It'll soon be easier to switch from iPhone to Android after you upgrade your device

 Woman holding iPhone.
Woman holding iPhone.

Quick Summary

Apple has made sweeping changes to many aspects of iOS to comply with the EU's Digital Markets Act. It will also soon simplify the process of transferring data from an iPhone to a rival handset.

It's currently not clear whether this will only apply in European Union member states or if it'll be a global change.

The walls of Apple's garden are in a crumbly phase at the moment, with the many changes it's been forced to make by the new Digital Markets Act (DMA) in the EU starting to bed in.

The arrival of the DMA and iOS 17.4 has brought with it a bunch of changes, most of them limited to EU countries, but Apple has also been publishing a fair amount of documentation around the Act.

Much of this is required, in the form of promises and pledges to work toward goals that the company sets out, and you can read a fairly fascinating summary of its compliance report online.

It sets out a bunch of sections where there's still more work to be done, and this is the "non-confidential" version for public consumption, which doesn't give anything away in terms of device plans and such.

However, there's one really juice section under the dry heading "User data portability tools for App Store account data". This includes mention that "Apple is developing a solution that helps mobile operating system providers develop more user-friendly solutions to transfer data from an iPhone to a non-Apple phone".

This is a process that has long been annoyingly fiddly – it's better than it has been in the past, but moving from an iPhone to an Android phone still butts you up against some annoying barriers in terms of data.

That Apple is working on letting developers make their own transfer tools to improve the transition is fantastic news.

Less thrilling is the very next disclosure, though, which explains that "Apple aims to make this solution available by late 2024 / early 2025". That means it could still be quite a way off at this stage.

Apple will also apparently build a tool to make you able to switch between web browsers without losing data in the process, something that already exists handily on desktop browsers, so that's another shot in the arm for anyone who wishes they could move off Safari more easily.

After all, now that iOS 17.4 is here, a new iPhone turned on for the first time will ask users what browser they want to use, with no special spotlight shone on Apple's own option.

Still, all of these changes and options come with a massive asterisk that we've already mentioned - they're highly likely to only apply to countries in the EU, since Apple has shown so far that it doesn't feel compliance should force it to roll things out worldwide.