Switching From iOS to Android

First, if you are planning to switch from iOS to Android, you likely want to transfer your data from your iphone/ipod/ipad to your new Android Device.  Luckily Google has published a getting started guide for users wanting to switch from iOS to Android.  This guide walks you through how to transfer your music, photos and email from the iOS platform to the Google Android platform.

There are some differences to expect from iOS in terms of how you use the device, the features you can find and customising your experience.  Firstly, if there is something you don't like about the way your device works from the file explorer, to the phone dialer, to the voice recognition engine to the browser or any other aspect of your device's interface or operation, likely  you can change it.  You can explore the app directory to get some ideas of just how many options you have.   You also don't need a 3rd party app like itunes to transfer items to and from your device.  Your device should show up as either an external drive or as a media device.  This means on windows, you can go to Windows Explorer and manage the files on your phone through it.

The most customisable and overall accessible browser is Firefox.  The most accessible and customisable file manager is Total Commander.   Total Commander supports local file browsing, copying and moving but also can connect to network shares, dropbox, google drive, one drive, ftp sites directly. 

The first time you boot up you will be presented with a startup wizard to get you connected.  When your device completes the initial startup wizard, you will be in your device's "launcher".  Depending on the manufacturer and device this launcher could be the google now launcher, senseUI or any of a host of other launchers.  Many people will install Nova Launcher to replace the default launcher of the device.    Most launchers contain a "desktop" and an "ap drawer".  When you unlock your device or hit the home button on your device, you are taken to the "desktop".  The desktop is a grid view of icons with a dock at the bottom containing 1 row of icons and the "app" or "app drawer" icon that opens the app drawer of your launcher.  The desktop  is pretty similar to the main home screens you would have encountered on iOS; however, it only contains the apps you want or use regularly.  Your desktop will likely have several pages to the left and several pages to the right, each page contains a grid view of icons.    The app drawer contains a grid view of all the apps you have installed on the device.  Other launchers may have their own interface; however, the above description tends to be the most common launcher behaviour and layout. 

If you are a VoiceOver user, there are some similarities and some differences in terms of what to expect and how to use the screen reader.  When you first power on the device, to activate Talkback (the built in screen reader); simply hold 2 fingers on the surface of the touchscreen.  After about 5 seconds it will announce tell you to keep holding down on the screen if you wish to enable Talkback.  A few seconds later you willr screen reader will start up.  You will at this point be presented with the startup wizard that will take you through connecting your phone to a wifi hotspot, connecting your google / gmail account and setting up the initial perameters of the device.    Depending on what version of Android your device uses, you may need a set of earphones in order to hear your password spoken out.

You use a single finger swipe left to go forward and swipe right to go back through the items on a screen.  You double tap anywhere on the screen to activate, just like on iOS.   You use 2 fingers (swiping left, right, up or down) instead of 3 fingers to scroll in a list, scroll on a page or scroll around a multi-screen layout. 

You also have a number of configurable gestures.  You can pair a gesture with a limited choice of commands.   By default, the following gestures work:

  • <>-Draw an upper case L on the screen (i.e. touch the surface of the screen and quickly draw a line down, than continue to the right and raise your finger) to open the global menu to access reading commands like read all, read from last touched item, spell last utterance, the quicknav commands and also there are a few buttons for global commands like disable talkback temporarily and talkback settings .
  • <>-Draw an upper case L backwards  (i.e. touch the surface of the screen and quickly draw a line down, than continue to the left and raise your finger) to go to the previous screen
  • <>-Draw an upside down upper case L  (i.e. touch the surface of the screen and quickly draw a line up, than continue to the right and raise your finger) to go to the local menu where you will find specific commands for the field or control that currently has focus such as the label button command if focus is on an unlabelled button or the paste command if the focus is on an edit or input field.
  • <>-Draw a backwards and upside down upper case L  (i.e. touch the surface of the screen and quickly draw a line up, than continue to the left and raise your finger)to go to the “home” screen

It does take a little practice to learn how to do the "L" based gestures at first and it is important to listen to the audio ques that talkback provides to advise you if talkback recognises the gesture you just completed as a valid "L" gesture.

In the Talkback settings screen, You can customise your talkback gestures and even experiment with some new ones such as "shake to activate" which many people set to "read all"; so that when they shake their device it reads out the enture screen to them.

Hopefully this has given you enough initial information to get started and check back here regularly as we will likely update this guide as time passes.