Yep, we’re wading into this debate! On the heels of our new iOS 11 End-User Essentials course, we highlighted five ways iOS still runs circles around its chief competitor. With Apple in a bit of hot water lately over intentionally slowing down iPhones, their mobile operating system could use a bit of love and support. No matter which side you’re on, you’re going to find our list thought-provoking, read on!
Android’s update policy makes them vulnerable
Apple updates iOS regularly, sometimes as often as every month. Whether with new features, bug fixes, or plugging security holes, Apple updates iOS to make it better and more secure. Because they control the hardware, OS, and the update mechanism via the App Store, updates and new releases end up on your device quickly. This is especially important for security, where big issues must be remediated quickly.
Android, on the other hand, is not quick. The problem is the fragmented ecosystem. Google controls the OS, and that’s it (which also has its advantages). They’re constantly improving with new features and fixes, but Android owners everywhere are at the mercy of their hardware’s manufacturer. Each maker’s devices are unique, so they have to tweak and test and finagle to make sure updates don’t break your device.
Here’s another thing. Android has a live and let live policy on updates, which means that devices are often months behind on security updates. Less than 1 percent of Android devices are currently running Oreo (the latest version of Android) and fewer than 20 percent run Nougat (the second most recent), which leaves a lot of mobile devices vulnerable.
One exception is Google’s own Nexus and Pixel devices, they get updates immediately from the mothership. Give the Big G some credit, but Apple clearly wins.
iOS often has stronger app quality
It’s debatable, but the consensus seems to be that iOS gets better third-party apps. Either the iOS app comes out before Android, or once they’re both out the iOS one is way better, or there’s just never an Android version. A lot of this has to do with the folks writing those apps. Quoteth one dev: “The very simple short answer is it’s easier to make a good-looking, attractive iOS app compared to making an Android app.”
The dev tools are more favored, the hardware is more consistent, and it’s easier to write good lean code. Apple only wants to drive this forward with even more robust dev tools by recently acquiring startup Buddybuild. Apple also tweaked the App Store profit-sharing structure recently in favor of devs.
iOS is encrypted out of the box
iOS devices are encrypted as soon as you set them up, something that couldn’t be more and more significant as data privacy issues run rampant. This is also important considering BYOD (bring your own device) is getting more and more popular.
With Android, some devices are encrypted by default, but most aren’t. You have to dig through the settings to find the box to turn it on. We credit Apple with pushing an expectation of strong user privacy.
Android often comes with uninstallable service provider apps
If you buy a new Android phone from Verizon or T-Mobile or whoever, on first boot you’re bound to be greeted by some bloatware, pre-installed by your provider. Usually, these apps are 1) terrible, 2) difficult if not impossible to uninstall, and 3) terrible. The device manufacturers are sometimes to blame as well, we’re looking at you Samsung.
Apple? Well, they’re not totally innocent because the default apps aren’t exactly easy to remove either, but at least they’re waaaay better than this junk. Except for that one U2 song that plagues millions.
iPhone is simply easier to use, but not as customizable
This one might get controversial but stick with us. While Android is highly customizable, iOS… isn’t. And this is an intentional move, not just to make everyone with an iPhone an “unoriginal conformist” or whatever the trolls want to say. Apple has a particular design philosophy that they build their interfaces and user experiences around. In other words, they have a certain way of using the device that they want you to stick to because they think it’s the best (controversial, remember?).
One article sums it up well, talking about former-CEO Steve Jobs and chief design officer Jony Ive: “They were adamant that design should be dictated by how people will use the product so that the resulting design provides users with an extraordinary and delightful experience.”
Apple emphasizes an intuitive, even enjoyable user experience, on a device that you can just pick up and use without instructions, without aesthetic differences from device to device. These are what’s important to Apple and distinctive about iOS.
Android fans might be writing out their rebuttals and flames about how Android is king. And that’s fine, everyone has their own preferences and justifications. (I mean, we love Android, too!) The Android users around our office like their devices as their preferred tools for work and play, same as with others’ iPhones, and we all get along just fine. At the end of the day, it’s what’s the best tool and value for you.
Watch Anthony Sequeira’s iOS 11 End-User Essentials course to learn about more features that make iOS a powerhouse.