It’s finally time that we address the elephant in the room. Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android are two completely different mobile operating systems, each with its own advantages and quirks. It is safe to say that most people using smartphones use either of the two OSes, considering the fact that Symbian is dead, Windows Phone has been discontinued, and other systems such as Ubuntu Touch and Sailfish OS never really took off.
There is no outright winner in this iOS vs Android war. Android used to be known for its clunky and outdated UI (remember the good ol’ Gingerbread days?). iOS was notorious for providing less features in order to work smoothly on lower-end hardware (yes, the old iPhones were far behind other smartphones in terms of specifications and raw processing power).
However, with the latest Android 8.0 Oreo and iOS 11 updates, a lot has changed. Google refined it’s Material Design UI and Apple has added a plethora of new features on the software side. As of 2017, they’re both considered as refined and matured operating systems with a ton of apps and features. Let’s look at both of these in detail.
Android is built upon Linux, and is completely open source. Android had it’s first release back in mid-2008. OEMs are free to make changes to stock Android and provide improved user interfaces for their customers (eg. Samsung’s Touchwiz, Huawei’s EMUI). It is by far the most popular operating system used for smartphones, tablets and smartwatches.
- Can easily be rooted, allowing a user to make changes to the system partitions, flash custom roms, kernels, recoveries etc. Thus, it gives the user full control.
- Support for third-party app stores, such as the Amazon App Store. Applications can easily be downloaded in .apk formats and installed without any hassle.
- File transfer in and out of the phone through a computer or OTG devices is very easy.
- Generally comes with Google Apps integrated, which can be disabled if not needed.
- Support for external storage devices and other peripherals.
- Themes can be installed through interfaces such as Substratum, in order to fine-tune the UI according to the customer’s liking.
- Third-party launchers and keyboards can also be installed with ease. Widgets can be added to the homescreen.
- Most devices get two or three major updates at the very most (excluding Nexus and Pixel devices).
- Security patches take time to roll out, and may not be received on older devices, thus making them more vulnerable to malware.
- More frequent app crashes and force closes.
- Some users find the excessive feature set intimidating.
iOS was introduces by Apple in July 2007, bringing about a revolution in smartphones. The first build of iOS came without an App Store. It is based on UNIX and is closed source. The kernel is based on Darwin OS. iOS can only be used via the company’s own iPhones. It is a proprietary software.
- Very well optimized for iPhones.
- Regular updates for iPhones, with new updates being pushed to very old devices.
- Generally it is lag free and apps don’t crash often.
- Native integration with all of Apple’s services, such as iCloud and iTunes.
- Few proprietary services such as iMessage and Facetime that are extremely useful.
- Easy to use, with a clean and minimalistic look.
- More secure, due to quick updates and inability to download apps from third-party sources.
- User has very less control over how the OS should look and perform.
- Jailbreaking an iPhone is required to provide the user with some customization options, but it is a tedious process.
- Most software features on iOS are released much after they debut on Android.
- Managing and transferring files can be tedious.
- Available in far less languages than Android.
- Closed source model, preventing mobile developers from producing custom roms.
So there you have it, both the operating systems compared side by side. While iOS provides a more streamlined and seamless experience, Android dominates when it comes to flexability and features.
Tell us your perspective, and which OS prevails in this eternal battle iOS vs Android!