A Google Pixel Is the Perfect Phone to Wean You off Apple Products

A Google Pixel Is the Perfect Phone to Wean You off Apple Products

Back in August, I had the pleasure of playing with the Google Pixel 6a as my main phone. It’s the latest smartphone from the search engine giant, small with limited specs, while retaining Google’s phone ecosystem vibe. As a former iPhone user, this has been the perfect Android to use to detox from the Apple walled garden.

For years I had been wanting to break free from the iPhone: it’s the only Apple product I like using and the iPhone 13 Mini is a powerful device in a much smaller package than many other phones on the market (and I quite like small phones, despite now using a Pixel 7 Pro). I’ve long looked for an alternative and have often been left disappointed.

Beyond this, users who have experienced both the iPhone and an Android phone will likely agree that Apple has aced the user experience of their phone. It’s so simple, responsive and intuitive, giving you just enough options and rarely overwhelming you.

Android devices, largely speaking, love to overwhelm the user with choice, be it through bloatware or the vast amount of customisation options in the settings.

But it doesn’t need to be that way. Here are some insights from my journey away from the iPhone 13 and into the Pixel realm, written as a guide for somebody who wants to switch from iPhone to Android.

How to switch from iPhone to Android

To start with, we need to pick the right phone for your iPhone detox. This will involve quite a bit of research on your part, but keep in mind what Apple does best and why you likely enjoy your iPhone so much: simplicity.

For that reason, we think that the Google Pixel range of phones makes the most sense if you’re looking for an Apple alternative. I argue in favour of the Pixel 6a, the cheapest of the “6” range at $749, with a similar screen to the iPhone 13 and 13 Mini (60hz) at a much lower price. It’s quite the cheap iPhone contender.

However, I have since reviewed the Pixel and 7 Pro, which are a bit more expensive but offer some serious performance advantages. I love the Pixel 7 Pro and use it today.

Google’s phones, combining the company’s software with its hardware, don’t really have much bloatware, as the loaded apps are all part of the Google suite. This includes YouTube, Google Chrome (which is the default browser), Photos, Maps and more.

That being said, if you use other Apple products, such as a Mac, iPad or any of its online subscription services, you may be left without some features (or functionality) without a phone that compliments the system. It’s a question of which ecosystem works best for you, depending on what tech you like to use.

You’re also afforded all the same notification, widget and customisation permissions as on an iPhone (or any Android phone for that matter), so once you start having a play with the settings it’ll become second nature.

Additionally, Google has been very deliberate with the design of its phone: the Google Search bar is always at the bottom and a calendar is always pinned to the top of the first page.

These might be a bit jarring to an iPhone user. However, as Google has built a mostly stress-free operating system, it’s all quite easy to get used to.

Also, if you’re an AirPods user, don’t worry, your headphones will still work on an Android device.

How to transfer from iPhone to Android with Google Drive

When setting up your phone, begin by transferring your contacts and photos to the new device. If you’re on an iPhone, you’ll be able to do this through a Google account.

On your iPhone, install the Google Drive app, set it up with your Google account and hit “backup”, to have your contacts and photos synced to the account (note that you may have to enable permissions within your phone settings).

It’s really that simple. Just let it back up and you’ll be all set.

Downloading your favourite apps

It’s not bloatware if you’re actually using it. It’s as easy to install apps on any Android phone as it is to install them on an iPhone: just use the Google Play store, find your favourite apps and download them.

Now, something that worries many is app data transfer, which is a valid concern. While there are plenty of apps that wouldn’t allow for iPhone-to-Android data transfer (in particular older apps and phone games), many phone apps today rely on cloud storage separate to your devices.

What does that mean? Well, it means that I can install Slack, Spotify, Instagram, Twitter, Call of Duty: Mobile and League of Legends: Wild Rift without having to worry about data transfer. It’s all there, as long as I have an internet connection and the same account that I used on my iPhone.

This functionality actually makes the switch quite easy, but I would warn against getting rid of your iPhone to hastily, in case you’re unable to transfer some documents or files. If this is the case, try uploading them to Google Drive or iCloud from your iPhone and then try accessing them online.

How do I make Android feel like iPhone?

The switch from iPhone to Android doesn’t mean that the technology needs to feel super different.

One of the most overwhelming things about Android devices is the home screen and its layout. On some phones, there are so many apps stuffed onto each page, but thankfully you can easily change this.

Holding your finger down on the home screen, you’ll be able to change your app layout, your wallpaper and your widgets. Additionally, by holding your finger on an app, you can drag and place it wherever you want on the screen.

Android hidden apps

Another thing to keep in mind is the hidden apps that come on your Android phone. If you want to readily access these apps from your home screen, swipe up to access the “app drawer” and navigate to the app in question.

By holding your finger down on the app in the app drawer, you can drag and drop it onto the home screen for easy access. If you want to remove an app but still have it installed on the phone, hold your finger on it and drag it up to “remove” (and “uninstall” if you want it wiped off your phone entirely).

Can Android phones use iMessage?

Android devices can’t use iMessage, which means that some contacts might have trouble getting through to you. You can easily disable this through Apple’s iMessage disabling page.

Is Android better than Apple?

Although we’ve been talking about the Pixel 6a experience quite positively, it’s important to keep in mind that you might not enjoy an Android device as much as an iPhone. Because of this, if you can, give it a try for a few weeks or so before selling your iPhone or trading it in.

We recommend trying out alternatives to the iPhone, to get an understanding of the competition at the very least. You might even find an Android-exclusive feature that you enjoy quite a lot.

Personally, the in-built transcription feature on the Google Pixel’s audio recording app is terrific for me and my interviews, which is one of the reasons I’m so in favour of this phone.

But again, it’s all about preference and finding the right phone for you.

I wish you good luck in your iPhone to Android switch.

This article has been updated since it was originally published.