Believe it or not but the choice between an iOS device and an Android device still matters.
Though it is true that if you take a Galaxy Note 8 and put it alongside iPhone X and then fire up both devices, you won’t notice much difference.
In fact, most people think that there isn’t much to actually choose between an iOS device and an Android device.
At least not anymore.
Both Android devices and iOS devices offer exactly the same apps.
They also present them in a similar looking grid.
Apart from that, both iOS and Android devices now make use of the same approach when it comes to notifications.
And also the quick settings menu.
The market has probably reached a stage where users are probably happy with their choice of device and/or mobile OS.
More likely than not, they would stick with their choice for a considerable period of time.
The iOS platform and the Android platform have indeed borrowed quite a lot of things from each other.
But that doesn’t mean you have no reason to even think about a switch.
Yes, we do mean that there are still some significant differences between the two operating systems.
And that means, the choice between the two is still meaningful.
Both have some similar features and some distinct ones.
As mentioned before, both have tried to borrow the best of each other in terms of features over the last many years.
Hence, most of the differences are rather superficial.
Others aren’t that great.
Or not great anymore.
Afterall, users do get to experience widgets on the iOS platform of all places.
Users who take the pain and dig a little deeper will come to know something different though.
Basically, Apple’s iOS mobile platform still has three major differences when compared to Google’s Android platform.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at those differences.
And then some more.
Our aim is to make you realize that the user’s choice of a smartphone operating system still has meaning.
And it still matters.
This is what all mobile users need to know about their mobile operating systems and the key differences between the two most popular mobile operating systems.
The Android Platform or The iOS: Privacy
If we are talking just about the last couple of years, then for sure Apple has made a tremendous effort to at least talk up issues such as user privacy.
Not only that, the company has also ensured how to best explain the advantages of user privacy that their mobile operating system platform, the iOS, affords to its users.
When it comes to user privacy, we have to talk about data.
The thing about data in our case is that the less of it that goes (or the user sends) to the cloud, the more security it has when the user stores it locally on his/her device.
According to Apple, the company has no interest in collecting a large amount of data on each of its users.
Hence, Apple basically wants mobile users to think that when they sign up with an iOS device, they are basically securing their privacy.
Now, just because Apple says it is not interested in much user data doesn’t mean it doesn’t want any user data.
The data that Apple receives includes information about the user map locations along with search queries.
Apple aggregates this data.
And then the company anonymizes it.
Now here is the twist.
If the user has enabled the Find My iPhone feature then Apple does not anonymize that data.
And that makes sense as well.
Apple basically needs to know who the user is and where is the user’s smartphone located so that it can proceed to help the user reunite with his/her smartphone device.
Apple works in a very different way than Google.
Google is a company that loves to suck up data.
And because it loves data, it tries to collect as much as it can.
Most of that data is basically personal user information.
Google uses that personal information to provide its users more personal services.
In other words, in order for Google to create all those personal services, it must consume data.
Lots of data.
And because it collects so much data, it is safe to assume that Google sees a lot of specifics about any of its users.
Of course, there are more than just two companies who manufacture smartphone devices.
Apart from Google and Apple, there is Samsung.
And let’s not forget LG.
Hence, if you own a device that comes from a Samsung or an LG factory, then go read the policy of that specific company on user privacy.
Now, user privacy is a subject that raises a lot of other related questions.
How much data do these technology and manufacturing companies collect?
How exactly do they connect that data with the user personally?
Although these are legitimate questions, they are slightly different and probably relate to separate question than asking how do these manufacturing and technology companies use data.
Now, on that note, Google would simply say that the company makes use of all the data that it collects in a very helpful and responsible way.
Perhaps that is true.
But that statement is something that a user may or may not want to believe.
It is certainly a good idea to not take what these technology companies say at face value.
Of course, users are free to accept Google’s official statements as much as they like.
The company mentions that it collects information in order to provide users with better services.
And the company does that for all its customers.
Using that data, the company can figure out the essential stuff such as the language the user speaks.
Data also helps companies such as Google to accomplish more complex tasks such as the type of ads a user would find most useful or helpful.
Or the number and identity of people who matter most to the user while the user is online.
Moreover, data also facilitates companies such as Google to know which YouTube videos the user is more likely to click on and then watch at the same time.
In other words, Google knows the user better than the user knows himself/herself.
The better Google knows the user, the more help its Google AI Assistant can provide to the user.
With more data, the Google Assistant can know more precisely what the user would need.
Using that data, Google Assistant can also make suggestions to help a user in his/her Google search.
What that means is that the more data Google has on you, the more relevant search results it will show you.
The Android Platform or The iOS: So is that worth your privacy?
That’s a decision that each user will have to make himself/herself.
Of course, some would feel that trading privacy off with more personal services is totally worth it.
And perhaps it is.
But in the end, the decision lies with the user.
Not any technology company or any service.
There is little doubt about the fact that Apple has less interest in profiling its customers or users.
Moreover, Apple doesn’t really thrive on serving up relevant advertisements to its users either.
Apple, as a company, is more interested in doing ethical business.
And by ethical business, we mean that the company likes to make a stand for issues such as user privacy.
It is not like Google is evil for anything.
Google has done a ton of good not just for internet users, but for mankind in general.
Although that good has come at a cost.
Google itself admits that the company collects a lot more data than other technology companies.
But it also makes a promise.
That promise comprises of Google showing great care in how it uses customer data.
If the user trusts these tech giants then that is where the ultimate decision.
The Android Platform or The iOS: Compatibility
Apple’s approach as a technology company is pretty clear by now.
The company wants all of its users to run Apple software and hardware.
And it also wants them to NOT use anything else.
Apple can half-heartedly support its software applications for other platforms all it wants.
It could continue to support iTunes for Windows and/or Apple Music for the Android platform, but the fact remains the same:
The company wants its users to stay in its ecosystem of application.
While we’re talking about how Apple wants to tie its users into its own ecosystem, perhaps this is a good time to talk about the HomePod.
It is just the latest example of Apple’s approach to tieing up users.
The interesting thing that users may not know about The HomePod is that it doesn’t offer any support for services such as Spotify.
Users can only support Spotify on the HomePod if they use Airplay.
And yes, no support for the Android platform either.
But that is nothing new.
Apple has always conducted its business this way.
The iOS is a fantastic operating system.
Especially if the user feels great about the way Apple handles its business.
Why is that?
Because the user doesn’t have a whole lot of options otherwise.
Apple’s iOS doesn’t come with any custom launchers.
So users can’t reskin the operating system on Apple devices.
Of course, customization represents an entirely different and separate issue.
That is the reason why we will talk about this issue in our next session where we’ll discuss apps.
We have already alluded to this before but now we would like to really talk about the ecosystems of both Android and iOS platforms.
We’ll talk less about the platforms themselves in this section.
The thing users need to understand about iOS specifically is that when they start to invest in the company in the form of an Apple device, and then buy other devices such as HomePods and maybe iCloud or Apple TV, they are basically tying themselves up.
Into the company’s ecosystem.
Once a user has bought into that ecosystem, the user can’t really get out.
Or can’t do so easily.
Google is a bit different.
Once you sign up with Google you can use the company’s online services such as,
- Google Photos
- Cloud Storage
The thing that is different here is that Google allows users to jump between mobile platform rather easily.
Or let’s say, more easily than Apple devices.
You can use Google services in their premium condition on all major platforms including,
- Chrome OS
Since we’re exclusively going to talk about the iOS and the Android platform, it is perhaps fair that we compare them a little more.
Let’s compare the actual process if someone wants to switch from the Android platform to the iOS platform.
Users usually do that with the help of a Google account.
What does that involve?
Nothing difficult really.
All that the user needs to do is download a few Google apps.
And then sign into them.
Compare that with if the user wants to follow a process that allows the user to go in the other direction.
That is, if a user wants to migrate to another platform with the help of an Apple account.
Apple account allows users to transfer their calendars and email stuff to the Android platform.
But the Apple account does not support other services on the Android platform.
Other services such as,
- Your Apple Photos
- iCloud services
- iTunes movies
Now that we have mentioned that, it is also true that iPhones have become very popular.
And that means something to manufacturers.
In other words, Apple has now forced them to offer some kind of support for their iOS devices.
As far as the end user is concerned, the number of choices of compatible devices, in reality, gets bigger instead of getting smaller.
If a user picks iOS as his/her primary mobile operating system then the user can also choose an Android Wear device.
Or an Apple Watch.
You read that right.
With an iOS device, the user is free to choose his/her next smartwatch from any manufacturer.
Then, with an iOS device, users can just beam content to another Apple device such as the Apple TV.
Users can do the same with other devices such as Chromecast.
Apple iOS users can also send their favorite audio files to their HomePod device.
It even supports Amazon Echo.
Compare that to someone who has an Android device.
Android users can’t consider any of the Apple-made devices as workable options.
As mentioned earlier as well, this section will only discuss Google’s and Apple’s apps.
And their services, rather than the Android and iOS platforms themselves.
The point that we’re trying to make here is that users who are on the iOS platform for a long time but still have that inkling to jump the fence and switch to Android should definitely adopt some good ideas.
Good ideas such as using a Google account for their services and apps.
And when that day does come, you’ll thank us for recommending a Google account instead of an Apple account.
The other thing both Android and iOS users can do is to just stick to applications which are neutral in nature.
Okay, so which apps are those?
We’re talking about apps such as Spotify and Netflix.
These are apps which don’t really care which mobile operating system the user is running at the time of signing-up.
If you do that, you’ll gain a number of benefits.
Let’s discuss one specific benefit here.
If you stick to neutral apps then that would mean if you ever get a chance to live in a house with a MacBook, a HomeKit and an Apple TV along with a compatible light system then your life will go much more smoothly than others thanks to the earlier choice you made to go with neutral apps and of course an iPhone device.
Remember, choosing between the Android and iOS isn’t just about which operating system is more secure.
It is about the user’s choice of other services.
Services such as cloud storage and email.
Of course, the users’ secondary gadgetry also count.
Both of these combine to go a long way towards the user’s preference of one operating system over the other.
The Android Platform or The iOS: Security
The case for iOS vs Android in terms of security is pretty similar to the case of macOS vs Windows.
In other words, the security outlook between the two stacks heavily in the favor of Apple.
But that may not entirely be Android’s fault.
Or Apple’s genius.
The simple fact is, as much as Apple has increased its market share, the vast number of mobile users still go with Android devices.
And because there are more Android devices in the market, there are more hackers interested in targeting Android users.
In turn, that results in more malware which aims to destroy Android devices.
Now, onto the part where we think Apple is simply better because it has put in more work to secure its devices than Android.
Android allows more malware to get through than Apple.
Moreover, Apple rolls out its security updates much quicker than Android.
Perhaps the reason for the slower rollout of security updates is that when it comes to an Android phone, you’re dealing with two partners.
One is Google’s hardware partner.
And the other is Google itself that provides the OS capabilities.
With that said, users should realize that iPhones aren’t really invulnerable to malware.
Or to all the other types of hacking attempts.
They are simply more secure than Android devices.
Apple has locked down its devices more tightly than Google.
When it comes to Apple devices, users generally don’t have to worry about issues such as security updates and such.
That comes with the downside of fewer apps.
And more restrictions on what these apps can and can’t do.
You’ll have to read the next section in order to read more about this issue.
But because Apple has locked down its devices with more care and thought, this also means that malicious apps have less of an opportunity to take control of the user’s smartphone device.
Hackers have a much higher success rate with Android than they have with the Apple platform.
Apple is great when it comes to security.
That shouldn’t mean Google is a slouch.
Just as in the case if Windows, the Android platform is slightly away from being a complete car crash.
That is, if we are only talking about security issues.
Users can usually take care of their devices by following simple common sense guidelines.
Guidelines such as to never buy anything from a vendor who is not reputable.
Other tips include to never download an app that isn’t present in Google Play Store.
Again, if the user applies enough common sense, the user will definitely have a greater chance of having a secure device.
On that note, perhaps it is fair to that Android users would do well to rely on more than just common sense.
Why do we say that?
Because, there are malware codes out there in the wild that can wipe out your device off the face of the planet we know as The Internet.
When it comes to numbers, Android users aren’t exactly sitting pretty.
As indicated earlier, malware authors have certain tendencies.
Tendencies which lead them to an inclination to target Android, Google’s operating system, on a regular basis.
The other reason is that these malware authors have to jump through fewer hoops when they are dealing with the Android platform.
Add to that the fact that when it comes to Android, they do have more number of devices to target.
And then attack.
Then there is the fact that the more number of devices usually means that more devices are actually running outdated editions and versions of the operating itself and most software.
If there is one thing that hackers love, then it’s security vulnerabilities.
And outdated software versions, which are more common on the Android platform, offer plenty of them.
Google has tried to combat this though.
Now, the company has installed systems which automatically scan apps that are present in Google Play Store app.
These newer systems in place look for any suspicious activity within apps that are available on Google Play Store.
If they find something then they flag that app.
And then stop it.
When the end of 2016 came around, Google announced that the company had reduced the percentage of Android devices that only used Google Play Store apps and had potentially harmful apps on them to just 0.05 percent.
Needless to say, that was an improvement on the company’s percentage of affected Android devices the year before that.
However, the fact remains that even a percentage of 0.05 is a bit too much.
The only positive thing that we can continue to remind ourselves is that the Android platform is improving.
And it is improving fast.
But even with all that effort, iOS firmly remains country miles ahead of the Android platform when it comes to App security.
If an iOS developer wants to write an App for the iOS platform then Apple has to first approve it specifically.
The company also has to sign the app off.
That makes it fairly difficult for anyone to just come in and take control of any given Apple device.
Apple devices still have to deal with occasional security bugs though.
And Apple does have to deal with them by squashing them on the iOS platform.
But the good thing here is that Apple is very swift about it.
The company deals with bad apps rather swiftly.
Security wise, Apple has all the aces.
It is an easy win for Apple over Android, in other words.
As mentioned previously, Google is doing everything it can to improve the security of its mobile operating system.
But iOS has the better security overall.
Of course, that will not stop users from plumping for the Google (or Android) option.
For those users, we would recommend that they should think about installing a secure and reputable malware scanner on their Android device.
The malware scanner will ensure that the Android users remain on the safe side.
The Android Platform or The iOS: Apps
This is where the Android platform truly shines.
In other words, apps on the Android platform still have a mentionable edge over apps on the iOS platform in terms of how deep these apps can cut the mobile operating system with their claws.
That could be for better or worse depending on how one looks at it.
Perhaps it is for this reason alone that the iPhone doesn’t allow users to change their default SMS application.
The iPhone also prohibits the user to record any call on the iPhone itself.
Moreover, iOS devices don’t allow users to open any given link in an email in any other web browser other than the Apple Safari.
The iPhone also makes it difficult for users to change the wallpaper and icon theme.
We say difficult, and not impossible, because users can change those.
But they’ll have to deal with more than a couple of taps (as is the case in Android) to do so.
We have already mentioned the various launcher apps in our last section of this guide.
Admittedly, there aren’t a whole lot of people who want to make the effort to reskin the original look of their iOS smartphone devices.
Most are happy with the default interface.
Those who want to change the look of their iOS interface pixel for pixel are even less.
And more often than not, these people migrate to the Android platform.
The Android platform is the place one should be if customization is high on the list of priorities.
The same holds true for users who want to customize their lock screen.
Want to rearrange the icons on your home screen in any other arrangement other than a pixel-perfect grid?
Well, then you’ll have to go for the Android platform.
When most technology sites review apps which help users to track their app usage, most of the times they have to include Android apps in most positions of their list.
The reason for that is simple.
Android apps have the capability to access that kind of deep information.
The apps that we are talking about here specifically are the ones which measure what apps the user is making use for and for how long a period the user is using them for.
Apps which are available on the iOS platform can’t do that sort of a thing.
There are lots of other apps that the iOS platform bans for security reasons.
Apps which help users to measure and report detailed analytics from their Wi-Fi connections also don’t work with iOS devices.
Then there are those apps such as Tasker.
These apps facilitate users to automate different kinds of low-level functions of the user’s mobile operating system.
The iOS prohibits such apps.
You might have heard about another app called If This Then That, or IFTTT.
Users can start this app to make a kind of an applet for their Android device.
Then users can set,
- an SMS
- a phone call
- a particular connection to a given Wi-Fi network
- the device’s battery level
- a connection to the any Bluetooth device’s
as a special trigger of sorts.
This is how complex this app is.
Sadly, iOS users can’t avail such apps.
Because the iOS operating system simply does not have the necessary hooks into the actual operating system which the app requires.
We know that the vast majority of mobile users simply would refuse to give a second thought to using or not using such kinds of functions or applications.
Regardless, it is something that all mobile users should keep in mind.
Apple takes pride in making sure that people can just buy an iOS device and then get to work.
And that’s what any iOS device does.
It just works.
This is what the iOS platform excels at.
Apple prefers to take the approach of stricter policies on what iOS apps can and can’t do.
In return, the company offers users a slicker, more secure and more stable mobile experience.
Users who can’t decide which platform to go with, should take rest knowing the fact that almost all apps of note support both iOS and Android platforms.
Although, the newest games and apps still typically launch on the iOS platform than they do on the Android platform.
That part will probably remain true for a considerable period of time ahead.
The one current and relevant example that immediately springs to mind is that of Alto’s Odyssey.
It will become available on the iPhone platform on February 22.
While that is great for iOS users, the developers of the app have not even confirmed a data for a similar official Android launch.
Of course, there is no questioning the fact that it will launch on the Android platform eventually.
Don’t get us wrong, Android-first official launches also take place from time to time.
But these Android-first announcements usually come in the form of smaller and lesser-known apps that have independent developers behind them.
The Android Platform or The iOS: More Subtle Differences
Now, we have tried our best to list out the major differences between the Android platform and the iOS platform.
Some would say that we deliberately left out some other “key” differences and hence ended up making the whole article sound a bit too pro-Apple.
Of course, that was not our intention.
Here are some other minor differences which may or may not be relevant for some users.
The Android Platform or The iOS: Operating System Updates
All, or almost all, iPhone devices receive updates as soon as the company releases them.
It is another fact that Apple has traditionally only supported iPhones which are less than three years old.
But even if you have an iPhone device that is way past its release date, you will still receive updates.
You may not get all the new features that come with the official update, but you will get AN update.
Compare that with major Android manufacturers.
Even though they have improved a lot in the lt couple of years with rolling out security patches as soon as possible, they still lag behind Apple.
Generally speaking, the Android operating system takes around three to six months to lands its latest version on any given Android device that hasn’t been made by Google.
Okay, that doesn’t sound too bad.
Unless you have a cheaper Android device.
Older and cheaper Android devices mostly get a single major update throughout their working cycle.
Just one update, for the whole of their lives.
The Android Platform or The iOS: Default Apps
Yes, we know.
We have already mentioned these.
But now is the time to put some more meat on those bones.
What we mean to say is that the iOS platform doesn’t allow users to change their default apps.
There aren’t many iPhone users who would want to change their default SMS app.
Let’s be honest here.
The iPhone SMS app, iMessage, is perhaps iPhone’s biggest selling point.
The problem arises when a user wants to use third-party apps for their email tasks.
No options to use another Map service either.
You can’t use Chrome as your default browser.
Spotify is out as well.
That is a huge problem.
Especially if you consider the number of people who use Gmail as their only and primary email service.
The Android Platform or The iOS: Device Flexibility
If you go to the market right now for a budget Android smartphone, you could easily get one for under $200.
The Android market will throw at you devices with virtually any given screen size.
You can buy devices with different formats that fulfill your requirements down to a tee.
Moreover, there are more than a dozen Android-manufacturers in the market.
Now, when it comes to the iPhone, you will have to work a lot (and probably for a lot of days) to find an Apple smartphone that costs less than $400.
And that $400 iPhone will not have the necessary updates that the company may have released since its launch month.
Users who have money to burn can also go for a $700 Android smartphone in today’s market.
If something breaks, the user can still replace it with a cheaper one that may cost around $200.
Android users can also go the other way and buy a cheap smartphone in the beginning and then gradually move upwards to high-end smartphones.
Apple doesn’t give users that much flexibility.
The Android Platform or The iOS: AI Assistants
Google Assistant has more capabilities than Siri on most counts.
Homepod has come into the game as well.
But Google has put in too many resources at this point and is too far ahead.
Additionally, some Google Android smartphones ship with Alexa as a built-in feature.
Alexa is a category-leading AI assistant at the moment.
The Android Platform or The iOS: Multi-Device Support and Integration
Users who have taken the plunge and gone all in with the iOS platform should know that their services will have no problems in working with each other seamlessly.
Some users answer more phone calls via their MacBook than they do with their smartphone service.
Apple allows users to pipe their messages directly to their laptop or even an iPad.
And of course, vice versa.
Rumors have it that Android is working on a similar feature a well.
But the point is, Android doesn’t have it.
There are some third-party solutions for the Android platform but they aren’t efficient.
And while users can come up with their own reasons for why the Android or the iOS smartphones are better, the fact is, both have managed to strike a rough parity between each other.
You can’t say the same for Android tablets though.
For, Android tablets have never even looked like approaching the success levels of the iPad.
But maybe you haven’t paid much attention to devices such as iPhone SE.
One look at the iPhone resale market and one can see how bad the situation is.
If a user breaks his/her iPhone then there aren’t many options left in terms of cheap replacements.
Or at least replacements which are as cheap as that of Android’s.
The Android Platform or The iOS: Conclusion
There always come a time when Android users reach a specific crossroad in their smartphone life.
When that time comes, we want you to give it some thought and think about what life would be on the other side.
And while you’re considering that decision right now, know that there are many differences between iOS and Android platform in terms of the way they work.
We haven’t covered them all.
The important thing is to know that the iOS and Android platforms still have some major differences between them.
Maybe these differences are enough for you to switch.
Or maybe they aren’t significant for you.
In that case, you might just want to stick with your current mobile operating system.
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