Tips For Switching to a New (But Different) Smartphone

Making the leap from one smartphone operating system to another....iPhone to Android or Windows Phone to iPhone...isn't as easy as one would think in this day and age. Remember how 15 or so years ago life was like for those switching computer operating systems? Well, it's kind of like that, but with the cloud as an added player. To help minimize the stress in the switch, we've written up these 5 tips which all spring from our own smartphone OS switching trials.

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5 Tips for Switching Smartphone Operating Systems

  1. Google: In order to simplify the switch, move your contacts and calendar to a cloud service that syncs across devices, like Google/Gmail Contacts and Calendar. All three of the major smartphone operating systems use and sync with Google, so even if you're not a fan of the big "G", they're an excellent resource for data transfer across platforms.

  2. Save to SIM: Not crazy about moving your contacts to the cloud? Save them to the SIM card in your old phone and use that same SIM in your new phone to transfer the contacts. Depending on the amount of photos you have (and of course your phone), you can also save images taken on the phone to your SIM and move them to your new phone via the SIM card.

  3. Moving the Music: Sadly, music purchased in one ecosystem is not easily migrated to another. There are sync tools to move your non-DRM content from one smartphone operating system to the other, but if the majority of your music has DRM, then you're a bit out of luck with moving it to your new phone. Best thing to do is to try and burn CDs of the music that you've purchased and re-import them to your computer into the content management system of your new device so that it can sync to your new phone.

  4. Keep the Cloud Tidy: Over the holidays I set up my mom with a new smartphone and we had the misfortune of forgetting to check the condition of her contacts in the cloud before setting up syncing. The different systems (Address Book on her Mac, Google Contacts, MobileMe, Yahoo Contacts, Facebook, etc) conflicted with each other and she ended up with 4x's the contacts and information that was such a mess to decipher. The worst part is she'd clean up how they looked on her smartphone and then it would sync to the cloud and get messed up all over again. Lesson here, consolidate the contact info in the cloud, make sure everything is perfect in the cloud, then and only then, set up the cloud service to sync with your phone.

  5. Goodbye Apps: No, the apps you bought for your Android phone aren't transferrable to your new iPhone (you'd be surprised how common this question is amongst casual phone users). It's unfortunate but the apps you buy for one ecosystem don't move over to the other. Use this opportunity to take a hard look at the apps you use and only buy the ones for your new phone that you're really going to use. Instead of mourning the loss of the 100 or so apps that are not on your new phone, think of the new phone as chance to curate your apps and start fresh.

Any additional tips you've noted after switching smartphone operating systems?

(Images: Joelle Alcaidinho)

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Joelle loves technology and making things and is in an almost perpetual state of problem solving. She's quite fond of airplanes and coffee and is pretty sure she will eventually read all of the books in her library.

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