I recently replaced my phone, an old first generation Samsung Galaxy S that served me for the past three years, with its latest successor, Galaxy S4. Here’s a short account of how the switching process went.
My “Galaxy S to S4 Transition Kit” consisted of:
- Two USB to micro USB cables
- A pair of scissors
- MacBook Air
- A credit card (with at least $50 available)
The purpose of each of these items will be revealed in a moment.
The first thing I did was remove the SIM card from the old phone and, well, fail to put it in the new one, because it turned out S4 needs a micro-sized SIM. I decided my scissoring skills were sufficient to trim the card by myself, so I did, with great care and making sure to stick out the concentration tongue. I slid the microfied card into the slot, it clicked in nicely, and the phone greeted me with a PIN input screen. So far so good.
Of all the stuff I had on the old phone, it was the contacts and SMS/MMS messages that I couldn’t leave behind and wanted to transfer to the new device. I didn’t need to copy all the apps and their settings, in fact I preferred to reinstall and reconfigure them one by one to have a clean start.
I googled around to find out what my options were for copying contacts and messages. An obvious first choice was the application made by the vendor — Samsung Kies. There was no Linux version of the software, just Windows and Mac OS X, so that’s when the MacBook came in handy.
I installed Kies and it recognized both phones, but it quickly turned out it was only good for transferring contacts. While it did allow me to extract the messages from the old phone, it didn’t offer the option to put them on the new one.
Looking for alternative solutions, I came across MobileGo, which seemed to be a solid contender, per numerous recommendations. Again, it wasn’t available for Linux, so I got the OS X version. Unfortunately, the software didn’t even recognize the S4, it just kept saying the device was sleeping (it wasn’t) and had to be woken up. There were some suggested fixes, but neither of them worked for me. I thanked MobileGo for its efforts and uninstalled it.
I then found an app called, promisingly, Backuptrans Android SMS+MMS Transfer. Of course, no Linux version, installed it on the Mac. Much to my joy, it did recognize both devices, retrieved all the messages from my old phone, and copied them to the new one! Actually, just the first twenty messages were copied,Â since it was a trial version and the cheapest license was over $45 (the listed price was $29.95, but they also make you pay for “Registration Backup Service”, whatever that is, and some tax). At this point, after two hours of struggle, I just wanted to get this over with, so I bought the license. An hour or so later, all my messages were happily transferred to the new phone.
I proceeded to reinstall the apps, which went nice and smooth, so I don’t have anything to rant about and won’t go into the details. To summarize, the switching operation took me a few hours, some handcraft, and a considerable amount of money. That’s way more hassle than it should be, in my humble opinion. I would expect a company as big as Samsung to provide a straightforward way to do something as common as copying messages, without the customers having to pay for third-party solutions. Maybe it was just my problem, as I was making the transition from a rather old phone (three generations old) and maybe it’s easier with S2 or S3, I don’t know. But still.
Anyway, I like the new Galaxy so far, and I’m really glad I can finally test apps and JS code on a real Android 4.x phone, and not a lousy virtual device.