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Like many, I have been a happy iPhone user for many years now. My first was an iPhone 4. I have had several since then, up until the 6S, I have even had 3 iPads. I will be honest and say that I really have always liked iOS and the iPhones. To an extent, I still do.
However, the release of the iPhone X and iPhone 8 made me see a few cracks I had been ignoring with the iPhone. It showed me some issues with Apple’s business model as well. I was reminded that, just like all other major corporates, they just want my money no matter what it takes.
As my contract came to an end, it was my 2-yearly job to look at potential options to upgrade. Normally it was a no-brainer, I’ll have the new iPhone please my good salesperson. However, this year it was different. The iPhone X, hailed as the all-conquering hero, was just far too expensive for the features it was boasting, and the iPhone 8 was just more of the same and automatically made obsolete by the iPhone X the second it came out!
I began to look at the other side of the fence, to see if the fields of Android were greener. I had considered it before but used the same excuse each time “I have invested too much into the Apple Eco System to move to Android”, or “Yeah, but all my music is in iTunes.” This time though, I decided to dig further and see if it really was as hard as all that to move. It turns out, yes and no…
Considerations for the Move
The first thing to check was if there was a way to move my music from iTunes to Android in some way and it turns out there is, and it is really easy! Enter Google Play and the music manager software for your PC (or Mac). With this software installed, your music is automatically uploaded to the Google cloud, up to 100,000 songs for free! Any music already in their library is added automatically, anything else is physically uploaded from your machine. Depending on the size of your library, this may take a while but is very simple.
With music dealt with, I turned to my photos. Again, there is an app for that! Google Photos allows you to upload all the images on your phone to the Google cloud. This time, if you are happy to have your images resized to 16 Megapixels and your videos to 1080p, you can have unlimited storage for free! If you want higher resolution, you get 15GB for free still. Install the app and it will upload your images for you, simple!
Next was my apps. This is a sticking point that you will probably have to swallow. I had a few that I had purchased on the iPhone which I would have to buy again on Android. Annoying, but not the end o the world. Almost every app on my iPhone was available on the Android store and those that were not had a good alternative. I use Microsoft Note for most of my note-taking, which is there. Google Keep is a great alternative to iOS notes and there are plenty of other options.
Now for one snag, I was going to hit – moving notes I had on my iPhone notes app. As it happens, Samsung has thought of this. If you have all your notes synchronised to iCloud, they have an app called Smart Switch that will copy them into Samsung Notes for you. It is not ideal, but it does work. This is only available on Samsung phones, however, there are other paid options on the Android store.
Contacts were my next concern. There were a few options to move these. I already had mine synchronised to my Google account on the iPhone, so this was very simple. However, it can be done in a few other ways. You can use the Smart Switch app of you are on Samsung, or you can download them from iCloud and import them into your Android phone. It is all very simple actually!
Once I was sure it was the right move, I went and got a Samsung S8. It took me about a day to get everything sorted and to discover a few extra things I needed to manage. Save data for games being one. Thankfully most games I play synchronise with Facebook!
So, is the grass greener on the Android side of the fence. Well, mostly.
You can make the device look exactly how you want. Don’t like the launcher – change it (I recommend Nova Launcher or Google Now). Don’t like the icons, change them. Don’t like way notifications work, change them. The flexibility of the OS is remarkable!
More choice on the actual design of the phone. I’m not going to lie, the S8 is a stunning phone, far nicer than any iPhone I have used. It is snappy, and it is sexy. But, there are literally hundreds of options out there to suit any budget.
Cost of ownership. As I have alluded to, Android phones come in many forms and suit many budgets, as do the contracts. My contract is significantly lower owning an S8 than it would have been owning an iPhone 8 or X
Google assistant has some cool features
Bloatware. Many phones come filled with bloatware and custom apps, something Samsung is very bad at (and Acer), but being Android, this is all very easy to remove.
Some apps are missing, I especially miss Apple’s Garage Band! I’m yet to find a good alternative. No Tweebot twitter app either, which I really miss!
Whilst there are amazing apps, there is less control on the Play Store, so there are a lot of crappy ones made to con you. You must be vigilant!
Google assistant is not as good as Siri when it comes to managing music!
Putting a myth to bed
Now, this is the big one, battery life. Legend has long told of the battery life of a Samsung or any other Android phone. Owners tell tales of 2 or 3 days of battery life with better low power management.
The truth is a little more complicated than that though.
Does my Samsung S8 last longer than my iPhone? Not really! I am a heavy user of the phone and I get the same life out if the Samsung as I did my iPhone, possibly an hour or so longer. However, if I wanted to make the battery last longer in a squeeze, the battery management is a lot better allowing you to run on a stripped-down OS in an emergency for hours and hours longer than before. Also, for an average user, I would imagine the battery really could give you 2 days. But don’t let the legends sway you too much!
All in all, I am very happy with my choice to move. It frees me of something that felt like a shackle, Apple technology. Sure, Samsung is still a massive company, but it is still easier for me to now move around the Android universe and change as I feel necessary.
Android, once set up, is a joy to use. Yes, it takes a bit longer to get going, but once you are going it is lovely! You notice all sorts of little things that Apple would claim were unique to them, yet actually started on Android and is more often than not better on Android.
- Get Nova Launcher
- Get Swift Keyboard
- Get Fenix 2 Twitter app (thanks @Burdy75)
- Spend time setting up your notifications
- Get Greenify battery booster
I had to leave you with this from Romesh Ranganathan all about Android users!!
Also published on Medium.