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Gadgets & Home Improvement

Switching to the Android camp

Slowly but surely, more Apple iPhone users are attracted to the bigger and more powerful Android phones in the market. Here's a guide and tips to facilitate the transition.
The Straits Times - November 17, 2012
By: Seow Tein Hee
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Switching to the Android camp

SINGAPORE - As the owner of an Apple iPad, a MacBook Pro and a first-generation iPod touch, Mr Ang Wei Siong, 32, might reasonably be described as an Apple fanboy.

Well, not any more.

Mr Ang, who started off with a first-generation iPhone in 2007, decided to ditch his iPhone 4S for a Google Android smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S III.

Many smartphone users have held off switching from iOS to Android for two reasons: The first, mostly unavoidable, is the loss of apps purchased on their iPhones.

The second is that they fear losing valuable data in the process of migrating. Such data would include their contact lists, calendar entries and the music files they have amassed over the years.

Mr Ang bit the bullet and made the switch from iPhone to Galaxy S III recently.

"Surprisingly, it is easier than syncing my PC with my BlackBerry smartphone," he said. The convert said he adapted immediately to the Android interface with minimal fuss.

 He found the interfaces of his Apple iPhone 4S and BlackBerry Bold 9780 "boring" and was intrigued by the options for customising his new Android phone, which make his device uniquely his own.

He was also drawn to the wide range of Android devices, their unique designs and the advanced hardware.

"Most of the Android smartphones I see have bigger screens, better cameras and more processing power. They understand my needs far better than my old iPhones," he added.

More iPhone users are straying, according to a study conducted by the research firm Strategy Analytics. It found that this year, 88 per cent of current iPhone users in the United States are likely to buy another iPhone, a five-point drop from the 93 per cent reported last year.

In the Asia-Pacific, Android devices now own 75per cent of the market, up from 46 per cent last year, while the iPhone market share has declined from 17 per cent to 14 per cent, said Mr Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst with the research firm Gartner.

"Asia-Pacific has big emerging markets where Android is gaining traction," said Mr Gupta.

In Singapore, Samsung reported a sharp spike in its Android smartphone sales between the second and third quarter this year.

"The sort of growth we've seen isn't the usual rate we see from consumer electronics," said MrWinston Goh, senior product marketing manager for Samsung Asia.

Ms Teo Hui Min, 35, a supply chain manager for an electronics company, traded her iPhone 4S for a Galaxy S III in July. The clincher was that the Android phone felt so much lighter though in reality, it was just 7g lighter. She was also unwilling to wait for the iPhone 5.

Unlike Mr Ang, it took her nearly two weeks to get used to the different interface. Her contacts, calendar entries and WhatsApp messages were not transferred properly to her new Android smartphone.

Despite the hiccups, she is sticking with her new phone. The star feature is the ease of backing up her files on the Galaxy S III.

"I do not want to depend on iTunes for my photos, music and file backups any more," she said.

For those taking the bold step from the familiar iOS environment to the Android ecosystem, Digital Life outlines for you the basic steps for a smooth transition.

Switching from IOS to Android


1. If your contacts are saved on your SIM card, first import that data into your iPhone. Go to Settings >Mail, Contacts, Calendars and tap on Import SIM Contacts.

2. Connect your iPhone to your PC or Mac. Start iTunes and select your iPhone in the device list.

3. Click on Info, followed by Sync Contacts and Sync Google Contacts. You will be prompted to enter your Google account details. Click on Apply or Sync and your iPhone's contacts will now be synchronised with your Google account.

4. If you are starting up your Android smartphone for the first time, you will be prompted to enter your Google account details. Use the same account details that you entered on iTunes and you should see your contacts appearing on your new Android smartphone.

Alternatively, if you did not set up a Google account when you started up your phone, go to Settings >Accounts & sync and click on Add Account. Select Google, choose Existing and make sure Sync Contacts is selected.


Calendar, E-mail & Notes

Syncing your calendar, e-mail and even notes is extremely easy when you switch from an iPhone to a Google Android smartphone.

1. On the iPhone, go to Settings >Mail, Contacts, Calendar. Click on Add Account and choose Gmail.

2. Once you have entered your Gmail account details, toggle the Mail, Calendars and Notes switch on.

3. In the same way as you synchronise contacts on your Android smartphone, log into the same Google account you use on your iPhone. You will find all your calendar entries from your iPhone synchronised to your Google account.

4. Notes from your iPhone are now available in your Gmail account under the label Notes.

5. If you have not been using a Gmail account on your iPhone, fret not. Android supports most e-mail accounts and you do not have to enter any complicated settings to synchronise your e-mail messages. On your Android smartphone, go to Settings >Accounts & sync >Add account and choose Email.

6. Enter your e-mail address, followed by your password and it will automatically pull all your e-mail messages into your Android device.


Photos, Videos, Music & Movies

Photos & Videos Connect your iPhone to your desktop or notebook. The steps are slightly different for Windows and Mac users.

For Windows 1. Start Windows Explorer. You should see your iPhone listed as an external drive. Click on it to access photos saved on your iPhone. Select the photos and copy them into a folder on your desktop or notebook. To simplify things, create a folder called iPhone Backup and save the images in a subfolder called Photos.

2. Connect your Android smartphone to the desktop or notebook. Your Android device will show up as an external drive. If not, pull the notification menu down, touch "Connected as a media device" and select "Camera (PTP)". Then, copy photos from the iPhone Backup folder into a folder named DCIM on your Android smartphone.

For Mac 1. Mac users will find the photos saved in the iPhoto app. In the iPhoto app, select all photos and right click to copy. Create an iPhone Backup folder and paste the photos in the subfolder Photos. Do note that this method may also copy some photos from other devices synced to your iCloud account.

2. Alternatively, if you want to transfer photos from only your iPhone to the new Android smartphone, use Image Capture to access your photos on your iPhone. Likewise, choose the iPhone Backup >Photos folder. Click on Import All to begin the transfer of photos to the backup folder.

3. Connect your Android smartphone to your Mac and it should appear on the Mac as an external hard drive. If not, get the Android File Transfer app from Launch the app after connecting the Android smartphone and you will have access to the phone's file system. Drag and drop photos from iPhone Backup >Photos directly to the DCIM folder in the phone.


Music & Movies


If you have been syncing music and movies from your PC or Mac to your iPhone, all you need to do is drag and drop your multimedia collection to your new Android smartphone.

1. PC users will find their music and movies stored under My Music >iTunes >iTunes Media. Copy the whole folder to your Android smartphone, preferably to the Music and Videos folders.

2. Mac users should click on the Finder app and select Music (listed under Favourites). Go to iTunes >iTunes Media. Using the Android File Transfer app on your Mac, copy the contents of the folder into the respective Music and Video folders in your Android smartphone.



If your data is tied to a Google account, you can just sync the account directly with your iPhone.

1. Go to Settings >Mail, Contacts, Calendar. Click on Add account and select Microsoft Exchange.

2. Enter your e-mail, password and a description, for example, Gmail.

3. Next, enter '' in Server and your username. Leave the domain empty.

4. Contacts are not selected by default. So, you have to turn Contacts on and tap Save.

If your contacts are in your Android phone memory or SIM card, you can move them all to your Google account first. 1. Start the Contacts app on your Android smartphone and press the Menu key.

2. Select "Merge with Google" and then press 'OK'.

3. On your iPhone, repeat the steps as above for syncing with the Google account.


Music & Movies

For Mac

1. Download and install Android File Transfer at

2. Start Android File Transfer and plug in your Android smartphone. You will be able to see the content inside your Android smartphone.

3. Drag the Music and Movies folders to the desktop. To make things simple, create a folder called Android Backup and drag both folders into it.

4. Start iTunes and connect your iPhone.

5. Drag both folders from your desktop to Library, which is at the top of the left column in iTunes. The songs and movies will be moved to the iTunes Library.

6. Go to the Music and Movies tab in the main window, check "Sync Music" or 'Sync Movies', depending on what you want to sync.


For Windows

1. Connect your Android smartphone to your PC and select 'mount as hard drive'.

2. Repeat, as in the instructions for Mac, from Step 3.


Photos & Videos

For Mac 1. Start Android File Transfer and plug in your Android smartphone. You will be able to see the content inside your Android smartphone.

2. From the resulting window, open the DCIM folder and you will find the Camera folder. This Camera folder contains all photos and videos taken with your Android smartphone.

If you have already created the Android Backup folder, drag the Camera folder into the Android Backup folder and rename the Camera folder as Photos.

3. Start iTunes and connect your iPhone.

4. Click on the left column in iTunes on your iPhone. Go to the Photos tab in the main window. Check "Sync Photos from".

5. From the drop-down menu, select "Choose folder" and navigate to the Photos sub-folder on the desktop. Select it and click "Apply" button on the bottom right of the iTunes window.


For Windows

1. Connect your Android smartphone to your PC and select USB mode.

2. Repeat Steps 2 to 5 of the instructions for Mac.


SMS & WhatsApp messages

Use BackupTrans to export the SMS from your Android smartphone to your iPhone. The steps for archiving WhatsApp messages can also be found there.


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