Combining powerful hardware with flexible software and a huge app library, Android phones are great for business. But Google's open mobile-platform won't satisfy every business user. The iPhone, Android's biggest competitor, offers better security, more-streamlined services and arguably a better selection of productivity-boosting apps.
But changing mobile platforms isn't easy, especially if you rely on your smartphone to stay connected and productive every day. Switching from Android to iOS means adapting your workflow and abandoning trusted Google services in favor of Apple's own apps. Read on for a step-by-step guide to switching your business phone from Android to iPhone.
1. Pick a phone
One of the trickier parts of being on the Android platform is picking a phone. While Apple's current lineup consists of just three different versions of the iPhone, there is a dizzying array of Android devices to choose from. If you want the biggest display, the longest battery life or the option of stylus support, get an Android phone.
But Apple's phone still has a lot going for it. The iPhone 5s is one of the fastest smartphones available, and its premium build-quality and long battery life make it a top-tier device.
The iPhone 5s: Apple's flagship phone is for business users who won't settle for anything less than the latest, fastest iPhone.
The iPhone 5c: Apple's mid-tier phone, which comes in a variety of colorful casings, boasts zippy performance and a more affordable price point compared to the iPhone 5s.
The iPhone 4s: Apple's entry-level phone is a few years old, but it still makes a decent pick for small business users on a budget.
2. Transfer your data
What good is a shiny, new iPhone if all your important data is stuck on your Android? Transferring all your messages, files, contacts and calendar items poses a major hurdle before you can get down to business with your new device. Unfortunately, there is no single solution to this perplexing problem. However, there are plenty of workarounds to get your new phone loaded and ready for work.
Email: The iPhone natively supports most popular email services. Whether you use iCloud, Exchange, Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Outlook or another Web mail provider, just open up the iPhone email app and enter your credentials to sync your account.
Text messages: Unfortunately, there is no easy, free way to transfer SMS text messages from an Android handset to an iPhone. If you are absolutely determined to save your text messages, however, paid programs such as Phone Transfer can do it.
Calendar: Apple's iOS has a built-in feature to sync your Google accounts with your new iPhone. If you already use Google Calendar, then just follow the directions provided by Apple. If you use a desktop calendar application such as Outlook, follow these steps to sync your app to Google Calendar first.
Contacts: The same steps you use to sync Google Calendar with iOS will allow you to sync your Android contacts with your new iPhone.
3. Switch services
Business users benefit from Google's integrated suite of mobile services; those offerings include Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive and the Google Docs productivity suite. The iPhone can match all of those with applications built into the iOS operating system.
Cloud storage: Apple's iCloud is a good alternative to the Google Drive cloud storage platform for keeping your files and documents accessible from anywhere. New users get 5GB of storage for free.
Documents: The iPhone has native support of iWork for iCloud, which includes fully featured apps for viewing and editing word documents, presentations and spreadsheets. The mobile apps sync with the desktop iWork suite, so it's easy to switch among devices.
Calendar: The native iPhone calendar app has everything you need to plan your schedule and keep track of appointments.
Email: You don't need to switch your email address — the native email client on iPhone supports most popular email services.
4. Find the right apps
Content is king on any mobile platform. In terms of sheer numbers, the Google Play store rivals the selection of Apple's App store. But thanks to Apple's strict screening process, the iPhone might have a slight edge in terms of overall app quality. Give these gems a try.
Remote desktop: Parallels Access is a secure and reliable way to access your desktop computer from your iPhone. It differs from other remote desktop apps in that it includes the ability to "applify" your desktop programs, so you can access Microsoft Office, Photoshop or other desktop programs from your phone without launching the full remote desktop environment.
Note taking: Evernote isn't just a robust note-taking app; it's also a tool that can help you organize your life and your business.
Accounting: QuickBooks offers solid accounting tools to help you track and manage your finances on your iPhone.
Payment processing: No small business is too small to accept credit cards, especially since the Square Register app exists.
Video conferencing: If you need a solid video conferencing app to meet remotely with employees or clients, it's hard to beat Skype, the service that's synonymous with video chat.