5 tips to help Windows Mobile users switch to Android

Because Android is as popular as it is, you're able to use virtually any popular app or service on it. The truth is, you can happily switch and still be all about Microsoft if you want to. After all, why should you give up the services you love just because you change phone platforms?

The sad truth is Windows 10 Mobile just isn't competing right now, so the holiday season may well have been the opportunity to make the switch. If Android is where you're headed, we have some tips to make the transition as painless as possible.

1. Sign up for a Google account first

Google Account

The only absolute Google necessity you need on an Android phone is a Google Account. Without one, you can't sign in to the phone or download apps. So if you don't already have a Google Account, get one. It's easier to do on your PC than on a phone, so it's a good idea to do it in advance.

You're not required to have a credit card on file to download apps or content from the Google Play Store, so you can literally just sign up for an account and use it to log into your phone. You don't even have to use the Gmail app or any other forward-facing Google services. If you want to buy apps without using a credit card, you'll need to pick up Google Play vouchers from a retailer and redeem the codes.

Sign up for a Google Account

2. Microsoft it all up

If you're going to be keeping all your Microsoft services and accounts intact (why wouldn't you?), you'll be happy to know Android is your friend. Whether you just want to use Outlook, Office or Skype, or go nuts and install Microsoft's own Android launcher and lockscreen, there's a ton of Microsoft apps in the Play Store.

And they're mostly pretty darn good.You won't have to cancel Groove. You can still get the Xbox app. And your Outlook mail and calendars are safe. Better yet, Microsoft has a single app to help you find and download all of its other apps.

3. Move your contacts to Google

Contacts

While you may want to limit your Google involvement, if you're moving to an Android phone it's a good idea to sync your contacts to your Google Account. That way, it's all easier to manage, and if you ever need to go back to Windows (or over to an iPhone), it'll be simple to work with them.

The easiest way to do this is to go into Outlook on the web and export your entire contacts database as a CSV file. Here's how:

  1. Log in to Outlook.com.
  2. Navigate to People.
  3. Click the manage dropdown.
  4. Select export contacts.

  1. Click export.

All your Outlook contacts will be saved in a single file that you can import to your Google Account. This is another good reason to setup your Google Account before you get your new phone, because you'll be able to just sign in and your contacts will be there.

Importing them into your Google Account is pretty straightforward.

  1. Go to contacts.google.com.
  2. Sign in with your Google Account.
  3. Click more.
  4. Click import and choose the CSV file you saved above.

Any new contacts you add to your Android phone can be synced with all of your existing contacts in one place on your Google Account. So even if you're not using Gmail, it's worth doing.

4. Use Cortana

Cortana

Cortana can't do quite as much on Android as on Windows, but it's still pretty useful for more than just replacing the Google Assistant.

On Android, you can use Cortana to sync notifications to your PC, which is handy to have on any platform. But because you're signed in with your Microsoft Account anyway, everything you already set up from Windows will be there, too.

We also happen to think that Cortana has a better personality than Google Assistant — and a better name!

Download Cortana from the Google Play Store (opens in new tab)

5. Install the Windows Central Android app!

Windows Central app

All the folks at Windows Central still love you even if you're going over to using an Android phone. Windows Central is committed to providing all the Microsoft content you want, and we've got an app in the Google Play Store so you can keep tabs from your new phone.

The experience is a little different, but the great content is the same. You'll also want to keep checking out our sibling site Android Central and its Android app (opens in new tab). Then you'll always have the best of both worlds.

Download the Windows Central app for Android from the Google Play Store (opens in new tab)

Your tips

These are some basic tips to help get started on an easy, Microsoft-filled life on Android. If you recently made the switch, help out your fellow readers by sharing your own tips and tricks in the comments below.

Updated December 22, 2017: We've refreshed this guide to make sure you're getting the best help if you're transitioning away from Windows phones to Android this holiday season.

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

567 Comments
  • Nope.
  • Maybe MS isn't, but surely some OEM has to be working on a WM device to be released in the near near future. I'm talking about a high end smartphone... At this point, if HP introduced an updated X3, and MS continues to update WM, I'm NOT going anywhere.....
    The only thing that makes it a little difficult is the sole fact that Rudy (and others like him) seem to have stopped future development, and updates for their current apps. I'm not sure if this is completely accurate, but it seems to be the case.. His development alone could keep a lot of fans onboard. I think WC should interview several of WP's closest developers to see what their plans for WM10 are. That may be a good deciding factor whether some of us think it's time to switch, or not... Yes, run an article (a QandA) featuring those developers that 'showed' the strongest support for WP, and let fans see what their current stance on WM is.. That is a great idea.
    .........
    On a side note... Can't we just save ALL the iDroid articles for Mondays? You know, get them over with, and out of "site", so we can enjoy the rest of our week?.. After all, Mondays suck anyways😜😜
  • Jason Ward.... Here's another comment you can gain inspiration from🙂
  • Man, you've changed!
  • No, I haven't. I'm not delusional, and I've never been... I've always been the biggest WP fan in the world... I know MS isn't as popular as can be. I know Windows has ZERO apps. I know WP has always been the least popular choice, and in most ways for good reason.. I've always ragged MS for their poor efforts towards making WP more popular (I know it could've had double digit market share even without every popular app, but not the way it is now).... I've always praised MS when they did a good job.. I've said my points over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over X(1000)³, until my face has turned blue, AND I'M BLACK!!!... I've been using Windows on a mobile device since the days of WinMo 3.0, and I STILL have my Samsung Blackjack. Still have it❗❗...... I know just what I'm talking about, and my opinions deserve respect, like them, or not...... And, I'm still here.... I traded my Focus in, my ex GF ran off with my 920, the 1520 is in my closet resting in peace (bless It's heart😌), and I'm texting you via this white lackluster Lumia 950 sans XL😬... Yes, 950, because MS didn't have the balls to convince AT&T to carry the XL, and I was/am too poor to buy one outright. And, I'm honest. IDK, what do I have to lose?...
    But, I have faith, not to be confused with naivety.. I know how Fuukt WM is right now. I know, ok, I honestly get it, and I admit it..... BUT, I'M NOT SWITCHING UNTIL I ABSOLUTELY HAVE NO DAMN CHOICE BUT TO SWITCH! (Honestly, I'm a cracked screen away from switching😂)... I'm a winner, not a looser, and I don't give up.. Yes, I'm a dumb a$$ MoFo, yes I admit that. But, I'm a stupid a$$ with dignity, and I hold my head UP high. I do.... I do, I do, I do!
    .................
    But, no I haven't changed.... Still here. It's those that have left "so fast" that have changed.
  • Peace rodneyej, always enjoy your insights, comments and lolz. I'm holding out like you for no other reason than I abhor the other two options. Absolutely despise them. Am I singing the praises of WP (WordPerfect?)? No. There are multiple times a day that it p!sses me off. An update fixes one thing but breaks three others - WTF?!? That's how much I despise the other two choices... Thankfully there's EBay for kinda-used-phones and Amazon for cheap batteries. So I'm probably here til MS gives me no other choice than to get a flip phone hahahaha
  • Hahahaha! Exactly... Soon it will be like Cuba in here... WP fans will get no new devices, and we'll be forced to rig devices made from parts on Ebay... We'll do whatever it takes to keep out old phones ticking. It's sad, and pathetic, yes I know, but we are the classic car guys of the automotive enthusiast community.... And, one day we will have our glory, just as retro design swept the auto industry a decade ago, and has since evolved from there, WM 6.5 will rise from It's ashes in 2020! Lol.. No, not wishing for that🤣🤣
  • Cuba - That's funny
  • Lol! That was right on spot. Ok, I deliberately changed my 1520 to 950 just because of the size, still use 1520 at home, but 950 is my great daily driver. Just because of plastic back, I bought two Mozzo leather back covers and surprise, everybody wows when they see my phone. But you are right. Just few months more and platforms with CPUs will start showing their age... Still not going anywhere in spite of small apps going away... Recently a simple app, that I used for cards in my country, just vanished from store. Guess developer didn't bother to update appropriate age... And no other app does this so good in my case.
    Ok, my phones: Qtek, then Htc touch, then L800, 920, 1520, 950...
  • I wish they use it in Cuba, every time I showed up mine there everybody was like...a Windows phone!, there's no app for that..hahaha.. My stepfather Is using a 650 that I gave him as a present...lol.. I'm Cuban for the record..hahaha..
  • My dad is like that with his old trusty Nokia (the meme one). I got him to change because he couldn't find replacement batteries for it anymore. But I believe as soon as he finds one he will replace it back lol.
  • Similar. Been around since WinMo 3.0 Audiovox SMT5600. Still have it, and it still works! Ha. Took a break when WinMo 6.5 went to WP7, which sucked, and had Blackberry for 1 year, then got the Lumia 800, then 920, 830, and been on 640 with WinMo10. It's mess, and I'm taking another break. Picked up a Moto G5 Plus from Amazon. Super nice phone! Android is smooooth, battery lasts forever, and oh, oh, oh so many apps. Still big MS fan, missing the live tiles, love my Xbox Day One, my Surface Pro 2, and will come back if MS starts building mobile momentum again.
  • Awesome! I started with SMT-5600 as well. Then HTC Wizard, Touch Pro2, Samsung Focus, 920 (two), 1020 (two), 830, 950XL.
    Still have them all (some broken though).
  • Amen
  • your strategy has nothing to do with common sense you are sitting in a burning car which is heading towards the ocean. The whole car is in flames, your clothes are burning but you are siting there and waiting until the car falls into the ocean  
  • I laughed out loud at this
  • Lol.. Your comment LITERALLY had me LOL in public. Freekin hilarious.. 😂😂😂.. But, you're right. I am a fool.
    The movie "Titanic" was great, and the scene with the guys still playing the violin, instead of saving their a$$, was glorious...
    ........
    But, you must understand one thing, my young, virgin onion licker.... As far as WP fans go, I am captain of this ship... My duty is to stay hear until I'm swimming fo life, playa😎😎😎😎😎
  • Why? What harm does it do them to stay with it to the end? I am too. My phone does what it should for me. If it some day will not, i'll see what to do then. I think, ms strategy is selfdestroying. They will never reach more people on other oses with their apps (especially not with groove, Bing, onedrive, outlook and close to everything else with maybe the exception of word and excel but lets face it: That is only working with des or continuum too) than they did with wm/wp. More likely they will have less... If i would be using android or ios there is no reason to use ms software there. Windows on arm is the next step and till that is happening, i'll use my phone as long as it does what it should for me. Microsoft should have brought out one iteration of phones (like a 560, 660, 960) to overcome the gap to win on arm. What they are doing now is harming the ecosystem of windows as a hole, is bad for their reputation and bad for future plans. And there is nothing more expensive than harming the ecosystem and trust of people into the brand. 3 new phones would not be hard to do and would not have cost them much money but would have helped the ecosystem to stay alive for windows s, windows and windows mobile and in the end anything else.
  • But I thought it was the Samsung Android phones that had a tenancy to burst in to flames?
  • For all I care Facebook, Messenger, Readit, Skype, and Windows Central work either ok or well enough, so it's all good for me even if they never update those apps again. And MS will continue to update the OS itself and the core apps, and there you have it.
  • But, it's those third party apps like 6tag, and 6tin, that keep WM afloat. Not to mention the prospect of having support for a future popular app via a third party solution....
    If Rudy would go hardcore developer for WM, and raise his apps to $5 a pop, I surely would support him.. Just, think about that. Even with the relatively small amount of WM users a developer, who is basically the only one providing popular third party solutions for WM, could make more here, than developing for Android.. They would be able to charge more, and make more, because at this point there's no competition left....
    ..........
    What do y'all think? Would you pay Rudy $5 an app (or contribute to a fund raiser) to keep Rudy developing at his best for WM?... I would.
  • I have paid (last year I think) to remove ads and they never went away. I believe I wrote to Rudy about (again it was a year ago) and nothing ever came of it. I have no problem supporting the devs if they in turn support their apps. Didn't he get a job with Microsoft? He may just be too busy to keep up with his apps.
  • Dropbox is the new job.
  • Also seems as though WINDOWS CENTRAL has STOPPED updating their WM app... 🤔🤔🤔🤔
  • Got an update a few days back...but yeah...its so many months later...!
  • How many updated have they made to their iDroid apps🤔. Lol
  • Your comment explains the logic behind staying with Windows Mobile: if core apps that endorse the platform fail to update their app, the handwriting is on the wall. The Windows Central app was updated twice this week on Android.... TWICE!! I switched to Android on 11/27/16 and have enjoyed the ride since.
  • That is troublesome for me...
  • Did they ever?
  • Lol.. Yes, as I said, it seems as though even Rudy has set WM aside.
  • Not to mention, even though Google owns YouTube, the 3rd party YouTube apps on Windows Mobile are far better than Google's offering. My tube comes to mind b/c that's what I used when I used to have my Lumia 950 as my primary device, but I'm sure the other 3rd party YouTube apps are just as good. 
  • I hope it stays that way.
  • The reason for that is simple. Google hates Windows Mobile and has done​ through its various incarnations since WP7 (though the real public anti-WM moves started coming with WP8.x).
  • L