From iOS To Android And Back Again

It’s hard for me to write about the differences between Android and iOS, and I struggle to comprehend how people go about it. So if you are looking for that kind of overview you are going to be disappointed, I simply wanted to talk through some thoughts I had in using the two operating systems without comparing apples to oranges. As time goes on it becomes apparent that both operating systems, although trying to achieve the same thing, are approaching it from different angles. This gives a stark contrast to those daring to switch between the two – something that has become increasingly harder.

Software

Android, although pouring in digital wellbeing features, still seems insistent on bombarding you with notifications on everything you’ve ever Google searched. Indeed you can switch these off (ish) but it’s not easy to find nor understand. The fact still remains that Google make nothing from Android and hardly anything from Google Play, so they need to keep your attention somehow. My biggest concern with using Android has always been my privacy exchange, however in my honest opinion this is an issue the average user doesn’t care about nor understand. So for me to talk about this while discussing using the OS is moot.

Indeed Android is the more useful operating system, it makes it much easier to interact with notifications and find things you need instantly. Google was the trail blazer in giving users tools for free that typically cost money and monetising it in other ways – see Google Maps for an example. All of the stock software on both operating systems is there is make your life easier, and push you further into the eco system.

Apple may not be in the business on monetising your data, but the OS and all the free apps that go with it are there to pull you in so they can sell you other things. Services and subscriptions have become a focus for Apple in recent years, and this is evident now more than ever, pre installed Music and even now the AppStore itself with Apple Arcade, pushes you towards giving Apple money – just in a far more subtle way than Google.

Hardware

I am always fascinated by Android handsets, a huge selling point for Android is that it is far more exciting from a hardware perspective. You are guaranteed to find an handset that is suited to you use case however niche it might be. I chose to use a Note 10+ because I wanted something business like with a top camera, but there is a phone at almost every price point to suite almost everyone. Whereas you are stuck using whatever Apple design of it fits or not.

Should Apple go in a different direction to what you need from their hardware, you are stuck. A decision to move everything to another eco system and bare the pain of loosing apps and services (as well as the hassle of moving all of your data) is a truly live changing thing. Sure Apple charge a premium for making all the design decision for you, but what happens when you don’t agree?

In exchange for giving up control you get the best source of high quality, diverse and sometimes expensive software in existence. Apples App Store still trumps Google Play for quality of apps by a long chalk, although the standard on Android is much better than even a couple of years ago. Couple this with the pretty regular killing of Googles own services, there is always frustration when switching.

Apps from the same developer often work different, look different or are missing functions (even Googles) on Android. Which is a huge shame given the open nature of the platform. Sure you can ‘do anything’ with your device, but the quality of software to go with it is still lacking in broad terms – and this becomes apparent very quickly when switching.

The fact remains that my love of Android still runs deep into my heart but I feel much safer and better supported when popping my sim back into an iOS device. This of course is simply my opinion, you can use whatever you wish – Android is great.

9 Comments From iOS To Android And Back Again

  1. ChrisJWilson September 26, 2019 at 10:13 am

    @gr36 the aspect of notification overload is something I remember well from Android. I remember saying that I found myself making more “little checks” when I had an android phone than iPhone. But I do get attracted by some of the new features and interesting designs.

  2. jeannie September 26, 2019 at 10:23 am

    @gr36 That was a really good rundown. Definitely a different take on the usual comparison posts and I really enjoyed reading it so thank you for writing it.

    I’ve been on Android since Donut. I switch to an iPhone SE for a couple of months recently so that I could have that comparison of the view from the other side of the fence.

    When it comes to micro.blog on mobile, it’s iOS or bust right now. So clear winner for that experience.

    I have a different experience with the majority of apps that I use as far as functionality cross-platform. A large amount of the apps that I use work better on Android due to ease of navigation within the Android app vs iOS (one click vs 2-3 in different menus) and the versatility of the Android app vs iOS (ability to cross-share, etc). So I guess it all depends on what your needs are.

    The privacy issues with Google still bother me but they’ve given you the ability to turn off almost all data collection if you choose. There is also greater flexibility to disable Google’s services in favor of assigning alternative default apps on your device. No argument that Apple is leaps and bounds above when it comes to privacy, however.

    I’ve switched back to my Pixel3 since my experience with the SE (mainly due to battery life and I’m not gonna lie, I missed some of my home screen widgets).

  3. jeannie September 26, 2019 at 10:28 am

    @ChrisJWilson So easy to turn off or silence notifications on Android. I have most of my apps on either silent or disabled notifications so that I have to manually check and am not constantly distracted by the popups. Also easier to dismiss (one swipe and gone vs swipe and then hit clear for each notification). Just my $0.02 on that particular point.
    //@gr36

  4. gr36 September 26, 2019 at 10:32 am

    @jeannie notifications are so much better on android. My main issue was the amount of notifications i got for random sports scores or news stories and turning them off wasnt immediatly obvious.

  5. nathanrhale September 26, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    @ChrisJWilson I am an iPhone user currently but have spent a lot of time with Android and I must say I love the notification experience on Android so much more than iOS. They are clearer, more intuitively actionable, easier to manage, and quicker to dismiss.

  6. nathanrhale September 26, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    @gr36 I appreciate this write up. I often feel torn between the two. In a perfect world I might be iOS all the way due to the overall polish and security focus, but the reality is that Android allows me to have certain hardware (like a simple, yet quite functional 10” tablet) that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. And the experience is often just as delightful to me, albeit in a different way.

  7. ChrisJWilson September 26, 2019 at 2:33 pm

    @nathanrhale @jeannie While I am aware that there are more controls over notifications on Android, I found the apps were more fond of notifying me. and my real issue with fidgeting wasn’t really related to notifications. It was something else, possibly all the customization options 🤷‍♂️ Also I am not saying that android is worse, just I found it worse. It may be better for you, and even for me now.

  8. nathanrhale September 26, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    @ChrisJWilson Makes sense. The customization options can be a blessing and a curse in that way!

  9. jeannie September 26, 2019 at 3:55 pm

    @ChrisJWilson That’s what’s both great and annoying about tech. We have options. OS, device, apps, accessories and all the nuances therein. What one person prefers may be the thing that completely exasperates another. But we’re fortunate that we have more than one option so that we can choose the hardware and software that works best for the way we personally use our devices. //@nathanrhale @gr36

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