Earlier this year I was forced onto the iPhone from several years with Android. At the end of January, I gave my thoughts at the nearly 2-week mark. I’m now past 4 months and able to give a more complete review.
Verdict: I’d really like my Android back but I can live with this until the next pure Android flagship comes along.
What’s the Same between Android and iPhone?
One- Apps. All apps basically function the same between Android and iPhone. Inside of any given app I can barely tell the difference in which OS I’m in. This made the switch process surprisingly pain free and simple.
Two- Unlocking. iOS fingerprint security vs. Android fingerprint security is virtually identical at this point. Really easy to securely get into your device.
Three- Cameras. This may cause debate but I’m not big into photography and the iPhone camera seems just as good as my most recent Android cameras. I don’t use this a lot so I may be missing something but it’s all the same to me.
Four- Messaging. iMessage seems to be really good but is it really all that different from any other SMS app (other than in making bubbles blue or green to differentiate between your friends)? I don’t seem enough difference here to call it a benefit or deficiency. I don’t use FaceTime so that doesn’t even matter.
Five- Design/Hardware. This may cause debate as well but I like the designs of the Nexus 6p or Pixel as much as the iPhone. I also can’t tell a significant operational difference between them in terms of performance. I’m sure there is a difference, I just can’t perceive it at this point.
What’s Better About iPhone?
One- Home Button. I got addicted to using this really early in the process. It’s really convenient to press or double-press this and go somewhere else. It basically combines the Android home and window buttons together to simplify things. Is it absolutely necessary for the real estate it takes up? No. But it’s easy and convenient.
Two- Corporate Email. My company has pretty stringent policies on email integration with mobile devices. It took more than a few steps to get things working on my previous Android device. On iOS everything was a snap and works through the default mail app.
Three- System Updates. Apple is much better at making their updates available because of the control they have over their hardware and software environments.
Four-iOS + OSX Integration. I don’t have a Mac but my wife does. It seems like magic to watch her get notifications on her computer and have the two devices work together fairly seamlessly. That’s something I would like to have.
Five- Encryption. Apple encrypting the hard drive by default is standout. This is a great move for users that most won’t really detect. I really appreciate Apple doing this and it goes hand-in-hand with their system update process. It’s possible to do this on Android but it’s opt-in instead of default.
What’s Worse About iPhone?
One- Charging Time/Apple Accessories. Apple accessories suck. Their out-of-the-box wall charger is horrific. It feels cheap and it works much more poorly than accessories you can get from Amazon. But I don’t want to have to purchase accessories just to reach a good operational level for my phone.
Two- Notifications. Seriously, Android has had a highly functional, very good notification bar system for a long time now. Just copy it. There’s nothing worse that non-intelligent notifications that you have to go into the app to use. Sure, maybe force touch can do something with it but that’s not the most intuitive system.
Three- Search. Most of what I do on my phone is search for things. Apple’s search functionality is the worst. It doesn’t search the web by default. WHY?
Four- No app drawer. If I have 100 apps, on iOS I have to remember exactly where I stashed it away to get to it (or search for it through Apple’s stupid search feature). In Android, you can do either of those plus have an app drawer listing them all in alphabetical order. My memory is not good enough to find where I stashed that app I use once every three months.
Five- Siri. Siri is not even in the same ballpark as Google Now. It’s not even close. They aren’t comparable. You can’t even pretend that Siri is anywhere near Google Now in capability. Google Now’s integration with Gmail makes quite a bit of magic happen that Apple cannot replicate at all.
Six- Back Button. Apple doesn’t have a back button other than it will let you go one step back at the top left of any given app if you got there from another app. This is because they only have the one home button at the bottom of the device whereas Android uses the three software buttons. That Android back button is pure gold and I miss it.
Seven- No Microphone Jack. This one is just silly. Basically, you can’t charge your phone plus listen to music on headphones at the same time without purchasing a surprisingly expensive dongle accessory. But none of the dongles look or function similarly so be careful which you get. Then you have to keep track of the headphone adapter because the Apple headphones are utter crap and why would you buy headphones that only work on your one phone and none of your other devices? It just makes no sense whatsoever.
Eight- Calendar/Default Apps. iOS is solid but it’s really frustrating that you don’t have many options for email and calendar outside of what they make available. Those options that do exist in these areas don’t have the ability to fully integrate into the OS the way they can with Android. This just makes each option subpar even when they have superior capability.
Nine- Keyboard. Apple’s keyboard is the absolute worst. This isn’t even debateable. No swipe capability. Common keys (comma) is hidden on the second level. Poor predictive capabilities. Even when you install a strong keyboard app like Gboard, iOS doesn’t let it work everywhere within the OS environment. It’s really frustrating to type on when you are used to a keyboard that actually works.
Ten- No Widgets. Android is focused on surfacing information quickly and cleanly with as few button pushes as possible. Apple seems more focused on getting you to go into apps as often as possible. That’s how I would summarize the operational concept difference between the two OS’s and also the best explanation I can think of for Apple not allowing widgets to be used. In Android, my calendar widget was probably my most used screen.
In summary, if you started out using iOS you probably disagree with me on a lot of these as you have either built your processes around Apple’s way of doing things or found easier solutions than I’ve encountered over these past 5 months.
I simply find Apple’s approach to be overbearing and “father knows best.” They want you to do things their way which makes it easier to get started and establish a working rhythm but difficult to improve upon. Android is open to lots of ways of accomplishing the same things which makes getting started more difficult but makes you more productive and efficient in the long run.
That’s my 2 cents.