The iPhone is one of the best business phones money can buy. It combines top-notch security with an easy-to-use interface, and arguably the best selection of apps on any mobile platform. But not every business user is satisfied being locked into Apple's closed ecosystem. Android, Apple's biggest competitor, simply has more options, so you can pick just the right phone with just the right features, at just the right price.
But changing mobile platforms isn't easy, especially if you rely on your smartphone to stay connected and productive every day. Switching from iOS to Android means negotiating a minefield of mediocre phones, and abandoning trusted Apple services in favor of Google apps that will take some getting used to. Read on for a step-by-step guide to switching your business phone from iOS to Android.
1. Pick a phone
The trickiest part of making the big leap is picking the right phone. Compared to Apple's current lineup, which includes three different versions of the iPhone, Android offers a dizzying array of devices to choose from.
Want the biggest display? The longest battery life? Stylus support? What if you want to run two apps on screen at once? These are all Android features you won't find on the iPhone. But if you pick just any old Android phone, you might get a clunker. Instead, consider these options:
Samsung Galaxy Note 3: The Note 3 is a performance powerhouse with a huge, 5.7-inch display, as well as a built-in stylus and a suite of handy note-taking apps.
Motorola Moto X: This solid smartphone has productivity-boosting features, such as touchless controls and an "active" display that shows your notifications on screen even when the phone is in standby mode.
HTC One: This well-rounded, premium Android phone has powerful hardware and a sleek metal body that gives it a more professional appearance.
LG G2: A powerful Android phone, this device also features the longest battery life of any smartphone on the market.
Motorola Moto G: Arguably the best budget smartphone for business, the Moto G takes many of the features that make the Moto X so good and packs them into a more affordable package.
2. Transfer your data
What good is a shiny new Android phone if all your important data remains stuck on your iPhone? Finding a way to transfer all your messages, files, contacts and calendar items makes for a major hurdle before you can get down to business with your new Android. Unfortunately, there is no single solution to this perplexing problem. But plenty of workarounds can help get your new phone loaded and ready for work.
Email: Android natively supports most popular email services. Whether you use iCloud, Exchange, Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Outlook or another webmail provider, just open up the Android email app and enter your credentials to sync your account.
Text messages: Transferring texts is a lot trickier, but dedicated users with a bit of technical know-how can pull it off. The process involves extracting a particular file from your iTunes backup data, then manually transferring that over to your Android phone via a USB connection. Step-by-step instructions are available here.
Calendar: The easiest way to transfer your iPhone calendar events to an Android phone is with a third-party app such as SmoothSync. Once the app is installed on your new phone, simply use it to log into your iCloud account. The app will automatically retrieve your calendar events and transfer them to your Android device.
Contacts: With Apple's iCloud service, you can sync your iPhone contacts to Gmail. After that, it's easy to access your full contacts list on your new Android phone. Step-by-step instructions are available here.
3. Switch services
Business users benefit from Apple's integrated suite of mobile services. With iCloud, it's easy to sync your emails, text messages, calendars, files and documents across all your Apple devices. Android can't quite match the iPhone's unified approach, but Google's suite of mobile apps comes close.
Email: Google's own Gmail is one of the best and most feature-packed email services around.
Cloud storage: Google Drive is a good alternative to iCloud for keeping your files and documents accessible, and it offers users 15GB of free cloud storage.
Documents: Android has native support for Quickoffice, which includes fully featured apps for viewing and editing Word documents, presentations and spreadsheets.
Calendar: Google Calendar has everything you need to plan your schedule and remember appointments.
4. Find the right apps
Content is king on any mobile platform. Thanks to Apple's strict screening process, the iPhone might have slightly better apps overall. But Android's app library isn't far behind, and most popular business and productivity apps are identical on both platforms. Give these gems a try.
Remote desktop: For small business owners, Microsoft Remote Desktop is a reliable — and secure — way to connect remotely to your work PC from your Android phone or tablet.
Note taking: Evernote isn't just a robust note-taking app; it's a tool to help you organize your life as well as your business.
Accounting: QuickBooks offers solid accounting tools to help you track and manage your finances on your Android phone.
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.