Here at Android Authority we can name a plethora of reasons why Android beats Apple’s mobile operating system. Google’s alternative offers a more open platform, choice, value, versatility, and customization, to name a few things. But if Android is so much better, what is it that keeps iOS users hooked to iPhones and iPads?
While many argue it’s a branding and status thing, we believe reasons go beyond ignorance and vanity. We are tech lovers before anything else, and have to accept there are certain things iOS does better than Android. Let’s address these differences.
iOS is generally faster and smoother
Having used both platforms daily for years, I can say I have encountered way fewer hiccups and slow-downs using iOS. Performance is one of the things iOS does better than Android most of the time. This seems ridiculous considering iPhone internals. The iPhone 11 Pro Max is currently the most powerful Apple smartphone and it features a six-core CPU with 4GB of RAM. Those specifications would be considered mid-range at best in the current Android world.
Having used both platforms daily for years, I can say I have encountered way fewer hiccups and slow-downs using iOS.
The truth is we tend to get a little lost in the specs and often forget to look at what really matters. Performance doesn’t only come from powerful specs. There is more to processing power than cores and speed clocks. In fact, it has been proven Apple processors are better than Qualcomm’s. Our very own Gary Sims explains how in his extensive article.
In fact, Gary Sims has also recently tested the new Snapdragon 865 and put it against an iPhone 11 Pro Max’s Apple A13 chipset. Qualcomm’s newest chip beats the A13 in most tests, except the GPU one. This is a significant leap by Qualcomm, but we must also remember that Apple’s chip will be around six months old by the time the first Snapdragon 865 phones come to market.
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 of it.
Apple’s closed ecosystem makes for a tighter integration, which is why 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, they can make sure resources are used more efficiently.
Now, this is not to say all iOS devices can outperform all Android devices. Because there is a lot of choice in the Android universe, some 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.
iOS is super simple to use
Sometimes it’s what we love about Android that makes it a less enticing platform to the general consumer. While Google and its partnered manufacturers have been getting better at making Android more intuitive, the truth is it can still be a bit confusing. 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 they can 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 amount of 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 there in front of you. The settings are fairly straight forward, but the experience is always the same, no matter whether you’re using an iPhone 11, iPad Pro, or any other device in Apple’s lineup
The user experience for iOS is intuitive enough that there is almost no learning curve. I have seen kids who have never used a smartphone figure out the basics in about 15 minutes. Similarly, if you have already owned an iOS device, you can switch to any other and automatically know exactly how it works.
Updating software is definitely 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 some older devices which can’t handle more resource-intensive iOS versions very well, but that is another topic, and something to worry about only if you have an older Apple device.
The updating process isn’t as seamless with Google’s Android. Google only gives direct updates to its own products, like the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, and even those have been known to fail at getting updates efficiently.
Manufacturers like Samsung, Sony, Motorola, and all others have to get the update, 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 or years down the line… if ever.
The Apple ecosystem
This one is more of a tie because Google has gotten much better at 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 more of a learning curve and don’t feel as closely connected to the Android experience.
Some of the apps required to access core Google services aren’t pre-installed, forcing users to go hunting for them in the Google Play Store. This may not seem like a huge deal to most of us tech-savvy users, but it can be a daunting task to some, or at the very least an annoyance. It may be a walled garden, but it’s a safe, familiar, and easy-to-navigate garden all the same.
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 end result is a net increase in the overall quality of iOS apps. The Apple App Store is also generally cleaner, has less ads, and offers cool extra features like interviews, guides, better app lists, and more.
Security (for now)
This one isn’t as one-sided as it once was, with Google’s security updates becoming more consistent. Google has continued to secure the Google Play Store, as well as adding measures to make sure your phones and information stay safe. These include things like sand-boxing, two-step verification, Google Play Protect, more controlled app permissions, and more. These upgrades, along with more educated users, make for a much more robust Android security that begins to rival iOS.
Whether iOS is better than Android in terms of security is now up for debate, but the general 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. All of these factors combined make it harder for attackers to target iOS users.
No matter how many times I give Android Auto a chance, I keep going back to Apple CarPlay. Sometimes I carry an iPhone just to use CarPlay in my car!
Apple’s iOS-based alternative is much better organized with app icons neatly arranged. You can move these icons around to prioritize your favorite apps for easy access. The direct availability to apps also makes it easy to perform more actions within specific supported applications.
Android Auto’s interface can get a bit confusing, as its nature is to be random. Recommended actions are suggested and organized by Google’s magical algorithms, which means the list changes continuously, forcing you to read more and sometimes even scroll to find what you need.
There is no muscle memory with Android Auto, which I believe makes it more distracting while driving. And though Google Assistant does a much better job than Siri, that feature is not enough to take me away from Apple’s in-vehicle solution. Apple CarPlay is better looking, simpler to use, and more functional.
AppleCare may be expensive, but it makes warranty and insurance claims for iOS devices 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 too.
Speaking of Apple Stores, love them 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. Large numbers of staff are on hand to help you with any purchase or problem. They even have 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 with it. 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 of time only to talk to a robot, or wait weeks just to get your device fixed or replaced.
This is not exactly one of the things iOS does better than Android, but it is a market advantage Apple has 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 them for more when it’s time to switch devices. And because Apple products are so popular, they usually sell much faster too.
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 XS Max was launched in September 2018 for a starting price of $1,099. A used base iPhone XS Max is currently going for about $400-$500 on eBay. This means you can get up to about 45% of the phone’s original value. Meanwhile, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 was released on August 2018 for $1,000 (for the 128GB base version). This can be found used on eBay from $250 to about $350. That would be about 35% of the Note’s original value, at best.
Keep in mind this example is a best-case scenario for Android, because Samsung is another sought-after brand that tends to keep its value better than others in its class. The resale value favors Apple far more when you compare it to other smaller Android manufacturers.
Before you trash us in the comments, please remember we are by no means saying iOS is categorically better than Android. Google’s mobile OS has its advantages, we write about them nearly every single day here. However, we must keep everything in perspective and realize there are some things that iOS absolutely does better than Android. There is always room for improvement and Google could learn a thing or two from the Cupertino giant.