I don’t have any hard data on this, but most people probably categorize the move to a new phone somewhere around “teeth cleaning” and “DMV trip.” A few years ago I felt that way too. Dozens of phone revisions later, swapping devices has become as routine as taking out the recycling every week.
Sure, sometimes things break down and I have to tag my wireless service provider (thank you very much, é SIM), but I am living proof that it is possible to switch to a whole new phone every week without serious emotional or social consequences. And you can too! I promise you it’s not as painful as it seems.
I am living proof that you can switch to a new phone every week without serious emotional or social consequences.
Most people will probably upload a cloud backup from an old device when setting up a new phone, which is by far the easiest way to go if you can. But maybe you’re doing something more ambitious, like switching between iOS and Android, or just want to start over with a new phone.
This is how I handle chaos, including the first things I do on every new phone. Hopefully, you’ll find some tips to help smooth the process the next time you switch, or at least some encouragement to get you on the journey.
the first thing I do is turn off RCS or iMessage on old phone. I cannot stress enough how important this step is. It’s not necessary when you’re switching from iPhone to iPhone or Android to Android, but if you’re going from one platform to another, you’re going to be in a world of pain if you forget this step. Ask me how I know.
You may also need carry your two-factor authentication tokens of the old device before resetting it. Google Authenticator now allows you to use cloud backup to bypass this step, although it’s slightly less secure in theory.
you will also want make sure your contacts are synced with your Google or iCloud account Before you switch: Proprietary apps like Switch to iOS and Samsung Smart Switch come in handy here. You can also transfer photos if you save them on your device instead of in the cloud, but personally, I take too many photos to transfer all of them each time. I back up my keepers to Google Photos, which is easy to do on both the iPhone and Android and makes switching between platforms much easier.
Contact syncing is pretty straightforward, but your message history is another matter. Can move SMS texts between platforms With those first-party switching apps, and chats in iMessage or RCS can be easily transferred to a new device on the same platform. But RCS and iMessage don’t mix, so you can’t easily bring those conversation threads to your new device.
Personally, I let them all go and start a new conversation on each new device. That’s not for everyone, and it’s one of the biggest pitfalls to consider if you’re thinking of switching platforms.
With all that out of the way, I insert that good sim card…unless you’re using an eSIM-only iPhone 14. In that case, I cry softly during my trip to the nearest Verizon store, where I ask a friendly sales representative to give me a physical SIM card.
Switching phones to eSIM is complicated at best, and it won’t work if I’m switching to a phone that isn’t on sale yet. (A scenario that is certainly unique to my circumstances.) Hence, the switch to a physical SIM and the trip to the store. I have tried ordering a SIM and doing it myself. I have tried to do it through the support chat and by phone. It rarely goes well.
you know my best friend, 1 password? It’s the first app I download on every new phone. The random passwords it generates are much more secure than anything else I can think of, and it’s a lifesaver to have it all in one place. Even if you don’t change phones often, I recommend using a password manager.
Once that’s done, I download a handful of must-have apps (thanks to Strava and Starbucks) and check for app updates by pressing the “Update All” button in the App Store or Play Store. The vast majority of the apps I use regularly are free and available on both platforms. In very rare cases, I have paid twice for an app to have it on both Android and iOS. That sucks, but honestly, having my love pocket city 2 available on every device i use is totally worth 10 bucks.
Finally, I turn to the settings menu to check for a software update (and an update to the Google Play framework on Android phones). This isn’t just a phone reviewer thing; it’s good tech hygiene when setting up a new device.
Those are the essentials. Here’s a short list, in no particular order, of other preferences I’ve set on new devices:
- Turn on battery percentage in the status bar because I crave this information always.
- Maximize display settings and performance. Some phones don’t turn on the highest screen refresh rate by default, and if you paid for a phone with a 120Hz display, by golly, you should be able to use that.
- Maximize screen timeout. Who wants to keep waking up the screen while following a recipe?
- Turn on display always on if available.
Switching to a new device or operating system can seem daunting when you’re so comfortable with your old one, and I’ve had plenty of awkward moments when switching to a new phone. You can use the tools that phone manufacturers include to help you transfer all your old apps and preferences, but even if you don’t, I promise you, switching to a new device isn’t as horrible as it sounds. Just trust me on the password manager thing.