Consumerism Geek

Switching from Android to iPhone

Not a transport post.

After much dithering, I’ve made the switch to iPhone.

I’ve used Android phones for ten years. If I’m honest a lot of that was due to the price. Midrange Android phones seemed like better value for money.

But they also have a short life. 2 years then you replace them because they get too slow and/or are no longer supported and patched. I’m far more conscious now of eWaste, so after thinking about it for probably far too long, I’ve decided to jump ship. If I spend twice as much money for an iPhone that lasts 4+ years or longer, that seems like a win.

I almost bought an iPhone 12, given the 13 is said to be only an incremental improvement. During the Black Friday sales, neither were discounted, but there was a $70 Apple Gift Card on offer for the 12, and increased cashback via CashRewards, which brought the effective price down a bit.

But I eventually figured I might as well buy the latest given (even with the indirect discount) the cost differential wasn’t that much, and I wanted to prioritise longevity.

The 13’s screen is roughly the same size as the Moto G7+ I’m switching from; just slightly smaller. I bought a case (well, a bumper really) for it to try and protect it – when I eventually upgrade again, another benefit is old iPhones in good condition are actually worth some money, unlike most Android phones.


Apple provides an Android App to help the transition across. This failed the first time, but I switched off copying of photos and calendar items (they’re all in the cloud anyway, and I copied the photos onto my computer as well). Then it seemed to work.

Contacts weren’t moved across. I think Android was storing these as part of the Google account. Installing Gmail on the iPhone and switching on sync fixed that.

For now I’ve still got one foot in the Google camp, so apart from Gmail, on the iPhone I’ve also installed Google Photos, Google Maps and Chrome. For the latter, it was surprisingly easy to change the default browser setting to use it – I think I imagined in iOS that would be more difficult.

There’s no Mobile Myki on iOS yet – and it sounds like it won’t be here anytime soon. But the PTV app now lets you check the balance and top-up a physical Myki card instantly, which is handy.

Finding and adding the equivalent apps was interesting. The App Store is such that often you’d search for something and the top result is a massive ad for something related, but different. Perhaps I thought Apple would be above that, at least for COVID essentials such as the Service Victoria app. Nope.

Massive ad above the Service Victoria app, in the Apple App Store


Most things have been pretty smooth. I wondered if Face ID (unlocking the phone via facial recognition) might be problematic but in fact it’s very good. In these days of frequent hand washing, Face ID is probably more reliable than the Moto’s fingerprint scanner, though a mask will defeat it.

On my old Android phone I had installed an app that could provide a one touch lock, without using the side lock button – for ease of use, and on because on some previous phones I’ve had the button eventually stop working, making the phone unusable. iOS has an almost-equivalent built-in – Assistive Touch can be set to lock the screen with a single tap.

There are potential pitfalls with text messages. I was asked by someone why I didn’t respond to a message. It’s because I never got it! Android now automatically enables encrypted messages, if both parties are using the Android Messages app and Chat features are enabled. It looks like the problem is that if one party switches to iOS, the other party still thinks it can send messages encrypted… and they never get through.

To fix it, the new iOS party needs to send a message back to the Android user – then it’ll be switched off and messages will get through again. Another option is turning it off at the Android end. The whole thing sounds like a bit of a hack.

Other than that, the switch has gone very smoothly. I’m fast getting used to the way it works, and the phone itself is very responsive, which was a big problem with the 2-year-old Moto.

Hopefully this iPhone has many years of usage ahead of it.

Update: In case anybody is reading this later, the one thing I miss is that Android has good built-in spam filtering for calls and text messages. iOS has neither. You have to find a separate app to do it for you.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

6 replies on “Switching from Android to iPhone”

You may be disappointed. I like to keep things going for years (old fashioned from the days when things were made to last). I’ve only recently replaced my 2004 Dell/Windows XP because it basically ground to an overloaded halt. I was using Nokia phones then LG happily until I started taking handed down iPhones from the family. I’ve got three of them (successively later versions) now sitting in my drawer because they were soon overtaken by Apple constantly updating/upgrading apps etc until the phones became dysfunctional. Apple is in the business of making money and if you don’t buy their latest phone when it comes out, they don’t want to know about you. Their support is abysmal, the basic answer to a problem is buy their newer model phone. So I’ve changed to Samsung, extremely happy with it, but of course I haven’t yet had long-term experience of it – so I’ll see in due course how it pans out.

Yep, still on the 6 year old iPhone SE here, though will probably replace it soon as the battery’s not what it was.

As for the ads in the app store….bleugh. They never used to exist. I’m sure it’s a quid pro quo for when Apple relaxed some of their heavier levies on in-app purchases. Previously I’d generally found the app I was looking for was the first to appear in a search.

And yes, changing defaults away from the Apple built-in services is generally pretty simple in my experience. There’s a whole Apple ecosystem that you’re invited into by default but the alternatives are pretty well supported. Even Microsoft Teams on an iPhone beats the PC app hands down.

Thanks for the impressions, it’s always good to hear of “neutral” platform-switch stories. Look forward to reading more about the experience later.

@Tony P, for me the bottom line is that Apple provides security patches for far longer than any Android provider.

And I don’t think it’s true that Apple always wants everyone to buy the latest phone. They sell two older generations (currently the 11 and 12, even though the 13 is out) as well as older refurbished models – it’s their way of segmenting the market into different price bands, and no doubt all part of their revenue plan.

@sim, thanks – so far so good! Ironically my old Android phone now seems to be running faster after removing most of the apps off it. Given it’s worth no money, I might keep it as an emergency spare and/or as a Sonos remote.

Yes, these iPhones do last ages. My 6S was still available brand new when the X was the current phone. It’s now a few years old and still works well but some apps are badly written and suck a lot of battery if you don’t take care to shut them down when you’re not using them. That’ll be less of a problem on a new 13, at least for a while. But make sure you disable background app refresh for all apps except those that really seem to need it.

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