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10 things iOS does better than Android
Here at Android Authority, we can name many reasons why Android beats Apple’s mobile operating system any day. Google’s alternative offers a more open platform, choice, value, versatility, innovation, and customization, to name a few things. But what keeps iOS users hooked to iPhones if Android is so much better?
While many argue it’s a branding and status thing, we believe reasons go beyond vanity. We are tech lovers before anything else and have to accept there are certain things iOS does better than Android. Let’s talk about them.
iOS is generally faster and smoother
Having used both platforms daily for years, I have encountered fewer hiccups and slow-downs using iOS. Performance is one of the things iOS usually does better than Android. This seems ridiculous, considering iPhone internals. The iPhone 15 Pro Max is currently the most powerful Apple smartphone, featuring the Apple A17 Pro SoC — the first chipset to use a 3nm manufacturing process. This may sound impressive, but we tend to get a little lost in the specs and often forget to look at what matters. Performance doesn’t only come from powerful specs. There is more to processing power than cores and speed clocks. There is proof that Apple processors are better than Qualcomm’s.
Having used both platforms daily for years, I can say I have encountered way fewer hiccups and slow-downs using iOS.
Whether Apple processors are better or not, what matters most is iOS is optimized to work perfectly with the few devices Apple makes. Meanwhile, Android is dropped into a sea of smartphones, tablets, and other products. It’s up to OEMs to optimize the software for the hardware, and they sometimes do a poor job at it.
Apple’s closed ecosystem allows tighter integration, so iPhones don’t need super powerful specs to match the high-end Android phones. It’s all in the optimization between hardware and software. Since Apple controls production from beginning to end, it can ensure resources are used more efficiently. Furthermore, developers have to follow a stricter process to release apps, not to mention they don’t have to optimize their apps for what may seem like an infinity of devices.
This is not to say all iOS devices can outperform all Android devices. Some Android phones are made with beastly internals and stunning performance. Generally, though, iOS devices are faster and smoother than most Android phones at comparable price ranges. For example, an iPhone 14 can perform nearly as well as the newest high-end iPhone, starting at $699 MSRP. Even the budget iPhone SE is a great performer, costing only $429.
iOS is super simple to use
Sometimes, what we love about Android makes it a less enticing platform to the general consumer. While Google and its partnered manufacturers have been improving at making Android more intuitive, especially after Android 12, it can still be confusing. Dealing with random icon placements, endless settings, and full customization isn’t for everyone. Furthermore, inconsistency between phone makers creates a learning curve, as most Android phones look and feel different from one another.
Apple fans love their operating system’s simplicity, and it is arguably one of the things iOS does better than Android. There isn’t much to iOS, and that’s part of the allure. Many iPhone lovers don’t want a phone to mess around with and customize. They want a device that works well, is easy to use, and can take them to their content with the least effort. This is what the “it just works” expression is all about.
With iOS, you get home pages with rows and columns of icons, which you can organize as you wish, but there’s no app drawer to hide things — it’s all laid out in front of you. The settings are straightforward, and the experience is always the same, no matter which Apple mobile device you use.
The user experience for iOS is intuitive enough to have almost no learning curve. I have seen kids who have never used a smartphone figure out the basics in 10 minutes. Some of these kids know how to use an iPhone without even knowing how to read! Similarly, if you already own an iOS device, you can switch to any other and immediately know exactly how it works.
Updating software is one of the things iOS does better than Android. If your iOS device qualifies to get the latest update, it will get it as soon as it launches. This can be bad news for older devices that can’t handle more resource-intensive iOS versions very well. That is another topic and something to worry about only if you have a significantly older Apple device.
The updating process isn’t as seamless with Google’s Android ecosystem. Google only gives direct updates to its own products, like the Pixel Fold or Pixel 7 series, and even those have been known to fail at getting updates efficiently sometimes.
Manufacturers like Samsung, Sony, Motorola, and all others have to get the update from Google, work on it, optimize it for your device, and then send it out. In many instances, carriers have to go through them too, which only assures you get updates late, sometimes months down the line… if ever.
The Apple ecosystem
This one is more of a tie because Google has improved integrating its services across devices in the past few years. Regardless, Apple products like iPhones, iPads, Apple TVs, Apple Watches, and Mac computers are tightly integrated with iCloud, iMessage, FaceTime, and other in-house services. While Google has its competing services, which work great, too, they have a learning curve and don’t feel as intuitively connected.
Some apps required to access core Google services aren’t pre-installed, forcing users to hunt for them in the Google Play Store. This may not seem like a huge deal to most tech-savvy users, but it can be a daunting task to some, or at the very least, an annoyance.
Speaking of app stores, the Apple App Store is significantly better curated and better policed than the Google Play Store. Developers looking to get their apps on the App Store have to go through a long and expensive list of checks and procedures, but the result is a net increase in the overall quality of iOS apps. The Apple App Store is generally cleaner, has fewer ads, and offers cool extra features like interviews, guides, better app lists, etc. It may be a walled garden, but it’s a safe, familiar, and easy-to-navigate garden all the same.
Security (for now)
Thanks to Google’s security updates becoming more consistent, this topic isn’t as one-sided as it once was. Google has continued to secure the Google Play Store and add measures to ensure your phones and information stay safe. These include sandboxing, two-step verification, Google Play Protect, further controlled app permissions, and more. These upgrades and more educated users make for robust Android security that begins to rival iOS.
Whether iOS is better than Android in security is now up for debate, but the consensus still gives Apple the upper hand. iOS has more consistent updates for all devices, a closed ecosystem that is harder to penetrate, and a stricter app store. These factors combined make it harder for attackers to target iOS users.
No matter how often I give Android Auto a chance, I keep returning to Apple CarPlay. Sometimes, I carry an iPhone just to use CarPlay!
Apple’s alternative has neatly arranged icons. You can move these icons around to prioritize your favorite apps for easy access. Sounds familiar? Yep, it works much like iOS on a phone or tablet! Some things have been moved around, but the experience is much more uniform.
Android Auto has moved away from its totally random interface based on recommendations. It’s more similar to Apple Carplay, as it has a list of apps you can easily access. It’s still a bit more convoluted, though. Not to mention, Android Auto’s performance seems to lag despite sometimes using some of the most powerful phones in the market.
Also, I am always running into odd bugs on Android Auto. Sometimes, Google Assistant just won’t work, music won’t play, or there are audio issues. I can’t, for the life of me, ever figure out what’s going on. I just resort to disconnecting and reconnecting the device.
Apple leads the way in tech customer support. AppleCare may be expensive, but claims for iOS devices are an absolute breeze. If you’ve got a local Apple Store, you can often walk out with a brand-new device in less than an hour.
Speaking of Apple Stores, love or hate them, Apple’s retail locations have a signature look that many retailers have tried to copy. The open-plan design draws you in as soon as you walk by. Many staff are on hand to help you with any purchase or problem. They even have free classes to teach you how to use Apple devices.
No company is perfect, but having an iOS phone or tablet sure beats the competition if you ever have a problem. You don’t need to go through carriers, look for weird customer service phone numbers, fill out online forms, send faxes, stay on hold for long periods only to talk to a robot, or wait weeks for a fix or replacement. Go to your nearest Apple Store and enjoy their well-known customer service. Easy as (Apple) pie.
Affordability is not precisely one of the things iOS does better than Android, but Apple has a market advantage over most of its mobile competitors. iPhones, iPads, and other Apple products typically hold their value much better than Android products. This means you can sell your used Apple device for more when it’s time to switch devices. And because Apple products are so popular, they usually sell much faster.
iPhones, iPads, and other Apple products typically hold their value better than Android products.
Let’s put things into perspective with some real-world examples. The iPhone 11 Pro Max launched in September 2019 for $1,099. It’s selling for about $330 to $450 in good condition now. That would be about 30% to 41% of its original value. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus launched in August 2019, also for $1,099. It sells for around $180 to $270 on eBay. This equates to about 16% to 25% of the original value. Big difference, right?
Keep in mind this example is a best-case scenario for Android. Samsung is another brand that keeps its value better than others in its class. The resale value favors Apple far more compared to other smaller Android manufacturers.
Another thing iOS manages better than Android is Bluetooth trackers. These little gadgets can track and locate items. We’ve seen Samsung, Tile, and other companies release very similar Bluetooth trackers, and you can even argue they can be better in some ways, but Apple has something no competitor can match. Apple’s network of devices has much more coverage wherever you go.
The real problem is that all these trackers are limited in terms of the devices that can track them. Some of the best Apple AirTag alternatives, like the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag and Tile trackers, work within their ecosystems and through their apps. Apple AirTags can also be tracked only by Apple devices. Still, the difference here is that Apple devices are so prominent that any tracker is likely to be close to an iPhone anywhere it is. Apple has opened its Find My network to third parties, meaning other tag or accessory manufacturers can make Find My trackers.
Apple AirTags also integrate amazingly with iOS. It’s pretty much a system function and requires no extra apps or downloads. Setting it up is quick and easy, and works by simply tapping your iPhone on it. And the best part is that, while AirTags cost a bit more than the competition, the difference isn’t significant, and it ends up being a much better product anyway.
Google has also opened its Find My Device network, which looks promising for the future, as there are also many Android devices out there. That said, very few trackers use it as of now.
Google Pay works well, but the app is much more convoluted and often not even pre-installed on Android phones! The service has taken a backseat and is no longer getting much attention, even from Google.
Regardless, all contactless payment services work well, but Apple Pay seems to be the most polished option out there. It works seamlessly across Apple-made smartphones, tablets, and even smartwatches. Apple Pay is also more supported by banks and credit card companies out there, especially the smaller ones, which are the ones that usually skip Google Pay and other solutions. It’s also accepted by over 85% of retailers in the USA.
Furthermore, Apple now offers its credit card, which provides some pretty good benefits. For starters, you get 2% cashback on Apple Pay purchases, and the Apple Card only works with iOS. Some people will think twice before letting go of the Apple Card and moving to an Android device. I am one of them. And Apple now even offers a pretty good Apple Card Savings account.