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Why I carry an iPhone and an Android phone

To no one's surprise at all, we have a thing for Android here at AC. It's the mobile operating system that all of us cling to as our personal preference, with reasons ranging from customization, phone variety, etc.

However, I have a confession to make. Since last September, I've been carrying an iPhone XS in addition to an Android phone. GASP.

I decided to pick up the XS last year to give iOS another chance, and I ended up liking the experience a lot more than I had anticipated. Almost a year in, I've come to appreciate particular strengths offered by both iOS and Android — resulting in me currently using an iPhone XS (opens in new tab) and OnePlus 7 Pro (opens in new tab) as my daily drivers.

There are some things iOS does quite a lot better than Android, but on the other hand, Android has advantages to it that I don't envision coming to iOS anytime soon.

Here's a little breakdown of some of the things that have stuck out to me the most.

What iOS does better

Let's get the controversial part of this article out of the way first and talk about the strengths of iOS.

A lot of my friends and family members use iMessage. As lame as this sounds, having an iPhone makes it so much easier to be in group chats with them, send pictures, etc. A lot of diehard WhatsApp and Telegram users give iMessage crap, and while I don't know if I'd consider it to be the best messaging platform out there, there's no denying its user base — especially in the United States. Furthermore, I like the idea of having one app on my phone for all of my messaging needs. The Messages app is the only way to use iMessage, but if I need to communicate with my Android-touting contacts, I can fire off an SMS just as quickly.

I don't see Apple ever creating an iMessage app for Android, but if you're like me and have an iPhone, we recently published a guide on how to get your iMessage conversations on an Android phone. The setup process takes some technical know-how and a lot of patience, but it does offer some freedom of being able to use whatever phone I want and still have access to all of my messages.

How to get iMessage on Android

Something else that sticks out to me about the iPhone is its superiority as a digital wallet.

Google Pay is really good for paying with your card at stores that accept NFC, but beyond that, it's kind of useless. Apple Wallet excels at in-store payments while also having the best support in the industry for boarding passes, concert tickets, membership programs, etc.

That may not mean much of anything to some of you reading this, but for someone like me that wouldn't carry a physical wallet if it wasn't for my driver's license, having a well-designed and supported platform like Apple Wallet makes a world of difference.

Even in 2019, iOS still has a better app ecosystem compared to Android.

Lastly, the third big thing that's kept me using an iPhone is the quality of apps compared to their Android counterparts. This is something that'll vary on a case-by-case basis depending on what apps you use, but for me, a lot of the apps I use day-to-day are better on iOS in one way or another.

I use a dog training app that gives me a new lesson each day to go through with Damon (my boxer/pitbull mix who is a very good boy), but for some reason on Android, these daily lessons aren't there at all. I can go through individual tricks and exams, but the pre-made plans are nonexistent. The financial institution that has my savings account and investments has apps for Android and iOS with similar functionality between the two, but the iOS one has a much cleaner design and is easier to navigate. My wife and I use a budgeting app called Buddy. It's got budgeting tools we need with a gorgeous design, but it's only available on iOS with no plans from the developer to bring it over to Android.

Again, this ultimately comes down to the apps that you use, but even with just a handful that offers better experiences on iOS or doesn't have an Android version quite yet, it's a big draw for me to keep holding onto the XS.

What Android does better

If you're still reading and haven't dived into the comments section quite yet to crucify me, let's now take a moment to give Android the praise it deserves. Because, as much as I like and appreciate iOS, there are some areas in which it can't hold a candle compared to Android.

Being able to change my wallpaper and move app icons around is fine, but as someone that used to be really into rooting and modding phones, the limitations iOS has in the customization department can make the experience quite stale at times.

I'm using the OnePlus 7 Pro as my Android phone at the moment, and with it, I've made the following tweaks:

  • Changed the launcher to an alpha build of Lawnchair 2.0 to get that sweet Pixel-like interface
  • Added the Google Feed to my leftmost home screen
  • Created home screen gestures to easily access my Quick Settings and launcher settings
  • Made the system accent colors match my current wallpaper
  • Downloaded a custom icon pack and Adapticons to have a streamlined app icon shape for everything

Taking time to make a phone that's really yours is a special thing. I don't go to the extent that Ara does with setting hours aside to create jaw-dropping custom themes, but the fact that so much flexibility is offered is incredible. This isn't anything new, but when using both operating systems side by side, you do come to appreciate how much Android offers in these regards.

The innovation that's on display with Android phones right now is unmatched.

Another obvious, but important, advantage Android has is its open-source nature. This does result in slower updates and missed security patches, but the innovation we're seeing with Android devices from some OEMs is incredible. From a hardware standpoint, the OnePlus 7 Pro trumps my iPhone XS. There isn't a notch and virtually no bezels, a 90Hz display, a pop-up selfie camera, an in-screen fingerprint sensor, and some of the best silicone on the market — all for hundreds of dollars less than the XS.

If you take a gander at what's being offered in other countries from the likes of Xiaomi, Oppo, and ASUS, things get even more exciting. The recently launched Redmi K20 Pro ships with nonexistent bezels, outstanding battery life, and one of the most striking designs I've ever seen. Its price in USD? A little over $400.

With iOS, there's pretty much only been two options — the new iPhone and a Plus model. Apple shook up that strategy slightly last year with the XS, XS Max, and XR, but at the end of the day, you're still limited to the phones Apple creates, and that's it. If you end up not liking the horrendous design of the upcoming iPhone 11, there isn't another iOS device you can turn to. You either buy the new iPhone or wait another year to upgrade.

Do you carry two phones?

With all of that said, I'd now like to hear from you. Do you carry two phones? If so, which ones? Sound off in the comments below and let me know!

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

  • Yes I'm guilty of the same crime while my significant other thinks I may be doing some drug dealing on the side. I carry a note 8 and an iPhone 8. Unless you are simultaneously exposed to both platforms, it's easy to be entranced in either camp. I have TMobile digits on the iPhone so I can still take calls on my main line when I'm at the gym or somewhere else. App for app, if I want something to act the same way every single time, the iPhone is the choice. When I want things that are widget friendly and on the fringe, my Android that's my main phone is the choice. Oh well, it's a similar story to my Mac and PC double life. Never satisfied!
  • I own both an apple and android device, but I always end up with Android as my daily driver. iOS only ever lasts a few weeks. For me, the big thing is file management. I WILL NOT install iTunes to my computers, and I resent having to go through so much trouble in order to get files, music, etc on and off of my device. The "locked down" nature of iOS in this regard, with the notable exception of pictures, is so frustrating. Why can't I just move a file from my iPhone to my compuer? Why can't I just use my iPhone as a flash drive in a pinch? Why does Apple have to make my life so miserable?
  • I feel the same way. This is one of many reasons, for me personally, why I've never bought an Apple product. I'm way too PC anyhow.
  • There are apps to use an iPhone as a flash drive. However, Apple's take is to have your files in the cloud, and access it there from whatever device. No need to install iTunes, just use a cloud of your choice ! :-)
  • That's the same as having no choice. Use our crapware or use our crap cloud to have access to your own things.
  • The choice is when you choose to buy an iPhone or not. Buying an iPhone and then getting mad at how it works just proves how dumb people are.
  • iTunes hasn't been required to use an iPhone for quite a number of years now and iOS now gives you a real file system to get files on and off iOS devices now. The upcoming iOS 13 also allows you to mount USB thumb drives etc so it's getting lot better than it used to be.
  • You don't need iTunes since I don't even remember when.
  • I have a Samsung Galaxy S10 and an iPhone 8 Plus. I have always loved Android with its customisable options and flexibility without the frustration of encountering restrictions within iOS. Getting the iPhone was a compulsive decision and but I did love the simplicity of the user interface but the restrictions are ridiculous like going the long way around to select a Wi-Fi network or Bluetooth device however iOS 13 resolves this as i am using the public beta on it. I still love my Android phones especially the Galaxys and I will forever remain faithful to Android with the S10 blowing me away with the audio, screen and camera quality. I am planning to get rid of my iPhone and iPad Pro (maybe) soon and stick to Android. The Apple Ecosystem is just to damn restrictive for me whereas Android is perfect for me.
  • I just keep my iPhone X and Galaxy S10+ dark and simple. Well as simple as can be since my phones are usually rooted and jailbroken.
  • Also invested in Apple Homekit and Google Home . iOS is definitely less trouble in the bigger picture.
  • Using iOS is like masturbating with a cheese grater.
  • The things some people try! :-)
  • My work phone is an iPhone and I dislike iOS. Every time I want to change a setting I have to struggle to find it. Doesn't seem as intuitive as Android. And I couldn't agree more about moving files.
  • I'm not trying to blindly support IOS, but your settings issue probably has more to do with what you are used to than anything else. Frankly, someone who primarily used an iPhone would have the same frustration changing settings on an Android phone.
  • Respectfully disagree. I was a Blackberry user for years and when I switched to Android at the end of 2017 I had no problem with settings.
  • I agree with both of you. My perception is that Apple's settings have gotten less intuitive over the years, because they've resisted changing things to avoid confusing/upsetting long-time users. That emphasis on continuity has led to complexity, but at least when you go from one iOS device to another (including iPads), everything is almost exactly the same. That's really comforting and convenient for many users, and a very compelling reason to stick with Apple devices. In contrast, Android devices are often very different from each other (specifically launchers and settings), which can make it hard to go from one to the other. I can know exactly where a setting is on my Samsung S8 and not be able to find it when helping a coworker on their Pixel. Manufacturers are partially to blame for this, but so is Google. Every new version of Android comes with a different way of doing things, so users are constantly relearning how to use Android when they upgrade. For many of us that's fine, but there are times I wish Google would stop nitpicking and leave a UI design in place long enough for people to get used to it. Heck, I'd be happy if they stopped redesigning their apps constantly. The Google Home app seems to get a major redesign 3-4 times a year.
  • Russell, what rot. I've owned mainly Sony devices yet had no problem navigating the settings on my sister in law's LG which is in Korean. I don't speak Korean what so ever. I also recently just bought an Oppo, again despite the skin the settings are still like 99% the same as any other Android device. Your assertion you wouldn't be able to help someone find a setting on their Pixel as a Samsung user is ridiculous.
  • Example: to change a setting on the camera on iOS you have to leave the camera app and go-to settings to change "camera" settings. On Android you change camera settings on the "camera" app. That has nothing to do with what you are used to. Android is easier to use. As iOS takes more button presses to do things.
  • I too find Android more intuitive than iOS
  • You can actually search for the setting you want on an iOS device. Swipe down from the middle of the screen and type what you are looking for. Pretty easy.
  • I have a Pixel 3 XL and an iPhone XR and switch between them on a fairly regular basis. Each has its strengths and weaknesses to me. I also have an Apple Watch Series 2 and Fossil Sport. When it comes to watches, there's no contest. My brand new Wear OS watch barely lasts a day with regular use and the 2 year old Apple Watch easily lasts two days. Also, the integration between Apple products is unmatched (my work laptop is a MacBook. I also have a 2 year old Samsung Plus Chromebook that is reaching end of life. I keep promising myself one day I'll make a decision one way or the other, but I never do.
  • Don't choose (unless you must): use the device (and ecosystem) that best matches your tasks or wishes at hand.
  • I use BlackBerry Key2 dual SIM + iPad Mini 4 so I can read my work emails. The argument for NFC doesn't really hold much water for least here in Canada as nearly every POS terminal I shop at has NFC. If they don't have it, then they are using the old style of inserting the credit card into the slot. As for messaging, I have no issues sending media through SMS or WhatsApp. Group chatting also is the same. The best group chatting app was the old BBM on BB10 which allowed you to create group, task lists, calendar, and media section for the group. But that version of BBM is long gone. iMessenger or WhatsApp or SMS all do a pass poor job when you compare it to that version of BBM. I wish BlackBerry would bring that version back for BBMe. I would happily pay the $5 for myself and wife just to have those features back.
  • I'm currently using an iPhone XS and an S10e (to be replaced by a V40 as soon as the mail shows up today cause who needs 2 "small" phones?) If I had to call one my main phone, I guess it'd be the iPhone. My personal line is on it, though I also use my work email on it so I can easily check my work schedule when I don't have the other phone with me. Then my other line which is Android is my actual work number, and the one I use most of the time I'm at home and for work calls during the day. Sounds a bit odd but I hate being interrupted while I'm doing something on my phone and my work phone rarely rings whereas my personal line rings too much. So it's perfect for uninterrupted media, gaming or whatever. Only reason I keep iPhone around is iMessage, Airdrop, and shared photo albums, as they make it easier to communicate and share things with people since almost everyone I know uses an iPhone. The only downside is that I rarely take both phones when I'm going out, so usually wind up with just the iPhone when I'm not home. Though I am tempted to try the Android iMessage hack and make people use Google Photos if they want my pics, and go full Android.
  • I'm tempted to do the same thing. I use an iPhone primarily because of iMessage and the quality of apps. I'm on iOS 13 beta and it is pretty good, which is leading me to maybe stick with iPhone. However, that iMessage hack sounds good if it works, and with the Note10 coming, I may have to try the new hardware. I already use Google Photos for most sharing, though my family sharing tends to be with Apple since they are all on iOS devices (kids are on iPads, parents are on iPhones and iPads). Plus the parental controls on iOS are pretty good, the ability to approve app purchases and whatnot remotely is great. Ah, back and forth...
  • I do the same. It's amazing.
  • iPhone 7 Plus and a pixal 3a.
    I only do banking/ pay options and iMessage on an iPhone, an iPhone is awesome for this, however, very boring. I use an android phone for everything else. At the moment, If I could only use 1 phone, it would be an iPhone.
  • I have a Pixel 3XL/Fi and an X on ATT. They both suck for calls, the ATT is a bit worse. But the Fi phone exists because it's supposed to make going on and off wifi seamless and it does not. I was really obsessed with the Pixel camera, but it's not that much better than the X. If I am shooting low light I will pull out the Pixel, but lately have been shooting with the X a lot. I was on an arc for a while where I was preferring Android a lot, but then we started doing a project where we were doing native apps on both platforms, and it's completely LUDICROUS how much more of a drag Android was. And the reality is starting with L, Google has made Android more of a kindergarten walled garden than iOS: you can be terminated, trying to make sure something will complete and running anything in the background, is a huge PITA, and we have tried everything, if metrics were collected I would bet a huge chip stack that the same tasks take more time on Android, period. Not to mention the fact that there are a ton of android devices that you cannot trust, they don't care about your app still running, it will just get terminated. Personally I think both OS have become fascist. How is it their decision to preserve a TINY amount of battery by terminating a process or not letting a process wake itself up in a set amount of time?
  • Strange. I found the opposite. I found the iPhone killing background apps that I wanted to remain open far more quickly even when I had explicitly stated they should be able to run in the background, or forcing me to switch back to the app. For example, GoToMeeting while using Waze, if I'm just using the GTM for a call, keeps forcing me to switch back to GTM and off Waze. Whereas in Android, Waze is in the forefront and GTM happily runs in the background.
  • This is the most vanilla expression of "one for the plug and one for the load" that you will find out there
  • Because you are confused? 😁
  • I use one of two iPhones (larger and smaller, each paired with an iPhone) and one of two Android smartphones (currently more and less expensive, each paired with a Wear OS smartwatch).
    What I choose, depends on my plans. I've come to use two watches when navigating on my bicycle and logging - but Apple seems the more efficient regarding GPS. I may even take a tablet for a wider view.
  • I switched to iOS for a year when I switched my primary laptop to a MacBook and the echosystem thing just worked beautifully. Like you, I learned to appreciate a lot in iOS. It is worlds better than what it was, even in iOS 11. Apple Watch in terms of functionality surpasses anything that either Wear OS or Samsung has to offer by a large margin, even if I think it's ugly compared to it's competitors in Android. Ultimately I switched back to Android for a number of reasons: 1. This is the big one... The file system and sharing between apps in iOS is a mess. I do a lot of work, including signing SOWs/Purchase Orders, etc from my phone, and in iOS, editing PowerPoints, etc, I end up having to use a convoluted set of actions to just get a file attachment from email, save it somewhere, open DocuSign, try to find the file, and it's disappeared. Share to DocuSign doesn't work, etc. I can give another 10 examples similar to this.
    2. Having a huge phone like the XS Max with all the icons justified to the top makes zero sense and make it difficult to reach.
    3. I consume a lot of content on my phone, because I commute by subway, and there is simply no comparison on any other phone, to the OP7 Pro's screen.
    4. I get things done a lot more quickly on Android phones whether it's because I can have an icon of my screen for my key contacts and can call them with a swipe up (Nova), or have the Google feed on the left, or even Android Auto being much better purely because Ok Google is far better than Siri.
    5. Default browser is Safari. You can't change it. What I miss most from the iPhone:
    1. iMessage.
    2. Face ID (I never thought I'd like it, but it's awesome)
    3. The echosystem. When you use a MacBook and Apple Watch, it's magic. Everything, from text message to photo synch is automatic.
    4. Airdrop to other iPhones is awesome.
    5. Drop a pin and iMessage it to another person and they can find you by longitude and latitude. Insanely useful. It's doable on Android, but only if both are using the same maps etc. And it isn't as smooth or easy.
    6. Wallet. Indeed way, way, better
  • Yep. Same here. iPhone XS max. It's the Ecco system for me. I have earpods an apple watch and an iPad. Love FaceTime with my kids on their iPads or wife's iPhone. And I rock a pixel 3XL. Love Android so I can't just stop using it. Lol. Plus I need a phone line for work and personal so it just makes sense
  • Been carrying two phones for a while and have been doing Android and iPhone for the last year. Currently carrying an OG Pixel and iPhone SE. Article is spot on. Apple Wallet is better for me and the way apps function on the iPhone work more cleanly (smart home apps in particular seem to work much better on iPhone than Android). The negatives, which Android solves, are the lack of a real file system (trying to download an email attachment, edit it and re-attach it to a reply email is so cumbersome I gave up trying to do it on my iPhone), no real multitasking (need to force Google Photos to sync on iPhone) and more flexibility in app installs (pain in iOS to install apps from another country's app store or even apps which Apple denies but Google approves). But if I could only carry one device (which I often do on weekends), I would carry my Pixel, not necessarily because of any of the positives or negatives above, but mainly because of the call screen feature (which was the driving reason for me using the Pixel).
  • I use the s10 and an iPad mini 5, I’ve been an iOS user for the past 8 years and can’t help but say upgrading to the s10 from my XR was totally worth it for me, best decision of my life lol but I still missed some of the things on iOS so got the iPad and well I felt the mini was faar more superior to my iPhone in many ways and the iPad OS coming this fall, things are gonna get a lot more better :)
    I carry a bag with me since I’m a student and so during commutes I can still use the iPad. The mini is cheap and has got the perfect display size imo...
    Also I can’t help but mention about battery life there’s this misconception that I and many others had when apple says 10 hours of battery life and we thought that kinda sucked but after having used it I realised it was the screen on time that they were mentioning all this time -_- And boy that thing lasts a loooong time like 2-3 days of normal use where almost all my phones used to die in less than a days time with the exact same use cases lol
    Now coming to the s10 the freedom I got was umm liberating lol It was a huge breath of fresh air like damn, it was like I was stuck in this congested room and finally bam :)
    I might get a laptop soon but I’ll wait till project Athena and then well I get the best of all worlds specially thunderbolt 3 :)
    Right now I’m kinda happy with Dex ;)
  • I understand, I need a iPhone to reorder texts sent on android. And actually get something done while the scamdroid is rebooting!
  • I use a Pixel 2XL for my personal device, and a Note 8 for work. I absolutely love the Note, but I will probably have to move over to an iPhone later this year. There's new leadership that want to "standardize" our work issue devices so that my group can manage them through Jamf.
  • I have an iPhone 8 as my company-provided phone, along with an iPad Air 2 they handed out years ago. I have a OnePlus 6 for personal use along with a Nexus 7 2013 I still enjoy nearly every day. Each platform does indeed have their pros & cons, though I prefer Android for customizability and hardware choice. I've also used Windows Phone 7/8/10, BlackberryOS 10 and webOS 1/2/3 so I enjoy navigating a variety of UIs.
  • Well, I carried one of each phone for a couple of weeks and found it to be totally annoying. I have an iPhone 7 and a pixel 2 and find myself swapping back and forth on occasion. I generally spend more time on the pixel as I find the iPhone too restrictive for customization and it causes me to get annoyed with it quicker. The pixel is so much nicer to be able to change the interface at the drop of a hat or on a whim. As for iPhone apps being better I don't disagree but I don't agree either as it certainly does depend on what apps you're talking about so for me the apps don't even enter into the conversation. In my opinion and for my usage my pixel definitely has more positives going for it than my iPhone 7. it's nice to have a backup device though just in case and that's where the iPhone usually is, in a drawer waiting to be the emergency backup if needed.
    My biggest gripe of all time regarding the iPhone operating system is I cannot move my icons out of the grid and put them where I want them or remove the stupid titles underneath. I don't need Safari printed under the Safari icon. I know it's Safari, duh! The capability to move the icons around and delete or change the titles underneath would probably send me back to iOS a lot more often.
  • To not mention notifications as an Android strength, makes me wonder if marijuana is legal where AC is published.
  • I have both. My iPhone (7plus) is my work phone, and S10+ is my daily driver. I barely use the iPhone, but will start to now that I am getting into app development. Even making the switch to Mac full-time. But I will always have am Android phone. I love the option of being able to change the theme, icons etc. IOS is too plain for me.
  • I have a Lenovarola Android for my own use, company gave me an iPhone for work. As others have mentioned, it's a convoluted process to get a file in email and try to edit it in Word, for example. It feels like an incredibly hackish process, when you think it's from Apple I scratch my head in wonder.
  • I've been carrying both Android and IOS phones since 2010. I work in IT so my personal preference and daily driver is Android but the office prefers iOS. I tend to use my Android device for just about everything but there are times where I just prefer the iOS and here are those instances. First, Siri searches are just so much easier. I find when I want info on something I much prefer to do it on iOS because I know my results will come back quickly however speech to txt on iOS needs serious improvement and Android is superior in this section. Second, Facetime with other iOS users is superior. I’ve tried Duo and Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp and they all work ok on Android but Facetime rules! Third, I also find myself going for iOS when taking photos. Low light performance and overall clarity is better on IOS. Fourth, if I have a long day ahead of me I tend to use my iOS more to save battery on my Android because iOS has better power management and last longer than my Android. Once battery is drained I will go for my Android. Internet browsing on iOS is also painful compared to Android and much prefer Chrome on Android for this. There are a ton of things I could mention that I much prefer on Android but wanted to bring to everyone’s attention the 4 things I prefer on iOS over Android. Recap, Battery Life, Siri, Facetime and Photos. Everything else Android is King.
  • I only carry an iPhone these days because Android phones just don't do it for me anymore. They lose support pretty quickly, there's just too damn many of them, and the software really isn't all that integrated with the hardware like it is on iPhones. Plus, it's a pain in the ass to transfer information from one Android phone to the next. I can easily transfer info from one iPhone to the next with zero issues. My life is getting chaotic and iPhones bring me simplicity. I welcome that.
  • How long has it been since you transfered to a new Android? I used to dread it, but the last two years, I just login to Google and tell it to go. Even my theme with wallpaper transferred over, along with the app folders and app positions on the screens.
  • Agree, not sure what he's talking about.
  • He's talkin