Obsolete Tech: Tips for Extracting Media Files From Your Old Phone or Mobile Device

You have an old Android phone, and you’re upgrading to a shiny new iPhone 5s. What do you do with all of your old data? It’s not exactly compatible with Apple’s tech. Here’s what you do:

If You Have Facebook, Twitter, and Google

Don’t worry about your social media accounts. For the most part, your contacts are stored on the website. All you have to do is install Facebook and Twitter on your iPhone and log in. Presto! Your contacts will reappear.

With your Google account, you will need to download and install the Google app, or use the mobile version of Google’s website. No’s a good a time as any to invest in strong password protection for your new phone. While Apple comes with iCloud Keychain, you might want a little more flexibility with your password app.

Extracting Media Files

1Password is probably the best program out there for Macs and iOS devices. It stores, manages, and helps you create and reset passwords for all of your accounts. You won’t have to remember anything but a master password, and you won’t be reduced to using ridiculous passwords like “1234” or “password.”

Documents and Images

To move documents and images, try uploading everything to something like DropBox. It will keep your files secure while you’re moving everything around. You can also use Google Drive for a lot of your images or Flickr (or any other photo-sharing site for that matter).

Documents can be pushed into any cloud-based service provider and, since they tend not to take up too much space, you probably don’t even need to pay for the space – most service providers provide more than enough for documents. You may need to convert the file type to something else – Apple devices can’t read all file formats.


Videos are a bit trickier to transfer. You see, most videos cannot be stores on cloud servers because they’re too large – about 2 to 7GBs each. Ouch. That’s a lot of space. But, you don’t have to ditch them. You can convert them to something your iOS device can recognize, like MP4 or a QuickTime video, using YTD, available through http://youtubedownload.altervista.org/.

This simple program lets you upload any video file from your computer and then select the device you want to optimize for. So, for example, you can upload a video in WMV and convert it to a QuickTime video, M4V, or any other video format playable on an Apple device. The conversion isn’t strictly lossless, but it will convert into HD, and you can choose what bit rate you want as well as other quality settings for the video.

Transfer the video files to your computer and then move them to your iPhone once you’ve got it set up.


Music files also present a special challenge. For the most part, iTunes likes MP3, AIFF, AIFC, WAV, MPEG-4, AAC or Apple lossless (m4a). iOS devices can also handle QuickTime and protected AAC files.

Direct Transfers

If you have a Mac, the least attractive option for file transfers is the clunky and frustrating Android File Transfer app. It provides something that passes for a user interface which allows you to grab files directly from your Android and plop them onto your Mac.

Reclaim Your Google Apps

Finally, if you really love your Google apps (and who doesn’t), you don’t have to leave the Google ecosystem totally behind. You can download a plethora of apps like YouTube, Google Search, Google Earth, Gmail, Chrome, Maps, and Google+.

These apps have a varying degree of functionality on the iPhone. You’ll notice some differences – for example, the Google search app doesn’t control other applications on your iPhone.

However, it’s one heck of a search app, and is often very fast, if not faster, than Siri. Yeah, that’s weird, but Google’s tech is stellar. Some users report problems with the YouTube application, while others say it works just fine. Really, this one is hit or miss and no one seems to know why.

And, of course, there’s the Gmail issue. Gmail has probably suffered the most on Apple’s OS, especially Mavericks. While, officially, Gmail works fine, unofficially users report never-ending problems with syncing and critical mail functions. Some users report Gmail on iPhone being practically unusable.

Most everything else works just fine though. Hey, it’s not Android, and this is what you wanted. Fortunately, apps like Apple Mail and Apple Maps have gotten serious upgrades in the last year and are working much better than used to. Welcome to the Apple ecosystem. It might take a bit to get acclimated, but most users love it.

Remember to respect intellectual property with video downloads.

Tom Moore has a brain wired for technology. Whether it’s system security, file management, or setting up new devices, he loves blogging about common questions and concerns for the everyday user.