What I’ve learned after my switch from iOS to Android

iphone_to_android I had been an iPhone user since 2009. I started with the newest iPhone on the market that year, which was the iPhone 3GS. At the time I probably would’ve told you that I had the best phone on the market. A couple of years later, I upgraded to the iPhone 5. And at the time, I probably would’ve made the same argument… But then Steve Jobs died. And after that, it seemed like the innovative ideas that kept me with Apple dried up. The new iPad was the same as the old one, just thinner. The new iPhone was nearly identical to the last one except it came in gold or silver and had a fingerprint scanner. *yawn*

Being somewhat of a techie, I wanted my next phone to be something fresh and different. And I didn’t want to wait until the fall to see if the iPhone 6 will be just as big a disappointment as the 5s. So I decided to jump ship. I’d heard the arguments that Android was leaps and bounds better than iOS, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

I started with some research. Months of research. I asked friends and coworkers about their Android experiences and what they thought of their phones. I learned some things:

  1. Apple maps failing

    Android seemed way more flexible than iOS. I always hated that my iPhone used Apple Maps as a default. Apple Maps was always wrong. Everyday it would tell me that I was 10 miles from my house even though I’d be sitting in my living room, and it would often calculate a four-minute commute to work from my desk… at work. Default apps are a choice on Android.

  2. Many of the new and fresh updates that I had come to enjoy on iOS were already standard on Android phones.
  3. Much of what kept other iPhone users with Apple had to do with aesthetics rather than functionality. I wanted both.
  4. Not all Android phones are created equally. There are some significant differences in how the OS runs from phone to phone.

With all that in mind, I had a choice to make. What phone was I going to get? I had become accustomed to only having one phone to choose from. Switching to Android meant that I’d be overwhelmed with choices, so I had to take my time and sort them all out. Over time, I narrowed it down to three phones: the Samsung Galaxy S5, the Motorola Moto X and the Nexus 5. Now, I know what you’re thinking. If you know anything about those phones, you’re thinking that the S5 is the obvious choice. You’re right. But to get a phone out-of-contract, the S5 is about double the price of the other two. So I crossed that jawn off the list. After about a week of comparing, I landed on the Moto X as my choice.

Just in case you’re thinking of taking the jump, I’ll break down some key things I learned after I switched:

As soon as I got the phone and started playing with it, I began to understand why people tout Android’s customization over iPhones. I noticed that there was no option to display the percentage of battery life remaining, so I downloaded an app that would display it in the top status bar. I initially had some problems receiving pictures in text messages from people with iPhones, so I made Google Hangouts my default messaging app. I didn’t like the clock that displayed on my home screen, so I downloaded a different one. The list goes on and on. The ability to customize almost everything is something that I never knew I wanted because I never knew it was possible.

Google-Apps

I use a bunch of Google products already. I browse the interwebs on Chrome on my laptop at home and work as well as my mobile devices, and I use Gmail and Google Calendar and all the apps that go along with those. But somehow so many other things related to Google seemed to come to life once I got an Android phone. Suddenly, I could download apps into Chrome that would help me to send/receive text messages from my computer as well as see who’s calling. I could access the Google Play store from my computer and download apps to my phone. I could make notes on my phone or computer and sync them with Google Keep. Perhaps these things would have been true with my iPhone if I owned a Mac, but I don’t. So this was new to me.

Battery life on my phone became an issue. I have always kept a charger in the car. With my iPhone, the battery would last all day at work. I’d charge it in the car leaving work, and it would be back up to a workable level in 20 minutes. Not the case with this new phone. I had to start keeping a charger at work just to make sure my phone doesn’t die at 4pm every day. But the nice thing is that my new phone uses a standard microUSB port to charge (like every other phone on the planet). So I no longer had to have the proprietary charger thing that Apple forced me to get. iphone lock screen

I missed my notifications on the lock screen of my iPhone. When I missed anything on my iPhone, there’d be a list of everything on the lock screen. Every text message, email, missed phone call, alert from a third-party app–it would all be listed right there on the lock screen. And I had the option to open any one of those things by swiping across it. With my Moto X (this isn’t true with all Android phones) that’s no longer possible. Now I can see the icon of the app that has a notification, and I can even see a snippet of the message, but I can only open the most recent notification from the lock screen. Whichever iOS update that added that feature spoiled me.

I use my phone to listen to podcasts and music over a Bluetooth connection to my car’s stereo system. With my iPhone it wasn’t hard to choose whatever I wanted to listen to, and play it. With Android it’s even easier to choose what I want to listen to because of widgets. I didn’t understand widgets at first, but it didn’t take me long to figure out that most of the apps I downloaded from the Google Play Store came with widgets that made them easily accessible from the home screen. So it was nothing to move every widget corresponding to an audio player (Spotify, iHeartRadio, Amazon Cloud Player, etc) to one screen. From there I could easily choose what I wanted to listen to.

As far as voice recognition goes, Google Now and Siri are pretty even. I may even give a slight edge to Siri. But on my Moto X I can call up Google Now without ever touching my phone, which is pretty cool (the new iOS will have this feature). But…

Everything else about Google Now is head and shoulders above Siri. Bringing up the Google Now screen on my phone will show me anything in the news related to anything that I’ve been searching about online. It will give me the weather forecast for whatever city I’m currently in. It will give me updates on any stock I want to know about. It will estimate the time it will take to get from where I am now to my house, to work, or anywhere else I go frequently as well as tell me what the traffic is like and estimate any delays. It will give me any news stories related to my favorite sports teams. And it will give me the location of where I parked my car. That’s right. My phone knows when I’m driving and it places a pin on a map at the location of where I stop. Google Now doesn’t have a personality like Siri, but it’s way more functional.

All in all, I really like Android. But I also still like iOS. In my opinion they are even in a lot of ways. I definitely don’t think Android is leaps and bounds above iOS, but it is slightly better in some ways for me. I’m a Google fan, so the operating system that was created by Google makes a ton more sense for me. Does that mean that I’ll never go back to an iPhone? Nah. But they’ll have to do something incredible to win me back. The ability to teleport me across the country and around the world would be pretty dope. Get on it, Apple. Until then, I’m sticking with the little green robot.

I’ll catch you next time…

-Erik (@WalkSays)

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Erik Walker

Erik is black.

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