Here’s Google’s new “Switch to Android” app for iPhone

Google is preparing to launch a whole new way to switch from Apple iPhones to Android device. Here’s your first look at Google’s Switch to Android app that works on your iPhone.

Update: Google’s Switch to Android app is now widely available.

When moving from an Android device to a new device, it’s easy to simply connect the two phones together – either wirelessly or with a USB cable – to seamlessly copy all of your apps, contacts, messages, photos, and more. By contrast, copying your data from iPhone to Android was almost never a simple process, involving backing up your data to Google Drive and restoring it manually. Android 12 made things a little easier, letting you copy contacts, apps, and media, but only via a Lightning cable connection.

In reverse, for more than five years, Apple has introduced a “Move to iOS” app for Android that tries to make it as easy as possible to join the Apple ecosystem. In July 2021, we reported that Google was working on an app of its own to help new customers make their next Android phone.

Switch to Android has now launched in the App Store as an unlisted app – a feature that Apple only recently launched – that can only be accessed through a direct link that our APK Insight team was able to discover.

Using this link, we were able to install Switch to Android on iPhone and get it working successfully. However, while everything seems to be ready on the iOS side of things, the Android setup and restore process is not yet ready for the Switch to Android app to be available.

On the first screen, the app explains exactly what it will be able to copy from your iPhone to your new Android phone, including “photos, videos, contacts, and more.”

The next step asks you to scan the QR code that should appear on your Android phone during the setup and restore process. Unfortunately, we were unable to access this setup flow, but the basic gist is that your new Android phone will create a hotspot to which your iPhone will connect. Once connected, the majority of your important data will be transmitted wirelessly.

We can see a preview of how this step works thanks to the screenshots included in the App Store menu. In them we see toggles “Contacts”, “Calendar events”, “Photos” and “Videos”. Below these toggles is a disclaimer that only photos and videos saved locally on your iPhone will be copied to your new Android device, and that media will be handled in iCloud later.

Once the copying is complete, you are reminded to disable iMessage, to ensure that messages from your friends who still own iPhones are actually delivered via SMS, instead of disappearing into a void iMessage. The final step in the Android switching process is to ask to transfer iCloud data to Google Drive/Google Photos. The Start Request button simply launches Safari on the iCloud Support page where you can Request a copy of your data to be transferred.

Update 4/19: In a statement provided to TechCrunch, Google said it has begun making the switch to Android available to iPhone owners, gradually making the app available on the App Store. In the meantime, the application is available to anyone interested through a direct link.

On Monday evening around 6 p.m. PT, the Switch to Android app began rolling out to the public, Google tells us. The company says it expects this process to reach 10% of users by the end of Tuesday, April 19, and 100% of users within the next two weeks.

Of course, switching to Android doesn’t work on its own, which requires some changes in the Android setup process, which are supposed to be rolling out now.

Update 4/28Starting with a new tweet, Google is now actively promoting the Switch to Android app to potential Pixel customers, as well as through a new landing page on the Android website. By all indications, it should now be possible to copy a wealth of data from your old iPhone to a new Android phone, either wirelessly or with a cable. Specifically, you can copy the following:

  • Contacts
  • locally stored images
  • SMS / MMS / iMessage and Media History
  • Whatsapp message and media log
  • Free apps also available on Play Store
  • custom wallpaper
  • DRM-free music
  • call logs
  • Warning
  • Some device settings

Overall, switching to Android is an exhilarating and straightforward experience, which makes it easy to leave the walled garden of the iPhone ecosystem. It’s not clear at this time when Google intends to launch the switch to Android widely, but given how long Apple’s “Move to iOS” app has been in the Play Store, a Google alternative is already arriving years later than it should have.

Dylan Russell Contribute to this article

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