Does Google's commitment to iOS make the iPhone a better buy?

Earlier this week, Google released a redesigned version of its Gmail app for iOS, bringing it more in line with its Android equivalent. It's a big upgrade, and something that, after years of neglect, seemed a long time coming.

But it also brought back to life an argument that, for many people, the iPhone, with its impressive hardware, great camera(s), rich app ecosystem and, of course, iMessage, may be a better showcase for Google services than Android itself. Of course, many disagree, but the iPhone has a 44% market share in the U.S., and Apple maintains a lot of influence over the smartphone world.

For some Android faithful, Google's commitment to iOS development is confusing: why create great apps for a competing platform when you want people to buy Galaxys, Motos and, ideally, Pixels? Ultimately, Google wants your data, and wants to show you ads, and will do so wherever people are, and that is increasingly on iOS and Android.

Indeed, the last couple of years has seen Google bring almost every notable app and service to Apple's platform, including long holdout Keep. If you look at Google's developer page on the App Store (opens in new tab), it looks fairly similar to what you'd find on Android: YouTube, Maps, Chrome, Earth, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Hangouts, Photos, Calendar, Inbox, Books, Music, Movies, Wallet, Allo, Duo, Newsstand, Keep and plenty others. Even Google Search has its own app. What you won't find are apps that Apple doesn't allow, like an alternate dialler, or an unnecessary intervention like a camera app.

The last couple of years has seen Google bring almost every notable app and service to Apple's platform.

You'll also find apps like Gboard (opens in new tab), a pretty great third-party iOS keyboard, that many people think should be ported over to Android in some form.

In all, Google has 80 apps to its name right now on iOS, slightly under Microsoft's 88 and nearly twice as many as Apple itself. This doesn't really mean anything other than Google is trying to make its most important services platform-independent, but it also brings up an important point: The prevailing tension between Android and iOS is far more about hardware than software, especially for someone entrenched in the Google ecosystem.

This is doubly true when looking at the sorry state of Android tablets, which we've been doing in the run-up to the holidays. While many Android users would be happy with a Pixel C, Yoga Book or Galaxy Tab S2, they would likely be just as happy, if not more so, with an iPad. An iPad that runs all of the above Google apps, plus hundreds of thousands of others for which care has been taken to optimize them for the larger screen.

Lots of us here at Android Central like the Google Pixel, which borrows more than a couple of pages out of the Apple playbook. It attempts to standardize elements of Android that were left to the interpretation of various third parties, and it introduces an environment where Google is comfortable offering exclusive services, like Assistant, that are not available to other hardware vendors. People use it as a pejorative, but it's true that in many ways the Pixel is the iPhone of the Android world.

The main argument I hear for wanting to stick with iPhone, even as an Android fan and a Google loyalist, is iMessage.

The main argument I hear for wanting to stick with iPhone, even as an Android fan and a Google loyalist, is iMessage. That Apple's closed-loop messaging service is hard to quit once you're in it — lock-in in the purest sense. Apple did a lot in iOS 10 to make iMessage more attractive and useful, but its success is also a source of frustration for many Android users left out of that experience.

WhatsApp leads the charge for a cross-platform option, along with myriad other services from Kik to WeChat, but Google's own attempts to build a viable alternative to iMessage with Allo have fallen flat, and a push to introduce a more open platform built on top of existing SMS protocols will take time, and may never be a comprehensive solution.

The appeal of Android is considerably wider than just included Google services, though. Its success comes from the variability of the hardware — in size, form factor, material, color and, of course, price — and from inherent advantages to having an "open" platform. Despite the increasing similarities between the two platforms, Android — especially on Nougat — still handles notifications more elegantly, and there is an argument to be made that a universal share API is far more powerful on Android than it could ever be on iOS. The flexibility of on-screen navigation buttons alone speak to the myriad ongoing cultural differences between Android and iOS. For many people, that's enough to stay in the Android fold, and I wouldn't blame you if you never left. It's pretty nice down here.

But, playing Devil's Advocate for a moment, in a world where, increasingly, you can access the best of Google from anywhere, what would it take for you to switch to the iPhone?

Daniel Bader

Daniel Bader was a former Android Central Editor-in-Chief and Executive Editor for iMore and Windows Central. 

  • I think Apple has a rule against apps using the name of a competing OS. But I don't see why they couldn't release a general "Mobile Nations" app instead.
  • Or they could call it the AC app. I mean most people call it that over here anyway.
  • I don't know have both iPhone 7 plus and Pixel XL, always had the latest iPhone and Android phone with me but never I have not used the new iPhone as my daily driver which is the case currently. Pixel XL over iPhone 7 plus, for me the deeper integration of Google services in Pixel gives the edge over using an iPhone. I used to go back to iPhone as daily driver because of the superior easy to use camera which is no longer the case. With the Pixel camera I prefer it over iPhone and the only thing I miss from iPhone is the waterproofing. Otherwise no issues and never felt more comfortable using Android flagship as daily driver over iPhone.
  • You miss water proofing?? How often is your phone fully submerged under water?
  • It's not about intentionally having the phone in water, it's about using your phone during heavy rain or if you accidentally drop it.
  • Yep it's not a deal breaker but definitely comes handy in the ouch moments
  • Well pixel is still fairly "oops" resistant. It did last an hour submerged.. Good enough for rain use without issue. It's been raining the past 10 years before we had waterproofing.. it's only an issue now because it is a listed spec, when it reality nothing has changed other than people being more daring to get cute with their phone in the bathtub.
  • My family has ruined several phones that got soaked. If you are active outdoors you may just be on a hike in the pouring rain for hours and discover the pocket of your rain jacket where the phone is has filled with water. Or, we go boating a lot and everything eventually gets wet at some point. Tons of people have ruined phones spilling drinks on them or dropping them in the toilet. When you are spending north of $700 for a phone it should be waterproof.
  • $700 phones haven't been waterproof for the last 10 years. You've been spoiled. Not saying you are wrong, tho my family hasn't lost a phone to water over the past 10 years. Maybe get a better family... Jus sayin.
  • When you're spending north of $700 for anything, you should be more careful. Expecting a device being water resistant - let alone waterproof - is like saying "when one spends $30,000 on a car, the paint should never scratch. If you leave your device on a table/desk and there are liquids in the vicinity, you're asking for it. If you are in the washroom and you carry your device in a pocket, you're asking for it. If you go out hiking, you don't check the weather forecast and it doesn't dawn on you to place your device in a waterproof bag/box - or what have you - you're asking for it. If you have any sort of watercraft and you don't value the safety of your device, you're asking for it. I guess my point is, it shouldn't be the manufacturer's responsibility to make their devices idiot proof.
  • I mount my S7E to my handlebars on my motorcycle and stream music and other stuff to my helmet. Sometimes .. fog condenses and sometimes it actually starts raining. It's why I switched to the S7E originally. So maybe folks aren't dunking their phones but would like protection in case something happens. Yep.
  • From my very first cellphone in '97 which I still have and it still works (Sony CMD Z1 Plus) to the present day, I've yet to water damage a cellphone and I've dropped 1 phone and cracked 1 screen (hTC Aria)... No cases for me either. At most I'll put a skin on it. People just don't know how to take care of their things.
  • I see the imessage argument a lot and while it's convenient at times, it's really the furthest thing from a deal breaker for me. It is a great system, but with all the gimmicks they've added in why do I even need them? So others can send them to me and annoy me with balloons and all that nonsense? Don't need a hand written message, none of it. I agree as a standalone messaging app it's great, but I don't see it as a necessity regardless of group messaging for work or anything like that. Only case I could see it being better in that sense is a company sending techs out with LTE enabled iPads and then they can text home bass or other techs if needed
  • It's about group messaging. ALL of my friends and family have iPhones ... And especially with friends, they will send group messages via iMessage and I get the first one as an SMS ... And if I reply it sends an individual SMS back to each person and I lose the group thread... Yes you can use other messaging services but try to convince a whole group to use another seperate messaging platform when they have one already baked in and it doubles as their ONLY sms's impossible
  • The greatest thing about iMessage is MMS. Everytime I get a pic or vid sent to me I miss my iPhones. They're just so compressed on my S7 Edge. Video messages are completely pointless.
  • Amen, brother!
  • Waterproofing is one of those things you don't need UNTIL YOU DO.
  • For a brief while I had both a 7+ and Pixel XL. I was 90% confident I was going to keep the iPhone. The stability and long battery life were my main interests but most attractive was the quality of iOS apps... specifically the Google ones. I was like why have Android? It's all here and better in some respects. Yesterday the iPhone went back to Apple. At the end of the day, the Pixel XL is as polished as the iPhone and and a heavy Google ecosystem user, it just feels better. The integration is second to none and I disliked the sandbox nature of iOS. Not to mention the camera and processing algorithms on the Pixel are bananas. The iPhone is a fine product but the Pixel is better for my overall needs.
  • I wouldn't mind switching to android just to change it up and have more smart watch options. I don't use a lot of features on my iPhone6splus, so the sandbox doesn't bother me. What is keeping me from switching is the integrated ad blocks in safari. Browsing is so buttery smooth. I'm using Adblock browser on my nexus 7 tablet and it's slow and clunky. I also had to factory reset a few times since it gets slow in general. My iPhone 5 that I still have is just as fast as the day I bought it. Makes me apprehensive about switching to the s8 or pixel.
  • Indeed, ad blocking on iOS is absolutely bulletproof. The apps that are available lock Safari completely down and nothing gets through. That's honestly the main thing I miss.
  • I'm a diehard Android fan after going Blackberry->iPhone->Windows over the years. Unfortunately, I'm moving back to iPhone for one reason: security. Security is now a top priority for me, and nothing beats the iPhone. I also don't believe Adrian Ludwig's "for sure" comment that the Pixel is as secure as an iPhone. And I don't believe Google/Alphabet would fight the FBI like Apple did. That said, I would love to see security people try to convince me otherwise. I would absolutely love to stay in the Android world....
  • I don't think apple has anything over android in terms of security. iPhones get hacked just as much as anything else out there
  • I am Google through and through. But if iOS had better notifications, widgets on the home screen, and Android equivalent experiences for Google Music, Maps, Gmail, and Youtube, well... Let's be honest when you're messaging with all your friends that have iPhones it sucks.
  • But they don't have those things. Android is still superior when it comes to functionality, and it'll remain that way for some time. But I could see a time when Apple decides to shake things up and enable home screen widgets, more robust notifications similar to Android, etc. That'll happen when they run out of ideas for new features
  • And by the time they do it Android Will hace bagilion and half new features
  • Just curious, what are these differences between notifications on iOS vs Android everybody talks about? They both have quick reply and extra actions don't they?
  • Quick reply yes, extra actions, it depends. At the moment iOS 10 has a horrible system for sorting notifications when you unlock your phone. You just see all of your notifications in the order they came and they are not even grouped by app.
  • Yeah I would love to see that addressed. I think iOS 9 handled noties better.
  • But you can get all those apps in iOS ??
  • Most iPhone users stick with it because it's all they've ever known.
  • Moreso for Android users.
  • Would that be the case for most people, meaning although I have had Motorola, LG, and Samsung, and HTC Android phones I still consider that Android and most people at her than old school android users never really tried iPhones. Because I am in the Telecom industry I have had all Android and iPhones, but I believe I am the minority'. Most people have the same type of phone and rarely change. The people that read these Blogs are generally the exception. Never loose sight of what the common user thinks or uses.
  • Wrong. Many started on Android. 3 people I knew with Note 3 devices moved to iPhone Plus models. I made the same move, myself.
  • Funny my experience has been the exact opposite. Even my kids that grew up with iPhones and did not know what an Android phone even was as nobody had one are moving to Android. I buy my kids whatever phone they want and now have three on Android all boys. One of my other two boys has asked for a Pixel this round. I live in a high tech area that might be part of the reason. The kids can get whatever phones they want and just. the last 6 months the friends are coming with Android phones but only boys. Weird. The boys are more Android now than iPhone and would expect all switch over when their phone is up.
  • Well ya, alot of the aesthetics of iOS UI and app design have a feminine look to them. Most boys probably wouldn't reach for the phone that has all the fruity looking software on it
  • Yea. And you'd be wrong. They do have 44% share in the US. I can guarantee you that isn't 80%, or more, a female user base. Many people with other Apple devices use iPhone by default due to the slick integration of its devices and platforms, as well. Using Android with a Mac isn't even in the same stratosphere of usability of the iPhone.
  • I'm a huge Android fan, but switched during the period where my company wouldn't allow corporate email on Android. Never looked back, really. The iPhone just works... always, without a hitch. Some things to get used to, for sure, but the notifications and functionality in the latest iOS make it the best experience I've ever had in a phone. And if your whole family uses iPhones, having Facetime and iMessage, family sharing of app purchases, shared notes/calendars/grocery-lists, is something to behold. Don't miss widgets in the least, which is really the only thing I'm missing right now. That and less app cooperation and direct access to the file system. Oh, and the new Gmail is nice, but the App Store has several killer email apps that have nothing like it available on Android that are far superior. The one I use is called Spark, which has multiple accounts, swipe actions that you can set, and alias support (which few apps have). Oh, and don't get me started on how much better the Watch is in functionality.
  • I would use an iPhone when nothing else existed.
  • Simple.... I'm not switching to iPhone because I ain't buying all these damn apps again....
  • Since I have both iPhone and Galaxy S7, I'm fine Google supporting iOS, but I do have an issue with Google not implementing some features you see on iOS version of their app on Android version. One good example is the manual day/night view setting is missing from the Android version of Google Maps.
  • I hate being forced to use night view on android auto and maps
  • Without question. I could not use an iPhone without the google apps that I use and would not want to. I have had android and iphone since the 6 + and get the new iphone + model and nexus/pixel model each year.
  • I was using an iPhone 7 standard for awhile. Wasn't that awful tbh. Amazing standby time. But when actually using the phone heavily oh boy did it die fast. Got the itch and now back on my note 5 with custom rom etc etc and the control I have over it compared to iOS literally kept me up all night tweaking it for MYSELF not a collective whole like IOS does. Meh. I had a very positive experience with it brothers using it now may switch it out with him again one day.
  • I have not had an iPhone since the iPhone 4, which I still use occasionally. This is the only phone that has got me through a full day. My other phones have been Nexus 5, and 5X, HTC M8S and Moto E. All of these with the exception of the Moto E drain really when using them.
  • I thought the answer would be "two note 7 recalls."but here I sit with a note each his own...
  • Honestly, iPhones and Pixels (previously Nexii) are the only models of phones that fit my buying criteria perfectly. As a tech omnivore, the unavailability of the Pixel XL I want is what's pushing me closer to an iPhone purchase every day. I haven't used an iPhone regularly since 2011 but this may be the year if Google doesn't ramp it up.
  • Google Apps work very well and are nicely designed for IOS so I would say yes get an iPhone better. IOS 10 is very fast and great for email. Constant sync is no problem it doesn't slow down the phone. Plus just like you mentioned they have a native messaging app that works. Which is very important to most people.
  • I personally switch back and forth almost yearly (but that is just because I am curious of changes, etc). However, both my wife (constant iOS user) and I just switched (yesterday) to Moto Z Plays (also switched carriers), mainly because of the value and promotion VZW is running right now. We came from iPhone SE's and strongly considered upgrading to iPhone 7s. iMessage as well as the rest of the ecosystem goes a long way in making us want to stay with Apple, but not at the cost they are asking. If the only phone options were the same price between Android and iOS phones, we would have likely went with the iPhones. But midrange Android phones (at least ones as good as the Moto Z Play) will cover 99% of our needs and a fraction of the cost - especially under promotion.
  • Lacking a "viable alternative" to iMessage isn't the problem, and no company will be able to create an iMessage alternative on Android and have it solve the ultimate problem - the fact that it's not iMessage. The main complaint and reason for lock-in isn't the fact that iMessage is a good messaging service, it's the fact that it's iMessage. Your mom uses it. Your grandparents use it. In the U.S., a lot of your friends use it. If you're not using it, you mess up the entire group thread - you turn everybody "green" and lower the quality of images/videos shared, along with the options available. You're the messaging "outcast", as ridiculous as that sounds. Until Apple brings some sort of sms-integrated iMessage app to Android (likely never), **nothing** will solve this problem.
  • No. That doesn't mean that I root for Google or that I will get a Pixel, because both iPhones and Pixels are too expensive. I'll get a cheaper Android device because they exist, unlike iOS.
  • Playing devil's advocate, couldn't a couple of generations old iPhone be the answer as a less expensive option IOS? The fact they get updated for many years makes it viable. There is still many people I know using the 5S and it works great for them. Posted from my unlocked S7 Active/ matte black iPhone 7/ peerless Note 4/ or iPad Pro 12.9
  • They do exist it's called iPhone SE.
  • Well, here in Argentina, for the same price of the 16 GB SE (about 670 USD) you can get a 32 gb GS6. Besides the A9 and maybe battery life, i think the S6 is way better overall. Even then, 670 USD is way too expensive. Not a point against Apple, by the way, all electronics here are ridiculously overpriced. There are people willing to pay up to 1700 USD for a S6 Edge +.
  • I had the S6 and I returned it within a week. The battery life is terrible. I got my mother an iPhone SE for the simplicity of it and it's size. Every now and then I grab it and play with it. Battery life seems very good (I'll admit she's not a heavy user) but my S6 even on standby the battery would die by like 4 o'clock everyday. So I'm sorry to disagree. I think the iPhone is a better buy.
  • Yeah the battery life on the SE is great.
  • Are you kidding? The OP clearly said was interested in a cheaper Android phone NOT a over priced 4" display phone.
  • I have an iPhone 7 and Galaxy S7. I also tried out the Pixel. Because my entire family and all my co-workers and close friends use iPhones, there is literally nothing I get from switching to Android but communication hassles. There's also nothing about the Galaxy S7 or Pixel that make me want to use them over the iPhone. Well, I take that back - if I get bored with the look of my device, I guess I can tweak things a bit. But that adds literally no pragmatic value at all - that "itch" is simply leftover from the old days of rooting/romming/theming my Android devices... and honestly it's just a waste of time that temporarily makes my phone a toy instead of a tool. Being on iOS also gives me more *quality* options for being free from Google if I want to. I will say that we do have a Google Music Family subscription, which given how much we use Youtube Red, having an ad-free Youtube experience is worth every penny. So we do use Google Play Music instead of Apple Music. But guess what - it works just as good (if not better) on iOS. So at my stage of life and phone usage. I literally can't find one pragmatic reason to use Android over iOS, even though I do love Android deep down...
  • I feel similarly to you. I always dabble with android and I do like it. But, like you, when I pop my sim into one of my android devices it *instantly* creates a communication nightmare for me, and my friends and family. They all have iPhones and it is unreasonable of me to ask them to use another app. It's just a pain. Google really needs to get it together and create a real messaging solution people want to use. They should've made Allo and iMessage clone like so many people wanted and needed. Their reluctance to do it confuses me.
  • Ouch. I can't really argue with that. Luckily my family isn't all locked into iPhones that way (and only a smattering of friends and co-workers are). The biggest draws for the Pixel XL for me outside of the pure-ish OS are the camera and Assistant. But the iPhone 7+ camera is arguably as good and with Allo on iOS making Assistant available (though obviously not baked in)...well...harder and harder. I sometimes wonder if Google stuff is available on iOS as a way to familiarize Apple users with Google products to ease a potential future transition. Dunno how well that works out though.
  • iPhone is 44% share in the US. A ton of people are in this situation, especially when you expand it beyond immediate family.
  • "...what would it take for you to switch to the iPhone?"
    If Apple:
    1) put a better camera in the iPhone for example by 'borrowing' the HDR+ feature from the Google Camera
    2) Allowed third-party apps to control in-camera post processing (NR, sharpening).
    3) allowed downgrading iOS to any version supported by your particular model.
  • You are implying that an Android device has you the option to downgrade Android version. None of them has that option. You have to unlock your bootloader, more or less the same as jailbreaking the iPhone.
  • I can freely upgrade or downgrade between KK, LP and MM on my current Android phone, an Asus Padfone S.
  • Didn't know that there was a device that allowed downgrading, my bad.
  • No issues.
    I recall doing similar manoeuvres back in the days when I was a big fan of Samsung's Galaxy S series. This is my main gripe with Apple, how they're not permitting downgrading (except for a brief period after the release of a new iOS update) even though it's technically possible.
  • Me either! Whoa.
  • That's a specific advice, and they're acting like that's an Android feature. Also, iPhones allow RAW shooting. You can't get any better control over processing than that. Google camera also doesn't give you any control. Less than Apple Camera, in fact.
  • The other Android phone I own right now, a Sony Xperia P, can also be downgraded. The only time I've had problems downgrading an Android phone was with an Asus Padfone Infinity 2 due to them changing the storage layout to accommodate a larger image.
    On Android the camera API does expose control over noise reduction and sharpening without having to use RAW. Having said that, it's up to the device manufacturer to decide how much control to expose. My Padfone S offers no control while the Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro I had earlier, which incidentally also could be downgraded, permitted adjusting sharpening and NR but didn't support RAW capture.
  • You can flash any valid image you want if the bootloader is unlocked.
  • Tell me how? I would like to put my Moto E back to KK without rooting.
  • The procedure is model-specific. With the Asus Padfone S you boot into recovery and choose the option in the recovery menu. I haven't owned a Galaxy lately but I did use Odin for flashing. For my current second phone I have to use a PC-based flash tool available for Windows and Linux with the imaginative name 'Flashtool' ;-) The Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro has a firmware installation tool in recovery. With all these models only the vendor's own official firmware is supported. A quick search gave me this page where there's a video tutorial on downgrading the Moto E, and it doesn't seem to require rooting:
  • Cheers. I will have a look later, lollipop killed the Moto E.
  • Android Central App on IOS. Posted from my unlocked S7 Active/ matte black iPhone 7/ peerless Note 4/ or iPad Pro 12.9
  • I wish, but it ain't happening.
  • To be honest I miss the iLife and iWork apps on my android phones than I would miss the Google apps on an iPhone, with the exception of YouTube.
  • I MIGHT (still undecided) buy an iPhone 7 Plus this Christmas because: a) I want something with a screen of 5,5"+;
    b) Apple finally put a compelling enough hardware package for me to consider (the only weak link might be the screen);
    c) Where I live (Portugal/Europe), the 7 plus has a serious lack of Android competition right now (the Note 7 went kaboom, the LG V20 will not launch in Europe, the Pixel XL still hasn't been relased in my country);
    d) I use Google apps for pretty much everything and they are also on iOS (though they are not as well integrated into the OS, I know);
    e) I have used a Samsung phone for the last 4 years and really want something different. Right now my choice is between the iPhone 7 Plus and the Huawei Mate 9 (which I think will be launched before the end of the year). iMessage is not even a factor in my decision because everybody here uses FB Messenger and WhatApp PS: The iPhone has 44% market share in the US? Kantar just relased their figures and they estimate a 34% share...
  • £200 price drop, microsd slot and a qhd display on the + would tempt me...
  • When I read the title I thought I was on Windows Central!!!!!
  • Lol...
  • You are!
  • I buy anything that is the best for the money I can spend. In the past it was Android simply because of my finances (Sony Xperia Arc, Nexus 4, Nexus 5), and even though the last time I was in a market for a new phone my budget wasn't limiting me, the Galaxy S6 was the best phone available at the time. And so I stayed with Android. I recently had an opportunity to try the iPhone SE for couple weeks, and I fully committed to it. iOS is a beautiful platform, with great apps, and reliable battery life. Ultimately, however, I like my S6 more - despite the fact that I need to top it up once before 6pm (a phone would need to last from 8am -> midnight with about 4-5h SoT for me to not have to do that, the iPhone SE was capable of it). Fortunately, with quick charge even 15 minutes on a charger is enough to make this phone last me all day. I am anticipating that I will want a new phone in about 5-6 months. I am excited to see what the S8 brings to the table. I don't like Pixel due to its large bezels, on-screen buttons (which are IMO inferior), and high price for what you get; I don't like iPhone for lack of headphone jack and low DPI screen, although its SoC is incredible; and the S7 although an incredible phone is becoming a little old.
  • I've been using Android for a while and had been planning to move to a Note 7. After recall #2, I decided to give the iPhone 7 Plus a shot. Some things are better, some aren't. I'm working through a couple of remaining pain points, but otherwise I've adapted reasonably well.
  • The hardest part of iOS for me is the file management, or near utter lack of it. There are a few other things I don't like much but overall, it's a pretty easy transition and you don't actually miss out on much.
  • Based on the way the AC staff has been doing backflips over the Pixel, I'm going to go with no?
  • The real choice is which company provides your services. If you choose Google, you have full choose of Android phones or iPhone, if you choose Apple you're locked to iPhone.
  • This is a great and powerful point about services. For me, that's really what it is.
  • +1
  • I think you're missing a key detail of how these apps and services are integrated. For example, on my Nexus 5, I can say "OK Google -> Navigate Home" as I'm putting on my seatbelt. That's it. I don't need to touch the phone again. Can I use Google Now and Google Maps in this manner on an iPhone? I'm pretty certain Siri would defualt to Apple maps and Google now can't be launched with a voice command.
  • you can do that same thing with iPhone but yes, it will default to Apple maps. but apple maps are good as anything now.
    apple maps sucked for the first year or two, but apple maps are now 5 years old. came out in 2012. There is Nothing wrong with apple maps now.
    it even launches Night mode automatically at night.
    You would say Hey Siri instead of OK Google.
  • If Apple ever opens up iOS to allowing third party default features from Google. I would definitely jump ship.
  • .
  • If this were the thing that mattered most to me, then yes. But it's not, and I still think both Google and Samsung, long surpassed Apple with things I want in a smartphone.
  • Things I like about Android and would not switch to Apple for are a notification light, old school emulator and bluetooth controller support and unlocking and rooting my phone mostly to block ads. I would have to lose pretty much all of those things before I would switch. I would be severely disappointed to lose any of them but switching would mean I would lose all of them so I'll stick with Android for now. It's not necessarily Google services I care about or would use as a reason to choose one platform over another. Hotmail, OneDrive and a bunch of other services I have work just as well as the Google versions so that really doesn't matter to me very much. Also, I have put a decent amount of money into the Play Store and don't like the idea of buying all those apps again if I would switch. Some things Apple does are pretty cool. Like those new wireless airpod headphones that are coming out. Apparently once you sync them to the icloud (or whatever they call it) they will work on any Apple device you own without having to re-pair them. I would love that feature with my bluetooth devices on Android. Being able to use wirelss headphones with my phone and then simply start using them with my laptop or tablet on the fly without re-pairing would be so cool. Also, it seems like Apple is able to get developers to use backups and other features built into iOS a lot easier than Google. Google will release API's and developers ignore those features or make their own version of them which is really annoying.
  • Smaller bezels, 5" QHD AMOLED screen, and 64GB standard storage size and/or expandable storage. Something like unlimited iCloud photo/video storage like the Pixel would work also.
  • Honestly I'd be willing to give iOS a shot if there allowed 3rd party launchers. If I could put Nova launcher on an iPhone 7 I'd be happy to try it.
  • So I'm probably going to be the lone dark horse for my comment, but hey, there might be someone else who reads Android Central and is like me. Personally, I switch between my iPhone SE and Honor 8 often. In fact, it's not weird to see me with one of those at the start of the week, and then change to the other at the end of the week or the following week. I really like the both of them a lot, as I think both are amazing phones for me that just so happened to be the same price, even though they also each have one thing that I find annoying. I actually don't use any Google services aside from YouTube, even though I have a Google account. I use my Microsoft account, along with their services (my Google account is mostly a shell, aside from my Feedly usage) to connect to both, and imo, iOS does it better slightly. Syncing my contacts is easier on iOS and I can add contacts in the phone and have that update instantly shown when I log into my account on a computer. It requires more work on Android to attempt to do the same.
  • There is many like you and I that use both ecosystems. There simply is great advantages to both and if you lock yourself into one you're missing out on the advantages of the other. Posted from my unlocked S7 Active/ matte black iPhone 7/ peerless Note 4/ or iPad Pro 12.9
  • Good to know that we aren't alone! I agree with you. It also makes switching phones way less of a headache.
  • I have also noticed that MS works better on iOS than Android. It's a minor thing but it's there. I only use an Android phone right now, but I've noticed it on my IPP vs the phone. Oh, with the exception of accessing a second O365 account with OneNote...lots harder on iOS than it was on my Android 5.01.
  • i would switch if they would remove the "physical" home button, add an onscreen back button at the bottom of the screen, add the possibility to customize things a bit more and get rid off their horrible file system
  • Having Google apps on IOS that are almost as good as on Android, will still never be a compelling reason to switch to Apple. I will never use an Apple product. I have not been a fan of Apple for almost 35 years now. I don't like their OS or ecosystem. There are things that Android and Samsung do that is way better than Apple. I could do anything on a $50 Android phone or tablet that you can do on an iPhone or iPad. Apple products are only gateways to the Internet. The Galaxy Note phones have real functionality built into them. Of course Google is going to put all their apps on IOS, it is all about money, the more users brings in more money. I just learned a couple of weeks ago, that when an Android user messages an iMessage user, that it pops in as a green bubble. Now that I know this, and that it could irritate iPhone users, I plan to message more iPhone users with even more messages.
  • Why would you messaging them to make a green bubble pop up annoy them? The green bubble lets you know it is a sms message, replying to it would use their text message allowance. If the bubble is blue it lets them know it is an imessage and they can reply with message or media and it will use their mobile data. The advantage imessage has is that to send media you do not get charged for a mms message. I really miss being able to send photos etc by imessage and have to resort to using whatsapp instead.
  • Gotta be honest with you...there are many iOS users that actually judge if your message is green. It's a silly little club and if you aren't blue, you must be a poor person with an Android. We all know that's totally ridiculous, but I assure you green messages are judged by iPhone elitists. It's hilarious.
  • Yes this is true. Speaking of true, I have a story of something that happened to me with one of my friends. Basically, we have the same phone and I used to use iMessage. I turned it off since I was switching phones and my friend texted me asking why her messages aren't blue anymore...seriously.
  • No offense but attitudes like this are ridiculous. 35 years ago I decided to not like something. and now even though it really is amazing tech, you are too stubborn to even give it a fair shake...
    I feel like picking a side and putting a fence up is one of the dumbest things people in america do. I like iOS, Android, WP, OSX, windows, Ubuntu etc. why do I have to hate others because I picked one? what a waste.
    People miss out on SO much doing this idiotic side picking and misc company hatred because Hating is Cool....
    As an iPhone user, green bubbles don't bother Apple users... really? Do you really think people are "annoyed" because your bubble isn't blue?
    Tech is way to fun and cool to be so narrow minded. I love something about every single os on the market. but, I find each one is FUN to learn and see just what it can and can't do. And, since I don't "hate because hate is cool" I enjoy playing around with damn near anything that lights up and beeps.
  • I love the customizations that Android allows, and I have been using Android since the Nexus One (starting with Eclair). I currently use the Nexus 6P for personal use and the iPhone 6S Plus for work. I was a devoted fan of webOS and have also used Windows Phone 7, 8, 8.1 and Windows 10 Mobile through the years for development and other nerdy reasons. Although I appreciate the technical aspects of Android and REALLY like changing the launcher, keyboard, etc. that is not enough for me anymore. When Google stopped supporting a device I always turned to alternative ROMs like CM or others. Now that I have a family messing with ROMs is not a high priority. Google’s tablet strategy peaked with Honeycomb and now running Marshmallow or Nougat on a 10" device is just sad and a waste of screen real estate. It seems that Google themselves have given up on tablet computing (perhaps ceding the market to the iPads and Surfaces of the world). Instead of adding awesome features in an attempt to bring Hangouts to parity with iMessage they "pivot" it towards enterprise, removed SMS threading and created yet ANOTHER messaging app called Allo. Why not add Assistant features to Hangouts and maintain SMS threading it already had? Why not add Duo-like video features to Hangouts and why limit the transferability of Allo? What is tethering me to Android other than the customizations and larger phone selection? MVNOs like Republic Wireless and ProjectFi don't work with the iPhones and likely won't for some time (if ever). My monthly bill using Republic is $25 and ProjectFi with my wife is under $50, and I am a former Verizon-unlimited guy - I made some adjustments and now save a TON of money. I think there are many executives at Google that really don’t care about the Android platform and just want their search and data products on as many devices as possible; I’m willing to bet many Google executives use iPhones themselves (though who really knows). Google’s priority is not to make the best damn mobile OS – it is to ensure their bread & butter (search/data) are utilized as extensively as possible.
  • Would you mind elaborating just a little bit on the changes you made to save a ton of money? We're with Verizon right now and currently have the freedom to move elsewhere, but I'm concerned about coverage and data usage...
  • FYI I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. When I had Verizon I was grandfathered on an old 450-minute "loyalty" plan with 1000 txts for $5 and unlimted data. With my 25% employers discount my bill for my family was still around $100 after taxes and fees (I realize that is not that bad at all). Although there were moments I used lots of data, I only did so because I could - I never really needed the unlimited data with the prevalent WiFi around me (even though I travel about 6 times a year). I was a Verizon customer for over 10 years. After they added a $20 fee for unlimited customers I decided to look elsewhere. I tried AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile and the savings was not enough (their networks were sufficient for my usage, however). I hopped onto ProjectFI through a work promotion and really appreciate the ability to transition between WiFi, T-Mobile and Sprint seamlessly. ProjectFi is still limited to Nexus 6, 6P, 5X/Pixel phones which is fine for me but will be very limiting to others. Republic is even cheaper for a single-person account and has a wider selection of compatible phones (all Android) so I am testing them out as well. In my experience Verizon is the fastest and the most reliable - I never dropped a call once in over 10 years, not even while traversing all over Yosemite. The LTE performance was also the best for me most of the time with Verizon. ProjectFI isn't as fast nor as reliable as Verizon (some WiFi/Cellular switching issues) but the hiccups are rare and tolerable; Republic performs similarly for me, though WiFi calling tends to have much better quality then cell-calls (which can sound terrible at times). For more than one person it's hard to beat ProjectFI’s family plan but for an individual account the price of Republic is unbelievable (less than $25 a month for me). I do like that whatever data we don't use with ProjectFi is reimbursed onto the account as a credit. I will never go back to the Big 4 and therefore I will never have an iPhone for personal use (my job pays for an iPhone 6S Plus running on Verizon so that is my benchmark for network performance).
  • I switched to Project Fi and got the Nexus 5x deal I had been using ATT and Note 5. The 5x meets my phone needs and at least where I live on the beach in LA where I've had problems with ATT and Verizon coverage I have no such issues with PF due to the cell/wifi switching ability. As for my bill it dropped from $110 on ATT to $53 on PF for same level of service. I do wish PF would allow other Android phones. It'd be great to use a Moto Z Play on PF.
  • Hey Neal! Where's Getty?
  • It's funny how they make it so easy to install Google apps on ios, but if you have an Android device that doesn't come with Google Services (like a kindle fire), it can be a pita to get a Google app to work properly. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Isn't Amazon to partly blame for that though?
  • Yes it is. Amazon doesn't want you to use Google services on their hardware,
  • A rich Google experience on iphone isn't even close to enough reason for me to switch although i did remove everything that i could on my work ip6 that was Apple related. Rarely use the phone though except for long distance calls. My biggest complaints are centered around the parental-like restrictions on how Apple manages the OS. I don't need daddy Tim Cook to tell me that he will protect my privacy and data. I can do that just fine so give me opt in/out options to manage my data in my own way so that I can get an incredible experience out of the phone vs an average experience. The Eco system has no bearing on me. I learned the first time after i abandoned iOS that i won't buy into system dependent services, again why i rely on Google more so. File system issues is a big concern for me. Not being able to freely manage my files on device when away from networks is a must. Also can't stand looking at a sea of icons on the home screen. Just painful and archaic. Could care less about Imessage. I send a messag now, they respond. Doesn't matter to me in the slightest what color my bubble is and no one has ever mentioned it.
  • If you could have everything Google sync between both platform devices on your bedroom table for the morning, then pick an iPhone or Pixel depending on the weather / your mood / what shoes you will wear, that would be cool. Apart from iMessage could you run an iPhone on Google and cross platform apps?
    Not at the moment I'm sure - so how far is Apple prepared to bend across to tempt iVirgins? (never had an iPhone, but my wall is coming down and I would try if I had spare cash)
  • You should be able to without issue. I am able to do it with Microsoft apps like a charm. I don't even use iCloud for device backups either.
  • Two things: iTunes and File Management. From experience, using iTunes to Sync an iPhone to a PC has been a messy experience and it truly has no file system access. I need my copy/cut/pate to move photos and files to and from my phone.
  • You could always use a lightening to usb memory stick to move your photos. Or there are other alternatives such as the Verbatim Media Share Wireless Streaming Device that lets you transfer media between your phone and a hard drive, usb stick or SD card.
  • Sometimes, just not understanding how to use iTunes and iOS together can make it seem that way.
    You do Not have to cut, copy and paste photos. You just need to learn how to use iTunes and the file system on your computer.
  • I did switch to iPhone... and I've stayed because of iMessage & availability of Google Apps. I love Android, but after being burned by the HTC Thunderbolt, VZW Galaxy Nexus, late updates on the Moto X (2013) and then NO updates for the Moto X (2014 on VZW), I made the switch to iOS. And I will say, I felt comfortable switching to iOS specifically because all the Google apps I need work just fine on my 6S Plus (Play Music, Inbox, Calendar, Maps, Docs, Drive, Keep, Authenticator, Photos, etc). If getting an iPhone meant giving up on Google's services, I'd have stayed on Android. I miss a lot of things about Android, and dislike a lot of things about iOS (as article mentioned, notifications are much better on Android, and so is the sharing API). And while the Pixel solves the main issues I experienced with Android phones, once you've tasted the iMessage koolaid, it's hard to go back (not enough of my contacts use What's App to make it a suitable alternative).
  • Oh hell no!!
  • the reason i like to move to iphone 7 is because it gives 5 years of updates, and it has a high Re-sell value if wanted to re-sell the phone.,
    i also like the Dual stereo speakers and waterproof on the iPhone 7 better compared to Google Pixel. iPhone 7 Plus has better standby time and better battery life.
    also its better in games and i you can get bigger storage like 256Gb compared to Google Pixel,
    if Google Pixel at least had waterproof and dual stereo speakers then it had better chance face to face, pound for pound fight with iPhone 7 Plus.
    but iPhone 7 Plus easily win's.
  • So I did switch over to IOS after returning my recalled Note 7. I got the 7+ and am really enjoying the phone. It is a great piece of hardware for sure. This is my first IOS device so getting used to the ecosystem has taken some time, but for the most part i really dig it. I have all of my google apps, use my google play music subscription daily and only use google photos for my pictures. It has been surprisingly very nice. I love Android and have used the OS since the original Droid X, but after the Note fiasco I got the itch to try something new. So far the experience has been great. Of course, the Pixel has gotten my attention, but at the moment I like using the 7+. Great camera, great battery life and easy to use. I do miss the customization and all that, but I've kind of gotten over it. However I do still change my wallpaper pretty frequently. I still use my PIxel C table and have a Nexus 6 and my backup so its all good. Both IOS and Android are great platforms and I'm now excited to be using them both.
  • ****.... I can't stand looking at the pixel for too long. The phones design is HORRIBLE as in. But when you turn that screen on.... it's a different definition of ugly. "It has a good camera, great speed, battery, ram, games, IT HAS EVERYTHING (except water resistance), BEST ANDROID EVER" It damn better. 800-1000$+ is to much.
  • I left Android after three years and two Note7's for the iPhone 7 Plus. Certainly there are features I kiss, a dedicated back button for sure, but overall I'm happier with iOS. Timely updates, no bloatware, resale value, better apps in the App Store and that holds for Google making better apps for iOS (see GBoard). I'll keep my hand in Android and maybe I'll even go back but that will only be for a Pixel; unless and until Samsung exercises their might and stops with the carrier crap in the US.
  • Actually in the US Apple is down to 34% marketshare. Here is the up to date marketshare for US and then just click US on the map. You can slide the date and see it was over 40% not llong ago but has been declining.
  • I almost switched to a matte black 128GB iPhone 7 Plus. But I didn't. The reason for that? Not iOS, but the model I was about to switch to was "A1784". That means it has an Intel modem. And I have not been impressed by Intel modems. Reading tests on the performance of it was enough of a concern for me to treat it as a deal-breaker because my cellular signal is hardly strong in a consistent manner. I'd buy the US unlocked model. Trouble is, I was in Thailand at the time and needed a new phone ASAP.
  • I will never go there! I love the freedom of Android and I love having choices
  • I have enjoyed using both and liking both iOS and android.
    I understand why people like one vs the other. I have always used google for contacts, calendars etc since it would sync with iOS OR android when switching back and forth.
    One thing that takes iOS to higher level is when your daily computer is a Mac.
    The way iOS and OSX talk to each other and compliment each other is something google can not do.
    (chromebooks do not count as a real computer, sorry) Being able to get all my iMessages and/or phone calls and the way everything just transitions from one device to the next, like Air drop (native, no external 3rd party junk) hand off, Calendars, bookmarks, reader saves, etc etc.
    You can do "some' of this with a whole bunch of 3rd party crap, but with iOS/OSX, it just works. That is when the Magic of IOS really comes into focus. I love being able to be on the crapper reading an article on AC and when I walk back to my computer, there's a little safari "ghost" icon that I click and it takes me to the EXACT spot I left off on the phone.
    Android can't do this using windows and again, chromebooks are not computers.
    Anyways. I get why people Love Android. it really is awesome. I also get why people love iOS and why they love is magnified 10X when the have a Mac to go along with it. I use a 5K iMac. its absolutely an excellent machine. Anyone who hates on OSX just doesn't know anything at all about it.
    I also bootcamp Windows 10 as well. So now I have access to iOS, OSX, Windows 10, Ubuntu (via bootable thunderbolt drive) and I also have a windows phone. I usually have both android and iOS available at the same time. I don't currently since I couldn't get a Note 7.
    If you have a windows system, its just not the same and Android is just as good as iOS in that situation.
  • I have a 5k iMac and iPad Pro 12". By all accounts, that's exactly the recipe that should mandate I use an iPhone as well. I have to say having an iPhone was a perfect combo having iMessage and calls work so seamlessly on all devices. I even had an Apple Watch. Was pretty awesome having everything work in harmony, but when it came down to brass tacks, Android is just a better phone OS for my non integrated Apple needs.
  • I agree. You don't have to have an iPhone, even when you have lots of other apple products.
    For me, I just Love the way they work together. I still Love android too. It truly is an awesome phone OS.
    I honestly can be happy with either OS. I like having access to both.
    I still love my windows phone, but WP is indeed dead. sad though, I really wanted a 3rd player in the game.
  • My SIM finds its way into my 950XL on occasion. I really like it but let's face it, Windows Phone is real dead. And the SIM swapping is at the core of the iOS choice - it's aggravating. It threw all my devices into an authentication tizzy with deactivating and reactivating iMessage. Then those who had existing iMessage conversations had to delete the thread and restart a new one if my sim was in a non iPhone (sometimes texts wouldn't arrive because their phone tried to send as an iMessage not SMS). Just too many hoops, so I decided to drop the iPhone for good and use Android/Windows Phone.
  • Yep, what mayconvert just said. I agree 100% as an iPad Pro and Macbook Pro user. Going to the iPhone was a real eye-opener with these features, and it would make it hard to return to Android for me.
  • Completely on a tangent here, but Newton as your email client? Seriously?
  • I use both a Nexus 5X and an iPhone SE every day. The biggest argument I would have for favoring iOS is consistency of performance. My Nexus will randomly show down at times, or the camera app will take forever to load (or it will crash). I've already reset the device once, which noticeably improved things; by that was a few months ago and I'm probably looking at another reset soon. No such issues with the iPhone.
  • I use a 5x and like it but I agree you need to be more proactive maintaining its performance whereas an iPhone just smoothly works over time with little user intervention. Unlike my old iPhone 5s which never hiccupped I restart my 5x every morning to ensure no daily slowdowns and once a month I wipe the cache partition...haven't needed to do a factory reset. But those actions so far keep my 5x running pretty smoothly and they take little time. I'm willing to do those things and not run back to buttery smooth iPhone 5s because I like the customization features of Android and for $249 for 32 GB 5x via Project Fi deal and reducing my cell bill from $110 month on Att to $53 on PF the savings is well worth it. Now if one day Google permitted iPhones on PF would I go back? Maybe.
  • The question you're missing is does Google make money from Android?
  • If google made both iPhone with better google apps integration and a pixel. i would still buy a pixel because android is much better
  • What would it take for me to switch? Hell freezing over.
  • I have swiftkey installed on all my Android devices, whenever I use my ipad, I get reminded how horrible the keyboard and word prediction is on ios.
  • why don't you install swiftkey on your iPad too?
  • I am an android user from the times of htc one. I never dropped my phone into water (knock on the wood) if i need, i would by aome waterproof case.
    I allwaya protect my phone with silicon case against drop, and it allways helped.
    From an android phone, i just get much more than from iphone.
    Its my pocket compiter with endless possibilities. Time ago i ordered my first apple device (ipad pro) and every day i realize how bordered that device is.
    I have no controll over my files, no multiple users (on my nexus tablet i use two accounts, private and work) No back button, so each app has the back button on other side of the huge display. Only benefit is the one app i use for editing video (pinnacle studio) which runs only there and is amazing. I think delevopers should work on better apps on android, still there are thousands of rubbish apps there not worth to install. Not much pro apps
  • I am using an Ipad Pro 12.9, reluctantly, i was forced by my company to get one, since we only have app for IOS, and not android. However, Love the big screen though, love the sleek design, full aluminium,industrial and minimalist looking device. But I cant do sh't on this IPAD, cant transfer file directly, and intuitively copy and paste(believe me, its not intuitive), cant put my files in a folder that I wanted and transfer them in 1 go to another folder, super hard to highlight text to copy and paste, and it always randomly closes on me while I was just trying to highlight some text!! Seriously Not sure how people stick with IOS for this long. Maybe they are in hell all this while and never noticed, what a pity. How can anyone be productive on this piece of sh....I mean 'Aluminium slab'? Anywho, no matter what, I need to find ways to make this work, coz its an expensive slab of glass and aluminium. Although it cant do much productive stuff, it is indeed a very good device to consume content.
  • Sounds like you need Microsoft stuf on it or get a Surface altogether.
  • Looks like you need Microsoft stuf on it or get a Surface altogether.
  • I switched from an iPhone 5s to a Nexus 6P, so never really noticed a performance difference, maybe if I went from a 6s it would have been apparent. Ordered the Pixel XL on release day, don't see my self going back to using any Apple devices in the near future. Not having to worry about using iTunes for file transfers is a breathe of fresh air, and with Nougat Google has finally overtaken Apple in terms of software prowess!
  • Switching is not a option. I like all of my electronics to get along with each other. Too many walls, on ios. If Apple, opened ios to other os's, then I'd consider. Already have equipment, don't wanna buy extra stuff, just for it to "just works" ecosystem.
  • Has to do with money. Google makes money with ads and search. Since the iPhone has the most or close to the most market share it only makes sense to make Google apps great for iOS since Google can drop cookies etc...