How to back everything up on your Galaxy smartphone

Our steps here are suitable for most Samsung Galaxy devices, so whether you’re still hanging on to your trusty S4, S5, S6 or S7, or whether you have a new device such as the S8, S8 Plus or the recently released Samsung Galaxy S9 or S9 Plus and most other Galaxy devices, you can follow these steps to secure your data.

MobiKin Assistant for Android

So, how do you backup your Samsung? The fastest and easiest way to backup everything on your Galaxy is to get the MobiKin Assistant for Android. Enjoy the peace-of-mind of knowing all of your contacts, text messages, music, videos and more are backed up.

Simply download the software to your PC, plug your phone in and everything will be backed up very quickly. All you need to do is follow some easy instructions. You can also recover your data from this device if you so choose. 

mobikin screenshot Backup and recover everything on your Galaxy S4, Galaxy S5, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S8, Galaxy S9 and the majority of other Galaxy phones / © MobiKin

MobiKin backs up all your data by securely exporting your files to your computer, all of which will be transferred in their original format and data quality, at the end you’ll not only have a backup, but you’ll free up precious memory on your device. Get started by downloading the software and secure everything on your Galaxy.

Which category should I use to backup my Samsung Galaxy?

Backups basically fall into two categories: those for rooted users, and those for non-rooted users. If you are not rooted, there are several options available, which we’ll cover below. If you do have root level access, you’ll have an easier time performing your backup (that’s a topic for another tutorial).

We’ll show you the best methods for keeping your apps and data safe so if you have your phone stolen, get a Gremlin-filled update or otherwise fall foul of good luck, your essential data will still be safe.

Important: don’t only rely on backups

There’s a lot to be said for the old-fashioned way of backing things up: regularly transferring them to your computer. Connect with a USB cable (don’t forget to install the Android USB drivers first) and copy your pictures, music and documents to your hard drive.

You can also use cloud storage to automatically save various files on your computer, such as Google’s great Photos app that automatically uploads your camera shots. You can also link certain folders to a cloud service such as Drive or Box (I do this for screenshots).

Your emails are internet-hosted and WhatsApp messages are safe because they are backed up to your SD card every day at 4 am anyway, so you just need to save the database file before doing a reset.

backup1 CAPTION – REPLACE ME! / © Mobikin

Your device isn’t rooted? No problem, there’s another option

In the settings menu of your smartphone or tablet you’ll find the backup and reset settings, where you can add an account to which your apps, data and passwords can be backed up. This is usually your Google account.

This is also where you set your restore options and activate a factory reset. It is also a good idea to sign in to your favorite apps with an account that can be used to store your data if you lose your phone or have to reinstall the app at some point. Many apps also offer cloud backup options and you’ve got plenty of cloud backup services that you can use to regularly schedule backups too.

How to create a backup

If you don’t want everything stored in the cloud or on your Google account then you can simply use your computer to make a backup of your apps and data. The best in class in this area is Clockworkmod’s Carbon Backup, now known as Helium.

Helium – App Sync and Backup Install on Google Play

Simply install Helium on your Android and then on your computer, click the following link to download Helium for desktop and follow the prompts. You’ll be able to backup all sorts of stuff, including your apps and data, predictive typing predictions, text messages and call logs. Here’s how it’s done.

AndroidPIT USB Debugging Developer Options You need USB Debugging enabled first. / © AndroidPIT

1. Don’t forget: you need to have USB Debugging enabled in Developer Options in your phone first (see screenshots above).

2. Tap build number (in Settings > About Phone) seven times until it pops up. Connect your Galaxy to your computer with a USB cable and establish the connection.

mobikin image 2 Go to Settings > Accounts tab > Backup and reset and set up your backup account. / © AndroidPIT mobikin image 3 Ensure USB debugging is enabled. / © AndroidPIT

3. Once the connection is established, start selecting the apps and data you’d like to backup.

4. ”Select all” or select individual apps and you also have the option to only backup your app data, but not the app itself. This makes your backup file much smaller, and you will simply need to reinstall the app from the Play Store before restoring your data.

mobikin image 4 Tap the blue window icon in the bottom left to get started, or tick individual apps. © AndroidPIT / © AndroidPIT

5. Make sure you enable PC Download in the action overflow menu to activate a unique IP address on the Helium server from which you can access your backup from your computer. Type in the unique URL to download your backup for safe keeping. Otherwise, hit Backup and you’re done.

Now, you just need to remember to do backups regularly!

AndroidPIT Helium Backup Server Backup everything on your Galaxy. / © AndroidPIT

Have you ever lost all the data on your phone? We hope you’ve backed everything up on your Galaxy now! Leave a comment and let us know.

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

How to transfer everything from iPhone to Android


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One-click solution: Wondershare MobileTrans

If you want a one-stop solution for transferring your data from an iPhone to an Android (or from a BlackBerry or Symbian device for that matter), it’s hard to go past Wondershare MobileTrans.

MobileTrans is a one-click program that lets you transfer your contacts, text messages, calendars, photos, videos and music between devices. Depending on the OS you’re switching from you can also sync apps and call logs too. MobileTrans also works as a backup service with cloud storage options. Here’s the full scope of its capabilities:

mobiletrans table All the files and data you can transfer between devices with MobileTrans. / © Wondershare

You can grab a free trial version of MobileTrans which will let you see how easy the program is to use, but if you want to do the full transfer or restore your backups you’ll have to pay for a license – either a one-time affair ($ 19.95) or a single user license ($ 39.95).

Once you’ve got a license, you can transfer all of your contacts, calendar info, messages and media, restore backups and even wipe your old device. Do note that the single user license is only good for up to five devices using one computer.

AndroidPIT Wondershare MobileTrans 1 MobileTrans gives you options to transfer data, make backups and restore as well as delete old data.  / © AndroidPIT

How to transfer data between iPhone and Android with MobileTrans

We transferred everything from an iPhone 6 to a Galaxy S6 as an example so you can see just how easy the process is. As mentioned above, you’ll only get this full functionality with a paid license.

Lowest price: Samsung Galaxy S6

Best price

1. Launch the MobileTrans program and connect both devices with a cable to your computer. You’ll see both devices populate either side of the first window you see.

AndroidPIT Wondershare MobileTrans 6 Wait until both origin and destination device are connected. Flip their position if necessary. / © AndroidPIT

2. You might be prompted to enable USB Debugging on and Android and to accept an RSA key (on Android) or ”Trust” the computer you’re connected to (on Apple).

AndroidPIT Wondershare MobileTrans 2 Enable USB Debugging, accept the RSA key and ”Trust” the computer you’re connected to. / © AndroidPIT

3. You can flip the devices if they’re in the wrong place for the transfer you want to make.

4. You might be asked to uncheck the ”encrypt iPhone backup” in your iTunes settings if you’ve previously opted for an encrypted backup. Once you’ve done your transfer you can recheck the encrypted backup option again. (Note that you also have the option to clear the destination phone’s data before transferring).

5. Once you’ve got both phones connected properly all you need to do is check the boxes next to the data you want to transfer: contacts, text messages, calendar, call logs, apps, photos, music and videos. Naturally, you won’t be able to transfer apps from an iPhone to an Android, but you get the idea. We didn’t have any videos or text messages on our iPhone either, so we left those blank.

AndroidPIT Wondershare MobileTrans 4 Make your data selections in the center and click ”Start Copy” to begin. / © AndroidPIT

6. Click ”Start Copy” and sit back and wait. Depending how much media you have on the original phone, the process may take several hours to complete, so make sure you have a power source at the ready.

7. Once the transfer process has completed, you can disconnect both phones.  

AndroidPIT Wondershare MobileTrans 5 The transferring process could take a while, so sit back and relax. / © AndroidPIT

Cloud-based apps

If the apps you use are cloud-based, like Gmail, Spotify or Facebook, you hardly have to do anything: it’s just a matter of installing the apps, entering your usernames and passwords and picking up from where you left off. Transferring everything else is a bit more complicated, and that’s what we’ll cover next.

Contacts

If you don’t already have one, sign up for a free Google Account: you’ll need it to do pretty much anything on Android. Once you’ve done that, backup your iPhone and then log in to iCloud.com. Click on Contacts, select the ones you want to transfer and then click on the little gear icon at the bottom left of the screen. You’ll see an option to Export vCard. Clicking on this will export the selected contacts in vCard format.

transfercontacts1 Using iCloud.com makes exporting contacts easy. / © AndroidPIT

Now, log in to Gmail and click on Gmail > Contacts. You’ll see the option to Import Contacts in the left hand sidebar. Click it, choose the vCard file you just created and let Google do the rest.

transfercontacts Google makes it simple to import contacts from pretty much anything. / © AndroidPIT

Calendar

This is a little more complicated, but it’s still easy. Go back to iCloud on your iPhone and this time and open the Calendar app. You’ll see a list of your calendars in the left hand sidebar, and a little wireless icon next to each one. Click on that to open that calendar’s sharing menu.

transfercalendar Transferring your calendars is a little more time consuming, but it’s still easy. / © AndroidPIT

What we want to do here is to create a public calendar we can then import into Google Calendar. To do that, click Public Calendar and copy the entire link you see on screen. 

Open a new browser window or tab and paste the link, but don’t hit Enter just yet: you need to change the bit that says “webcal” to “http”. Do that and press Enter, and your computer should now download an .ics calendar file with a really long and incomprehensible file name.

Repeat this process for each calendar you want to transfer.

Now, we need to log in to Google Calendar on your Android phone and click on Other Calendars in the left hand sidebar. Click on the drop-down arrow and choose Import Calendar, and then select the .ics file you just downloaded. Clicking on Import will now add the events to the Google Calendar you select (if you have more than one). You’ll need to repeat the process for each calendar.

Text messages and WhatsApp chats

Please note that without using a questionable third party tool, it is not currently possible to transfer iMessage or WhatsApp chats from iOS to Android or vice versa. We can only recommend backing up your chats in iCloud for now.

whats app backup chat The ability to make Google Drive backups doesn’t help when moving from iOS to Android. / © AndroidPIT

Email

The most seamless way to manage your iCloud emails on an Android smartphone is through the preinstalled mail app, using IMAP access from Apple. With SMTP access, you can still send e-mails under the old Apple address, too. The necessary server data for setting it up is in this Apple support document

iCloud Documents

If you’ve been storing files in iCloud, you can get them by logging into iCloud.com, clicking on iCloud Drive and then choosing the appropriate app folder – but remember that some file types, such as Pages documents, won’t work in non-Apple programs. If you’ve got files in proprietary formats such as Pages, convert them to RTF or Microsoft Word files in the Pages app before transferring them.

Bookmarks

Once again, the easiest way to do transfer everything is via iCloud. In your iPhone, go into Settings > iCloud and ensure Safari is enabled; now, go to your PC or Mac and open iCloud for Windows (PC) or System Preferences > iCloud (Mac) and do the same.

If you haven’t already downloaded iCloud for Windows you can get it from here. What we’re doing here is ensuring that our iPhone bookmarks are being synchronized with our PC or Mac.

transferbookmarks1 If you sync Safari via iCloud, it’s easy to transfer your bookmarks. / © AndroidPIT

On Windows, the next step is to click Bookmarks > Options and then choose Firefox or Chrome.

Click Apply and then Merge, and you’ll be told to download the iCloud Bookmarks extension for the browser you selected. This extension will sync your bookmarks from Safari to Chrome or Firefox.

If you chose Chrome, the next step is easy:

  • On a PC, open Chrome and log in to the Google Account you use for Android and the bookmarks will be synced automatically.
  • On a Mac, open Chrome, click the “hamburger” Chrome menu at the right hand side of the window and select Bookmarks > Import Bookmarks and Settings and select Safari as the source.

transferbookmarks See that icon with a star? That’s the one you need for getting bookmarks into Firefox. / © AndroidPIT

Firefox is a little trickier for both PC and Mac.

If you’re on a Mac, the next step is to open Firefox, choose Bookmarks > Show All Bookmarks and then click on the star icon in the toolbar. This brings up the importing and backup options.

Select Import Data From Another Browser and choose Safari.

On both PC and Mac, the next step is to click on Firefox’s Tools menu and select Set Up Sync. This enables you to log in to your Firefox Account (if you have one) or create a Firefox Account (if you don’t). Once you’ve entered the details, you can then open Firefox on your phone and choose Options > Sync > Pair a Device to get the bookmarks onto Firefox on your phone.

Photos and videos

If you’re using the Google Photos app on your iOS device, this is easy if you enabled Google’s automatic backups. Just get the Google Photos Android app (probably preinstalled on your new phone), set it up and everything will be there for you.

Google Photos Install on Google Play

The manual way to transfer photos from iPhone to Android is to drag everything and drop it (if you have a Windows PC). Connect the iPhone via USB, open My Computer and look for the iPhone icon. Open it and look for the DCIM folder. That’s where your pictures are; just select them and drag them to a folder on your PC.

transferphotos On a Mac? Use Image Capture to get your iPhone photos. / © AndroidPIT

You can then connect your Android phone and drag the files from your PC to your phone. If you’re feeling particularly flash, you can connect iPhone and Android at the same time and drag photos from one to the other, but we’d recommend transferring to the PC first so you’ve got a backup of your pictures.

Things are slightly different on Macs, although the basic idea is the same. Instead of My Computer you’ll need to launch Image Capture to import your photos. Once you’ve done that you can connect your Android device and drag from your photos folder (or anywhere else you put the imported pics).

Music

This one’s a bit trickier. You’ll need Apple’s iTunes and Google Music Manager installed. First of all, in iTunes make sure all your music is actually on your computer: if there’s a little icon of a cloud with a downwards arrow on it, it hasn’t been downloaded. Make sure your purchased music is there too (it may be hidden in Preferences > Store > Show iTunes in the Cloud Purchases).

itunes google play music2 Use Apple’s iTunes and Google Music Manager to move your music to your Android. / © AndroidPIT

Once you’re sure you’ve got everything, open Google Music Manager and in the setup page, select Upload Songs to Google Play. Specify iTunes as the source and let Google Music Manager do its thing. For more detailed instructions, see our article on how to use iTunes with Android.

Have you recently moved from iPhone to Android? Was it painful or a pleasure to transfer everything? Let us know in the comments.

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

There’s no reason to give Facebook and WhatsApp everything

Across the Atlantic, Facebook’s shenanigans have landed it in some hot water. Last May, the social media giant was fined €110 million by the European Commission for misleading regulators about its technical capacities of matching WhatsApp and Facebook users. Now, an investigation by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has reached a settlement with WhatsApp, barring the company from sharing data with Facebook until both companies comply with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The GDPR comes into full effect this May, and we’re already seeing a positive effect when it comes to user privacy and control over the data we hand over to big tech companies.

Privacy in the UK

The ICO concluded that WhatsApp and Facebook can’t legally share user data at the moment. In an official statement by Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham, the ICO clarifies that while there is not sufficient cause to fine Facebook in Britain, the investigation identified the following problems with WhatsApp:

  1. WhatsApp has not identified a lawful basis of processing for any such sharing of personal data;

  2. WhatsApp has failed to provide adequate fair processing information to users in relation to any such sharing of personal data;

  3. In relation to existing users, such sharing would involve the processing of personal data for a purpose that is incompatible with the purpose for which such data was obtained;

  4. I found that if they had shared the data, they would have been in contravention of the first and second data protection principles of the Data Protection Act.

The ICO’s announcement mentions that Facebook is also under investigation from various other EU data protection authorities. Facebook is already banned from using WhatsApp user data in Germany and faces further investigation, and the French data protection authority (CNIL) has its own enforcement action against WhatsApp

Is it time for the US to protect the data of its citizens?

Back in the USA, Facebook has faced only a comparatively soft touch from consumer protection agencies and trade regulation authorities. After Facebook acquired WhatsApp, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) confronted the company with a…uh…strongly worded letter. Ok.

Facebook is already under a 20-year consent decree from the FTC (since 2012), related to earlier complaints about its privacy policies and misleading its users. Yet the decision to share data with WhatsApp hasn’t met with the same pushback the social network faced in more privacy-conscious Europe.

AndroidPIT best messenger apps 1 whatsapp WhatsApp won many users with a promise of privacy, but now the situation is very different. / © AndroidPIT

The FTC seems to be content with WhatsApp’s opt-out system for data sharing, in which the ability to opt-out of data collection is only valid for 30 days. A more pro-active opt-in system, supported by the European Commission, would give users more control by default.

As it stands right now, US users can still hope to benefit from the more far-reaching European measures, as companies like Facebook and Google are forced to adapt to maintain their position globally.

In the meantime, however it’s not a great look when the US, a country that drives so much technological innovation, ends up relying on other countries to protect the users.

What do you think? Should the US follow suit and enforce privacy protections for consumers?

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

Android without Google Apps? There are alternatives for almost everything

I would like to try playing games with a TV box.

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The challenge

I use a lot of Google apps. With Maps, I check store opening hours. In the Play Store, I download and test out apps as well as buy things. When I lose my phone, I use the device manager to find it right away. Calendar synchronizes my schedules and appointments. Gmail lets me easily manage multiple accounts at the same time. Plus, I can control the Phillips smart bulbs in my house, rent cars and even use Amazon’s voice assistant, Alexa, all through my Android phone.

Now, have you ever thought about getting rid of all your Google apps? I didn’t actually understand what that really entailed until I put it into practice.

Prep work

To be able to run Android without any Google apps, I needed to switch out my device’s firmware. I used TWRP on the Google Pixel to install a different ROM. I decided to go with Carbon which, in my opinion, is the best option for this smartphone – at least until Lineage OS developers finish up the ROM they’re currently working on. I installed the Carbon ROM but explicitly decided not to install the Open-GApps bundle (as that would defeat the purpose of this experiment). The result: my Pixel is running AOSP with some extra features from Carbon but without any Google apps. 

AndroidPIT android without google 9159 With TWRP, Android can also be installed without Google apps. / © AndroidPIT

Second steps

It’s very simple to set up a smartphone like this, even without help from Google’s setup wizard. However, without the Pixel Launcher, the Play Store and other apps from the search engine giant, I felt like my phone was empty, like it was missing something.

launcher3 vs kiss launcher Launcher3 (on the left) got a bit in the way. / © AndroidPIT, Jonas Burgert

I started by setting up the Wi-Fi, started up Chromium, and downloaded F-droid, which is an Open Source (open code) app store for Android. That’s where I downloaded the keyboard, AnySoftKeyboard. I then snapped a photo of a piece of art that I liked and hey presto, I had a new wallpaper. 

I then downloaded the KISS Launcher to prevent my fancy new wallpaper from being hidden by the truly ugly and unmovable search bar that comes with Launcher3. And then I went on the hunt for apps. 

AndroidPIT android without google 9102 Without the Play Store, you can use alternatives like F-Droid (right) / © AndroidPIT

What’s missing?

If you choose not to use Google apps, you do pay a noticeable price. It’s not that you just miss out on YouTube, Google Drive or Maps, but also on important services that only Google Play services have access to. The so-called Google Mobile Services (GMS) include, among other things, the almost indispensable location service, which is a prerequisite for many apps.

android without google play service error Google Play Services is essential for GPS-based apps / © AndroidPIT

You can get around, but…

It’s a shame that car rental companies are so dependent on Google and can’t natively use GPS. Finding directions without Maps wasn’t a problem though. Using Here Maps, OsmAnd or Maps.me, I could easily get around the streets. Not just by car either, but also by bike or whatever other mode of transport I happened to be taking.

AndroidPIT android without google 9114 HERE knows where it’s headed / © AndroidPIT

OpenStreetMap and OsmAnd aren’t quite as comprehensive as Google Maps, but they come with some pretty useful info. Both of them, including HereMaps, have an offline mode which allows you to save data.

AndroidPIT android without google 9106 Google Maps has 3D images, but OpenStreetMap is a strong competitor / © AndroidPIT

An abundance of apps, even without the Play Store

Even without the Play Store on my phone, I was able to find and use decent apps. F-Droid is always my first choice since open code apps are usually pretty high quality. My second is the Amazon app store, which has both free and paid apps and is considered to be very safe.

My app alternatives in a Google-free Android world

Play Store app Alternative App source
Alexa Alexa Amazon
Twitter AndStatus F-Droid
Minuum Keyboard AnySoftKeyboard F-Droid
Audials Audials Amazon
Google Calender Calendar pre-installed
Google Devicemanager Cerberus Uptodown
Chrome Chromium pre-installed
Google Drive (PDF-Reader) CuprumPDF F-Droid
Play Store F-Droid, Uptodown, Aptoide Off. website
Facebook Face Slim F-Droid
Google Maps HERE WeGo, MAPS.ME, OsmAnd~ Uptodown, Amazon, F-Droid
Gmail/Inbox K-9 Mail F-Droid
Pixel Launcher KISS Launcher F-Droid
Yatse Kodi Remote Kore F-Droid
LastPass LastPass Amazon
YouTube NewPipe F-Droid
Google Authenticator OneTimePad F-Droid
Relay for Reddit RedReader F-Droid
Telegram Telegram F-Droid
Poweramp Vanilla Music F-Droid
MX Player VLC Uptodown
WhatsApp WhatsApp Uptodown
Wunderlist Wunderlist Amazon
Google Home, Alexa, Philips Hue unusable Error: unknown error

Some apps are a bit outdated

In addition to Amazon and F-Droid, I also used Uptodown and Aptoide to find apps. With these four options, I could find almost every app I could ever need including their updates. However, that doesn’t mean that all the apps were running the latest version.

In Amazon, Maps.me was version 5.0, whereas Uptodown already had version 7.0.5. However, since I downloaded the app from Amazon, I couldn’t use Uptodown to update it, and this could be time-consuming.

What didn’t work, or worked poorly

Contact backups

In addition to not being able to rent cars with my smartphone, some other things just weren’t possible. You should keep this in mind, as data transfer was almost impossible. As I saw right away, Google offers more options with its Gmail, Calendar and Contacts. A few hours after setting up my phone, I noticed that my contacts list was completely empty. Fortunately, I was able to import my contacts from an old phone using a VCF file.

AndroidPIT android without google 9142 Google calendar can only be used through a browser / © AndroidPIT android without google calendar gmail web view Using web-based Google services was my only option / © AndroidPIT

How to handle old emails on Gmail

The next tricky point: email files seem to be difficult to handle. Using K-9 Mail service, I could only download the last 25 emails. In the end, I solved the two-step authentication problem on K-9 Mail though. Google uses app passwords to let you login into accounts on apps that don’t offer support for two-factor authentication.

AndroidPIT android without google 9119 K-9 Mail is a decent email client… / © AndroidPIT AndroidPIT android without google 9124 …but you can only search for old emails using an app from Google / © AndroidPIT

Google Calendar

I had to manage my Google Calendar meetings with a PC. A Google account can’t be setup on a device, plus, there aren’t any alternative agenda apps that have access to Google Calendar. The Microg bundle should let you set up a Google account, but I didn’t want to do that on my test device.

I used a shortcut through a mobile browser, just like for Gmail files. As I use two Google accounts, the whole situation was made worse by the 404 Error of the online version Google calendar. That made trying to navigate between two accounts impossible. I would have had to install a second browser just to open Google Calendar with a different account.

Photo backups

Syncing photos like the upload on Google Photos can be substituted by a variety of free alternatives, like Box or Dropbox. You could also make your own self-hosting if you’d like to. If you want to setup hardware at home, monitor it by yourself, and not use a Google account, Synology looks like a good option.

AndroidPIT android without google 9150 There are quite a few options for photo backups / © AndroidPIT

Cast, Alexa, Hue

I’m not sure if it was an error or a lack of Google apps but devices with Google Cast, like Chromecast, were invisible on my device. However, what surprised me the most were the problems with Amazon. Alexa insisted on being connected to the same account. For reasons in the past, I use a different account on Amazon when I use the Amazon App Store. However, I couldn’t setup Alexa with its own separate account.

AndroidPIT android without google 9154 Alexa simply didn’t connect / © AndroidPIT

I couldn’t find the Philips Hue bulbs either. So those of you who are investing in a smart home, using a smartphone “without Google” is pretty much impossible.

Finding my phone

Theft protection without Google services is also a tricky matter. Cerberus is a good alternative to the Google’s device manager, but you’ll have to pay at least once to be able to use its service. Theoretically, you should be able to check your device’s location by SMS or online, take a selfie of the thief and send it to a designated email, block the device, turn off data and more.

But this didn’t work on my phone, and I’m still not sure why. I couldn’t find out what caused the problem because there was never any error message. Maybe it was the lack of positioning service, or maybe I was missing some other service from Google.

Opinion by Eric Herrmann

Google has done like Apple and created its own ecosystem that you’re “forced” into

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Conclusion

If you’re like me, and you’re truly dependent on Google’s services, there’s really no quick way to get around the problems that I encountered. It’s the same thing for apps that were created around different Google services. Without the massive support from the community that works with open-source, you’d have to be quite clever to get around using Android without any Google apps.

AndroidPIT android without google 9131 APK websites offer horrible support / © AndroidPIT

It’s not always clear which parts of apps are compatible with Android and which are directly dependent on Google. Apparently, the influence of Play Services on features from Android apps and the power that Google has over developing apps is much bigger than I had ever imagined. You can install almost any app you’d like, but only a small number of them can be used without Google.

AndroidPIT android without google 9174 I removed Google from Pixel’s core / © AndroidPIT

If you’d like to sync your calendar, email contacts, as well as backup your photos, be safe from theft and get rid of Google-based apps, you could certainly still enjoy your device, but with some limits. Otherwise, you’ll have to accept Google services just the way they are.

Have you ever thought about what your life would be like without Google?

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

OnePlus is keeping community at the center of everything

There was no OnePlus press conference at MWC in Barcelona this year. Nevertheless, we had a chat with Tom Downs, who is responsible for the brand’s public relations. He confirmed to us that OnePlus’ strategy remains focused on the community, and will continue to put it at the center of everything. 

Its strategy and motto remain unchanged

Never Settle. It’s OnePlus’ motto, what both customers and the company itself expects OnePlus products to live up to. It means that the company doesn’t want to fall behind in terms of technology. That’s why the recent OnePlus 5T release happened just six months after the OnePlus 5, and before that, the OnePlus 3T. Larger displays and more powerful processors: two good reasons to come out with a new variant. 

Also, the release of the OnePlus 5T in red and Sandstone White colors was motivated by user requests. It’s a shame the latter was sold out so quickly and there’s no more planned. 

AndroidPIT oneplus 5t sandstone back comparison The Sandstone White color variant got snapped up fast! / © AndroidPIT

If the strategy stays the same, we can expect the OnePlus 6 to arrive between June and July, followed by its ‘T’ variant of course. It’s still to early to discuss it though, so Tom couldn’t tell us much about the future flagships. Some images have already been leaked on the web, showing a glass body and a notch on the front.

More of a physical presence

OnePlus can still be considered a small company, especially if you compare it to brands like Samsung and Apple. The Chinese manufacturer continues to sell devices and offer support to customers online. Despite this online-only background, OnePlus wants to get its brand and devices in front of customers. It has decided to strengthen its on-the-ground presence through popup stores and events on a monthly basis in some European countries like Italy, but it’s unknown whether this will happen often in the US in the future too. There was already a OnePlus X popup event in LA, but the OnePlus 5T didn’t see the same treatment in the US despite popups in Europe.

At the moment, OnePlus has yet to partner up with any US carriers. OnePlus CEO Pete Lau told CNET that the company will begin talks with US carriers in 2018. If the community asks loudly enough, maybe the extra pressure will help to make a deal happen. For now, users have to go straight to the source online to get their goods though.

Forget the mid-range: only flagships on the horizon

In November 2015, OnePlus tried to release a mid-range device with the OnePlus X, but it did not go as it was probably planned. That’s what is reasonable to think if the brand really changes strategy based on user requests. In any case, the brand has clarified its message: from now on, OnePlus will only produce high-end flagship devices.

What will happen with AI for OnePlus smartphones?

It’s not yet time OnePlus to implement artificial intelligence. Tom Downs pointed out during our chat that the brand does not add new technology to its devices just for the sake of making them more innovative. It does this only when the technology in question is actually ready for use and when the community requires it.

The best technology available at the moment which users actually want

When users request AI on their smartphones, and when this technology will really become useful, then OnePlus will consider implementing it.

Without a doubt, OnePlus is a brand with a following, even if users are a bit agitated about some of the company’s choices when it comes to releasing updates. With fierce competition in the market, like Honor with its View 10, the manufacturer will continue listening and supporting the community to maintain the successes it has achieved thus far.  

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

How to transfer everything to your new phone

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MobiKin Transfer for Mobile

If you need a fast and easy way to transfer all of your data from an old phone to a new one then you should try MobiKin Transfer for Mobile. This innovative program effectively and effortlessly transfers data like contacts, messages, apps, music, photos and many more without any restrictions.

No matter what the reason you’re transferring your data, MobiKin Transfer for Mobile gives you the peace-of-mind that everything is transferred safely and securely. There’s no risk of losing any of your priceless information. You can move content between phones on different networks and carriers.

Just download the program and follow the simple instructions and soon you’ll be on your way to transferring all your data to your new device.

mobile transfer Transferring your data is easy with MobiKin. / © MobiKin

When you’re transferring your data to a new phone you should ensure that everything is erased from your old device. Your personal information can be used by thieves to steal your identity and you need to be absolutely sure that device is wiped. Well, the MobiKin Transfer for Mobile system does that too and with just one click.

This revolutionary software can be used on over 3,000 phones and includes Android, iOS and Windows devices. Join more than 740,000 people who have safely and easily transferred everything between mobile devices and download MobiKin Transfer for Mobile.

Transferring your contacts

The most important thing you’ll want to transfer to your new device are the contacts. Luckily, there are many options you can use so you can avoid the painstaking process of doing it by hand.

Smartphones make the transfer of contacts easier thanks to cloud synchronization. We’ll show you how to do it.

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Sync your Google account

The easiest way to keep your contacts on all your devices up-to-date is to sync your Google account. If you’ve previously saved your contacts to your Google account you can just log into it and pick them up on your new smartphone.

Just go Settings > Account > Google and toggle the Contacts Sync switch to on. Your contacts will be instantly transferred.

sync google account Simply check the box, and the contacts are instantly transferred to your mobile phone. / © AndroidPIT

Signed in to multiple Google accounts? You can then choose which ones to use in your contacts app. By default, it will only be the one with which you first registered. For any later accounts, you may have to trigger the synchronization manually.

In the contacts app of your smartphone, you can set which contacts should be displayed from which accounts.

By the way: if you do not already have a Google account, you can create a new account on your smartphone. You can also do this on the computer and then log on to the smartphone with the appropriate login data.

Syncing through Google has its advantages. On the one hand, it supports more complex business card formats than the data export explained below. On the other hand, you can use the Google account on almost all platforms, including Windows phones, iPhones, and PCs running Windows, Linux or Mac OS.

Transfer contacts from Android to iPhone

After syncing your contacts with your Google account, it’s easy to transfer them to your iPhone or iPad. Just go to the Settings, and there you will find the option to add another account under Mail, Contacts and Calendar. 

Google is one of the choices. Synchronize your Google account used above, and after a while your Google contacts should be visible in your address book.

iphone 6 settings sync contacts A Google account is displayed as “Gmail”.  / © AndroidPIT

In the account overview, your Google account will be displayed as Gmail. Here you can set which parts of the Google account should be transferred to the iPhone.

If you only want to transfer contacts from the Android to the iPhone, you can also deactivate the areas for Mail or Calendar.

To view or hide the contacts of individual Google accounts, you can turn the accounts on and off in the address book app. Go to the Contacts tab in the phone app and tap Groups.

Move to iOS

Alternatively, you can also rely on Apple. Apple has released the Move to iOS app in the Play Store. Install this on your Android smartphone and start the app. On your new iPhone (or iPad) you can now start importing the data.

Move to iOS transfers contacts, SMS messages, photos and videos, email accounts and calendars.

Since the transfer takes place via a specially created Wi-Fi network and is protected by a PIN code, the transmission takes place quickly.

Move to iOS Install on Google Play

Export contacts over an SD card

If syncing via a Google account is not an option for you, and both your old and new smartphone have an SD card slot, you can transfer your contacts through the memory card.

To do this, first export your contact data to the SD card using the old smartphone. The file is then stored in the directory that you see first when you connect your smartphone to the computer.

Then remove the SD card, and insert it into the new device.

Now go to your address book and choose from the menu the option to import. Just follow the instructions, and the contacts will be transferred automatically.

export contacts Contacts can be exported and shared across multiple paths. / © AndroidPIT

You may encounter problems when you have merged many contacts from different address books, or if the contacts otherwise contain a lot of data.

Then, sometimes it can happen that from a single contact, two, three, or more are created; this can be very annoying. To counter that chaos, we have tips for you:

Via internal memory

This method works basically the same as the backup on an SD card, but in this case, the contacts are stored in the internal memory of the phone. With this method, you can connect the device to the computer and save the contact file there, and then transfer it via PC to the new smartphone.

Tip: note the location that your smartphone indicates when you save the contact file, so you can find it better from the PC. Typically, the .vcf file is located in the System folder.

If you have a file manager on your smartphone, you can also search for the file on the phone and send it from there directly, such as an email or via Bluetooth to the new device.

LV1A5815 Consider picking up a file manager for transferring data. / © AndroidPIT

Via SIM card

If you want to use the same SIM card in your new device as in the old one, you can also  transfer the old-fashioned way and copy your contacts to the SIM card so you can restore them in the new device.

The advantage of this method is that you can select or deselect the contacts one by one, and work out something equal to your phone book. The main disadvantage is that the memory space on a SIM card is limited; you’ll be able to store a maximum of 200 contacts.

Export via SIM card is no longer offered in the phone app for Android 5.0 Lollipop and newer systems. However, importing is still possible without any problems. The following pictures are therefore from an older Android version.

AndroidPIT sim tray tools to open 2183 Since Android 5.0 Lollipop, exporting to a SIM card is no longer an option. / © AndroidPIT

Here too you have the disadvantage that complex contacts with more than just a name and phone number are split up, creating several duplications. This means that even with fewer than 200 contacts, you’ll quickly reach the memory limit of the SIM card. You also have the added risk that the old SIM card does not easily fit into the new smartphone.

From iPhone to Android

Data transfer between Apple and Android is not always easy, but there is a simple solution for contacts. Google provides a step by step explanation on its support pages on how to synchronize Gmail, calendar and contacts from the iPhone and iPad.

You’ll need to set up a Google account on your Apple device, which goes through the app Settings in the Email, Contacts, Calendar area. Since iOS 7 was introduced you can just simply select Google, but for iOS 5 and 6 the path is through Other, and then via Add CardDAV Account.

Set the account and activate the Contacts option after you log in. After that, the synchronization of your contacts starts automatically.

On the new Android smartphone, you can then register with the same account information to synchronize and transfer the contacts as described above.

AndroidPIT flagship smartphones 4039 Transfer your data between Apple and Android. / © AndroidPIT

Manufacturer solutions

Irrespective of the Google solution, Android smartphone manufacturers have developed apps that transfer contacts from iPhone to Samsung, and other such companies.

In some cases they work with a cable connection, some build ad hoc connections between iPhone and Android, while others work with the Cloud system for the specific the smartphone manufacturer.

Sony Xperia Transfer

Sony’s solution to transferring data is called Xperia Transfer. The app helps transfer content and contacts from iOS, BlackBerry, Windows phones, or other Android devices to a new Xperia phone. It transfers contacts, calendar, call log, SMS, MMS, notes, photos, music, videos and documents.

Xperia™ Transfer Mobile Install on Google Play

Samsung Switch Mobile

Samsung, the market leader in the Android area, also has an app solution to make a new customer’s switch to a Samsung phone as easy as possible. Samsung’s solution is called SmartSwitch Mobile and is used to switch from an iPhone to a Galaxy, upgrading from an old Galaxy model or switching from another Android smartphone.

On Samsung’s support page, the SmartSwitch process is explained in detail. If your old device was a Samsung Galaxy with Android Marshmallow, you can even have the start screen layout transferred to the new device.

Samsung Smart Switch Mobile Install on Google Play

HTC Transfer Tool

HTC does not give its transfer app a special name; it is simply called HTC Transfer Tool. Again, the approach is the same as with other manufacturers. 

The app has to be installed on the old and the new smartphones, but the new phone must be from HTC. Then transfer your email, calendar, messages, contacts and call list, photos and videos, music, background images, documents and settings.

HTC Transfer Tool Install on Google Play

LG

If you have a new LG smartphone, you can either use one of the above-mentioned ways or be content with LG Bridge. The software can offer all that the other manufacturers do with their apps – but a PC or Mac is needed. On LG’s support page you’ll find all the information about the LG Bridge you need after you provide them with the model of your smartphone.

The Play Store app LG Backup (Sender) is also recommended. With this you can transfer SMS, contacts, appointments, and call lists from the old to the new smartphone via cable, WLAN or MicroSD card.

LG Mobile Switch (Sender) Install on Google Play

SMS Transfer

You can transfer your old SMS to the new Android smartphone. The free SMS backup app, SMS Backup & Restore, does exactly that. Your messages are stored in the XML file format and can then be sent directly to the new smartphone via Bluetooth. Alternatively, the backup file can be sent via email or backed up in the cloud and downloaded from there.

The backup app must also be installed on the new Android smartphone. When it is started, it automatically detects the submitted file and restores the SMS messages. Caution: when importing, the app does not pay attention to which SMS already exist. If you import twice, you will have every SMS in duplicate.

sms backup Back up and transfer messages: No problem with SMS Backup & Restore. / © AndroidPIT

The transfer of the SMS from Android to iPhone is not provided. So you can only make a backup of the Android SMS (see above) and read the XML file of SMS Backup & Restore on your computer. So at least you can save the data.

SMS Backup & Restore Install on Google Play

WhatsApp chats

WhatsApp’s complete chat streams can also be transferred to the new smartphone with a little trick, including pictures, videos and sounds.

To do this, you must download WhatsApp to the new smartphone and replace the backup folder on the new smartphone with the backup folder of the old device before you start the app for the first time. An extra app or similar third-party tools are not necessary for this.

We describe all the steps in a detailed separate article:

The transfer of WhatsApp chats from Android to iPhone or from iPhone to Android is not yet provided. The integration of Google Drive as a backup medium has not changed this.

On iPhones, WhatsApp saves the chat protocols in the iCloud, which cannot be accessed with the Android smartphone.

Transfer photos

The simplest solution for backing up photos from Android smartphones is to do automatic backups in the cloud. Apps like Dropbox, Google Drive, or Google+ offer automatic synchronization when the smartphone is connected to a wireless device.

Thus, the mobile data volume is spared, the upload of the pictures is completely in the background, and pictures can simply be downloaded from the cloud on the new Android device as necessary. The transfer is finished.

If both smartphones have a MicroSD card slot, you can also back up the images on the SD card and restore them to the new device.

Of course, there is also a way via PC: simply connect the smartphone, copy the pictures folder to the PC and move them from there to the new Android smartphone. Mac users must download Android File Transfer for the transfer, otherwise the finder does not display any files.

To transfer photos and videos from an Android to an iPhone, you can also use the app Copy My Data, which leads you step by step through the transfer of old data from Samsung and other Android brands to the iPhone.

Copy My Data Install on Google Play

Transfer music

Your songs will most likely be MP3 or similar in the music directory. This is one of the folders that will appear on your computer after connecting your smartphone. Mac users should download Android File Transfer to view the files.

It saves these files on the computer and transfers them to the same directory on the new smartphone, or you can create a new directory. No matter what your music folder is called your player should be able to find the songs.

iphone6camera This is your new smartphone? Then you probably need iTunes. / © Apple

If you want to transfer music to an iPhone, you must transfer the directory with the MP3s to the computer in your iTunes library. Apple’s step-by-step guide will help you transfer your music from the Android to the iPhone.

If you are moving from an iPhone and want to transfer your music from iTunes to your Android, we know a trick:

Apps

As soon as you log in to your new Android smartphone with the Google account, it will try to install the apps you previously downloaded from the Play Store. Google’s backup system is used, which unfortunately is only applied to a very small number of apps.

To transfer the app data from one Android to another, you’ll need additional backup apps like Titanium or Helium. Only then do you once again have the settings, stored accounts, game stats and so on, and the apps are immediately ready for use.

Many games now use the Google Play Games cloud-saving feature. Then you just install the game on the new smartphone and you can continue in the same place where you left the game on the old phone.

Once all data is transferred, the journey begins with your new Android smartphone. If you need inspiration about the possibilities, we may have just the thing for you.

Unfortunately, apps cannot be transferred from an Android to an iPhone, and there is also no time-saving way to automatically install from the App Store the apps you’ve already purchased from the Play Store. Apple itself advises people to manually reinstall them.

Of course, all the purchases you made for apps in the Play Store are no longer transferable to the App Store, so you will have to buy all of the paid-for apps once again.

How did you go with transferring your data when you last upgraded your smartphone? Was there a particular app or method that you found to be helpful? Let us know in the comments below.

This article has been rewritten since its first publication. Some of the posted comments may now be out of date.

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

When cheap phones can do everything, what happens to flagships?

There used to be a time where you either had to spend a fortune or you’d have something worthless that couldn’t even run WhatsApp and was constantly letting you down. Nowadays, for around $ 300, mid-range models can do everything that a high-end device can, with almost the exact same performance, camera and, sometimes, even better battery life.

AndroidPIT lenovo moto g5 plus 0971 Is there anything basic that a Moto G5 Plus can’t do? / © AndroidPIT

For less than $ 600, you can have a way above-average phone, which I’m guessing is perfect for 85% of the population who only need Facebook, WhatsApp, an acceptable camera and game play for more than 15 hours a day.

Mid-range models don’t have incredible features, like a breathtaking camera, hardware that can run any game, a design made of titanium-like glass, speakers to get the party going or display brightness that, even at high noon, gives you razor-like definition on VR headsets. They just work well.

We don’t have to settle for the devices only sold in your our country either. Nowadays,  phones from Asian countries would satisfy a lot of people for less than $ 300. That’s because they’re not officially sold here and so they don’t get slapped with massive import costs.

AndroidPIT samsung galaxy j7 0899 The humble Galaxy J7: I’m sure you know someone who’s got one / © AndroidPIT

Mid-range phones aren’t on any “best of” lists, but they do make the top 5 phones with the best cost-benefit, and most certainly the most affordable. These devices aren’t targeted by websites or tech channels since the most sought after and most wanted features are on high-end models.

“This device works well,” “the battery is good, it lasts 15 hours”, “the camera takes decent photos,” “Bluetooth and Wi-Fi don’t have any problems, they work well,” “You can run social media and messaging apps without any problems.” These are all things that can be said about mid-range phones, but who wants to read about that? How much interest would that create?

However, in the end, what sells are phones from the Galaxy J line, Zenfone 4 Max, Moto G and LG K something. Plus, those that also sell are the ones launched months later, since they’re not as expensive and more reasonably priced. All they need is a relatively recent version of Android and to be able to run the most popular apps.

AndroidPIT iPhone 8 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Note 8 3396 Phone and Galaxy Note: way too expensive. / © AndroidPIT

It’s becoming harder and harder to justify spending so much on the most talked about, most expensive, top of the line smartphones. Do they have an audience? Of course, they do. They’re called “power users” or “early adopters,” all those tech enthusiasts. Most AndroidPIT readers would probably fit into those categories. However, we’re far from being the majority.

This isn’t a complaint. I’m just inviting you to see and celebrate a genuine cell phone revolution! Yes, every phone with Play Store access can have the same apps as any other device, although they don’t always run them as well and can’t handle every single game if they’re a bit older.

Apps are the things that let people work, create businesses, connect to far-away loved ones, meet new people, learn languages, watch movies, and consume and produce content and knowledge. The cheapest cell phones out there can run the most popular apps, even if it’s not as fluid.

AndroidPIT on the phone 0442 Your mom doesn’t need an S8 to send voice messages on WhatsApp. / © AndroidPIT

Some good examples are the Galaxy J7 and Moto G5 Plus. They’re not the best at anything, but they fit in a lot of people’s pockets. It’s the type of phone that our parents would have. With the right use, they can make a lot of people happy for a few years.

And that’s perfectly alright, isn’t it?

What about you? Do you agree with this idea or do you still go for flagships?

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

Honor 9: everything we know so far

Launched last August, the Honor 8 has become a popular smartphone in the US. This is not surprising since the Chinese manufacturer has designed a stylish device with a very good price-performance ratio. Its successor is – of course – already in the works, and we expect it to have superior specs. The first renderings have already been leaked on the net, but not much is known about this device at the moment. The release is now rumored for June.

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Honor 9: price and release date

Take it with a grain of salt, as it’s too early to confirm the details, but we have fresh information on the release date for the Honor 9. A Weibo user known for their consistency has posted that the Honor 9 is due to launch in China on June 20. To keep you excited as we wait for its release, check out the rumors and renders below.

Honor 9: the first renders are out

After the recent launch of a Pro version of the Honor 8 for phablet fans, Honor is currently working on its new flagship. A first image of a rendering of the smartphone has been spread around on the net, but it is difficult for the moment to tell if it is the real deal. It could very well be a new version of Honor 8, or simply a false leak.

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Honor 9 leak 1 Is this the Honor 9? © AndroidPIT

Honor 9: fingerprint scanner on the front

The main (and only) difference between the Honor 8 we’re familiar with and the above image of the presumed Honor 9 is the placement of the fingerprint reader in the front and instead of the back. This change doesn’t come as a surprise as Huawei, the parent company of Honor, has opted for this fingerprint sensor placement for its latest flagship, the Huawei P10.

Honor 9: more renders show that the headphone jack is gone

honor 9 fake leak 2 Fingerprint scanner on the front / © The Tech Point

Another set of renders has just come out showing the front, back, top and bottom of the device. This one should also be taken with a grain of salt since it resembles the Honor 8 so closely. Like the previously leaked render, the fingerprint scanner is on the front, but there’s another thing that sets the Honor 9 apart – the headphone jack is missing. This is sure to be a disappointment for some if it turns out to be true.

honor 9 fake leak No more headphone jack / © The Tech Point

So far, the renders of the Honor 9 have strongly resembled a mix between the Honor 8 and the Huawei P10. Personally, I’m hoping it will be available in a wide range of colors like Huawei’s new device.

huawei p10 color range shot The leaked Honor 9 render takes inspiration from the Huawei P10. / © Huawei

What new things do you expect from the Honor 9? Let us know in the comments.

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT