8 things that differ between iPhones and Android smartphones

People have been continuously arguing about which is better: the iPhone or the Android smartphone? The debate never ends, and most people choose to be fans of iOS or Android, no matter what. A few weeks ago I got my hands on an iPhone SE which I have been using ever since, as an experiment in getting to know iOS better. It is the first iPhone I ever used, and all my previous smartphones were with Android. I jumped from an older Motorola Nexus 6 running Android 7.1.2 Nougat to the iPhone SE running iOS 11.2.6. Here are the main differences I noticed about the user experience:

1. iPhone apps do not crash as often as their Android counterparts

For as long as I have used the iPhone SE, no app on it has crashed. Although the Nexus 6 I had before was a capable smartphone, I have had so many issues with apps crashing on it that I felt it was normal. A positive difference is that apps are not crashing on the iPhone as often as on Android. However, there are times when some of them can lag for a second or two before responding to my taps.

2. The home screen on iOS is not as customizable as the one on Android

Coming from the Android ecosystem, I am used to being able to customize everything. The first big difference is the fact that the home screen on iOS is a lot more limited in personalization options than the one on Android.

On my iPhone, the only things I can change about the home screen are:

  • Choosing a different image for the wallpaper
  • Changing the order of the app icons
  • Creating folders in which I can place multiple app icons

That is not much compared to what you can do in Android. These are the features I miss most:

  • I cannot move app icons around and place them anywhere I want on the home screen
  • I cannot use widgets. The only place where you can have widgets in iOS is the Notifications Screen.
  • There is no apps drawer like in Android. All the apps are shown on the home screen, so you have to create app folders to get all the clutter organized.

3. The App Store feels better organized than the Play Store

The Play Store on Android has been significantly improved over the years, and it has become easy to navigate. My first encounter with Apple's App Store was even more favorable. It looks more straightforward, although it is also split into categories and top charts, just like the Play Store. This is, however, a personal opinion, and other people might feel differently about the App Store versus the Play Store.

4. Some apps from the App Store are better than their Android counterparts

Apple is known for its high standards regarding the apps that make it through its App Store. That means that developers must create apps that pass specific usability and quality criteria that are established by the company. As a direct consequence, many third-party apps are more polished than what you find in the Play Store for Android.

5. There are more paid apps for iPhones than for Android, but there are also fewer ads

Although the essential apps everyone uses are free on both platforms, when you get out of this bubble, you find that more apps in the App Store are paid, compared to Android. That is probably because Apple's audience is considered to be more willing to spend money on apps than Google's audience. But, that also means that the apps for iOS are usually less filled with ads. On my new iPhone SE, I must adjust to paying some money for at least a few of the apps I was used to getting for free on Android.

6. The default iPhone apps that come with the operating system are less advanced than the Google apps found on Android

I do not like some of the default apps that come with the iPhone. Safari, Apple Maps, Photos, and Mail, for instance, are not as good as Google Chrome, Google Maps, Google Photos, or Gmail. The default apps that Google offers on Android tend to be more advanced. This impression probably depends on how much you are entrenched in Apple's or Google's ecosystem, and I have to admit that I am a heavy user of Google's services.

7. Media files cannot be transferred to a Windows PC, as easily, when using an iPhone

If you are a Mac user, transferring your files is not an issue. However, if you are a Windows PC user, moving media files on and from an iPhone can be daunting at first. With an Android device, all you have to do is plug it into a USB port on your Windows computer. Things are different with iPhones. If you want to transfer music or video files, you must download and install iTunes and use this app instead of File Explorer. Also, when I wanted to copy some photos from my iPhone to my Windows 10 PC, I had to search for a way to do it. So far, the best method I found for doing that is to use the Microsoft Photos app to import pictures from the iPhone.

8. There is no Back button on the iPhone (and I miss it)

After a few weeks of using the iPhone SE, I miss the Back button found on all Android devices. iPhones do not have it, and that is strange for someone who got used to using it. Sure, there are buttons inside apps and gestures that you can use on an iPhone to go back. But, the Back button from Android is a lot more useful. I could tap it repeatedly to get out of any app, and it was always there, in the same place, no matter what. On an iPhone, every app can have the Back button in any position its developers want. That takes some adjusting.

Have you migrated from an Android smartphone to an iPhone? How was your experience?

If you migrated from Android to iOS, what were the things that you liked, and which were the ones that frustrated you? Are you happy with the switch, or would you go back to Android at any time? Do not hesitate to share your opinion in the comments section below and tell us about your experience.