Android to iPhone
January 11, 2011 9:06 AM   Subscribe

Now that the Verizon iPhone is official, I'm going to be counting down the days until February 10th. I'd like your tips/advice/anecdotes about switching from Android to iPhone.

From what I can tell, this should be a pretty awesome move for me. My Droid has been plagued with problems - crappy battery life, slow internet, freezes/crashes all the time - and I've been wanting to switch for months now. I know that (for now) iPhones don't have Google Maps Navigation, but I'm wondering if there is anything else that I'm going to miss or have to adjust to. Also what is the easiest way to export my contacts?

FWIW, I have the original Motorola Droid running 2.2.1, on Verizon in the US.
posted by radioamy to Technology (19 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I know that (for now) iPhones don't have Google Maps Navigation, but I'm wondering if there is anything else that I'm going to miss or have to adjust to. Also what is the easiest way to export my contacts?

The maps app does run on Google maps. It doesn't support turn by turn directions, but it does handle public transit, walking directions etc. just fine.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:12 AM on January 11, 2011

Response by poster: Right right that's what I meant...I'm just a little spoiled by the turn-by-turn!
posted by radioamy at 9:14 AM on January 11, 2011

Response by poster: Oh of course, that makes sense!

On Android, there are separate apps for "Email" (I use my corporate Exchange account) and Gmail...same with iPhone?
posted by radioamy at 9:17 AM on January 11, 2011

On Android, there are separate apps for "Email" (I use my corporate Exchange account) and Gmail...same with iPhone?

You can set the mail app up with multiple inboxes if you like. Alternately, you can set the mail app up with your corporate Exchange deets and use the Google Mobile App. It includes gmail (as well as voice search, which I just discovered last night).
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:19 AM on January 11, 2011

Your contacts and calendar are probably already in the Google cloud, so I reckon they should sync that way.
posted by exogenous at 9:37 AM on January 11, 2011

You seem really excited to switch to the iPhone so I really hate to bring this up but I read this yesterday and they make a really good argument for why you might want to wait a little bit.

Basically, a new iPhone is due around July and you will want it but you'll stuck with a two-year contract on your iPhone 4.

If you have an Android now, you're especially well-equipped to wait just a little bit longer. I'm not saying you should, but it is worth thinking about.
posted by VTX at 9:48 AM on January 11, 2011 [2 favorites]

You will no longer have direct access to your storage, so you can't just drag-and-drop music onto your phone or use the phone as a USB flash drive. You will have to use iTunes or a replacement. This was a deal-breaker for me and I'll never go back, but you might like iTunes.
posted by Tehhund at 9:55 AM on January 11, 2011

I went the other way (and then back - that multiple email app thing really annoyed the hell out of me). there were really only minor differences between the two - it's almost like going between Windows 7 and Mac OS X nowadays; everything's in roughly the same place, but there's different colors and widgets look a little different. a few days and you'll have everything down.

if your contacts, calendars and email are all on Exchange servers or in the Google cloud (which they appear to be), you can set each of them up as Exchange accounts and you'll have push email, contacts and calendars for each of those accounts. (see this Google help page for info on setting up your Google whatnot as Exchange.) you can set up many other different kinds of email accounts too - there's built-in support for Yahoo, AOL, and straight POP/IMAP as well, and they all go into the same mail program.

if your contacts aren't in the cloud, but are in something like Outlook (assuming you're on a PC), iTunes will sync them when you plug in the phone. (you may have to turn this on.)

the pack-in Maps app doesn't do turn-by-turn, no, but the map thing will rotate according to your direction if you press the little GPS icon twice. alternatively, there are a ton of third-party nav apps on there - Navigon and TomTom both have iPhone apps that add in a bunch of other features (including turn-by-turn), and there are even some pretty decent free ones now. they do tend to take up a fair amount of space, though.

get used to managing your stuff through iTunes. if you're doing this already, you're good to go. if not, keep in mind that your media has to be in iTunes before it'll sync to the phone. (you can also manage apps and some settings through iTunes too, including your home screen layout. I find rearranging the home screen is easier in iTunes than it is to do on the phone.)

be sure to try the keyboard out. don't feel bad about returning it in the two weeks. there's no built-in physical keyboard and you can't do some of the neat Android things like install Swype on it. the iPhone keyboard is very good but it's not a physical one, and some folks are just better with a physical one. (there are cases now that add a regular keyboard to the phone, though.)

the one thing I really liked about the Android phone I had was the customizable home screens - they can do stuff, rather than just have icons for apps on them. notifications, too, are a good bit better on Android than iPhone. neither of these were huge deals for me.
posted by mrg at 9:59 AM on January 11, 2011

Yes, if you use Gmail or a work exchange account, the iPhone can sync with your email, contacts, and calendars.

Maquest has free turn by turn GPS-device-like directions like GMaps has on Android. There are also a number of paid options by TomTom, Navigon, etc.

I really recommend going to an Apple store and playing around with an iPhone for a few hours and asking the staff questions about the device. Go in with a series of tasks that you want to be able to do and learn how to do them on the iPhone. It's a really personal choice. Some people hate the iPhone and others love it.
posted by reddot at 10:00 AM on January 11, 2011

What type of desktop will you be using to manage the device? I went with Android because iTunes on the PC platform is pretty awful.
posted by JaredSeth at 10:01 AM on January 11, 2011

Response by poster: VTX - I know! Kinda torn. I just really hate this Droid and not sure if I can wait until June! Right now I'm on a corporate account and get annual upgrades so I'm thinking if I get the iPhone 4 now and the 5 comes out in the summer, I can get it next year.
posted by radioamy at 10:04 AM on January 11, 2011

Response by poster: JaredSeth - Leopard all the way. And ugh yes I remember how terrible iTunes was on my PC.

reddot - didn't think about using an app other than Google Maps. Sounds like a good alternative.
posted by radioamy at 10:05 AM on January 11, 2011

If you have a Mac, definitely Android 100%.

If you have a PC, honestly you can go either way. If you are already a regular user of Apple products, including iPods or even just using iTunes to manage your music, an iPhone will be the most painless transition ever.

Other than that, it's really who has the better support system, which again IMO is Apple.
posted by antgly at 10:09 AM on January 11, 2011

Fix that. I meant iPhone 100%. What was I thinking?
posted by antgly at 10:18 AM on January 11, 2011

Response by poster: Haha I figured what you meant, antgly. Chalk it up to be over-excited about the announcement!
posted by radioamy at 10:25 AM on January 11, 2011

Response by poster: thanks for all the good info - keep it coming, hive!

Is there a way to remotely back up the iPhone other than syncing to computer? I have My Backup Pro on my Droid.
posted by radioamy at 11:03 AM on January 11, 2011

Eh, the slowdown you're dealing with can probably be chalked up to having a first-gen Droid. If you were to upgrade to a newer phone like the Incredible or the Evo, you would probably find that they function much better, and will continue to work well for longer than the original Droid did.

I think the biggest transition will probably be the free-flowing nature of the Android OS. Android gives you a lot of freedom in terms of how you use your workflow; notifications wait for you in the drawer above, applications can run in full in the background, programs can interact with each other easily, etc. iOS isn't as permissive, as notifications have to be dealt with as soon as they pop up (something that I really dislike, but you might not mind), and app switching isn't as friendly as only certain kinds of apps run fully in the background.

The super customizable nature of Android home screens is also something that I missed; I have one screen that has all of my frequent contacts, another with most frequently used apps, and my main one with my to-do widgets, weather, and other things I want to be able to see at a glance. That's the main reason that I won't use an iPhone now; it's far too convenient having all of that information at the press of a button, whereas in iOS I need to go through a number of screens to find it.

Still, it's up to you. I second the recommendation to go to an Apple store and test one out for an hour or two. Figure out what stuff you do the most on your phone, and what little features you really appreciate on your phone (physical keyboard, notification drawer, etc.) and find out if the iPhone fulfills those, or provides other features that are more beneficial.
posted by shabaabk at 12:00 PM on January 11, 2011

My Droid has been a lot better to me, but there have been some quirks and hiccups. That said, I'm far more excited about the new Droid Bionic, which will have two processors - making it faster than almost anything out there, iphone included. According to VZW, it'll be out sometime in the second quarter.

To me, the iphone interface is a bit limiting. All they give you is the one home button. That simplicity of design is intentional, but I find it doesn't offer enough control. I've gotten very used to using the back button and the menu button.

The android system has true multitasking. This has its ups and downs, but it's mostly been very useful for me. You're not going to be able to have a web page load in the background, while reading your mail, and also listening to music, for example.

This was sort of already covered, but android phones let you completely replace the keyboard (I've tried a whole bunch of them, currently grooving on Swype), the launcher/home application (I'm a fan of ADW.Launcher, but there's a bunch of good ones out there), and other core functions that the App Store terms of service forbid people from offering because they "replicate iphone functionality" (which I think is stupid, but apple will be apple). You might not be taking full advantage of this, in which case I guess you wouldn't miss it if it were not there.

There are other differences in apps available. Your mileage may vary, but you should take a close look at the apps that you really like, and make sure that they exist or have a good replacement for the iphone.
posted by Citrus at 1:10 PM on January 11, 2011

In contrast to Citrus' response, Apple will probably come up with something like it in a 5.0 update. Also iPhones tend to be more stable in my experience than Android phones.
posted by antgly at 2:23 PM on January 13, 2011

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