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The iOS features that Android needs today

Apple's mobile operating system, iOS, is certainly not your thing, nor mine. Nevertheless, I tested it out on the iPhone SE for several weeks. There are three strengths I noticed in iOS that Android is lacking. Google and other developers would do us favor including them in Android.

1. High quality of Apps

I am amazed by the average quality of the apps in Apple's App Store. You can see and feel the maturity of iOS and the benefits of the strict App Store guidelines. Apple’s iOS has a small temporal advantage over Android. Apple released its smartphone OS in January 2007 and incorporated the App Store in July 2008. This head start gave Apple the luxury of being able to banish some apps from the App Store for not meeting its quality criteria. The smartphone experience on iOS, in terms of apps, is sometimes much better than on Android.

multicity android vs ios
Case in point: on Android (left) Multi City looks horrible and displays inccorect data. / © ANDROIDPIT

Google must become more stringent with the Play Store. Just because you entered the market a few months later, it doesn't mean that, eight years later, you should be proud just to have a few hundred thousand more apps available than Apple. Many of the apps in the Play Store are simply bad and result in a frustrating user experience. This negatively affects the reputation of the entire ecosystem and gives iPhone users a reason to prefer iOS over Android.

2. High security software

Thanks to a more limited product range, Apple has another thing tightly under control: software security. Apple continues to provide five year old devices with security updates. On Android, devices are left to the wolves after, at most, three years.

AndroidPIT iphone se eric 9926
Not bad: already another update. / © ANDROIDPIT

It would be possible to change this on Android and indeed many devices are now seeing monthly security updates. But even better would be if updates to the OS, so jumps from Android 5.0 to 5.1 or 6.0, arrive on more devices within a six-month window. However, manufacturers claim that they could not optimize these updates with their user interfaces (TouchWiz, EMUI, et al.) within a shorter period of time.

Not every manufacturer adopts the approach of HTC or Motorola, who have trimmed much of the fat from their UIs, making the update process much quicker. Google makes room for smartphone manufacturers customizations by increasingly decoupling parts of the system kernel and making them available through Play Store updates. This is easier to install than a full Android update and circumvents the difficulties associated with custom UIs.

Moto G 2015 HERO IMAGE 1
Motorola's skimpy UI makes it faster on the update front.. / © ANDROIDPIT

And here Google will continue to make progress. The kernel eventually needs to become completely separated from the UI. If there's a known security problem in the kernel, and it is pending a fix, it could be carried out through an interface compatible replacement. So Samsung, LG, Sony and other manufacturers could retain their user interfaces and also provide timely updates to the kernel. When Google will achieve this decoupling to the satisfaction of manufacturers, we unfortunately do not yet know.

3. A full backup

My time spent with the iPhone SE meant a lot of contact with the iCloud Backup. It was heavenly. Within five minutes you can move from one iPhone to another with everything – all your apps, settings and data – completely intact.

The apps are exactly as they were before, down to their locations on the home screen; you are already logged in everywhere; your messages, call logs, chat histories, save data and background image are all carried over. In Android, you can do this too, I know, but my grandmother would not be able to do it.

titanium app
Clearly I want to have to root my smartphone just to make a backup. / © ANDROIDPIT

Transferring your app data to a new Android device is a horrorshow. Most people have to start from scratch, because the solutions Google offers are useless. If you're not careful, Google will proceed to install every single app you have ever downloaded from he Play Store. With every single one, you will need to log in again and a few, if you're lucky, will have made a cloud backup of your data.

Here, however, I have to say that app developers, and not so much Google, are to blame. Since API Level 8, so Android 2.2, there has been a Data Backup API, through which developers could upload app data to any cloud service. Since Android 6.0, this interface has been active at a factory level; app developers only need to take a look at Google's documentation. If you want to argue that only a fraction of users are running Android 6.0, and this is why developers have been slow to adopt the API, Google has that covered.


Android is a great operating system, much more open than iOS and it remains my favorite. The three points I have raised here are advantages iOS has over Android, and I want to see them on on my side of the fence. Google and Android app developers are kindly asked to step up to the plate and show Apple that Android can do things better.


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  • gaseki 5 months ago Link to comment

    The author forgot about a brilliant feature of deleting all your music library on Apple's whim or replacing songs with censored versions.
    As for apps in play store - android is an open system, for the people - if you want to program then do it and share with the world.
    I understand that you might like some stuff on iOS (although I spent a few months with iPad and didn't get along), but the limitations they put on you...

  • Great

  • storm 5 months ago Link to comment

    1 I dispute that Apple has higher quality apps. I often hear this claim, but never see anything substantive to back it up. Sure Google Play has many crap apps and people don't pay attention to make sure they're picking up the correct or better app. While some heavier policing of apps in the store would be useful, it's not really required.

    2 Security is in the hands of the owner, where it really should be. Relying on the maker is naive and insufficient. When a government can require Apple to break into your phone at their whim, it's not secure. If you want a secure Android phone, rooting it is the path. You can have as up-to-date of a ROM as you want. Assuming you bought a popular mainstream phone to start. Android further insulates you from government pressures. It can't just call on Google to break into the phone, and if you've password protected your Recovery, there's little the manufacturer can do either.

    3 Full backup. I don't get this claim either. My photos automatically sync on wifi. My email and texts are preserved. My music is on my SD card as are other files. If something is not covered automatically, I can easily copy it over or use an app. Full backup also breaks point number 2. You are no longer in control of your data as it can be recovered from Apple with a warrant against your wishes. But really, I wipe my phone and flash new ROMs without fear of data loss because it's a vastly overblown claim if you have configured your phone and apps to work for you the way you want in the first place rather than the way the maker says it must.

  • Sir my mobile is androidone micromax. i have also android 6.0.1. recently coming andriid new update 16.3mb. It not install. After downlod they tell error. iam try some times. Same problem. so please tellme some solution sir. thanks sir

  • It is the openness of the platform that I love - ios may offer a range of stable apps but I prefer to experiment and constantly use new apps to see what tweaks and improvements have been made. I accept that sometimes apps crash but that is the risk if you want to constandly change apps and try new things. Ios may be more "productive" for the business person but for people who use their devices for fun Android is much better.I currently have over 250 apps on my S7 and there must be twice this number that I have installed and tried over the last year or so.

  • I want a moratorium on silly graphics and stirring-up the UI of staple spps, like calendar and contacts. AND I WANT AN "UNDO" FUNCTION.

  • Paolo 5 months ago Link to comment

    Yeah, Android apps are just PATHETIC compared to iOS ones, content presentation and crash wise. Especially ones where ADS and in-app purchases are involved. At least on iOS there's some semblance of regulation, Ads are significantly restrained and implemented non obtrusively. On Android ads pop out at literally every other UI interaction (press this, ad, press that, ad) and try to fleece you at every opportunity.

    Also with photo apps, Android versions produce WORSE photos because of significantly more heavy handed compression on Android over iOS. I have a Note 3 and iPhone 5S (Both were 2013 phones, so they're on par.) I bring them up to a computer and photos I edit with the Note are less detailed than 5S photos when edited THE EXACT SAME WAY with a uniform sample image I sent to both phones. Then again, I would STILL prefer Android, so...

    • You spend two paragraphs criticising Android and its "pathetic" apps - and then finish by saying you prefer Android??? Wtf?

  • Jim Britt 5 months ago Link to comment

    I just got my 4th Android (Galaxy S7) and have never had an issue swapping; all my stuff is installed and ready to use on the new phone. it took me less than an hour to get this phone exactly like I wanted it and since Apple is always playing catch-up to Android (my S5 was better than the newest iPhone) I'm very happy

  • Um, I've never had to root to completely back up or restore my phone to how it was on another. With exception to a few widgets, there are alternatives available without root. I think one would just need to do a little more learning on Android Apps, before jumping to the conclusion that root is required. I do agree that it would be nice to have a backup, similar to iCloud (that restores everything), but I'll take the openness of Android w/ homescreen widgets over the plain jane look of OS, even if it means that little sacrifice.

  • Many Android Apps are designed for phones and not tablets and so they look blown up/poorly on tablets or don't work well.

  • Nice article. As a developer I use both platforms.. but my personal device runs iOS.

  • Dean L. 5 months ago Link to comment

    when I upgraded from one iPhone to another all went well. I installed many of the same apps on my iPhone that I had on my HTC android phone and have to admit that they just seemed a little more polished on iOS. Receiving iOS updates on an older iPhone is pretty good because at least there's piece of mind that security issues are being addressed.

  • 18
    anshul 5 months ago Link to comment

    Apple has an edge but it's not difficult for Google to do so. Android is a an open platform so daily there is flood of new apps. Google filters & now they are more strict in terms to list new apps on Google Play Store. Apple has maintain it's exclusivity by maintaining the quality.

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