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How to move from iPhone to Windows Phone 8

So you want to make the move away from the world of Apple and get yourself a Windows Phone 7(WP7) or Windows Phone 8(WP8) device? You may be thinking that it'll be a hard road ahead, but the transition is actually quite simple.

How to move from iPhone to Windows Phone 8

Here are the tools you'll need:

  • iTunes
  • Windows Phone App (WP8) or Zune (WP7)
  • iPhoto, if you use a Mac, or iCloud control Panel on a Windows PC
  • Your Apple account details
  • Microsoft account details

First, a few points to consider

  • Some items cannot be transferred from your iPhone to your Windows Phone, such as text messages, notes or Apps. However you can simply open up the Windows Store and download your favourite apps, and use the brilliant OneNote for all your notes.
  • Make sure you turn off iMessage on your iPhone before making the switch to your new device. This is essential to make sure that your text messages come through on your Windows Phone instead of your iPhone. To do this go to Settings and then Messages and turn iMessage off.
  • Maps work very similar on Windows Phone, and if you get a Lumia you can download entire maps to your phone at once, so that if you're out and about and lose signal, you can still find your way home.
  • If you use iTunes Match, this will no longer work on your new device. You should instead sign up to Xbox Music, which gives you access to millions of tracks on all your Windows devices.
  • Your documents and photos will be backed up to SkyDrive, instead of iCloud.
  • Game Centre is replaced by Xbox Live, an arguably much better gaming service where you can compare scores and challenge friends.

The next step with your new phone is actually getting your data all transferred. Once you've gone through the initial setup of the phone and signed into your Microsoft account, then you're all ready to start getting your data onto your Windows Phone.

So where is all my data?

This is the first point to consider when transferring any data, just where is it all stored? For iPhone users there a few different places where data will be, either on the iPhone, in your iTunes library, or in iCloud. For most, the data will be in all three of these locations, making it pretty easy to transfer all of it across to your shiny new Windows Phone.


Possibly the most important bit of data on your phone, getting these transferred is essential. Depending on which Windows Phone you've got, there are two approaches we can take. If you have a Nokia Lumia device, then all you need to do is to open up the Contacts Transfer app on your phone and follow the steps. This uses Bluetooth to pull in all the contacts currently on your old iPhone and in our testing this took less than a minute to get them all transferred successfully.

If you have a HTC or Samsung, then the easiest way is to transfer the contacts directly from iCloud to your Microsoft account. Follow these steps to get your contacts out of iCloud:

  • Simply log on to, click 'Contacts'
  • Select which contacts you would like to transfer
  • Click the little 'settings' button
  • Finally click 'export vCard'

You now have a copy of your contacts saved on your computer in vCard format. The problem is that Windows Phone doesn't support vCard so we will have to convert them into something called a .csv file. There are a couple of ways to do this but by far the easiest way to do this is via a program called Windows Live Mail. You may already have this on your computer or it can be downloaded for free.

  • Open Windows Live Mail and sign in with your Microsoft account details
  • Click Contacts and then Import
  • Choose the option to import a .vcf file
  • Select the vCard file you previously downloaded from
  • Click Next and the Finish

All your contacts will now be imported into Windows Live Mail which will automatically add them to your Microsoft account and, in turn, they should appear on your Windows Phone.


Being an iPhone user, it's more than likely all your music is stored within iTunes. Luckily it is also a very easy process to get your music library to your Windows Phone. Again, depending on the device, there are two ways to do this. Windows Phone 7 users will need to download Zune. Once this is done, it will be able to import all your music from iTunes, which it will then sync across to your phone. If you're a music fan and will be syncing your computer and phone often, you should switch to using Zune as your primary music program to ensure all your latest tracks get onto your phone.

If you have a Windows Phone 8 device or are using a Mac, then you need to get the Windows Phone app which can be downloaded from Windows Store or Mac App Store. Once you've got it, it will automatically be able to see all the music that is on your computer and be able to sync it across to your phone. The Windows Phone App works alongside iTunes so there is no need to stop using iTunes as your main music player.


To transfer photos from an iPhone to a Windows Phone, first of all you will need to get them on to your computer. The easiest way to do this is to simply plug your iPhone in to the computer with the USB cable.

If you are using a Windows PC, the iPhone should automatically appear in the My Computer section just like a USB memory stick. You can now just open up the Camera folder to see all your precious photos. All you need to do now is move them over onto a folder on your PC such as the Pictures folder. You can do this by using copy and paste, drag and drop or even the automated Camera Import tool built into Windows.

If you have a Mac then it is a similar process but you will need to use the Image Capture program to copy all the photos across. Simply open Image Capture from the Apps folder on the Mac and plug your phone in. You can now select the folder you want to copy them to on the Mac and choose Import All.

Once you have your photos backed up on to your computer, you can transfer them on to your new Windows Phone.

To get these onto your WP7 device:

  • Open up Zune
  • Click on Collection
  • Click Photos
  • Then simply just drag the relevant folder from the phone icon at the bottom

If you are using a WP8 device instead then you don't need Zune. Simply plug your phone into the PC and it will appear as a USB device just like the iPhone did. Now it's just like getting the photos off the iPhone but in reverse.

This will start to transfer them all across to your phone. And that should be just about it. Almost all your data should now be on your Windows Phone and you can start using it to its full potential.

If you need any more help setting up your new Windows Phone 8 smartphone, or transferring data to it, Geek Squad Agents are standing by in Carphone Warehouse stores, online and over the phone. We are here to tackle all your technology traumas, no matter how big or small.

If you need help configuring your computer, phone or tablet Geek Squad can help. We offer malware removal, device set-up, software installation and more. Learn more.

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