Technology

Move from Android to iOS and transfer WhatsApp from Samsung Phone to iPhone

With the public backlash against WhatsApp with their privacy policy revision, this may not be the best time for this post, but still here it is.

I recently got a new iPhone. I am coming to an iPhone after exactly a decade, my last was iPhone 4 in 2010 and now it is iPhone 12 Pro. While waiting for the new phone, I made a check list of all the items and apps that needed to be moved from the Android phone (Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite) and where their data resided:

  1. Contacts – Google Contacts
  2. Calendar – Google Calendar
  3. Mail – Microsoft Outlook and GMail
  4. Notes – Evernote and Google Keep
  5. Files – Dropbox and Microsoft OneDrive
  6. Photos – Plex Server and Google Photos
  7. Tasks – Microsoft To-Do
  8. Books – Amazon Kindle and Calibre E-Book
  9. Music and Movies – Streaming services and Plex Server
  10. Browser – Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome & Firefox
  11. Longform Articles – Pocket & Evernote
  12. Password Manager – KeePass
  13. SMS – Microsoft SMS Organizer & SyncTech SMS Backup & Restore for Android
  14. Messaging – WhatsApp

It was clear that I will face no issues with items 1 to 12, I just need to install the apps in iOS (exceptions explained later), then login to have the data restored to the new phone from the cloud.

I realized WhatsApp for backing the history, messages and media uses the default cloud storage for the platform; in Android it is Google Drive while in iPhone it is iCloud. This means there is no common cloud platform between iOS and Android to get WhatsApp data from one to the another. Whenever I receive through WhatsApp an important media (Photos, Videos and Files) I immediately save them to Google Photos or Dropbox as I see fit. So, media files won’t be a problem for me. But there was no (official) way to move the history and individual messages in WhatsApp from (Android) Samsung Galaxy phone to iPhone. Google search turned up a lot of junk and unverified methods. After much search and reading reviews from reputed sources, I went with buying a third-party app called  Wondershare Dr. Fone for iOS/Android for USD 20.

Disclosure: I write reviews about products that I have bought for my usage and paid in full. There were no sponsorship or advertisement, or commission of any sort involved in this post.

When the new iPhone arrived, I followed the instructions from Wondershare here and the FAQ here to first backup the data from Android and then to restore it in the iPhone. The process involves quite a number of steps – but the app prompts with step-by-step instructions, even verifying whether you are doing them correctly. You will need a PC or a Mac for the process. Dr Fone software installs in your PC/Mac and will require iTunes software in PC for the restoration process. It uses several tricks to accomplish the backup and restore process. While I was apprehensive and uncomfortable with its approach, it worked – all the data from Android WhatsApp came to my new iPhone without any noticeable issues. Since the app acquired a lot of permissions, I uninstalled Dr Fone app and iTunes promptly from my PC once I got the data migrated to iPhone.

I recommended Dr Fone to a friend who had bought a new iPhone, it worked for him too well. Having said it, I am no security expert and I have no insights on how the app works, so please use it with caution and at your own risk.

For the apps mentioned in the post I use the respective official apps in both iOS and Android, except when not available as in the case of Calibre & KeePass and for SMS alone I prefer Microsoft SMS Organizer. So:

  • for eBooks to connect to Calibre server, I use KyBook 3 for iOS and Moon+ Reader for Android.
  • for KeePass, I use StrongBox for iOS and Keepass2Android for Android.

2 Comments

    • venkatarangan

      I believe the same third-party app from Wondershare will do the reverse (iOS to Android), but I haven’t tried. The last time (2010) I moved from iOS to Android, I think I hadn’t started using WhatsApp or it didn’t exist widely. In those days, you had to manually backup files from the iPhone using iTunes to your PC/Mac, then do a similar transfer to Android using Android File Transfer app using USB cables!

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