Android vs. iPhone (iOS): What’s the difference? Which is better?

When purchasing a phone, we typically recommend staying on the same platform that your current phone uses. At the very least, switching involves learning the quirks of a new interface and the possibility of losing access to purchased apps, data from specific apps, or even data and photo services.1 But if you are considering changing, we have some ideas to share about the real differences between iOS and Android, drawn from thousands of hours of smartphone use with both platforms.

The investigation

Why we like iOS

Where is Android better

Should you switch?

Why we like iOS

Rapid software updates for many years The biggest advantage iOS has over Android is its software updates: Apple typically supports new iPhones and iPads with iOS updates for up to five to six years after their release date, and all of those devices get the same updates at the same time. You get new apps and features, support for new image and video formats, and security protocols and patches for both online security threats and vulnerabilities that could allow someone to get your phone data. Older compatible devices may not support every feature in the latest version, but they still take advantage of most functional enhancements and all security updates for the life of the hardware. Among Android phones,Android One guarantees early updates, and even then, only for two or three years from the device’s launch date.

Long-term value: By supporting Apple iOS devices for a relatively long time, you can give them to your friends or family without worrying about app compatibility or security threats. Similarly, they typically have a higher resale value than Android devices, so you can sell them for more, or get a more advantageous trade-in, when it’s time to upgrade to a better model.

Most iOS apps look great on both mobile and tablet, and iPhones and iPads get updates much faster and more frequently than Android devices. Photo: Michael Hession

Reliable support: Another great point in Apple’s favor is its strong customer support. If you have a hardware or software problem, or if your device is two or three years old and it’s time to replace its battery with a new one, it’s easy to get help. The company offers a dedicated support app and website with a variety of remote options, or you can book an appointment in person at any Apple store (although it may take some time if the Genius Bar is saturated, and repairs can be expensive if your equipment is out of warranty or if you did not purchase an AppleCare + protection plan).

The great advantage of iOS over Android is its fast software updates for five or six years; even the best Android phones have a couple of years of updates, and few benefit from these updates quickly.

Better selection of applications: The selection of apps in the Apple App Store is also slightly better than that of Google’s Google Play Store, although the difference between the two is narrower than ever. Apps and games often come to iOS sooner, because app developers often make money there. In addition, iOS has a broader collection of “professional” apps for creating and editing images, videos, and audio. These apps are also often optimized for the iPhone and the larger screen of the iPad, while many Android tablet apps look like stretched versions of mobile apps.

Better security and privacy: All software companies, including Apple , sometimes make big headlines for security flaws, and it is difficult by nature to maintain privacy when you carry an Internet-connected device with you that can always locate where you are . But compared to Google, Apple has a harder time keeping its devices safe and data private.. Having quick updates provided directly by Apple without interference from your phone provider means that when a serious security problem appears, you can have a solution as soon as it is available. Apple services such as iMessage, FaceTime and iCloud make extensive use of encryption systems to protect the data that goes to and from your mobile and the data stored on Apple’s servers.

Although Apple collects and analyzes user data to study their behavior and improve their products, the company anonymizes this data so that trends can be identified among everyone who uses its products without being able to see how each person uses their phone individually. By contrast, a report by Vanderbilt engineering professor Douglas Schmidt and commissioned by the Digital Context Now trade group shows that Android collects vast amounts of data on browsing habits, location, and app usage regardless of whether you’re using or not actively the phone (or Google apps).

Where is Android better

We like a lot of things about iOS, but it’s not the best option for everyone. There are good Android phones available in more shapes and sizes than iPhones, and although the best ones cost about the same as an iPhone, you can also buy some good ones for less than 300 euros. The Android platform has (and has always had) a problem with consistency and immediacy of software and with security updates, but it is also more versatile and customizable.

More hardware diversity: Android’s biggest advantage is actually its hardware, not its software. Although we recommend fast and well-balanced models in our guide to the best Android phones, Android is available with a wide variety of hardware, including options for those who want larger screens and compatible with touch pens, a fantastic battery life or even a keyboard. physical. And if your favorite mobile manufacturer removes a feature you like, like the headphone jack or fingerprint sensor from their latest model, you can always find what you need elsewhere. With iOS, Apple’s options are the only ones available.

Mobile at prices for everyone: You also have more flexibility in price. A top-of-the-range iPhone costs more than 1,000 euros, and even the least expensive iPhone that can be considered a good buy in a given year typically costs more than 500 euros. A high-end Android phone from Google or Samsung is equally expensive, but there are some cheap Android models (including some that will still have immediate software updates) available for less than $ 300, and you can even get a decent one for less than $ 200.

Android hardware comes in all shapes and sizes: the Samsung Galaxy Noe 9, for example, is a huge pen-sized phone.

More customization options: If you like the freedom to customize your computer, tablet and mobile according to your needs, iOS may not be flexible enough. You can change the text size of an iPhone, rearrange the icons on the home screen, install third-party keyboards, and add different widgets in the Notification Center and Control Center, but all Apple devices still work the same way. and looking very similar. Android offers similar customization options, but also widgets that can be placed directly on the home screen and even the option to totally replace this screen with a series of flexible and customizable application shortcuts. Android also allows you to choose your own default applications to browse, check email and do other things, if you prefer not to use the Google apps that are incorporated. iOS also offers some solutions for this, but you cannot configure that all apps open their links in Chrome instead of Safari.

With Android phones, you can usually find the hardware you need; With iOS devices, Apple’s options are the only ones available.

More storage options: While you can’t increase the internal storage of an iPhone (you will always keep what you buy), many Android phones have a microSD card slot that allows you to increase the amount of internal storage available for apps, photos and videos, and you can use Google Drive to store everything from photos to documents. Apple’s iCloud service can also be used to store photos and videos, and iOS offers other possibilities (like deleting little-used apps and games without losing your saved data) to save space. But you still can’t add more local storage space on an iPhone, and the free Google Drive plan gives you 15GB of cloud storage compared to Apple’s 5GB.

Should you change?

If there are aspects of your current mobile that frustrate you, or if the most recent models of your mobile do not offer functionalities that you want, you may be tempted to change the operating system. However, we do not generally recommend doing this. When you have used a mobile for a couple of years, you have spent a lot of time learning its peculiarities, and you have probably invested a good amount of money in apps, games, music or videos, which you would have to buy again if you change.

That said, going from Android to iOS is a bit easier than the other way around, because you won’t have to transfer most of your stuff if you don’t want to. Google makes versions of its most popular apps (such as Chrome, Gmail, Photos, Maps, Drive, and Google Play Books, Movies, and Music, for iOS, which helps make the transition easier. And Apple’s Move to iOS app can guide you through the process of transferring the rest of your stuff. But the same is not the case when you switch from iOS. Apple Music aside, Apple makes it difficult and in some cases impossible to use iCloud services or access your multimedia content on devices that They are not Apple.

Those same Google services also help facilitate the transition from iOS to Android, although the process really involves moving your things from your device (and from the Apple cloud) to the Google cloud. Google recommendsthe use of the backup function of the Google Drive app for iOS to copy your contacts, calendar events and photos from your phone to the Google apps. By doing this, you will lose any non-Apple Music media files, notes, notices, and other data stored in iCloud. You also won’t be able to communicate with iOS users using iMessage or FaceTime, which can be a big stumbling block if you have a lot of friends or family who use iPhone. For now, the most popular apps and games are available on both iOS and Android (although you may have to buy them again when making the switch), but there are more specialized apps, such as audio, video and image editors, which probably only are on iOS.

If you have trouble sending or receiving texts from your Android phone after the change, it may be related to iMessage; Remember to reset your iPhone to factory settings to disconnect from all Apple services, or use this page to manually unregister your number.

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