The Android versus iPhone debate has been raging on since the term "smartphone" became commonplace in the mid-2000s. Typically, the answer to that seemingly age-old question depends on the preferences of those being asked, though there are some distinct advantages each brand has over the other. While it often comes down to individual fancies, some can’t live without the supreme camera quality of most iPhones. Similarly, some wouldn’t be able to function without the SD card-supported memory expansion and removable battery afforded to most Android users.
At the end of the day, however, Android phones feel like the individually-unique, user-friendly resistance to Apple’s pseudo-Skynet complex, and staunch Apple supporters tend to be of the mind that more expensive products are automatically better. Though that is often true in the tech world, it wouldn’t be fair to be so completely dismissive of the features offered by the likes of Google and Samsung.
Apple may be the flashy, pricey smartphone equivalent of a Rolex wristwatch, but Android phones tend to appeal to a certain set of individuals open to breaking from the norm. With a larger install base than Apple, it’s safe to say that Google must be doing something right when it comes to mobile phone development. They aren’t all perfect, to be sure, and just about every piece of tech has more than a few major flaws, but, on the whole, everyone’s favorite round, green little robot has a few more tricks up its sleeves than its competitor.
20 Product Variety
iPhones tend to be of a very stock, stagnant variety: though this may be a great tactic in terms of brand recognition, it contributes to the awful homogeneity associated with most Apple devices. There typically aren’t all that many choices when it comes to buying an iPhone outside of a few different model variations. On the other hand, android systems can come in just about every shape, size, and distinction conceivable. Apple tends to trot out the same sort of thing year in and year out, but Google’s massive phone inventory has the ability to cater to the preferences of just about everyone.
Though this certainly varies based on the manufacturer, android devices tend to have a reputation for being a bit sturdier than most Apple products. While a hardy phone case can defend against all manner of wear and tear, those who prefer to live dangerously without a protective case may find that Google and Samsung have built their phones to last. In fact, the concept of a flat-broke millennial with a busted iPhone screen has become something of a meme at this point, and it speaks volumes of the quality of Apple’s iDevices when entire aesthetic trends have been based around cracked iPhone touchscreens.
18 More Bang for Your Buck
While this isn’t necessarily true 100% of the time, Android devices tend to be less expensive than Apple phones while still managing to contend with their competitors in terms of quality. When the iPhone X first launched, it retailed for a staggering, almost arrogant $999. In comparison, Samsung’s recently released Galaxy S9 cost about $720 when it launched (depending on where you bought it). Apple continues to demolish consumer’s wallets while simultaneously stripping features from new iPhone iterations, and the relatively lackluster sales performance of the iPhone X seems to indicate that android may have the right idea.
17 Universal Charging Ports
One of the most convenient things about android phone ownership would be charging port ubiquity: any Micro-USB or Type C charger will work with an android product, while iPhone users are stuck with Apple’s proprietary charging ports. iPhone users, unless they are totally surrounded by similarly-equipped individuals, may well know the pain of needing to borrow a charger from a friend, though Apple’s snobby, restrictive practices tend to prevent inter-corporate phone charging. While android device owners need only drop a few dollars to pick up a USB to micro USB charging cable, iPhone users need to shell out for an artificially expensive Apple-product compatible cord.
16 Enhanced Customization Options
There are exceptions to every rule, but, on the whole, iPhone users aren’t typically allowed the customization options available to most android users. Of course, this can be changed pretty easily with a jailbroken device, but that’s a line across which few would dare to tread. Apple allows for users to customize their mobile experiences to some degree: the phone offers some quality of life specifications, and users can do things like set unique backgrounds and introduce app-specific preferences. Android users, however, can customize to the nth degree, and some hardcore phone modifiers may toute home screens which look totally unique to anything else.
15 Google Play Store
This really does come down to opinion, but the Google Play Store is often praised for introducing a wide variety of apps and programs, as well as allowing just about anyone to sell something on their storefront. This, of course, comes with a few setbacks, though, on the whole, Google’s Play Store is a much more accessible place. Plus, a major amount of the apps offered on Google’s devices are free, while Apple, in traditional company fashion, expects users to fork over some coin before downloading their favorite apps. This seems especially greedy given that Apple tends to offer the more expensive product to begin with.
14 Widgets and Multitasking Features
Though introduced in more recent iPhones, widgets, and in-depth multitasking features have been woven into the fabric of most android-based devices for quite a long time. Widgets often take the form of small quality-of-life improvements or add-ons which increase the utility of a phone. Again, Apple has now parodied these features, though Steve Jobs’ company still doesn’t allow for the amount of widget customization available on most Android devices. Apple fans can do things like add clocks, calculators, and other small ancillary bits of software, but Android’s widgets and split-screen multitasking features far outpaces Apple’s offerings.
13 Expandable Memory
This is a major point of contention between smartphone owners, and android faithful have long ridiculed Apple’s refusal to introduce SD-card compatible expandable memory to their phones. iPhone storage issues have been widespread for so long that the phone’s dreaded “storage full” notification has become a bit of a meme, and this is a problem that could easily be fixed were Apple not quite so stubborn. As it stands, Android users can typically add upwards of 64 extra gigabytes of storage to their phones, while iPhone users are stuck deleting photos and music files in a desperate attempt at creating more storage space.
12 Removable Batteries
While notably absent from the popular Samsung S6 line of phones, just about every android-compatible device features a removable battery. While this may seem like a silly inclusion for those oblivious to smartphone degradation issues, most android users can simply buy a cheap new battery should their original one begin to deteriorate. This is a huge problem for Apple stalwarts because the company has recently been accused of introducing updates which shorten the battery life of older devices. Though Android users are essentially immune to shady tactics like this, iPhone users will find themselves rushing out to buy a new phone sooner than they may anticipate because of this.
11 File Browsing
Android users have long been able to manipulate the files on their phones via a file explorer not unlike the one available on just about every PC ever made. This makes deleting lingering, unnecessary files and clearing space much less difficult and allows for much more freedom when it comes to storage manipulation. iPhone users generally aren’t afforded this luxury, however, and, when it comes to freeing up space or organizing files, they have few options aside from deleting apps, videos, and other data. Plus, while most Android devices allow for a ton of file transfer options when connected to a computer, the same can hardly be said about Apple’s devices.
10 Stylus Support
Touchscreen-compatible stylus pens tend to be the preference of young Nintendo 3DS owners or old, frufru mothers of two or more pomeranians, though that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be available to those disinterested in smearing their fingerprints all over their phone’s screen. While commonplace on most android-supported devices, consumers would be hard pressed to come across an iDevice which comes out of the box with some sort of stylus. The concept of the Apple iPencil has been floated around for some time, though they tend to be ridiculously overpriced and relatively uncommon. Apple has reportedly floated the idea of bundling the next major iPhone release with a stylus pen, which would add to the list of things copied from their competitors.
9 Dedicated Face Buttons
In Apple’s haste to tear every feature out of their iPhones in the name of “innovation,” they seem to have forgotten some consumers' proclivity for enhanced quality-of-life features. While just about every device running an android OS hosts a dedicated home and back button, these features have been absent from Apple products for some time. Android devices allow users to quickly escape from any app with the press of a button, while iPhone users may often be mired in a litany of app-contextual egress methods. What’s worse is that some third-party companies have taken to producing micro-USB compatible home buttons for the buttonless iPhone X — that’s seem almost Orwellian in terms of inanity.
8 Custom APK Installation
It certainly is possible to install custom APKs on iOS compatible devices, though users will be forced to jump through a number of unnecessary hoops to make it happen. Android users typically won’t run into these issues, though some phones do require users to tinker with app permission settings before running non-Play Store apps. Apple clearly prefers to keep it’s install base walled within the safe-yet-overpriced world of it’s own vending area. It may be a bit risky, but Android phones aren’t nearly as limited when it comes to app availability, and developers who, for whatever reason, couldn’t get on the Play Store can still get their software out there somehow.
7 Google Maps is Superior
Apple Maps has been the butt of every joke in Silicon Valley since it first launched some years ago. Though considerable improvements have been made since the software’s initial release, most tend to prefer Google’s more-reliable Google Maps service. Both have their drawbacks, of course, but, pound for pound, Google seems to offer the superior service. While Google Maps will be installed by default on just about every fresh-from-the-box android device, Apple doesn’t seem to take too kindly to users installing rival software on their phones. Though Google Maps can be installed on iOS devices, Apple Maps will still be the default service.
6 More Ways to Pay
Apple Pay was a big deal when it first gained the attention of the consumer populace back in 2014, but it’s since been eclipsed by similar, more user-friendly services. While the ability to pay with naught but a cell phone was initially revolutionary, the drawbacks and restrictions inherent in Apple’s service made this payment alternative less attractive over time. Google Pay and Samsung Pay, which are often features of Android-compatible devices, are generally considered to be less restrictive and of a higher quality. Apple loves to force its users into proprietary app usage, and this typically isn’t an issue for those paying with Android-based phones.
5 Industrial Evolution
As previously mentioned, Apple’s iPhones tend to look very similar, and the untrained eye may have a difficult time sussing out the differences between a brand new Apple product and one that was released several years ago. Though the classic if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it mentality does have its merits, in the minds of many, Apple has been left in the dust in comparison to the evolution and innovation brought on by Google, Samsung, LG, and their ilk. Android-compatible phones today are nearly unrecognizable when compared to their forefathers. While Apple hasn’t changed its design philosophy since Steve jobs first introduced the world to a phone which could access the Internet, Android producers keep pushing the market forward.
iTunes may have been revolutionary when it first launched all the way back in 2001, but it has since lost a lot of ground to new-wave audio streaming services like Spotify and Pandora. While most of these apps are certainly available on iOS devices, most Apple phones do not allow users to download audio files directly from the internet. Android users have been able to download just about anything they desire from the net for some time, while Apple faithful would still be hard pressed to get anything on their phone that didn’t already have the approval of their corporate overlords. At the end of the day, android users can listen to and download anything at any time, while the custom MP3 importing process is much more cumbersome on most iDevices.
3 Multiple Users on One Phone
While a relatively new feature to Android devices, most newer models now allow for more than one user to sign into the phone. Much like a communal PC, families and friends can now set up multiple individual accounts on one phone and sign in and out of them when in use. This is a fantastic feature for adults hoping to lend their devices to their kids without risking an expensive in-app payment brought on by a bumbling five year old. This is likely a feature to be aped by Apple in the coming years, and it is yet another example of how Android tends to be slightly ahead of the curve.
2 Better Default Apps
Apple Maps may already be the subject of much cartographical ridicule, but Apple’s shortcomings tend to spread to the rest of their pack-in proprietary apps, as well. For instance, while Google Chrome is often heralded as one of the best web browsers available, Safari is slowly gaining a reputation for being archaic and out of date. What’s more, Google Drive tends to have a more client-friendly free service when compared to Apple’s iCloud, and most iDevices tend to come packaged with strange apps like Stocks and Voice Memos which serve no major purpose and only add to the general clutter of the iOS interface.
1 3.5mm Headphone Jacks
The Internet nearly exploded in 2017 when apple announced that their then-upcoming iPhone 8 would not include a built in headphone jack. Instead, iPhone users would be forced into purchasing expansive pairs of proprietary bluetooth cordless headphones, or a strange and unnecessary micro-USB to 3.5mm headphone jack converter. This, of course, was a backward and unfriendly move by the tech giant, and it’s been a point of contention only supported by the most dedicated Apple fans. Android users almost never run into this problem, and this trend of cutting features in the name of paradoxical innovation doesn’t seem to be catching on with Google.
References: tomsguide.com, gottabemobile.com, androidauthority.com, theverge.com