Android Tap & Go

I have not moved from one android phone to another in a few years. I’ve been going back and forth between the latest iPhone and the latest Android. I recently went through a period where I was carrying both.

But about a month ago, I went back to my Nexus 6 with a TMo sim as my sole phone. I really missed TMo’s wifi calling (and Google Fi’s wifi calling) so I bit the bullet yesterday and bought a TMo Android, the Samsung Galaxy 6 Edge.

So while I watched the Mets Nationals game yesterday (a super fun game with a happy outcome for Mets fans), I transferred over my content and apps from the Nexus 6 to the Galaxy 6 Edge. I was prepared for a lengthy go of it.

But to my amazement, the whole thing took almost no time because of a newish android feature called Tap & Go. As you go through the setup of your new android phone, you are asked if you want to restore from another device. If you say yes, you are asked to tap the two devices together, you hear a beep, and the new device copies everything over from the old device.

Well almost everything. You still need to manually launch and sign into each and every app. For me that’s a time consuming process because I use unique strong passwords. I imagine its a security hole to allow tap & go to restore logins as well. Convenience is the enemy of security.

But in any case, this Tap & Go is a really nice feature. It makes moving android phones a lot less painful. Which means I may do it more frequently. If Apple announces anything game changing on the iPhone tomorrow, I may move back to iOS for a bit. But if not, I am going to stick with android and possibly start trying out all sorts of different devices. Tap & G0 makes it super easy to do that.


Comments (Archived):

  1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    Hi Fred I would be interested of whether you find the edge features worthwhile – I am thinking about upgrading but wondering about a vanilla android because the Samsung junkware annoys me. – enjoy the phone !

    1. fredwilson

      i prefer stock android devices too. the edge features have not wowed me. i just needed a TMo phone to get the wifi calling feature i need

      1. John Revay

        Wifi calling because – TMo coverage is weak in General or if so does it have more to do with where you connect from re: Hamptons..

        1. fredwilson

          yup. my USV office, my apt in NYC, and my house in Long Island all have terrible or non-existent TMo service. that’s why TMo’s wifi calling is so awesome for me

          1. LE

            I only get 2 bar coverage in my office so I bought an Att Microcell ($75 after rebate):…While it is better for not missing phone calls (which was the reason I got it) all it is doing is extending the existing 2 bar (and making it 5 bar) so it does nothing for connectivity speed. Plus you have to locate it near a window in line with a satellite or you lose the 911 coverage. It broadcasts a pretty wide range so it’s still connected when I go out to my car.For security purposes I don’t even have wifi enabled on my phone. I run everything over LTE. Even in my home and office (that way I don’t forget to turn it off).

  2. kenberger

    I’ve had the s6 edge since before it came out. Great but regular s6 is better. The edges are really silly and a bit wasteful, except for acting as a bedside clock.And the s6 edge+ and note 5 just came out. I’d consider a return for 1 of these, although you can’t go wrong.

    1. William Mougayar

      Have you played with a Xiaomi yet?

      1. kenberger

        Yep. I’ve predicted that the high end Chinese phones will be for me by next year. We’ll see if their features exceed Galaxy by then or not.

  3. William Mougayar

    What would be your top 3 Android trial choices?

    1. fredwilson

      one plus twoxiaomihuawei

      1. kenberger

        ZTE and Meizu are worth watching too.What I really wish I could have back, though, is what I lost years ago with my last Blackberry: a physical keyboard!

        1. jason wright

          i read Blackberry is about to release a new handset with a sliding physical keyboard with Android OS.

          1. kenberger

            yup. But I don’t think this is the design I’m looking for. Sometimes I’d want to have that extension out of the way, to put it in a car holder clamp for example.

          2. jason wright

            tv remote con?

          3. kenberger

            Here’s a step better concept, although still not quite there. A rumored clip-on supposedly coming soon for the S6 Edge+ (can’t confirm if it’s a hoax)

          4. jason wright

            looks a bit fiddly. i’d like to see a matching same size physical keyboard in a fold open phone wallet for landscape mode emailing. it would have bigger keys and be more typing accurate…maybe.

          5. LE

            Siri on an Apple watch is working very well for me for text replies.I am guessing that there will come a time (future vision here) that apple will be able to read lips (or whispers) in cases where you need to reply privately.

          6. jason wright


          7. jason wright

            does Siri work well? i know the Google product and it is good. i sometimes read that Siri is a bit sketchy.

    2. Pete Griffiths

      I’d recommend waiting a month or so and seeing what the next Nexus phones are like.

  4. Dana Hoffer

    For people that work out or like to keep their phone clean consider a sleeper, Kyocera’s Wave phone…My Samsung Note 3’s screen cracked… for $149 at TMo I picked up this Android Lollipop phone hoping not to be wrong. Well I am very pleased.This phone works better than the Note 3 for holding onto the Location (GPS) signal. Its calls are clearer. And the software is better.I cycle. Most cyclists put their phone in a plastic bag to prevent perspiration and rain from destroying the phone. The Wave is MIL SPEC and waterproof. When I want to clean my phone I wash it in the sink. I really do. With soap and water.This is a true sleeper. $149. MIL SPEC. Waterproof.Oh yes. Throw in a $20 32GB microSD card and you have just about as much memory as you can use.This would be one of my top two trial choices.

    1. Jess Bachman

      What would a MILSPEC phone entail?

    2. pointsnfigures

      Samsung should use technology and you wouldn’t have to put in a bag.

      1. LE

        Great stuff never saw that. I see they went to UI hence using uico as their name. And connection to Hyde Park Angels.

  5. JimHirshfield

    “Convenience is the enemy of security”.Word.

  6. JimHirshfield

    I’m still on the OnePlus One. Curious to hear if anyone here has tried their second model, the creatively titled “OnePlus Two”.

    1. JamesHRH

      I may switch to Android, seeing as I cannot get Disqus to let me sign in on my current iOS!

      1. JimHirshfield

        That’s odd.

        1. JamesHRH

          I figured you have tired of my attempts to go pun for pun with you and had pulled some levers behind the scenes.Its an interesting aspect of our new, services based, ultra connected internet…..getting locked out is a nightmare.We were in Vancouver on the weekend using Car2Go and they had a glitch that caused a phantom booking, essentially locking us out of their service (until they told me just to reload an new instance of the app). Our phantom reservation was a 20 minute walk away, we were in Kitsilano & needed to go downtown.My son concluded that if we lived in VanCity, we would just join all the car services (Car2Go, Evo, Zipcar). I guess that’s Millennial Security – rental choices!

          1. JimHirshfield

            Funny. No, I can’t, or couldn’t have, locked you out. I left Disqus in April.

          2. JamesHRH

            Missed that. New gig looks interesting.

          3. JimHirshfield

            Very much so.

    2. Ana Milicevic

      I, too (two?) have the One. Interestingly the Two doesn’t strike me as a ‘must upgrade’ from the One. At the same time knowing what I know about the One I would get the Two immediately if my main phone was a Samsung Galaxy/Note or an iPhone.

      1. JimHirshfield

        Agreed. No rush on the Two.

      2. Vasudev Ram

        Why? Interested to know.

        1. Ana Milicevic

          I rather like Cyanogen (which is what my phone shipped with) and haven’t played w/ OP’s new Oxygen fork. The fingerprint scanner doesn’t strike me as a must-have. Switching over all my chargers to USB-C also sounds like a pain (and I speak from experience: I have the new 12″ Mac that uses USB-C which also means that I don’t really have backup chargers anywhere anymore).So it’s a mix of good enough and lack of compelling new features that would drive the switch. However, if my main phone was iPhone I’d switch for battery life, overall feel of the device, and (in the OPO case) the Android fork that provides some added functionality I really like (e.g. individually lockable folders/apps — I’m not sure if this exists in Oxygen though). If I were switching from Samsung it would be for a clean Android experience sans bloatware and crapware and again better battery life and feel than the Nexus line.

  7. Sierra Choi

    You might be interested to know that feature was originally an app for iPhone called bump before google acquired them. Personally I prefer my iPhone over my Samsung android (I have both). However, google drive allows you to back up automatically to the cloud so there is no need for any transfer of information at all.

    1. William Mougayar

      I thought Bump was just for contacts transfer?

      1. Sierra Choi

        The technology is the same. Whereas bump was utilised to share information from two different people, the android version can migrate all information from any mobile device. I still prefer google drive. All you have to do is add your google account and the information is already there.

      2. creative group


  8. LIAD

    Alongside being the enemy of security…it would appear convenience is also the enemy of a hardware walled garden

    1. Jess Bachman

      Shh.. Apple knows what’s good for you.

      1. jason wright

        like a dual sim iphone? đŸ™‚

  9. creative group

    Fred:because of the features you mentioned I find going to IPhone anything but an inconvenience. We enjoy the innovation Android features offer. (Google)

  10. pointsnfigures

    Interesting. I think that tech came from the old Bump Technologies platform. Bump was bought by Google. They shut the service down, but kept the tech.

    1. fredwilson

      we tried to invest in bump. lost out to sequoia. i loved that concept.

  11. Pranay Srinivasan

    Is this Tap and Go powered by Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth? Kind of like Airdrop but faster?

    1. fredwilson

      NFC i believe

    2. jason wright

      good question. i was wondering the same thing. my Moto E doesn’t have NFC. it does have Motorola Migrate, but then i’d have to buy another Moto handset to make use of it. crafty little strategy there from M. i’m not falling for it.

  12. kirklove

    I’m pretty die hard Apple, though Android phones are really starting to intrigue me. Especially as I relegate more and more “Apple” apps to my junk folder (since you can’t delete them).I’m also really impressed with Samsung’s new watch, and I’m not even a wearable fan. Just looks slick and intuitive, and well, like a watch. It’s impressive they out-Apple’d Apple here IMO.

    1. Russell

      Ha, I haven’t created a file called junk but have done the same with many of the apple apps. Walled Gardens make gardeners lazy!

    2. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Niiiice. It’s fun to see how UI designers are tackling a round format. I agree with you that they’ve Samsung have out-designed Apple on this one (and I, too, am not a wearable fan).

    3. Jess Bachman

      Wow.. now that is a watch I would wear.

    4. Vasudev Ram

      >Especially as I relegate more and more “Apple” apps to my junk folder (since you can’t delete them)Just redirect the App(le) to /dev/null#unix #techjoke

    5. Cam MacRae

      Check out the moto x and 360 as you may likey.My first brick was a motorola — feels good to come full circle!

  13. bogorad

    Don’t you use LastPass? đŸ˜‰

    1. Joe

      Came here to ask this too. But even with a password manager app, he’d still need to do “open the pw app, find the relevant pw, copy it, open the app he wants to sign in to, paste the pw” … still pretty annoying if we’re talking 10 – 20 apps.

      1. bogorad

        Nope, LastPass does auto-fill in 99% of apps.

        1. Joe

          Far out! I use 1password which (to my knowledge) doesn’t do that. Maybe I should migrate…

    2. fredwilson

      well no, i use dashlane. but even so, i need to copy and paste a shit ton of logins from app to app

      1. bogorad

        You should try Lastpass – it does auto-fill in most of the apps. And in Chrome!

  14. jason wright

    …and tomorrow is another day.

  15. Pankaj Garg

    Strange that you have a content on phone which needs to be copied and is not available on cloud… I used to take too much care of my laptop but then i realised i don’t have to really do that..

  16. Douglas Crets

    Wish I could do this with the iPhone to Android. The only thing that ports is my gmail and google accounts. That’s just software linkage. What happens to all these contacts I have on iPhone from America that I can’t really communicate with unless I use my iPhone?I moved to a new country and found out that I couldn’t just buy a new SIM for my iphone. Hong Kong sells unlocked iPhones from the carriers, meaning you can buy whatever plan you want. You can’t do that with an American iPhone. So I got an Android phone because the plans were so low and I wanted to try out an LG G4. But I am stuck. I can’t find an easy way to transfer the contacts.

  17. Nick Ambrose

    I just don’t get why they just dont restore *everything* from the “backup account” you set on a specific device. Why is everything not stored there and you can just pick the device ?My wife did this with her new iPhone .. she had moved to android and then back to iPhone and got *everything* back, including text messages !In fact, I *should* be also able to go to my PC or Mac and open an “android” and tell it to get my device from my “backup account” and I should be able to run this stuff on my computer, no ?Your environment should be *independent* of the device you are using as far as possible.Just like “back in the UNIX” days when you’d log into a “terminal” and get your environment no matter which terminal.Right now upgrading androids is a real pain because it doesnt even restore all your apps …If people are worried about passwords, maybe the vendors should partner with the password manager companies to figure this out …. put in your master PW and boom

  18. jason wright

    no love for a Wileyfox phone on AVC? The Storm model has Cyanogen, dual sim, LTE, 3GB RAM, 20MP camera, et.c. et.c.

  19. Steven Soneff

    Hi Fred, good to see you at Google NYC last week. I’m the product manager who showed you the demo of our service complementing Tap and Go by making signing back into apps super easy on a new phone (Smart Lock –… )It’s an API to save / retrieve sign-in info and enable seamless auth across devices (not just Android, but across Chrome, the web, and if Apple allows, iOS, too) backed by the security of a Google account (abuse detection, intelligent two-factor auth, etc). Can store passwords for super easy developer adoption (a few lines of code), but also social sign-ins, and we’re steering the ecosystem toward auth tokens longer term and get rid of passwords altogether.Aiming for both convenience and security: one tap account creation with a strong generated password or auth token, and automatic zero-tap sign-in for returning users in app and on the web. Launched at I/O this year, and adopted by Netflix, NYT, Orbitz, Evernote, and soon TripAdvisor, eBay, LinkedIn and more. Hope to make auth easy for developers and help apps keep and re-engage users across platforms and unlock cross-device personalization, analytics, and monetization.Lifehacker wrote a nice article on the UX and broader Smart Lock vision (“A password manager for the 99%”:… ) … would love to hear any feedback: [email protected]

  20. Antonio D'souza

    Yeah, logging into apps on a new phone is annoying. I wish all apps would just let you use your Google login.