Make Switching Android Phones Easy

by Sandra Henshaw - , Last Updated on July 24, 2015, Android

Getting a new phone is pretty exciting all around, right up until you switch the thing on and then have to spend an entire evening transferring all your stuff to your new device. But if you’re an Android user, then there’s some great news for you. Switching all your data (and we do mean all) is dead simple between Androids. So if you’re looking to set up a new phone, here’s all you need to know.

The Middle Man

There are several methods of transferring data into your new phone, and you might want to use just one, or a combination, depending on how you want to do things. So we’ll start off with the old fashioned method. A bunch of your data can be transferred using your computer as a middle man. There are two ways of doing this. One is to download software (usually free) from the manufacturer of your phone, Samsung’s Kies programme, for example, use it to back up your old phone, then plug your new phone in and transfer the files. Of course, that works best if your old and new phones are both the same brand.

Alternatively, plug your phone into your computer using its USB cable, make sure that you click “USB storage” or the equivalent which will appear on the screen of your phone (you might need to pull down the task bar to see it), then click and drag files onto your computer, just as you transfer files between folders on your PC. Plug in your new phone and repeat in reverse. Both these ways are solid methods, but there’s the downside of certain kinds of data being difficult to transfer (especially contacts and old SMS messages).

Go Google…

One of the nice things about Google apps is that they’re all interconnected, and all connected to one Google account (as long as you used the same Google email to register for all programmes). That means that as long as you store your data in Google apps, you can easily access it on another Android device.

Transfer all your music into Google Play Music, your pictures into Google Pictures, your apps will already be connected to your Google Play account, and your web history to your Google Now account, and of course your emails are in your Gmail account. Simply turn on your new phone, sign in using your Gmail address and magically all your Google stored data is reachable without you needing to do a thing. Again though, you might find that some things are missing, most notably contacts and old messages. Plus, you’ll need an internet connection to get any of your data out of the Cloud that Google has stored it on, which might not always be practical…

Back Up Those Contacts to Google

As you have probably already noticed, one area of data transfer that can be a bit tough is those contacts. However, you can back your contacts up to Google, making them available to transfer later, in a very simple process.

Open the contacts app on your phone, and hit the menu button, then select import/export. From the next menu select “import from SIM card.” A new screen will give you a variety of options, and the one you want is the one that simply says Google. You might be prompted to sign into your Gmail account, if so, do it. The next screen will say “reading from SIM card.” When that message disappears, your contacts will be saved to your Google account.

Getting those contacts back onto a new phone is equally easy. Open the contacts app again, hit the menu button, then choose “accounts.” Select the Google account that your contacts are stored in and toggle the button next to “contacts” to on. And that’s it, all your contacts should magically appear. This is handy if you lose your mobile too!

Get Modern

If you’ve got a top end or mid range phone then you might have an even easier option. You’ll need both your old phone and your new phone to be NFC capable. But if they are, and you’re running Android 5.0 Lollipop, then switching phones is incredibly easy.

First, go into the settings menu on your old phone, find the wireless and networking option and then make sure that NFC is switched to on. You’ll need to do this BEFORE you get started with your new phone. Pull your new phone out of its box and switch it on, you might need to wait a few minutes while it does some basic set up stuff. Eventually you’ll be asked if you want to “tap and go.” Answer yes, then when prompted tap your old phone against the back of your new phone. If this is successful you’ll be asked to put in your Google account password, and then you should be good to go. All your data should have transferred across to your new phone. How easy is that?

Depending on what apps you had on your old account you might be presented with a list of apps and you’ll be able to decide which you want to restore to your new phone and which you don’t need any more. Other than that though, your new phone should be more or less identical to your old one (but much, much cooler, obviously).

Whilst Google’s integration does cause concerns for privacy for many people, the benefit of having all your data stored with Google is that switching between Android phones is incredibly easy these days. Apple users have long had the convenience of iTunes, and later Apple’s Cloud, to restore and reset their devices, but thanks to Google, Android users now have the same benefits. In most cases, you should be able to set up your new phone in less than ten minutes, which will leave you plenty of time to play around with your new device to find out just what it can do!