Google preps “Switch to Android” iOS app for migrating data from an iPhone
If you’re jumping ship from Android to iOS, Apple offers an app called Move to iOS on the Google Play Store, allowing you to seamlessly migrate your Android data to an iPhone. But if you want to do the opposite — switch from iOS to Android — Google currently doesn’t have a similar tool on Apple’s App Store. But at last, Google seems to be readying a rival.
With the release of Android 12 Beta 3, Google revamped the SetupWizard UI to fit better with Material You guidelines. During the setup process, the SetupWizard launches a system app responsible for helping the user restore data from their old phone. That app, called the Data Restore Tool, was recently published to Google Play, and an update to version 1.0.382048734 contains strings hinting that Google wants to help iPhone users switch to Android.
<string name="ios_wifi_hotspot_instructions_first_step">Step 1:</string>\n<string name="ios_wifi_hotspot_instructions_first_step_message">Get the <b>Switch to Android</b> app from the App Store®</string>\n<string name="ios_wifi_hotspot_instructions_second_step">Step 2:</string>\n<string name="ios_wifi_hotspot_instructions_second_step_message">Go to your Wi-Fi settings</string>\n<string name="ios_wifi_hotspot_instructions_third_step">Step 3:</string>\n<string name="ios_wifi_hotspot_instructions_third_step_message">Connect to network <b>^1</b> and enter password <b>^2</b></string>\n<string name="ios_wifi_hotspot_instructions_title">Follow these steps on your iPhone</string>
The strings tell the user to download a “Switch to Android” app from the App Store and then go to Wi-Fi settings on your iPhone to connect to your Android phone using a Wi-Fi hotspot. This is similar to how the Move to iOS app works.
It’s not clear what kind of data users will be able to transfer, but we have found additional strings that suggest that the tool will help you transfer your WhatsApp chats among other things.
<string name="ios_whatsapp_description">Scan the QR code with your iPhone to open WhatsApp, then tap <b>Start</b></string>\n<string name="ios_whatsapp_export_description">Keep your iPhone unlocked and WhatsApp open</string>\n<string name="ios_whatsapp_export_title">Getting chats ready…</string>\n<string name="ios_whatsapp_message">Trouble scanning? On your iPhone, open WhatsApp, then go to <b>Settings > Chats > Move Chats to Android</b></string>\n<string name="ios_whatsapp_title">Transfer WhatsApp chats</string>
From what we can tell, it doesn’t look like you’ll be able to actually transfer your WhatsApp chats using the Switch to the Android app itself. Rather, the app will only provide helpful instructions on how to migrate WhatsApp data using WhatsApp’s upcoming “Move Chats to Android” feature.
Finally, some strings point to support for migrating supported apps, but it appears this will only work if your iPhone isn’t encrypted. We surmise that Google will match apps published on Google Play with apps installed on the user’s iPhone, so while this will help migrate the most popular apps available on both platforms, it won’t migrate everything over.
<string name="fragment_ios_decryption_description">To transfer apps, SMS messages, and contacts, enter your iTunes® backup password</string>\n<string name="fragment_ios_device_management_detected_description">"Your iPhone® is managed by your organization and has encrypted content. To transfer apps, iCloud® contacts, device contacts, and iMessage® messages, you’ll need to remove device management on your iPhone®."</string>\n<string name="fragment_ios_skip_encrypted_data_dialog_description">Your apps, iCloud® contacts, device contacts, and iMessage® messages won’t transfer</string>
Google currently maintains a page called “Switch to Android” that explains how iPhone users can backup their contacts, photos, videos, and calendar events using the Google Drive app. This is not as convenient or as seamless as what Apple offers for those moving to iOS, so the Switch to Android app might finally close this gap. Searching the App Store yields no results for a “Switch to Android” app from Google LLC, nor does looking at the full app list from the company, so it seems the app hasn’t launched yet.
Update 1: Screenshots
Android app developer and reverse engineer Alessandro Paluzzi has shared some screenshots of the fragments containing the strings we uncovered in the Data Restore Tool app. These fragments ask the user to install the unreleased Switch to Android app on the App Store and tell the user to enter their iCloud password to decrypt their data.
— Alessandro Paluzzi (@alex193a) July 27, 2021
In a separate tweet, WABetaInfo shared images of what the WhatsApp chat transfer part of the Data Restore Tool will look like.
Thank you @xdadevelopers for your recent discovery about the “Switch to Android” app, to migrate WhatsApp chat history from iOS to Android. 🤩
These screenshots show how the process works. This feature is under development and it will be available in a future update. https://t.co/FmZbXi33L2 pic.twitter.com/w7GiCUHSuS
— WABetaInfo (@WABetaInfo) July 28, 2021