I enjoy my Android phone. It's fast, has a ton of options and I wouldn't trade it in for anything. That said, I've also become frustrated by features iOS offers that Android lacks. In past articles, I've discussed the areas where Android outshines iOS. Today's article is going to look specifically at features iOS offers that I think Android is lacking.
Both Android and iOS offer user data backups. And both platforms offer OTA (over the air) backups. There are differences in how backups are offered however. Android does its backups to Google servers and iOS users can backup using iCloud or iTunes.
Unfortunately Android restorations are even more complicated. Older versions of Android offer very limited backup options. Mostly limited user data like contacts, calendar and email. But newer Android releases finally offer a better backup tool enabled by default. When it works correctly, it basically backs up...everything to your Google drive. And if you're restoring to a phone with a compatible Android release, all of your stuff "should" reappear during your account restoration. The problem is, I've had mixed results using this. First off, not all applications are restored. Second, I've had many items such as notes and alarms that didn't make it into the restoration.
Then to further complicate things, there are vendor or mobile carrier solutions. Verizon and Samsung are two perfect examples. They heavily integrate their own backup tools, like Samsung's Smart Switch tool for phone migrations. Samsung does a really good job here as you can even import iCloud data onto Samsung phones. And I actually used this over Android's native tools when I upgraded from my Samsung S5 to the S7.
The fact is, it's far better than what Google offered in terms of switching phones. By no means am I saying that iCloud is perfect by comparison. However, having restored multiple iOS and Android phones in the past, I've generally found that iOS offers a more consistent experience with backups.
If you own an iOS device, the device is indeed encrypted. However unless your Android device is running Android 6.x, odds are very good your Android device is not encrypted. Some people might not care about such things, but I think in today's world having a phone that is encrypted by default is a must.
Next, we have application security. Speaking for myself, I've never had a problem installing software from the Google Play Store. Unfortunately, others out there have experienced malware concerns installing software from Google Play. This isn't to say that Apple has never had malicious software sneak by into the app store. However, Google Play has seen more frequency in this area than Apple has.
And of course, thanks to Android's fragmentation there are lots of people out there running rather dated versions of Android. Pre-paid mobile providers are among the worst offenders in this area. Recently my nephew ended up with a cheap Samsung phone that was still running Android 4.0. This device was new, yet offered no upgrades as the pre-paid carrier didn't offer any. This fragmentation is made possible because Android allows the mobile carriers to handle how updates are pushed forth to their users. Apple by contrast, handles all the updates regardless of mobile carrier.
If you own a Mac and an iOS device, the user experience between the two devices is pretty seamless thanks to shared services like iCloud. Even better, you can use a Mac to send or receive SMS messages without too much extra work. Just login and enjoy.
Android differs in this space as you rely on Google apps and some third party applications like AirDroid. It's far from seamless and both types of applications for Android require you to have the right website open to send SMS. So instead of useful integration built into your desktop operating system, your best option is to use a web browser. This doesn't put Android into the best light, in my opinion.
Unless you're buying a Google Nexus, odds are your Android phone came with software you'd prefer to remove. Worse, if you own a Samsung...those applications can't be uninstalled without rooting your device. While this isn't a big deal for me, it's a shame that users are confronted with this. Apple iOS users, however, don't have this problem. You'll never find uninstallable mobile carrier applications on an iOS device.
One of the best features with iOS is the device search. Applications, documents, whatever – all easily searched for using the search feature on iOS. Now some might point out that Google offers something similar and that would be accurate. Unfortunately it's not always easy to find however. On my S7, I actually have to go to the app drawer, then pull down as if I'm refreshing a page. Other devices may do a better job with it, but this has been my experience with device search on Android 6.0. And with Samsung, there's also S Search. You have to hand it to mobile carriers, they sure do love redundant applications.
Despite the things I feel are missing from Android, I believe it remains the best mobile operating system for my needs. It's got the apps I want, allows me control over my phone and I get to choose my default applications. Perhaps best of all, I get to choose my user interface thanks to launchers like Nova. Toss in the fact that I get to choose my phone hardware vs having it dictated to me and I can't fathom returning to iOS – ever. My needs have simply outgrown it.
Now if we just address fragmentation and get the mobile carriers in line, it could do wonders to make Android even stronger. What say you? Are you also an Android user who finds some iOS functionality missing from your Android experience? Perhaps you disagree with me and would care to offer counter-arguments instead? Hit the Comments, share your thoughts.