If the latest crop of iPhones has you ditching your old Windows Phone, here's how you bring all your data with you.
If you've been using Windows Phone for a while, you no doubt have a considerable amount of data stored on your device, including contacts, calendars, email, messages, favorite apps, music, photos and more. There's no automated Switch to iOS app for Windows Phone the way there is for Android, but there are cloud services like OneDrive, and iOS apps like Office, Outlook, Skype, and more than make easier than ever before.
With Apple's iCloud service, iTunes — the company's all-in-one media player, manager, and sync service — may not be needed anywhere near as much as before. There might still be occasions when you want to transfer big files, make local backups, or trouble shoot problems. Then iTunes, clunky as it is, is invaluable. Mac owners will find it pre-installed, but for Windows navigate yourself to the link below to get started.
Contacts, calendars and email
Our phones have quickly become our main communications tools, beyond just calling relatives. Managing both work and personal lives in our pockets is very much a thing and moving your contacts, calendars and email to your new iPhone will be top priority.
Fortunately, Apple makes it pretty easy. Assuming you've been using your Microsoft account to keep these three entities, you'll be able to import to your iPhone with ease. Before you proceed, it's a good idea to go back to your Windows Phone and make sure you've backed it all up first.
On your iPhone, open up the "Settings" app and scroll down until you find the option for "Mail, Contacts, Calendars." Tap on it and then on "Add Account."
You can now add any number of accounts, including Outlook.com and Exchange. Tap on the one your personal information is stored with and follow the instructions to login and link up your account with your phone.
Once the account has been added, tap on it and ensure the sliders for the information you wish to sync are activated.
Now, your Microsoft account will pull in your email, your contacts and your calendar to the relevant stock apps on the iPhone. And you're good to go.
You also have the option of using the Microsoft Outlook app on your iPhone to manage your Outlook email and calendars. It's considered by many to be the best mail client on iOS, so it's worth checking out.
Your photos and videos
Our recommendation would be to avoid transferring your photo library from your old phone to your new one. Not least because on Windows Phone you may have been using a microSD card to store them on, something not possible on the iPhone. (Apple has the online iCloud Photo Library service instead — for a price.)
You can opt to start fresh, or better still, backup all your photos to your computer and your favorite online service, and then go from there.
The best option is to use the cloud. If you've been using Windows Phone then there's a strong chance you had your phone set to auto-upload your photo library to OneDrive. If you didn't have it set this way, there's still time to do it and upload your entire phones photo library to Microsoft's cloud. And you can still upload your iPhone photos to OneDrive as well to keep your full back catalog rolling.
With this you just need to install the OneDrive app from the App Store and you'll have instant access to all your photos wherever you are.
Or, if you're a user of Dropbox, the other big, cross-platform popular option, same applies. Make sure everything has uploaded then grab the Dropbox app for iPhone and you'll be set.
With no expandable storage on the iPhone we strongly recommend the cloud route if you want to have easy access to all your old Windows Phone photos. You'll be snapping a ton with the iPhone camera so don't fill up that storage with gigabytes of old stuff.
If you can't or simply don't want to use the cloud, you can still make the transfer over a good, old-fashioned cable. If you're using a Windows 10 PC getting your photos off your phone is straight forward. You can either go through the Phone Companion app, which then imports from your phone into the Photos app, or you can just navigate to your phone in File Explorer, find the folder and drag and drop.
On a Mac it's a little more difficult since the Windows Phone app doesn't appear to be available for download anymore. If you already have it on your Mac you can still use it to sync your content, assuming you didn't update to Windows 10 Mobile. If you did, you're in a pickle, as the app doesn't seem to work with the latest version of the operating system. So you'll want to use one of the cloud options detailed below.
To move photos from your computer to your iPhone requires iTunes. With the phone connected via the USB to Lightning cable you'll be able to select items to sync between the phone and the computer.
Microsoft is a big supporter of cross-platform apps and services. As such, all the most popular apps are available to use on iPhone. And they're pretty good too, for the most part. We've already linked up OneDrive and Outlook above, the list below will help you find some of the other big ones.
- Skype - Download now
- Word - Download now
- PowerPoint - Download now
- Excel - Download now
- OneNote - Download now
- Bing - Download now
- Xbox One SmartGlass
You can find a complete list of all Microsoft apps for iPhone here:
Music and video content
The iPhone and iTunes are heavily invested in music, and you'll be well looked after. If you have a physical collection on your computer that you synced to your old Windows Phone, simply fire up iTunes and start syncing it to your phone.
If you used Microsoft's Groove Music, or something such as Spotify or Deezer to get your aural fix, there are of course apps available for all three in the App Store.
The iOS App Store is the place to find apps. You can get almost every Google app available. (Which were notably absent from the Windows Store...)
Equally apps like:
- Snapchat - Download now)
- Facebook - Download now
- WhatsApp - Download now
- Twitter - Download now
- Instagram - Download now
There are also hundreds of thousands of games, including all the major mobile titles, so hit the App Store and download away!
Hopefully these tips help you to get started with your new iPhone without having to start again from scratch. With the prevalence of the cloud and Microsoft's strong support for iOS, with a little work you'll be up and running in no time with all your personal communications, media and app needs!