Moving from iPhone to Android

A few months ago I moved from an iPhone 7 Plus to a Pixel 3 XL. This was going to be my first Android device and I knew there was going to be a learning curve so I went with a flagship device and got the XL.

After using the phone for a few months I thought I would outline my impressions.

The Gotchas


The first thing I actually noticed was general performance. I didn't actually do benchmarks or anything like that but my 3 year old iPhone 7 felt snappier than a brand-new Pixel. I’ve gotten used to it but there are still times when I hit the button to leave an app, it goes to the home screen but then takes 1-2 seconds to load my icons. This might be less of an issue if you only use a few phone apps (phone, sms, instagram, spotify). I use a ton of phone apps so I kind of notice that stuff.

Group SMS vs Apple iMessaging

Oh boy. This was a big one. I was able to transfer my SMS messages but group messages can get really screwed up when you move off of iPhone.

From what I understand - on an iPhone your phone number is associated with your Apple Account and Apple iMessaging. Anytime you send a message to fellow iPhone user it uses iMessaging. If you create a group message and everyone is on iPhone it will also use iMessage otherwise it will use SMS.

When you move your phone number to Android it disconnects that number from Apple iMessaging. This isn't a problem for 1-on-1 messages because it will just default to SMS. But if you're in an existing group iMessage doesn't do that - instead it will send the message to the email associated with your Apple Account.

This happened to me several times because much of my family is on iPhone. They would pull up an old group message, reply to it and it would go to my email. The only way around it was to create a brand new group message. This group message will show up as a completely new thread in everyone’s messaging app and will likely confuse and annoy everyone. Fortunately this only happens if everyone in the group is on iPhone.


As far as I know you cannot backup your Signal messages from iPhone and restore them to Android - so all my Signal messages are still on my old iPhone. Also you’ll lose access to any of your Signal groups. Technically you'll still be part of existing Signal groups but you won’t be able to access them until someone else sends a message to that group.

App Installation

Understanding the distinction between apps that are in the app drawer vs the home screen. On the iPhone your app is in one location - on Android your app lives in the app drawer and you can have multiple shortcuts to it.

Google Pass

The passes in Google Pay aren't quite as robust as Apple Pay. E.g. If you want to add a concert or airplane tickets to Google Pay you might need to download their individual app. It is a lot easier in iPhone - they email you the ticket or boarding pass and you can automatically add it to your pass list.

The Good Stuff

It’s not all been pain. Here are some of the things that I liked about the phone.

  • YouTube picture-in-picture is fantastic

  • Almost all of the iPhone apps have solid Android versions. The obvious exceptions are the IOS native applications

  • Google Pay and Apple pay are about equal in their ease of use. Also Starbucks. But as I mentioned above not all passes are available.

  • Airpods work pretty well

  • There are game emulators in the Google Play store. That would probably be a lot cooler if I didn’t have Nintendo Switch.

Unless you've got a really specific reason to change I'm not sure it's worth it to move between ecosystems. Contrary to what fan boys say I think both ecosystems have compelling pros and cons. And like most things there are trade-offs that you have to be okay with.

I moved to Android because I was curious to try something new and can afford to be frustrated. But I'm probably an outlier.