There are only two major smartphone operating systems today on the market: Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. Which is better, iPhone or Android?
To see which phone OS is more suitable for you, you just need to know the key features of iPhones compared to Android phones and decide what features are crucial for you. As a matter of fact, they are not so different. However, God is in the detail.
80% of smartphones come with different versions of Android OS today. But does quantity equal quality in this case? Let’s take a closer look at these two rival systems.
IOS claims to be more user friendly. But is it so crucial? 80% of the smartphone market is Android’s share, after all. Let’s see what makes the operating systems differ.
The platform and hardware are different. Accordingly, different drivers are used. But the OS itself, the user interface is written in high-level languages, i.e. the code is thus interchangeable. Here, the manufacturer may or may not artificially restrict the rights of third-party applications.
Of course, each manufacturer claims that its product is better, more effective, etc. Just yesterday, the code was supposed to be as efficient as possible, i.e. to take up as little space as possible and spend as little energy as possible. Today's CPU performance and memory capacity give programmers more freedom.
There is free software written by everyone who can and wants to do it by contrast to a diligent developer engaged in thorough optimization of all processes, a more or less competitive environment under the auspices of Google, and an attempt of a caring manufacturer to solve everything in the best possible way for the client, so that he paid all the costs, Windows, similar to Apple, Linux — Android's elder brother, where everything is completely free, and Chinese surrogates. It’s not so easy to choose. Find out more about different operating systems.
On the other hand, this is not important. If you know specific applications without which you cannot live and you know that competitors do not have it, then the choice is obvious. However, most likely everyone has everything: music, games, films, work with documents, surfing the Internet.
The iPhone's interface may be a little more comfortable. But is it worth the cost, considering that Android’s interface is not so difficult either? It may be if Android is like the operating system of a spaceship for you, though.
Today, it is possible to integrate your phone with other devices, such as smartwatches, tablets, computers, or even cars via the Internet or Bluetooth. All you need is one OS with the same apps on all devices.
Or there are also cross-platform solutions, which means operating systems can be different, but if you download the software for the integration, compatible with the OSs on the devices you want to connect, you can control one device through another. For example, the Your Phone app for Windows 10 links your Android phone and PC. Thus, you can manage your phone’s notifications, make calls on your PC, and transfer calls between the devices.
Apple boasts better integration between its devices because they are made by one manufacturer. On the other hand, Google unites all Android devices (except Chinese companies’ electronics) with Google services. All your data is stored like a soul on the cloud, to which you have access from any device.
If you want the latest OS update for as long as possible, an iPhone is a better choice since Apple provides system updates during about 5 years of device usage.
Android is an open-source OS, used by many manufacturers. They usually don’t hurry with updates and after about two years stop updating the system altogether. The best manufacturer that manages to update Android on its phones is Nokia.
Android is a giant widespread system, on the base of which manufacturers built their interfaces. While it contributes to more variety, it’s hard to control every aspect of this fragmented structure.
Google Play store offers more apps, available for phones, tablets, and Chromebooks, while Apple App Store contains about 1 million apps less. But you’ll most likely find the equivalent of the app you need in both stores, only in Apple's store, it will probably be not free.
Google Play store, on the other hand, has more free apps or paid apps that are still less expensive than the same apps in Apple App Store.
They say key software usually appears in Apple’s store because of the difficulty to build apps for Android on account of the variety of OS versions from different manufacturers. However, Android apps are written not for the OS but for its process virtual machine. Currently, it is Android Runtime. Apple apps are built for the LLVM compiler.
Yet, developers may tend to build apps for iOS first because they are paid and more expensive than the same apps for Android OS.
Note that iOS and macOS are different systems. So, you can’t use an iPhone app on a MacBook. But Apple is working on making a unified OS now.
Apple checks all applications in its App Store more strictly, some say too strictly, for the sake of security. Google play becomes better in this regard too, though. And on the Android phone, you can download apps directly from the Internet, while on the iPhone, it is impossible, again, for the sake of security.
You may have problems with bloatware apps on Android phones. Manufacturers sometimes pre-install applications that you don’t need and can’t delete unless you get root access. Apple, on the other hand, always pre-install apps, but you can delete some of them.
Both operating systems come with inbuilt AI, Google Assistant is more powerful than Apple’s Siri. Thanks to widespread Google services, Google’s voice assistant understands you better and gives correct answers more often than Siri.
One could say that Android was designed to be more open than secure, as it is an open-source OS. But what about Windows? It is a closed-source OS like iOS.
Since Android is the most used OS in the world, 90% of malware is built for it. The same is with Windows compared to Linux. Linux is an open-source OS just like Android, which is based on Linux. However, being less popular than Windows, it is more secure.
There is no such operating system that can’t be attacked by hackers. The question is, why do they need to write malware programs to hack the system which is less used?
Security updates, however, make a difference. Google releases security patches every month. And Google phones receive them outright, while other manufacturers tend to delay and skip some patches that last for two years in general. The exception is Google that guarantees security updates for 3 years and Samsung that supports some of its phones even for 4 years.
Apple provides security updates for over 5 years. However, with the new Android 10, Android phones will get crucial security updates directly from the Google Play store.
IPhones are made by only one company — Apple, which is famous for high-quality hardware. As for Android phones, there is a great variety of them, produced by different manufacturers and sold at different prices. So, if you want a high-quality Android phone, it can’t be cheap, but it can be less expensive than an iPhone.
They say iPhones are so well-optimized that they need less RAM and battery capacity than Android phones. Well, both systems just use different approaches to memory management.
Android is flexible and supports different manufacturers’ hardware. That is why Android was developed partially on Java, which compiles the code to run on devices with different processors. And Java requires a lot of RAM.
In Android OS, RAM is also used for Garbage Collection — the process of automatic recycling of inactive apps memory to be replaced by other most recently used apps. Apps are kept in RAM after being closed for immediate access in case you open them again. This keeps power consumption at a minimum. But this process itself requires a significant amount of RAM.
Why do iPhones need less RAM than Android phones? Well, iPhones need less RAM because IOS apps, being written in a different language - Swift, developed by Apple, don’t use the Garbage Collection process.
Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages. Garbage Collection doesn’t mean that Android’s memory management is worse. It’s just different and needs a little more RAM. In fact, an Android app can take less RAM than an iPhone app, depending on how well its code is optimized by a software developer.
The same is with battery life. The iPhone’s battery may last longer with the same capacity as that of an Android phone, but there are plenty of Android phones with larger batteries and longer run time than iPhones offer on the market.
Apple’s processors were always considered to be faster than CPUs on Android phones, even with a lesser number of cores. But this year the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset finally outperformed the latest Apple A13 Bionic processor.
So, if you need good hardware, you’ll find it not only in iPhones but also in high-end Android phones, a lot of which support external memory, unlike all iPhones.
It’s important to have a good camera system on a modern smartphone. When you buy the iPhone, be sure it takes excellent pictures.
As for Android phones, with a great range of them and various manufacturers, the cameras are also different. So, you need to do some research to find a camera set you need on the Android phone.
Sometimes even on an expensive Android flagship, cameras are worse than iPhone cameras. But brands like Google, Samsung, and Huawei produce premium camera phones that beat iPhones in this regard, for example, the Huawei P40 Pro Plus.
Android offers you flexibility and variety. You are free to customize your phone however you like.
Apple doesn’t give you such freedom. You can’t change default apps on the iPhone. Apple says it ensures thus system security, but it also binds users to their apps.
The only way to get complete control over the customization of the iPhone is jailbreaking it (root access for Android). But by doing so, you risk breaking your iPhone and losing Apple’s warranty.
If your iPhone stops functioning well, you can go to the nearest Apple Store, where trained staff will help you. But there is no Android store. With your broken Android phone, you’ll go to that store from which you bought it. And from the store, your phone will be sent to the service center to get repaired. So, it may take more time.
The usual length of the warranty that various companies offer is one year. However, some manufacturers, such as Samsung, also offer an extended warranty for their flagships.
From Apple, you can buy AppleCare coverage and extend it on a monthly basis indefinitely.
All rivals in the market compete for the place under the sun. People fervently support one or the other. I always uphold two conditions — price and quality. The Android phone price is lower, but what about the quality? Do similar mobile phone specs tell about the same quality?
Most people idle about but want to have the best phones. That's why the brand that stands out seems to be the most desired one. There are many brands producing android smartphones, while iPhone is one.
Once upon a time, there was one fellow, a friend of mine. He came up to me with a “new” cell phone and a big smile of satisfaction on his face. I looked at it mockingly. What is this, a brick? It turned out to be an iPhone 4 or 5 I guess. My friend bought it through a junk-site where you can get outmoded secondhand stuff. It was a great opportunity for him, as he said.
In those days, I had LG, a kind of P500 or something like that, it looked better and had better performance.
Later he grew wiser and bought a normal phone. So the victim of commercials found out the truth about the long-life battery phone and free apps...
Some kind of marketing ploy forces us to buy a certain product. Marketers could sell dirt to a ditch digger. This is their job. You never know whether it's your decision when you put out money from your pocket. It's always presented as a mutually beneficial good deal.
Although used iPhones are cheaper than new ones and theoretically still keep good performance, in practice, an outdated iPhone may be overpriced. So, it’s better to buy a new iPhone or Android phone with the same performance or even better but for a lower price. It’s your choice.
To sum up, the iPhone offers you a more user-friendly interface and security. Android gives you an endless variety and freedom of customization with better artificial intelligence. Hopefully, this article made it more clear, which phone is best for you, Android or iPhone.