How to switch operating systems

The operating system, or OS, is the software your smartphone runs on. And this is why switching between the two big names isn't as complicated as it used to be...

21 May 2017

When shopping for a new smartphone, you might be inclined to stick to what you know – which is fair – but you could be missing out. If you’re confused about jumping ship from Android to iOS, or vice versa, allow us to walk you through it…


Keeping your number and contacts

There are generally two big concerns when it comes to switching to a new phone:

  • Can I keep my number?
  • Will I lose my contacts?

Let’s put those queries to bed straight away. Yes you can keep your number – it’s easier than you think. And you won’t lose your contacts – all it takes is an app and an email address to safely migrate everything, including photos, videos, texts etc.

On most smartphones, contacts are automatically backed up to the main account – like Gmail or your Apple ID. That means you can log into your emails on any phone and get your contacts instantly.


Android to iOS

If you’re going from Android to iOS, you need to head to the Google Play Store on your Android device and download the Move to iOS app. Make sure everything is backed up, which you can do through your settings menu (but it should do it automatically anyway), and then follow the instructions on your new iPhone.

iPhone will create its own secure Wi-Fi network, and talk to your old phone. This process can take a little while, but once it’s done, you should be ready to go.


iOS to Android

On your iPhone, download Google Drive from the App Store and sign in with your Google account. If you don’t have one, you can sign up for one there and then. When you’re in Google Drive, head to Menu > Settings > Backup, and select all the stuff you want to save for your new phone. When you’ve chosen all your favourite stuff, tap ‘Start backup’ and sit back.

Then you just need to sign into your Google account on your new Android smartphone, and you’re set.


Learning to use a new phone

It’s all well and good having all your stuff on your new phone, but how on earth do you learn to use something that’s completely new? Well, getting a new operating system isn’t much of a change any more. Things may look a little bit different, and there’ll be a few unique features (see below for the best ones), but generally most stuff will work in the same way.

A swipe down from the top of the screen, for example, will always bring up your notifications. Tapping the middle button at the bottom of your phone will always take you to the homescreen. Once you get used to the new design, you’ll quickly see the buttons you’re used to.

The big mobile operating systems are all getting closer to each other in what they do and how they work, there are some unique features for each of them.


Android – bored of your phone’s look?

Android is the most customisable mobile software around. If there’s something you don’t like, you can change it and make it your own. If you’re not happy with the app icons on the homescreen, or how the clock looks, just download a new icon pack from the Play Store, or customise with widgets - just long-press anywhere on the homescreen.


iOS – share things with your family

On iPhone, up to six family members can share each other’s iTunes, iBooks and App Store purchases without sharing accounts.

The six different accounts can all buy family purchases with the same credit card, but all purchases have to be approved by the main account. That means your kids can’t get away with buying expensive apps without your knowing about it.

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