I wanted to write about my experience switching from an iPhone to Android. It all started late last year in 2017 when my iPhone 6 was very slow and the battery wasn’t holding up for very long. I had been an iOS user since the original iPod Touch that came out the same year as the first iPhone in 2007.
Would I be able to successfully make the switch? Would I miss iOS? After having my current Android smartphone for over 4 months now, here are my two cents.
With the release of the iPhone X and the high retail price, I wasn’t impressed with what Apple had brought to the table. Yes, I could have bought an iPhone 8, but I was ready for something new and the design had certainly worn out its welcome. The new iOS 11 at the time seemed very buggy and I absolutely hated it on my iPad, so I was still running iOS 10 on my iPhone.
After researching Android phones for several months, I found myself torn between a Huawei device or the OnePlus 5T. I ultimately ended up going for the OnePlus 5T due to getting top of the line specs for much less than I would have to pay for a flagship phone.
What I like about Android
People often said how superior the notification system on Android was compared to iOS. Well, they are right. I couldn’t believe how much nicer notifications are and how much you can tweak them.
For example, if you don’t want an app spamming you with notifications, you can toggle it to a lower priority so you see them when you check but they won’t pop up and waste your time and attention. Things like this are taken for granted and sorely missed by Android users that switch to the iPhone.
Google Play Store (Google’s App Store)
I have fallen in love with the way that Google handles its app store. I’m able to browse it on my phone or the web, which is huge for me. Apple always had a half-done sort of solution to looking at apps from non-iPhone devices. Yes you could access the app’s page, but there was no central place to search and browse the apps unless you went through the desktop version of iTunes which now doesn’t even include this feature in recent versions.
Let’s talk about the download speeds. I’m sure there are so many variables for this, but in my experience the speeds from the iOS App store have been slower than I would have liked. Despite having a fast internet connection and everything else downloading swiftly, app downloads and software updates always seemed sluggish.
Downloading apps from the Google Play Store is super fast for me. Maybe it’s Google’s massive servers all over the world including Japan that make this happen, but apps download super quick and I’m never standing around waiting. Could it be that iOS is more popular in Japan so the servers are more crowded? Whatever the case, I think Google has better speeds for its app ecosystem.
With iOS, you’re limited to what is available in the app store. If someone makes a cool app that conflicts with another company’s policies or Apple’s rules, you can’t get it because it’s not available in the App Store. Yes, there is jailbreaking, but that community is slowly declining due to it becoming harder and harder to find vulnerabilities in iOS. So you’re basically stuck with whatever Apple allows you to have on your device.
I’m able to get cool apps like emulators for retro games or cool niche projects that would otherwise be unavailable on iOS. I can download the apps and install them right on my device if I choose to, all without accessing Google’s Play Store.
When I was drinking the Apple kool-aid, I thought I was content with not having the ability to really customize my phone the way I wanted it. It wasn’t until I discovered the advanced range of customization of Android that I realized just how trapped I had been on iOS.
You can change just about anything on Android, from the icons to the actual home screen itself. I was really excited when I learned about the concept of “Launchers” which meant you could pick and choose how you wanted your home screen to operate.
Another big one is default apps. This is probably one of the biggest reasons I can’t deal with iOS anymore. With Android, you can choose which apps handle things for you. If I want to use a different alarm clock or web browser, I can choose that and the system will automatically hand off tasks to them instead of forcing me to use the unchangeable Apple default.
I also appreciate the fact that I can change animation speeds or simply turn them off. iOS (and even macOS) feel very sluggish to me due to their animations, even with them turned down to a minimum.
The Variety of Choice
With Apple, you have only Apple to deal with. Whatever they make, that’s all you have to choose from. With Android, there are so many different companies and price points you can choose from. US consumers are used to buying expensive flagship phones, but these days, mid range phones would fit the bill for the average smartphone user. (If you take offense to this, then you’re probably not average!)
What I don’t like about Android
Okay, so we’ve covered the things that I really like about Android, but what about the things that aren’t so nice on this side of the mobile OS fence?
Apple beats pretty much everyone in the industry here. When a new software update is ready, anyone using an Apple device released within the past 3-4 years can download and install it. Apple controls everything, which means it can get OS updates out and most of its users can be on the same page in terms of supported features.
With Android, updates are a complete mess. You are at the mercy of smartphone manufacturers and also carriers if you’ve gone that route. When Google releases a major update to Android, it takes a long time for companies to take that software and modify it for their devices, if at all.
If you’re the type of person that wants promised software updates to your OS, it may be worth getting a Google Pixel or a smartphone from another company that has a record of providing updates beyond what originally came on the device.
I don’t have experience with that many Android phones, but I get the impression that many companies have forgotten the importance of vibration motors. With my iPhone 6, the vibrating felt solid and I could tell when I was getting a phone call or a notification when it was in my pocket. With my OnePlus 5T, I never realize when my phone is vibrating when it’s in my pocket. Not a deal killer for me, but hopefully companies take notice and give this feature more attention in the future.
Bugs unique to certain companies’ phones
I ran into a particular annoying bug where my always listening “OK Google” key phrase to activate Google Assistant somehow caused other people to hear an echo when I talked with them on voice. Despite trying everything, I had to disable the OK Google feature so now when I want to use Google Assistant I have to manually open it up before I’m able to ask it a question.
This seems to be an issue with some OnePlus devices but probably not other companies’ phones. However, still an annoying bug.
Final Thoughts on Switching from iPhone to Android
Do I regret leaving iOS for Android? Not at all! Thanks to this switch, I’m able to appreciate both Apple and Google’s OSes. If anyone else is considering hopping the fence and trying out the other side, I say go for it.
How about you? Have you switched to a different smartphone? Let me know in the comments what struggles you faced or what features you learned to appreciate.