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Switching from Android to iPhone? Here are 10 things you should expect

The good and the bad of making the switch.

Published onDecember 26, 2023

Apple iPhone vs Android always on display standby mode
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Android phones and iPhones have become much more similar in recent years than in the early days of the smartphone era. Both platforms have borrowed from one another, and it’s never been easier to jump between them.

That said, if you are considering switching from Android to iPhone, there are several advantages and disadvantages you should be aware of beforehand. Keep reading to learn what to expect during and after the transition.

iOS adjustments

Apple iPhone 14 homescreen in hand 2
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

If you’re coming from Android, there are a lot of things about the iOS UI that will immediately jump out at you. The most obvious is that all of your apps are arranged in grids on your home screen. This can be a problem if you have a lot of apps, but there are a few ways to keep things tidy. You can move icons into folders, or remove icons from your home screen and send them to an app drawer. Overall though, the process is clunky and feels like an afterthought compared to Android.

Here are a few more UI differences that might catch you off guard:

  • No back button (gestures only)
  • Simplified notification shade
  • Navigation buttons typically use text instead of icons
  • More visual cues and less haptic feedback

In general, Apple’s design philosophy prioritizes simplicity and consistency, whereas Android allows more flexibility and visual interest. You will notice that these guidelines go beyond just the iOS interface, so apps that you may already be familiar with on Android will have a different look on iOS.

Limited customization

Wallpaper Wednesday 2023 12 13
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

One of the biggest selling points of Android is customization, whether through downloadable launchers and icon packs, OEM-specific software like Samsung Good Lock, or even custom ROMs. On iPhone, your options are far more limited.

Baked into iOS you have basic customization options like wallpapers, custom lock screens, ringtones, widgets, and a few others. Most of these are purely aesthetic, although you can add features like the flashlight or calculator to your Control Center (similar to the notification shade on Android).

Things have gotten far better as of iOS 17, with lots of options for widgets, but what you can achieve is still far more limited than anything on Android. Forget about custom ROMs or launchers.

A tightly-knit ecosystem

apple macbook air 15 inch wallpaper
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

One of the biggest advantages of switching from Android to iPhone is primarily for users who are already tied to Apple’s ecosystem in some other way. If you have a Macbook, for example, switching to iPhone will unlock many integrations that just aren’t found in the Android world. The closest example is Samsung, but even the Korean giant doesn’t compare. Here’s a quick list of integrations to give you an idea:

  • iCloud: Apple’s storage solution is comparable to other cloud storage solutions, but it’s easy to automate the syncing of pictures, documents, and more between devices.
  • Handoff: This feature allows you to begin editing a document on one Apple device and finish on another. Combined with the Universal Clipboard, which allows you to copy/paste between devices, this can be a powerful productivity tool.
  • AirDrop: While not uncommon in the Android world, sharing files between devices wirelessly with AirDrop is quick and easy on Apple devices.
  • HomeKit: Apple’s smart home platform allows you to use your iPhone, Apple Watch, Mac, or iPad as a centralized hub for home automation.

There are far more than we list here, but suffice it to say that if you’re willing to commit further to the Apple ecosystem, there are plenty more benefits to be found.

Complicated inter-platform communication

ios imessage green bubble

If you live in the US, odds are you’ve already run into issues communicating with your iPhone-toting friends due to iMessage and FaceTime. Things are set to improve with Apple adopting RCS for iMessage in 2024, but beyond the basics, inter-platform communication will still be limited.

To be clear, this is entirely the fault of Apple. The company made the conscious decision to add green bubbles to chat messages, exclude Android devices from FaceTime, and limit extra functionality like SharePlay and games in iMessage. Unless Google is successful in rallying regulators, this is unlikely to change.

Of course, you can always switch to other chat platforms like WhatsApp or Telegram. Outside of the US, the rest of the world is already using them.

Stable performance over time

iPhone 15 Pro Max playing Taiko game
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Without getting into the weeds with processors, the simple fact is that iPhones are faster and more stable than Android phones. Apple has done a spectacular job pushing the envelope with its in-house silicon, and an even better job optimizing iOS. With only a few iPhones released every year compared to hundreds of Android phones, it’s easy to understand why.

Another big part of this is Apple’s commitment to updates. Samsung made big news in the Android world a few years ago by offering five years of updates and Google one-upped them by offering seven years of updates for the Pixel 8 lineup, but Apple has consistently supported iPhones for six years or more. What’s more, updates are delivered much more regularly, and there’s no staggered rollout like you see with Android updates. All iPhones receive updates at the same time.

As a general rule, you can expect your iPhone to run smoothly for at least four years before you will need to seriously consider upgrading. If you’re careful and don’t demand too much from your smartphone, you can easily extend this to five years or more.

Slower charging times

iPhone 13 Pro on charging mat
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

For all the bells and whistles Apple includes on iPhones, one area where it consistently lacks behind Android phones is charging speeds. Even the latest iPhone 15 Pro Max tops out at 2oW while plugged in, which translates to roughly 90 minutes for a full charge. For comparison, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra features 45W charging and tops off in less than an hour. Other Android phones using the SuperVOOC standard can reach 100W or even 200W charging speeds, topping off in 15 minutes or less.

Granted, there are benefits to slower charging speeds. Super fast charging tends to degrade battery life faster, leading to less overall capacity over time. Even so, 20W is remarkably slow in today’s smartphone landscape, especially for a device as expensive as an iPhone.

A robust app store

Apple App Store stock photo 3
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

More than a decade into the smartphone arms race, Apple still has the edge when it comes to apps. Not only are developers targeting iPhones first since it’s a more lucrative market, but Apple itself has simply done a better job managing its app store than Google has.

Apple’s obsessive focus on quality has resulted in a long list of checks and procedures for developers to pass through to get their apps on the App Store. As the end consumer, this means a better, more consistent experience. There are also far fewer ads than you’re probably used to seeing in the Play Store, and Apple itself curates excellent lists of apps for just about any purpose.

For users who are used to sideloading apps, there is some good news coming. Due to pressure from EU regulators, Apple is rumored to begin allowing sideloading of apps and alternative app stores in the first half of 2024. Granted, this may be limited to devices sold in the EU, so North American buyers may still be locked in Apple’s walled garden.

Better resale values

google pixel 8 rose 8 pro bay blue stack money dollars euros
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

If you’re someone who likes to change phones frequently, you’ll be happy to learn that iPhones fare much better on the secondhand market than Android phones. For example, a 2019 iPhone 11 Pro Max in good condition still sells for 30-40% of its original retail value. The Samsung Note 10 Plus from the same year sells for 15-25% of its original value. This also represents the best-case scenario for Android, since other brands decrease in value much more quickly than Samsung.

Trade-in values are a similar story, even from Google itself. If you want to pick up a new Pixel 8 Pro, Google is offering $420 credit for your old Pixel 7 Pro, or $620 for your old iPhone 14 Pro. Granted, the iPhone 14 Pro retailed for $100 more at launch, but it still paints a bleak picture for Team Green.

There is one important caveat here, which is that Android phones are much more likely to go on sale, even a few months after launch. iPhones are much more difficult to find for less than their retail price, which brings us to our next point.

The Apple tax

Galaxy iPhone and Pixel smartphones with selection of chargers
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

To its credit, Apple has taken a few steps toward making the iPhone more affordable by offering previous models for less or a cheaper design in the iPhone SE. However, you should still expect to pay a premium for everything related to your new iPhone. This extends beyond just the phone itself and to accessories like cables, wireless chargers, cases, and more.

Apple can get away with this because it has positioned itself as an aspirational brand. Quality doesn’t matter as much as the perception of quality when it comes to Apple products, especially in the United States.

Don’t get me wrong, Apple generally makes top-notch products. However, nowadays you can find much cheaper alternatives for most accessories. For example, there are plenty of third-party case brands that make better, more functional cases at much lower prices.

If you’re switching from Android to an iPhone 15, the good news is that you can probably reuse your USB-C charger. If you’re switching to an older iPhone, you’ll have to suck it up and buy a Lightning cable.

More privacy and security

Security and privacy option in Android settings stock photo 2
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

If you’ve been using an Android device until now, you should know that Android’s overlord Google is first and foremost an ads business. Sure, it spends a lot of money on Android, but the main thing driving the business is not sales of its flagship Pixel phones, it’s ads.

Apple is under no such pressure. While it does make heap loads of money from its 30% cut of all sales on the App Store, the company still makes more than half of its revenue from iPhone sales. In other words, it’s a hardware company, not a software company.

This means Apple can provide better privacy options to iPhone users without taking a big hit to its bottom line. And let’s be honest here, this is the only motivation that really works in the corporate world. Apple’s focus on this in years past has forced Google’s hand in adapting privacy features in Android, but iPhones will always be ahead of the curve.

Switching from Android to Apple also means better security for several reasons, both of which have already been mentioned above. First is Apple’s speed at putting out updates for all devices around the globe, and second is the company’s tight restrictions and checks on all apps that are allowed in the App Store.

Yes and no. The process of migrating all of your contacts, apps, and data over is time consuming, but the Move to iOS app makes it relatively easy. Getting used to iOS will take much longer.

At this point both platforms are very mature, so deciding which one is better is mostly up to personal preference and experience.

Yes, Google apps like Gmail, Chrome, and others are available on iPhone via the App Store. However, they are not pre-installed.

No, you don’t need an iCloud email to use an iPhone. It does make some things more convenient, but you can get by with your Apple ID and any other email address.

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