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How to switch to iPhone and keep all your Google apps

More people than ever are switching from Android to iPhone, be it for the new, big screens, the terrific industrial design, the focus on security and privacy, the great apps, or any of a dozen other reasons. We've been getting a lot of feedback, however, from people who want to make the switch but are worried that it might be too much work — or are especially concerned over the stress involved in finding new apps and services to replace the ones they've been using on Android. Luckily, that's not the case, thanks to Google!

That's because Google treats the iPhone as a first-class citizen and makes sure all their best apps and services work great on iOS as well. It's in Google's best interest, after all: They're first and foremost an advertising company and the more people who use their apps and services, the more attention and data those services get.

All the Google apps for iPhone

  • Google: Née Google Search, this app gives previous Google Now users the information cards they know and love, and even accepts voice commands and questions with a familiar "Okay, Google!" - Download now (opens in new tab).
  • Google Maps: If this app is how you've been used to finding your way, it's ready and waiting for you with voice-guided turn-by-turn directions, live traffic, street view, and more! - Download now (opens in new tab).
  • Gmail: This app offers the classic Gmail (opens in new tab) interface, though you can also pick up the new Inbox by Gmail (opens in new tab) to keep track of all your email with stars, labels, and all the other features Google provides.
  • Google Calendar: If you want to keep all your appointments, events, and meetings on Google's system, Calendar will make sure you're alerted, as well as let you add new ones. - Download now (opens in new tab)
  • Google Keep: There are notes to take! Always notes! So. Many. Notes! And recently Google brought Keep to iOS, so you can jot it all down, anywhere, and access it on your iPhone. - Download now (opens in new tab)
  • Google Chrome: The same web browser that you know from Android, Windows, and the Mac is also on iOS. If you log in, you can sync everything from your bookmarks to your tabs, as well as enjoy translation, voice search, incognito, and all the trimmings. - Download now (opens in new tab).
  • Google+: The app front-end to Google's social network, Google+ lets you post what you're doing and thinking, keep up with the people in your circles, interact with groups, and store and share all your photos. - Download now (opens in new tab).
  • Hangouts: This app makes sure you can keep in touch with all your Google+ friends — singularly or in groups — over text, voice, and video. - Download now (opens in new tab)
  • Photo Sphere Camera: You can keep taking 360º panoramas and sharing them with your circles on Google+ with this app. - Download now (opens in new tab)
  • Google Drive: The company offers a suite of apps to replace Google Drive's functionality on Android. There's Google Drive (opens in new tab) proper, which lets you access all your files from Google's servers. Then there's Sheets (opens in new tab), Docs (opens in new tab), and Slides (opens in new tab) to let you get all your office work done and synced on the cloud.
  • Youtube: There are several YouTube apps for the iPhone, including the YouTube (opens in new tab) app itself, which lets you access your account, subscriptions, and more; YouTube Kids (opens in new tab) for children; YouTube Studio Creator (opens in new tab) for on-the-go channel management; and YouTube Capture (opens in new tab) for getting your videos online.
  • Google Voice: This app lets you make calls and send texts from your GV number, and listen or read your GV voicemail, right on your iPhone. - Download now (opens in new tab)
  • Google Play: Play makes all your media content accessible and available on your iPhone via a few different apps, which include Google Play Music (opens in new tab), Google Play Books (opens in new tab), Google Play Movies & TV (opens in new tab), and Google Play Newstand (opens in new tab).
  • Google Wallet: This app keeps your cards with you on the iPhone so you can make payments, send and receive money, and use your loyalty programs. - Download now (opens in new tab)
  • Google Authenticator: With this app, you can keep protecting your logins with two-step verification for all the sites and services that support it. - Download now (opens in new tab)
  • Ingress: If you're playing Google's real-world-set video game, this app lets you keep going on your iPhone right where you may have left off on your Android device. - Download now (opens in new tab)
  • Google account apps: If you rely on Google for certain web services, apps for those are also available, including Google Analytics (opens in new tab), Google Adsense (opens in new tab), Google Adwords Express (opens in new tab).
  • Google Device: These apps let you control and interface with all the hardware Google makes, including Chromecast (opens in new tab), Google TV Remote (opens in new tab), My Glass (opens in new tab), Google Fiber (opens in new tab),
  • Google apps: Beyond the apps listed above, Google's made programs on iOS for almost every service, including Google Translate (opens in new tab), Snapseed (opens in new tab), Blogger (opens in new tab), Google Classroom (opens in new tab), Google News & Weather (opens in new tab), Field Trip (opens in new tab), Google Express (opens in new tab), Zagat (opens in new tab), Chrome Remote Desktop (opens in new tab), Google My Business (opens in new tab), Google Coordinate (opens in new tab), and Google Life Scienses (opens in new tab).

The best of all worlds

With iPhone, you not only get all of Apple's great apps, but almost all of Google's, and the best of Microsoft and pretty much every other platform as well. It makes switching to iPhone not only relatively painless, but downright pleasurable. That's one of the iPhone's biggest strengths — it enjoys first-class support from everyone else — and it's one of the biggest reasons to make the switch.

Rene Ritchie
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.

24 Comments
  • Oh, oh, here come the Rene-bashers......wait for it.....(you know, the ones who will say "let it go, Rene" but can't seem to let go of telling him to let go....Oh, the irony!)
  • Actually this one isn't so bad and is legitimately helpful - there's no pointless bashing and simply informative info.
  • Here's a cookie, trollie.
  • HAHA... I opened this article, almost entirely to see what the Rene-bashers had to say.
  • Yeah, the only bad part I can find is that he assumes that people automatically want to switch to iOS.
  • I was surprised at how easy the transition from Android to iPhone was; I had been using Android exclusively since 2009 and switched to the iPhone 6 last month. The only app I miss is Google Keep.
  • hey no worries google keep is on iPhone, but in a webbed form app it is called gokeep which it free with ads! you can also buy the add free version called gokeep+ !!! hope this helps!
  • Thanks, I'll take a look. Really looking forward to seeing what it can do.
  • Rene, you may also want to have a look at JAMF's free Relo app: http://www.bushel.com/relo
  • Keep up the great work Rene, there's ton's of Brainwashed apple haters out there. Posted from my Galaxy S6
  • It's actually much more difficult to switch to Android from iOS. With Apple and all their services like iMessage, it makes it very difficult sometimes to switch. Coming from a frequent phone switcher between my Moto X and iPhone 6, coming back to iOS is easiest, while moving to Android is more difficult. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • @Apple_iOS -- Just turn iMessage off then switch. It is pretty painless for that service :).
  • ^This
  • I move frequently between iOS and Android. I do not manually switch off iMessage and nothing breaks. I think Apple has since fixed that problem. When you reset your phone, iMessage and Facetime turns off with Find my iPhone.
  • I just need Google Keep for iOS and I can switch. It's become a killer app that I use with my wife for shared notes and reminders. Posted via the iMore App
  • FWI there are a few Google Keep clients made by third party developers on iOS - just like Google calendar, gmail, etc. Google itself doesn't have one right now, but that doesn't mean you cannot use Google Keep on iOS. I actually cannot help you further than that as I don't use Google Keep myself (I have a different workflow), but I know that there are options available...
  • Just switch and don't use any Google crapware/spyware.
  • Exactly.
  • Some of the Google apps for iOS actually outshine their counterparts on Android. The only downside is that you can't really integrate most of the stuff with the rest of the OS. For example, Google Now which I think works a lot better than Siri and is really the only thing that I am of envious of when it comes to Android.
  • My wife just switched from Android to iOS, and this dovetails with her experiences. She misses some of the deeper integration with Google services, and especially Google Now, but not enough to switch back.
  • Much prefer this style of article writing without opinion-based bashing... Thanks Rene Posted via S6 Edge
  • I'm currently on my 4th smartphone (I had a ton of dumb phones before them). This current one is an Android (Galaxy Note 3). My 3rd one was an iPhone5, and my first two were both Androids. So I've gone from Android to Apple...and back. I'm due for my next phone in July 2016. Another Apple for my 5th phone is definitely not out of the question. I like them well enough, and the argument put forth in this article is perhaps the very most compelling case I've heard yet for going back. My wife (currently on a Galaxy S4) is planning on going back, and there is something compelling about being on the same platform. That said, for as much as I genuinely like iOS (and I do), it is also by a significant margin my least loved of the three. Compared to Android's Lollipop, and especially Windows 8.1 (which based on the current tech preview, I'm only gonna like even better when it's Windows 10), I find iOS insular, and stale, and boring. The iPhone 6/6 plus are rock solid builds and reasonably attractive, and the 6 plus, at 5.5" meets my self-imposed "minimum requirement" for screen size...with a margin to spare of precisely 0.0000000". I also love my Mac, and I love the idea of doing Handoff with it. But 5.5" really is my ABSOLUTE minimum. I'd be much happier with a 6", or heck, even the 5.7" that I currently enjoy on my Note 3. Both of the other platforms afford me bigger screen options. Also, the build quality on both Android and Windows phones seem to be improving, and at an absolute bare minimum, there are several phones from Windows, and especially Android that are not only possessing more unique, diverse, avant garde features, but are just a damn sight prettier in the hands then the very austere Apple (including Nexus 6, Lumia 1520, and even my current Note 3). Yes, Apple has handoff, and yes it really is really cool! But if Continuum works anything at all as advertised, and if "one windows 10" universal apps work as advertised, then not only are they cool enough to far outgun handoff for me, but handoff like features are almost a given as we go forward. This is especially salient considering that if the final iteration of 10 desktop turns out anywhere near the way its shaping up in the tech preview, I would very seriously consider ditching my beloved MacOS for it. Yes, I know that's a very bold statement, but I'm planning on getting a Windows 10 gaming PC either way, so the only question will be whether it makes sense to also keep Mac and go "dual platform", or save some money and just go "Windows-only". In either case, my days of being "Mac-only" are definitely nearing their end. But even if I don't go with Windows Phone, even Android has a lot of pairing options with Chrome, and a Chromebook is something I've been eyeballing a bit. So, with 100% sincerity, to this article, I say "very excellent point, very excellent selling point, very expertly and pursuadingly presented, and you're by no means out of the running." But my next phone is most likely going to be either July 2016's nearest equivalent to the Nexus 6...or the Lumia 1520, and between those two phones it will most likely all come down to whether Windows phone app support is able to come up to at least a respectable third by then rather than its currently abysmal distant 3rd. If yes, I'll probably go Windows. If not, I'll probably stay with Android. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • [edit: Sorry, duplicate post] :-)
  • This might be a stupid question. But can I also enable that all my photos which are taken are backed up automatically to my Google online storage? It's called Google auto backup. If that was the case I'd seriously consider to switch back to an iPhone and be all Mac at home again. Posted via the iMore App for Android