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Google’s new ‘Switch to Android’ iPhone app is designed to help steal customers from Apple

Switch to Android

Once you are locked into an ecosystem — Windows, Android, iOS, or macOS — it’s difficult to leave. Not only are you accustomed to the user experience, but moving files devices can be a pain. It is one of the many reasons why iPhone users do not often switch to Android phones. Now Google wants to do what it can to eliminate as much friction as possible for switchers.

Earlier this week, Google updated its Data Restore Tool for Android and added it to Google Play. After the listing appeared, 9to5Google took a peek inside of the app to see if anything noteworthy had been added. The search was a success. There are mentions of a “Switch to Android” app for iOS in the Data Restore Tool. At the time of writing, such an app doesn’t exist on the Google Play store, which seems to suggest that an official announcement is coming soon.

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Currently, if you want to transfer data from an iPhone to an Android device, this is the procedure:

  1. Download Google Drive on your iPhone and sign in with your Google Account.
  2. Go to Settings in Google Drive, then tap Backup to backup photos, contacts, and more.
  3. Go to your iPhone’s Settings and turn off iMessage and FaceTime before you switch phones.
  4. Sign in on your Android device with the same Google Account you used during backup.

Switch to Android app makes switching easy

Based on 9to5Google’s findings, the Switch to Android app should simplify this process. After you get the app from the App Store, go to Wi-Fi settings, connect to the local network that the app makes, and enter the password that it provides. Once your old iPhone and your new Android device are connected to the network, the app will move everything over automatically.

9to5Google notes that the Switch to Android app appears to be capable of moving your apps between devices. It’s not entirely clear how the app would accomplish this. Presumably, the app downloads as many apps from your phone as it can find on Google Play. This obviously can’t include paid apps, as you would need to repurchase them on Google Play.

We have no idea when to expect the Switch to Android app, but it’s seemingly in the works. Whether or not it will have any effect on Apple’s market share remains to be seen. That said, at least the people who do decide to switch to Android will have an easier time doing so.

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Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.