It was once an extremely heated debate between which was better iOS/iPhone or Android but of late it has simmered with people realising it does not really matter. People prefer what they prefer. What works for one person may not work for another. Both operating systems have their good and bad sides but these days there is not that much between them all.
The iPhone I used was the big daddy of them all, the iPhone 12 Pro Max, and big daddy is an understatement. The phone is massive, and I can see why a lot of people cannot use this one. It is as tall as the OPPO Find X3 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra but that is not the issue — it’s the width. To operate this one handed, for the average person, is damn near impossible. To reach up to the top left corner while operating one handed is not possible without moving the phone in your hand — I just realised why so many iPhone users seem to have broken displays…..
The rest of the hardware is decent and looks amazing. The square sides of the phone look great and very premium but unfortunately if you are not using a case this is extremely uncomfortable in the hand. Android premium phones nearly all have rounded rear edges so the phone sits comfortably in your phone. Most people put a case on their phone though so this is not an issue often encountered.
What I liked?
There is a lot to love about the iPhone though. The software setup experience was quick and easy — and that was coming from an Android device. I can imagine just how much easier it would have been if you were coming from an iPhone.
Face unlock works great, and I like the ability to add an alternate face– I did try the mask on face trick to be able to unlock the phone with mask on but it didn’t work. Without a mask though this face unlock is super fast and accurate — not as fast as that on an OPPO but a hell of a lot more secure.
Setting up every app was super quick though with the way it integrates your password manager app along with the Apple saved passwords into the operating system really good — so much better than Android. Android has improved a lot in this area but after using the iOS version I can see they still have a ways to go.
The single best thing about iOS though in my opinion is the new app tracking permissions for each and every app — and the granular control over each app individually is a great solution. Google is working on their own version of this but it seems that they will just have a single turn on or off for the entire device. Apple has it right and Google should look to it for inspiration.
I used to think it was weird the way Apple put all of the settings for every single app inside their own settings app (unlike Android which has them in each individual app) but now I think it’s perfect — especially when setting up the phone. Whenever you want to check something you know exactly where you need to go. Android, due to its fragmentation of course, is all over the shop with theirs. One day they may become as organised from one manufacturer to another as iOS, but they are not there yet.
What didn’t I like?
Some of you may disagree with some of these issues I had with iOS but as a long term Android user, being critical I am looking for ways where iOS could improve by copying Android. Things that make no sense to me with how they are in iOS.
- The back gesture — this is extremely inconsistent. As it was extremely difficult to reach the back arrow in all apps due to the size of the phone I had to rely on the back gesture within apps. Sometimes it didn’t work, sometimes it was non-existent — for example, in YouTube, if you are watching a video in landscape you can’t go back by swiping away the video or finding a back button.
- Keyboard — it’s great that SwiftKey has made it to iOS but it is still handicapped on iOS and I have no idea why. Is it because Apple doesn’t want another keyboard to be better than theirs? On Android SwiftKey has the ability to long press on all keys for a symbol, but on iOS only the full stop/comma has this ability. This makes typing annoying and something that could make every users’ experience better.
- Dimensions too wide – makes back arrow etc difficult to reach. The iPhone 12 Pro Max is a behemoth of a phone. The dimensions of it make it near impossible to use on a daily basis — and I’m used to big phones. The half a centimeter wider it is than the ultra-premium Android phones may not sound like much but on a daily use basis the frustration of that extra 5mm is noticeable and very annoying.
- Signing in for every single app store download is ridiculous. If I download an app I should not have to input my password/face unlock and double tap the power button each and every install. Android doesn’t require this and if you were able to unlock the phone you surely have permissions to install an app. Security is great but this goes too far.
- Home screen — this version of a home screen was outdated 10 years ago. I’m a fan of less is more and have a minimal setup on my phones, with it set up so I can easily see my wallpaper. The widgets are decent but the ability to alter and edit these widgets needs improvement — Android has much more flexibility with this, especially with aftermarket launchers (Nova Prime is my favourite).
- Not convinced of the split for the notification pull down — Android had that ages ago and got rid of it. It also makes it difficult at times to reach across to get to the notification rather than quick settings when using the bigger phone. You can throw one-handed operation out the window.
- Notification centre — double swipe to remove a notification is one too many.
- Face unlock as the only secure unlock method is not great during a pandemic — I’ve worn a mask for 8 hours a day for well over a year now and it was a pain to have to input my code every time to unlock the phone while wearing the mask.
- Apple CarPlay — it’s decent but like iOS itself it could really do with a redesign and a refresh. It looks old and outdated with many of the UX design decisions baffling.
Conclusion — would I make the switch more permanently?
In the end there are too many issues I found with iOS to get me to use it more permanently. There is also that effort of relearning everything which would be a pain. In the end I like the choice of Android. I can choose from so many different phones and so many different manufacturers with so many different user interfaces.
Apple’s iOS is long overdue for a refresh and feels childish and effectively hasn’t changed much since its first inception. You know what they say about those who stand still? they go backwards. iPhones will work for so many people and they continue and will continue to do so but coming from Android to iOS I can’t imagine why anyone would do so. In saying that I can also see that if someone did want to switch it would not be too difficult — to switch either way. There are enough similarities between the two camps that the switch is easy.
If you have not used Android for the past 5 years then you have not used Android — especially manufacturer skins which have become less intrusive and less resource hungry. The same cannot be said for iOS from what I can see — it looks, feels and behaves like it has for a long time. One advantage of iPhones are the continual updates they receive for year and years — Google has been addressing that and will do so with Android 12 where all system update will effectively be done through the Play Store and not manufacturer dependent.
For me I’ll stick to Android thanks. I am embedded in their ecosystem entirely but after using the other half I feel happy with my decision. What about you? Have you tried both recently? Which do you prefer and why? Head on over to the EFTM Man Cave on Facebook and let us know.