For the past year, i have been carrying a succession of Android devices and iPhones, learning the ins and outs of every one. But a set of small, usability-enhancing features keeps me returning to Android as my everyday choice. Here’s my list.

The gap between Android and ios has narrowed dramatically in recent years. It wont to be a piece of writing of religion that iPhones were technically superior, and therefore the only reason someone would choose Android was because they couldn’t afford one among Apple’s devices or because that they had a philosophical objection to Apple’s “walled garden.”

Today, whatever technological gaps once existed between the newest iPhones and therefore the top Android devices have essentially vanished. Sure, Apple’s CPUs are little engineering marvels, and therefore the hardware is top-notch. But the competition is close enough to form those differences merely interesting instead of compelling.

For the past year approximately , i have been switching between a succession of Android devices and a pair of iPhones. (At the instant , I even have a Samsung Galaxy S9+, an iPhone XS, and a Google Pixel 3.) all is impressive when checked out strictly on its own merits. But day in and outing , I find I’m using those Android devices, and therefore the iPhone tends to remain on its charging dock once I leave the office.

So, what are the factors, big and little , that cause me to prefer Android? Let’s start with the hardware itself.

1) you’ve got tons MORE CHOICES IN ANDROID HARDWARE

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When you’re within the marketplace for a replacement smartphone, Apple offers three hardware choices (unless you’re willing to shop for last year’s model for a minuscule discount). the present iPhone lineup comes in two sizes, big and larger , and two price ranges, expensive and really expensive. and people devices are rarely discounted.

By contrast, your Android choices cover a good range of sizes, shapes, feature sets, and price points. Some high-end Android devices (I’m watching you, Samsung) have price tags that are like those of a replacement iPhone, but the important sweet spot is within the mid range, where devices just like the OnePlus 7 Pro ($669) and therefore the Pixel 3 ($799) compete head to go with flagship phones costing up to twice the maximum amount.

2) USB-C is that the FUTURE, WHILE LIGHTNING REPRESENTS AN INCREASINGLY AWKWARD PAST

type cFrom long experience, i do know three things about Apple’s Lightning cables: they need an annoying tendency to break; they cost a little fortune to replace; and that they require their own little collection of dongles to be useful. But, if you own an iPhone, those pricey Lightning cables aren’t optional.

They’re also not useful for love or money that may not another iPhone or iPad. Meanwhile, the Android universe has moved en bloc to the more modern and much more versatile USB-C standard. just about every device I own lately uses USB-C, including laptops from Dell, Microsoft, Lenovo, and even … Apple. once I travel, I can carry one charger and one cable that works with every non-Apple mobile device.

Someday, IOS will surrender to the inevitable and replace its Lightning connectors with USB-C. Until then, it’s another cable that iPhone owners need to carry.

3) you would like A HEADPHONE JACK? NO PROBLEM

Raise your hand if you have ever prepared to plug a group of headphones into your iPhone and discovered that you simply left that pesky headphone dongle back on your desk. Thankfully, there are many Android devices (including the new Pixel 3a) that also offer 3.5mm jacks.

From hardware, we move to the code that runs under the glass, and specifically, to the navigation and organization paradigms that outline a mobile OS

4) SETTINGS ARE NEVER quite A SWIPE AWAY

Android and iOS offer similar shortcuts to urge to some common system settings. On an iPhone, you swipe down from the highest right to urge to regulate Center, which features a selection of shortcuts you’ll use to show on Airplane Mode, adjust screen brightness and volume, use the calculator, and so on. The shortcuts make excellent use of the Force Touch feature.

But you recognize what you cannot do from Control Center? you cannot get to the most Settings page. So, you’ll turn Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on and off, but if you would like to pair a replacement device or hook up with a special access point, you’ve got to exit center , find the Settings icon, and open it.

Swiping down from the highest of an Android screen, against this , shows a half-dozen common Settings icons above the present notifications. Swipe again to ascertain a much bigger assortment of Settings icons (customizable, of course). Tap the label beneath the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth icon to leap straight to the relevant Settings page. Or click the small gear icon to open the complete Settings list.

5) you’ll REPLACE THE LAUNCHER

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The single most frustrating aspect of using an iPhone is its inflexible home screen. You get one icon per app, which you’ll successively arrange into folders on multiple screens. But you’ll not arrange those icons as you wish them; you can only rearrange their order, which makes the entire process of organizing the house screen a touch like solving one among those 15-square puzzles.

On an Android device, against this , the default Android launcher is straightforward to exchange . Device makers regularly do that , with mixed results, but the important benefit is that you simply simply can replace the default launcher with one that you prefer. i actually just like the Microsoft Launcher, which began as a side project but has became a significant effort, with version 5 just round the corner.


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Naturally, the Microsoft Launcher is optimized to figure with Microsoft apps; fortunately, there is a pretty good choice of these apps, including all the Office apps and Outlook for email. But even without those apps, it’s worthwhile only for the improvements within the dock.

6) PINNED ICONS are literally USEFUL

On an iPhone, icons on the house screen are shortcuts for individual apps, period. you would like quick access to a specific website, or photo, or document? Sorry, you will have to open its app first, then search for it.

By contrast, icons on the Android home screen can represent individual items that are not apps. My home screen has shortcuts to Excel workbooks, pages from OneNote notebooks, and even PDF files of boarding passes and other electronic tickets.

7) ANDROID HAS WIDGETS – ON the house PAGE

Both Android and iOS offer a special home page, available by swiping right, where you’ll add widgets for quick(er) access to calendar items, weather forecasts, a news feed, and so on.

On my Android phone, though, I can add widgets on to the most home screen. The centerpiece of my home screen at the instant , for instance , may be a widget from the Dark Sky app, which shows the present date and time during a large, easy-to-read format, with a four-day weather outlook beneath it.

You can add widgets for email and calendar apps, music players, cloud services. Google and Microsoft both have an outsized selection of widgets, and even Apple has an Android widget for its Apple Music player. In my experience, widgets are best used sparingly, but they really can improve productivity.

8) there is a BACK BUTTON

For its first decade approximately , iPhone had one and just one button, which you’ll tap, double-tap, or press and hold to accomplish tasks. Android, against this , historically included a row of three soft buttons along rock bottom . the house and Recents buttons function just about an equivalent because the tap and double-tap options on a classic iPhone, but the rear button is exclusive .

On both platform, the dedicated app buttons are slowly disappearing, replaced by a series of gestures, but the concept of a fanatical Back function in Android remains. App developers try all kinds of tricks to duplicate that functionality in iOS apps, with mixed results, but I miss the rear button whenever i exploit an iPhone for any length of your time .

9) you’ll CLEAR ALL NOTIFICATIONS WITH one TAP

There is some kind of algorithm that governs the display of notifications on the iPhone home screen, but i will be damned if I can figure it out. Sometimes there is a big X that you simply can tap to clear older notifications; other times the sole thanks to get obviate notifications is one at a time.

You can also manage how notifications are grouped and when they’re displayed on iOS, but to try to to that you simply need to exit Notification Center and attend Settings > Notifications.

On Android devices, both tasks are much simpler. once you swipe right down to display current notifications, there is a Clear All button at rock bottom of the list. There’s also a Manage Notifications link that jumps on to the associated page in Settings, where you’ll customize options for every app. Those are small touches, but they reduce friction and make everyday usability far better .

10) you’ll CHANGE YOUR DEFAULT BROWSER

On either mobile platform, browsers use the underlying engine supplied by the OS . the most reason for using an alternate browser is to save lots of and sync shortcuts, tabs, passwords, and history across devices.

On an iPhone, you’ll define Open With settings on a per-app basis, therefore the Gmail app opens links in Chrome or Outlook opens links in Edge. But you cannot define that browser preference systemwide, so if you open a link from another app, it’ll almost certainly open in Safari.

That’s not a drag in Android, because of the Default Apps setting, where you’ll specify which browser you would like to use for links. While there, you’ll also choose alternate apps to use for phone calls, SMS messages, voice assist, and tap-to-pay functions, too.

11) the quantity CONTROL is way MORE FLEXIBLE

No matter who makes your mobile device, it’ll have Volume Up and Volume Down buttons on the side. it’ll even have separate, software-based volume controls. But iOS and Android handle those controls in very alternative ways .

On an iPhone, you’ll adjust the ringer volume independently of other sounds by getting to Settings > Sound and Haptics, and turning the Change With Buttons option off. Choose a volume for the ringer, and that’s it . therein configuration, you’ll silence the ringer with the switch just above the quantity controls, but the quantity Up/Down buttons will affect only system sounds and apps.

Android, against this , has the choice to permit different volume settings for calls, media, notifications, alarms, and ringtones. That’s especially useful on long road trips, where you’ll mute notification sounds in order that they do not interrupt the music you’re taking note of .

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