If you’re buying a new smartphone today, the first choice can be the hardest: iPhone or Android. It’s not simple; both offer a lot of great features and they may seem basically the same other than brand and price.
The good news is that both smartphone operating systems are excellent.However, a closer look shows that there are some key differences. Read on for a closer at look at some of these differences to help you decide whether an iPhone or Android smartphone is right for you.For businesses, picking the right operating system for employee devices can be a crucial choice, and one which can have a profound impact on your workforce’s happiness and productivity. So which one should you pick?
The Apple App Store offers fewer apps than Google Play , but overall selection isn’t the most important factor.
- Android apps: 3.5 million
- iOS apps: 2.2 million
Truthfully, numbers aren’t the best metric because most of us only use a handful of apps and the most popular ones are available on both platforms. Traditionally, iOS has been a more lucrative platform for developers, so there has been a tendency for new apps to appear there first, but that is changing as Android’s market share continues to grow. In the U.S., iOS still leads the way, but developers elsewhere are increasingly targeting Android first.he Play Store still has a higher percentage of free apps than the App Store. But the best mobile games still land on iOS first and they don’t always come to Android. Ultimately, quality beats quantity and so this is a narrow win for iOS.
Although the latest version of Google’s OS is a far cry from the days of clunky Android KitKat, Oreo simply can’t match the slick and gorgeous experience offered by iOS. Apple’s OS is simply better looking and more intuitive than anything Google can offer.
With iOS, Apple has created an OS that’s perfectly suited for the everyday user. It’s a highly accessible platform and is incredibly easy to use and navigate, regardless of your experience with technology. Google’s operating systems, however, have always suffered from being a little confusing, with many features and settings hidden behind opaque menus.
The problem with simplicity in software is that functionality invariably suffers as a result. Side by side, Android is a far more feature-rich platform, offering greater customisation options and a bunch of settings, albeit hidden, for adjusting a device to fit your tastes and needs. There are even some limited options to set up automated sequences for certain tasks.
Yet within the smartphone market, usability is king. Apple’s iOS is easily the best-looking operating system around, and it allows the majority of its users to do everything they would need to do on a daily basis quickly and easily.
While iOS on iPhones looks great, it really shines on tablets where the software can take advantage of powerful multitasking features supported by superb Apple processors. The laptop-style experience you can create on an iOS tablet is simply far superior to anything an Android tablet can offer.
Battery life and charging
As one of the biggest bugbears for smartphone owners, battery life is a huge factor. It’s difficult to compare the two platforms because there’s no common hardware. We could say iOS is optimized to squeeze the most out of the battery per mAh rating, but you can buy an Android device with a much bigger battery that will easily outlast the iPhone.
Both Android and iOS allow you to see your battery usage at a glance, broken down by app, but only Android shows an estimate of how much battery life you have left. They both offer power saving modes that can extend your battery life by limiting performance, connectivity, and other power-sapping features, but precisely how it works is generally more customizable on Android.
For a long time, Android had an advantage in the charging department, because many Android phones offered fast charging capabilities and wireless charging. However, Apple’s iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and iPhone X all offer wireless charging and fast charging. It’s worth noting you have to buy the fast charging adapter separately, whereas it’s usually provided in the box with an Android phone.
This category is far from clear cut, but comparing similarly priced Android phones with iPhones, they tend to have longer battery life, so Android gets the win.
Apple’s iOS offers consistent and timely software updates and security patches. If you want the same experience on Android, then you must buy one of Google’s Pixel phones. This is how iOS version share breaks down according to Mixpanel research:
- iOS 11: 87.33 percent
- iOS 10: 8.9 percent
- Older: 3.77 percent
Almost 90 percent of all iOS devices are now running the latest version. By contrast, only 0.5 percent of Android devices are running the latest Android 8.1 Oreo. This is how Android breaks down according to the official Android Developer website:
- Android 8.1 Oreo: 0.5 percent
- Android 8.0 Oreo: 4.1 percent
- Android 7.1 Nougat: 7.8 percent
- Android 7.0 Nougat: 23 percent
- Android 6.0 Marshmallow: 26 percent
- Android 5.1 Lollipop: 18 percent
- Android 5.0 Lollipop: 4.9 percent
- Android 4.4 KitKat: 10.5 percent
- Older: 5.2 percent
If you want the latest features, bug fixes, and security updates, then you should choose iOS.
This is a difficult category to call. In the past, we’ve argued that Apple does the best job capturing lighting, coloring, and other details, but the latest Android smartphones are casting a lot of doubt on that assertion. Google’s Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL boast the best cameras we’ve used so far, but the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X come close.
While most of the current crop of Android flagships sport good, or sometimes great, cameras, there’s a fair bit of variance and the camera quality of many mid-rangers doesn’t come close to the quality of iPhone cameras. As you’d expect, most budget Android phones have lower quality cameras.
The camera apps on both platforms are very good and very fast. For ease of use and best results without tweaking, the iOS camera app takes the cake. There’s more variation on Android simply because OEMs tend to add their own camera apps with lots of features, some good, some a bit gimmicky. We’re going to give this one to iOS, but with the caveat that the top Android phones, particularly the Pixel 2, offer the best smartphone camera experience around.
The next frontier of smartphone features and functionality will be driven by artificial intelligence and voice interfaces. On this front, Android has a clear lead.
Google Assistant, the most prominent artificial intelligence/intelligent assistant on Android, is extremely powerful. It uses everything Google knows about you and the world to make life easier for you. For instance, if your Google Calendar knows that you’re meeting someone at 5:30 and that traffic is terrible, Google Assistant can send you a notification telling you to leave early.
Siri is Apple’s answer to Google Assistant for artificial intelligence. It’s improving all the time with each new iOS release. That said, it’s still limited to fairly simple tasks and doesn’t offer the advanced smarts of Google Assistant (Google Assistant is also available for the iPhone).
People who want the complete control to customize their phones will prefer Android thanks to its greater openness.
One downside of this openness is that each company that makes Android phones can customize them, sometimes replacing default Android apps with inferior tools developed by that company.
Apple, on the other hand, locks the iPhone down much more tightly. Customizations are more limited and you can’t change default apps. What you’re giving up in flexibility with an iPhone is balanced out by quality and attention to detail, a device that just looks and is well-integrated with other products.
If you want a phone that works well, delivers a high-quality experience, and is easy to use, Apple is the clear winner. On the other hand, if you value flexibility and choice enough to accept some potential issues, you’ll probably prefer Android.
Much has been made of the supposedly “toxic hell stew” that is Android, but the threat of malware is exaggerated. The truth is that most people will never encounter a problem because they don’t go outside the Play Store for apps. Specific manufacturers like Samsung have taken extra efforts to beef up security for the enterprise market. But the slovenly nature of updates on many Android devices can seriously delay important security patches.
Speedy updates are now more important than ever because security breaches are becoming more serious. Android is behind in the update world, unless you have a stock Android device, and so it’s less secure. Because millions of Android phones are still running software that’s years old they can be vulnerable to serious hacks like Heartbleed and Stagefright.
Apple is already firmly entrenched in corporate America and has also worked on improved security for general consumers, most notably with Touch ID and FaceID in the iPhone X. The tight oversight that Apple has on apps and the ability to push updates out to more devices, more quickly, gives it a definite edge over Android. The company also encrypts data in iMessage and its other apps.
Apple prioritizes user privacy, so you can feel safe knowing your personal data is not stored or read by Apple. It is all encrypted, too. Meanwhile, Android encrypts some data, but your privacy is less protected. Google mines your data for information that it can use to sell better ads and market products to you. Your data is also stored and read to provide you with a better AI experience.
Google claims it’s challenging to fully protect user privacy and still provide the AI services it offers, but some security experts and Apple argue that Google presents a false choice between privacy and AI. Apple even went to war with the FBI to guarantee your right to encryption. It’s hard to beat that kind of dedication.
There’s no denying that iOS is the most secure platform and the one that best protects user privacy. If you care about your privacy and security, go with an iPhone.