Google To Tempt iOS Users With Android Switch App

Google is looking to assist Apple iPhone users who are considering ditching the iOS platform, and switching to the less expensive Android ecosystem.

9to5Google has spotted hidden code in the updated Data Restore Tool for Android, which helps an Android user restore data from their old phone using a cable or a cloud backup.

So far so good then. Tools like this are often needed as it helps the Android community easily switch to a different Android phone, even if it is from a different manufacturer. It also allows them to easily migrate their data and apps to the new Android handset.

Switching platforms

When apps such as this are installed on the old and new Android phone, users can typically transfer apps, music, photos and contacts without too much trouble.

But for iPhone users hoping to jump ship from the Apple ecosystem onto the Android platfomr, the switching process is not nearly as smooth.

Apple users typically have to manually upload their contacts, SMS messages, photos and other data to Google Drive, and then copy the contents from there onto their new Android handset.

But that may be about to change.

In the official Data Restore Tool for Android on the Google Play Store, 9to5Google spotted references to a ‘Switch to Android app’ that will be available on Apple’s own App Store, according to the hidden instructions.

That’s assuming it meets with Apple’s approval however.

That said, Apple has offered its own ‘Move to iOS’ app for five years now on the Google Play Store.

“Google is developing a new iOS app called “Switch to Android,” which should be able to copy the most important data from your iPhone and bring over your apps,” wrote 9to5Google.

It said that it had decompile the Data Restore Tool for Android and found “various lines of code within that hint at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ever ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect.”

“Android’s official ‘Data Restore Tool’ got an update recently to version 1.0.382048734, and in it, we’ve noticed mentions of a Google-developed ‘Switch to Android’ app for iOS, similar to Apple’s ‘Move to iOS’ app for Android,” 9to5Google reported.

“From what we can tell, rather than copying your data through something like a USB-C to Lightning cable, the Switch to Android app flow will start a local Wi-Fi network (like a hotspot) on your Android,” reported 9to5Google.

“On your iPhone, you’ll connect to this new network, and the two apps will take care of the rest,” it wrote.

Long time coming?

9to5Google said it is not clear how this would work, beyond Google having a table that knows the Android equivalent of various iOS apps and installing them from the Play Store.

And lets not forget this would not work with any paid iOS apps, as the user would have to purchase the equivalent Android version from the Google Play Store.

“For now, the Switch to Android app is not yet in the App Store, but it should only be a matter of time,” 9to5Google reported. “Considering Apple has had the ‘Move to iOS’ app available for well over five years, it’s a surprise Google waited this long to offer an equivalent experience.”

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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