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Apple seeing more people switch from Android to iPhone than ever before

Update: Following Tim Cook's comments, Apple.com (opens in new tab) has published a new feature on the benefits of switching to iPhone. Exploring the numbers, IDC has predicted lower growth for Android and higher growth for iPhone, likewise ComScore for U.S. growth. CSLA showed a 55% switch to iPhone rate, with another 30% planning to switch. Customer satisfaction and loyalty rates for Apple, by contrast, have remained staggeringly high.

Apple has been tracking the number of new iPhone customers who switched from Android for a while now. As part of the Q3 2015 conference call, Apple's CEO Tim Cook revealed that this quarter saw the highest number of Android switchers ever.

Apple was so thrilled with the growth, Cook mentioned Android switchers four times over the course of the hour long call:

  1. The strong iPhone results were broad-based in both developed and emerging markets, and we experienced the highest switcher rate from Android that we've ever measured.
  2. We also are incredibly happy to see the highest Android switcher rate that we've observed. And so, from our point of view, the iPhone is doing outstanding.
  3. But as I back up from it and look at it from more of a macro point of view, the thing that makes me very bullish is the 27 percent number I just quoted; the fact that we are seeing the highest Android switcher rate; the customer satisfaction that we have on the iPhone versus the competition—it's a huge margin; the loyalty rate that we have versus competition, an enormous gap there.
  4. In certain geographies, the way that we win is to get [Android] switchers. In other geographies, the way that we win is to get people to buy their first smartphone. In other geographies, the way that we win is to get people to upgrade from their current iPhone.

When a person decides to get their first smartphone, some deliberately get an iPhone and some deliberately get an Android phone because that's what they want. Others simply get the cheapest phone possible. Previously it would have been a flip or candy bar phone, but now it's a low-cost and/or highly subsidized Android phone that, by the way, can get them on Facebook.

When time comes to renew, some people stick with the next cheapest phone. (When it comes to cheap, loyalty is to the price point, not to brand.) Others, however, decide they didn't enjoy cheap and so want something else. They may try a higher end Android phone, but many also try an iPhone.

That's why Apple doesn't compete on price but on experience, and why the company doesn't play the short game but the long one.

Bigger screens are likely still a factor as well. Previously Apple didn't offer any. So, if someone needed a bigger screen, they had to go with not-an-iPhone with a bigger screen. Now, with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus, they can have both.

Every time an upgrade cycle occurs, Apple has a chance to win over customers. Even if it's only a few, each one is a gain for Apple. And according to Apple's numbers, it's more than just a few.

We've been talking a lot about switching to iPhone here as well. Many of our readers who recently made the switch shared their reasons for it.

I was ready to purchase the s6 in April, but I got tired of waiting for AT&T to update my s5 phone to Lollipop - I purchased the s5 the first day it came out and I started to think back about being annoyed about slow updates with other phones and decided I was at my frustration limit. Also, the s6 is pretty much the same size as the s5 and I wanted a bigger phone, but I didn't want the Note. I love Android, and thought I would miss the customization options and a few apps that aren't available on iOS. However, iOS 8 is VERY nice and I find iOS to be a much more "peaceful" phone experience - everything works together and the notification center is stellar. It's a very "comforting" phone and with all the tips and tricks, it's a beast. I was worried about the amount of RAM, compared to Android phones, and I have to say my concerns were unwarranted. Apple does a superb job at optimizing RAM, so nothing is slow...it's very fluid. Yes, that s5 charging port cover was a pain...I had to have it replaced once (at Samsung's expense). iTunes is much better now, than it was when I was had my 4. My phone before the s5 was the HTC M7 - that was a nice phone, but it had some glitch that caused gallery pics to vanish. Android can be a little unstable at times. So yeah, I'm very glad to have my iPhone. — Ninjarette

Recently many who wanted to make it shared why as well.

"The last time I owned an Apple product was my iPod touch in 2009. Since then I've used Android and, for a short time, Windows Phone. Now I'm starting to be dissatisfied with Android, and in particular, Google's business model. Thinking about privacy and security was what got me started on this path. Then there's the issue of OS updates. I'm sick of always waiting! You might think, "So get a Nexus if you want fast updates." Wrong. When I heard that iOS 9 is coming to every device all the way back to 2011, I was floored. The last time I saw my parents, I learned that Mom got a 4S. My brother was there with his 6. I played with both phones, and I couldn't even tell the difference, performance-wise. That little 4S was so smooth! And that was the last straw for me. Even Nexus owners don't enjoy four years of updates. I've had my fill of Android. It's time to see what else is out there." — Shatterpane

It's happening a lot in emerging markets, but it seems to be happening in established markets as well. If you recently switched, or are planning to switch when the widely expected iPhone 6s ships this fall, let me know!

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

75 Comments
  • I used Android for a few weeks and while the hardware was fantastic (the LG G4) the software experience just wasn't for me. Maybe when I was younger and wanted to regularly delve into the guts of an OS I'd have kept at it, but middle age and inspiration just don't go hand-in-hand for this guy. :) I would love an iPhone with the camera quality, removable battery and external storage options like the G4 has however. I know that's a pipe dream, but a guy can dream.
  • More and more, people are just realizing that the iPhone is the clear choice.
  • Maybe someday Apple will have a map service built into thief phones that work. Pipe dream I know Sent from the iMore App
  • Based on what numbers? Unless we have market share numbers for all OS's for the quarter to look at along with sales stats, this is garbage. They said the same thing in the holiday quarter last year and Android actually GAINED market share during that quarter while iOS LOST market share.This is all heresay as always and until we get NPD or other market share numbers for OS over the quarter by a third party (ie not numbers from Apple/Google/Samsung/MS/Blackberry/etc) to go off of. This must be taken with a ridiculously large grain of salt.
  • http://flip.it/lBg4O Enough said...
  • That doesn't prove anything. That is all Apple stats. In order to see how much switching has happened we need the quarterly OS's report on OS marketshare that shows quarterly change for all OS's. I believe NPD publishes it (could be wrong though.... I know NPD does game industry numbers). Just because Tim Cook says switch over, it means nothing without entire market share data to back it up.
  • No because the smartphone market is still growing, so Android can still grow in total market share (most off cheap handsets in developing countries) AND there can be more switchers to iPhone from Android at the same time. It's because the slice of the pie moving to Apple can grow while the entire pie grows at the same time. The only time you could have a scenario where things were so clear cut that any percent of Android to iPhone switchers caused a drop in total Android market share would be if and when the total smartphone market literally stopped growing. We aren't there yet so you can see figures that show Android growth AND iOS growth (including increased switchers) simultaneously.
  • He referred to switchers, not market share...those are not the same things.
    Oh, and look up the definition and spelling of hearsay. Sent from the iMore App
  • In order to be a "switch," Android market share needs to decrease and iOS market share increase, hence in order for Tim's statement to be valid, he needs non-biased 3rd party data for mobile OS market share for the same period to back up his claim, not just Apple's own quarterly sales data.
  • Someone is hurt!
  • Not really. He provided absolutely no numbers to back his statement up and essentially pulled that one out of his ass.
  • No wrong, because as I explain above, the total market is still growing.
    Imagine there's 100 people in this market with 20 on iOS ans 80 on -Android, and 10 of them switch to iPhone. That's a big deal right? Now it's 30/70. But now imagine at the same time, 20 new people joined the market and they all bought Androids. So now the market is 120 people with 90 on Android and 30 on iPhones. See how that makes the percent of switchers increase at the same time showing Android's market share increase? Both can be true.
    Since most of the new Android market share growth is on cheap handsets in developing countries, Apple doesn't care since Apple doesn't compete with those. Apple cares most about how many premium phone switchers (like HTC M8 or Galaxy S5) there are.
  • You would still need a numbers breakdown of the new market users added computed with the old numbers to see if there is "switching." Again, Cook might be correct, but until actual third party numbers for that quarter's market share is published, what Cook said is anecdotal and lacks performance numbers from the competition.
  • You just can't stand it, can you?:)
  • There is absolutely no data to back up what he said. The fact that you guys can't see that is sad. Again, he might be right, but unless he has overall market share data for that quarter, he can't brag about a switch rate based on their sales reports alone. That is pretty simple logic.
  • It is sad that you wouldn't think that Apple has stats on what they are reporting. And again, they don't need market share data, as that has nothing to do with the number of switchers. This has already been pointed out.
  • Apple does not have stats on the ENTIRE market and market share until other companies report quarterly earnings and third party market share reports for the quarter are published. Why do you not understand that? Switch rates and market share percentages are completely based on a company's performance compared to the rest of their competitors. Apple (or any company) can't give a comparative analysis for that quarter without data from other companies to compare to.
  • I give up. It's obvious that you cannot comprehend that the number of switchers and market share have nothing to do with each other. Re-read JRX16's post over and over.
  • Exactly. Seems so obvious, right?? Sent from the iMore App
  • I switched from android to iPhone because of the quality of the apps found on the App Store and iMessage. Happy with the iPhone 6 except for the mute switch. It won't stay on silent when I try to switch it down. It always snaps back up to the ringer. It's really annoying. Sent from the iMore App
  • You should go to an apple store and have that looked at. Not normal.
  • Where did you get the wallpaper from Rene? From the iPhone one.I find it really soothing to watch.
  • Its the Apple Watch launch event 'Spring Forward' banner. Google images - "Apple spring forward wallpaper".
    :-)
  • I use duckgogo. none of the google tracking stuff :D
  • Perhaps it's because iOS is becoming more like Android. Not that that's a bad thing. But there are still a few things I prefer about Android that make it more ideal than iOS for me. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Lol, that'd be about the same as HTC seeing more people switch from Samsung than ever before. A couple drops in the bucket
  • More people switching from Android to iOS... I can see that, but more people are buying Android still... IOW, Apple gained 10 new converts this year, versus 6 last year... A 40% increase... Yay. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Android isn't a product that makes money though, iOS is because it's directly linked to the iPhone and iPad (which make money). So one has to remember that the adoption rate of a free open source (sort of) mobile OS isn't directly relate-able to an actual physical product, even though that comparison has always been made and will continue to be made, and even Tim Cook will talk about "switchers". Google makes money off selling ads, not selling Android. So it's a completely different business model yet the world insists on making these comparisons because they don't know what else to talk about when it comes to mobile performance.
    My point being, iOS could never ever have equal to, or more than, the number of Android users because iOS runs on only one product, the iPhone (and iPad to a much lesser degree). Android is a free operating system that can run on anything anyone wants to build a device for, from hundreds of vendors. Apple would have to sell a billion iPhones to "beat" Android, which couldn't even be done.
    What Apple is competing against is all the dozens of smartphone vendors making Android handsets. And in that regard, Apple is beating them all with Samsung being the only real competitor at this point and now showing that more are switching from Galaxy to iPhone than the other way around, which is a big win for Apple.
  • The numbers look good, but only paint one side of the story. Did Samsung not say the same about iOS converts recently? That number means little if 15-20% of recent android buyers were moving over from iOS. I have no doubt the numbers are real. But I also have no doubt that many people have left iOS as well. Sent from the iMore App
  • First time commenting on this site, but thought I should since I plan on grabbing an iPhone this fall or winter. I'm still keeping Android as my primary phone, but interested in giving iOS an honest try as a backup phone. Apple Pay and family sharing intrigues me quite a bit in addition to the bigger screen size. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Family sharing is great. I love that my kids can have their own accounts but still have to ask permission to get a new app. And since the request goes to both mine and my wife's phones we can approve or deny from anywhere. Sent from the iMore App
  • I love the family sharing plus Apple pay is so easy to use. For me also having other Apple devices makes the phone even better since it interacts with everything else. WATCH, APPLE TV, IPAD, and computer.
  • I switched from Android when the 6+ came out. There are still quite a few things that I miss, and some things on the iPhone that bug me, but I still like the iPhone a bit more. I think mostly because the OS and hardware are from one company, and therefore bugs and such are usually dealt with fairly quickly. Sent from the iMore App
  • The thing that is terrible about Android is the app permissions. Like a simple game wants your contacts, address book, access to your phone dialer, and on top of all of that access to your files. I can guarantee they are selling off that data to advertisement companies. At least with Apple, you can turn of almost all of that stuff such as contacts, photos, etc on a per app basis in the Settings app.
  • You can also do that with android M now. Sent from the iMore App
  • But how many Android phones are running Android M and how many are likely to get the upgrade soon? I bought a Moto E last year as it was promised two major upgrades - I am still waiting and stuck on kitkat. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Buy a Nexus. Problem solved. Basically Google's direct answer to iPhone in terms of direct control from the mothership and updates and bloat free.
  • Why are you even on this blog??? Sent from the iMore App
  • Something that iOS has had for years. Just pointing that out because no one seems to ever bring it up when iOS has features Android copies, only when it's the other way around. It's not the first time either (Lollipop brought actionable lock screen notifications two years after iOS had them in iOS 6, just another example).
  • That allows for a level of customization and integration Apple can't match. In my opinion some of that enhances the user experience.
  • iPhone is where it's at Sent from the iMore App
  • I am so switching to the new 6s Plus when it is released. I have an LG G3, and couldn't be more disappointed. I have used Android from the start, but have now had my fill. Updates take forever no matter who the manufacturer is. The experience is so choppy and full of compromise that I can no longer take it
    and will be switching to IOS . I look forward to the Apple experience where things are smooth and work as they should. The cherry on top is the updated. Even Verizon can't delay them. I'm sold and will never look back. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • You should try a decent android phone next time, not an lgG3
  • If I'm not mistaken you mean Samsung? Come on dude, touchwiz is a no no.
  • Dude, don't be so touchy about the wiz bruh...
  • I switched from Android to Windows Phone, then few years later I switched to iPhone. I have to say that I miss Windows Phone's live tiles, but not lagging Android. Sent from the iMore App
  • I like windows phone. But I don't like what they had with low spec phone. The use of black colour is very well executed and the metro UI is something delightful. Too bad that it didn't kickoff. So I ditch my Lumia 920 and go back to Samsung for the camera and premium built. Posted from my Samsung Galaxy S6
  • I could have sworn I read an article today saying iPhone sales are not what apple thought they would be (down). I'm sure a lot of the "new" converts are people who just couldn't stand small screens so they went to android, and are now coming back. It doesn't matter because next week we will here how android is gaining and so on and so forth. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • They are not down. They just did not meet analyst predictions. However Apple still sold more iPhones than they did this time last year and they did amazingly well in China this last quarter with record profits. I switched back to the iPhone 8 months ago and I haven't looked back. I was fed up of laggy, buggy phones and waiting forever for updates. Also the apps are better on iOS and the ecosystem is stronger. I have an iPhone, iPad, MacBook, Apple watch and Apple TV and they integrate so well together. That experience cannot be achieved on android. I'm very happy with my 6 plus, I think it's over taken the iPhone 4 as my all time favourite phone. Sent from the iMore App
  • I switched from iphone to android about 4 years ago and haven't looked back. Sure, I've used iOS in depth many times the last few years and seen how its grown. But man, android is so much more versitile, functional, customizable, and diverse with an enormormous platform that's design aesthetics are becoming phenominal. I couldn't imagine downgrading from something so powerful to an iphone, lol.
  • Do you really need such a powerful phone to troll on the iMore site? Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • And yet here you are "looking" back to an iPhone related article. Design aesthetics is not something a budget android is known for.
  • User interface design aesthetics, knucklehead! Budget android? Wtf? You know high end android handsets range from $600-1000 right? Ofcourse you do, so what the hell are you talking about?
  • Which phone do you have?
  • It is the budget Androids that have given them the large marketshare. iPhone outsells all high-end Androids combined.
  • I like that there ARE budget Androids, as well as expensive one's, and all sorts of capabilities from multiple manufacturers.
  • Budget Androids are a good thing, no doubt. But still, that is where most of Android market share stems from, as Apple doesn't deal with the low-end market. But they certainly dominate the high-end.
  • With all those  devices I am surprised you ditched the iPhone.
  • I've used iOS since iOS 4 on an iPod Touch 4th gen. After I bought my iPhone 6, I was really happy, but I wanted to try something else. I went and picked up a 2014 Moto X and used it for 2 weeks. I really liked that phone a lot, but the problem was the instability of Android. Android 5.0 was having tons of memory leak and home screen redraw issues for me, and the performance, even with paper specs that are double that of the iPhone (4 vs 2 cores, 2 GB vs 1 GB of RAM, 2.5 GHz vs 1.4 GHz) the iPhone was still the faster and more efficient of the 2. Immediately after using it for 2 weeks, I went back to iOS. I do really like Android, and both OSes have great things to offer, but I prefer iOS in general. I still carry the Moto X, but use it without a SIM Card because I do like that phone, but I don't think that phone will ever have a SIM in it again.
  • iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S, Samsung Galaxy S3, Nexus 4, Nexus 5, iPhone 6S Plus.
    Yup, I'm making the switch soon. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • I left Windows Phone (Lumia 1520) for an iPhone 6. I still use the 1520 for the camera. I miss Cortana. But, the apps, Touch ID and browser are what got me to switch. Not to mention, Microsoft apps seem better on iOS (Outlook for starters). I just wish the 6 had a better camera. BTW, my next laptop purchase will probably be a 15" MBPr. Sent from the iMore App
  • I have been an avid android user since 2009 starting with the Motorola Droid and owned more phones then what I would like to admit. Always chasing the next best thing and wanting to find that all around great phone. One phone would have great power but be hampered by battery life like the HTC Thunderbolt, or a great phone but with an awful skinned OS like the Samsung series. The other rabbit I kept chasing was the incredibly complex OS release. It seemed like I could never have a phone that got a quick OS update and was moving from phone to phone to be able to have the next best OS. The Nexus program solved that for the most part but you sacrificed having a quality phone (Nexus 6 not included) for speedy updates. I am not going to lie, the Motorola Droid Turbo and Nexus 6, in my opinion, really brought everything together and seemed like as close to the perfect as possible of all the Android phones I have ever owned..... Since I had switched to AT&T for the Nexus experience I went with the Motorola Maxx and was pleased for awhile, but once again I was waiting in line and had no idea when I would get the next updated OS unless I rooted or pushed a file from XDA. And the camera was one of Motorla's best to date but still I was not completely happy. So it was either deal with what I had or try something new.......Rinse and repeat..... Then work gave me an iPhone 6, I had used an iPhone and was not impressed early on but once I got an iPhone 6 for work and saw how seamlessly it worked with Google apps I was sold. Great camera, battery, quality, user experience, and power.....and no more chasing OS updates. I gave my wife my Nexus 6 and sold my Xperia Z3 Compact and purchased an iPhone 6 Plus.
  • Welcome back home brother Sent from the iMore App
  • No one answered my question. I've been looking for the wallpaper without success
  • I am looking for that wallpaper as well. Anyone?
  • Search Google images for "apple spring forward wallpaper".
  • I had a fair history with BlackBerry until they started the Android crap with BB10, then found myself crazy about Windows Phone for just a couple years, I kicked around iOS, didn't want to switch at first so I briefly switched back to Windows. Flash forward just a little and i'm sporting a Mac Mini, an iPhone 6+ and Apple Watch, switched over everything I have in my personal affairs to my iCloud email account, and firmly and very happily entrenched in the Apple ecosystem. No Android ever, I think the 16million+ lines of code OS plus Java is a joke on hardware, has the respected core security of Swiss cheese, and Google Inc, the ultimate data mining company. No thank you. Very satisfied with what Apple is providing me as a user. Sent from the iMore App
  • I honestly can't name one thing about about any android phone that would make me wanna leave my iPhone 6 plus. Sent from the iMore App
  • I used to, but not anymore, not one thing. And there's one thing I cannot live without anymore... TOUCH ID. I could not go back to entering passcodes, that's just crazy in 2015. I know Samsung just got a decent version in the GS6, but the rest have none. Now with Apple Pay being so great, Touch ID, Apple Music, all the new split screen multitasking on the iPad in iOS 9 (and no, Android does NOT have that feature, only TouchWiz), the Apple Watch, quick and often updates, everything... it's just so much more exciting. Android is boring to me now and lagging behind in the ways that matter.
  • Exactly. You also left out iMessage! I'm not knocking android to each their own but I honestly don't have one reason. I've had android phones in the past and I find myself trying to customize them to my liking and just can't get into it. Why do I have to change everything about a phone to make me like it? Sent from the iMore App
  • Watch out Rene. You tweaked the nose of the beast here. Better to let sleeping fAndroids lie than assert they are starting to slip.
  • Apple is where it's at.
  • I switched from Android to an iPhone 6 Plus a few months ago. After 2 weeks I returned the iPhone and switched back to my Nexus 6. I missed the software too much. True multi tasking, customization and pure Google integration were at the top of the list. Both are great systems. I could have stuck with the 6+ and been happy, but I'm happier on Android. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • The iPhone 5c made me seriously considering switching from Windows Phone but I held off because I didn't want to get locked into a contract and thought it was still over-priced considering its specs. Instead I got an unlocked Moto G has a bigger screen and battery for half the price. If Apple really wanted to boost the number of Android switchers they'd could just release a barebones, low-spec "selfie iPhone" however I strongly doubt they'd ever bother.
  • You'd never know this if you're in phone sales (which i am) because people pass right by the iphone displays after touching and fiddling with them for a moment and head to samsung. When asked why they're choosing something else they usually say that they hate iphones. Why? Because they're pricing themselves out of the market, they're too restrictive, they screwed someone over with itunes/applecare or they have one and want to go back to android. I think the numbers are suspect and should be taken with a grain of salt.