More than 99% of the world’s smartphones are operated by either iOS (Apple) or Android (Google). But which operating system is the ultimate cell phone winner? Both are smart, both are sleek – and both have their drawbacks. Below, we’ll explore three reasons for choosing iOS for your communication needs, and three reasons to opt for Android.
“Macs don’t get viruses,” was the common trope paraded around when Apple first introduced their distinguished computers – and this statement extended to iPhones. iOS products are far less susceptible to viruses than Android, because of Apple’s level of exclusivity. iPhone apps can only be installed from the Apple Mac Store, providing a level of control over the malware that gets through. This seems to work effectively, as a much higher percentage of mobile malware targets Android than iOS; one study found that 97% of all malware written in 2015 was geared towards Android, and another estimated that just 0.7% of threats were aimed at iOS. So, to answer whether iOS or Android, when choosing the right phone for you, it seems that iOS is the safer choice.
Need for speed
Despite the 2017 controversy surrounding slowed iPhones, subsequent iPhones, like the iPhone 8 plus and the iPhone X, utilized an A11 Bionic chip, providing unparalleled speed and power to iOS devices. The chip led to a 25% increase in speed when compared to its predecessors. For example, where it took a Samsung Galaxy S9 two minutes and 32 seconds to transcode a two-minute, 4K video, the iPhone X only required 42 seconds to get the job done. Apple’s 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max phones now include the A13 Bionic chip, which is the company’s most power efficient chip yet. So, in addition to speed, the phones also have 4-5 extra hours of battery life and a 20% performance boost. It’s no wonder, then that gamers also appreciate the steep speed difference between iPhones and Androids, as iPhones facilitate a smoother experience when playing augmented-reality (and other intensive) games.
In the iOS or Android debate, the former far outshines the latter when it comes to updating devices with the newest operating system, and it has proven to have better support for older phone models than does Android. For example, iOS 11 – which was released in the end of 2017 – was installed on 66% of compatible devices within six weeks, and had full support for the iPhone 5S (a four-year-old phone). In contrast, Android’s Oreo (released around the same time) had only made it onto 0.2% of Android devices more than eight weeks after its release, and Android 7 was only running on 18% of phones after an entire year.
Where Android severely lags in giving its users the best possible version of their phones, iOS is full speed ahead. As of Dec 2019, an estimated 50% of all iOS phones were running the latest version, a figure that will be lower for Android. Not counting Android 10, only about 10% of Android devices ran the previous version, Android 9.0 Pie.
Variety and compatibility
The Android platform is an open-source system, which means you can have access to any apps you want, regardless of the maker – over a million more than iOS provides. Additionally, any phone carrier can create devices for Android, and users can download any available Android system. In contrast, as mentioned above, iOS is exclusive, mainly because it’s a closed-source system. This locks you in to using everything Apple once you commit to iOS; your devices will only be compatible with other Apple products, you can only troubleshoot technical issues in an Apple Store, and your available apps are limited to whatever Apple decides you should have.
When contemplating iOS or Android, both have what to offer in terms of quality, but Android provides the quality at lower cost. For developers, publishing an unlimited number of apps through the Android marketplace is affordable at $25 – where iOS costs $99 for the same – and there is a higher percentage of free apps in Google Play Store than in the iOS App Store. This, combined with the fact that Android provides low-cost, quality handsets that are hundreds of dollars cheaper than iPhone’s newer models, makes the choice a simple one. The proof is in the numbers: Android holds almost 75% of market share around the world.
Android is the future, holding court when it comes to voice interfaces and AI. Google Assistant (GA) far surpasses Siri as a virtual assistant, with more accurate responses to questions and tailor-made service; for example, GA can read text on images and convert it into meaningful calendar updates, notes, etc., while Siri is still trying to piece together the answers to basic questions. Not to mention that Google, basically the infrastructure of the web, has a much bigger fountain of data from which to draw when perfecting their services. There doesn’t seem to be much to consider when asking iOS or Android.
Not to mention, Android is coming out with phones that cater to both individual consumers and various industries, which feature removable batteries and walkie-talkies. The company’s focus on varied users’ needs offer more variety and function.
The Bottom Line: The tight-knit hardware/software combination of iOS clearly provides users with quality mobile devices, while Android’s overall compatibility makes it cheaper and more easily customizable. So, iOS or Android? What kind of phone are you going to buy next?