Help me migrate phones without all the headache (Android)
August 17, 2021 10:35 AM   Subscribe

I have just upgraded from a Samsung S7 to a refurbished Samsung S8. In the past, switching phones has been a real logistical headache for me. What are the best ways for me to move contacts, apps, and messages to my new phone?

I'm not a tech forward person; I don't care about almost any of this stuff beyond it being the price of the ticket of participating in society at this point. Still, I'd like to be able to do the following things:

1. Move all my phone contacts over at once instead of having to re-enter them in the phone. Assume they are not in any kind of cloud or Google Contacts or anything like that--most are just going to be saved to the phone. Is there an app or process where I can batch-migrate them to the cloud or something?

2. I have maybe a dozen apps that I used with some frequency, and a dozen that I use infrequently--can I somehow migrate these over all at once or is this a re-download and re-login for every single app?

3. Voice Mail. Jesus, I hate the voice mail functions that come standard with Android phones, just the dialing in and listening to robot instructions and wading through spam messages. Once upon a time, I had a Motorola G5 or something, which had a Voice Mail app that basically connected to my phone number, visually identified each message by the phone number or known contact name, and then I could press play on each individual message on my phone screen instead of calling into a phone number. Is there an awesome app I can use for this?

4. How can I move all the photos on this phone to Google Photos? I have never been able to figure this out.

I am sorry if I sound like an idiot. Thanks!
posted by kensington314 to Technology (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Samsung has an app (Samsung Smart Switch) that you can use to transfer data from one Samsung phone to another. It worked well for me a few years back, although the current reviews make it clear that not everyone had my frictionless experience.

IIRC, it copied over contacts, photos, and apps.

I don't remember if you need the app installed on both phones or not, but it should tell you.

I don't know if this is provider specific, but my Samsung S8 has a voicemail app pre-installed which you just open and it shows you the list of voicemails. Nothing to it.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 10:47 AM on August 17, 2021 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks, It's Never Lurgi! This is helpful. To the provider-specific stuff, I should have added that I'm a T-Mobile person, if that's relevant to these questions at all.
posted by kensington314 at 10:49 AM on August 17, 2021

T-Mobile has a Visual Voicemail app that is supposed to provide easy access to voicemail on Android, though recent reviews indicate it is not working for a lot of people.
posted by mbrubeck at 10:53 AM on August 17, 2021

I am no kind of expert, but when I moved from a Samsung to a Google phone a couple of months ago everything was transferred with a minimum of fuss down a cable by an app . Of course, you need a cable with the appropriate ends.
posted by StephenB at 10:57 AM on August 17, 2021

When I moved to an S8, it came with a weird little white plug that was USB-like-your-computer on one side, and micro-USB-like-your-phone's-charging-port on the other end. That (and a charging cable) was all it took for the app that folks are describing. If your refurb didn't come with that dongle, it might be worth pinging the seller to see if it should have; I don't know how the Smart Switch apps function without it.

(although would lead you to believe that it can be done wirelessly, over SD card, over cable, or using a PC. So if those are less hassle than dongle-hunting, you have options.
posted by adekllny at 11:54 AM on August 17, 2021

Best answer: I do this at work for people all the time and Samsung smart switch will handle everything you need, with a few caveats... namely that you will need to relogin to most apps, and there are some apps that you have to manually transfer backups (WhatsApp and google authenticator are the ones I’m most used to doing manually).

But texts contacts photos apps, and most settings, will go smoothly with smart switch. Works fine over wireless that’s how we usually do it.

It will also tell you what it will not transfer so you will know
posted by one4themoment at 12:42 PM on August 17, 2021

I've used Samsung Smart Switch recently to swap from an older samsung tablet to a newer one. I did the transfer wirelessly, and it copied almost all of the files/photos (that weren't explicitly tied to an app's data storage), all of the apps, most settings, and the Google login for the device. You'll still have to re-login to most of the apps. I didn't transfer contacts as I keep those on my Google account anyway. It worked quite well for what it does and saved a lot of time, but there is still some amount of work to get things squared away.

No idea on most of the more phone-like things, but I imagine it's going to be better than the regular Google login process which restores some apps and anything associated with your account but not much else.
posted by Aleyn at 1:03 PM on August 17, 2021

Best answer: For your question #4 about syncing all your photos to Google Photos: do you have the Google Photos app installed on your phone? If not, first go to the Google Play Store and install it. Once the Google Photos app is installed, open it and sign in to your Google account. Then, at the top right corner tap your account profile photo or initial. Navigate through the menu to Photos Settings > Back Up & Sync. Then tap 'Back Up & Sync' to turn it on (this is also how you can turn it off). The photos on your phone should now start uploading -- you'll want to be on wi-fi for this.

You can monitor the upload process by tapping on your profile icon in the upper right corner (the same icon I mentioned previously) and you'll see if there are any problems, such as not being on wi-fi. This is also where you can see a cloud icon with a check mark on it to indicate when the syncing is complete. If you see a cloud icon with a diagonal line through it, that means Backup and Sync is turned off (see instructions above about turning it on). I also recommend looking at this page for info about how to choose the quality/size of the photos being uploaded and other storage options. Note that part way down the page you can select 'Computer' or 'Android' or 'iPhone & iPad' for device-specific information.

For your question about batch migrating your contacts to the cloud (if that's something you still want to do) so you can access your contacts on any phone or computer when you're logged into your Google account:
1) First, go into the Settings app and then navigate to Google > Settings for Google Apps > Google Contacts Sync > Also Sync Device Contacts > Automatically Back Up & Sync Device Contacts.

2) Then turn on 'Automatically Back Up & Sync Device Contacts'.

3) Finally, pick the Google account you want to sync to (if you have more than one).
posted by theory at 2:44 PM on August 17, 2021

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