Android 4.2 Jelly Bean vs Apple iOS 6.1 — Which is the sweeter treat?

February 6, 2013
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iOS versus Android debates have sparked many conversations, arguments, and may even have ended friendships. It is one of those topics we forbid at dinner tables mainly because it turns the food sour. But, at Android Authority, we allow healthy and constructive debates of this kind.

We love Android, but we can’t also deny the fact that Android and iOS each has its own set of features that make one better than the other.

We compared Google Android 4.2.1 (running on the Nexus 4 and Nexus 10) with iOS 6.1 (running on the iPhone 5 and the iPad 4) to check just how different these two operating systems are. So, how different are they? In what ways are they alike? Which OS is better than the other?

Read the rest of this review and find out. Or, watch our video comparing Android 4.2.1 and iOS 6.1.

Interface

Let’s start off by comparing the two operating systems’ interfaces.

Navigation

Android 4.2 iOS 6.1
  • Uses Virtual buttons
  • Virtual buttons change position when switching to landscape or portrait
  • Virtual buttons change to dots or auto-hide as needed
  • Virtual buttons placement and style are app dependent
  • Uses physical Home button

Starting with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, navigation in Android has shifted from physical or capacitive buttons to virtual Back, Home, and Recent Apps keys. These keys are dynamic, rotating when switching orientations, turning into dots when viewing photos, or auto-hiding when watching videos.

Meanwhile, iOS 6.1 doesn’t have virtual keys on a navigation bar. Instead, it has a Back button usually appearing at the upper-left portion of menus. In addition, iOS devices such as the iPhone 5 and the iPad 4 have a navigation bar with only one button — the Home button — which performs multiple functions:

  • Wake the device
  • Go back to the main homescreen
  • Open search page on the homescreen
  • Launch Siri
  • Launch volume controls and music player on lockscreen
  • Open App Switcher

Lockscreen

Android 4.2 iOS 6.1
  • Screen elements shown (top to bottom): centered digital clock, day and date, lock icon, user icons below lock icon (for multi-user feature on tablets only)
  • Hour digits on clock set in boldface for greater visibility
  • To unlock, drag lock icon to outer ring
  • No app shortcuts on outer lock ring
  • Google Now can be launched from lockscreen by swiping dotted circle upwards
  • Multiple lockscreens; allows lockscreen widgets; lockscreens can be rearranged
  • Notification Shade and Quick Settings menu accessible from lockscreen
  • Camera accessible by swiping right screen edge towards left (for phones only)
  • Mini music player appears on the lockscreen while playing music
  • Screen elements shown: status bar on the top edge; time with day and date (without year) below status bar; unlock slider at bottom; Camera icon beside unlock slider (phones only), Photo Frame button beside unlock slider (tablets only)
  • Slide unlock slider to unlock device
  • Double tap on Home button brings up music control buttons; music controls at left side and volume slider at right on tablets; music controls and volume slider below music title on phones)
  • Drag Camera icon upwards to launch Camera app (phones only)
  • Photo Frame button beside unlock slider (tablets only)
  • Hold down Home button to activate Siri
  • Notification Center not accessible on lockscreen
  • Notifications appear on lockscreen by default; swipe app icon of notification to unlock device and jump to app
  • Bar for currently playing music appears in center when music is playing

The lockscreens on both Android 4.2 and iOS 6.1 are simple: you can find the time, day, and date on both lockscreens. Both also have lock icons, but in different forms: a ring icon on Android 4.2 and an unlock slider on iOS 6.1.

To unlock Android 4.2’s screen, drag the lock icon to the unlock icon or to any part on the outer ring. In the case of iOS, slide the unlock slider to unlock the device.

In addition to unlocking your device, you can also launch the camera, launch Google Now or Siri, check app notifications, and control a mini music player. But, between the two, Android 4.2 offers more access by allowing lockscreen widgets and the multiple user feature on tablets.

In Android 4.2, you can add widgets — such as Calendar, Gmail, and Messaging — to the lockscreen so you can check for updates without unlocking your device.

On tablets running Jelly Bean, icons for the multi-user feature are also shown. Tap a user icon to load your account before unlocking the tablet.

The only unique feature I found on the lockscreen of iOS 6.1 for tablets is the Picture Frame icon, which lets you view a slideshow of your photos directly on the lockscreen.

Homescreen

The homescreen is your personal space where you can access your apps, access the device’s features, and place a beautiful background. On the two platforms, you’ll find a status bar at the top edge and an App Dock/App Tray at the bottom.

Each version also features a search app on the homescreen: the Google Search bar in Android 4.2 and the leftmost Search page of iOS 6. You can launch Google Now or Siri from the homescreen.

Android 4.2 iOS 6.1
  • Homescreen elements (from top edge to bottom): Status Bar, non-removable Google Search, analog clock, dynamic virtual navigation buttons, Favorites tray (also called the App Dock)
  • Default Favorites Tray app shortcuts (on phones): Camera, Chrome, App Drawer, Messaging, and Phone
  • Default Favorites Tray app shortcuts/folder (on tablets): folder for Google apps, Google Chrome, Gmail, Google+, App Drawer, Google Maps, YouTube, Play Music, and Google Play Store
  • Tablet interface similar to phones
  • Tap Recent Apps virtual button to view recently used apps
  • Maximum of 5 homescreens only
  • Edge of last homescreen glows when attempting to overscroll
  • Customizable homescreens
  • Widgets can be placed on homescreen
  • Homescreen elements (from top edge to bottom): Status Bar, square app icons on homescreen, App Dock, physical Home button
  • Default App Dock shortcuts (on phone): Phone, Mail, Safari, and Music
  • Default App Dock shortcuts (on tablet): Safari, Mail, Videos, and Music; can take up to six app shortcuts or folders
  • Tablet interface similar to phone
  • Left-most homescreen page for Search; tap Home button to instantly open Search page
  • Rearrange app icons or group them into folders; long tap icon to enter editing mode
  • Double tap Home button to access recently used apps (also known as App Switcher)
  • Tap and hold Home button to launch Siri
  • Swipe App Switcher to right to access Quick Controls
  • Can’t use widgets on homescreen
  • Number bubble appears on app icon to represent notifications
  • Displays ribbon on newly installed app

Jelly Bean and iOS homescreens differ vastly in style and use. Android 4.2 has a customizable homescreen where you can place widgets and/or app shortcuts, and group them into folders. Installed apps are all stored in the App Drawer. You can also use a live wallpaper on an Android homescreen.

App icons on iOS 6 can be rearranged, too. However, you can’t use widgets on iOS 6.1’s homescreen, nor add a beautiful live wallpaper. It also doesn’t have an App Drawer. All the things you need on iOS 6 devices are accessible on the homescreen.

Status Bar, Notifications, Toggles

Both platforms employ some form of notification system for alerting users of items that need attention or that need to be acted on.

Android 4.2 iOS 6.1
  • Notification Shade shows digital clock at left; day and date (no year), Clear All Notifications button, and Quick Settings button (on phones only)
  • Mobile network name displayed at bottom of Notification Shade (on phones only)
  • Expandable/Collapsible notifications
  • Notifications grouped by app; swipe left or right to dismiss notifications
  • Certain notifications are actionable; e.g., missed call notification has buttons for Call Back and Message
  • Quick Settings accessible by swiping down from right side of Status Bar (tablets only) or swiping down with two fingers from Status Bar (phones only)
  • Quick Settings menu shows profile photo thumbnail, button for Brightness setting, shortcut to Settings menu, shortcut to Wi-Fi settings (shows SSID), shortcut to Data Usage screen (shows mobile network name), auto rotate button (on tablets only), shortcut to Battery status screen (shows charge in percent), toggle for Airplane Mode, toggle for Bluetooth, and shortcut for creating a bug report (if Power menu bug reports is enabled in Developer options).
  • Swipe top edge down to open Notification Center
  • Displays Weather and Stock widgets by default (on phones only)
  • Notifications grouped by apps; dismiss notifications by tapping X button
  • Can set Alert style (banners, alerts, or none), choose which notification to display, set the number of items for each app notifications (1, 5, or 10 for phones; 1, 5, 10, 20 for tablets), set unique notification tone for some apps, and view notification on lockscreen
  • Tap notification to view and launch the app
  • Facebook and Twitter widgets on the Notification menu

Android’s Notification Shade and iOS’s Notification Center have one thing in common — they group all your notifications and alerts. While both notification systems have similar functions, Android offers a more accessible menu by adding Quick Settings. This feature allows you to access and toggle important shortcuts from the Settings menu. iOS doesn’t have a Settings shortcut, nor can it expand notifications on the Notification Center. Some notifications are actionable, allowing you to share screenshots or reply to a missed call directly from the notification menu.

Managing notifications also differ on both versions. In Android 4.2, you can easily remove a notification by flicking it to the left or right. There is also a button that clears all notifications in one go. In contrast, you will need to tap the X button to remove all grouped notifications of an app in iOS 6.1.

In terms of customizability, though, iOS offers more options to personalize your notification alerts. You can set unique alert types for certain notifications, adjust the number of notifications displayed, and even assign a tone pre-set for stock apps.

Where the iOS homescreen cannot use widgets, the Notification Center can. You can place the Weather and Stock Exchange widgets on the menu. The Facebook and Twitter widgets also appear on the Notification Center when you log in to your accounts. These features are not available by default in Jelly Bean.

Text Input and Keyboard

Both Jelly Bean and iOS 6 feature simple keyboard apps that offer multilingual support, voice-to-text input, word prediction, and auto-correction. Each of them has something that makes it stand out.

Android 4.2’s keyboard has the following:

  • Offline voice-to-text feature
  • Gesture typing (works like Swype)
  • Next-word selection
  • Personal dictionary to add your own words or jargon
  • A small selection of smileys

In iOS 6, you can enjoy the following:

  • Online voice-to-text feature
  • Emoji keyboard
  • Split keyboards on tablets
  • Custom word shortcuts

Accessibility

Android 4.2 carries over most of the accessibility features from Android 4.0 and Android 4.1, and adds a few more:

  • TalkBack — provides voice feedback and navigating by swiping gesture with Explore by Touch feature
  • Magnification gestures — magnifies the screen with swiping gestures
  • Large text — enlarges font size
  • Power button ends call — uses the Power button to end calls
  • Auto-rotate screen — auto-rotates screen orientation
  • Speak passwords — speaks out your passwords
  • Accessibility shortcut — instantly accesses accessibility features with a button and touch combo
  • Text-to-speech — sets text-to-speech output
  • Touch & hold delay — adjusts touch and hold delay
  • Enhance web accessibility — installs scripts from Google to make the Web more accessible

In iOS 6, accessibility features are conveniently grouped according to disability: Vision, Hearing, Learning, Physical & Motor, and Triple-click.

Under Vision, you have the following features:

  • VoiceOver – provides voice feedback and notification through gestures
  • Zoom – increases text size
  • Large Text – increases text size for Mail, Contacts, Calendars Messages, and Notes
  • Invert Colors – inverts colors for less eye strain while reading text
  • Speak Selection – text-to-speech output
  • Speak Auto-Text – speaks out auto-corrections and auto-capitalizations while typing

For people with hearing losses, the following options are available:

  • Hearing Aids — connects your device to supported hearing aids
  • LED Flash for Alerts (on iPhone 5) — flashes the LED flash when receiving new alerts
  • Mono Audio — enables mono audio and adjust sound balance between the left and right channels

And, for those who have learning or physical and motor disabilities, the following options are available:

  • Guided Access — keeps the device in one app and control which features are available; triple tap Home button in the app you want to use
  • Assistive Touch — assists you if you have difficulty touching the screen or if you need an adaptive accessory
  • Home-click Speed — adjusts the speed for tapping the Home button to enable double and triple-click Home
  • Triple-click Home — triple tap the Home button to access enabled accessibility features (VoiceOver, Invert Colors, Zoom, and AssistiveTouch)

Communication Features

Both OSes have communication features that allow you to interact and connect with family and friends.

Contacts

Android 4.2 iOS 6.1
  • Backs up contacts data to Google Account
  • Can also sync contacts from Google+ account
  • Can store contact info locally on phone
  • Has separate tabs for Groups, Individual Contacts, and Favorites; swipe to switch tabs
  • Contacts can be imported, exported, or shared
  • Different ringtones can be assigned to different contacts
  • Contact page has shortcuts for dialing, composing SMS, or composing email
  • Tap contact number or email address to call or send an email to a contact
  • Backs up contacts data to iCloud
  • Store contacts locally on tablet and phone
  • On phones, contacts are merged in the Phone app
  • Allows importing SIM contacts
  • Contacts can be synced to different Apple devices via iCloud
  • Contact page has buttons for sending message, sharing contact, FaceTime, and Add to Favorites; tap on email address to send email and tap number to call contact
  • Different ringtones can be assigned to different contacts
  • Preset vibration patterns or personalized vibration patterns (phones only)
  • Facebook integrated in Contacts and Calendar events

I particularly like the magazine-like theme in Android’s People app with its big text and big pictures. In iOS, the Contact app is just a plain and simple virtual contact book. All your contacts are listed on simple alphabetical list.

Google Android 4.2 primarily uses Google services, which means your phone’s contacts are stored by default in your Google account. This also means that you can sync your Google+ contacts to your phone. iOS 6.1, on the other hand, uses iCloud and iTunes to backup and sync data. iOS’s recent integration with Facebook allows you to add your Facebook contacts to your contacts’ list.

You can view contact information, call, send a message, or send an email from a person’s contact page. In iOS, you can also call a contact through FaceTime via the contact’s info page.

Android offers more ways to keep in touch with your contacts. Aside from the People app, the homescreen is also another way — if you place widgets for your contacts.

Phone

Android 4.2 iOS 6.1
  • Has separate tabs for Dialer, Call Logs, and People; swipe to switch tabs
  • Simple Dialer interface; tapping Dial button without entering number brings up last called number
  • Dialing screen shows contact info and call control buttons (e.g., hangup, loudspeaker, mute, hold, conference call)
  • Call Logs tab can be filtered to show all calls, only missed calls, only outgoing calls, or only incoming calls
  • Incoming call screen shows ring icon with shortcuts to answer, decline, or reply with message
  • Incoming call screen also shows Google Now shortcut (dotted circle)
  • Has separate tab for Favorites, Recents, Contacts, Keypad, and Voicemail; tap to switch to tabs
  • Simple Dialer interface
  • Dialing screen shows contact name and control buttons (e.g., mute, keypad, speakers, add call, FaceTime, contacts, and hang-up button
  • Recents tab shows history of received and missed calls; list can be filtered to show missed calls
  • Video call through the Internet with FaceTime
  • Incoming call screen shows contact info slider to answer call; swipe Phone icon upwards for more options call handling options

The Phone app on each platform are essentially the same. You can make a call, view call logs, and view your contacts. The dialing screen also displays the contact information and the usual control buttons for phones.

iOS 6.1, however, integrates its FaceTime feature with the Phone app, so you can call fellow FaceTime users via the Internet. You can also perform calls on tablets with FaceTime. The call logs in iOS only allows you to view missed calls; in contrast, Android 4.2 lets you filter missed, outgoing, and incoming calls.

The incoming call screens differ a bit, too. In iOS, slide the slider to answer the call. You can also swipe the phone icon upward to reveal additional functions. In Jelly Bean, drag the center icon to the outer ring.

Messaging

Android 4.2 iOS 6.1
  • Displays SMS and MMS messages sent and received
  • Can send messages to multiple contacts
  • Character count indicator appears when message nears 160-character SMS limit; message split into multiple SMS if character limit is reached
  • Can attach photos, videos, audio, or slideshows to MMS
  • Messages displayed as conversation threads; cannot lock conversation threads
  • Messages shown inside text bubble with contact’s picture beside it
  • Hold down message balloon to copy, forward, lock, delete, or view details of single message
  • Direct Message widget for frequently messaged contacts can be placed on homescreen
  • Messaging widget on homescreen shows list of SMS and MMS messages
  • Limited message deletion option: either individually or all messages at once; cannot select multiple messages/threads for deletion
  • Cell Broadcast option for receiving emergency alerts (e.g., threats to life or property, child abduction emergency bulletins, etc.) and test broadcasts from the Earthquake Tsunami Warning System and the Commercial Mobile Alert System
  • Gesture Typing
  • Messaging widget for lockscreen; shows list of SMS or MMS messages on lockscreen
  • Can auto-delete old messages when defined limit is reached (default of 500 SMS per conversation and 50 MMS per conversation); maximum limit for either SMS or MMS is 5,000
  • Displays SMS and MMS messages sent and received
  • Can send messages to multiple contacts
  • Character count indicator disabled by default; can be toggled in Settings menu; character counter appears on the 28th character
  • Can attach Photos and videos to MMS
  • Messages displayed as conversation threads; can select multiple messages to either delete or forward; can clear all messages in thread
  • Messages displayed inside color-coded message balloon
  • Hold down message balloon to copy text
  • Can send SMS and MMS to iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Mac via Internet with iMessage
  • Message notification appears on the lockscreen and Notification Center; can change notification alert style and notification settings

Both operating systems display your messages as conversation threads with text balloons or text bubbles. In iOS, the text balloons are color-coded.

Green text bubbles indicate messages sent via your phone’s carrier. Text bubbles in blue are ones sent via iMessage. With iMessage, you can send a text, photo, or video to an iPad, iPod, or to a Mac. You can also send videos and images as MMS in iOS. Meanwhile, Android lets you send also audio and slideshows as MMS.

Android lets you instantly access your messages from the lockscreen and homescreen with the help of widgets. In iOS 6, though, you can enable message notifications so you can instantly open messages from the lockscreen.

Android also auto-deletes old and unlocked SMS and MMS. It also has a Cell Broadcast feature that allows you to receive important alerts. I did not find these or similar options in iOS 6’s Messages app.

Email

Both platforms have stock apps and support for email. Google Android 4.2, however, has a dedicated email app for Gmail which encourages you to use your Gmail account as your primary email account. A stock Email app is also provided for other email accounts. Meanwhile, iOS has only its Mail app for all email services such as iCloud, Gmail, Yahoo!, AOL, and Hotmail.

POP3, IMAP, SMTP, and Exchange protocols are also supported by the native email clients on both platforms.

Apps and Widgets

Apps are the lifeblood of all smartphones, which is why every operating system has its own set of stock apps to make it stand out. Android and iOS are no different. In fact, Android 4.2 and iOS 6.1 have certain apps that make your experience of each OS unique.

Android 4.2 iOS 6.1
  • Latitude app integrated in Google Maps app, unlike in Android 4.1
  • New Clock widget design
  • Includes stopwatch and timer in Clock app
  • Has Digital Clock widget
  • Google Play Store is default source of app installations
  • Sideloading (i.e., installing from unknown sources) allowed but needs to be toggled
  • App’s APK can be installed through Android Debug Bridge
  • Requires Google account password before purchasing app
  • List of required permissions shown before installing app
  • App uninstallation from App Drawer (i.e., long-tap on shortcut then drag to Uninstall button)
  • Can clear data, clear cache, force stop, uninstall, and toggle show notification of app (via Apps section in Settings)
  • App and widget icons arranged in grid inside App Drawer
  • Separate tabs for apps and widgets in App Drawer
  • Cannot rearrange apps and widgets in App Drawer
  • Existing homescreen widgets move automatically to make way for new widgets or shortcuts
  • Swipe to clear apps on the Recent Apps menu
  • Removed Google Maps and YouTube apps
  • Features its very own Maps app; now includes a Report a Problem button
  • Features Passbook app (phone only)
  • App Store is primary source of apps
  • Doesn’t allow sideloading of apps by default
  • Requires user password before installing app
  • Asks for permission before running apps
  • App can be uninstalled from the homescreen by long-pressing on icon and tapping X button on icon; can also uninstall apps from the Usage option, under the General menu in Settings.
  • Apps arranged in grid on the homescreen
  • Doesn’t use widgets on homescreen
  • Apps can be rearranged and moved to different homescreens
  • Existing apps move automatically when another app icon is placed before it; placing app icon over another automatically creates folder
  • Recently used apps can be cleared from App Switcher by long-pressing on icon and clicking red button on icon

Apple has removed some apps and added new ones in iOS 6. For instance, Google Maps and YouTube have been removed. Apple has also added its very own Map app and the Passbook app on some devices. Meanwhile, very little has changed in Android 4.2’s bundled apps. The Clock app got a design overhaul, and the Digital Clock widget is brand-new.

Android 4.2 and iOS 6 have their own official repositories for apps: the Google Play Store for Android and the App Store for iOS. Users enjoy secure downloading with Android 4.2’s improved Permissions feature and iOS 6’s password-enabled app installation.

Installing apps is permission-based, but vary on how each OS implements it. In Android, you can view a list of all the required permissions before you install apps on your device. On Apple devices, however, you won’t find a list of permissions on the App Store. A newly installed app will only request permissions when you run it for the first time. Granting access allows the app to run.

Web Browsing and Search

Web Browsing

Android 4.2 has abandoned the stock Android Browser. In its place is Google Chrome as the default Web browser, especially on Nexus devices. iOS 6.1, meanwhile, still retains Safari as its stock browser.

Features Google Chrome Safari
Multiple tabs unlimited tabs max 24 tabs on tablets and 8 tabs on phones
Tab list yes; tab thumbnails shown as deck of cards yes; tab thumbnails shown as scrollable tiles
Dismissing tabs from tab list swipe gesture or tapping on X button tapping on X button
Private Browsing incognito tab Private Browsing option Safari Settings menu
Offline Reading preloaded content can still be accessed even if offline saves pages for offline reading (on supported devices)
Text scaling yes yes while in Reading Mode
Plugins not supported not supported
Inverted rendering none none
Reader mode none yes
Syncing open tabs to or from other device (e.g., desktop, another phone) yes yes
Add Bookmarks yes yes
Sync Bookmarks from other devices yes yes
Full screen view none yes on some devices
Quick controls none none
Mobile version of page yes; default cannot be toggled
Desktop version of page yes; can be toggled cannot be toggled

Search

Each operating system has its own way of locating items and files. Android features the integrated search tool called Google Now while iOS 6 has its own default search app.

Android 4.2 iOS 6.1
  • Google Now
  • Integrates Google Voice search, Google Goggles, and Google’ other search services
  • Flashes results in flashcards
  • Launch Google Now from homescreen, any app screen, or lockscreen
  • Performs local search for Apps, Chrome, People, and Play Music files
  • Google Now gets data from your Google Account and automatically flashes results about weather, traffic, flight schedules, and more
  • Can perform voice commands such as launching apps, composing text, calling contacts, and more
  • Default search page located as leftmost page of homescreen
  • Lets you search terms via Web or Wikipedia
  • Voice-assisted search through Siri
  • Performs local search (also known as Spotlight); searches for contacts, applications, Music, Podcasts, Videos, Audiobooks, Notes, Events, Mail, Reminders, and Messages
  • Siri can now provide information on sports leagues, movie reviews and showtimes; shows restaurant information nearby; launch installed apps; can send tweets and update Facebook status; read items on the Notification center; purchase movie tickets via Fandango app (USA only)

Google Now can be accessed in a variety of ways:

  • Swiping its dedicated icon (dotted circle in the middle of bottom screen edge) on the lockscreen upwards;
  • Swiping the virtual Home button upwards; or
  • Tapping the search bar on the homescreen.

You can also enable Voice Search by saying “Google” or tapping the microphone button.

In iOS, you can access the search tool by:

  • Swiping to the leftmost-most homescreen page; or
  • Pressing the Home button while on the homescreen.

You can also launch Siri anywhere on the screen by long-tapping the Home button.

One of the big updates of iOS 6 is Siri. Siri has been improved, providing better search results and better integration with apps. Additional languages have also been added. Compared to the previous version, Siri did not find it difficult recognizing my English accent.

Both Google Now and Siri can perform voice commands. But, between the two, I find Siri more flexible than Google Now. Talking to Siri feels more natural.

Camera

For mobile photography, both Jelly Bean and iOS provides basic Camera apps, quickly accessible from the homescreen or lockscreen.

On Android 4.2’s lockscreen, pull the right screen edge towards the center to open the Camera widget and launch the Camera. In iOS 6, swipe the camera icon, beside the unlock slider, upwards to reveal the camera. These lockscreen shortcuts to the camera are available only on phones.

Android 4.2 has an entirely new and improved camera, compared to the ones in Android 4.0 and Android 4.1. The iOS 6 camera also has a simple and easy to use camera app. The camera apps of both OSes let you enjoy the following:

  • Swipe gesture on viewfinder to preview images
  • HDR Mode (on supported devices)
  • Panoramic shot
  • Taking photo while recording video
  • Pinch gestures to zoom in and out
  • Auto-focus and face detection
  • Geotagging

In addition, the Android 4.2 Camera provides the following extra features:

  • Tap and hold on viewfinder to open camera settings
  • 5 Scene Modes and 5 White Balance presets
  • Time Lapse Recording
  • Photo Sphere
  • Changing image and video capture size

In the case of the iOS Camera, you also get to enjoy the following:

  • Volume keys as shutter buttons
  • Grids on the viewfinder
  • Mini preview of recently captured images
  • Photo Booth (tablets only) for instantly capturing images with preset effects

Photo and Video Gallery

Photos

Android 4.2 and iOS 6 store captured photos and videos the same way. Both have a stock photo gallery app for browsing and editing photos.

Android 4.2 iOS 6.1
  • Photos stored in Gallery app
  • Thumbnails sortable according to album, location, time, people, or tags
  • Swiping image up or down deletes image in Filmstrip View
  • Cannot move images from one album to another
  • Images can be set as homescreen wallpaper
  • Basic image transformations (e.g., rotate and crop) can be performed within Gallery app
  • Photo Editor shortcut
  • Photos can be shared via Bluetooth, Google+, Picasa, Gmail, or NFC
  • Photos stored in Photos app
  • Tap plus icon at the upper-right corner to add new album
  • Long-tap photo to copy and paste to another Album
  • Images can be set as homescreen wallpaper
  • Basic image transformations (e.g Rotate, Enhance, Red-Eye, and Crop) can be performed within Photo app
  • Share photos via Mail, Message, Twitter, and Facebook
  • Enable Photo Stream to store images in iCloud
  • Share photos with friends with Shared Photo Stream feature

Android arranges your photos in albums. You can view your photos on a Filmstrip or Grid. While viewing a single photo, zoom it out to switch the view mode to Filmstrip.

On iOS 6.1 tablets, you can display your pictures as albums or as individual photos. On phones, however, images are grouped into albums and tapping an album reveals individual photos. The Photos app in iOS also allows you to create albums. Android’s Gallery app doesn’t allow you to create albums.

Both operating systems allow you to perform basic photo transformations and editing. However, Android’s built-in photo editor has more features:

  • New filters and effects (punch, Vintage, B/W, Bleach, Instant, Latte, Blue, Litho, or X Process)
  • Custom frames
  • Photo transformation options (Straighten, Crop, Rotate, or Mirror)
  • Image colors and value adjustments (Autocolor, Exposure, Vignette, Contrast, Shadows, Vibrance, Sharpness, Curves, Hue, Saturation, and BW Filter)

Videos

Android’s Gallery app and iOS’s Photos app double as video players, too. All recorded videos are stored here. Videos are organized in the same manner as photos in their respective gallery apps.

iOS has a separate Videos app that stores downloaded movies from iTunes. Besides downloading movies, you can also transfer compatible movies from the PC to your Apple device through iTunes.

Android has fewer restrictions in terms of transferring videos to your device. You won’t need any special software to transfer videos from a computer to an Android device. On iOS, all files that you want to transfer to your Apple device need to go through iTunes.

Aside from viewing captured videos, you can also trim recorded videos. Just tap on the video and select Trim from the Android Gallery app’s drop-down menu. In iOS, tap on the edge of the film strip to see the Trim button.

Media Playback

Photo Slideshow

For hands-free photo viewing, run slideshows. Both Jelly Bean and iOS allow you to view images in a slideshow. In Android 4.2, the slideshow button is tucked away inside the menu. In iOS, tap the Play button (for phones) or the Slideshow button (on tablets) to start a slideshow. Between the two, iOS offers more features to customize your slideshow:

  • Select slideshow transition effects (e.g., Origami [tablets], Cube, Ripple, Wipe [tablets], Wipe Across [phones], Wipe Down [phones], and Dissolve)
  • Play background music

In addition, Android 4.2 features a customizable screensaver called Daydream. Activated when your device is docked or is charging, this feature displays your photos in a slideshow or on a photo table. Apart from that, you can also set the screensaver to show the latest Google Currents trend, an analog or digital clock, or a colorful background. iOS 6 tablets can also display photo slideshows on the lockscreen through the Photo Frame feature.

You can sync your device’s screen to a supported HDTV through the Wireless Display function in Android 4.2 and AirPlay in iOS 6.1. Unfortunately, only the Nexus 4 has the Wireless Display feature for now.

Playing Movies and Videos

Video playback is simple and hassle-free in Android 4.2 because of its integrated video player. Meanwhile, iOS 6.1 has separate video players for recorded and downloaded videos. Just like for photo slideshows, you can share your device’s display to a supported HDTV.

Android 4.2 iOS 6.1
  • Video player integrated in Gallery app
  • Simple and straightforward video playback controls; includes progress bar and share button
  • Wireless display
  • Simple video player integrated in Photos app for playback of recorded videos; has play button, share button, trash bin button, and a progress bar with mini preview of video
  • Videos app for playing downloaded movies and videos; shows progress bar (without mini preview), scaling button, and playback controls
  • AirPlay

Playing Music

For playing music, you have the Play Music app in Android 4.2 and the Music app in iOS 6.

Android 4.2 iOS 6.1
  • Stores songs downloaded from Google Play Store
  • Songs can be copied from PC to phone/tablet via USB connection
  • Songs displayed according to playlist, artist, album, songs, genres, or recently added
  • Includes 5-band equalizer and equalizer presets
  • Create, edit, rename, and delete playlist
  • Can play music in background
  • Mini music player appears on Notification Shade and lockscreen
  • Stores songs downloaded from iTunes
  • Songs must be copied from PC to iTunes first, then synced to device for songs to be accessible in Music app
  • Separate tabs for Playlists, Songs, Artists, Albums, and More (Genres, Composers, Sort By Artist [tablets], and Compilations [phones])
  • Has equalizer presets but need to be toggled in Music section under Settings menu
  • Equalizer can’t be manually adjusted
  • Syncs songs with iTunes Match and stores them to cloud; can download songs individually from iCloud
  • Shake to shuffle feature allows random track playback when shaking phone (works only in Music app on phones)
  • Create, edit, and delete playlists
  • Can play music in background
  • Display current song clip art on lockscreen; double tap Home button to access music controls

Like videos, music in iOS 6.1 can be transferred from the PC to your Apple device via iTunes. Android provides greater flexibility in this regard by allowing you to copy files from the PC by just using a data cable.

Security

Your Android and Apple device may contain sensitive data. That’s why security features protect your data from unauthorized access. Both operating systems have their own approach on how to better secure data on your device.

Android 4.2 comes with the security features from Android 4.0, plus a few new and improved ones:

  • Slide, Face Unlock, Pattern, PIN, and Password lockscreen types
  • Display owner information on the lockscreen
  • Device encryption
  • SIM card lock for phones
  • Prevents installation of apps not from Google Play Store
  • Built-in app verifier (malware scanner)
  • Improved list of Android Permissions
  • More control of premium SMS
  • Always-on VPN
  • Hidden Developer Options menu
  • Security improvements and fixes

In contrast, iOS 6.1 tightens security with the following security options:

  • password to unlock phone/tablet
  • choice between 4-digit simple passcode or long-string alphanumeric password
  • erase data on device after 10 failed attempts
  • restrict access to some device features and content
  • sends email confirmation if your Apple account has been used on another device
  • privacy menu that allows you to view which apps are accessing sensitive data
  • new Lost Mode feature in Find My iPhone app (locks and flashes your contact number when enabled; you can also remotely erase data and lock the device with the app in iCloud)
  • cannot install apps not from the iStore
  • kernel that is difficult to hack
  • reset the Advertising Identifier

Video Review

See more of the differences between Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean and iOS 6.1 in our YouTube video:

Conclusion

Android 4.2 and iOS 6.1 are different operating systems, but both are good in their respective ways. Going through the full list of how these two OSes differ will surely take a while. This article barely scratched the surface. But, to sum up, here’s a brief list of some of the major differences between the two:

Android 4.2 iOS 6.1
  • Uses virtual keys for navigation
  • Customizable homescreens
  • Widgets on homescreen and lockscreen
  • Live wallpapers on homescreen
  • Uses App Drawer to store apps and widgets
  • Displays alerts on Notification Menu;
  • Quick Settings for quick access to Settings options
  • Twitter and Facebook not integrated by default
  • Google Play Store
  • Sideloading allowed
  • Uses Google services for saving and syncing data to various Android devices
  • Easy to use and flexible Camera
  • Developer friendly
  • Multiple users
  • Doesn’t use virtual keys
  • Navigation buttons appear on app screens
  • chief navigation button is Home button
  • Apps are instantly accessible right from the homescreen
  • No homescreen or lockscreen widgets
  • No live wallpaper
  • Displays alerts on Notification Center; allows you to place Weather, Stock, Twitter, and Facebook widgets; customizable notification alerts
  • Twitter and Facebook integrated in the OS
  • Apple App Store
  • Sideloading not allowed
  • Uses Apple’s services for saving and syncing data to various Apple devices; also uses its own Maps app
  • Easy to use Camera
  • Doesn’t have options for developers
  • Doesn’t create unique user profiles

For users who prefer a flexible and customizable operating system, Android 4.2 Jelly Bean is your best bet. You can spruce it up with live wallpapers and functional widgets. You can use third-party homescreen launchers and keyboards. You can make your phone or tablet look and work as close to, if not exactly, the way you want it to.

Despite having limited customization options, iOS 6.1 is also worth considering, especially by those who want tight integration of various mobile content services into the operating system. If one of Android’s mantras is diversity, that of iOS is uniformity. The operating system is designed so that your experience on a device such as the iPhone 5 will differ little when you switch to your iPad 4. Such integration also allows you to sync your data to all of your devices running the same platform.

Yet, despite each platform’s plus and minus points, the final decision of which OS is better still rests on you and you assessment of what you need from your devices.

So, tell us — what do you need from your devices? Which operating system has the greatest ability to serve those needs — Android 4.2 Jelly Bean or iOS 6.1? Let us know in the comments.

(with contributions from Elmer Montejo)

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