The Great Switch Challenge – iOS to Android

I have been using an iPhone essentially since the first iPhone came out. Until recently I also picked up every new iPhone pretty much as soon as it was released. There were times when I skipped an “S”, but never missed more than one generation. These days I’ve been rocking a 6+ since they came out, skipping the 6S and the 7 series releases. They just haven’t seen like worthy upgrades. In the past camera improvements generally were enough to get me to upgrade, but the 6+ camera has been solid and I carry a GoPro HERO5 Black whenever I’m going somewhere that could use some higher quality video.

I’ve been looking for a new challenge, so I will be jumping in and attempting a switch over to . As a long-time user with a lot of reliance on the Apple ecosystem, I suspect this will be tough. I have a Google XL en route, and have already amassed a list of challenges that will need to be dealt with:

  • Almost everyone I message with is via iMessages
  • I use FaceTime with my family regularly
  • I rely on the “family” iOS / features, like a shared family calendar and notes
  • All my photos, 40,000+, and 2,000+ videos are in iCloud Photo Library and losing or moving them is not really an option
  • I don’t want to re-buy a long list of apps that I use just due to switching platforms
  • Some of the applications I use regularly are iOS / only
  • I don’t expect my family to switch their devices or how they use them, nor do I plan to move away from nor replace my iPad, MacBook, or Apple TV, so I will need to find ways to sync or otherwise co-exist form an Android with an iCloud and iOS / Mac environment
  • Have quite a few “smart home” devices that I won’t want to lose the ability to control/manage
  • My wireless carrier is AT&T and they don’t offer the Google Pixel directly, however I do want to go with that phone, so I plan to do a SIM card switch and hope my iPhone specific plan works and won’t cause issues or surprise charges
  • Android is not as secure as iOS.  Being in the information security field this is quite important

To move from iOS to Android, “just because”, especially with such a long history on iOS without really much to complain about may seem odd, but iOS has been feeling stale and not too innovative, and I like a technical/gadget challenge.  I suspect this will provide a good distraction and sharpen some skills that may be a bit dated as I haven’t played with an Android phone in a while, although I have done some Android development in the past.

I’m going into this with a few expectations/assumptions:

  • Reverting back to the iPhone will always be an option.  I’m not selling or wiping it.
  • I expect to carry the iPhone in parallel with the Pixel, at least at first.  Primarily to keep my Apple Watch functional, and also because I don’t expect a quick transition given some of the above challenges.
  • The goal will be to part ways with the iPhone at some point.
  • I expect to move back to an iPhone in the future, assuming future iOS and/or iPhone models are innovative enough.

That last point is important, because it frames my migration as not only being able to move from iOS to Android, but hopefully to do it in such a way that moving back and forth is not an issue in the future so I am not locked in to any single vendor’s devices/ecosystem.

So, off I’ll go, disrupting my fairly stable Apple consumer device world for the , challenge, and frustration of it.  I plan to document it here in case it will help others who also attempt such a switch.  I also plan not to achieve that plan, as writing regularly has historically not been a strong point for me.  I will try to be better about it, and should be good to capture at least some of the first few, and hopefully bigger, hurdles.

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