I’ve been iPhone 5’ed – From Symbian to iOS

posted in: Mobile Phones | 14

Surprise Gift

I’ve been surprised with an early birthday gift – an iPhone 5. My instinctive reaction when I saw the sleek black beauty laying peacefully in its box was to vigorously wipe my hands before touching it. And then it hit me, I’ll have to let go of my old faithful, Nokia N8. Bittersweet as that moment was, my mind was abuzz on how to transfer all my content from a Symbian device onto an iOS one.

I haven’t owned an Apple device before, so the setup from the very beginning was new to me. Here’s my encounter with moving from Symbian to iOS (all my mistakes and what to avoid included).


Setting up your iPhone is fairly straightforward once you’ve inserted your nano sim and it’s activated. It took close onto 6 hours for my sim to activate via MTN (my service provider).

For those who haven’t owned an iPhone before, part of the phone setup is creating your iTunes account. One mistake I made after setting up my device – when prompted for my Apple ID and password, my ID is actually the email address, and not my name. I’ve done a basic set up of my iCloud account (necessary for all backup and syncing content) immediately after completing iTunes.

Then download and install iTunes on your computer. Let the transfers and app purchasing begin! [Note: I initially installed iTunes on my husband’s laptop and somehow the information synced up to show my husband as the iPhone owner on my iTunes account and phone contacts. After installing iTunes on my laptop, the information updated to show myself as the rightful owner (?)]

Transferring Media from Symbian to iOS

Transferring contacts was my first worry and I became impatient while downloading and installing iTunes so I manually added important contacts only onto my device. There is no need to manually add your contacts. You can use Windows Contacts to transfer:

  • Copy all your contacts from your phone onto your memory card. It will be in .vcf format.
  • Transfer them from the memory card to Windows Contacts.
  • Select Windows Contacts from the drop down menu on iTunes and Sync.

There’s also Outlook, this app or Google that you can use to transfer your contacts.

Pictures are a breeze to transfer from your computer.

  • My Documents > My Pictures. Create a folder in your My Pictures. Insert the images you want from your Nokia into this folder.
  • Then go to iTunes and select to upload the folder you created.
  • Sync

Music / Sound files are even easier. In your My Music folder on your computer, an iTunes folder is automatically created when you install iTunes.

  • My Documents > My Music > iTunes > iTunes Media > Automatically Add to iTunes
  • Drag sound files to Automatically Add to iTunes
  • Go to iTunes and Sync

No uploading is necessary. Files dropped into Automatically Add to iTunes are immediately sent to iTunes, converted and ready to be synced.

Purchasing Apps

My first app purchased was Whatsapp using a credit card online. A receipt is emailed to you once it’s bought. Downloading via iTunes works easily.

Whatsapp does not come with an emoticon menu, unlike getting it on my Nokia. I had to download an app called Emoji. To activate:

  • Settings > General > Keyboard > Add New Keyboard > Emoji

Other emoticon apps are available.

I’ve also downloaded these free apps: WordPress, Twitter (came with the iPhone, including Facebook), LinkedIn, Instagram, Flipboard, Snapseed and more.

How to Save on Data

Basically one of the first worries of the working class – how can you minimise your data usage without compromising your experience? Turn off 3G and adjust your app settings. On your iPhone:

  • Go to Settings > Notifications

Apps that are listed under In Notification Centre require more data as you are alerted when you have an outstanding message or notification.

  • Change your Alert Style to None.

If you’re wondering how will you know when you have a notification pending on any app,

  • Keep the Badge App Icon setting as On.

A number in a bubble will display next to the app in question.

I’ve downloaded Onavo to test out as I’ve heard it cuts down your data usage by approximately half (this would depend on your data consumption). I haven’t installed it yet. Looking forward to seeing positive results. 🙂

Watch this space for my iPhone 5 updates.

Have you any questions? I’m certainly no expert as I’m getting the hang of things but ask away. I’d love to help and the learning experience is advantageous 🙂

Follow Saajida Akabor:

Digital Copywriter

Freelance digital copywriter; animal-lover; reader; photography enthusiast; and a tea drinker.

14 Responses

    • Saajida

      lol! No secret hey… My birthday is coming up and I seriously didn’t want anything. Prior to this, I was considering upgrading to an iPhone 5. And he knew.

      Try it some time, your birthday is just ’round the corner from mine 😉

  1. Jayesh (@JayeshH)

    You mentioned using a credit card to purchase, so I assume you used the South African App Store, which doesn’t have around 90% of the stuff that the overseas App Stores have. If you’re not planning on jailbreaking, I suggest immediately creating a US iTunes account instead, and using that, before spending any more $. Google on how to do it from SA, or drop me a line if you need help sometime 🙂 You won’t be able to use the same Apple ID though, but there are alternatives that won’t be disruptive. Happy iOS’ing! 🙂

    • Saajida

      Yes, I’ve heard about the SA app store being limited. I am interested in getting a US one.

      Thanks 🙂 Will definitely get back to you on that, I’m sure I’ll have a few questions when I get round to doing it.

  2. Kavir

    Thanks Saajida! Your article is super interesting and certainly informative , i wish to implement what I’ve learned here with my i5 , since its also the first time I’ve owned an Apple device. thanks once again!

  3. Gouthamaram

    hi Saajida,
    i got a new iphone5S.. and i have a nokia5800.. as you mentioned i have moved my files to memory card but after that i couldn’t understand the process you say…. how to transfer to windows contacts. and how to bring windows contacts to Iphone….?? kindly explain me…

    • Saajida

      Hi Gouthamaram

      Once you have copied your contacts over to your memory card, access your memory card on your pc via a memory card reader. When you view the folders on your memory card, you will see a folder called Contacts, in it will be something like “Contacts.vcf” (or similar). All your phone contacts that you copied should be in that folder.

      Now go to Windows Contacts on your pc. On the top bar you will see “import”. Then select the VCF option and import your contacts from your memory card.

      Once you have imported your contacts, you can go to your iTunes on your pc and select Windows Contacts from the dropdown menu. Then sync.

      Hope this helps. Let me know how it goes 🙂

Your thoughts?