Getting Ready For Your iPhone
Use Google Sync. If you’ve committed some or all of your digital life to Google services like Gmail, Contacts, and Calendar, you can still synchronize them with the iPhone using the free Google Sync. Skip Apple’s MobileMe service; it’s too expensive for what it does, and I still find it somewhat unreliable.
Centralize your media in iTunes.Love it or hate it, iTunes is still the dominant app for listening to music on the PC and Mac. iTunes makes it fun to collect, organize, and play back your media. It’s also a great music and video store, and it’s perfect for browsing the iPhone’s tremendous third-party app catalog. Some find iTunes clunky and off-putting, but it does get the job done.
Ease the USB cable pain. Unlike on Android, you must periodically connect your iPhone to a PC to get software updates. There’s no way around this, and the iPhone uses aproprietary cable. Make the process easier by picking up a small desk dock that keeps ugly wires out of sight and makes it super-easy to pop the iPhone in and out.
Cradle your phone in a case. If you hold the iPhone 4 in a certain way with your fingers placed in a specific position, you will degrade the phone’s reception. Whatever. Millions of people are already walking around with iPhone 4s. Most don’t seem to care. Any protective case or bumper will solve the problem, so get one and make calls with confidence, and keep your delicate phone protected at the same time.
Once You Have Your iPhone
Learn the UI. The iPhone lacks function keys and a notification bar. Instead, you swipe between multiple menu panels, which contain icons for everything you’d want to do. A single button at the bottom returns you to the home screen; hold it down and you can move icons around, or even into folders. Multitasking happens automatically in the background; you can kill individual tasks by bringing up the taskbar at the bottom of the screen, but you don’t need to. Notifications pop up front and center, which is somewhat annoying, but mitigated by how you don’t get nearly as many as you do with Android phones. Don’t forget to bask in the beautiful lack of bloatware.
Dive into the App Store. In our opinion, the single best reason to switch to the iPhone is the App Store. Android Market may be catching up, but as a general rule, there are better apps in all major categories in the App Store. You can find many more games, plus useful apps like Netflix that you can’t get on Android, and apps tend to appear on the iPhone first before other platforms. Incidentally, most of this is down to economics, as opposed to a religious war between the two platforms (although some is because of competing DRM standards). It’s just easier for iPhone developers to sell apps and get paid. There are also far fewer hardware SKUs to worry about with the iPhone, which greatly reduces development and QA time. Either way, you win.
Enjoy seamless, stable OS updates. Android OS revisions became a tremendous mess over time, as various phone manufacturers and wireless carriers delayed updates for months on end. Meanwhile, all iPhones get free updates with major new features on a regular basis. It was only recently that the very first iPhones began to lose out on some promised updates, but even those are still updated on a regular basis. Better yet, nearly all of Apple’s iOS updates have been stable out of the box.
Buy a GPS navigation app on the cheap. The iPhone doesn’t come with free voice-enabled navigation. Carriers’ TeleNav-powered apps are expensive at $10 per month. You’ll find a better deal in Navigon MobileNavigator, TomTom for iPhone, or Magellan RoadMate, all of which are one-time-purchases that work forever. All three companies also run regular sales, particularly if you don’t mind purchasing a version that only contains U.S. maps. For more information, check out our guide on buying GPS navigation apps.
The jailbreaking question. We don’t recommend jailbreaking as a rule, because it could brick your iPhone and lead to all sorts of warranty-related issues. But the FCC has declared it legal, many iPhone owners do it, and some swear by it. It’s the only way to run certain kinds of apps that Apple doesn’t like, such as retro game emulators. If you’re a heavy tinkerer, you may want to look into it. Or simply stay with Android, which is far friendlier to OS meddling.