Android Guys Goes iPhone… Does he go Back?

The first phone I ever drooled over was the Moto Droid Razr.. But I started with a simple Moto flip phone. Eventually I broke into the smartphone world with a Samsung Windows phone.. The Omnia.. Then some blackberries, Storm 1, Storm 2… Then I was introduced to the Moto Droid, Android phone. Man I loved that phone with the sliding keyboard.

For years, I’ve despised Apple.. And I’m not too sure why. I felt everything was overpriced. Their system was too closed minded.. You had to buy this to work with that and everything for an Apple device was way more $$. So I’d been hardcore Android. I had the HTC EVO, EVO 3D, Thunderbolt, then Samsung, S4, S5, S6, S7 Edge, Note 5, Note 7, and there was a Nexus 6P in there too. I had an iPhone or two along the way to play with but I never used them hard enough or solely relied on them. So I never got a fair look I suppose.

I’m going to focus this article on comparing the operating systems, not so much the specs of the phones I have (iPhone 7+ 128gb and Google Pixel XL 32gb). I’m going to make this short and sweet and try to discuss the important things.

First off, if you think iTunes is the only thing out there, you’re wrong. If you think you can’t take pictures on one device, or download a movie or something from one device, and then view it on another device, cast it to your TV, etc.. You’re wrong.. Google has an eco system similar to Apple. There are movies, books, apps, files, photos, etc, and they all can sync between devices. You won’t lose them when you get a new phone. Worried you can’t view them on your PC? Wrong. You can. And it doesn’t require software like iTunes. Many of the tools are web based so there’s no major requirements. Now, there are limited transfer tools between iOS and Android. If you bought a ton of stuff on iTunes, then you may lose some of it, but do your music with an internet service like Spotify and save yourself some hassle.

Google plays better with Apple than Apple does with Google. You won’t see itunes for Android. You won’t see a lot of Apple stuff for Android… But seemingly all of Google’s tools work on ios.. Google docs, drive, photos, videos, books, etc.. So if you are liking their eco system but like something better about iOS, you can do that and nobody will hate you.

If you think your app isn’t on both platforms, you’re probably wrong. Most any app is available on both platforms. Unless it’s something really old and obscure, it’s probably on both. Most apps do indeed come to iOS first, because there is only a few devices, and a very small number of operating versions to deal with. This makes building and testing much easier for developers. Once an app is built for iOS, then work usually begins on Android.

Apple’s WatchOS is way ahead of Android Wear. Google certainly has more options for wear.. Just like they have way more options for phones, which sometimes can be annoying, but let’s move beyond that for now. But In the few weeks I’ve had my Apple Watch, I’ve found the watch experience to be so much better than Android Wear. I have the Moto 360 V2 for Android. Now, again, Android Wear does work on iOS, but the OS just isn’t comparable. The watch battery is great, the health tools are great, the options for responding to notifications are great, you can make them look functional and stylish relatively easy. Honestly, I think if I had to say one thing that really wants to keep me on iPhone, it would be the watch. With android, I find myself not even putting my watch on for weeks because the OS is so clunky, but with WatchOS I am putting it on first thing every morning when I wake up. I can start my car from it, send an email, turn my thermostat up or down, water my yard, use Apple pay, etc. All that said, Google does have a pretty serious Android Wear update coming but it’s already been pushed back, so time will tell.

There are some very annoying things I don’t like with iOS notifications. With android, when something triggers my security camera, I get a notification that includes a photo. This works on my android watch as well. This is not the case on iOS. Supposedly this is coming, but I find that to be pretty annoying. Not entirely sure if this is an iOS or a lack of the feature from the app, but still, annoying. Facebook messenger notifications especially stink on iOS. On Android, you have those neat little chat heads. Notifications accumulate, you have a nice little number on the chat head, etc… Not the case on iOS.. First off, there is no chat heads. You get a new notification for EACH message. So when you wake up, and your friends are chatty overnight, you wake up to 100 notifications to scroll through, and if there’s an email or text notification hidden in there, good luck finding it. That said, there are a few positives of both new operating systems (iOS 10 and Android 7), in that they both make replying right from the notification much easier. You can see a notification and click to reply quickly.

There’s no notification bar. This was a big annoyance for me to begin with, I think I am getting more used to it as I go, but it makes it pretty convenient when you have one. Not only can you see notifications, but you can put some persistent things up there like a temperature readout from an app, or something of that effect.

Yes, iMessage is pretty neat. Verizon’s Message + has many similar features though. Maybe not quite as interactive, but sharing locations, drawing, seeing when someone is typing or is reading a message etc, is all available on Android using Message +.

Apple has a neat compression system when sending pics/videos. Today I took a video from both of my devices at once. It was 13 seconds. I then tried to email that video. On Android it failed, stating that it was too large to email. On iOS, it compressed it down, then sent it right off.. This could be huge for me out in the field needing to send in video!

iOS only does one thing at a time… This is something that REALLY annoys me. Apple phones seem fast, yes.. Well, there is one reason why.. iOS handles one thing at a time. My iphone zips right along and can switch apps fast. But when I switch back to Google chrome after a while of doing something else, or most importantly, when I load up my home control software (Samsung SmartThings), I have to sit and wait while the app (or website) reloads, and it really detracts from the experience. If I want to turn off a light switch, with android, I can just open the app and click. With iOS, I have to wait about 15 seconds for everything to load up… I could just be like a normal person and hit a light switch in that time… I don’t want to be normal…

Both offer widgets, but Android wins the battle. Widgets for apps are awesome, but Android lets you customize them and put them on different screens, and pick layouts, etc. With iOS you are stuck to one screen for widgets. So if you have a lot, you have to scroll down through them. Oh, and yes you have to wait for them to re load when you view them (see my point above..) annoying

Customizing your home screen.. Apple forces you to have every app on your phone screen. Sure you can stuff them in folders, but they have to be out there. There is no app drawer. With Android you can have a blank screen if you want, or fill it up with widgets. Some apps that you use once in a blue moon can hide in the app drawer, no problem.

No free wifi hotspot on iPhone. Have an unlimited data plan and want to use FoxFi to tether? Nope, not on iPhone. Now this probably doesn’t apply to too many people now days, but the traditional tools to do this aren’t out there for iphone.. Maybe if you jailbreak, but nothing special is required on Android. No more rooting, or hacking like many people think.

There’s a Facetime equivalent for Android… Don’t think that Facetime is the only solution. Google Duo offers a very similar experience for chatting with your friends. That’s if you don’t use one of the many other options, like Facebook video chat, Google Hangouts, Skype, etc.

No rapid charge or wireless charging for Apple phones.. Samsung really pioneered the wireless charging, but Google and Apple haven’t followed suit. The Pixel has fast charging, but the iPhone has neither fast or wireless charging. The wireless charging is super cool when you go to bed and can have your phone on the night stand. When you want to check your phone in the middle of the night you can just grab your phone and not worry about staying on your cable, or unplugging it and trying to find the slot again in the dark.

iOS backup is much better than Android.. When you get a new iPhone, it will download all your old apps, install them, and even have your passwords and settings saved in there. This comes from the authentication methods that iOS uses in apps. If developers are doing it right, this becomes possible. With Android, you can get your apps downloaded, but will spend hours going into each of them and logging in, setting up your notifications, etc. I didn’t realize iOS was this cool in this aspect, but it’s certainly a feature I appreciate very much with as much as I switch phones… Though since Apple has one phone at a time, I probably won’t switch near as much as Android.

No notification LED on iPhone.. This is a neat little feature I’ve always appreciated… Orange for text, green for chat, blue for email, etc.. Pretty nice way to know what’s up without having to turn on your device if you’re in a meeting, etc.

The other thngs… I will just list them out since I’ve already rattled on so much

  1. I can’t zoom in/out inside Facebook messenger on Android. On iPhone I can zoom in/out and change focus point in the app.. This is pretty neat.
  2. Apple has no option to quick launch the camera. Samsung and the new Google phone, you can launch with 2 clicks of a button. Trust me, you will appreciate the speed at which the camera opens on Android. It’s not as easy as you think to open the screen and swipe right, it’s easier to click twice.
  3. Apple pay and Android pay aren’t accepted everywhere. In fact, I’ve only used Samsung and Apple pay, not Android pay yet… So I can’t speak to how fast it is, but Apple is extremely quick.
  4. There’s no tornado emoji for Snapchat on Android. This is a LOL matter, but it’s just a random quirk I’ve found.

As for my phones I have (iPhone 7+ and Google Pixel XL), this blog was mainly an OS comparison, but here’s a few things I’m noticing.

  1. Both phones have great cameras. Read the tech blogs
  2. Both have lightning fast response to unlocking via fingerprint reader. iPhone is on the front home button, Google is on the back where your pointer finger naturally rests.
  3. iPhone is noticeably heavier.
  4. Pixel is not waterproof which I find to be incredibly dumb
  5. Pixel has a headphone jack

Well there you have it… As a reward for reading all that, check out this awesome live update wall paper with live satellite view on my Google Pixel XL!

android home screen

Brandon Sullivan

I am an entrepreneur, meteorologist and storm chaser. I travel and take captivating photos and videos across the world. If I'm not chasing, I'm at the gym. All opinions are my own and do not represent my employers or investments.

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