Switching from Android to iOS? 11 tips to help make the move

Switching from Android to iOS? 11 tips to help make the move

Summary: Thinking about switching from an Android to an iPhone? iOS 8 could be the right time to say goodbye to the Google OS.

TOPICS: Mobility, Android, iOS

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  • Tip 1: Android-style keyboards will be available soon

    Ever mulled making the move from Android to iOS? Here's a series of tips to help you decide whether to switch to move to Apple's OS, or stick with Google's.

    With the arrival of iOS 8 just around the corner, Android handset owners will soon have fewer reasons to resist hopping over (or back, as the case may be) to the iPhone. 

    Android owners take for granted the freedom to switch keyboards, add widgets, and install new or even multiple launchers to customise their device. For the most part, Apple has made the decisions on these elements for users, limiting iOS to a few wallpapers and built-in features like the iOS keyboard, which hasn't been revamped since the first iPhone. 

    The launch of iOS 8 itself will bring two major changes that should make iPhone owners less likely to move to Android, and give Android users one fewer reason to resist a jump to Apple.  

    First, the keyboard is getting a makeover with new predictive text functionality, which should allow users to write whole sentences with just a few taps, according to Apple. The keyboard will suggest the the next complete word in the sentence being typed, a change from the current method where it just offers to complete the current word itself. Its predictive engine is customised for context too, adopting a more casual tone in Messages and a more formal tone in Mail. 

    The bigger change in iOS 8 is that Apple has made the keyboard an app rather than a fixture, meaning Android afficinados can choose to swap out Apple's own keyboard for any number of third-party keyboards. 

    Android users, most likely with larger screen devices than the iPhone 5S, will already be familiar with swipe keyboard apps that can be faster and more accurate than fumbling around a screen to hit iOS' soft keys. Third party keyboards desiged for two-handed typing could also help improve typing on what's expected to be the larger screen iPhone 6. A few that should be coming soon to the App Store include Swype, SwiftKey, and Flesky.

    Image: Liam Tung/Google

  • Tip 2: Widgets are on the way

    Widgets can be great for bringing live information to the surface from weather, social, stock and news apps, allowing you to catch key bits of information without having to open an app.  

    2014-08-04 12.33.36 pm
    Widgets in iOS 8 Notification Center. Image: Apple

    Previously, the only way around the lack of widgets in iOS was to jailbreak the device or buy fake widgets, which use the 'badge app' icon to provide live updated information.

    These workarounds won't be necessary when iOS 8 arrives, offering developers the ability to add widgets to their apps.

    Android to iOS switchers will find a completely different way of handling widgets and one that still doesn't quite offer the flexibility to plaster the homescreen with large widgets. Instead, widgets will live within the iOS 8 Notification Center, Apple's alert hub for messages in iOS and OS X.  

    Specifically, widgets will become part of the dropdown in the Notification Center's Today menu, where basic at-a-glance information is drawn from an app that has a Today extension.

    So, users will be able to add widgets in the Today view for those apps and can edit them in the Today view to add, reorder and remove widgets. 

    Whether Apple's way of containing widgets in the Notification Center is popular with Android users remains to be seen, but it does finally address a capability that Android users have come to expect from a modern smartphone. 

    Image: Liam Tung

Topics: Mobility, Android, iOS

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • This article must be for

    unfortunate people recently suffered from brain damage and can no think for themselves. They need Apple to dumb things down for them and take away all choices.
    Sean Foley
    • What?

      Not sure what you are saying. iphone users don't like choices?
      • Clarify

        Well...I guess iPhone users have some choices. They can chose between black and white phones. Looks like they can also now choose a new keyboard (assuming Apple doesn't sue or ban people form making iOS keyboards).
        Sean Foley
    • LOL

      A guy who types "can no think" is talking about the brain damage of others.
      • LOL

  • Android users at least used to adult sized phones

    not child sized versions, what version ios is meaningless.

    going to a small phone is a huge shock, an iphone 4 came for uberx and i still look twice at it everytime.
  • ya right

    ROFLMAO. Like anyone does that...
  • Accessibility

    There are many reasons why I prefer iOS over Android, but one place where its very noticeable is accessibility. I'm legally blind, but despite the smaller screen on the iPhone 5, I can still see and use my phone much easier than I could any Android device. The accessibility features are built in, intuitive, and comprehensive, just like on the Mac. Android and Microsoft could learn a lot by following Apple's lead when it comes to addressing the needs of individuals with disabilities.
    • I don't think so

      Perhaps you have never heard of Narrator on Windows Phone or Cortona? I think you need to use the products before bashing the competitors. Android has talkback and braileback. These ecosystems are just as advanced as iOS and offer just as much to the disabled. I completely disagree with your assessment of Windows Phone & android with regards to acessibility. They have just as much if not more than iOS.
      • oh, do you rely on these services daily?

        Their post made it sound like they've tried android and found iOS to better fit their accessibility needs.
        If you don't have the same accessibility needs, you shouldn't judge that.
        Note: you may, I don't know, but you didn't mention it.
  • Can't fantom it

    After leaving the iPhone for a Nexus 5. I don't think apple can do anything to get me back. The Nexus is much faster and having the ability to tap and pay has made things so easy.
    Do I miss somethings apple iPhone does? Sure. But what I gained is far better.
  • You can attach from an email in iOS

    You just hold the screen - to bring up the Paste menu, and scroll over. There's an Insert Photo or Video option in the native Email client
    • You can but it's limited

      I own and use a 5S and a G3.
      Attachment functionality in iOS is extremely limited. Add to that sharing in iOS is also limited.
      iOS is getting better, but I have become numb to the recurring promises in functionality from Apple. They deliver infrequently.
  • You can insert a picture from the mail app.

    When composing an e-mail hold down your finger until the menu pops up then click the arrow on right and click insert photo.
  • So your argument to switch is...

    ...that iOS is gonna get features that have been part of Android for quite some time already?
    While that is good news for iOS users this isn't very convincing for current Android users.
    And about the home button, how is that a good thing? Having one button sucks. There is so much space next to it! Why not have a back button at least?
    iOS is still a walled garden, even with those changes. Why anyone would want to change from a system where you can do almost anything you want to a system with severe restrictions is beyond me.
    • it's pretty sad

      Reading the article actually made Android seem like the better choice among the two.
    • iOS Defection

      That's because a lot of iPhone users left for the keyboard and the screen size, and would come back in a heartbeat if those two conditions were alleviated.

      There's fair amount of pain experienced leaving iOS for Android, in everything from leaving some apps behind to media handling to getting only a couple of versions of the OS before you're abandoned.
  • Well...

    That was a bit of a chore to read. Honestly I lost hope for reliable info when I got to the part about virtual assistants, which is just plain wrong.

    Last I read (and tested) Cortana and Google Now are pretty close competitors, with Cortana getting the edge if either of them do.
  • A-men, brother!

    This article is basically just a Fruity puff-piece...

    'Look at what we _may_ do this time around, or not.'

    Each an EVERY point the writer is trying to entice for changing OS for, you can have by STAYING with Android.

    And the singular REAL benefit that Apple has - the guaranteed update - is only good for two or three model-cycles. So, for example, iOS8 won't be applicable to the i-4, and possibly the i-4s. Which totally rubbishes their claim of non-fragmentation.

    The double-tap Home button? Sorry, my HTC One Max does the same thing. PLUS, it will act as a 'menu' button on a long press.

    Bigger screen? Downgrade from my 6" to one that's 5.5", so no.

    Swipe Keyboard? Im sitting here giggling as I type on my Thumb Keyboard...

    Better app selection? Only because Apple pays them off to keep it from Android development...

    Permissions? G-Now v. SIRI? The calendar/agenda- the one being touted not even the one integrated? Really? Going there? All of them on Android, and the last betten with the STOCK app in Android.

    So,no. This is not a true review, or a how-to article. This is just another Fruit-head trying to give a dying company a boost.

    Go gentle into that good night, Apple. And join Palm/RiM.
  • Are you kidding? I dumped my iPhone for Android. Why would I ever go back

    I kept my iPhone for software development purposes only. It's not connected to the phone company now. But I can test iOS apps I'm developing for iPad and iPhone.

    Other than that I have absolutely no plans for return to iPhone even with iOS 8. I run my cloud on Google Drive and Apps. Dumped Office 365 too.