Android: Am I Wrong?

I recently posted an article about how I had a failed attempt at switching from iOS to Android (and from MacOS to Windows as well, but this’ll just be about phones). My friend Adam read it, and it seems we disagree on some points about each OS. I still think most of it comes down to what we’re each comfortable with, and our use cases. But he definitely makes some very valid points. 

EDIT I want to make clear that Adam’s experiences are over a year old, with iOS11. However, Apple still hasn’t addressed many of his concerns.

Here it is, and this isn’t everything, just the first post in the thread… “Been thinking about this since I placed the order for my Essential Phone, and thought it might be an interesting topic, basically the things about iOS that drive me nuts, and as I get back into the Android ecosystem, the things about Android that drive me nuts. Probably doesn’t help anything, but wanted to put it out there nonetheless.

Adam, Facebook

Uh oh. Here it comes. J/K 🙂

One of the things that drives me nuts the most is the 3rd party keyboard implementation. It’s obvious that Apple has gimped 3rd party keyboards in major ways so their solution can still reign supreme. Like not being able to use a 3rd party keyboard in any password field, why the hell?

Not being able to fully disable to stock keyboard, again why? So often I’ll bring up the keyboard and it will revert back to stock, sometimes Swiftkey very obviously crashes, and will crash multiple times while trying to get back to it. Yes, crashing might be on Swiftkey, but reverting back to stock keyboard really gets annoying. Sometimes I even have to reboot my phone to get the 3rd party keyboard working right.

It’s frustrating, and the stock keyboard sucks so bad. Also don’t feel like Swiftkey’s predictions are as good on iOS, nor do I feel like the swipe typing is as good, seems to get lost, and force touch comes into play a lot. When you force touch on Swiftkey it starts scrolling the cursor, which is annoying if you’re swipe typing.

Adam, Facebook

Here’s where I agree and disagree. I completely agree that A. Apple has gimped third party keyboards in iOS, and B. that there’s just no reason why you shouldn’t be able to make one keyboard the default (and only) keyboard. That’s dumb, and to me, it’s a half-assed attempt at pleasing everyone who wanted third party keyboard support. 

That being said……I hated all of the third party keyboards I tried, and I tried a lot. Google. Microsoft. Swiftkey. Anything I could get my hands on. In fact, the only one I liked was one that turned your keyboard into a handwritten interface, which I used all the time on my iPad. But on the iPhone, I love the default keyboard. Chalk it up to familiarity, finger size, whatever. I just vastly prefer it. That goes for when I was using Android; I HATED the default keyboard, and nothing else seemed to help. 

In fact, force touch overall isn’t worth it. I never use it intentionally.

Adam, Facebook

I actually use force touch all the time, it’s extremely handy, particularly on the lock screen. I thought it was dumb at first, but the more I’ve used it over the last couple years, the more I’ve come to rely on it. However, my opinion isn’t at all universal

Let’s talk maps… I’m not particularly fond of Apple Maps. It’s not awful by any stretch, but I far prefer Google Maps, the interface is better, the maps are more visually pleasing, I just feel it’s better. So Apple gimps other map softwares. When Google Maps is navigating I can’t see the map from the lock screen, all it shows me is crappy push notification directions, which you just can’t read if you’re driving and trying to navigate. It’s not safe, and there’s no reason to gimp other maps software like that. I hate that Apple Maps is the only game in town for lock screen directions.

Adam, Facebook

Again, I agree and disagree with this. First, I agree that Apple Maps sucks. I hate it, it’s gotten me lost, and the first thing I did when Apple allowed you to remove apps is to remove it. I am a big user of Waze, always have been. As far as the lock screen issue, for me it’s a non-issue, because my screen doesn’t lock when my phone is plugged in and on Waze. 

Browsers… I’m used to Safari by now, but I’ve never felt Chrome on iOS was very good compared to Android. I also don’t like that it can’t be made the default browser, it creates a really disjointed experience. Because of that I just don’t install it anymore. I’m glad I’ll have Chrome back on the new phone.

Adam, Facebook

I think this has a lot to do with the Mac vs. PC thing. IF I were on Windows, I’d be using Chrome 100% of the time (in fact, at work I do just that). However, on Mac I use Safari nearly 90% of the time, and because of that, the synergy between the iPhone and the Mac is really awesome. Shared password vaults, handing off web pages back and forth, shared reading lists, bookmarks, etc. all work great. Safari on the Mac feels snappier than Chrome. 

Not to mention, Chrome is heavily crippled on iOS, because of Apple’s insistence on everything using their engine. None of the cool stuff about Chrome really carries over to the iOS version, except maybe bookmarks and passwords? I dunno, I barely use it.

The settings app, it’s still a mess, I basically have to use the Search function for most things, instead of just scrolling to them. It’s amazing that it hasn’t gotten any better over the 2 years I’ve had my iPhone, but they’ve gone from iOS 9 to 11.

Adam, Facebook

I swear I’m not being an Apple fanboy here, but I have zero issues with Settings. I also can’t stand trying to find stuff on Android. However, this coming from a nearly 10 year iOS user. I’m not saying it’s intuitive, I’m just saying it’s easy to navigate once you know you’re way around. Again, in my opinion.

Music/podcasts… I don’t use the Apple podcast app anymore, and I don’t use iTunes music. I use Downcast, and Spotify or Google Play Music. However, I have two albums on iTunes, so when I get in the car and hit the play button, a lot of times it won’t resume what I was last listening to, instead it will start music from my iTunes library. Drives me nuts. Means I can’t start driving, I have to turn my phone on and launch the app, then start it playing what I actually want to hear. This was even an issue at times when I did still use the stock Podcasts app, it would play music instead. It also doesn’t send any track information to my head unit, but not all Android devices I’ve had did this either, only LG and Sony. Will be cool if the Essential Phone does though.

Adam, Facebook

This is probably another example of me drinking the Kool-Aid, because I use all of the Apple apps (Apple podcasts, Apple Music) in conjunction with an Apple Watch. I can easily stream to my car, it picks up where it left off every time, and transmits all the information to my car. Works great! I can skip songs from my watch, change playback speed.

In addition to that, Siri works 95% of the time in just playing whatever I ask her to, and with Siri Shortcuts, I can just say “Hey Siri, Radio Station” and it shuffles my personal playlist automatically. 

In fact, that’s one area where Android is significantly behind (and which I’m sure they’ll catch up shortly): the Siri Shortcuts. Apple buying Workflow, and then integrating it with Siri makes Siri far more powerful than ever before, and if you know what you’re doing and/or are creative, you can get it to do a lot of really, really cool things, just with a voice command.

Power management, this one really drives me nuts, and I think it might be a big part of why my phone doesn’t resume what I was last listening to. Power management is absurdly strict on the iPhone, it’ll close down apps as soon as you leave them at times, or very shortly after. I’ve got a solitaire game I play, if I leave the game for any reason it has to fully reload when I go back to it. I don’t lose my position in the game, but having to take that extra time to launch it seems like it wastes more power than if it actually properly backgrounded it. Downcast gets closed like that as well, as does Google Play Music. Meanwhile, Safari is allowed to stay running. This is especially annoying since my 6s+ has taken a big hit in battery life since around iOS 10.3 or so, so what exactly are they saving by being so strict?

Adam, Facebook

I guess this is something I’ve not noticed. Firstly, I know Adam had a lot of power issues with the 6s+, as does my daughter now with her 6s. However, I am getting it fixed for free, because there was a recall for it. 

About how things resume, I’ve not noticed that with Subway Surfer or Breakneck, which are the two games I’ve got on there, that I play regularly. Perhaps it was there in iOS 11.2 (the last version Adam used), and then fixed in iOS12? I dunno, unfortunately I no longer have an 11 device to try it with.

Again, I want to make clear that this isn’t me “refuting” any of Adam’s experiences; they are valid points and opinions. And also, I still maintain it’s largely about overall ecosystem, as well as comfort levels/experience with an OS. I can certainly say I come away from Android with a more positive experience than I had before, and think it’s a fine OS. Luckily the days of Android 2.2 are long gone. 🙂


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