Batman vs Superman, Mac vs PC, iOS vs Android. These are debates that seem to have no conclusion. No matter who wins, the other side will never be convinced. We’re not here to try to do that. But we will, however, test the popular notion that iPhones are just simple to use and Androids are a complicated lot. That in a way would imply all android users are supposedly smarter, but they’re not obviously. So we will see how these two popular mobile platforms perform doing some basic tasks that any average person would do on a smart phone.
1. Making a call
Favorite contacts are laid out much better in Android, smartly laid out according to the people you call most frequently. But FaceTime is the iPhone’s killer feature. We’d call it a tie since video call is something that can be done on either of the phones with or without FaceTime. But since some may call downloading a similar app from the app store or playstore to be “confusing” and “difficult” or “pointless” This round goes to iOS.
2. Checking time.
Both Android and the iPhone show you the time when you press the lock button. But many Android phones do time keeping better. Motorola, Samsung and HTC have smart covers and sensors that automatically show you the time when you pull the phone out of your pocket. Android also has a super-dim “daydream” clock that stays on when charging on your nightstand. Although nobody does that in my experience, they have the option. 1 win for android.
There are terrific Android cameras, and there are awful Android cameras. The iPhone’s camera is consistently great. Yet managing photos is a much better – and cheaper — experience on Android. Google Photos gives you unlimited free storage. Apple’s iCloud is a disaster. Winner, android.
Apple has finally begun displaying lowercase letters on its iPhone keyboard when you’re not using capital letters. But Android’s stock keyboard is still better than Apple’s, including swipe gestures and — most crucially — punctuation on the same screen as the letters. Another win for android.
5. App Management
Apple and Google both have fantastic app stores. But Android is far superior at organizing apps, letting you put important stuff on the home screens and hide less useful apps in the app drawer. Some argue it makes it more difficult but that has to be biased opinion if you’re someone who uses a lot of apps. Also, Android’s widgets are much more useful than Apple’s. Win : Android.
The iPhone’s active notifications let you respond from within the notification without opening the app – something Android lacks. But Android lets you set which notifications are “priority,” automatically sending them to the top of the list (and minimizing less important messages). It’s also easier to clear Android notifications with a single swipe.
Android 5 : iOS 0
7. Playing Music
Android has an excellent music-playing app in Google Play Music, which offers an impressive list of free, ad-supported music. Apple has Apple Music, which has no free option but integrates impressively well with your iTunes downloads. Victory for iOS
8. Checking Email
Android uses Gmail as its main mail app, no matter what email service you use. It’s pretty bare-bones if you don’t use Gmail, but Android’s “material design” lets you browse folders or switch accounts from any screen with a quick swipe to the right. Unlike Android, Apple’s mail app automatically recognizes your Exchange settings, but it takes a lot more taps to navigate. Hm, another win for android.
Google Maps is the best mobile app ever designed. It’s available on both the iPhone and Android, but it’s only used natively on Android. That means Siri can’t use Google Maps – only Apple’s improving but still inferior Maps app. Android wins again for the reasons iOS won with FaceTime.
Android’s contacts are much easier to navigate, and its large photos make it easier to find who you’re looking for. The iPhone automatically connects with Facebook and other social networks to populate your contacts’ photos. Most Android phones require a separate app to do that. Android : 9
Search is Google’s bread and butter, but Apple’s Spotlight searches more stuff than Google does: email, podcasts, notes, reminders, calendar events, texts and voice memos. Still, Siri’s “proactive search” is limited: it only surfaces contacts, apps, nearby attractions and news. “Google Now” works like a Vulcan mind meld, eerily searching for flight reservations, sports scores, transit routes and news stories before you think of them. We give this to iOS because of a better integration within the OS although its more of a tie. iOS wins for a 3rd time.
12. Set to Vibrate
The iPhone has a physical switch. On Android, you have to log into your phone, press the volume button, and tap the bell to set it to vibrate. Some Android apps, however, let you automatically set your phone to vibrate in certain situations – when you arrive at work, for instance. But iOS takes this because nothing beats having a physical button for something.
14. Voice Assisstant
Android’s voice “assistant” types as you talk, and works offline. But Siri has a fun personality and understands natural language a bit better than Android. Google Now is faster, accurate and smarter but some may prefer Siri’s humour. Based on usability though and not on sounding cool, Android takes the cake.
Android’s default Messenger app is pretty and perfectly serviceable, but iMessage lets you send free texts and voice messages to other Apple customers – even from your Mac. Google Hangouts lets you combine texts and Google Hangouts messages in a single app, and send them from your computer if you have a Google account. But it still feels like a work in progress. iOS wins.
Have you been keeping score? I didn’t feel like because of how false the myth of the iPhone being simpler was. What do you think? Do you agree?