New Setup and/or Transferring Mobile Service from iPhone 5s on AT&T to Samsung Galaxy S5 on Verizon

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Overview

These instructions describe the steps involved for setting up a Samsung Galaxy smartphone. This example describes switching from an iPhone 5S on AT&T to a Samsung Galaxy S5 on Verizon.

Warnings and Considerations

Before making a switch from the Apple iOS ecosystem to the Android ecosystem, it’s important to realize that some things that work fine on iOS are poorly implemented on Android or simply don’t work as expected.

  • 1Password. The 1Password app for password management on iOS allows you to enjoy the security of synchronizing your confidential data through a local secure home/work WiFi network. On Android, WiFi sync isn’t an option. So, you’ll need to put your data out in the cloud where it could become compromised.
  • Calendar. In the iOS world, it’s possible to view multiple color coded calendars in one screen/view. The included Android calendar doesn’t permit this. So, you’ll need a third party app to view multiple calendars side-by-side. However, these third party apps don’t support enterprise calendars such as Microsoft Exchange. So, you’ll need a different app for that. However, that other app doesn’t allow viewing multiple calendars at once. So, you’ll be going back and forth between several calendar programs to make this work. For anyone managing multiple calendars, including Exchange calendars, Android is probably not an option.
    • Note that some smartphone manufacturers like HTC will include calendar software that is better than that included with Samsung, but it’s proprietary and only available on devices from those manufacturers.
  • EMail. There are typically two built-in email clients on Android. One is for Gmail and a separate program is for all other email services. The built-in Gmail client doesn’t have a consolidated email inbox, so you’ll need to switch between your Google accounts to view different account inboxes. The other email client doesn’t support enterprise email, such as Microsoft Exchange. So, you’ll need a third email program and an $8 plug-in to make that work. Functionality is limited. For anyone who manages multiple email accounts, including a Microsoft Exchange email, Android is probably not an option.
    • Note that some smartphone manufacturers like HTC will include email software that is better than that included with Samsung, but it’s proprietary and only available on devices from those manufacturers.
  • Fingerprint Sensor. If you’ve been using the iPhone 5S fingerprint authentication to login, you probably noticed it’s very handy to program in multiple fingerprints and unlock the phone, one-handed, with your left or right hand. With the Samsung, this can’t be done. The fingerprint sensor requires that you hold the phone with one hand, and then fully swipe  your finger across the sensor with the other hand. If you have a case (which you should) it will likely make a smooth swipe of your finger more challenging since the sensor/button is near the edge of the phone where most cases have a raised edge. If you’re someone who wants the convenience of one-hand unlock capability and the security of fingerprint authentication, the Samsung Galaxy S5 is probably not for you.
  • Limited Office Suite. If you’re someone who has been relying on the advanced features of the apple productivity software (Pages, Numbers, Keynote), you will find the Android equivalent (Polaris Office) limiting.
  • Multiple App Stores. If you’re used to purchasing music, movies, books, software, and other digital products primarily from a single provider, you’ll find the Android world a bit different. The Google store for digital products is called Google Play. Other programs can be purchased from the Amazon store or the Samsung store. This means that app management isn’t centralized and could get confusing.
  • Removal of SD Card. The Samsung Galaxy S5 has a removable SD card. It would be nice if this were more easily accessible for regularly moving files from the device to a desktop computer (for example). However, to access the SD card, one must snap off the thin (flimsy) back cover of the Galaxy S5. Repeated removal and replacement of the back cover will likely cause it to become less securely attached.
  • Sound. The Samsung phone has a single, small, rear-facing speaker hole. If a finger covers this, the sound is barely audible. Or, this can happen if the device is set flat on a surface or material that might cover the speaker.
  • Water Resistant. There’s a thin gasket that provides “water resistance.” If that gasket isn’t securely seated, the phone won’t be water resistant. As mentioned above, the back cover is quite flimsy and after removing it and replacing it several times it’s likely the gasket won’t serve its purpose as well.

Device Purchase & Service Transfer Process

For the following process you’ll need to have your AT&T account information, including the account passcode which is different than the password. For employee discounts that are offered to some state employees, you’ll need to present an employee ID at Verizon.

  1. Old Voicemail. Once your old phone service with AT&T is cancelled (after porting your phone number to Verizon) you won’t have access to the old voicemail, so be sure to listen to any messages prior to the transfer.
  2. Hardware Purchase Location. Depending on what offers are available, you may find that a Verizon third party agent will have better pricing on devices. In this example, there was a savings of $130 per device when purchasing from Costco ($30 sale on the phone and $100 credit per phone to the Verizon account). You may want to make the initial device purchase at one vendor and then visit the Verizon store if you qualify for a discount that employees of some companies can receive.
  3. Service Transfer. You can request to port (transfer) your old phone number to the new devices and this can be done at any authorized center. However, you’ll need your account security code. This is different than your username and password for accessing your old mobile account. You’ll likely need to provide this information to the Verizon authorized vendor when they transfer your service.
  4. Employer Discount. Employees of some organizations and companies qualify for discounts. You’ll need to visit a Verizon corporate store and present an employee ID card to qualify. Shopping mall kiosks aren’t qualified to assist with this.
  5. Old Phone Rebates. For a 64GB iPhone 5S in good condition, Verizon will pay $350 (as of 21 April 2014). This is a better price than what you might get from Gazelle.com.
  6. Protective Case. The Incipio offering of cases for the Samsung Galaxy S5 are quite good. The DualPro case is a good choice and costs about $30 at a Verizon store. Employees of some companies may qualify for a 25% discount on accessories.
  7. Memory Card. Unlike the Apple iPhone, the Samsung Galaxy S5 allows for the use of a microSDXC memory card to store data. This makes it inexpensive and easy to upgrade the storage capacity on the device. The card is inserted under the back case above the batter, on top of the SIM card. This can be done in the store.
  8. Postpone Google Account Setup. When you initially setup the phone, the sales person will likely ask you to provide your Google Account login credentials (email and password) or create a new account. This will be the primary account for all phone information, communications, cloud storage and synchronization. You may want to skip this step initially until you have more time at home.
  9. Postpone Samsung Account Setup. There is an initial request to setup a Samsung account. You can skip this initially and return to it later. This will save time at the store.

Device Setup

Some steps may be more easily performed while at work and when using a WiFi connection.

  1. Connect to WiFi. The setup process will take less time with a faster Internet connection. Also, this will save on your data plan usage.
  2. Setup Device Login Security. To setup device login security, such as configuring a password, swipe your finger from the top of the screen. Touch the gear icon at the top of the screen (for Setup). Scroll about two pages of options to find Fingerprint (under Personal). Under Settings choose Fingerprint Manager. You can register up to three fingerprints. You will need to enter a password as an alternative for when the fingerprint reader doesn’t work. This needs to be at least four characters and include a letter. It can be all letters, but it’s probably best to create a more complicated login. When done, you will return to the Fingerprint Manager and choose Screen lock. Select Fingerprint as the screen lock authentication/login method.
  3. Setup Google Data Account. You can create a new Google account or use an existing one. This will be the primary account for all phone information, communications, cloud storage and synchronization.  From the main screen, swipe your finger from the top and click the gear (for Settings). Scroll down about two pages to find Accounts. Choose to Add an account.
  4. Setup Google Play Account. It’s helpful to have a single Google Play purchase account shared across multiple devices. You can share this account with family or others you trust to have a single app purchase be shared among devices. Use the other Google account (mentioned above) for everything else. This is similar to the Apple iPhone where you can have one user account for the Apple store and another for iCloud data synchronization. When setting up the shared purchase account, provide a purchasing credit card for the Google store. For this account, it’s not necessary to synchronize App Data, Calendar, Contacts, Drive, or Gmail (unless using a shared email account). However, you will want to sync Books, Movies & TV, Newsstand, and People details.
  5. Configure Amazon. An Amazon welcome screen will appear when you swipe your finger from right to left on the home screen. Enter your Amazon account credentials to setup Amazon functionality on the smartphone including a Kindle reader, Amazon Android Apps, Amazon shopping, and Music.
  6. Location Information. On the home screen you will see a message stating, “Tap here to add a city.” Tap on that message. A message will appear giving you an option to click on Settings. Go to Settings and tap on Google Location Reporting. Under your Google account name, Location Reporting will be off by default. Tap on that message and then slide the switch (upper right) from OFF to ON. This is an example where you’d use your primary Google account (for data) with the location reporting, but not use the secondary (purchase) account. Do the same for Location History. Go back to the main Settings > Location screen and choose My Places (under Location Sources) and set your Home and Work locations based on Map data (preferred). Under Mode you can select High accuracy for very accurate location determination. Once finished with these settings, return to the main screen and tap the “Tap here to add a city” message to have your city automatically identified and listed, then choose it.
  7. Device Name. You’ll likely have multiple phone lines on a single plan (such as a family plan). This is the most economical way to get service. With many “Buy one get one free” (BOGO) offers, it’s likely you’ll have identical phones. To make it easier to identify each phone (for installing apps remotely from the Google Play store), go to Settings (swipe down from top of screen and touch gear). Scroll down about four pages to the very bottom of the list and choose About phone. Touch Device name. Change the name of each device to the name of the primary user of that device (or use some other naming method).
  8. Configure Email Program. Android comes with email software for checking your email account(s). However, Gmail and other email accounts will use two different programs, and the included Gmail software can only display one inbox at a time. Those who want a single unified inbox should consider the free My Secure Email software from Mobile Experts with the My Secure Exchange ActiveSync. The cost of the Exchange compatibility module is $8 per Google Play account. If you have two or more devices sharing the same Google Play purchasing account, the cost is still just $8.
  9. Configure Calendar Software. The included Android calendar software is adequate, but most people will want more advanced capabilities. SolCalendar by SolStudio at Daum is a good choice.
  10. Disable System Sounds. The activity sounds are fun for the first hour or two, but eventually you’ll most likely want to turn them off. Go to Settings > Sound (under Device), Sound Mode, and choose Mute.
  11. Setup Samsung Account. You’ll want to setup a Samsung account for access to advanced features like Find my Phone.

Samsung/Android Features & Advantages

Samsung devices using the Android platform offer some features and advantages over the Apple iOS iPhone. Here are a few.

  • Big Screen. Samsung smartphones offer much bigger screens than what Apple currently offers on iPhone devices.
  • Clear Display. Samsung devices are known for their very colorful, bright, and clear displays.
  • Keyboard. The displayed keyboard shows a full five rows of keys including the numbers and letters (alpha-numeric) options you’d find on a normal keyboard.  On the iPhone it’s necessary to switch between keyboards to access numbers and letters.
  • Operating System. The Android operating system has a lot in common with a desktop computer operating system. In fact, some of the Samsung devices can use a small dock that turns a smartphone into a desktop computer alternative with keyboard, mouse, USB ports, and a large computer display.
  • Removable Battery. Having a removable battery is a nice feature for anyone planning to be away from power for an extended period of time (such as hiking).
  • Removable Memory. Like larger computers, the Samsung Galaxy S5 allows for memory to be removed and easily upgraded.
  • Water Resistant. The Galaxy S5 is designed to be water resistant.  However, care should be given to make sure the USB port remains covered, and the rear cover gasket of the phone needs to be well sealed.

Impact of Changing Service Providers

  • Text Notifications. When you switch service providers, a cancellation message will be sent to the companies that you’ve requested text notifications from. So, for example, text alerts from  your bank will no longer come through. You’ll need to reestablish those subscriptions.

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