If you’ve recently made (or are about to make) the move from iOS to Android, you might be wondering how you’re going to get your music and contacts moving from platform to platform. Here’s how.
Contact shifting is easy
Shifting contacts from iOS to Android is one of the easiest things you’ll ever have to do, thanks to Google Sync; it’s notably simple if you still have your iOS device — or at least access to it for long enough to make the sync happen.
On your iPhone, choose Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendars. Set up a new “CardDAV” account, and enter your Gmail contact details. For server, choose google.com, and then make sure you put Contacts to the ON setting before then opening up your Contacts within iOS itself. That will sync your contacts to Google, and because a Google account is something you’ve got to have for an Android device to function, it’s simple to then access those contacts.
You can’t stop the music
Shifting your music from iOS to Android devices does not need to be all that tricky, but there are a few key steps to keep in mind, depending on how you’ve sourced your iTunes library.
If you ripped your music from CDs
It’s perfectly legal under Australian copyright law to rip CDs (or, for that matter, tapes, LPs or even wax cylinders, although the number of those you have in your music collection is probably low) under the format shifting provisions. If you just chose to import your CDs directly, the chances are high that they’re in AAC format, which not every Android player will handle with aplomb. You may have to look into coverting them into MP3 format for maximum compatibility — but again this varies from player to player.
So where are they? iTunes has slightly different default folders where it places your music, depending on your operating system of choice.
username in every case there should be your account name; on many personal computers you’ll only have choice once you get to that level in Windows Explorer or Mac OS Finder in any case.
If you purchased your music through iTunes
The default library locations are identical for purchased iTunes music, but depending on how old your library is, there may be an additional hoop to jump through. iTunes music purchased prior to April 2009 will still be in protected AAC format, which won’t automatically play on anything but approved devices. No prizes for guessing how many Android devices get Apple’s tick of approval, although it’s worth noting that the DRM is there because the record labels insisted for a long time that it had to be.
So what can you do if you’ve got lots of protected AACs? There are two options. You can pay iTunes for the “iTunes Plus” version of the song — typically a 50c surcharge — and that could be worth it if you’re only talking one or two songs from a simple hassle point of view, and you would end up with a higher bitrate version of the song.
But it’s annoying to go through that hoop for the sake of it if lower bitrates don’t fuss you much, and there’s another way around it. iTunes DRM does allow you to burn a CD from your purchased music, and you could use that to then rip out in any format you’d like. It’s a wriggle around the licensing provisions, but it does work.
Getting music onto an Android device
There are nearly as many ways to connect up an Android device to a computer as there are Android devices, so in some ways you can take your pick. But here are my two favourite ways to get Android music happening, either with multiple devices or on a case by case basis.
If you’re just looking to shift music to a single long-term Android device, I favour using AirDroid a free Android app that turns your device into its own tiny server. Download and install it from Google Play on your Android device, run it while connected to the same wireless access point and choose to skip setting up an account. It’ll then give you an IP address that you type into any PC or Mac browser, which will start the pairing process. Choose Accept, and you’re presented with a simple drag and drop interface for all kinds of files to or from your Android device, including music files.
If you’re using multiple Android devices — as I often am, changing from review devices frequently — it may be worth investing in a cheap microSD card. There are limitations in the newer versions of Android as to which apps will run off a microSD, but no such limits if you’re just stuffing it full of music. Simply copy the tunes to your taste over to the microSD, pop it in your Android device and your music player should pick up your music within seconds. The advantage with this approach is that when you change Android devices, while you will have to set up your Google account afresh, you’ll have music ready to go.
Lifehacker 101 is a weekly feature covering fundamental techniques that Lifehacker constantly refers to, explaining them step-by-step. Hey, we were all newbies once, right?