Switch from Android to iPhone 12: This is the best way to transfer your data

You want to "Move to iOS" but your photos, videos and message history are still on your old Samsung phone. Here’s what to do.

Patrick Holland Managing Editor
Patrick Holland has been a phone reviewer for CNET since 2016. He is a former theater director who occasionally makes short films. Patrick has an eye for photography and a passion for everything mobile. He is a colorful raconteur who will guide you through the ever-changing, fast-paced world of phones, especially the iPhone and iOS. He used to co-host CNET's I'm So Obsessed podcast and interviewed guests like Jeff Goldblum, Alfre Woodard, Stephen Merchant, Sam Jay, Edgar Wright and Roy Wood Jr.
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  • Patrick's play The Cowboy is included in the Best American Short Plays 2011-12 anthology. He co-wrote and starred in the short film Baden Krunk that won the Best Wisconsin Short Film award at the Milwaukee Short Film Festival.
Patrick Holland
3 min read

Move To iOS makes moving your Android messages, photos, videos and more a breeze -- sort of.

Patrick Holland/CNET

Maybe you don't want to wait for the heavily rumored iPhone 13 or for iOS 15 to come out. You bought an  iPhone  12, and are excited to use it, but all of your stuff is still on your old Android phone. In the same way Samsung and Google made it easy to switch from an iPhone to a Google Pixel 5 or Galaxy S21 Ultra, Apple designed a straightforward way to move all your data to your new iPhone.

Move To iOS is an Android app made by Apple that transfers contacts, message history, website bookmarks, mail accounts, calendars , photos and videos. Move To iOS also identifies any Android apps you had on your old phone and, if they're free in the  iOS  App store, downloads them on your new iPhone 12.

Read: iPhone to Android: The fastest way to move from iOS to Android

If you want to follow step-by-step through this process, watch our Switch from Android to iPhone with Move to iOS video below.

Transfer data from Android 9 or older to a new iPhone

The first thing you want to do is charge up both phones. Once the batteries are topped off, connect your Android phone to Wi-Fi. If you use Chrome on your phone and want to transfer your bookmarks, make sure the app is up to date before starting the transfer process.

Next, turn on your new iPhone and follow the prompts until you get to the Apps & Data screen. Choose Move Data from Android. On your Android phone, install Move To iOS from the Google Play Store, then open it. Back on your iPhone, tap Continue on the Move from Android screen. A 6- or 10-digit code will appear on the iPhone's display.


When prompted, type the code on your old Android phone to begin the transfer process.


Go back to your Android phone, tap Continue on the Move to iOS screen and read the Terms and Conditions. Tap Agree. On the Find Your Code screen, tap the Next button in the top-right corner. Then, type in the 6- or 10-digit code from your iPhone when prompted.

Next, from the Transfer Data screen on your Android device, select the content that you want to move to your iPhone and tap Next. This process can take awhile, so I recommend starting it before you go to bed or another time when you aren't using your phones for awhile. Keep in mind that, even if your Android phone indicates that the process is complete, leave both phones alone until the loading bar finishes on your iPhone.

Follow the onscreen steps to finish the set-up of your iPhone and download the free apps that were matched in the App Store. Finally, make sure that all of your content transferred by browsing through your photo gallery and message history.

Any music, books, or PDFs that you had on your Android phone will need to be moved over manually. You can use the Android File Transfer app on Mac or PC to download these things from your Android phone. You can add them to iTunes and sync to your iPhone or upload to iCloud Drive.


Transferring from Android 10 or newer to iPhone

If you're on a phone running Android 10 or newer and transferring to an iPhone, I recommend trying Move To iOS. If it doesn't work, there are third-party apps for Macs and PCs that should. A popular one is an app called AnyTrans.

Last, if you are heavily invested in the Google ecosystem, there's no need to leave it when you're on an iPhone. There are dozens of Google apps for iOS including: Google Chrome, Gmail, Google Drive , Google Calendar, Google Maps , Google Photos , YouTube, Google Play Music, Google Play Books and Google Play Movies.

Hopefully, this helped make your move from Android to iPhone easier. If you have any tips or software you've used to transfer your Android data to a new iPhone please share in the comments. Otherwise read the best hidden features of iOS 15.

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