When deciding to switch from iPhone to Android there are several things you should do and consider before swapping SIM cards. I have made the switch back and forth many times and there are issues that arise every time that I have now learned to handle before they become a problem. Whether you are planning to make a permanent switch or just give Android a try, my hopes are to inform you of everything you need to know regardless of which way you go.
To assure that this is indeed is the Ultimate Guide to Switching from iPhone to Android I will highlight everything from what you need to do before switching your SIM card from an iPhone to an Android phone to finding apps to achieve features you probably grew accustom to having with your iPhone.
In this article, I will be going through the process of switching from an iPhone to a Google Nexus 4 Android Phone. I have used this same process when swapping between my iPhone and many other Android devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S3, HTC One X+ and many others. I have owned and reviewed over 18 Android smart phones since Android was originally released.
This guide is going to be quite long, so I have decided to break it up into several parts.
Why would you want to switch from iPhone to Android?
Android is a very compelling platform. There is so much customization over and above what the iPhone can do. Even if you jailbreak your iPhone, the Android still offers more variations of customization. The iPhone does not evolve very fast, with the Android platform there are new devices every few months packed with new features that are pretty exciting. It is hard to avoid the allure of the latest Android devices on the market. Though there are not as many apps as with iOS, there are plenty of great apps to achieve what you were able to accomplish with your iPhone.
What you need to switch from iPhone to Android
There is a chance that your iPhone and Android phone do not use the same size SIM card. Despite what your wireless service provider will tell you, all of the SIM cards seem to work in other devices as long as you adapt them to fit. If you are making a permanent switch from iPhone to Android, I suggest going to the nearest store for your wireless carrier and have them move your phone number over from your iPhone to your Android. They will be able to provide you with the correct SIM card to fit your new Android phone and get it set up for you. I often switch back and forth between my devices so I just use adapters so I can continue to use the same SIM cards with out making numerous trips to my wireless carrier’s store.
The iPhone 5 uses a Nano-SIM card where my Google Nexus 4 uses a Micro-SIM card. Older Android devices use a standard SIM card. I purchased a SIM card adapter kit from Amazon called the R-SIM Adapter Kit. This adapter allows you to adapt your Nano-SIM to a Micro-SIM card. I also purchased a SIM Card Cutter so I could cut down a SIM card for my other phone to place into my iPhone. I have two lines and often switch numbers between my iPhone and Android phone. If you are using an iPhone 4S or earlier, you will not need an adapter because the older iPhones use a micro-SIM card. Only the iPhone 5 and newer use the Nano-SIM.
Preparing your iPhone to switch over to Android
I used to just swap SIM cards, restart my device and assume I was done but there were always issues I came across that took time to resolve on their own. The iPhone uses iMessage to send text messages to other iOS devices using the internet instead of the carriers SMS service. If you use iMessage on other devices such as your iPad or Mac, it is best to deactivate iMessage on all of the devices before switching your SIM card to your Android phone. If you want to keep iMessage on your iPad and Mac, you can simply go into Messaging settings on your iPad and Mac and remove your cell phone number from iMessage. I found it is easiest just to turn off iMessage altogether so that all messages are routed through my phone and don’t accidentally get sent to my iPad or Mac where it may be a while before I see the message. I left Facetime turned on so that I could still use the Facetime service on my iPad and my Mac. If you do not have an iPad or a Mac, you don’t need to worry about this. Just make sure you turn off iMessaging on your iPhone. You can access the Messages menu in your iPhone’s Settings app. See the image below.
The reason for doing this is so that iMessage will release your phone number and no longer send text messages through your iPhone. In the past when I did not do this step, text messages would continue to come to my iPhone after I made the switch. Sometimes this would last as long as 12 hours before the iMessage service would let go and text messages would begin to show up on my Android Phone. This primarily effected those who were text messaging me from an iPhone, iPad or another Mac. I recommend doing this step even if you are going to have your carrier make the switch from iPhone to Android for you. Your carrier has no control over iMessage and you will still have the same issue as I have in the past. Perhaps Apple will get this worked out in the future but for now it is a simple process to make sure you don’t miss any text messages.
Once you have turned off iMessaging and are ready to switch your SIM card from your iPhone to your Android phone you are ready to turn off your iPhone. Hold down the top lock button until you are prompted to turn off your iPhone. Once it is powered down you will need to remove your iPhone case, if you have one.
Removing the Nano-SIM Card from your iPhone
To eject the SIM card tray from your iPhone you will need a small needle. I use a sewing needle because it is small and strong. Do not use something weak and flimsy that could potentially break off in the eject hole.
Locate the SIM card tray on your iPhone. Older versions of the iPhone may have the SIM card tray located in another location.
Use the sewing needle to eject the SIM card tray. Insert the needle into the hole and push inward. Do not go in at an angle, go straight in and apply a bit of pressure. The tray will eject allowing you to remove it the rest of the way with your fingers. Make sure to do this over a table or towel so that you do not lose the Nano-SIM. The new small SIM cards are tiny and if you lose it or damage it, you will have to get a new one from your wireless carrier. They may charge for a new SIM card.
Insert your SIM Card into your Android Phone
Most Android phones have the SIM card located under the back plate next to the battery. Newer phones such as the Google Nexus 4 and HTC One X+ have SIM card trays like the iPhone 5. Some Android phones require a regular size SIM card and others require a micro-SIM card. The adapter will allow you to adapt the Nano-SIM from your iPhone to fit into your Android phone. For the purposes of this guide, we will be using a Google Nexus 4 as our Android phone.
Locate the SIM card tray or slot on your Android phone. You will need to place the Nano-SIM card into the Nano-SIM to Micro-SIM adapter. Make sure that the metal contacts on the SIM card face away from the adapter so they are not covered by the adapters back. Place the SIM card into the adapter so that the notch in the corners of the adapter and SIM card align. I recommend using a small piece of double sided tape to adhere the Nano-SIM to the Micro-SIM adapter. Place the adapted SIM card into the SIM card tray for your Android phone. If your Android phone does not have a SIM card tray, it most likely has a SIM card slot.
You need to proceed with extreme caution when inserting the adapted SIM card into your phone. The SIM card can slip out of the adapter and get stuck in your phone if you are not careful. When you insert the adapted SIM card into your new device, be very careful and do not force it. If there is resistance, remove the tray or SIM card and check to make sure that the SIM card did not slip out of the adapter.
Once your SIM card is in your Android device, power it up and see if it connects. It may take a moment to recognize the settings and connect. In all 18 Android devices I have swapped SIM card sin, all have connected with out any issues. If for some reason your Android does not connect to the data network, you can try resetting the APN settings in your phone. All Android devices have this setting in another location. The best option is to Google search for “reset apn setting phone name.” Search for your specific Android phone. If you are unsure about trying this on your own, call your wireless carrier from a landline phone and tell them that your phone will not connect to the data network. They will probably need to activate your Android phone. They will walk you through the process of providing them with the ID numbers from your device that they will need to activate your phone. I have only had to do this once and it was due to switching from a 3G device to a 4GLTE device.
Always err on the side of caution. If you make a mistake, you could damage your phone and that could result in voiding it’s warranty. One other warning: Never insert the SIM card adapter into the phone with out a SIM card in it. The contacts that rest on the SIM card could get caught and when you go to remove the SIM card adapter, could bend or break the contacts.
In Part 2 of The Ultimate Guide to Switching from iPhone to Android we will discuss the Android operating system and how to get used to using it.