Google has started rolling out an iOS app to help those using Apple devices move their data to Android systems.
The Chocolate Factory’s “Switch to Android” app had been unofficially available in the iOS App Store to those with the direct link for about a week but is now published for anyone to try.
“The Switch to Android app from Google helps you quickly and securely move your most important data types – photos, videos, contacts, and calendar events — to a brand new Android device without fussy cables,” the app’s description explains, in reference to the cable-based data-transfer method previously recommended.
“The app also walks you through other important steps to setting up your device, like turning off iMessage so you don’t miss text messages from friends and family.”
Google’s Switch to Android webpage has yet acknowledged the company’s iOS data siphon; it still promotes using the Google Drive app for iOS to shift and lift data to Android. Google didn’t immediately respond to an inquiry about how Apple handled the app approval process.
Encouraging customers to transfer from one platform or service to another is common in the tech industry.
Google has encouraged Microsoft Office customers to shift their data to Google Docs, before it became part of Workspace. Microsoft has encouraged Chromebook customers to move to Windows 11 devices. Apple and Microsoft each tried to woo each other’s customers. And of course enterprise migration services abound.
Apple has been trying to entice Android customers for years. The iBiz introduced “Move to iOS” in Google Play back in 2015 and in 2020 launched a “Switch to iPhone” campaign.
However, Apple CEO Tim Cook, in an effort to discourage regulation that would force Apple to support sideloaded apps, has recently been undermining his company’s come-hither marketing by urging those who want to be able to load mobile apps without Apple’s approval to buy an Android phone.
Google, which supports sideloaded apps on Android devices, also wants people to buy an Android phone and, after a year or so of planning, has finally deployed its own iOS app to help that happen.
Doing so may be a matter of necessity for both companies. Global smartphone market growth has slowed and recently declined, thanks to economic headwinds.
Meanwhile, since 2018, according to StatCounter, Android’s market share has slipped from 77 per cent to 72 per cent while the market share of iOS has risen from about 19 per cent to around 28 per cent.
With some of the iOS gain coming at the expense of other mobile operating systems, which now at less than 1 per cent market share can’t be cannibalized much further, mobile market growth opportunities for Apple and Google look likely to depend on either must-have hardware innovation or eating each other’s lunch. ®