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Switch to iPhone... and away from Google!

Q: I changed from Android where Google apps were and now I'm using an iPhone 6 Plus. I liked Google+ but since the update it blows. So, my question is, please name apps that will replace Google for me on my iPhone 6 Plus. Sincerely, Kay

Some people want to switch to iPhone but only for the hardware, not the services. For them Google apps for iOS make it ridiculously easy to log in and keep right on going. Others, like Kay, want to switch to away from Google's services and apps as well. Luckily for them, Apple, Microsoft, and others offer alternatives.

If you want to switch completely away from Google Services, you'll need an account with a different provider. A free iCloud account comes with your new iPhone, so you can easily try that and see how you like it. Otherwise, a free Microsoft account gives you access to a wide range of services as well. None of them have the scope of Google, nor the online excellence, but if you don't want Google, they along with a few others like Dropbox, can absolutely get the job done.

On the other hand, Google hasn't been as great about updating and providing truly native fit and finish on iOS, so you can get a better, more integrated experience with Apple's built-in apps, and just as good as Google, if not better, with Microsoft and others.

Here's a quick reference for Google services and apps, and their alternatives.

GoogleAppleMicrosoftOther
Google
Account
iCloud AccountOutlook Account
GmailMailOutlook (opens in new tab)Spark (opens in new tab)
Google
Calendar
CalendarSunrise (opens in new tab)*Fantastical (opens in new tab)
Google
Maps
MapsHere (opens in new tab)
ChromeSafariOpera (opens in new tab)
DriveiCloud DriveOneDrive (opens in new tab)Dropbox (opens in new tab)
SheetsNumbers (opens in new tab)Excel (opens in new tab)
DocsPages (opens in new tab)Word (opens in new tab)
SlidesKeynote (opens in new tab)PowerPoint (opens in new tab)
Google+Facebook (opens in new tab)
HangoutsMessages
FaceTime
Skype (opens in new tab)
Google
Photos
PhotosFlickr (opens in new tab)
Google
Now
Siri**Cortana (opens in new tab)
Google
Wallet
Wallet
Google AuthenticatorAuthy (opens in new tab)
Google KeepNotesOneNote (opens in new tab)Evernote (opens in new tab)
Google
Search
Spotlight**Bing (opens in new tab)

*Sunrise is being discontinued and its features integrated into Outlook for iOS.

**Siri and Spotlight might source search results, in part, from Google.

Again, you can absolute switch to the iPhone and keep on using all the Google apps and services you're used to. The iPhone, it turns out, is a good Google phone as well. If you want something different, though, if you want an alternative, Apple, Microsoft, and others can provide it.

Apple even provides a Move to iOS app to get your started!

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.

117 Comments
  • DuckDuckGo is also a worthy alternative to search (much better than Bing, for my taste), and doesn't track you at all!
  • Even though you're always being tracked anyway, it's futile. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • DuckDuckGo is great, and you can switch to it right in the Safari settings, but the question came from someone who wanted apps specifically, so that's what I tried to stick with.
  • Duck Duck Go has an official app in the App Store.
  • As Muc Guffin also mentioned, DuckDuckGo also has an app in the App Store, which is actually very good and acts as both a search and a news app. I still think it deserves a spot on your little table up there. :)
  • yahoo as well?
  • "Some people want to switch to iPhone but only for the hardware, not the services." April's fool jokes came early? So some people switch to iphone just for the purpose of getting less RAM, slower CPU and smaller storage?
  • You are such a troll. If apple thought they needed more ram and a faster cpu they would put one in it. The fact that android phones require more ram and faster cpu just shows how inefficient android OS is.
  • DuckDuckGo is horrible for me. Tried it for a few weeks and it never returned the search results I wanted.
    Use it only if you have some pathological hatred of Google or purely out of principle.
  • Never returned the search results you wanted?? What did you search for? It should be repeatable I'd like to try it to see. I've used DDG for a long time and it always returns results that are applicable to the search terms.
  • Yup, DDG works just fine for me, too. And, yes, I don't use google out of principle based on their business model and practices.
  • Which is why I don't use Apple :)
  • "Which is why I don't use Apple" Must be very sad to have nothing better to do than troll Apple-centric sites, then......especially at the holidays. :-(
  • DuckDuckGo isn't very good outside the US.
  • I 've used DDG since it became an option in iOS and I've never missed Google since. Before DDG, I tried the same thing with Bing but it was, I wouldn't say horrible..but not working and switched back. I am also living outside US, so yes it works fine out there as well.
  • Or switch to Windows phone. Or buy a phone with Cyanogen, or don't sign in to a Google account of an android phone and side load apps. You don't have to switch to iphone if you want to avoid Google.
    Or do some research and make up your own mind about who tracks you and what they do with your data.
    Must be a slow news day.
  • The question was from someone who switched to iPhone and wanted to switch away from Google. Must be a slow comment day :)
  • Yeah, it's a slow comment day because everyone got tired of slamming you over your iBattery case post...I noticed you didn't have anything to say about that.
  • Yep it is, only 45 comments (at time of writing) instead of 100s that some of your articles get.
  • And this time a little more positive :)
  • There is a Internet browser option for Microsoft solution. It's called Microsoft Edge Browser Posted from my Samsung Galaxy S6
  • That runs on the iPhone?
  • Nope, but you didn't specified those list up there are apps that run on iPhone, maybe I overlook your article. My bad on this one.
  • See the question at the very top of the article :)
  • Comprehension is hard for some. lol - kidding.
  • I wonder if Rene is answering the question that was asked. She wants to get away from the Google app because it "blows" since updating from Google+. Without knowing why she feels that way, it's hard to give a good answer. It doesn't sound as though Kay wants to avoid Google for different reasons than the usual "evil tracking" boogeyman.
  • Did you bother to read Kay's question? Kay's Question:
    "Q: I changed from Android where Google apps were and now I'm using an iPhone 6 Plus. I liked Google+ but since the update it blows. So, my question is, please name apps that will replace Google for me on my iPhone 6 Plus. Sincerely, Kay"
  • Yes, of course I read it. In which way(s) does it "blow?"
  • The UI is much worse than before. That being said, she asked how to move away from Google and Rene answered. You don't have to know why she hates the changes to G+ to give her alternatives to Google on an iPhone.
  • Knowing why she hates it may allow you to give her options that allow her to keep Google+. Maybe the things she hates can be remedied. It allows you to give her ALL her options rather than just a few.
  • Except if she hates the way Google Plus is now, why would she want to keep it? Logic, people, try to use it.
  • I've been in support roles where sometimes people disliked what they were ignorant of. Simply showing them the product changed their views. That's all I'm saying.
  • It's a shame though that one cannot get the ball rolling on any "switch" without first creating an Apple ID that absolutely REQUIRES you to use an email account from some other provider. Whether someone is switching away from Google or Microsoft, you still have to maintain ties with them anyway. Never understood the logic behind that. Sent from the iMore App
  • You don't have to use iCloud email. I know many people who's iCloud account is a gmail address.
  • Yeah I've always used Gmail
  • I meant the other way around though Rene. When I made my switch, I personally didn't want to use my old hotmail account for anything anymore except for the fact Apple gave me no choice but to provide a non Apple email as my Apple ID. I wish it had been possible to start from scratch with an iCloud email address, and not need some other email account to start. When creating an Apple ID they state your ID cannot end in an Apple address like iCloud.com...well why not? Sent from the iMore App
  • You can always create a new AppleID/iCloud account from the iPhone and you can switch everything to that account and forget about the old hotmail account. I have several iCloud accounts created this way.
  • Holy crap that worked. Hope you see this and accept my thanks Eduardosan. It is true that if you try to create an Apple ID anywhere else (as in a web browser for instance) it insists that your new Apple ID cannot end in iCloud.com or an associated Apple owned domain. iOS is the key to getting around that though. Setting up a new Apple ID that way does let you truly start from scratch. It's nice if you're wanting to invest your digital life fully into Apple's ecosystem to actually have everything under one roof so to speak. Sent from the iMore App
  • Have I missed something? Since when is Authy a member of the Microsoft family?
  • Table error. Fixed.
  • Typo
  • Here Maps wasn't bought by Microsoft, alas, so it ended up being bought by Audi, BMW, Daimler. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Here_(company)
  • To be precise, Nokia didn't want to sell it to MS with their mobile business. MS did want it, though.
    And then Nokia ended up selling Here anyway. Go figure!
  • You can do this on Android as well Rene. It is called Default Apps and iOS does not even offer that feature. Again way to spread fear, FUD, and half truths. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Read the question posed... Sent from the iMore App
  • Swap to facebook instead of Google plus ? Hmm...
  • I'm not sure what other alternatives there are for massive social networks?
  • My Space? :-)
    Although if you are inclined towards "Linux-like" experience, Diaspora
  • @ Chop, Mr/Ms VAVA Mk2 is a René hater... And according to him/her, apparently René isn't entitled to his opinion, much less the right to simply express it on the Web site/blog he is the editor of. So of course, for VAVA Mk2 to actually "read" and "consider" René's pieces is a little beyond hope.
  • Rene is entitled to write any articles he wants even if we agree / disagree with him. Vava is entitled to comment when the comment section is open even if we agree / disagree with them.
  • I see you finally set your avatar appropriately.
  • Shame it wasn't a yellow chicken but we cant have everything.
  • I never used the iMore App but it seems to make "drive by hating" more accessible to Android users /shrug
  • There are arseholes on all sides. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • More on your side though.
  • #allarseholesmatter
  • Yep indeed
  • What side ? I use ios and android, Pc and mac.
  • That doesn't make what I said false. You can completely avoid Google and their services on Android if you wish to. I have no problems with people choosing one platform over another. My gripe is trying to spread fear or FUD or half truths and incomplete info to push someone one way or another. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Considering Apple fanboys tend not to "consider" or even "look at" Android devices, I say it's a little backwards to say that
  • Speak for yourself. I own and use an iPhone, an iPad Air 2, a Mac Mini and an Apple TV. By that account, I'm an Apple Fanboy. However, my wife has other devices and I use them, as well as I keep up with other devices and use them at my friends' houses, and when someone asks me what to buy, I ask them what they want to do and suggest accordingly. It's people like you that just keep the hate alive.
  • There are two services that are keeping me from cutting the Google Cord and search is not one. First Youtube, although Vimeo is an alternative it comes no where close to catching the broad audience and content YouTube has. Maybe with YouTube Red some third parties will show up, but I suspect not. Second Google Maps. Apple Maps is getting better, but nothing beats real time suggestions for a commuter. Here's a use case, before I start my 60 mile commute Apple Maps tells me which way is fastest, but it doesn't alert me if an accident occurs and the route on I am on is now suddenly 20 mins slower. Google Maps does this.
  • I agree, those two services are top of the tree, (I like search too). I’m not really interested in cutting the ties though. There are so many things we do that leave track these days that as ‘thatguy’ says above, Resistance is Futile.
    Trying to keep on top of who is using you is a massive task.
  • Apple Maps does that. If it knows of an accident or delay that will cost you more than 10 minutes it should reroute you. I've had that happen a couple times and really the only reason I use it on my commute as I know the way home, but want the traffic correction if necessary.
  • +1 on an iPhone being a good google phone. I use both platforms and use most if not all of my google apps on my iPhone 6S+
  • No thanks, I'll stick with Google. Their services always work and work well.
  • "Otherwise, a free Microsoft account gives you access to a wide range of services as well. None of them have the scope of Google, nor the online excellence, but if you don't want Google, they along with a few others like Dropbox, can absolutely get the job done." Disagree. Microsoft apps are outstanding and superior to Google's offerings. Microsoft Excel in particular.
  • The apps are better, but Google still—in my opinion—has broader and deeper services (which is why I said "online" excellence.)
  • Gmail and AdSense are the only Google-services that I use these days. Sent from the iMore App
  • I love Google and use Android devices because of how deeply Google is integrated. I dont mind being tracked because it allows for a better, more personalized experience with features like Google Now. Also tracking is key to online marketing, which allows sites like this to operate. I would rather be tracked and receive RELEVANT ads than go back to 1998 and see irrelevant, spammy, banner ads.
  • Yeah no thanks to "Pantene Sport" ads everywhere (I'm a guy)
  • Why would you “choose” inferior, derivative, patent infringing crap when you clearly know the identity of the world’s best smartphone? On a tight budget? Sell that piece of Samsung junk to the next sucker and apply the proceeds towards a real iPhone. The cost differential will be nominal.
    And, BTW, the iPhone 6s Plus is the “Smartphone of the Year.” iPhone 6s is a close second. - MDN
  • I "choose" my Nexus 6 because of the software. I will admit that I'm a sucker for Apple's hardware design. I've switched to the iPhone twice over the past 2 years but found myself going back to using Nexus devices within 4-6 months each time. iOS is frustratingly horrid to use for anybody that is used to the more robust feature set of Android. Contrary to what some iPhone fans believe, there are a subset of Android users who "choose" Android because we prefer it, not because we "can't afford an iPhone". My Nexus 6 was more expensive that the iPhone when it came out as a matter of fact. It is my opinion that people who think Android is junk clearly have not actually used it extensively in the past 3 years. and may be basing their opinion off an older experience or from a crappy phone. The difference in Apple and Google's cloud services alone should be enough to convince someone. iCloud is truly laughable....absolute garbage in fact. I'd take a high end Android device over an iPhone any day of the week.
  • Hey....um.....
    Please make your own opinions :)
    Band wagons may seem like fun. But while you're stuck with battery at 20% and still using a charger, I'll be laughing at you behind my quick charger.
    Let's talk about other things.....
    -Wireless charging
    -MicroSD support
    -Better cameras
    -More premium builds
    -More customizability
    -More ways to unlock
    -More ways to share information And what does iPhone have? A half-powered CPU with half as many cores... A locked NFC tag.... Finally they put in a 13mp camera (still prefer the 21 mp cameras that some phones have been offering)... Proprietary charger that doesn't charge all that fast.... And the ability to change wallpapers and move a few apps around? No thanks. I don't think I'll trust MDN if they're just gonna keep accepting money from Apple. Go try an Android yourself. Get yourself a fairly cheap one - the Nexus 5x will do - to show that money does not always equal quality. Especially with Apple. You'll see why so many people like Android. I came from an iPhone. Once I tried an Android (just to be a little smart and be able to make my own arguments instead of taking arguments from paid writers), I felt like Heaven. I'm able to root, unlock my bootloader, flash custom ROMs. I have so much more freedom with my better media playing, better battery, better customizability. And the bezel-lessness makes me cry from joy - every time. So please. While you look some of those terms up (bezels, customizability, freedom) do yourself a favor and get a fairly cheap phone so you can make your own arguments instead of sounding like a sheep :)
  • Android's customizability and freedom is great, but there are disadvantages which are enough to move people to the iPhone. The quality of apps is generally better on the App Store compared to the Google Play store, and there are some iPhone apps that I couldn't live without, such as Tweetbot, which doesn't exist on Android. I've found stability to be better on iOS, but some people seem to have a better experience than others, and this is also caused by Android's version fragmentation across phones. Of course, you can get a custom ROM to fix this problem, but unless you know what you're doing and you know the good quality ROMs, you need someone computer-savvy to do this. Again, this might be subjective, but I've found battery life to be better on iOS. I had a few Android phones and the battery drained fast. I had to manage stuff like WiFi and Bluetooth which doesn't seem to make a great difference on iOS. You also have to watch out for wake-locks on Android which you don't really have to worry about on iOS. These above points are the main reason I'm on iOS, and I'm positive that they're improving constantly, if not already fixed. iOS generally seems to be a lot more of a "do nothing and it'll work well" OS, whereas Android is more "customize and set it up correctly and it'll work well". The customization is fantastic, but for many people who aren't tech-savvy and just want to start using their phone from the get-go, iOS is the more attractive option
  • Where does this "quality of the apps" crap come from? The apps on my 6s are identical to the apps on my Note 5. The only phone with different acting apps is my Windows Phone. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • I disagree, the apps are not at all identical, not aesthetically and not in terms of performance (From my home screen, Twitter, Facebook, Runkeeper, Instagram are different on my Moto X when compared to my 6s, just to name a few.. The Facebook and Runkeeper apps in particular work like crap on my Moto X. There is also annoying little thing Facebook app does which is refresh to top of feed when I hit back. Run keeper is just an all out crappy experience on Android.. Then there are some specific apps that are simply not available on Android. Indie Devs just don´t seem to put the effort into Android apps, the exceptions being ones like ShiftyJelly. I hate to say it, but the app gap still exists somewhat just not as bad as before, and it is sad, because I fundamentally prefer Android.
  • Facebook on Android and iOS are virtually identical. Twitter on Android and iOS are virtually identical, and honestly you are overselling some of the iOS apps. I have Tweetbot on my iPhone 6S Plus. One thing I do is follow live tweets of sporting events on Twitter. It's basically the only reason why I have a Twitter account (after the season is over, I delete my tweets and my Twitter account until next year). One thing you can do in Twitter, is click on a Hash Tag and view the thread. There is a button on the top right of the screen that lets you start a Tweet, and it will automatically input the hashtag in the Compose Screen. You can do this without losing your place in the Feed you're viewing (as sometimes tweets are coming in faster than you can read through them, obviously. In Tweetbot, there is no way to do this. You have to go to your home screen to access the Tweet button, losing your place in the #hashtag feed, and then composing the tweet from scratch there. Then, after you're done, you go back to the hashtag feed and scroll to find where you were before... That's kind of a big deal for high volume Twitter feeds. So I didn't bother buying Tweetbot for my Mac after seeing this. I just installed the Official Twitter App. I uninstalled it form my iPhone as well, as it is useless to me with such a crippling "flow" within the app. You're talking about 1 App (Run Keeper), which is a bit useless of a sampling (since I'm completely ignoring your B.S. about the Facebook and Twitter Apps). Instagram is as good on Android as it is on iOS. In fact, it has been rolling out features to Android ahead of iOS lately. There really isn't any App Gap, and in many cases where they do exist they are in favor of Android. Because I don't know anyone *still* waiting for an app to be optimized for their device's screen size/resolution in the Android Ecosystem (personally), while there are still a ton of Apps that are upscaled on an iPhone 6/6[s] [Plus]. And you do not want me to start listing those. The resulting list would crash your browser. I have a few on my device that have yet to be updated for the new (now old) screen sizes/resolutions, from major corporations. 5/22 of the apps I have installed on my iPhone, to be exact. I think even the Hearthstone game from Blizzard is still upscaled on newer iPhones, unless that has changed in the past few months... There are iOS Exclusives, Android Exclusives, and there are apps that exhibit better quality or feature set on either platform. That's the nature of the industry. No developer or corporation has unlimited resources to devote everywhere. Everything involves a compromise. But I think you people are seriously overselling the App Store, the Quality of Apps on the iPhone, and the supposed "App Gap" you still want to peddle since the "selling points" of an iPhone vs. Android Flagships has been pretty much demolished in recent years.
  • honestly i dont need all these fancy things what i need is service. i use my phone more than average and a tool to get my job done. i also had a galaxy s6 for three month and it was more a pain that it really helped me. camera pretty good but not so into picture. fast charging yes awesome but my iphone 6P last me all day and when i sleep i am charging my phone and not really care how fast its charging maybe can see it on the iphone 6s or so. better screen is i think the big thing for me changing to android.
  • The iPhone 6S camera is 12MP. The 21MP cameras that some phones have been offering are largely crap, and some of them even pixel bin or downsize the images by default to force noise and artifacts out of the image and improve the resulting quality... Usually to 5-8MP. The MP wars are over. Why are you still living in 2012? The lightning charger actually does charge rather fast. However, Apple does ship a 1A charger with their devices, so even if it was a "quick charger" you wouldn't get any quick charging out of it because the plug doesn't put out enough current to quick charge anything. Swap the stock Apple plug out for a 2A Wall-to-USB Plug and you get some faster charging. Most people don't care about wireless charging. Companies (and carriers) have been giving away wireless charging basis in an attempt to get more people to use them, and people still largely don't care much about it. Don't confuse yourself into thinking AndroidCentral is indicative of the real world. The iPhone is a premium build. Most people couldn't care less about customizability. If they cared that much, Apple's sales wouldn't be going up while Samsung and HTC's sales were going down despite them adding Theme Stores, Downloadable Camera Modes and other crap into their devices. Not every device has a MicroSD Card. The Nexus 5X you route doesn't have it, and the iPhone has bigger storage SKUs than the Nexus 5X. Its build quality isn't all that great, and its camera software is crippled due to the mid-range hardware in the device. No one cares about NFC outside of Mobile Payments. I thought the market had already proven that, seeing as how the entire thing failed on Android as a way to share information and they eventually had to start moving towards BT and WiFi Direct (something both Samsung (S Beam) and Apple (AirDrop) pretty much predicted off the bat).
  • @antron
    Statements like that is why android users hate Apple owners and call them names like Snob, sheep etc.
    I own a 64GB Note 5 and a 64GB iPhone and the Note 5 cost more than the iPhone.
    To more or less call someone "poor" because they chose Android makes you sound like a complete churl. The Maserati Ghibli was also rated "luxury car of the year" - do you own one? Maybe you should sell that corolla to the next sucker that will take it and get a Real car, the Ghibli - it's only $129,000 - or are you on a tight budget or something?
  • Must be a very old iPhone then. An iPhone close to the size of the Note 5 is the iPhone 6S Plus. The 64GB version of the iPhone would be at least $850 without tax. I know the Note 5 is standard retail at $699 for the 32GB version which doesn't include the $100 you get back from Samsung making it $599. I can't imagine the 64GB version of the Note 5 being much more.. maybe $50. Your point though that Android devices are not cheap or a "poor man" iPhone is accurate though. People who get the iPhone aren't getting it for the hardware nor the software... but the "apple" on the back. Kind of a status symbol even though in reality the software and hardware experience is far inferior.
  • Perhaps not wise to recommend Sunrise as a calendar alternative as it's being retired in favour of the calendar built into Outlook for iOS http://blog.sunrise.am/
  • Sponsored by Posted via the iMore App for Android