How To Break Out Of Apple’s Ecosystem And Still Keep Your iPhone

How To Break Out Of Apple’s Ecosystem And Still Keep Your iPhone
Image: iStock/borchee

If there’s one thing Apple is good at, it’s keeping users trapped inside its own bubble. The company has always strived to create an insular ecosystem, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work outside of it and still keep your iPhone.

This article has been sponsored by HP.

While using a single ecosystem can be seamless, there’s certainly a case for juggling both. Maybe you like your iPhone but want to use a PC – this is absolutely doable.

Here’s some tips to make the process as easy as possible.


A lot of Apple’s software works elsewhere

Anything you need software-wise to keep an iPhone running will work just fine on a PC, so there’s no need to worry about not being able to hook your device up to a Mac.

A lot of Apple’s other services will work outside of its own ecosystem as well. Programs like Apple Music, QuickTime, iCloud, and iTunes can be installed and used on Windows systems, which makes transferring and using the relevant files from your Mac that much easier.

Even if there was a piece of Apple software you couldn’t live without, you can get software that will allow you to install and run MacOS on a PC, with the ability to switch between the two.


There are plenty of alternatives

Anything that’s exclusive to Apple will very likely have a Windows equivalent that will work just as well.

There are some apps and services should consider swapping out for something that’s compatible across all platforms. An example of this is iCloud, which you can obviously use on an iPhone, but not entirely on a Windows PC. Luckily, Google Drive is a great way to get around this, and getting your data from one platform to another is easy enough.

In terms of getting your files from a Mac to a PC, a trusty portable hard drive will do the trick here. Apple-specific apps and the files that rely on them won’t be compatible, so keep this in mind when choosing what to bring over to your non-Apple device.

When it comes to password management, you can easily swap out the iCloud Keychain for a third-party app like 1Password or LastPass. Instead of iMessage, there are a ton of alternatives, like Facebook Messenger, or, if privacy is a concern for you, apps like Signal will ensure your messages are encrypted. WhatsApp is also a good alternative to iMessage.

If you like using GarageBand, there are heaps of excellent options for PC, whether it’s a premium package like Cubase or Ableton, or a free alternative like Reaper. Windows’ Movie Maker 10 also offers a good free replacement for Apple’s iMovie.

For everything else, a quick Google search should put you on the right path for a suitable Windows replacement.


You barely need to connect an iPhone to a computer anymore

iPhone plans iOS 14 Image: Getty Images

These days, transferring data from an an old iPhone to a new iPhone can be done wirelessly, so assuming you’re not upgrading from an ancient model, there’s a good chance you won’t even have to connect to a computer at all. Later models will simply ask you to place your current iPhone next to the new one and the setup will go from there.

Even outside of the initial setup, you can do pretty much anything you need without a wired connection to a computer. Backups can be made to iCloud via Wi-Fi, music can be downloaded or streamed via a number of apps/services, photos and videos can be transferred with email or messaging services, and so on.


Compare the hardware

The good thing about breaking away from the standard MacBook options is that you now have access to a huge variety of options. While that might seem daunting at first, it will often mean that you can get something with just as much”if not more”power than a MacBook.

The big question you should ask yourself here, of course, is what do you use the computer for mostly? If you used a Mac for video editing, for example, you’ll want something that can match its processing power and GPU capabilities.

There are more options when you opt for a PC for around the same price as a MacBook or cheaper. A great example of this are 2-in-1s such as the HP Spectre x360, which has touchscreen functionality and folds around completely to become a tablet.

Holding onto an iPhone won’t get you out of Apple’s ecosystem completely, but leaving one foot inside the bubble is a good way of testing the waters, and grants far more flexibility and choice.