Even if you love Android, you can’t completely ignore iOS – and vice versa. But when the two operating systems don’t seem all that compatible, we understand why you would think that you have to stick with one or the other – but you don’t have to restrict yourself to one or the other. Both Android and iOS devices fall under the same category of mobile devices, however, at first glance this seems to be the only common trait they share. Android and iOS devices not only require different apps, they also offer different features and often work best with different brands of computers and smart hardware. All of this can make it difficult to use both mobile operating systems together, however even though these two operating systems may be tricky to handle together, there are some steps you can take to make them play nice with each other.
Below are seven tips to help your Android and iOS devices communicate with one another, so that you can live the best of both worlds!
- Decide on your preferred platform – The first step you need to take is to decide which platform will be your primary device and which will be your secondary. Don’t try to treat the devices as equals. Instead, choose your preferred operating system. This is the device where you’ll store your most vital data and apps, so it should be the one you feel more comfortable with, have been using the longest or already store most of your information on. The second one can act as a backup with a more limited selection of apps and data on it. It might sound strange that if you want your devices to work together, you still have to choose a favorite device. However, due to the incompatibilities between the systems, you unfortunately won’t be able to get every app you want running on both gadgets. In addition, some apps, including Snapchat and WhatsApp, only let you sing in on one device at a time as a security measure. If you download the programs on both, you’ll constantly have to log in and out of the app whenever you switch to your other device. We suggest running an audit on the apps you use most often to check how many logins you’re allowed. Then download the single-login apps to your primary device.
- Know your apps’ limitations – Get familiar with the apps that are only available on each device, this will help create a happy union of Android and iOS devices. Both operating systems will have apps that conduct similar functions, but using different methods and displays. It is a good course of action to get familiar with how these apps work and how the differ from their counterparts. Doing this may also help you decide which to make your primary device. For example, you can download all of Google’s apps onto your iPhone, but only one Apple app works on Androids: Apple Music. Therefore, if you rely on a lot of Apple specific apps it makes sense to make your iOS device your primary device.
- Install all your Google apps on your iOS device – If you are a big user of Google apps like Gmail, Google Drive and Google Maps then you’ll probably be happy to know that you can have access to all these apps on both an iOS and Android device. Google regularly updates its apps on both platforms, so you can, and should, download them to all your gadgets irrespective of the operating system. If you primarily store your data in Google apps like Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Maps—you’ll be able to access it on both iOS and Android. Google regularly updates its apps on both platforms, so you can, and should, download them to all your gadgets, irrespective of the operating system. Google will automatically store your data in the cloud and sync it to multiple phones or tablets. In other words, you’ll get Google Drive documents, saved Google Maps locations, Google Photos images, and other information on every device you own. Even Google Assistant will run on iOS. However, that version of the app won’t integrate with the system as well. For example, you can’t long-press on the Home button to launch it in iOS like you can on Android.
- Access your Apple data on your Android device – Unfortunately, getting your Apple data on an Android machine isn’t as easy as syncing your Google data to iOS, but it’s still possible. For example, the Gmail app for Android can access your Apple email. Tap the menu button (three horizontal lines) on the top left, followed by your account name and Add account. Finally, choose Other and enter your Apple login credentials. Getting Apple calendar and contact information on Android isn’t quite as easy, and any changes you make won’t sync automatically. Here’s how to set it up. First, log into iCloud in a web browser and export your data. Then the process for syncing your contacts and your calendar diverge. To share Contacts, select all your contacts, click the cog icon on the bottom left, and choose Export vCard. Then open Google Contacts online and import the saved file by scrolling down the left-hand menu and clicking More followed by Import. In the Calendar app, click the Share button to the right of your calendar, and then tick Public Calendar and copy the URL that appears. Next, open Google Calendar in a web browser and click the Plus icon on the left followed by From URL. Enter the URL that Apple Calendar gave you. This data then syncs to Google Calendar on Android. Although you make edits on an Apple device and see them on Google Calendar, the sync is only one way—your Android device can’t edit information on your Apple calendar.
- Choose neutral apps – As you’ll notice, syncing dedicated Google or Apple apps between the operating systems can be a hassle. Whenever possible, try to use platform-agnostic apps that don’t care whether they run on iOS or Android. These examples will sync seamlessly between your devices as long as you use the same sign-in credentials. For entertainment, watch movies through Netflix and listen to music through Spotify. For cloud storage, stash your files in Dropbox. The same goes for messaging and calling: You might set up Skype for video calling and Facebook Messenger for texting friends. You can even choose a neutral digital assistant, because Cortana is available for both Android and iOS.
- Trust in the cloud – When you use Android and iOS devices alongside each other, the cloud is your friend. The more data you keep online rather than in local storage, the more you’ll be able to access on any device. So if an app asks you where you want to save a backup or store data, choose the cloud option if it’s available. Many apps now default to cloud storage anyway, but if you do get the option, then take it. In addition, don’t bother paying for multiple cloud-storage systems—aim to stick with either Google Drive or iCloud. iCloud pricing currently starts at $1 a month for 50GB of storage, while Google will charge $2 a month for 100GB or more. If you plan to make your iOS phone or tablet your primary device, then you might opt for iCloud, which only works within the Apple ecosystem.
- Get help from your computer – If you have trouble transferring files between your Android and iOS devices, enlist the help of your computer. Going through this third party can succeed when a direct connection between phones or tablets fails. Take audio files in a popular format like MP3 or AAC. If you’ve purchased this music through iTunes, you can’t listen to it on your Android device because it doesn’t have an iTunes app. However, your computer can upload those files to Google’s cloud storage, allowing you to play your tracks through the Google Play Music app (for Android and iOS). First, install the Google Play Music Manager, which lets you transfer up to 100,000 songs to the cloud for free, on your computer. Then open the program and log into your Google account. To start the upload process, click Upload Music, choose iTunes, and then select Next. Now you can access those tunes on any device through Google Play Music. You can employ a similar trick to transfer notes between Google Keep and Apple Notes. Syncing their contents can be very difficult if you keep the apps on separate devices. But it’s easy if you perform the transfer on your computer. Open the website version of each app—Keep and Notes—in tabs on your computer’s web browser. Log in to both sites to access your notes, and then copy and paste the text from one to another.