#358 - More iOS vs Android Thoughts

9 minute read


This post is literally only about my continued review on iOS vs Android. I thought of more stuff that I want to say since writing Column #356. If that doesn't interest you, skip to the Top 5 then get outta here!

First thought:

In general - iOS and Android are basically the same at this point. They do the same stuff, just in very slightly different ways. The points made below are basically nit-picks.

Ways iOS & the iPhone are better:

It's super nice that basically everything is built to work with the iPhone. I just rented a car, and all it took was for me to plug my phone into the USB port of the car in order to interface with it. Audio just started working. I could access Siri by pushing a button on the steering wheel. That sort of thing never happened with my old Nexus phones. They would just freak out when plugged into a car's USB port. When I went to get a case for my XS, I was overwhelmed by choice. My Nexus 6p case had to be ordered through Amazon, and even then there weren't a litany of choices.

I really like that after taking & sending screenshots you're asking if you want to keep them. I didn’t realize it but I almost always don’t care to save the screenshots I take. My old phone had a ton of screenshots filling up Google Photos I had to go back and mass delete.

iOS is buttery smooth. I've not once seen a bit of input lag, or stuttering. It's just not a thing that happens. You think I'd have gotten used to this by now, but I still appreciate it every day.

The voice-to-text dictation input on the iOS keyboard is so much better than it is on Android... and it's for such a simple reason - the voice input doesn't timeout. On Android the voice input automatically stops if you take a short pause in your speech. So, if you're writing more than a tiny bit of text, you feel rushed to try to say everything all at once, which then causes you to make mistakes that you have to in after the fact and fix manually. That auto-stop was a design choice that someone at Google made and it was absolutely the wrong decision. I am more than happy to manually stop the voice input with a tap on the screen if it gives me the opportunity to stop and think about what I want to say in the middle of it. Google's voice input auto-stop is only better if you're using voice-to-text for short single sentences... and that's just not my primary use case.

Having a consistent hardware experience allows apps to be tailored to that hardware in a way that Android apps cannot. The Sleep Tracking app I use utilizes the microphone. It shows my exact phone in its little first-time-setup tutorial thing. It knows the best orientation to position the phone and exactly how sensitive the mic is. No developer for Android has those luxuries, so there are not apps that can do that sort of thing as consistently.

There's a time-tracking application on iOS called "Life Cycle". I don't know of any equivalent app on the Android side. If one exists, I bet it wouldn't be as good as this one is. Apps on iOS are, in general, just more polished and fully-featured. This coming from an avid Android user for 8+ years. Apps that exist on both platforms are better on iOS across the board thus far.

Ways Android phones are better:

Driving. Driving with an Android phone is 100x less stressful than it is with an iPhone. This is for many reasons. 

One - I like Driving Mode, don't get me wrong. The phone not lighting up and distracting people while they are driving is a great thing... but it's implemented wrong. If I want to listen to a podcast or music on Spotify, I have to either queue it up BEFORE I turn on my car, or I have to turn off driving mode, start the audio I want to hear, then manually turn driving mode back on. If my car hasn't even left the garage yet, maybe let me do some basic stuff.

Two - Navigation is painful. Yesterday when navigating home from the airport, I said "hey Siri, navigate home". Siri responded by telling me I needed to reinstall Apple Maps. I don't want to use Apple Maps. It's not as good. So I had to pull over, then manually open up Google Maps, manually search for and start navigation to my house. THEN within 3 minutes of driving again I got a phone call, which took over my screen. No longer could I see the navigation, I had to try to hear what the Navigation voice was telling me to do... WHILE I was on a phone call. It was next-to-useless.

Three - FaceID is horrible while in a car. I have to take my phone out of its mount and hold the phone way up in front of my face, or lean over stupidly to position my face directly in front of the mount, or type in my 6-digit passcode. ALL of these things are much much less safe than just quickly sticking my thumb on a fingerprint reader. That said, there's no reason for my phone to lock while I"m in my own car. Speaking of which...

Four - Android has a thing called "Smart Lock", which allows you to make your phone unlock when its around a trusted wifi or bluetooth connection. This is idyllic in situations like the car. So far as I can tell, no such feature exists on iOS. That forces me to confront the three things above over and over. 

I had an experience yesterday that combined all four of the above. It was terrible and made me question my decision to try out the iPhone. With my Android phone all this would take is "Okay Google Navigate Home" and I'd have zero problems. I drove all the way home thinking about how terrible this user experience was and wondering why I haven't heard everyone with an iPhone complain about these things. Maybe there are some settings I can change, but it shouldn't be this difficult. 

Speaking of difficult, adding loyalty cards to Apple Wallet is impossible. It doesn't work. The app itself doesn't let you do it. When I Google it, it tells me to just use the camera app, which has some "magical integration" with Apple Wallet. The problem with "magical integrations" is that when they don't work, they leave you no recourse. That's my biggest problem with Apple products. If you try to use them to do anything other than what they exactly expect, they make it very hard.

Widgets are nice. I didn't use them much, but having a calendar & to-do list on the home screen is more convenient than having to swipe to get them. Small gripe, because the widgets do exist, I just wish I could see one every time I went to the home screen.

I still haven't really figured out how I want to tune my Notifications on iOS. I constantly have notifications I don't care about. I want my phone to ring when I get a call, otherwise I want it to shut up.

There is a "swipe then tap" action that gets used in lots of places on iOS that I'm not a fan of. It's in their email app, their notification system, and a couple of other apps from 3rd parties. Why require two user inputs for one very common action? Archiving a bunch of emails is annoying.

It's a bit too easy to accidentally take screenshots and a bit too difficult to turn off the phone.

I definitely prefer being able to just put things where I want on the home screen. I don’t like the auto rearrange on the iOS home. You delete an app and everything shifts up. So then you have to go find a replacement app to put in the spot of the deleted app or retrain yourself to where your apps are.

Oh and this isn't iOS-specific, but not having a headphone jack sucks. I was on a plane yesterday and my bluetooth headphones died. Then I had to charge them. I couldn't listen to anything while they were charging. I had to listen to the sounds of the plane, which made me realize I was sitting in what sounded like a plane full of people with the plague.

Those are my thoughts.

Top 5: Companies Whose Products I've Consistently Had Issues With
5. Apple - Melissa's iMac died. Its replacement was expensive and has been under-performing to say the least.
4. Motorola - The OG Droid was great - butI creaked by riser My Moto 360 was spotty at best. It's now functional only as a clock, and only while it is actively being charged.
3. Samsung - This applies to both their Galaxy line of phones (the same ones that were exploding a few years back) and their laptops. My old Samsung Galaxy Nexus was lackluster & needed reset from time to time. My old Chromebook had massive touchpad electrical issues. My new Chromebook has needed reset a couple of times. You'd think I'd learn from this one.
2. GoPro - I've technically owned 4 of these in my life. All 4 of them have, at one point or another, given me some sort of issue. Currently my GoPro Hero 5 Session is a paperweight. It won't turn on.
1. Ring - we are on our 3rd Ring video doorbell unit right now... and it's currently not working.

"I creaked by riser"
- Nick's typoed sentence, see if you can figure out what it means -