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6 min read 82 Shares 18 comments

Soul-searching with the iPhone SE: an Android lover's experience

I have finally had the opportunity to try out an iPhone, and thus to test iOS. For the first time I have been able to compare the quirks of Apple’s operating system with the idiosyncrasies of my familiar Android and see if the grass is greener in an Apple world. Over the course of the next two weeks, I'll share my impressions of iOS with you.

The main question I ask myself again and again with the iPhone is, "why is it so popular?" Are the devices really so much better than the equivalent high-end Android devices? Do they have sex appeal that is invisible to me? Are Apple employees just extremely well-versed in NLP training? Or is there even an objective reason? Now I have the chance to find out. For the first time, I have spent more than five minutes with an iPhone in my hand.

Also for the first time ever: I created an Apple ID. The name sounds significant but it’s little more than the traditional combination of email and password. And, of course, I just used my Gmail address. When setting the device up, I also enabled Touch ID, so I pressed my finger at all conceivable angles against the Home button until the setup wizard was satisfied.

touch id app store
No chance of downloading an app without the additional security layer. / © ANDROIDPIT

I then took to the App Store. The first app asked for my fingerprint. And the second app, too. I wanted to make it so that the App Store stopped asking me if I really wanted to install free apps. I tried to find the setting in the App Store to correct this, but I couldn't. My colleague Steve Haak showed me the way: I had to go to the Settings app and there open the entry for iTunes & App Store. Unfortunately, I saw that I couldn't simply install any app without a password or fingerprint, because I can not deactivate this two-stage confirmation. My goodness, that's annoying.

Apps set up under iOS: A bumpy start

The first app I grabbed was the Google app Inbox for Gmail, which I had used on my Nexus 6P. Inbox sorts my mailbox automatically. This means new mail was automatically moved by the system into the correct folder. Since it’s not possible to export its filters and import them into Apple's Mail app, and I was too lazy to configure the thing, I ignored the Apple app. Easy. iOS noticed my decision automatically and only showed me notifications from Inbox. If you were to install a second email app on Android in this way, you would have to manually disable notifications from the first app.

inbox notifications ios 9 3
Notifications coming through from Inbox. / © ANDROIDPIT

After I set up my two Gmail accounts in Inbox, I could use the login information in other Google apps like Photos and Play Music and sign in quickly. Fortunate for me, because otherwise it would have required extra effort due to two-factor-authentification (2FA).

google login google apps ios 9 3
Google apps recognize Google accounts in other apps instantly. / © ANDROIDPIT

In other apps, like Feedly or Netflix, I was not so lucky. On Android, you simply press sign up with Google and you’re in. On iOS, there is only a very limited form. The only accounts that I could set up globally were Apple, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and Vimeo. The rest do not exist for the iPhone. Why Google apps can somehow still share their logins, no one could explain to me in a way that I could understand. So I had to type my login information in, including the 2FA code, each time.

Feedly was the worst in this regard. In Feedly, as well as in AirBnB (seen in the screenshot below), an in-app browser screen with the Google login. However, after entering my email address, password and 2FA code, I got redirected to the Google home page (yes, with the search field). and not back to Feedly. So I had to create a new Feedly login just to bypass this problem.

airbnb google login 2fa ios 9 3
If you're using 2FA, logging in with Google on non-Google apps is a big gamble. / © ANDROIDPIT

Once I managed to overcome these initial difficulties, I was amazed by the quality of the apps. You can see and feel the maturity of this system and the benefits of clear policies that apply across all apps in the App Store. It may be that an Android user will miss the back button next to the home button. But when an iOS user knows that it is integrated in the same place in the design of each app, then there’s no problem. And by my third day, I was going to that upper-left-corner back button as though guided by instinct.

The apps are quality iOS

Apple’s iOS has the evolutionary advantage over Android simply as it has had more time to develop. Cupertino released its smartphone OS in January 2007, and, in July 2008, this led to the App Store. Android saw the Play Store introduced in September 2008. As a latecomer, Google had to lower the threshold for app developers, preventing the establishment of such rigorous guidelines as Apple, whose iPhone has already sold millions of units and whose App Store was rapidly filling with apps. The unfortunate result for Google was poor-quality apps filling the Play Store – a problem that still persists today. Apple, on the other hand, had the luxury of being able to banish some apps from the App Store because they did not meet the vaguely formulated quality criteria.

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

The smartphone experience, in terms of apps, is sometimes much better on an iOS device. But Android smartphones, for the reason stated above, are not really to blame for this. Samsung, Sony, HTC and other manufacturers are building devices that I like a lot better than iPhones, and the majority of smartphone customers, at least in Germany, own a device other than an iPhone, as Statista data has shown for years.

AndroidPIT iphone se eric 9929
Another failed attempt to login with my Google account. / © ANDROIDPIT

In the coming days I will continue to explore iOS, its strengths and weaknesses. I've heard that the system restore feature is terrific and restores all apps along with their data. I have to try it.

In addition, I fielded some questions though Facebook, which I will go through in the coming days:

  • Do I need to listen to my music through iTunes?
  • How can I transfer files to the iPhone?
  • Is the system more stable than Android?
  • Is the reception good?
  • Does the battery last long enough?

If you still have any questions or want to share ideas, then please leave a comment and I will go through as much as I can in over the next two weeks. At the end of it all, you can expect a detailed review.

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Readers' favorite comments

  • Hugo Libonati Apr 27, 2016

    First of all, hope you have a good time with ios, it really is an amazing os that works perfectly for what it is designed for.

    As for your questions:

    -What do you mean with "have to listen to my music through iTunes"? you only need to have your music on itunes to transfer it to the iphone, otherwise, you can listen to it anywhere you want on your PC and on your phone (you dont have to use apple music app to listen to your tracks, although you'll have to use itunes to get all of them into your phone). I think there is only one way to listen to your music without itunes, which is via streaming services like spotify. At first it was a turn off for me, the fact that I had to go through all of the process with iTunes, but in time you'll see that its not a real deal breaker when you think that most of consumers dont add new tracks every single moment during the day and that you have to plug your phone on your pc to do a backup without using icloud.

    -It depends on what kind of files you're looking to transfer.
    Music - itunes or streaming services
    Photos - you can just drag and drop it to one of the iphone's images folder
    Files like doc, xls, pdf - you don't have a default file manager like some android phones, but you can use some apps to manage them. What works for me is google docs apps, i can manage my files within those apps (download, save, edit, delete, etc) and for pdf files, i use the default ibook app. You can also use a cloud service like dropbox, google drive, box, etc. They do the manage service and help you with saving some extra space on your phone, the downside of it is that they require an internet connection if you dont save the files on your cache.

    -People can say whatever they want, but ios is and probably will ever be more stable than android. It has its flaws, its bugs and whatsoever, but still it behaves better than android. Perhaps mostly because of the lack of freedom to customize the system.

    -I've never felt a huge difference when it comes to reception from iphones to android phones. I see a big difference when I change carriers though. One thing I do notice is that ios never lies to you about your connection, for example, when I had android, if my connection suddenly dropped, android would still show me that i was connected and i was even able to write and send messages on whatsapp, even though they never really went through. With ios, when your connection drops, it may still show connected on you signal bar, but the system will tell you that you have no connection when you try to do something that requires a connection.

    -Well, battery is a debate I feel we're never gonna get over. But for me, HELL YES.
    First, let me say that even the latest iphone (6s Plus) doesnt have a huge battery (only 2750 mAh), but you'll never need a huge battery when your os knows how to manage it right. I've wrote it on another article here, my first iphone was a 5s (1560 mAH), then i went back to android with a galaxy s6 (2550 mAh) and my battery with it would only last half of what i used to get with the 5s. You may say it was a phone problem, a samsung problem, a touchwiz problem, but I had many other android phones before (galaxy 5, galaxy S, xperia P, nexus 4, nexus 5 and the first moto x) and none of them gave me such a good battery life as the iphone did. But it doesn't mean it will last long enough, it depends on your usage.

18 comments

Write new comment:

  • Hi, I am still waiting for a follow up post about this.
    Can I have a request, Maybe you could give a review or even a comparison of CAMERA of
    iPhone SE and Sony Z5 Compact
    I am still confuse what to buy.
    Maybe this review could help me have a better decision making.

    Please compare pictures taken from the two smartphone. also deep review and comparison on FRONT CAMERA of them.

    Thanks alot :)


  • I don't think whether this function is useful...


  • If you already have google play music just download the app for it. Your music from that service is cloud based and will show up. Another easier way of adding music to your iPhone without having to click plug up your phone to iTunes every time is to go to settings>general>iTunes wifi sync. It'll ask you to plug up to iTunes on your pc or Mac once and then if you add anything to your iPhone in iTunes it'll automatically sync every time it's plugged into the charger and on the same wifi network. Also Apple Music is a paid service very similar to google's own play music service.
    I've also found for a better battery life do not close your apps in your app switcher (double press home button). While in the background apps are frozen and don't use very many resources. Your iPhone will actually have to work harder to start a closed app and immediately refresh than to only have to refresh one already loaded into memory. It doesn't help much but an extra 5% can come in handy.
    Another great tip is use Siri to turn on low power mode at the beginning of the day. Another site did a test and found that turning on low power mode at the beginning of the day on their iPhone 6s+ gave them roughly an additional 35% or more battery life increase as opposed to days they didn't use it.


  • Dean L. Apr 27, 2016 Link to comment

    I switched from Android to iOS because for me it became an issue not being able to get os and security updates. That is one thing apple has addressed in my opinion quite well. Is iOS perfect? No. But knowing that security is addressed provides me at least some piece of mind. And when I upgraded from one iPhone to another all went well.


  • Alex P. Apr 27, 2016 Link to comment

    I did use my Friend's I phone!!I really hated it dont know why!!being a abundant android user I phone did not impress me..:(


  • Hi,
    I am an android user ever since. but because of iphone se, i'll trying to buy and use an iphone SE once it will be available to our country.
    But JUST A QUESTION, maybe you could go over to your iphone, in playing music to it, can I put external music files that were downloaded in .mp3 format just like in android? or does iphone has its own downloader of music files that may be better rather than listening through music with internet/data connection?

    thanks alot.
    this article is so useful. looking forward to your next post about this.


    • You can't put mp3 files directly in the iPhone. You'll have to go to iTunes on your PC then sync it with your iPhone. This extra step annoys me, that's why I prefer Android over iOS.


  • who said in india we have iphone functionality......just buy apple to show off peoples that we have costly phone.......its just a social symbal in india


    • Mark
      • Admin
      Apr 27, 2016 Link to comment

      Same here in the Philippines the IPhone is status symbol. They all have cheaper android that they use in public areas because the IPhone will get snatched.


  • Mark
    • Admin
    Apr 27, 2016 Link to comment

    From my very limited experience with the IPhone and talking to others. That is a lot easier to go from an IPhone to Android than Android to IPhone because of all of apples restrictions. They are more popular among the non techie users. It will be interesting to see your trial and tribulations with the IPhone.


  • First of all, hope you have a good time with ios, it really is an amazing os that works perfectly for what it is designed for.

    As for your questions:

    -What do you mean with "have to listen to my music through iTunes"? you only need to have your music on itunes to transfer it to the iphone, otherwise, you can listen to it anywhere you want on your PC and on your phone (you dont have to use apple music app to listen to your tracks, although you'll have to use itunes to get all of them into your phone). I think there is only one way to listen to your music without itunes, which is via streaming services like spotify. At first it was a turn off for me, the fact that I had to go through all of the process with iTunes, but in time you'll see that its not a real deal breaker when you think that most of consumers dont add new tracks every single moment during the day and that you have to plug your phone on your pc to do a backup without using icloud.

    -It depends on what kind of files you're looking to transfer.
    Music - itunes or streaming services
    Photos - you can just drag and drop it to one of the iphone's images folder
    Files like doc, xls, pdf - you don't have a default file manager like some android phones, but you can use some apps to manage them. What works for me is google docs apps, i can manage my files within those apps (download, save, edit, delete, etc) and for pdf files, i use the default ibook app. You can also use a cloud service like dropbox, google drive, box, etc. They do the manage service and help you with saving some extra space on your phone, the downside of it is that they require an internet connection if you dont save the files on your cache.

    -People can say whatever they want, but ios is and probably will ever be more stable than android. It has its flaws, its bugs and whatsoever, but still it behaves better than android. Perhaps mostly because of the lack of freedom to customize the system.

    -I've never felt a huge difference when it comes to reception from iphones to android phones. I see a big difference when I change carriers though. One thing I do notice is that ios never lies to you about your connection, for example, when I had android, if my connection suddenly dropped, android would still show me that i was connected and i was even able to write and send messages on whatsapp, even though they never really went through. With ios, when your connection drops, it may still show connected on you signal bar, but the system will tell you that you have no connection when you try to do something that requires a connection.

    -Well, battery is a debate I feel we're never gonna get over. But for me, HELL YES.
    First, let me say that even the latest iphone (6s Plus) doesnt have a huge battery (only 2750 mAh), but you'll never need a huge battery when your os knows how to manage it right. I've wrote it on another article here, my first iphone was a 5s (1560 mAH), then i went back to android with a galaxy s6 (2550 mAh) and my battery with it would only last half of what i used to get with the 5s. You may say it was a phone problem, a samsung problem, a touchwiz problem, but I had many other android phones before (galaxy 5, galaxy S, xperia P, nexus 4, nexus 5 and the first moto x) and none of them gave me such a good battery life as the iphone did. But it doesn't mean it will last long enough, it depends on your usage.


  • You're late. I can talk about Apple and the iPhone because I had one. I don't like iOS. It's their way or the highway. I got tired of wanting more. I refuse to be dragged into Apple's controlled ecosystem again.


  • I think you'll love the fact that your phone won't die just for simply being turned on. That's the biggest issue I've had with my Android phone after being an iPhone user.


  • BruinGuy Apr 27, 2016 Link to comment

    iPhone popularity isn't really based upon its functionality but based upon status. In many circles one is an outsider if they don't own an iPhone. We live in a very judgmental world and Apple folks can be the biggest of snobs.


  • Steve Apr 26, 2016 Link to comment

    As one who has been wondering the same for the last couple of years I welcome your article and review over the next couple of weeks. Look forward to the next part :)

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