I switch between iPhone and Android whenever I want without losing anything — here’s the very simple way I do it

Don’t believe the hype: Switching between iPhone and Android is quite easy.

iphone X

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Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

I should know – I’ve been writing about technology for the past five years, and I’ve switched among a dozen different smartphones in that time. Whether I’m using an iPhone or an Android phone, everything comes with me.

I never lose a contact, and my calendar switches seamlessly. Even my notes come with me!

Here’s how I do it:


The answer to your problems is Google — not <em>Android</em>, but Google.

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Google

If you’re a devout user of Apple services – Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Maps, etc. – it can be difficult to transfer to Android.

But even if you’re not looking to move to Android, there’s a good reason to stop using Apple’s services: They lock you into Apple devices.

You can, of course, continue using Apple’s services, but adding a few Google tie-ins can free your life from being viewable on only Apple’s hardware.

Take, for instance, Google Contacts – if you have a Gmail account, you already have a Google Contacts account. You have a Gmail account, right? Come on.

By simply backing up your iPhone’s contacts to Google, those valuable numbers are now available on any device you wish to use. You can even edit the list on the web.

As an additional bonus, it offers a second backup method for your contacts list just in case something happens to your phone’s backup file.


By using Google as my primary ecosystem, my digital life goes with me wherever I do.

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Google Photos is a great service unto itself — but that’s another story.
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Ben Gilbert / Business Insider

I use Google Chrome on my computer (a MacBook Air) and my phone (a Google Pixel). By logging in with my Google account, I have full access, on any device, to all my bookmarks and saved passwords and every other convenience that comes with modern, customizable web browsers.

I use Google Keep as my primary notes app. I add notes to it on my phone, and they show up instantly on the web version of Google Keep. My notes come with me to any device I’m using, just like my contacts (Google Contacts) and my photos (Google Photos) and my email (Gmail).

I could be using an iPhone X, an iPad Mini, a Samsung Galaxy S9, or whatever else – it doesn’t matter. I no longer consider the difficulty of switching devices, because it no longer exists. I move my SIM card to the new device, log in to Google services, and I’m good to go.

If I were using iCloud, Maps, Contacts, and Apple’s other “ecosystem” hooks, switching devices would be far less easy – it would make much more sense for me to just get another iPhone, even though I have no interest in spending $1,000 on a phone without a headphone jack. It’s that lack of flexibility in Apple’s approach that pushes me away.


I use Android phones primarily nowadays, but I used iPhones for years. I use whatever phone is best, regardless of operating system or manufacturer.

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Darren Weaver

Apple makes incredibly nice phones. I’ve owned and loved the iPhone 3G, the iPhone 4, the iPhone 5, the iPhone 6, and I briefly used an iPhone 7 as my main phone. (I didn’t love it.)

Google also makes incredibly nice phones. I’ve used and loved several Google Nexus phones, and the Google Pixel I’m using is as close to perfect as it gets for me.

I’m typing this on a MacBook Air, which I consider the best laptop in existence. I like Apple hardware a lot! But I also like my TCL television, and my Sonos speakers, and my Xbox One – I kinda don’t care even a little bit who makes the product, as long as it’s great.

In the case of using Google’s services over Apple’s, Google simply makes a stronger argument by offering a better product. It’s great whether you’re an Apple devotee or an Android superfan or, more likely, just a person looking to easily manage their digital life.


The most crucial things that Google does: Contacts and Calendar.

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Google

If you’re using Apple’s Calendar instead of the one tied to your Gmail account, you’re making life harder than it needs to be.

Let’s say you and some friends are planning a trip. Some of your friends have iPhones, and some don’t. But everyone has a Gmail account! And if they don’t have a Gmail account, it’s free. Why tie something as important as your digital calendar solely to Apple devices?

It’s the kind of little choice that has a major impact. That same logic applies to Google Contacts, which enables the easy transfer and backup of your entire contacts list.

And in both cases, if you prefer using Apple Calendar and Apple Contacts for your organization and backup needs, you can do that and still use Google services to easily transfer your stuff, should the time ever come to move.

But I’d urge you to take the plunge now – it’ll make your life easier in the long term.


OK, yes, there is one issue: the App Store problem.

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Nintendo

I own a bunch of apps tied to my Apple ID that work only on iOS devices. I paid for Dark Sky (like an idiot) and a whole mess of games over the years. My copy of “Super Mario Run” is tied to iOS. It stinks.

Similarly, I own a bunch of apps tied to my Google login. They work only on Android devices. It stinks.

There is no solution to this problem, as iOS and Android are just different platforms. The most heartening thing I can say here is that most of the apps I use regularly – the same ones I’m betting you do too – don’t cost any money. The various social media apps, and stuff like Uber/Lyft and HQ Trivia, are all available on both platforms for free.

If you own a large library of paid apps on either platform – apps crucial to your life – you should stick with that platform. For me, I’m not missing anything from platform to platform.