When it comes to buying a new phone, more often than not, you have to face the dilemma of choosing between iOS and Android. When you’ve spent most of your Smartphone life on one platform, you may not know what the other platform has to offer.
The first iPhone appeared in June 2007 and the first Android phone, T-Mobile G1 was launched in October 2008. Since then, the two operating systems have changed considerably. We are currently on version 7 of Android and version 10 of iOS. The past nine years have seen these platforms get more similar in terms of the features they provide, the apps they support and the manner they handle notifications.
No doubt, Samsung, HTC, Sony and LG customize Android according to their own requirements and there is also the matter of fragmentation- only the Nexus devices of Google are guaranteed to be using the most recent and unadulterated version of Android. As compared to the users of Android 6, the users of iOS 9 are greater in number and the recent release of iOS 10 is slowly observing the surge in the number of users of the latest version too. This is something that Apple is proud of though Google always points out that its OS is more customizable and flexible.
When Google decided to spin its main apps out of Android, the OS remained solely of the settings screen and the app launcher. The iOS updates still include updates to Maps, Mail, Safari, News, Notes and the various other apps of the software.
Google offers its app developers and users greater flexibility when it comes to editing the manner in which OS works, whereas on iOS, you just have to adapt to the way Apple wishes to do things.
Considering the visual appeal, the material design of Android is more colorful and it provides a well designed visual interface as compared to iOS. The OS of Apple is all thin lines and translucent shades whereas Google’s OS has blocky card shapes and bold fonts and headings. Both the operating systems handle multitasking in similar ways and lately iOS has also added a back button of its own. Both offer mobile payments support, digital assistants, battery saving features, ability to back up your important data to the cloud automatically.
The app ecosystem
Both the platforms want their users to confine them in their respective ecosystems, but Apple is more serious about it. You cannot find support for Apple Mail or iCloud on Android, whereas all of the apps of Google are available on iPhones. Google has its focus on cloud whereas Apple prefers native apps and local devices. Apple offers no compromise. iPads and iPhones work great with the Apple TV and Macs, but it’s a hard luck to get your iTunes movies play on an Android TV box. Accessing your Google content on the web is easier and straightforward, though Apple now offers an iCloud web interface.
When every gadget you possess is made by Apple then iOS becomes an appealing option whether you are trying to switch between the same apps on multiple devices, get at your digital movies and music or effortlessly sync your data among tablets, computers and phones.
Native and third party apps
As discussed before, the apps of Google are now updated independently from Android. These apps are easily available on iOS, though the versions for the operating system of Google are generally somewhat superior. Attempting to compare all of these apps against the equivalent of Apple is not an easy job. It may be the case that you have become accustomed to using one set of apps or the other- Gmail vs. Mail, Google Maps vs. Apple Maps or Hangouts vs. iMessage- the features of these are pretty similar and thus, there is no clear winner.
As far as the third party app support is concerned, iOS has always been a winner; however this gap has narrowed down over the years. It is now uncommon to come across a major game or app that does not ultimately come to both iOS and Android. Experimental and new apps generally appear on iOS before making an appearance on Android. Owing to the fragmentation issue, it is easier for developers to code for iOS. When it comes to up and coming apps, Apple still has edge over Android.
Google Now vs. Siri
The greatest innovations in Smartphone development are likely to come in the intelligent digital assistants- Google Now and Siri. Both of them offer voice controlled access to your phone and smart prompts for travel and events when you require them. Conventionally, Google Now has been more about surfacing the appropriate information when you require it, though Apple has lately started to make Siri more proactive too. Google Now is accessible on iOS in limited form but Siri is limited to only iOS and Apple TV.
The apps also depict contrasting attitudes towards data privacy by the two companies- Google grabs as much data as it can about you across multiple services and platforms, thereby providing Google Now a better idea of what information you’ll require when. Siri is more private but more limited. Both Google Now and Siri are capable of searching the web, accessing supported mobile apps and finding information on your phone.
iOS 10 vs. Android 7.0 Nougat
Both the operating systems are pretty much similar to their predecessors. Therefore, updating from the previous version will be a familiar experience. There are multiple tweaks though and sufficient changes that can make the iPhone users unhappy about the features being removed entirely or moved around.
Below are the main changes made in iOS 10:
Highlights of the new features of Android 7.0:
In multiple respects, iOS and Android are pretty similar. Both of them are competent, refined and slick mobile operating systems. Each offers its unique features and advantages as well as weakness and frustrations. So, we cannot see a clear winner here. If you prefer choice and ability to customize things to your liking, you can go for Android. Moreover, the choice of hardware at a great range of prices easily beats the narrow range of iPhones and iPads. When it comes to Apple, you get software and hardware designed by the same company, optimized to work in synchronization with each other. It’s a curated and safe ecosystem that offers ease of use.