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4 min read 14 comments

Is Android really so intimidating?

As Android fans, we're all pretty invested in our favorite mobile OS, sometimes to the point of being blind to its faults. But it really does need to be addressed. So we decided to tackle what might be an almost taboo topic among our readers. Why do people find Android such an intimidating system?

Even those who’ve used Android for a while now or are the biggest advocates of the platform can’t deny that there are some aspects of Android that are just plain complicated, even more so if we compare it side-by-side with iOS.

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Android isn't always on the top of its game. / © AndroidPIT

Yes, I know that AndroidPIT readers love Android and aren’t the biggest fans of iOS, but when some good ideas can be brought over to our beloved droid, they should be mentioned. If you still haven’t been able to play around with an iPhone, you should stop by a store and play with one for a while.

The ease of navigation in some parts of iOS is quite impressive. Minimal clicks, more centralized info and a lot fewer popups in the middle of the screen. Of course, this system still has problems, but when it comes to this aspect, there’s no way you can't applaud the effort.

I’m not the only one to say so either. I’ve been chatting with Android users for years now, whether it's about native versions in customized ROMS, Xposed modules or proprietary interfaces. Although Android does gives users more freedom, customization, and features, not everyone is looking for that.

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Number errors in the Play Store, not even you know what to do with that / © AndroidPIT

The idea of Android being intimidating becomes even more apparent when you think about all those people who don’t use tech that much or are part of an older generation. Giving instructions is tough, but what do you do when, after downloading an app, someone freaks out because an invalid number error pops up in their face?

So, after about 3 years when someone who knew nothing about Android, actually learns how to use it properly, their phone breaks and they have to get a new one. If they choose any brand different from the one they’ve been using, there’s a big chance that they’ll have to start from scratch.

That's because Android can massively differ from one brand to another. It could even happen with different generations of Android, from the same brand.

Users hear about an impressive feature on Android, so they buy a phone and then it’s gone.  “Ah, it’s because you bought brand X,” or even “Ah, that’s on a new version of Android.” These are both common things to hear when talking about Android.

The fear of clicking on a bad link, downloading malware or installing something they shouldn’t also are huge concerns from Android users who don’t know the platform that well. You won’t believe how many times my aunt has asked me questions along these lines.

Apple has a lot more control over their apps than Google does and iOS doesn’t have a lot of notifications sent by the system itself, like processing or mailbox errors, and unexpected stoppages.

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How do you explain what to do when this happens to someone who doesn’t understand technology? / © AndroidPIT

Freedom is fantastic, but those who want it, are also those who know how to use it. In a world where tech is continuously more ubiquitous and intuitive, you shouldn’t have to know the ins and outs of a system to be able to use it well. It should be an option for people like you guys, AndroidPIT readers, who appreciate the system and like and are interested in technology.

An infinite number of options is also incredible for the market and users, who can then decide what they like based on their budget. However, there shouldn’t be so many people out there who are afraid of making the wrong choice.

Remember, this is just a small portion of the problems that Android needs to solve. Yet, honestly, the list is quite a bit shorter than it was a few years ago and that should give us hope for the future. Every day we celebrate cool things on Android, but just because you love something doesn’t mean you should ignore the flaws.

Should there be easy modes on some Android interfaces? Do you think Android is intimidating?

 

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  • I've had a Samsung Android phone for several months, and am not impressed. I haven't found the time to sit down and study the documentation (which seems to be the main part of my problem). So much is "going on" in Android, and there are so many options, it's often hard to know what's available, and what one should do. In comparison, Windows is a fairly coherent system. (Fairly.)


  • It seems that Android is harder to use, depending on the phone and manufacturer. Samsung gives an easy total user experience whereas the Pixel 2 I now own doesn't really do anything unless I TELL it to. If I want a feature I have to figure out what app or widget will give me that feature. I'm a bit too busy for all that work so I basically call, text, and play Solitaire on my phone now. So while it isn't intimidating, per say, i can see how some might be intimidated because of the amount of resources it takes to figure out what you want your phone to do. Hopefully that makes sense...


  • An Droid 5 months ago Link to comment

    Meh... Android's not for pussies.


  • Reg Joo 5 months ago Link to comment

    I find android far easier to use than ios. Updating apps is easier(not talking about security, or os updates). I've had nothing but problems updating apps on my air 2, with the stupid apple id, that only works on my email, and won't update free apps(like google maps, youtube, netflix, and even a bible app), without the id, which says verification failed. My id works for apple's mail, and also find my phone, but that's it. Their new multitasking is a joke, it's almost etch-o-sketch stupid, and if you don't know you have to press the recent apps bar for 2~3 sec's, you will never know. In android, if something goes wrong, there's a alert, in ios, you won't have a clue, online help sucks, and I'm not driving to the applestore, just to fix something that android fixes in a few clicks. No matter how simple it seems, you have to do whatever apple's way, sucks! In android you can do whatever you like, change whatever you don't like, and get on with your life. You don't have to make any special effort to connect with other operating os, or ways to communicate with them, as long as they're not apple. Sure it's fast, but you can't get things done, the way you want to, you have to do whatever apple's way, that's what I don't like.


  • Dazzler 5 months ago Link to comment

    Honestly I find apple products far harder to learn.

    I had to Google how to right click on a macbook as I could not figure it out naturally.

    If you want to copy files to and from an iphone / ipod you can only do it on a computer that has specialty software installed. With Android, it's easy, plug it into any computer and use Windows Explorer to transfer files, like any device. You can even use USB OTG and plug a USB drive into your phone to transfer files!

    Everyone says "apple products just work". For me, I take the "just" to mean "barely". They do what apple wants them to do, if you are a medium-skilled user then you will find something on any apple device that doesn't work how you want it to.

    Also everyone always complains about updates, it's a non-issue. My S7 Edge had all the features of Oreo before Nougat was even released! And as a recent discovery has shown, apple updates purposely make your phone run slower in order to make you buy a new one!

    I'd say if you have any kind of personality buy an Android, if you're happy being like everyone else buy an IOS! And if you want to be REALLY different, get a Windows Phone!!


  • My complaint about Android isn't with "intimidation" but the failure to take control of OS updates for compatible hardware away from the OEMs and telcos, pointing like idiots at each other and saying "It's HIS fault". It's Google's fault for ever letting them do what neither Microsoft nor Apple ever let them do.

    I expect to read here about yesterday's announcement that Google wants to radically limit Play Store apps backward compatibility with earlier versions of Android. The combined effect of failing to update the OS and failing to provide app update for earlier Android is obviously intended to force buying a new phone a couple of years sooner - THAT will push me to responsibly supported iOS devices.


    • Dazzler 5 months ago Link to comment

      Have you read the recent discovery that Apple updates for older phones are designed to make them run slower so that you are more likely to buy a new phone?

      I used to agree that a lack of control from Google is a negative of Android but now I'm glad because it means everyone is trying to get the best products out.

      In a closed system like apple's, there is no drive to release anything better which is why the iphone 8 still only has a HD ready screen!


      • I don't like Apple any better and it would take a lot to drive me there, it has its own fans / ecosystem and chugs along a year or two behind Android cherry-picking what it likes from Android innovations and skipping some failures. I don't agree that the failure of OS control and support improves Android - Microsoft's Windows has always allowed a lot of OEM and end user freedom to innovate, add, pad (or bloat) with third party extras and both keeps up security and even offered Windows 10 free to ten year old Windows 7 PCs - at every price point. Because it has obligations to legacy business fleets, Windows has not normally tried to disable older third party software. You don't have to buy Microsoft hardware or pay twice the price for a "flagship" to get OS support and updates for seven or eight years, if the hardware has the guts to run it.

        Google has done (e.g. crippling microSD functionality and bloating its own apps to obesity) and now again seems to be doing evil things (limiting Play Store support for older versions) to force continuing purchases of higher end devices where it could easily provide centralized security and OS updates. The plan is to frog-march users into buying new hardware with the term of their telco contracts, even when the old device should be good for several years more.


    • Reg Joo 5 months ago Link to comment

      Apple's already started limiting older apps.


  • please save tht crap for your iPhone fans who went and made there phone to look like a android phone yea right !


  • On my Sony Xperia it says YouTube can record video, voice, use my camera, modify my sd card, read contact etc WITHOUT MY PERMISSON whenever it wants to. Should any app be allowed to do such things?


  • Just read on techradar,that Apple are slowing down there old phones trying to get there iPhone 6 and 6s users then in making the switch to there new phones,if i was a iPhone users i would be really angry with Apples attitude towards there phone users,if Samsung did that to there Android phones,it would be bye bye Samsung from me.so glad i have never given myself a chance switching to the iPhones,as you are so restricted with the iPhone software


    • Dazzler 5 months ago Link to comment

      Yep and what's worse, they did it to cover up the failing batteries.

      They use very cheap, small batteries, then after a year or so limit performance to avoid exposing the poor build quality. Makes people more likely to be repeat customers.


    • Reg Joo 5 months ago Link to comment

      Yes