On Valentine's Day, remember that Google doesn't care if your significant other uses an iPhone

Ahead of Valentine's Day, a few of us here at Android Central were thinking about how we keep our digital lives in sync with our significant others and family members. We all have different apps and services for shared files, photos, notes, calendars and to-do lists — but one thing we kept coming back to was that using Google apps and services is a great way to keep your digital lives in sync, even when you have an Android and your significant other uses an iPhone.

When it comes to these critical parts of our daily lives, Apple's apps and services just aren't an option unless both of you are using iPhones. That's rather upsetting, isn't it?

When I look at how my girlfriend and I keep things in sync, I realize it's all about Google. Part of that is, of course, because I write about Android and Google for a living and therefore have more exposure to it. But beyond that, when I think about it, it's actually just the best way to keep everything together and portable between platforms.

We're still using Hangouts between Android phones, iPhones, PCs and Macs for our daily communications. (And hey, if you don't need the computer side of it you can even download Allo for iOS (opens in new tab). We have a shared shopping list in Google Keep for our weekly groceries. Google Photos lets us have shared albums, and automatically identifies and shares pictures of one another. We can both use the Google Home app to configure our Google Home speakers to work with our individual accounts.

There are more general features like email and calendars that can be handled with third-party services well across devices, and of course there are other shopping list apps and chat apps — I'm not trying to claim that Google is the only way to do this. But what's clear is that Apple decidedly is not an option. Anything that's designed to keep two people synced up across an Android and an iPhone just can't come from Apple itself. By design.

Being able to interact together on Google's services is far more appealing than being alone on Apple's.

Now obviously there are countless versions of this story. Apple doesn't make it easy (or in many cases, possible at all) to use its services on other platforms, cutting down opportunities for staying in sync. But in this particularly love-filled time of the year, it becomes extra apparent that Apple only really cares about creating meaningful interactions between people when they both use iPhones and Apple's services. And that's rather upsetting. It's a time when Google's "Be together. Not the same." campaign has a particularly strong meaning.

I appreciate Apple's design. I use a MacBook Pro every single day. I even like some of Apple's services. But I don't get to use them, even if I wanted to, because (aside from Apple Music (opens in new tab)) they just don't work with my Android phone. This has a knock-on effect: not only do I not get to experience Apple's cloud services, neither does my girlfriend — because using Apple's apps and services would mean not being able to share with me. And no matter how nice and elegant it may be over there, being able to interact together on Google's services is far more appealing than being alone on Apple's.

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

  • This is why I don't like Apple. They limit iOS to just one phone/tablet and limit their own apps to iOS only. There is no need to that. Google doesn't as they make their owns app for both iOS and Android, same for Microsoft. So, if an iPhone user wants to video chat with an Android user, they can't use Facetime since it's not available on Android. They would have to use Google Allo/Duo/Hangouts or Microsoft Skype
  • Well, I've read that it was a patent troll preventing iMessage/Facetime on Android. Since Steve Jobs wanted it to be an open platform, and said so when he announced it. However, I'm sure Apple could've found a way around if they wanted to.
  • With Apple's money I'm surprised they just didn't say "**** the trolls" - they are Apple after all...
  • ^^^ Exactly, just like the Animoji trademark - https://www.theverge.com/2017/10/20/16510834/apple-iphone-x-animoji-emon... Apple makes it's own rules. The difference between Apple and Google is Apple is a hardware company... They make their money by selling their hardware, so why would Apple make iMessage available on Android when users can be peer-pressured into buying an iOS device because their friends and family use iMessage... Ka-ching
  • or use whats app. All my friends that have android dont use any of the above apps to facetime. They all use whatsapp
  • This is so true. Google is better with sharing (Microsoft too) and I give them props for that. Apple seems to only benefit those in the Apple ecosystem and it sucks that someone can feel "trapped" in it because of this.
  • There's not a single product or service which Apple makes, that I'm interested in. I left their walled garden after the 5s.
  • Ever since my dad got an iPhone, he can't send me text messages. He can receive mine, but if he sends them, they don't go through. This is all with me going through a Windows phone and an Android phone in the same time frame. And nobody can figure out why. We assume it thinks I'm using iMessages, but I have never had, and will never have, an iPhone. Nobody can come up with a fix, it's very annoying. My stupid sister convinced him he needed it so they could FaceTime when she moved out of state, instead of her switching to use Duo or Skype. I've almost got him convinced to get an Android, because it's getting real annoying.
  • Do you have an android tablet? If so, that's probably why. If you have an Android phone, your dad may have to turn off iMessage in his settings, that might fix the problem.
  • Of course Google doesn't care - Google isn't in the business of selling hardware. They're in the advertising business. The more faces they put their ads in front of, or the more user profile data they collect the better. Note that I'm not criticizing Google here (I just switched my business back to GSuite - I'm fully bought-in to the platform). Apple makes their money on hardware. It's in their best interests to sell as much of it as they can - and they make it desirable by making it all work together ridiculously easily. Apple has no interest in supporting other devices, for two reasons: 1. There's no profit in it for them as they didn't sell the device in the first place, and...
    2. They can't guarantee a good experience across multiple devices and operating systems that they didn't design themselves. I don't have a problem with the above. Nor do I have problem with being in Apple's "walled garden" because honestly, it's pretty easy to get out of it whenever I want. I switch back and forth between my Android and iPhone regularly. I use Google services for some things, Apple for others, and in general it all just works for me. YMMV.
  • I had a problem being in Apple's walled garden, so I left for Android, you can't even connect to certain public WiFi networks and needing to use iTunes for everything from Transferring music, photos and videos and and good luck finding any recent videos. With iTunes, which is truly awful software, I can't stand Apple and their controlling policies and shoddy business practices, I'm done with them, good luck when Apple slows down your overpriced iPhone.
  • An iPhone 8 costs roughly the same as a Pixel 2 or a Galaxy S8, and has a more powerful processor and arguably better hardware quality than either. There is no reason to get belligerent when he made a perfectly reasoned post.
  • "(And hey, if you don't need the computer side of it you can even download Allo for iOS). " I too live in a split OS household, and we use Allo because it works on Android, iOS, Mac OS and Windows. It does in fact work on the computer side in Mac and iOS, it's just a little more limited with iOS and Mac.
  • Exactly what I was going to say. Allo web is available and has been for awhile.
  • This communication battle between alternate os’s has gone on for too long, and the only ones who suffer are the users. I use android, because I can communicate with my windows, Ubuntu, and my tv, and can do it expensively, or unexpensively as I want. You get much greater control of your digital ecosystem. Propitary, walled in systems are no fun, or enlightening at all. Go, and just try to download a apk through your IPad after reading a article on ap, you can’t, even if you want to save it to transfer to your pc, or phone. Windows, and any Linux distro can. The only non-communicator in the digital world is Apple. Natively, you can’t take a iPhone out the box, and text with a android, out the box, but in android, you can, iPhone needs google apps, just to communicate with the rest of the digital world, android doesn’t. I have a iPad, and forget when I’m using it, until I want to download, and save a file from sites like this one, and can’t, unlike every other os that lets you save it, even if you can’t open it, on that os. Apple’s walled in garden makes me feel like I’m in a digital version of North Korea.
  • « Natively, you can’t take a iPhone out the box, and text with a android«  What?! Of course you can!! Abd fir apk and files you can use third oarties cloud services
  • Well said, Andrew!
  • I felt trapped and got sick of the restrictions and bugs so I decided to ditch Apple for Android once and for all, I have no regrets and I'm never coming back to Apple and Google's services are much better on Android than iOS, especially YouTube which is full of lag and stutter. So Google should care of your significant other is using an iPhone as the chief competition to the iPhone.
  • Well you can just text and phone and use thurd party apps. There is not veing alone on either platforms. And if your significant other has an iPhone it’s true that it is even better
  • Soooo where can one find that wallpaper from the headline picture - the one on the right?
  • You make it sound like Google is the only company that makes it possible for you to share information and services across the two platforms because Apple doesn't. That's not even remotely true. There are tons of non-Google apps to share information and services across the platforms. And "We can both use the Google Home app to configure our Google Home speakers" - well, duh. They're GOOGLE home speakers. My wife and I can use the Alexa app on both Android and iPhones to configure our Echo speakers.
  • You've made it well known that you don't like Andrew's writing and that's cool. You can have whatever opinion you want, but at least be fair. He states in the article "I'm not trying to claim that Google is the only way to do this". It's an opinion piece and he's speaking from his specific experience.
  • Yes, he adds that. But "On Valentine's Day, remember that Google doesn't care if your significant other uses an iPhone" really spins it as if Google is the answer.
  • Okay, that's fair. Perhaps "Android" instead of "Google" would be more to your choice of words.
  • But it's not even Android that's the answer. The answer is that there are apps that work on both Android and iOS, which makes it possible to share info and services. Apple doesn't provide the apps you need to share with your significant other, but there are plenty of third parties that do. I'm sure there's a headline that could communicate that point. It doesn't have to be a rah rah for Google.
  • That's true. MS suite of offerings could do basically the same as what the article describes. Though again, to be fair, this is an Android themed tech site. It makes sense to highlight Google's offering, but maybe mention one or two other services.
  • I get what you're saying, but I happen to avoid as many Google apps as possible for a number of reasons. But my choice of apps still run on Android (and iPhone). They're just not Google apps. They're not Microsoft apps, either. If they run on Android, then it's perfectly reasonable to do an article on them on an Android site. Google isn't the be-all and end-all of everything on Android.
  • No, I hear you.. There's a lot of good cross platform stuff out there. Doesn't necessarily have to be Google's services.
  • It's also worth mentioning that one could easily spin this in favor of iPhones. Many of the apps that work on both platforms are released first for the iPhone, and many of them work better on the iPhone than they do on Android. So an article such as this could be biased on either side.
  • Well, I'm sure Rene will have his take on all things Apple over at iMore. And I have an iOS device, I don't see many of Google's services working better on that platform... In fact, my experience has been they're gimped a bit because they lack full integration.
  • My daughter switch to iPhone because all the apps she uses work better on an iPhone. She's not talking about Google apps, though. She must not have been 100% happy with it, because she just traded it in for a Note 8.
  • Ha! Love it! Note 8 IS an incredible device. Hands down!
  • "And hey, if you don't need the computer side of it you can even download Allo for iOS" Didn't Google add web support for Allo? I was using it the other day with a buddy of mine on Apple.
  • apple doesn't care about others. either you have what they want you to use and don't share with others, or you use different tools which are cross-platform. Imagine if all apps Google made would be Android only... I've given up already long time on this matter. if people i know use iphones and they don't want to use cross platform apps, then they're out of my contact list... easy. I actually heard iphone users say "oh, you don't have imessage, you should switch to an iphone.." if i tell them to install telegram so we can all chat on different platforms, then they say "it's a russian based unsecure android thing, we don't want that". so there you go. I'm really glad to use Android and Google including other services from other companies which are cross-platform
  • Apple is a hardware company; Google is a software company. Apple benefits from selling as many of its devices as it can; Google benefits from having its software on as many devices as it can. While what you're saying is obviously true, it almost doesn't need to be said. Apple knows it is losing customers to Android who don't want to be tied into the ecosystem, but it doesn't care, because its goal is to make things as seamless and convenient as possible for the people who do want to commit to the ecosystem. Meanwhile, Google knows it can never emulate Apple's ecosystem because to do so would subvert the rest of its business model because it would require setting up its own walled garden.
  • I switched to iOS back in October because everyone in my new office all use iPhone. That lasted till this last Saturday. Every service I used on my iPhone was all Google. The only app I used that was iOS specific was iMessage and the watch app. I have a Mac and an ipad. The only feature that I don't get is messaging across devices which isn't important to me at all. Everything else I use is all Google based, or Microsoft based.
  • It's not just Google, there's also Microsoft. I use Microsoft services for everything other than search and maps.