Record rate of Android users switching to iPhone

During Apple's Q4 2015 conference call, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that the company is continuing to see an increased number of people ditching their Android phones and making the switch to iPhone.

We believe that iPhone will grow in Q1, and we base that on what we're seeing from a switcher point of view. We recorded the highest rate on record for Android switchers last quarter at 30 percent.

Cook later added:

What this means is that for customers who purchased an iPhone last quarter and replaced a smartphone, that 30 percent of those switched from an Android device. And so, there would've been some switchers on top of that from other operating systems, but obviously, Android is the largest one, by far. And so, that's what that means, and that number is the largest that we've ever recorded since we began measuring it three or so years ago. And so, it's a huge number; we're very, very proud of that number.

No particular reasons were given as to the motivations. In some countries, especially China, the iPhone is a status symbol. In other cases while the first smartphone purchase might not be an iPhone, customers decide to switch for the second or third phone. In still other cases, security is the primary driver.

It could also be that companies like Samsung have reduced their differentiation, shedding memory cards and user-swappable batteries for more iPhone-inspired designs and feature sets.

For their part, Apple has made it easier to switch by launching a Move to iOS app on the Google Play store, allowing people to quickly and simply move personal data from an Android phone to iPhone.

Regardless, it's been great for Apple's bottom line. 48 million iPhones and $51.1 billion in revenue great.

Rene Ritchie

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.

  • I switched from a Samsung Galaxy S5 when the iPhone 6s came out. I'm guessing a lot of people that make up this big switch number upgraded from cheaper entry-level phones, not necessarily the higher-end Android devices like I did. But, as you pointed out in a past article, why buy a Samsung when all it offers is an iPhone-like device without Apple software? Might as well get the real McCoy.
  • After sticking with Android (from the Evo to the S5) for many years, I opened a second line of service for a "work" phone and opted for the iPhone 6. I liked it. A lot. When I decided to upgrade my older line I ordered the 6S Plus. Finally, an iPhone I could hold that didn't feel like a toy. I've had it a week now and don't think I'll be headed back to Android for a while. I'm in agreement with you that after looking at the offerings from Sammy (no SD card, no removable battery), et al., why not go with Apple? The refinements to iOS have given me pause on my dislike for it. So, as for now, I'm onboard and digging it.
  • So could this be the pertinent point? That android users are switching to Apple, not necessarily because they're better but because android manufacturers are starting to take out the features (SD card, removable battery) that many people liked. I think if we cut the fanboyism, the major OS's are all good. They each have their ups and downs. Removing the mentioned features just gives users no reason to stay with android and for any number of reasons users may change. Should we assume Apple is better or that Android is just getting worse? Sent from the iMore App
  • Of course! I honestly gave that up a couple years ago. I look at the two major platforms and I see two amazing OSes with pluses and minuses. Android has choice, and customization, and has such a broad spread, that almost anyone can get an android device. You can buy a decent android device for $129. On the other hand Apple has amazing developers and 3rd parties that can take the solid, stable locked platform and do amazing things with it. I always love seeing all the specialy uses of the iphone, like Soil testing, and other things. And also, the contiunuity and the Apple watch IMO is ahead of Android Wear in functionality.
  • Android Wear is a joke compared to watchOS. I bought and returned a Moto360 (2015) for two reasons. 1) The screen was just not nearly as good as my Apple Watch, and 2) Android Wear is terrible.
    I fully realize Android Wear is hamstrung on iOS, but that wasn't even part of the decision, just navigating Android Wear, the way it's set up, just felt completely wrong. I admit, it could just be that I was too used to how watchOS worked, but the fact that I wasn't delighted by the Moto360 and instead felt it was a huge step backwards in every way does count for a lot above and beyond simply being used to another platform. To prove that point, I picked up and played with a brand new Moto G at Best Buy and was in fact delighted with how Android Lollipop looked and worked. That phone was a surprising joy to play around with (not enough to make me want to switch but still). So while I'm used to iOS, Android L made me smile. Android Wear made me sad.
  • I'm switching back to the Note 5.
  • Switched to the iPhone 6 (and now upgraded to the 6s+) a year ago after years of using and advocating Android because it was *so much faster and more responsive* at that time than all Android phones I used and tried. And (believe it or not) because Apple fixed a Bluetooth backwards compatibility problem with my carkit whereas any other Android phone maker just left me no choice as to upgrade to another carkit. The massive complaints back then about the BT issues when the iPhone 6 came out and the subsequent adequate response from Apple convinced me that this was a more future (errr... past) save option.
  • Switched from a Moto X (1st gen) to a 6s. Mostly because my phone was starting to lose functionality (power button works only sometimes). It was also time for an upgrade. The original phone i considered was the Moto X Pure but I didn't feel like waiting when I needed a new phone on the spot and Samsung's were always a no-go for me. I figured it was time to see what the other side was like. While i do miss some features like NFC tapping with my Bluetooth headphones and Bluetooth trusted devices, the security options that apple provides (touch ID) and the overall experience help make up for it. Overall it's been an enjoyable experience so far and I can see myself sticking with it for a while.
  • I'm also thinking about switching back to iPhone after an almost 4-years absence, but from Windows Phone. I think 3D touch could finally make up for the lack of Live Tiles / pinnable objects. (This, and the sinking ship feeling in the WP community, so many apps just vanish :( It's interesting to see so many people now switching to iPhone, no matter where they came from!
  • I was on WP for that long as well. I think it's a great alternative. For me, app widgets have made up for live tiles. It basically works the same way and scrolls the same as well. I have news, weather, calendar, ESPN, and so forth on there. I also did android for about 6 months after WP, but honestly I think iPhone is more comparable. It's pretty smooth and I'm not scared of my battery giving out because I left an app open or my phone keeps eating it cause it keeps trying to connect to Wi-Fi. As a matter a fact, I have Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled all day on the iPhone.
  • I didn't even know about app widgets, that totally passed me by for some reason, thanks! Just quick-googled it, now me switching is 99% certain :)
  • I'm one of those switchers. Just went for it a couple weeks ago with a 6s Plus. I've used Android since the OG Droid on Verizon and was using a 2014 Moto X Pure before I switched. I've really been liking it so far. iOS has incorporated a lot of the OS features I really like on Android. The bigger screens of the 6 series phones and the security & app polish really kind of sealed the deal. I haven't totally abandoned Android since I still have a 2nd gen Nexus 7 tablet, but even that may have to go. It's already on it's way for an RMA due to a Google OTA update to the OS that literally was killing the flash memory in a lot of the Nexus 7's. Makes me nervous about what future updates may do.
  • I was in the same situation, my first Android phone was the OG Droid on Verizon (which I loved), and then various phones until I ended up with the 2014 Moto X. Android is great, still love that OS and the flexibility it offers, but iOS is so close in terms of functionality. The polish & security of iOS with the great hardware on the iPhone 6s/Plus is a winning combination.
  • "In some countries, especially China, the iPhone is a status symbol." That might be but it's also because there are more than 200 sites where to download Android apps and the Chinese are getting a bit paranoid about the fact that 9 out of 10 Android phones cannot be updated to safe status., ever. There have been (and are) multimillion dollar schemes to steal all your money by knowing things that only police or bank would know, then just act as one and convince the Android user to transmit 100000 to their account. That's especially lucrative when dealing with old people. Google> Phone scammers posing as mainland officials cheat Hong Kong victims out of HK$85 million in a month
  • I currently use Android, I switched from iOS and although it is a good OS I've realised I prefer iOS. A lot of Android is technical mumbo jumbo especially if you like to tinker which Android encourages you to do. I don't tinker as it's way out of my depth. What the he'll is runtime and draw distance? I'm already bored of Android and I miss iOS. I still have my old Apple ID and back up from my old 5s so when I switch back to iOS it will be like riding a bike you never forget. Plus iOS serves people that are visually impaired better with their accessibility options which are much better than on Android which are most experimental or doesn't work and are complicated. I don't love Android like I loved my 5s or iOS in general also getting all my music from iTunes to Google Play Music is a nightmare and I still haven't gotten all my music on my phone from iTunes. Plus the back up and restore on Android isn't as good as iOS. Overall I like iOS better. Another reason I like iOS better also because updates are quicker where as with Android updates are sooooo slow and I'm someone who has a Nexus 6 and plus Apple responds quicker than Google in pretty much everything. I'll be switching back to iOS and getting an iPhone 6s Plus 64GB early next year in March. When I can upgrade from my Sim only deal. Posted via the iMore App
  • I get it. I use both and am not doing to dump android but I am a bit frustrated with the OS update system with android. I had three android devices, all on a different OS versions. Many android devices will never be updated to Marshmallow. After my Galaxy S6 received 5.1.1, my battery life got worse. I had a iPhone 6+ and sold it for a 6S+ and received it this week. I really like it and have committed to a month with it. I also want to get a Nexus 6P and that should hold me for the next year.
  • I had a Droid Razr and I remember it had a glitch where I couldn't see the list display when I clicked to add a new widget. The fix was added in 4.0 but Motorola saved ICS for it's new phones so my phone didn't get the updated I needed until almost a year later.....
  • I also wanted to add that I have 6 bank/brokerage/card apps on my iphone and all can be opened with touch id. Including the google wallet app! Makes it so nice! Android had touch id built into marshmallow so hopefully app developers will start incorporating this feature into their apps. Sent from the iMore App
  • I'm one of them! switched to a 6s after being burned by the Note 5's inconsistent battery and force closes. No regrets. Sent from the iMore App
  • HA!. these aren't the Droids were looking for'
  • When apple puts a larger battery in the 4.7" iPhone, I will switch back to ios. Until then, I'm pretty content with my s6 active. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • I have a s6 active also and it pisses me off that samsung has not enabled samsung pay on it. Not sure if it is compatible or not but the should let us know either way. Sent from the iMore App
  • And by February, Android gains some of those users back. This happened last year too. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • I know I certainly won't come back to Android when I switch back to iOS. Posted via the iMore App
  • I had switched from the note 3 to the 6 plus. I liked iOS but it wasn't for me. I switched back to the note 3 and I'm going to give the 6 plus to my mom. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • I used android for many years and I did like it but over time I just got more frustrated as time went on with it. Every update seemed to have a bug or something and it would take months and months to fix regardless of the OEM. Both OS are so similar that the average user couldn't tell the difference. Just about anything you want to do on a iPhone you can do on a android phone. It is really more how you want to interact with the device. Sent from the iMore App
  • If the iPhone had a stylus and note taking app I'd be there already. The performance of my note edge on 5.11 Lollipop borders on criminal negligence. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • There are a ton of styli you can get for the iPhone. As for note taking apps... Thousands. For sure.
  • Those Styli are all trash compared to the S Pen, and most of the software just aren't properly designed for it. Apps like S Note are pretty damned polished at this point. It's hard to beat that user experience once you've gotten into it. Capacitive and BT Styli don't even began to compare. They're okay if you've been on an iPhone forever and haven't used the better alternatives, but it's a poor substitute if you are coming from a Note device.
  • Just wondering, how do they know people are actually switching from Android? Do they ask? Is there a survey? I use both an iPhone and an Android phone. Wonder how many people do that as well?
  • I'm personally switching to IOS being an avid Android user since the Evo and presently using the G3 I had the 3, 3g and 4s and at that point felt IOS was a little stale for my liking so went back to Android but since then I have come to the conclusion the same is happening with Android, no matter which device I get ( GS2, GS3, G2, M7, M8, G3) the same thing is happening I get the device run stock out the box and find myself always installing Nova launcher which ends up making all of them look the same to me. And lately I'm seeing alot of apps not being compatible with some phones as well as longer times to wait for updates to be pushed to the devices from the carriers. My biggest reason is because I'm on Verizon and was having an issue with my G2 and was having issues with my battery and the tech rep was able to on their side see what apps I was using and how long I was using it for and other things I was doing on my phone and that cemented my reasoning for moving on because I felt like my privacy was being violated if they can see what I'm doing with my phone and I feel that more because of Androids openess. They couldn't see the usage on my fiance's 5s.
  • Just switched from a Note 4 to a 6S Plus (spent many years on Android), and perhaps its placebo but the 6s+ feels significantly faster than my note 4. Not regreting the switch...yet
  • Switched because I was tired of Android updates.Received 9.1 on Day 1 and coupled with the smoothness and polish of the OS haven't looked back Sent from the iMore App
  • I'll be switching from the S6 edge to the iPhone 7 when it is released. I enjoy android a lot, but I just cannot take owning another phone and having to worry about battery life. If there is one thing Android has been consistent at, it's making sure you always have to pack a spare battery or portable battery pack. Plus I need a phone that just works.
  • lol @ iphone is a status symbol in China. Thats so sad. Especially since their own people work for nickels to make them.
  • These various anecdotes have little to do with this 30% as people is the US and Europe are swapping back and forth. This is all about the massive growth in China, end of story.
  • Consider the source though. *Of course* Apple would say this...
  • I told Samsung in every forum I could find.... Having purchased an S4, S5, Note, Note 2-4 (I think that classifies me as a pretty good customer) that if they took away the battery option and took away the micro SD card and made it like an iPhone.... I was going back to an iPhone. I used Samsung products because they offered something I valued....swappable batteries & high storage capacity. They didn't even offer a 128 on the new Note 5..... but I have 128 on my new iPhone 6S plus. Good luck Samsung
  • They have it on the nexus 6p and it cost $1 less than the cheapest normal 6S. I rather have that with updates on day one from Google and security patches released monthly and its crazy fast. Just read the reviews. If $ ain't no thing for you buy all means buy what you want. The 6S is a great phone but don't kid yourself. The nexus 6P is too at way less $ and Android 6 which I use on my older nexus 6 is fast, fluid, and no issues. Not one force close. Nothing.
  • Rene, why do you get so butthurt that you go back through these comments deleting anything that doesn't support your narrative?
  • Noticed that in the past as well. Nothing is ever mentioned, the comment just disappears. It's their site, I guess they can do whatever they want.
  • The last times he made these claims, they turned out to be false. I would not take anything from him seriously. Only third party data showing industry market share will suffice.
  • Recent reports indicate that iPhone/iOS growth has been in part due to Android users switching to iPhone and iOS. I’m not one of those users but I’ll be soon. Let me explain why.
    I’ve been an Android user since it was first released. I’m a software developer and been doing Android development for a while. I’ve always liked the ability to tinker with the OS, apps and the ecosystem in general. Because I wanted the latest updates of the OS as soon as possible I always bought the Nexus phones, my recent one being Nexus 6. Not long ago I signed up for Project Fi and have been happy with the service.
    As soon as Android 6 was released I started to wait for the OTA update for my Nexus 6. After weeks of waiting I decided to contact Fi support and find out what’s going on. I chose the email method and less than 30 minutes later I received a response, that’s pretty good service!. The response states “Hi Catalin,
    Thanks for contacting Project Fi Support! My name is XXX and I'll be helping you! No worries! Once we get all of our Nexus 6P, and Nexus 5X devices out properly. We will soon have Marshmallow out for our customers! Thank you for your patience.”.
    This basically tells me that Google is prioritizing newer Nexus phones over older models.If Google wants to retain customers this is a pretty bad policy! I’ve been a loyal Google customer for many years but no more. If one has to buy the newest Nexus phone in order to get the latest OS update in time that tells me that Google is failing to understand consumer needs.I don’t mind paying retail price for a Nexus phone as long as I know that Google stands behind their product and I can get OS updates in a timely manner.
    Even though I don’t necessarily like Apple I think they get customers and their focus is customers. I can’t say the same about Android and I can’t blame people for choosing iOS over Android. At this point I think iOS is a much better choice for most consumers. You get the latest updates right away, you don’t feel left behind and you don’t have to buy a new phone to get the latest software. I would venture to predict that iOS will overcome Android in % of users running the latest OS in the next week or so. This is a big deal, as a developer you don’t have to support 5-6 or more versions of the OS. As a customer you don’t have to wonder will I ever get the latest OS or not? I wonder if Google is really committed to Android as a solid mobile OS or just profits from selling more phones.
  • Finally someone who sees through all the Google marketing bullshit. I've been with Android for 3 months and I have a Nexus 6 also, I've had nothing but crashes and lag, I started with a Moto G before I got my Nexus 6 thinking I'd get Marshmallow quickly and boy was I wrong. I only got Marshmallow almost 2 weeks ago and my sister who has a Nexus 6 which I bought for her, got Marshmallow before me and even gets the security patches that Google pushes out before me also. Google has no excuses for this but all. This has made me realise I had it good with my iPhone 5s, which I sold before switching to Android, I also made me realise just how much happier I was with iPhone and iOS and I plan on going back to iOS and getting an iPhone 6s Plus when my contract runs out in March next year. To be honest the iPhone and iOS is the best phone and OS for most people. Android is just too much hassle and I don't like Google's way of doing things. IOS has Android beat in the things that matter. Ease of use, fast updates, security, long term software updates so like you said you don't even have to buy the latest iPhone every year as iPhones will last a lot longer than Android phones and I'm someone who loves everything iOS and iPhone and Apple. Posted via the iMore App
  • After having an HTC Android phone and two Samsung Galaxy phones, I switched to a 6S this time. I blame Samsung's laggy bloated software. Android as a whole is a great operating system, and I like a lot about it, but I've never been married to the ecosystem, so I switched and it was relatively easy and painless. My main reason for switching was for how fast IOS seems to be on modest hardware and the battery management of the OS. I can go almost 2 days without charging now, and I'm finally able to make it through an entire day without plugging in at least once.