6 features from iOS 12 that need to come to Android

The WWDC Keynote just wrapped up and we got to see everything we are supposed to see about iOS 12.

We're Android folks 'round these parts, but that doesn't mean we can't recognize a good thing when we see it. I'm all for letting company executives and ever-faithful fans fight about who copied who and who did it better and everything else as long as it means my phone can do something that makes my life easier. Besides, everyone knows that all these companies are copying Palm and/or Symbian anyways. (rimshot!)

Anyways, let's leave the who-copied-who for another article or the courtroom and have a look at a few things we saw in iOS 12 that need to make their way to Android.

Native AR everywhere

Apple has built ARKit, the company's excellent framework for AR and VR applications, deeper into the operating system so any app can tap into its power without necessarily adding it to the app itself — it's just there and lets apps use it for cool stuff.

To show this off, Apple added a small utility that can leverage ARKit to measure distances or perform other basic measurements like getting the angle of an object as part of the system. It's also adding a unique file type that lets apps and users share AR experiences across iOS.

Not everything is going to be better with AR involved. In fact, some things should never be paired with alternate anything. But supporting it across the platform and including a small default system tool for measuring anything is pretty awesome and I'd like to see that come to Android, which has been halfheartedly doing AR for years.

Please don't create a new proprietary file format for it though.

Shortcuts for Siri

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With a few taps, you can have Siri remind you when it's time to leave, check the weather so you know if you need to take an umbrella, and even check on the traffic if you plan on driving. Called Siri Shortcuts, these small routines can be saved so they are always available.

Android already lets you create linked shortcuts in lots of different ways, but a simple app that would fire up Google Assistant and get an answer to something we need to ask regularly or a solution to any common task is a great idea. Even Bixby has "Quick Commands" that are a very similar idea. Simple is good. We need simple as much as we need powerful and complicated (maybe even more).

Android has Google Assistant Routines, which are similar to Siri Shortcuts. And using pre-built routines is dead simple. Creating custom routines is not. Google Assistant is super powerful and can do so much more than Siri, it's time for Google to leverage that in a way anyone can use.

A dedicated place for Do Not Disturb

Adding some features like keeping notifications out of the status bar to the Do Not Disturb feature is great. Adding an icon in the action center so you can get to those settings in iOS 12 is one of those little things that can mean a lot.

Did you know your Android phone can probably do the exact same sort of thing with Do Not Disturb (keep notifications out of your status bar, have a quick shortcut for an hour or a day) that iOS 12 can? If you didn't, it's because Google has the whole DND system hidden and it's difficult to understand how it works. On iOS 12, you'll see it right in the action center and it's easy to use.

Make it easy, even if that means adding an icon to the app drawer for it. Not everyone has a family member or friend to show them how Android works and what their phone can do.

Activity reports for managed accounts

Seeing part of Apple's Digital Wellbeing efforts include an easy way to check what your kids are doing on their phones is perfect!

A lot of debate surrounds how children use a smartphone. No matter which side of it you're on you have to admit seeing a detailed report of how your child is using their phone displayed right on your phone is a great idea.

Kids are impressionable and will absorb what they see to shape themselves. They often needs some guidance or supervision. When it's easy to manage what your kids are doing on their phone, there's no excuse to not do it.


Take your face, turn it into an Animoji, then use it in FaceTime so your little head can talk along with you. This is the future and it is now.

Come on, we all want a Bitmoji mode built in to our phones. A little cartoon Jerry belongs on every message I send to Daniel. I'll not say anything about tongue detection because, well, because.

Performance improvements for older phones

Apple is not only supporting a huge number of older iPhones with iOS 12, they are working to make those phones all run better, too.

Everyone wants updates, but often they can leave your phone sluggish and just worse than it was before you updated. New ideas come to software developers and it's normal that older phones don't have the specs to handle it very well.

Apple said it has plans to address performance on older models, which is pretty great. They described some kernel scheduler changes they are making to offset the extra software load on older silicon, and since they are heavily involved in the actual hardware design for those older chips, they can do even more.

When all is said and done, none of these other cool features matter when your phone runs poorly and you don't even want to try them. Older iPhones needed this sort of attention, and it certainly wouldn't hurt to see Google and Android phone manufacturers doing the same.

What about FaceTime and encrypted messaging? With group messaging!

Apple added group calling to FaceTime, which is something iPhone users have wanted for a while. They also reminded us how FaceTime chats are encrypted from end to end so only the person who is supposed to read it can read what you send.

Nope. Keep that one, Apple.

FaceTime is awesome in its current form and looks even nicer with group calling enabled. But it only works if you have an iPhone and that means Apple doesn't really care about providing a safe way to communicate — they only want to sell more iPhones. That's cool and I don't begrudge them doing it, just stop trying to paint it as some Good Samaritan effort, Apple.

Google needs to help get end to end end encryption adopted into the RCS standard instead so everyone can benefit no matter which phone they use.

You should be able to use whatever phone you want without having to worry about what anyone else thinks. And that phone should be able to do all the cool stuff you want it to do. That's why we saw Apple take ideas from Google. Siri Shortcuts are very similar to Google's Assistant Routines (albeit easier for users to create custom shrotcuts), the company's Digital Wellbeing efforts mimic what we saw Google present to us at Google I/O 2018 in May, and those new features coming to Apple Photos are a carbon copy of what Google is doing with Google Photos.

We won't even dig into bundled notifications other than to say it's great that iPhone users can have them now.

We want iPhone users to love their phone. And we want Android users to have access to all the awesome things smart developers can dream of — even if it does "copy" someone else. And we really want to see these things come in the next version of Android.

WWDC 2018: Everything you need to know!

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • I agree with you on most of these suggestions. I'm indifferent about AR though.
    Performance improvements is great to have for older phones and shortcuts for Siri is great, I'm a big fan of having all of those things (I mean different actions) go together with a key phrase.
  • Does iOS have a system wide dark theme? If so, they should copy that. If not they should do it anyway.
  • It doesn't. That's why Google doesn't either. Otherwise Google would have long added such a basic thing most non-stock Android phones and even Windows Phone had.
  • How about Google get OEMs and carriers forcefully into check with update timeliness?
  • Custom routines for Google Assistant +1. Open that up and let individuals make routines that are specifically designed to help them... Support end to end encryption in the RCS standard +1. Support performance enhancements for older phones +1. I have a co-worker who just bought an iPhone 6 (7?), and I get occasionally reminded how much he paid for it and how much longer he is going to get updates for his - new to him - phone. Sigh.... Face palm... Heavy sigh....
  • On my A5 2017, I can access do not disturb from the notification shade.
    Bixby as mentioned in the article had "shortcuts" for more than a year.
    But.. muh stock android.
  • Checked on my S7 and I can go directly into the do not disturb settings as well. But you know how it is, if it's on a Samsung phone it's a useless gimmick until Google wants it for stock Android.
  • No. That's awesome. But Google needs to get this sort of thing into the platform so OEM's don't have to provide a solution. Make a thing that is good and works and every company can just let if be there.
  • I'm running Android P on my OG Pixel and it shows Do Not Disturb in the notification shade. I can toggle it with one press. If I long press I can customize the DND settings. Is this what everyone is referring to?
  • Yeah, that's it. A5 2017 had that functionality since at least 2016. Go figure.
  • It's not just on Android P. It's on Oreo as well on my Pixel 2 XL. Not quite sure why Jerry thinks this is missing. Unless I misunderstood what Jerry is looking for.
  • Lol... If it's not a pure android experience... Then it's by default... Bloatware to the 3.9 million Pixel buyers.... Until Android adopts Samsung's refinements, like expanding gesture controls to those who like them. I know, the 317.5 million Samsung phones sold in 2017... Those buyers are all wrong... Yep... So far, Google's 1.1 billion to get HTC engineers making their phones hasn't exactly began to pay off yet.
  • Google's $1.1 billion acquisition of HTC's smartphone division will pay off in the long run and you're right if a feature's not on stock Android then it's bloatware for me as the likes of Samsung and LG's features are mostly useless gimmicks that bog that their phones.
  • Yes that is so true. Samung will improve on something and it's overlooked but if Google makes it stock it is like WOW! What Google needs to do before releasing a new version is get with all the OEM's (Samsung, HTC, Motorola...) and see what features they are implementing into their version of Android and then make that part of the "Vanilla" version and Google would be like the almighty. These OEM's alter Android because they put in features that us users want and Stock Android may not provide knowing the capabilities are out there. Like I like the "Pro Mode" on my S8+ for the camera app. I don't use it much because you use it for more steady pics instead of on the fly, but it works better trying to get that perfect sunset pic. If the pixel had a feature like that it could sway me towards that phone instead.
  • Does the same on my LG G5.
  • I thought this was a standard android feature. It is on all the android phones I have, though implemented slightly differently on my HTC M8S.
  • Available on the shade on my old M8 and the U11. Lots of options as well, like putting the phone in DND automatically when you go into a meeting. DND or silent mode can be activated in my pocket without looking at the phone as well.
  • Isn't DND listed in the notification shade on Android P? A long press on the icon brings up all the customization features.
  • Gotta say I’m impressed supporting older hardware is always a win for me and something I’d like to see Google do! they also keep improving the Apple Watch and it’s by far better than anything android wear related. Cheap annual dig at the percentage of devices of latest version of Android, which is something Google really is gonna have to get sorted somehow! Not interested in any Mac OS stuff but if asked who I was more impressed with between today’s Apple Keynote and Google’s I/O one it was Apples by far.
  • Err Google for support older hardware but once not as long as Apple does but so what? Apple allows down older iPhones with their "updates" and Google doesn't but Samsung do, heck Samsung devices slow down before they're even a year old lol with all the junk and useless gimmicks on their phones.
  • Err are Google supporting and updating a device released in 2013? (iphone 5s) nope? and what you mean so what? any company be it google, samsung, apple who are still supporting hardware from that far back deserve respect but maybe that's just me. Hmm can you point me to where you read Samsung slows down phones with updates? cause I read plenty of statements saying otherwise directly from Samsung. Ps have you actually bought a pixel yet or are you just on here defending the Pixel even though yet again you still don't even own one? oh and if Google are so great why they copying the iphone x notch with the Pixel 3?
  • I'm buying a Pixel this week. There's no point in supporting phones for longer than 3 years as the updates in the case of iPhones will lag and slow down as it is Apple's policy to get it's gullible users to buy their latest overpriced "revolutionary" iPhone. As for the Notch on the Pixel 3 XL, it's a bad idea but if they do what OnePlus did with the notch on the OnePlus 6 then it won't be as big a deal.
  • got news for you troll. I have the Pixel and its slower than the Note 8 after 8 months. the pixel lags and runs out of ram very quickly
  • Yeah right no Pixel phones run slower than a Note 8 with that bloatware and under duplex apps of superior Google apps. You're as bad as DJCBS who makes up lies about the Pixel because he hates stock Android. Plus the Note 8 isn't even on its full resolution by default while the Pixel is and there loads of YouTube videos saying their Note 8 has slowed down after 6 months where as there's been no such issues with a Pixel. I assume you have a OG Pixel XL which the Snapdragon 820 is 2 years old and the 835 on the Pixel 2 XL is a year newer and unlike Samsung Google improves performance with their fast software updates for the most part. You lose credibility with your claim that your Pixel is slowed than a Note 8. By the way I'll be a proud owner of a Pixel 2 XL on Friday. Hopefully that will suit you Samsung shills up.
  • Lol all this time he's been banging on about Pixel and he didn't even have one!
  • he still a paid google shill. still doesn't own a pixel. still bashes everything outside the all mighty pixel. …. still just a troll. I mean look, even giving someone updates for 5 years and making your OS less taxing on those devices so they run better is bad in his eyes. wtf kind of logic is that? pure troll.
  • I guess you didn't get the memo that Apple slow down older iPhones on purpose the get people buy the latest overpriced and crappy "revolutionary" iPhone with bugs and lags that comes with the latest "update".
  • I love that we are to the point where I don't care about any of these things. I don't own phones long enough for the performance to older phones one to matter to me personally. And the whole chat thing isn't an issue to me either since SMS/MMS is cross platform and works fine. I never video chat either. I can see where some of these things might be really important to people though.
  • Memoji > I really don't want this any ware near my phone. I can see it being cool if you were 8 years old though.
  • 1. Tap top to get back to top
    2. Native Bluetooth accessory battery percentage indicator
    3. Mute switch ala OnePlus.
  • I want Google Assistant to automatically tell me when it's time to leave for an event on my calendar. You know, the way Google Now used to do, and which (at least for me) has been broken since things went from Now to Assistant.
  • None of those things interest me. I have a Pixel phone so it's not an issue for me, but timely software updates!
  • Fixing performance in older iPhones would be great. I've had three iphones that became absolute dogs after updates. Animoji's? You're kidding, right? I guess for kids...
  • Do Not Disturb - IIRC, Google's update to this was to turn your phone face down wasn't it? I'm ambivalent about everything else except custom shortcuts. But with those, I can see myself having multiple ones for the same app unless they only allow one per app. I 'Hey Google' myself into 5 copies of the same thing on my shopping list already. My Google Assistant seems to do a lot of this automatically but it would be great to be able to ask it. Also isn't Google Family handling the activity tracking for your kids? BTW, since I had to take a look at assistant to confirm----Happy BDay
  • Android OEMs need to adopt the OnePlus alert slider. I found myself using that all the time on my OnePlus X and my 3T. I use it all the time on my iPhone 6. With every phone on the market being a 6" beast, OEMs can't give the "there's no room" excuse, like they are trying to do with the headphone jack. I'm torn on OS updates. For the most part, Google's app updates incorporate most of the functionality of an app, so the user experience across OS versions is very similar. Of course, Google has been saying for 6+ years they are going to make updates easier, but nothing has ever materialized. I'll hope for the best with project treble, but I won't hold my breath either.
  • Oh don't worry, I'm sure Google will copy iOS 12 soon enough.
    That's how they design Android updates anyway.
    iDroid 10.0 Q should have the worst of iOS12 in it for sure. Including the obnoxious live emojis.
  • Android Q will be even better than Android P we get it, you don't like Stock Android and love Samsung gimmicks and bloat Mr Samsung shill which you won't see Android Q until 2020 lol.
  • Sounds like you'd enjoy a stock Android experience. Get a OnePlus or Pixel. You could torture yourself and get a Galaxy S9 with their own personalized AR avatars. I like Samsung's version better because it scans your face and automatically creates an avatar that looks enough like you. No need to scroll through different styles.
  • I'm getting a Pixel 2 XL I like OnePlus Oxygen OS but I've always wanted a Good phone again since the Nexus 6 and OnePlus can't be trusted and are a shady company. I could never get Samsung because of their horrible software, bloat ware and inferior duplicate apps to superior Google apps and we all know how bad Samsung are with updates so no thanks. It's Pixel 2 XL all day long for me.
  • Clearer mobile phone calls, stronger network signals... That's the improvements we need to see. Secondary and lower functions... That's noise on the periphery. It is a stretch to refer to any of the new iOS 12 stuff as meaningful, core function improvements. Nobody can seriously admit to being wowed by Android P or iOS 12, can they?
  • Just give us an iMessage competitor already. It's only been 7 years.
  • You have loads of options. WhatsApp is probably the biggest, but Skype and others are also good options. The catch is the app/service has to come preinstalled. Users don't like bloatware.
  • I don’t see anything in iOS 12 that google do not have in the upcoming P. As usual with Apple announcement it’s the hidden features that are more fun. Like when the beta testers found screen recording last year. Completely unannounced in the keynote. Or password auto fill. Now there is also m android p like Sms 2fa key auto fill, also not in the announcement. Siri shortcuts works a lot like the older workflow app that Apple bought. Bringing it into Siri makes Siri more Bixby like and definitely more capable. I use workflow app for productivity mostly. To do watermarking on photos or resizing photos to make a collage then convert into PDF and save it in Dropbox. The most fun one is finding nearby restaurants phone numbers. And it also tells me how far the restaurants are from me. Right on the widget, on the lock screen. The whole thing about Apple is that even though they can’t compete with Google on software smarts, they always integrate more and more. See Animoji and stickers. Start with messages. Now they are in FaceTime too. And you can jump between FaceTime and messages in either apps. I Guess the next evolution will be clips to be brought in to FaceTime. Auto transcription, Guess who will use it, your office. Look at news also. Now the stocks app will pull business news from there. And they will soon try to bring iOS apps to MAC, with continuity it will be very easy to pick up where you start, phone to laptop. Android P is on all fronts more capable and flexible. If I’m using P I wouldn’t wish for anything on iOS 12. Google also don’t really brag about new file formats like HEIF which Apple was bullish and their new APFS on top of their NVMe controlled storage, which is likely where the performance boost comes from. If the performance boost really pans out then their photo that shows the list of products from 2013 through to 2018 getting iOS 12 with improved performance is quite impressive. On the other hand if I were using iOS 12 I would still like to have android features like scrolling screen shot. Split screen on the phone and picture in picture. A home screen and default apps maybe.
  • Think this article shows how far android has come.
    Nothing of interest being added year after year.
    I still believe phones should ship with a basic OS that people can customise as they see fit. Ether whole packages (Samsung Experience, Oxygen or whatever) or individual launchers and features.
    And all apps should be uninstallable.
  • You being uninterested in something doesn't make it generally uninteresting. It only makes it uninteresting... to you. The problem I have with Android is Google and how much of a mess it is to set the phone up in a secure, private manner. Google's settings are like a Maze, and then you have a mountain added by OEMs. Then you have Google's Web Services and their associated pages. It's just not worth the effort to me, when Apple goes out of their way to do all of this work for me. The security features Apple is baking into their software is a big deal, and that's the area where they are innovating by breaking away from the status quo. I find it hilarious that no one here will mention this, because... we all know there is -0% chance of Google ever implementing them. Microsoft, probably less so, because everyone will just scream "monopoly." But this should be the standard on all computing platforms. Content Blockers
    Tracking Protection
    Anonymizing your Device Report to Trackers
    Granular Permissions for Websites and Services
    Allerting you about 3rd Party trackers on sites with Like Buttons and Social Media Comments
    End-to-End encryption everywhere they can manage to put it
  • Yes that was my opinion not fact.
    Thought that would have been obvious as something as subjective could never be anything else.
  • Apple has always supported older hardware for a long time. They're just now ramping up the focus on performance and efficiency because the newer iOS releases have been heavier and … not quite as tidy. This is one of the main reasons to buy an iPhone or Mac (cause Apple will make sure your GPU/Chipset gets updated drivers, instead of left by the wayside after 18-24 months - like my older AMD machine - #NeverAgain AMD), and part of the reason why they retain such a high resale value. People buying 2 year old iPhones know they'll get a good 2-3 years (of updates further on it, and can always just take it to the Apple Store for a new battery, if necessary). Making them run better will just maintain that status quo, and increase customer satisfaction (and probably ensure more upgrades go to them instead of alternatives). iOS doesn't have a Dark Theme. Maybe next year. Shortcuts for Siri is okay. She still sucks on macOS, though. Having to buy an iPad Pro to edit RAW on an iOS device is laughable. They support their devices well, but they really are illogical when it comes to these ridiculous limitations; though I'm banking on the new iPhones being able to do it, due to some magic they've conjured up. Lightroom CC is coming to the Mac App Store, so perhaps that is the option for us folks... Too bad their bloatware uses 4-500GB RAM on desktop systems... Maybe the MAS version won't use the Creative Cloud App/Services? Won't help on my Windows machine, though. Unfortunately, I'm stuck with iPhones for the foreseeable future, because Google is Google and I don't want to be a product of theirs. It does seem like all the mobile OS updates lately have been aimed squarely at kids. So much Anomiji, Tongue Detection, Memoji, Stickers, lackluster effects, etc.
  • RAW photo editing has been available on iPhone since the 6s.
  • Please copy the iPhones buttery fluidness.
  • Get a different phone. A Galaxy S9, Pixel 2, or a OnePlus 6 have smooth interactions. The smoothness depends on your manufacturer's devotion to the software and the hardware in your device. You could also try running Greenify occasionally to shutdown the background processes that Android lets run wild.
  • I have a oneplus 3 and it works amazingly well. But then you pick up an iPhone and realise that Android still doesn't have that sheen. I hate to say it but it's true man.
  • How you can say Google have hidden the DND funtion is beyond me.
    It's on my pull down menu on my androidone phone Nokia 7 Plus and it's set to go on and off at set times, I can even set it for an event happening
  • I'm not impressed with iOS 12 overall but I'll admit that Do Not Disturb is better on iOS than on Android but Android is far better than iOS overall and I'm really impressed with the gestures on Android P having finally seen them in action. Looking forward to having Android P on my Pixel 2 XL which I'm getting this Friday.
  • The Memoji is a rip off of Samung's personal avatar. Just another example of Apple fanboys loving something that everyone hated just a couple months prior. Performance boost on old phones would be nice, but other than Pixel phones I don't see manufacturers dedicating that time to an old product when they'd prefer the cash flow of a new device purchase. I do like that, similar to ARCore, Apple's AR Kit can now have multiple users interacting. ARCore goes a step further and enables multiple users on different platforms.
  • ARCore is interesting but those Samsung emojis are a joke and wasn't impressed with them at the S9 event. I agree with you in that other than Pixel phones, no other OEM care about their Old phones and that's one of a few reasons why I chose the Pixel 2 XL over anything else and will be only buying Pixel phones.
  • No thank you on the animojis, emojis, wojojojis, mojojojojois, whatever. More crap to decode and deal with.
  • It’s just some fun stuff you can play with noging more
  • « That's cool and I don't begrudge them doing it, just stop trying to paint it as some Good Samaritan effort, Apple » It is secure, no matter what you think, and encripted! Being an Apple exclusive is a different thing altogether. It’s not Applés fault if google can’t make something similar