Moving from Android to iOS: Lessons learned helping with a transition

After a blatant theft of my wife's HTC 10 a couple of weeks ago, we decided to shift her to an iPhone since the other four family members use iOS and there are benefits to all of us using iPhones. At least, that is what I thought at first.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributor on

Ever since my wife started using smartphones she has refused to accept new phones since I always had extra phones around after testing and writing about them. She didn't want to spend the money on a phone when my hand-me downs were still in perfect condition.

She started off with my old Windows Phones and over the past couple of years has been using Android as her primary platform. My daughters took my old iPhones or purchased older generation iPhones and thanks to last year's compelling T-Mobile trade-in offer, we bought their first brand new phones with the iPhone 7.

For about a year, my wife has been using the black HTC 10 I bought. Over the years, HTC phones have been her favorite due to the responsiveness, camera performance, and ability to survive her regular drops. She has tried Samsung and Nexus devices, but was never as happy as she was with an HTC phone.

The theft

My wife stocks greeting cards at various stores in the area and carries a work bag that contains her tools of the trade, including a Windows Mobile-powered Motorola scanner. She has a cart of products with her tool bag and moves through the card aisles to complete her work.

A couple of weeks ago she was working under the card stand getting out some products and noticed a man standing close to her work cart about 10 feet away. After she looked up and saw him, he took off around the corner. She went to check her tool bag and cart, only to discover her HTC 10 was now missing.

She started looking around the store and told store associates and the store manager she thought the guy stole her phone. One clerk noted the guy left already so there was nothing she could do now.

She called me on coworkers phone and I used Android Device Manager to try to find her phone. It showed her phone was last at the store location so I sent the lock and notifications to try to make sure her phone could be locked down, if nothing else.

Unfortunately, within about 30 minutes Android Device Manager showed that the HTC 10 was no longer associated with her Gmail account. It appears that the thief hard reset the phone and it was now his.

My wife did not have any security on her phone so I had her change all of her passwords. If the phone was hard reset, then it is unlikely there was anything to worry about the thief getting off the phone. However, there was also a microSD card in the phone that had photos on it so all of the photos are viewable by the scum. This theft had me immediately go and lock down the microSD cards in my Android phones as that is an unnerving feeling knowing a thief can browse the card and see part of your life.

Why transition to an iPhone?

There are many reasons people choose one operating system over another and no single OS is best for everyone. Here are the primary reasons my wife decided to give the iPhone a try:

  • Internal storage: The insecure external storage was one factor in choosing a phone with only internal storage as my wife is still creeped out that the thief can check out all the photos she has taken for the past year. When an iPhone is hard reset, everything is wiped so there would be no photos left in the internal storage. I never remove the microSD cards from my Android phones and think only having internal storage capacity may indeed be best for the masses.
  • iOS ecosystem: With all three of our daughters full time on an iPhone, and me on the 7 Plus about half the time, it is handy using iMessage, FaceTime, and Find My Friends with a group of iOS users. We are often out and about so having the ability to easily find each other has already proven useful in the past 10 days since she has had an iPhone.
  • Apple Store: The ability to visit a local retail store to get things fixed, buy accessories, and ask questions is useful. Just a couple of weeks ago, my daughter's iPhone 7 display failed and wouldn't let her use her phone. She took it to an Apple Store and an hour later walked out with a new replacement at no charge. There's something to be said for having a store available to provide these services. With Samsung's dominant market share, you would think there would be Samsung stores to provide such services so the Apple Store really does set the iPhone experience apart from the rest.

Transition challenges

After weighing the pros and cons, we went to the T-Mobile store to bring my wife back to T-Mobile. She switched to Cricket a couple years ago to experience better cellular coverage, but wanted to reduce monthly costs and give T-Mobile another chance with its improved network coverage.

We picked up a new T-Mobile SIM, but had to place an order for her new iPhone 7 since she wanted the new red one. It arrived a few days later. This is the first time I have seen the red one and it is gorgeous.

I wanted to share my experiences helping someone make the transition since there have been some challenges and in talking to a few other family members they had the same recent experiences moving to an iPhone. Even though I have been using an iPhone for years, I learned something new during this transition too. Let's take a closer look at some challenges:

  • Failure of Apple's Move to iOS Android app: While I always setup my phones as new and have all of my important data synced to Exchange or Google, my wife still doesn't do this well. I found the Apple Move to iOS Android app and installed it on the LG G6 she was using for the few days until her red iPhone arrived. I was never able to get a connection between the LG G6 and new iPhone 7 so had to give up on the app. The app has a rating of just 2.8 and comments indicate it fails most of the time. Time to start over and get a few contacts synced, while others had to be manually entered after viewing them other old devices she had numbers in.
  • Where is the back button?: The funny thing is, my wife's cousin was just issued iPhone 6 devices for work and he asked the exact same question. I told her about the Home button and how you can double press it to jump between open apps. Her major frustration was concerning Messages and how she would want to go back to her list of conversations after communicating with someone. I didn't have the answer, but the folks on Twitter were quick to point out that you simply swipe from the left edge of the display to the right to go back to the list of messages when you are done interacting with a person. I learned something new and this is improving my efficiency with iOS too.
  • Swipe or voice dictation: It's one or the other on iOS: My wife loves using the trace/swipe keyboards on Android so I installed SwiftKey on her new iPhone. The problem is that Apple doesn't allow third party keyboards to access the voice dictation button and my wife used that all the time on Android. After a few days, I was asked to remove SwiftKey as she preferred access to voice dictation over swiping. I would love to see Apple add the ability to swipe around the keyboard into the native Apple keyboard in the future.
  • Call history: On most Android devices, you can tap on a contact in the dialer or contacts app to view your recent call, text, and email history with that person. iOS has a very basic phone app that provides no information on a person's history. Apple should seriously considering improving the experience here.
  • Google Assistant: Over the past month my wife has come to love using Google Assistant and this was one of her first concerns when her phone was stolen. Although iOS has Siri, my wife thinks it is rather useless, I was able to download and install Google Assistant for iOS. Even though she has to first open the app to use it, she still prefers the functionality of Google Assistant over Siri.

Will the iPhone stay past the return period?

There are only a couple of days left and I am sure the iPhone 7 will be sticking with my wife. She is happy with the camera, is getting used to the interface, the size is right for her hand, and the improved communications with other iOS users is pleasing to her.

The iPhone connects reliably to her Acura and Siri even works well with the voice button on the steering wheel. My wife has also learned that she need to lock down her phone and the fast iPhone front facing fingerprint scanner makes this quick and easy to accomplish.

I offered up some of my other new Android phones and offered to buy her a new Android, but she is making a commitment to iOS.

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