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This question continues to be the biggest unsettled tech debate to date.
For some, answering it would be as easy as saying iOS, of course! However, Android users would have their own valid reasons to support the device.
Not too long ago, the debate was valid. iPhones and Android phones used to differ greatly in terms of their design, performance, camera quality, and so forth. Back in the early days of smartphones, iPhones typically stood out (and still do).
However, today, it seems foolish to argue about the tangible features of the two. Both iPhones and Android offer comparably excellent designs and features and it all boils down to subjective preference.
The debate has now moved beyond the tangible features of the phones and onto the real differentiator – how well and for how long a company supports a phone model with software updates, protects it against security threats, and so forth.
There are numerous things that Android does better than iOS, but what iOS does better is a bit more significant: quality over quantity.
But it would be unfair not to mention where Android stands out. Let’s take a look at the areas where Android takes the lead.
Where Android Stands Out
It’s safe to say, the greatest advantage Android has over iOS, and the reason people opt for this platform comes down to one major aspect: ‘freedom’. It is about having limitless options and freedom of choice. While shopping for an Android device, shoppers have literally thousands of products to choose from. This allows each person to decide which hardware features are most important and must-have for them. Whether a person wants a bigger battery, a large display, sufficient storage, or a high-resolution camera, almost every Android customer can find a device with just the right combination of hardware features that best suits their needs.
Compared to iOS, customers have limited options to choose from and have to do with how Apple modifies its hardware, like removing the headphone jack or using a proprietary connector (as compared to Android’s peripheral compatibility).
Apple has tight control over how the software and hardware work together. Whereas, Android is an open-source platform and Google has offered Android software to numerous phone-makers like Samsung, LG, HTC, Oppo, and so on. This brings in diversity in terms of features, sizes, and quality.
Phones at Every Price
You get more flexibility on price too. Just like the diverse range of Android phones in terms of hardware features, there are Android phones at every price point to choose from. Premium-priced Android phones are about as good as iPhones. The high-end Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra will set you back nearly $1299. But you can pay far less and still opt for a perfectly serviceable Android phone.
On the other hand, iPhones are expensive. The most expensive iPhone currently is the iPhone 13 Pro Max, which would cost you around $1599.
Customizability, Smart Gestures, and Expanded Settings
Yes, Android is far more customizable than iOS. Talking about customization, it’s much easier to get a clean and uniform look on an Android than on an iPhone. A theme can be installed with a single click, and it typically changes everything from your wallpaper, to the lock screen, accent colors, and app icons.
Android 12 introduced an even quicker and more personalized way of customization. After choosing a wallpaper, you can also choose to make the UI elements automatically take on a set of complementary colors.
On the other hand, iOS always provides its users with very limited customization options. It was a big deal when iOS began allowing custom wallpapers in 2010, something Android has been doing since its very first release. This is why jailbreaking has become popular among iPhone users. You can also randomly place an app wherever you want on the screen on your Android phone but iOS doesn’t allow you to do so (which is annoying).
On the other hand, iOS always provides its users with very limited customization options. It was a big deal when iOS began allowing custom wallpapers in 2010, something Android has been doing since its very first release.
Moreover, volume buttons do more with less on an Android phone. One can turn the volume down, put the phone into vibrate mode, and then into silent mode, all using a single volume button. But in iOS, you’ll have to go through the trouble of first going to the settings, followed by sound settings, and then have the option of choosing vibrate mode.
Google Assistant Beats Siri
When it comes to Google Assistant vs Siri face-off, Google Assistant has a clear lead here. Google Assistant is the most powerful and terrific voice interface for Google search. A lot of our everyday tasks include the use of Google services. Say, your Google Calendar knows that you’re meeting a coworker for lunch at 3:00 pm and the traffic is terrible, Google Assistant will notify you to leave early – how cool!
Siri, on the other hand, may have stepped into the market before Google Assistant but is still pretty basic in terms of functionality. It does answer basic questions, but it’s really not much of an efficient AI assistant.
Don’t switch to Android just on the basis of AI assistant – Google Assistant is also available on iOS!
Where iOS Outshines Android
A Better UI and UX for sure
Despite the popular belief that Androids are user-friendly, the iOS interface is far better and easy to use. Dealing with arbitrary icon placement, and endless customization might not be for everyone. iPhone users enjoy the convenient and simple User Interface. Many people do not care about customization but want a device that works well, has a simple UI, and is easy to use.
Since iPhones haven’t really changed in terms of their layout, they are a good fit for people looking for the aforementioned features. Whether it’s an old user coming back to iOS or a new user switching from Android, the simple interface makes it easy for anyone to navigate through.
For a lot of people, the Ecosystem is probably a big reason for choosing iOS or keep coming back to it. Yes, Android has an ecosystem too. But unlike the Android ecosystem, the Apple ecosystem isn’t just about software. Rather, accessories such as the iPhones, Macbooks, iPads, Apple Watch, Airtags, Airpods, etc. are tightly integrated with iCloud, iMessage, Facetime, and other in-house services, creating a harmonious ecosystem.
Apple has designed numerous continuity features that let the user carry on work and data from one device to another. Think of Handoff, for instance, where your webpages on Safari and calls on your iPhone can move seamlessly between iOS and macOS. Another one worth mentioning is the Universal Clipboard, where copied text on one platform is also usable on the other.
With its faster and smoother performance, iOS generally performs better than Android and offers fewer hiccups and slow-downs. Now, this may seem ridiculous considering the internals of an iPhone.
Currently, the most powerful Apple smartphone is the iPhone 13 Pro Max, with 6GB RAM and a six-core CPU. In today’s Android smartphones, these specifications are considered mid-range.
But we tend to miss the point here. Performance doesn’t only come from these specs, but processing power as well. Apple’s processors are way better than Qualcomm’s.
Even if you disagree with the aforementioned fact, you can’t deny that iOS is optimized to work perfectly with the few devices that Apple makes. Whereas, Android powers gazillions of smartphones and tablets, where it’s up to the OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to optimize the software for hardware, and they don’t always do a flawless job.
Privacy and Security
It’s no secret that Google’s primary business model is built around collecting and selling user data to advertisers, which makes it safe to say Android smartphones aren’t the most secure devices.
But as compared to Google, Apple doesn’t have an advertising business and doesn’t ask for your personal information to sell you products and make money. Yes, Apple does collect and analyze user data to study behavior and improve its products. But it takes great pains to keep your data private and its devices secure.
Apple’s privacy and security controls continue to improve, allowing users to opt out of apps tracking them across all their devices. This is a major win for privacy advocates like Apple and a huge blowout to numerous third-party companies like Facebook.
With more consistent updates for all the devices, a closed ecosystem, and a stricter App store, attacking iOS users is not child’s play!
Unmatched Support and Resale Value
Apple has a clear lead in tech customer support. If you run into a hardware or software problem using an iOS device, or if your device is 2-3 years old and it’s time to replace its battery with a new one, getting support is easy. You can have remote support as well as book in-person appointments at any Apple Store, out of 272 stores in the US.
Along with years of software support, Apple also has a market advantage over its competitors. Apple devices have a much higher resale value than Android devices, and you can sell them for a good price if you decide to switch.
Say you have an iPhone 11 Pro Max that was launched in 2019 for $1099. You can now sell it for $400 to $600. This makes up 36% to 55% of its original price.
Today, iPhones and Androids are so similar but even now, when put head-to-head, iPhones still beat Android in long-term software support and maintenance options. iPhone users receive up to 5 to 6 years of software support from the date Apple last sold that particular model.
There is also a significant disparity between Android and iOS when we take optimization, user experience, and security into consideration.
So, which one would be the right fit for you? Generally, there seems to be no one-size-fits-all answer to this, and at the end of the day, it all depends on your budget constraints and personal preferences.
In my experience, Android VS iOS has always been a fun topic to discuss, especially given the recent scenario where both of the OS from a user experience are more similar than before.
Yet, it is the key features that differentiate Android and iOS from a user experience perspective. Adding to that, there are still major differences in optimizing an app for iOS or Android from a software development perspective.
Taking User Experience into consideration the biggest thing to put light on is Simplicity Vs Control. The difficulty arises when you attempt to do something that Apple categorizes as “not a user-friendly experience”— that is, you have limited control over many of the things that come out of the box, and you either hate them or love them.
On the other hand, we have Android, which has definitely improved in terms of simplicity and stability over the years, but still, oftentimes you will run into the issue of having 2 notes apps, 3 email apps, 4 browsers, and apparently, 5 apps telling you how to get a new theme for your device. The problem with having an open OS is that everyone is free to add whatever they want to it, and add is what they do, sometimes too extensively. From my point of view, you will see this problem plaguing budget devices, especially those that lead to our conclusion.
90% of the time what are you doing on a smartphone?
You are using an App.
You can forget which OS lets you customize, how many bells or whistles the hardware has, how many times your phone can fold, and how expensive or cheap it is if the apps on it simply don’t work.
The unfortunate truth is that in terms of software development, even with the Apple AppStore’s strict policies and slow review process, iOS is just a better platform in terms of stability, updates, and optimization. Having a locked-down ecosystem with a limited number of product variations to code for allows for more expected behavior. You simply cannot have that with Android because of the scale of its install base. It is true, however, that Android is more open to what kinds of apps you can publish and how you get paid. Perhaps a conversation for another time. For now, iOS seems to be winning every day, principally in the premium category of smart devices, since Android has nothing to offer that performs as well at that level.
Product Owner, CitrusBits
As a leading custom software development company, CitrusBits is adept at creating iOS and Android apps from scratch or optimizing existing apps to create a stunning user experience. Keeping up with the latest mobile trends from Apple and Google, we have a history of employing cutting-edge techniques to ensure our clients’ satisfaction. Having built mission-critical Android and iOS apps like Burger King, Harman, and Erupt, CitrusBits has the teams and expertise to help you elevate your mobile application.
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