Apple has always been good at keeping people within its own little bubble. The company has strived for an insular ecosystem which can certainly make it tricky for those on the inside looking to break out. But it's by no means impossible.
This article has been sponsored by HP.
If you're ready to venture out of the Apple bubble into the wider world of tech, here's how you can do it.
Work out what you need and find a non-Apple equivalent
While hardware was once a major reason for jumping over to another brand, the points of difference between physical smartphones these days are pretty minimal. In other words, you're probably reading this because you're tired of iOS, have concerns over Apple's use of data, or simply want the freedom that comes with an Android, Windows, or Linux operating system, rather than switching it up for different hardware.
That being said, there are plenty of non-iOS alternatives to the apps and services available to Apple users, and making the switch over to most of them is fairly straight-forward.
One of the biggest services you'll probably want to cut ties with is iCloud, but luckily, Google Drive is waiting for you with open arms. In fact, it'll even help you transfer a bunch of your data from your iPhone to your new device. Download the app onto your iPhone and sync your contacts, photos, videos, and calendars, then follow these instructions for getting that data onto a new Android phone.
For iMessage, there are a ton of great universal alternatives that you're probably already using, so there shouldn't be any issues for you there. Facebook Messenger is a good start and can even be used as a standalone app, so you can still avoid Facebook proper if that's something you're keen on. If data privacy is important to you, apps like Signal or Wickr will ensure your messages are encrypted. WhatsApp is also another good alternative to iMessage.
When it comes to transferring data from a Mac computer to a PC, things are a little easier – a standard portable hard drive should do the trick. It's worth noting, however, that Apple-specific apps and the files that rely on them won't be able to be used, but chances are there's a good alternative in place.
Some software and services don't even need to be replaced completely, like Apple Music for example, which will work perfectly fine on Windows or Android, but if you plan on ditching Apple completely, Spotify is just as good, if not better for music streaming.
If you like using GarageBand for making or recording music, there are heaps of excellent PC equivalents, whether it's premium software packages like Cubase or Ableton, or free alternatives like Reaper. Movie Maker 10 is a good free replacement for Apple's iMovie if that's something you used for home movies.
In terms of password management, you can easily swap out the iCloud Keychain for a third-party app like 1Password or LastPass. For everything else, a quick Google search should put you on the right path for a suitable Windows/Android replacement.
Pick up some new hardware
Of course, you can't ditch the Apple ecosystem while you're running Apple hardware, so think about what operating system you'd like to go with and look into some hardware options. The most common alternative is Android for smartphones and Windows for laptops/desktop PCs, so that's generally a pretty good place to start.
Smartphones have a ton of options, with the Samsung Galaxy and Google Pixel ranges coming in as the top iPhone contenders. Samsung's phones provide good all-rounder alternatives, while the Pixel is a good bet if you wanna lean into Google's ecosystem a little harder. Outside of those, there are a bunch of other options, such as Huawei, Oppo, and Nokia smartphones.
While Apple was once on top with regards to laptop design, most brands now offer a sleek, slim model with just as much power and portability. Some will even offer far more than just a standard computer. For example, 2-in-1s such as the HP Spectre x360 (pictured above) fold all the way around to become a tablet with touchscreen functionality.
Don't buy everything at once
The good thing about making this transition is that you don't have to buy everything in one hit. In fact, there's nothing stopping you from running an iPhone and a Windows PC simultaneously because fortunately, Apple plays nice with a lot of its essential software.
Even if you do have to connect an iPhone to a PC – which is pretty rare these days given the variety of wireless setup options available – you can still easily install and run iTunes on Windows.
In other words, don't feel like you need to run out and buy a whole new suite of personal tech just to rip yourself out of Apple's ecosystem. Go with one device at a time, get a feel for it, and then size-up something else. This approach will also save you from outlaying a large sum of money in one hit, which means you can spend a little more on each item as you go to ensure you're getting quality devices.
Either way, it pays to do your research before jumping into something headfirst.