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From the Forums: How does a longtime iPhone owner transition to Android?


Let’s talk about making “the switch.” Everyone does it, whether it’s from Android back to iPhone or vice versa, or when you first dropped your silly dumb phone for something smart. It can be difficult to adjust to a new digital world even if the fundamentals of these devices remain similar.

Such is the case for mshelbym, a lost user who is seeking some guidance as she shakes loose of her 9-year commitment to Apple to join the Android side. Let’s help her out real quick by answering some of her questions (our answers are in bold).

Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6 DSC09429

Questions Answered

Every time I press the home key, it asks me to select launcher (nova launcher, touchwiz home or touchwiz easy home). I choose Nova Launcher, but it does not set it as a default. I cleared the default and tried again. Nothing. Then I downloaded an app to help setting defaults and that didn’t work either. It seems to be the only (and most frustrating) action that is not setting a default. Is this a glitch? Is there something I can do? Uninstalling Nova Launcher is not an option, it’s the only way I’m surviving and getting use to the non-iphone.

When you choose Nova Launcher, are you making sure to also select the option that says “Always” as opposed to “Just Once”? It’s a common mistake that new Android users are prone to make. If that’s not the issue then it sounds like a nasty bug and you should contact your manufacturer to see if they can help eradicate it.

In my manual and several places online, it says that I should have a video camera on the bottom left corner of my phone dialer to make video calls, however, all I have is a visual voicemail button. Where is the option to make video calls, and if there isn’t one, what is the easiest way to going about making a video call – Hangout, facebooks, anything else?

This is a tough question to answer without knowing what device you have. For the record, video calling is a bit of a sore spot. There’s no set standard for it, so video calling someone typically involves having to find a dedicated third-party service to do it, which also requires both parties to be on that service. That’s even true for iPhone’s FaceTime, as you need to be talking with someone else who has an iOS device for it to work.

Read: 100 Best Android Apps, Best Facetime Alternatives for Android

So the best route is to go with a video calling service, and there are many good ones available on Android. You’ve already mentioned Hangouts as one, and it’s not a bad start considering it should come pre-installed on most folks’ phones. We’d also like to think Skype and Facebook Messenger get the job done just fine. Whatever you choose, though, be sure that the people you’re video calling also have the service installed.

One of the things I am missing from my iphone is my photo streams. Is there a decent replacement for this feature?

This depends on which feature of the Photo Stream that was most important to you. Was it the simple act of being a gallery? Most phones have that as standard. Was it the ability to see all your photos taken on any of your iOS devices? That’s going to be a bit trickier. Some phones have built-in multimedia syncing features, but they’re typically used as a cloud backup tool. We’d urge you to try Google Photos instead. It’s a free-standing service that can be installed on any device. It backs up the photos you take and they can be accessed and viewed on any device you have the app installed.

How are people coming along with the whole imessage issue with apple? I’m still having issues receiving group messages, but it’s only been a few days.

If you haven’t already done it, one of the most important things you need to do when switching from iPhone to any other platform is making sure your phone number is no longer associated with iMessage.

Read: How to turn off iMessage when switching from Android to iPhone

This is something you can do on the device itself, but if you no longer have access to that device you can also do it at Apple’s website. If you’re still having issues with group messages after unlinking your number, ask your friends or family if they can start a fresh group and re-add your phone number to clear up any potential compatibility issues that are lingering about.

When my screen is locked and phone is just sitting next to me, how do I get it to where when I get a notification, my screen will light up so that I can actually see it? Right now, I hear the notification, but I have to press my home key in order to see it on my lock screen.

Some phones have this option built-in, but if yours doesn’t then it’s easy to download an app that does exactly what you’re looking for. Here’s a good one for starters.

Pretty much 98% of my friends/family/co-workers have iphones, how do I become able to send emojis where they can see them?

The good news here is that emoji isn’t just an iPhone thing. It’s actually an open standard that many developers and manufacturers are starting to implement. Your phone should already have a keyboard that can send the standard set of emojis, but if you don’t you can always download one from Google Play.

We’d recommend getting Google’s keyboard as they seem to be quick to support all the new emojis that get added to the standard over time (though the recent addition of over 200 new emojis requires Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow). Emojis may look slightly different from device to device as each manufacturer and developer can choose to use their own styling, but they should ultimately convey the same expression.

There’s an app for that

As you can see, using an iPhone isn’t much different than using Android. Most of it is just a collection of apps that do specific things.

The biggest issue when looking for help is that every device is different — that’s the allure of Android, after all — so you may have to go about different ways of doing stuff depending on which phone you have (which is why it’s important to let us know which phone you have and which version of Android you’re on when asking questions).

Another common theme here: there’s an app for that. The irony kills me. If your phone can’t do something out of the box, there’s a good chance you can find something in Google Play that does exactly what you’re looking for.

Google Play Store wm watermark

Even if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, a Google search for your problem is likely to turn up folks who have been in your shoes and it could help steer you in the right direction. It even happens to me all the time (it’s how I was able to find my lost Android phone in a pinch) and I’ve been on Android since day 1.


So, to recap: if you’re another soul in mshelbym’s shoes, we urge you to start by checking the manual for your phone, as many features you’re looking for might be built in and there’ll be a different way to access them from every phone. From there, start searching for apps to get the job done.

If none of that helps, a Google search could help you find solutions as others have likely had the same issues. If you somehow haven’t been able to find anything yet, you can always stop by for more specific help (always make sure to include which phone and which version of Android you have) if you seem to have hit a dead end.

And finally, just give it some time. Use the phone and explore everything it has to offer. Get used to Android and all the great things you can do with it. Getting used to new stuff is always scary, but with time, repetition and usage you’ll find that being on an Android is often no different than being on an iPhone.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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