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Switch to Android

Learn how to get going on Android with this step-by-step guide. After you go through the steps, you'll be set up to use your new Android device. Along the way, you'll see links to resources where you can find more information.

Before you get started

Go through your Android device's initial setup process and sign in with a Google Account. If you don't have a Google Account yet, you can create one. Then make sure you have:

  • Your old device
  • Your new Android device and charger
  • Your computer
  • Wi-Fi connection

Note: Not all Android devices have settings in the same place, so if you don’t see the exact setting or wording, look for something similar. You can also go to your manufacturer's support site to learn how to navigate your device's settings.

Transfer your contacts, music & photos

Transfer your contacts

Before you transfer your contacts, first find out which account your contacts are saved to on your device — this might be your Google Account, iCloud, or directly on your iPhone or SIM card. Then use one of the options below to transfer your contacts from that account.

If you're switching from an iPhone, you can check what account your contacts are saved to by tapping Settings and then Mail, Contacts, Calendars and then Default Account.

Option 1: My contacts are saved to Gmail or Google Account

If your contacts are saved to your Google Account, they'll automatically add to your Android device when you sign in with your Google Account. To see them, just open the Contacts app Contacts.

You can also manually add contacts. Learn how to add contacts.

Option 2: My contacts are saved to iCloud

If your contacts are saved to iCloud, you'll need to move them to your Google Account.

First, make sure your contacts are synced

You can skip this step if you keep your contacts on your iPhone synced with your iCloud account.

  1. On your iPhone, go to Settings.
  2. Scroll down to Mail, Contacts, Calendars and tap your iCloud account.
  3. Switch "Contacts" to On. You'll be prompted to merge your device's contacts with iCloud.

Next, export your contacts from iCloud

  1. On your computer, open a web browser, like Chrome or Firefox, go to icloud.com, and sign in with your Apple ID.
  2. Click Contacts.
  3. In the bottom left corner, click the gear icon, and then Select All.
  4. Click the gear icon again and then Export vCard. The file will be saved on your computer. If you have issues downloading the file, try using a different browser. 

Last, import contacts to your Google Account

  1. On your computer, go to gmail.com and sign in with your Google Account.
  2. In the top-left corner, click Gmail and then Contacts. You should see a list of your Gmail contacts.
  3. Above the contacts list, click More and then Import.
  4. Click Choose File and select your saved vCard file to import it.

Tip: You can merge any duplicate contacts by clicking More and then Find & merge duplicates.

Option 3: My contacts are saved on my iPhone or other account

If your contacts are stored directly on your iPhone or you're using an account other than iCloud or Gmail, you can use your computer to move them to your Google Account.

  1. Connect your iPhone to your computer.
  2. Open iTunes.
  3. In the top right of the screen, click iPhone.
  4. In the left panel, click the Info tab and check the box next to "Sync Contacts with."
  5. Choose Google Contacts from the drop-down menu and enter your Google Account information when prompted.
  6. Wait for your iPhone or iPad to sync before disconnecting.
Option 4: My contacts are saved on my SIM card

If your contacts are stored on your SIM card, you can import them. Learn how to import contacts from a SIM card.

 

After adding your Google Account to your Android device, check to make sure all your contacts are available in your device's Contacts app Contacts.

Transfer your music

You can transfer music to your Android device using your computer. Before you get started, make sure the music from your old device is fully synced with your computer. Your music should all be backed up on your computer when this process is done.

Transfer your music in one of the following ways:

When you're done, any music you purchase from Google Play will automatically sync to your device from your account and you can listen to it using Google Play Music.

Sync your photos

You can save the photos on your old device to your Google Account so they're available from any Android device you’re signed into.

Option 1: My old device is a smartphone
  1. On your old device, download and open the Google Photos app Photos. You can get the Google Photos app from the App Store as well as on Google Play.
  2. Follow the on-screen steps to upload your photos and videos to your Google Account.

Learn how to get started with Google Photos.

Option 2: My old device isn't a smartphone or my photos are on a storage card

You can use use Auto Backup on your Windows or Mac computer to upload your photos.

 

When you're done, all the photos from your old device will be saved to your Google Account. To see your photos and videos, sign in to your Google Account on your new Android device and open the Photos app Photos icon.

Set up messaging

Switching from iPhone? Turn off iMessage to get texts on Android

iMessage is an Apple service that sends messages between Apple devices. If you're not switching from an iPhone, you don't need to worry about this step.

Make sure to turn off iMessage before you remove the SIM card from your iPhone. Otherwise, SMS/MMS messages sent to you may continue to be directed to your old iPhone instead of to your new Android phone.

Learn how to turn off iMessage off.

Set up messaging on Android

Your device likely came with messaging apps installed, like the Messenger app Messenger or Hangouts app . If you have a messaging app you prefer, you can download it from the Google Play Store or Play Store app Google Play Store.

To send text messages: Just open the messaging app, sign in with your Google Account if needed, and start texting. You can also learn more about the specifics of sending messages with Messenger from Google or Hangouts.

Your device will choose one to be the default messaging app. If you'd like to use a different app, you can change your default at any time. Learn how to change your default apps.

Set up apps, email & "find my phone" features

Get your apps

Many Google apps are already on your Android device, but you can get other apps and discover new ones using the Google Play Store or the Play Store app on your device play store.

  • Transfer apps you subscribe to:
    For apps where you're a subscriber, just download the app and sign in with your account to transfer your service over to Android for free. Learn how to install apps.
  • Reinstall apps you've purchased: If you've downloaded any apps using your Google Account, you can reinstall them on your new device without purchasing them again. Learn how to reinstall apps.
  • Get new apps:
    You can install or purchase apps and digital content on your Android device. Learn how to get apps and content on the Play Store.

Don't see the Google Play Store app on your device? Get help finding it.

Set up email

Use Gmail

The Gmail app is ready to go when you set up your Android device with your Google Account. Just open and sign in to the Gmail app gmail.

Tip: Learn more about using Gmail on your Android device and make sure your account is protected with 2-step verification.

Use other email apps

You can access your other email accounts on your Android device by installing that email service's app. Just search for it on the Google Play Store or your device's Play Store app play store .

Turn on "find my phone" features

Android Device Manager can help you find, lock, and erase your Android device if you lose it. Make sure you have the right settings turned on to use Android Device Manager if you ever need to.

Tip: You can also link your phone to Google so you can find or ring it by searching for find my phone on www.google.com.

Customize your device

Pick your security settings

Secure your device by setting a screen lock with a PIN, password, or pattern. Each time you turn on your device or wake up the screen, you’ll be asked to unlock your device.

Follow these steps to set up a screen lock and learn about new ways to have your device automatically unlock when you have it with you using Smart Lock for Android.

Set up notifications

Notifications alert you to things like new messages, calendar events, and alarms on your device.

  • Set your notifications:
    Set up your device so that you get interrupted by notifications only at certain times, for certain types of things, or from specific people.
  • Manage what shows on your lock screen:
    Set up your device so that only the notifications that you want show up on your lock screen.

When you're all set up, get a quick overview on viewing and using your notifications.

Personalize your Home screens, sounds & wallpaper
  • Home screens:
    Your Home screens are the first ones you see when you turn on or unlock your device. You can customize them and add apps and widgets.
  • Ringtones:
    Change your default ringtone, have different ringtones for different people, and get new ringtones.
  • Sound and vibrate settings:
    Customize your device and app sound and vibrate settings, like touch sounds and volume levels.
  • Wallpaper:
    Change the wallpaper that's displayed on your Home screens.
Set your device to automatically show info you want

Get the information you want when you need it most with the Google app. It tells you today's weather before you start your day, how much traffic to expect before you leave for work, and even your favorite team's score while they’re playing.

Follow these steps to turn on the Google App and customize your information.

Get the most out of your Android

Install system updates

It's always a good idea to keep your system up to date. Learn how to check your Android version number and install the latest software updates.

Get tips for maximizing your battery life

There are a lot of ways you can optimize your settings to get the most out of your Android device. Check out our tips for maximizing your Android's battery life.

Elena is an Android expert and author of this help page. Leave her feedback below about the page.

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