Last September, after spending a month on sabbatical in Europe, I decided to try the iPhone after being on Android for many years. My plan was to start switching back and forth between iOS and Android every six months. So I got an iPhone 6 and used it as my only mobile device from early October 2014 until this past weekend. I continued to use a bunch of Nexus7s we have in our homes but the iPhone was the only thing I took with me when I left home each morning.
After a few days on iOS I wrote a post about what I liked and did not like about iOS. Reading it now after six months on iOS, it is still pretty accurate. But now that I am back on Android, the two things I really miss about he iPhone are TouchID and iMessage. If Android had both of those two things, I wouldn’t miss anything. I don’t totally understand why Apple doesn’t make an iMessage client for Android. They have the most popular messenger in the US (maybe the world) and they aren’t taking advantage of it. They are doing the same thing with iMessage that Blackberry did with BBM.
I will also miss the apps that are iOS only. I am keeping my iPhone6 and will use it on wifi in my home and office to stay connected to five or six apps that I use that are iOS only. Hopefully this will make it easier when I switch back to iOS in six months.
But now I’m back on Android and happy to be back. I am using a Nexus6. I am not sure I love the 6″ form factor but I’m getting use to it. The switchover is a pain in the butt. Getting the google apps working on the phone is a breeze. I just sign into the Android device with my Google login and they are all working. That part is really sweet and way better than what I have to do on iPhone. But getting the rest of the apps I want on my phone is a pain and then logging into all of them is a real chore. I use strong passwords and 2-factor wherever possible and so that process for close to 100 apps takes hours. I spent a fair bit of time this weekend getting the phone set up the way I want it.
So what are the things I missed about Android? Here’s my list:
1) gmail with offline sync. this is a huge one for me. i’m on the subway, planes, places with no public wifi and bad cell service a lot. gmail on iOS doesn’t do offline email very well. gmail on android does it beautifully
2) google calendar. there is no google calendar app for iOS. the google calendar app for Android works perfectly for me. i missed it.
3) notifications. i thought that iOS had caught up to Android in terms of the way notifications work. but it hasn’t. android still does notifications way better. and certain apps, like twitter, work way better with notifications on Android than iOS.
4) widgets and launcher – i didn’t realize how much I would miss the ability to customize my home screen with third party launchers and widgets. Android does this way better than iOS.
5) google maps and chrome as defaults – i never was able to figure out how to direct all my apps to use chrome and google maps as defaults. so i found myself using two browsers and two maps apps on iOS. on Android I only have one and all the android apps use them as defaults. this works way better for me.
But, as I said last October, these two mobile operating systems are pretty similar to each other. There are differences for sure, as I’ve outlined, but they are actually pretty minor in the grand scheme of things. Switching back and forth is pretty easy except for the part about downloading all the apps onto a new phone and logging into into them and customizing the screens. Once you do that, it’s more or less the same experience on both devices.