Android to iPhone: Setting up your Google apps

android-to-iphone

In our last entry, we covered how to transfer your contacts from an Android phone to an iPhone, but if you’re anything like me you still have a lot of data tied up in Google’s mobile apps. You have two choices: (1) begin the gradual migration toward using Apple’s stock apps, or (2) outfit your new iPhone with all the apps necessary to pick up right where you left off on your Android.

This article concerns the latter option and will cover how to set up Google’s apps on your iPhone without missing a beat. This includes GMail, Google Maps, Google Voice, Chrome, and more.

GMail

GMail app icon

While Apple’s stock Mail app offers a respectable email experience, don’t even bother setting it up. Head to the App Store and download GMail, enter your Google account credentials, and be done with it. Not only does the app look great and function even better, but a savvy GMail user (with enough forwarding, filters, and labels) can turn the app into a one-stop shop for email.

GMail is the ultimate cross-platform mail tool, and keeping everything native to Google’s web and mobile apps will help keep you on top of your inbox. If you install only one Google app, this might as well be it.

OK, if you want you can set up your sundry other email addresses designated for spam or whatever purpose for use in Apple’s Mail, but why would you want those messages cluttering up your phone, anyway?

Google Search

Google was built on search, so this is another no brainer. You can use the search portion of the app without doing so, but logging in with your Google account will provide a search history synced across all devices.

Google Now for iOS

It will aslo afford you the benefit of Google Now, a service introduced in the app’s latest update that will be familiar to any Android expat. Yes, all of your accumulated Now data should start to populate at its new iOS home.

Though available cards aren’t quite as numerous as those found in its Android counterpart, with a bit of TLC from Big G, Google Now has a promising future on iPhone.

Google Voice

google voice for iphone

Funny story: when switching between Android phones I forgot to set up my Google Voice account. Three months of wondering why no one ever left me voicemails later, I opened the app only to realize my folly. People were indeed leaving me messages, I simply was not receiving them.

I say this simply because those accustomed to using Voice as a voicemail solution on Android might forget that it is a service outside of what most carriers provide, and therefore a must download for your new iPhone. Otherwise you could find yourself in the same situation as I did.

While the app hasn’t received the same sort of attention to detail as some others from Google, Voice, like GMail, is the best way to keep your voicemails synced across devices. It also provides texting and calling services to boot. Your other choice is to disengage Google Voice from your current number and shift to iOS’ visual voicemail system. Voice is the obvious answer.

Google Maps

Google Maps iOS icon

Let’s not even touch on the whole debacle that was the initial launch of Apple Maps. OK, maybe we can reflect on it in silence for a moment before realizing that Google Maps is the way to go, especially if you have been using the Android equivalent to navigate the streets.

Google has put out a real polished product for their iOS offering, and the service offers everything from turn-by-turn navigation to public transit directions, info on nearby places, and more. Again, logging in to your Google account allows Maps to take advantage of your search and navigation history.

Chrome

How could we forget Chrome? If you use Chrome on your desktop, if you used it on you Android, you are going to want it on the iPhone. You get the same great interface with tabbed browsing, etc., plus you can sync tabs across devices. How cool? OK, not that cool if you have been using the feature on Android.

chrome-browser-ios

Otherwise, once again your Google account provides the keys to the magical trove of data Google has been collecting on you, providing you with search and web history to easily recall frequent or recent web adventures.

Google+

google+ ios icon

Last but not least on our little list, Google’s social network had to make an appearance. Google+ has been growing steadily, with a recent report that the service is outpacing Twitter and on its way to the number two social network in the world.

While Facebook still reigns in this realm, and, alongside Twitter, sees direct integration into iOS, Google+ hasn’t received the same treatment (despite its ever-increasing popularity). No worries, Google has the app for you, bringing along mobile hangouts taking advantage of the iPhone’s FaceTime camera, instant upload photo sync, the ability to share photos directly to events, and more.


So there you go, your iPhone should be sufficiently Google-fied at this point, giving you a warm sense of familiarity and opening access to a world of internet-connected services. Opting to go full-Google does not come without its drawbacks, however.

For starters, very few Google services get direct integration into iOS — links won’t divert themselves to Chrome, Siri will still insist on using Apple Maps, etc.. To top it off we’re still missing out on a few apps familiar to Android users (Google Talk and Google Play Music being the two biggies). But for what they bring to the table, you can’t go wrong with defaulting to any of the above apps, whether you are making the switch from Android or a long-time iOS user.

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  • ReverseRoxas

    Kevin, we love and miss you on Phandroid. Great article here, this will be good to use for some of my family.

  • Chris

    Kevin, you’re forgetting one MAJOR problem with using the Gmail app on iOS (or any other third party email client for that matter). If you are in an app and want to share something via E-Mail, your ONLY option is the stock email app. If you use Gmail (or Mailbox like I do), in order to share things via email from other apps you have 2 options: a) just give up and use something besides email or b) set up the same email account you use in the Gmail app in the stock iOS mail app, then go into settings and disable checking for new emails in the stock app. This way you can use the Gmail app for recieving email and the stock app for sending email from other apps. Without jailbreaking, it is physically impossible to share things via email from apps using anything but the stock email client.

  • kascollet

    There are many Google Music clients on the App Store (I use GMusic myself), but sadly Google hasn’t issued his own yet.