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Switching From iPhone to Android Is Simple. It’s the Aftermath That Stings.


After I quickly switched from an iPhone to an Android telephone final week, I used to be bracing for a world of damage. I’ve owned solely Apple telephones ever since shopping for the first-generation iPhone in 2007. And, like many, I’ve purchased different Apple merchandise that pair properly, together with AirPods, an Apple Watch and an iPad.

That kind of loyalty is the premise of an antitrust case towards Apple introduced by the Justice Division, which has accused the corporate of utilizing monopolistic management over the iPhone to hurt opponents and deter prospects from switching to different telephones. To check that principle, I made a decision to briefly break up with my iPhone.

I used to be initially stunned by how easy it was to shift my iPhone information to an Android smartphone made by Google. Simply by putting in an app on my iPhone that Google made to assist individuals swap, I used to be in a position to copy my contacts listing, picture album and calendar into my Google account. Then, presto — all that information appeared on the Android.

I used to be nearly accomplished. After I known as my provider, Verizon, to switch my telephone quantity to the Android machine, my mission was achieved: I had change into an Android convert.

At first, I used to be pleased with my alternative — I had upgraded to a flowery Google Pixel telephone. However by Day 6, I used to be prepared to change again.

A bunch of annoyances added up. Regardless that I may nonetheless use most of my Apple merchandise, I began lacking my Apple Watch, which requires an iPhone to totally work. For software program, I used to be capable of finding Android alternate options for all my favourite apps — aside from Notes. Whereas switching telephones wasn’t technically laborious, Apple’s hooks have been nonetheless in me.

How Apple retains prospects loyal to the iPhone — and whether or not its practices hurt competitors — is on the coronary heart of the authorities’s antitrust go well with towards the Cupertino big.

Apple and the Justice Division declined to remark.

In its 88-page criticism, the division mentioned numerous Apple merchandise protected the corporate’s aggressive benefit with the iPhone, together with iMessage, Apple’s Pockets app and the Apple Watch. How laborious do these perks actually make it to ditch your iPhone? Right here’s what I discovered.

For essentially the most half, iPhone customers and Android customers can talk with one another simply by e-mail, telephone calls and apps like Slack, however in terms of textual content messaging, there’s nonetheless an apparent cut up often known as the “inexperienced bubble versus blue bubble” disparity.

When iPhone customers ship texts to different iPhones, the messages seem blue and may faucet into unique perks like an animation of birthday confetti. But when an iPhone consumer texts an Android consumer, the bubble turns inexperienced, many options break, and images and movies deteriorate in high quality.

Earlier than transferring my telephone quantity to the Pixel telephone, I used my iPhone to ship iMessages to my blue bubble comrades warning them that our conversations would quickly flip inexperienced. “Ew!” a buddy replied. However after many remarks made in jest, nobody protested, and I soldiered on.

Subsequent, I needed to detach my telephone quantity from iMessage on Apple’s web site to make sure that my textual content messages would cease going by Apple’s servers and arrive on my telephone. Except I did this, I might not obtain texts from different iPhones. Ultimately, the conversations turned inexperienced. I ready myself for humiliation.

However nobody gave me a tough time or excluded me. I did discover, nonetheless, that many pals had immediately stopped texting me images, maybe as a result of they knew the pictures would not look pretty much as good.

For years, a few of my closest pals have texted me solely by Sign, the third-party messaging app with robust privateness protections and lots of the identical options as iMessage. Sign can also be obtainable on Android, preserving that custom.

Apple has introduced that later this yr, it can enhance texts between iPhone and Android customers by adopting wealthy communication providers, a regular that Google and others built-in into their messaging apps years in the past. Texts despatched between iPhones and Androids will stay inexperienced, however photos and movies might be increased high quality.

For iPhones, the go-to app for making cellular funds in shops is Apple Pockets, and for Android customers, the equal app is Google Pockets. The expertise of utilizing every pockets app was similar: I loaded up my bank cards and Clipper card for the Bay Space’s speedy transit service.

The Justice Division’s criticism of Apple Pockets facilities on how Apple offers solely its app entry to the iPhone’s cost chip, stopping competing pockets providers from utilizing that chip to make funds. However the best way Apple designed its Pockets app had no impression on my capability to change to an Android.

For an iPhone proprietor, a major incentive to purchase extra Apple merchandise is that they work seamlessly collectively. A Mac laptop computer, as an example, makes use of lots of the identical apps for messaging, observe taking and reminders because the iPhone, and the information is synchronized among the many gadgets with Apple’s iCloud. In principle, the extra invested you’re in Apple’s ecosystem — and the extra that Apple restricts its merchandise from working with competing gadgets, the Justice Division says — the more durable it’s to change from an iPhone.

After I switched to an Android telephone, my emotions about utilizing different Apple merchandise ranged from reasonable annoyance to deep frustration:

  • The iPad labored independently from the iPhone, however I may not see my textual content messages on the pill anymore. This was minor as a result of I don’t do a lot texting on my iPad.

  • My AirPods Professional have been OK — they related shortly with the Pixel for enjoying music. However the draw back is that the AirPods use Adaptive EQ, a know-how that tunes sound high quality to the form of your ear, and it really works solely with software program on the iPhone. So audio doesn’t sound pretty much as good.

  • I couldn’t use my Android telephone to find my AirTags, the tiny Apple trackers I exploit to seek out my pockets and keys, on a map. However when my AirTags have been in my pocket, the Android telephone confirmed an alert that an “unknown tracker” was shifting round with me, a security characteristic for combating stalkers.

  • The Apple Watch requires an iPhone to arrange, however its health monitoring can work independently. As a result of I had already arrange my watch, I may proceed to make use of it on the health club alongside my Android telephone. However I may not see my detailed exercise information.

  • I bumped into different annoyances not particularly known as out within the lawsuit and eventually reached peak frustration after I tried to discover a alternative for Apple’s Notes, which I exploit recurrently on my Mac, iPad and telephone for work and private errands. I used alternate options however didn’t like them, and mixed with the aforementioned points, it was all an excessive amount of.

My expertise isn’t common. Some individuals would care greater than others about how sure Apple merchandise would change in the event that they switched telephones. Youthful individuals would most likely care loads about missing iMessage in faculties, the place a inexperienced bubble has been identified to be an invite for mockery and exclusion, in line with training consultants. Mother and father who use AirTags to trace their kids would view shedding entry to these as a deal breaker.

The upshot from this experiment is that whereas it’s not technically laborious to change to a unique telephone, there are many issues that might make you remorse it.

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