Top 5 iPhone apps for Droid/Android switchers

TiPb checks out the best, most must-have apps for former Android/Droid users to load up as soon as you get your new iPhone 4

Switching from Droid or another Android device like the Samsung Facinate to the new Verizon iPhone and curious which are the best, most must-have apps you need to make yourself feel at home? Well read on for TiPb’s top 5 most recommended, most must-have apps to get your Android experience maximized on iPhone.

Google Mobile (Voice search + Google Goggles)

Google Mobile (Voice search + Google Goggles)Unlike Android, iPhone doesn't (yet) have broad and deeply integrated voice features in iOS. While there's some Voice Control commands for making calls and playing music, that's about it. Enter Google Mobile which not only adds voice search but also bundles in Google Goggles functionality. From location and maps to contacts and the web to most anything you can say or point your iPhone 4 camera at, Google Mobile gets you answers and fast. [Free - iTunes link]

Also check out:

  • Siri was bought by Apple for a reason. If you're in the US, Siri is your voice-activated artificially intelligent assistant. [Free - iTunes link]
  • Vlingo not only lets you use your voice to call or search but tweet on Twitter and update your status on Facebook. [Free with in-app purchases - iTunes link]

Google Voice

Google VoiceYes Google Voice is finally available for the iPhone. MInd you, it's still US only but if you want the app you probably have an account already. It's not as deeply integrated as Android but it has all the features you know and love, including push notifications for new SMS text and voicemail messages, listen and/or read voicemail, Google Voice number displayed as Caller ID, access to your iPhone contacts, and it will run in the background under iOS 4 or later. [Free - iTunes link]

Also check out:

  • Line2 isn't free but it is business-centric with full on VoIP functionality, cheap rates, and international availability. [Subscription - iTunes Link]
  • Skype lets you make free VoIP calls between devices/computers -- including video calls! -- and cheap calls to landline. Free/credits - iTunes link]

Mailroom (Gmail)

Mailroom (Gmail)You can access your Gmail account via IMAP or with full push via ActiveSync right from Apple's built-in Mail app and while you'll get unified inbox and threaded messages you won't get Stars and you won't get labels. Likewise won't give you the ability to access contacts or view attachments. Enter Mailroom, essential the webapp inside a native iPhone app wrapper that gives you most of the best of both worlds. (See our tip on using Mailroom for a better iPhone Gmail experience.) [$2.99 - iTunes link]

Also check out:

  • Google Mobile, mentioned above, gives you push notification for your Gmail. [Free - iTunes link]
  • Boxcar not only gives you push notification for Gmail but will open it for you in Mailroom. [Free - iTunes link]

Waze (Google Navigation)

Waze (Google Navigation)Google hasn't yet made a version of their free Google Navigation app for iPhone but Waze provides a free crowd-sourced alternative. It's full on voice, turn-by-turn directions that learns as you drive and will even let you munch tokens and reward you for your contributions. Yes, it's navigation gone social. [Free - iTunes link]

Also check out:

  • NAVIGON MobileNavigator if you want to go up to a premium navigation experience with all the onboard maps and bells and whistles that come with it. [$39.99 - iTunes link]
  • AT&T Navigator, powered by TeleNav, keeps your maps online, your downloads small, and is subscription based so your upfront costs are much less. [Subscription - iTunes link]

Safari (Porn and everything else)

Safari (Porn and everything else)Apple's iTunes App Store is curated and Steve Jobs says that's to protect you from porn. He also says the Android Market is a porn store. He neglects to mention iPhone has pretty much the best browser in the mobile space (Flash aside) and the web, it be filled with porn. It also be filled with pretty much everything else, including many awesome Google web apps like Google Docs that work just great in Safari. If you can't find something on the App Store, launch Safari, hit the Google search box (irony!) and chances are you'll find it on the web. [Built in]

Also check out:

  • Skyfire is a browser that does server-side translation of Flash to iPhone-friendly H.264 so if you ever think you're missing your favorite Flash video, this could fix you up. [$2.99 - iTunes link]
  • Apple's iPhone web app directory has a great list of web apps should you want to find a bunch more. [Web link]

More Google

Google has a bunch of apps in the App Store, including Google Places, Google Latitude, Google Authenticator, Panoramio, and Google Earth. If you really miss your Google fix, check them out. [Free - iTunes link]

More iPhone apps and games

Once you've gotten that Google fix and you're ready for the best of the rest, check out TiPb's Top 10 iPhone apps where we list off some of the best, most must-have social networking, communications/IM, productivity, music/internet radio, photography, utility, and location apps, along with casual, time management, and hard core games. We've also got an ongoing series of top app lists in different categories and we're adding more all the time, so keep your eyes peeled!

Bonus: Jailbreak

If you've been rooting your Droid or Android and don't want Apple telling you which apps and hacks you can install on your device, allow us to introduce you to the wonderful world of Jailbreak. We're talking the Cydia Store, themes and customizations, notifications and easy settings access, and pretty much everything else you can think of and Apple would never approve. Check out our Jailbreak Starters Guide to get you going, our Top 5 Jailbreak apps and Top 5 Jailbreak themes for some of our favorites, and head on over to the Jailbreak Forum for expert help and discussion.

Your top apps?

So there you have them, our top 5 best iPhone apps for Droid/Android switchers. Be sure to check out our Picks of the Week and iPhone App and Games Forum for more recommendations, and if we missed any of your favorites leave them in the comments below!

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Top 5 iPhone apps for Droid/Android switchers


I just downloaded siri and tOld it to f off and it replied "but im just trying to help!" lol. That made my day.

"Mapquest 4 Mobile" is another great free turn-by-turn alternative to the pricy paid navigation apps.

I think any ANdroid user would probably have to go with the JAILBREAK option to make up for the loss of functionality.

Except for the fact you get many more quality apps and a better overall UI and experience. But to each his own! :-D

A better UI? Screen after screen with static rows of icons is a UI theme Blackberry would be proud of but its hardly superior.

More quality apps in sheer numbers?? Maybe..that's understandable.. but more quality apps percentage wise? I don't think so .. .and I have both an android phone and an Iphone (that I use as an Ipod)
As far as apps go.. Android has more variety due to the limitations of a stock iOS.
But I agree with you .. to each his own.

Talkatone Google Talk / Google Voice dialer app lets you call over Google Talk with Google Voice number aka completely VOIP and I submitted a tip for instructions on how to get this working but it never got in.
Also there a lot of Jailbreak apps that make your iPhone experience more like android and don't forget SSH for hardcore hacking.

No one else thinks the constant "Android is for porn" references are in bad taste? The joke has been played out. My 14 year old cousin frequents this site for app news and she doesn't need to see that. Can you leave it alone?

NO, you are the only one who is so naive to think your 14 year old doesnt have seen the word PORN regularly on the web, talked about it with his friends,... And who belives removing a word from a website will protect him against the world...

My experience with Android apps is that, the quality is dire.
Whenever I look at top ten list's, best and must have apps for Android, they leave me that it? is that what all the fuss is about... most of the time they seem like uninspired and unattractive copies of ios apps.
But I'll be happy to be corrected, as my GF has an HTC Desire..i'd love to pimp her phone with some clever and cool functionality but like I said everything I've seen offered is somewhat meh...

Cool apps! how about Who's Free app? it only shows you which of your friends are free to hang out. great thing about this one is that there is both Android and iPhone version! I got it from

I switched from a motorola droid, to the Verizon iPhone 4
i installed TomTom for $34 dollars, its awesome and works while your on the phone.
Android's Google Maps with Navigation is nice but doesnt do all the TomTom app does.
The tomtom app was the thing that made me sure I am keeping this phone, since my 14 days is up in 2 days.
Plus I have not had to restart my phone twice a day to keep it running.
And the battery life on this thing is great.
Video shooting quality with the touch to focus rocks.
I'm very happy with my iPhone4.

I don't understand this article. ALL of those apps are available on the Android. Why would you want to switch to the over-priced and over-hyped iPhone?

I think it would be cool to see some posts on layout techniques and theming. There’s definitely a large gap between the basic beginner standard UI elements app and the high quality custom themed apps like Pulse. Perhaps a post showing how you would create a popular app’s UI (purely from a layout perspective). Android app development

The crux of your writing whilst appearing agreeable at first, did not really sit well with me after some time. Somewhere within the paragraphs you actually were able to make me a believer unfortunately just for a very short while. I nevertheless have got a problem with your leaps in assumptions and you might do well to fill in all those breaks. When you can accomplish that, I will definitely be fascinated.

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