your PC or Mac.
Now install and open iTunes on your computer, as long as you’re not using macOS Catalina. Go to Library, and click Music. Open the folder into which you put your music files, and drag them to the Music view in iTunes.
Now hook up your iPhone, click iPhone, and click Music. You can choose to sync your entire library, or select only the songs or artists you just added. Then click Sync and the songs will be added to your iPhone.
(Or just don’t worry about owning music and use Spotify or Apple Music to stream it.)