• You probably have a friend who’s loyal to their current mobile operating system. If you ask their opinion, you’re going to get biased reasons as to why you should switch to an OS like theirs. However, you might think that yours is OK. But which operating system is really better? 

    Well, every operating system has its own pros and cons. So, who’s right?  

    The mobile operating system industry is currently dominated by two tech giants: Google, the creator of the Android OS, and Apple, which developed the mobile operating system iOS. Each operating system boasts a wide range of features that make it worth investing in, so much that making a choice on which one to get can be very challenging. To ensure you make the right decision, you need to know what you are looking for.  

    Below, we’ll compare the pros and cons of both operating systems. Hopefully, after reading, you will be able to make an informed choice. 

    Hardware 

    When it comes to hardware, both operating systems have an edge.  

    It is worth noting that Apple makes iPhones, which are powered by iOS. This means the company has total control over how its software and hardware work together. On the contrary, Google offers the Android OS to many phone manufacturers, including Motorola, HTC, LG, and Samsung. For this reason, you can notice that Android phones vary in weight, features, quality, and size. 

    While premium-quality Android phones can match the hardware of iPhones, the cheaper ones are quite prone to issues. However, this does not mean that iPhones don’t have problems. It’s just that they generally have better quality. 

    Operating System Compatibility 

    If you want to make sure that you are always running the newest operating system version, you need to get an iPhone. Why? Android phone makers are quite slow at updating the OS on their devices to the latest versions. Sometimes, Android on their devices is not updated at all. 

    Of course, in both cases, it is expected that the older phones will eventually lose support for the recent OS versions, but the support for iOS on older devices is still better than that for Android. 

    For instance, iOS 11 was released in 2013 and was fully supported on the iPhone 5S. With full support on such an outdated device, iOS 11 was then made available on about 66% of compatible models in just 6 weeks from its release. 

    On the other hand, Android Oreo was only running on 0.2% of Android devices, even after 8 weeks from its release. 

    Therefore, if you want to get the latest updates as soon as they’re available, you need to get an iPhone. 

    App Selection and Control 

    It is true that Google Play has a wider selection of apps than the Apple App Store. But you should know that the overall selection is not the basis here. 

    Apple is known to be strict about its app standards, while Google is pretty lax. Though Apple’s control seems too tight, what they’re doing helps prevent security threats. In case you haven’t heard the news, there were fake apps published on Google Play before. One was a fake version of WhatsApp, which was downloaded by millions of people.  

    In addition, Android app developers complained about the challenges in developing apps for various phones. For example, the Temple Run developers reported that during their early release on Android devices, the majority of their support emails had something to do with compatibility issues. 

    Gaming Experience 

    There was a time when the video gaming realm was dominated by Sony’s PlayStation Vita and Nintendo’s 3DS. But iPhones have changed everything. 

    iPhone and iPod touch are among the notable players in today’s mobile video gaming realm. With thousands of amazing games and a massive following of players, the popularity of iOS as a gaming platform has led tech enthusiasts to forecast that Apple will soon rule the mobile gaming platform. 

    Yes, Android may have its fair share of hit games, but we cannot deny the fact that iOS has an advantage. 

    Device Integration 

    Aside from smartphones, people use computers, tablets, and wearables. For them, consistency and an integrated experience are major deciding factors. 

    Now, since Apple makes tablets, smartwatches, and computers, they can offer features that Android phone makers can’t. 

    If you choose to use Apple devices, you can unlock your Mac using your Apple watch. You can also draft an email on your iPhone and choose to submit it on your Mac as soon as you arrive home. You can even answer phone calls by using your smartwatch. 

    Yes, Google may have services like Google Maps and Gmail that work across different Android devices. But unless all your devices are made by the same Android maker, there won’t be a unified experience. 

    Affordability 

    In terms of pricing, Apple is always at the high end of the market. But with the inception of iPhone X, things took a different turn. Starting at a price of $1000, you can already get a new iPhone X. If you want something cheaper, you can opt for an iPhone XR, which can be purchased for as low as $750. 

    When it comes to variety, iOS devices cannot compete with Android ones. You can already get a quality Android handset at a low cost. Also, the fact that there are myriads of free apps for Android makes it a great choice for those who are budget-conscious. 

    Maps 

    Apple Maps may not have had a good start, but it has improved since then. It has new features, such as getting accurate estimates based on the current traffic situations and downloading maps for offline use. It also offers public transit suggestions. 

    These features are also available on Google Maps, but what makes Android’s app stand out is that it has more features. It offers cycling directions. It also comes with more points of interest. It’s more detailed than Apple Maps, too!  

    Battery Life 

    Battery life is also another major deciding factor. But it’s difficult to compare Android and iOS because they don’t share the same hardware. 

    We could assume that iOS is well-optimized to make the most of its battery, but you can also get an Android smartphone with a better battery life. You can even optimize it for better performance by limiting its power-sapping features and installing Android care apps. 

    For quite some time already, Android also has an advantage in terms of charging. This is because more and more Android phone models are now supporting the fast charging and wireless charging features. Though Apple’s iPhone 8 and the latest models have already adapted to wireless and fast charging, it is worth noting that you need to purchase the fast charging adapter separately, whereas it’s often provided in the box of a new Android smartphone. 

    Cost 

    If the price is quite concerning for you, then you’ll probably go for an Android smartphone. That is because there are plenty of affordable Android smartphones out there that fit your budget. Unlike iPhones, the cheapest you can get is around $349.

    For those who are on a tight budget, this might be the end of the discussion. But if you’ve got a few extra bucks to spend, you might want to look a bit deeper. 

    The highest-priced iOS and Android devices can cost around $1000, but an average Android smartphone is more affordable than an iPhone. 

    Support 

    Android and iOS devices generally work well for daily use, as long as they don’t malfunction. But we can’t avoid instances when they break down. When that happens, the way you get support really matters. 

    With Apple devices, you can just take your device to the nearest Apple Store. A trained specialist will then help resolve the problem. 

    As for Android, there’s no such thing. Yes, you can get support for your device from the phone maker or a third-party repair shop. But you can’t really be so sure. Do you think they have been trained well to deal with the Android platform? Anyway, make sure to install Android cleaner apps to prevent problems.

    Thus, having one source for professional support gives iOS devices the upper hand in the support category. 

    Voice Assistant 

    In the coming years, artificial intelligence will become the frontier of smartphone features. But if you look at it today, Android has an obvious advantage. 

    Google Assistant is Android’s intelligent voice assistant. It takes advantage of what Google knows. It is basically designed to make life easier for you. For example, if you have a meeting set on your Google Calendar, it will send you a notification to leave early. You can even ask it to run your Android cleaner app to boost your device’s performance while you do other important things. 

    Siri, on the other hand, is still improving. This assistant for iOS is currently limited to fairly simple tasks. It does not even offer smart features that Google Assistant has. 

    The Final Verdict 

    The decision of whether to purchase an Android or an iOS device isn’t as easy as weighing the pros and cons. Each person has a different need. While some value the features, others care more about the user experience. 

    So, if you really need to make a choice, you have to decide what factors are important to you. From there, you decide what operating system meets your needs. 

    Catherine Trimidal

    Writer at Software Tested
    A Computer Engineer by degree and a writer by profession, Cathy Trimidal writes for Software Tested and Outbyte. For years now, she has contributed articles focusing on the trends in IT, VPN, web apps, SEO, and digital marketing. Although she spends most of her days living in a virtual realm, she still finds time to satisfy her infinite list of interests.

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