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The iPhone, Mac, and Apple Watch make for a great team, as they work with each other to streamline common tasks and make them easier to do.
However, there are several reasons you might want to explore other options, like Android phones and Windows computers.
Whatever your reason might be, leaving the Apple ecosystem can be a tough thing to do, and you might not find some of the useful features from the Apple ecosystem anywhere else.
To make the transition easier, though, here are a few tips to start with:
1. First, you’ll need new, non-Apple devices.
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If you use software that isn’t your web browser, your best bet is going to be a Windows 10 laptop. There are several Windows 10 laptops out there you might like at different price ranges. Here are five Windows 10 laptops that outprice the new MacBooks Pros, as well as out-speccing them.
Those laptops I suggest in the link above are pretty powerful, but while they’re also pricey, they’re still less expensive than the new MacBook Pros. There are a bunch of great Windows 10 laptops in the $700 range that aren’t as powerful; those could fit your needs, too.
If 99% of the things you do on your Mac are based in a web browser, you could consider Chromebooks. They run Chrome OS, which is essentially the Chrome web browser, and they can cost a lot less than a Windows 10 laptop.
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It’s the purest expression of what Google thinks a smartphone should be, and you’ll get the latest Android and security updates directly from Google as they’re released, not several months later like the majority of Android smartphones.
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If you have an Apple Watch, the bad news is that it’s not compatible with anything else apart from Apple products.
If you must have a smartwatch, go for Samsung’s Gear S3 Classic or Frontier. They work with most recent Android smartphones, and they’re very good as far as smartwatches go. And if you get a Samsung smartphone, you can use Samsung Pay with the Gear S3, too, which works in pretty much any store that has a credit card reader.
Unfortunately, however, you won’t find the useful Auto Unlock feature from the Apple ecosystem, which unlocks your Mac computer when you’re wearing your Apple Watch.
2. Now, you’ll need a new account to transfer contacts, photos, videos, and calendars from the iPhone you’re trying to escape from.
To move away from the Apple ecosystem means you’ll need to adopt a new ecosystem: In this case, it’s almost certainly going to be Google. Even if you’re using a Microsoft device, you’ll still probably going to want to use many of Google’s useful services on that Microsoft Windows machine.
If you don’t already have a Google account, get one. It’s the best way to transfer your contacts, photos, videos, and calendars, in my opinion.
Download Google Drive on your iPhone to sync your contacts, photos, videos, and calendars.
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All your data in your iPhone can be easily transferred over to a new Android phone. Follow these three simple instructions on how.
Basically, it’s download Google Drive, sign in or sign up, and backup in the app. Then, on your new Android phone, just sign in with your Google account during setup or in Android’s settings.
Don’t worry about your photos taking up all the space, Google Photos offers unlimited and free storage for photos taken with cameras using 16 megapixels or less, and videos filmed in 1080p.
If your photos and videos exceed those specs, Google Photos will automatically reduce their resolution. Don’t worry, they’ll still look great.
3. Now, transfer stuff from your Mac to your new computer.
You can use a good ol’ fashioned hard drive.
Just plug the hard drive in to your old Mac, transfer your files and folders, and unload them into your new machine. This only works for Windows PCs, though; for Chromebook owners, your best bet will be to use Google Drive (more on that in a bit).
If you have a Microsoft Office 365 subscription, you get a ton of free OneDrive cloud storage to transfer your files and folders from your Mac to your Windows machine.
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You get a free terabyte (1,000 GB) of storage in Microsoft’s OneDrive if you subscribe to Office 365 for things like Word, Excel, or PowerPoint. That should be plenty of storage for all your files and folders on your Mac.
To transfer everything, go to OneDrive and log in with your Office 365 login details. Then, start clicking and dragging your files and folders into OneDrive on your Mac’s web browser.
If you’re switching to a Chromebook, or you want to move stuff to your new Windows PC without Office 365, use Google Drive, which has 15GB of free storage.
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On your Mac’s web browser, go to Google Drive and sign in with your Google account.
Then, you can click and drag files and folders from your Mac to Google Drive in your web browser.
You can buy more storage if you need more than the free included 15 GB. It’s not very expensive at $2 per month for 100 GB.
4. Switch from Apple’s Messages to a universal messaging service, like Google Hangouts.
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Having Messages on the Mac to send and receive texts you’re also getting on your phone is a pretty tough feature to leave behind if you’re ditching the Apple ecosystem, especially since you could get standard SMS messages on your Mac – not just iMessages between Apple devices – after OS X Yosemite was released.
Unfortunately, Windows 10 doesn’t have an equivalent native app that will work with Android phones to send and receive text messages. There are some third-party apps, like mySMS, which received decent reviews, but they’re not ideal or as good as Messages on Macs.
To send quick messages to your contacts from both your computer and your phone, the best solution is to use a messenger app that’s cross-platform (available on both computers and phones, just like iMessages) rather than using text messages at all. It helps to use a service where many of your contacts are likely to have accounts, like Facebook or Google.
Google Hangouts is a great messenger app that also has video and voice chat. It’s not quite the same thing as getting your actual phone calls on your Mac based on your actual phone number, but it’s a pretty good alternative. You can use Hangouts from your Gmail account online, the Android app, or from the Hangouts web app.
Facebook’s Messenger also works across all your devices, and it features video and voice-calling, too.
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Use Android Pay instead of Apple Pay.
Most new Android devices support Android Pay, which is pretty much the same thing as Apple Pay. Android Pay is often accepted in the same places as Apple Pay due to the fact that both use NFC technology to make mobile payments.
If you get a Samsung smartphone that comes with Samsung Pay, it’s even better than Apple Pay and Android Pay, as it’s accepted pretty much any store that has a credit card reader.
The technology used for Samsung Pay, called MST (magnetic secure transmission), mimics a credit card’s magnetic stripe, so there’s no need for stores to upgrade credit card readers that support NFC for mobile payments.
Unlike Apple Pay, however, which you can use on from your Mac, you can only use Android Pay with your smartphone.
5. Use Spotify instead of iTunes and Apple Music.
Spotify is a great, if not better, alternative to Apple Music as a music streaming service. However, many of you out there have probably amassed vast libraries of music through iTunes, and it’s understandable why you wouldn’t want to ditch it.
The good news is that you can upload your iTunes music that’s locally stored on your computer and iPhone onto Spotify on your Mac – or, if you’ve already made the switch to a Windows machine or Android phone, you can do it there, too.
To get your iTunes music onto Spotify via Mac, just download Spotify and get a Premium account. Then, go into Preferences, and make sure your iTunes Music library is selected as a Local File Source. Once you’ve done that, just grab any tracks that pop up in your Local Files tab and drag them over to My Music. That way, you can stream them from any device, including whatever non-Apple device you happen to buy in the future.
To get your iTunes music onto Spotify via Windows, you’ll need to download and install iTunes on your PC, which seems counter-intuitive, but it’ll make sense soon. Then, the easiest option to get your purchased iTunes music onto your new Windows Machine is to download it again from iTunes. You can find all your purchased music from your account in iTunes. Note that this only works for music you bought from iTunes. If you have local music files from elsewhere, you’ll need to transfer it from your Mac to Windows machine with a hard drive, Google Drive, or OneDrive.
Once you have all your iTunes music on your Windows machine, download and install the Spotify app for Windows. From there, you simply need to go to Spotify’s settings > scroll down until you find the Local Files menu, and turn on the “source” where your local iTunes music is stored on your Windows machine. Now, Spotify will be your new music player complete with playlists, even for music from your iTunes library.
To get your iTunes music onto an Android phone, the best way is to start from your Windows machine. From your Windows machine, put all your local iTunes music files into a playlist in Spotify. Then, you’ll need Spotify’s paid Premium service to get them onto your Android phone. Get the Android app, sign up for a Premium account, and make sure your Windows machine and Android phone are on the same WiFi network. Then, in the Spotify Android app, go to Your Library > Playlists > then select the playlist with all your iTunes music, and switch the Download button to the green “On” position.
If everything goes well, that’s all there is to it! It’s not the most convenient or effortless thing to do, but that’s the price for sticking with local music files!
WARNING: There is one thing you can’t do, which is transfer Mac apps and documents that use that software.
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to transfer over your Mac apps and software like you can your files and folders. You’ll have to download and install the software you want onto your new Windows machine. In some cases, you might have to buy them again to download the Windows version.