Since opposition from Symbian, Microsoft and BlackBerry was wiped out, the market share for Android and iOS has remained pretty steady. One of the reasons for this is the difficulty in transferring data, settings and apps between platforms, but it looks like Google is about to launch an app to make the switch that bit less painless in future.
In an app teardown by 9to5Google, the site found references to a ‘Switch to Android’ app in the latest version of Google’s Data Restore Tool APK file. This will function in much the same way as Apple’s ‘Move to iOS’ app, which has been on the Google Play Store since 2015.
Frankly, it’s surprising that it’s taken Google this long to make its own version, as the process to transfer data from iOS to Android is a little intimidating to casual users. It involves backing up everything from your iPhone to Google Drive and then downloading it back again onto your brand new Android device.
Crucially, text changes in the app teardown suggests that this will not only be simpler than the Google Drive approach, but it will also be more thorough. While the old text referenced transferring content “like SMS messages and contacts”, the new one says it will transfer “apps, SMS messages and contacts.”
The addition of apps will go a long way to making the new phone feel nice and familiar, although paid downloads present something of a stumbling block, as there’s simply to way to transfer your payment from one operating system to the other. You just have to pay again, or do without.
Elsewhere, the text suggests that the transfer process won’t require any additional hardware, like a USB-C to Lightning cable, as the data transfer will be done wirelessly. The instructions seem to involve the Android phone creating a local WiFi network that the iPhone then connects to, creating a direct connection between the two.
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With the new app, Google is testing the theory that it’s convenience rather than brand loyalty that keeps Apple’s stubborn 20- to 28% hold on market share. We shall see how true that is when the ‘Switch to Android’ app appears on the App Store – assuming Apple lets it through, of course…