Disclaimer – I was given this phone. All opinions are my own.
I was recently vacationing with a friend who works with Motorola and has a Moto Z phone. I mentioned that I would love to see if I could make the transition from iPhone to Android and then write about it, wink-wink, hint-hint.
At the time, my poor, deprived teen had an iPhone 5c. It was fine. He could make calls, check email, and update Instagram. But with only 5G of storage, he couldn’t really take photos, or download any more fun apps. He wanted to add Training Peaks and Strava for cycling, and I am sure he wanted to add some games too. He didn’t need a new phone, but he wanted one. So I suggested that my friend send me one of the new shatterproof Motorolas. She didn’t have one lying around, so she sent me the Moto Z – The World’s Thinnest Premium Smartphone. A very cool thing about the Moto Z phones are the mod’s that go with them, and she sent me the projector and the speakers. That’s when I decided that I was the one getting the new phone, and my teenager could consider himself lucky to inherit my rose gold iPhone SE.
I spent about a day doing setup, and a couple weeks getting used to how it worked. Now that I have had the phone for a couple months I feel confident in talking about what I love, and what challenges I have faced and overcome, or learned to deal with. I’ll walk you through the setup, and the iPhone to Android transition process.
The first thing I did was to set up my Moto Z while I was still using the IPhone, so I could see what I might have missed. I installed Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TeamSnap, Strava, Netflix, my banking apps, my shopping apps, Pandora, Amazon Music and the app for my gym. For all these apps, all I had to do was go to the Google Play Store, download the app and login with my username and password. Easy! The only challenge with this part of the transition is remembering passwords. I decided it was time to start using a password app and I picked LastPass. To login to Lastpass, I use my fingerprint, so I don’t have to remember a password.
Next, I added my work email, and this is where I met my first challenge. My personal email (gmail) was added as part of the initial setup. As I added my work email, I got an error that I would need to download a certificate. That was not something I knew anything about, but I Googled how to do it, and it was easy. I had to download an app from the Play Store and that created a certificate. This was where I wondered if the average person on the street could overcome this problem. (As I later learned, there is a desktop support person at my job who can help with this – the average person would probably know to ask their desktop support person for help.)
While I was installing all my apps, I was also getting used to using the phone, especially the camera. My favorite thing about the phone is that a quick twist of the wrist opens the camera app. Perfect for when you need to take a picture of the dog doing something silly *that instant* without having to unlock your phone and find the camera app. I love this feature. The camera is great, the only thing I was going to say that I miss from the iPhone is the slo-mo video, but I just did some fact checking, and it does have slow motion! (My fact checking was to hand my phone to my 9 year old and ask him to figure it out, and he did. I’m officially old.)
Once I had my work email and my fun apps installed, I was ready to make the switch. I thought I could maybe switch the sim card out myself and did some reading about it, but in the end, the sim card in my old phone was not the same size. I went to the AT&T store to make the switch and they did it for me in about 15 minutes.
My biggest fears with moving to an Android was losing access to all my music and managing my podcasts. I was also worried that the phone might be too big. The Moto Z is a lot larger that the iPhone SE, but comparable to the iPhone 6. I solved the size issue by adding a PopSocket to the case so that it was easier for me to hold it in my hand. In a worst-case scenario, I figured going back to my old iPod nano could solve the music and podcast issue. I just couldn’t see using this big phone at the gym. But I decided to try to figure it out anyway, because, let’s face it; this is the main stumbling block in switching from iPhone to Android. How could I possibly ever make the switch when all my music is in iTunes? And I am not just talking about all the digital music I bought in the last 20 years, I mean the CDs I imported and then lost, or gave away. Everything! As much as I frequently use Pandora, or Amazon Music, I still want to make playlists out of my own music library.
I was a little worried and overwhelmed about how to do it. I’ll spare you the long story about the Googling, reading, and research I did and let you know that it’s actually really easy. The method I chose was to transfer my music to Google Music. You can upload up to 50,000 songs for free, and since I didn’t know how many songs we have, and I didn’t know if I wanted access to them all… I just made 10 Google music playlists out of my favorite albums and iTunes playlists and transferred those. Done. It took about 15 minutes. It was so easy, it was kind of a letdown. I thought I would have to become a hacker, or learn how to use the SSD card on my Moto Z. Since the initial upload, I realized I only have about 3,000 songs, so I went ahead and uploaded the whole library.
The last thing I did was to buy an app to manage my podcasts. I wanted to try to use Google Play, which is free, for a while and it worked to play podcasts, but it didn’t seem to have everything I wanted in a podcast app. Before I discovered podcasts, I did chores somewhat bitterly in order to not live in a hellhole. Now my chores are an interesting way to stay busy while I listen to podcasts, so I clearly needed a great way to manage my podcasts. I went with Pocket Cast and it’s great.
I found I can still mostly fit the Moto Z in my pocket, so I never had to go back to the Nano.
Now – what about the Moto Mods? The Moto mods are the best thing ever. We played Alice Cooper’s “Schools Out” through the Moto Z speaker, on the bike ride on the last day of school (much to the chagrin of my 9 year old) and it was glorious. I use it when I am listening to a podcast while cooking or cleaning. It sounds great; it’s easy to use. I love it. But the projector is really the best. I have always wanted a projector and I remember occasionally checking eBay for used projectors after the dot com bust when business was bad and people were liquidating their assets. But whenever I looked, projectors were always over $1000 and it just didn’t seem practical. Especially because what I really wanted to do was hang a sheet in the yard and watch a movie outside on a summer night. We haven’t done that yet, because our yard has been…. weedy this year, but we have done something better. We took a white sheet on a camping trip and projected Guardians of the Galaxy onto the sheet inside our Eurovan. And yes, theoretically I am opposed to “watching movies” when we should be “enjoying nature” but we enjoyed nature all day, and relaxed with a movie at bedtime and it was awesome. It’s a fun summer memory! Since the phone has 64G of space, I downloaded the one digital movie we own, and I can also download Netflix movies and shows when we won’t have wifi available. At home we have one TV and it’s hard to find a movie that a 14 year old and a 9 year old can agree on. Now the 9 year old and I can lie in bed and project a Netflix show onto the ceiling while everyone else watches a movie on the TV. It’s win-win! I LOVE the projector. It’s so fun. Speaking of camping, another cool Moto Z feature is that with a quick wrist movement, you can turn on the phone’s flashlight. This comes in really handy for me, because although we camped at least 15 times this year, we don’t seem to own any flashlights.
Now for the downsides: I’m not getting some texts. This happens when someone replies to a group text that initially had me in there as an iMessage. I have a few friends who make sure I am in the loop on group txts and eventually those old group txts will die out. I hope. I just need to delete the group text off everyone’s phone next time we get together. Assuming I get the text about the get together. This is more the fault of Apple than Android, but there isn’t much I can do besides telling people to make sure I’m “green” when they txt me.
Spying on my teen is a little more complicated now because I don’t have “Find My iPhone” anymore. Well, I don’t have it on my phone but I do have it on my computer. And my husband has it on his phone. And I could add an app that allows me to track my teen’s phone, but I haven’t had to do that yet.
Aside from missing a few group txts and not being able to easily spy on my teen, my Android phone has everything I want and more. The transition was easy, and I love the mods that come with the Moto Z. I feel free to choose the best phone going forward instead of being married to Apple out of convenience and fear of change.
Exciting News! As I was procrastinating this post, I received the moto gamepad console mod. Initial reports from my main 9 year old tester is that it is awesome! I plan to follow up in a couple weeks with more market research from the teen, mom, and dad market sectors.