The iPhone 3GS that I use for work is now getting a little long in the tooth, no longer eligible for updates (read security risk) and the battery often runs out before the end of the day. I still have a 4S that I use (with iOS 7) in my personal life but the company iPhone was replaced today with an Android handset (Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini). This is my first Android phone – and will be an interesting experience because I want to see how this Google platform gets on with Microsoft Exchange (my previous experience with ActiveSync has been with iOS and Windows Phone 7).
Initial impressions are mixed and it may take me some time to get used to Android (or maybe it’s the O2/Samsung customisations) but I do have one observation: Google Play seems much faster than iTunes for app downloads…
The first apps installed on my phone were iSMS2droid, Dropbox and Spotify. Two of those apps seem pretty obvious, but “what’s iSMS2droid?”, you might ask. It’s a handy app for importing SMS messages extracted from an iPhone backup to Android format.
The mechanics of transferring SMS messages from iPhone to Android are described in a hongkiat.com blog post but, in short, the steps are:
- Backup the iPhone in iTunes
- Locate the backup file in %appdata%/Apple Computer/Mobile Sync/Backup/ on Windows or ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/ on a Mac
- Open the folder with the most recent timestamp (one per synced device, I think)
- Search for the file called 3d0d7e5fb2ce288813306e4d4636395e047a3d28 and copy it to your Android phone (I did this via Dropbox)
- Open iSMS2droid and tap “Select iPhone SMS Database”, then point the app at the file you transferred from the iPhone backup. This will allow the message database to be converted and will save a file called iSMS2droid.xml (on my phone, it was in /storage/sdcard0/SMSBackupRestore).
- At this stage you’ll need another app, called SMS Backup & Restore, which can read the iSMS2droid.xml file (on my phone, it was in /storage/sdcard0/SMSBackupRestore) and import the messages. All but one of my SMS messages were then restored and availble in the Android app.
Unfortunately, I did have a couple of issues to resolve along the way.
- Firstly iSMS2droid couldn’t read the backup file – suggesting it was an encrypted backup. I found that in order to to turn off unencrypted backups in iTunes I had to remove the custom profiles on my iPhone (installed by company mobile device management software), which let me uncheck the Encrypt iPhone Backup option in iTunes.
- Next up, unchecking the option for encrypted backups prompted for a password. I hadn’t set a password on my iPhone backups (at least not that I remembered) but I found that the iPhone had previously been synced with my Mac and an Apple Support Community Discussion post directed me to look in the keychain on the Mac, where I found the password (one I used to use for lots of things and should have guessed).
With SMS messages transferred, next step is contacts. I can see these in Outlook, so pretty sure ActiveSync is handling them for me… let’s see what happens when I connect the ‘droid to the company servers…