The last time I used an iOS device was the iPhone 5S in 2013, and this lasted for a few days before I gave in and went back to the familiarity of Android. But things have changed in that time with iOS and Android becoming quite similar in a lot of ways.
If you’re thinking of making the move from Android to one of the new iPhones there’s probably no better time than now.
Here’s what I found from both the pros and cons of using the iPhone XS Max for a week.
WHAT I REALLY LIKE
iOS just works. Yes, we’ve heard it all before but I can tell you that it’s noticeable coming from years of using multiple Android devices. And these were high-end flagship Android devices from Samsung, Huawei and Google. Apple have done a great job of making iOS work seamlessly in every aspect.iOS just works. Yes, we’ve heard it all before but I can tell you that it’s noticeable coming from years of using multiple Android devices. And these were high-end flagship Android devices from Samsung, Huawei and Google. Apple have done a great job of making iOS work seamlessly in every aspect.
Move To iOS. I was a little bit nervous about moving all my apps, photos, contacts, accounts, messages and other stuff across to a totally new mobile platform but it was actually pretty simple with the Move To iOS app. Everything I needed was copied across, and even apps from my Android phone (the ones that are available on iOS) were installed for me.
Face ID is very good. Previously, friends who had the iPhone X had said how it didn’t always work but I’ve found no issues with the iPhone XS Max. Even in low-light situations, Face ID works within a second.
iMessage. Google hasn’t quite figured out how to implement a solid messaging service, and there have been lots of them. Apple has taken the time to create something that is actually useful, fun and integrated. It’s also no wonder that Apple won’t be bringing iMessage to Android as it’s one of the starring features of iOS.
Google Home integration. My house is full of Google Home devices, and I was worried that these wouldn’t work as well in iOS. Probably more of a credit to Google than Apple, but the Google Home app works pretty well. Even with Android TV I was able to cast YouTube clips with ease from the iPhone.
Google apps. All the big apps are here! Chrome, Maps, Home, YouTube, Keep, Assistant, Drive, Translate… While these may not be as integrated as on Android devices (due to not being able to select different default apps) you’ll still have access to whichever Google services you’re used to.
Memoji and Animoji. Through the use of Apple’s Face ID, being able to directly control different animated characters in augmented reality is quite a fun little feature. But it’s just that… fun (and gimmicky).
Gestures are actually so simple. Swipe up to exit an app and swipe right to go back. What could be a con initially is how to access recent apps which is a little bit awkward at first, as you swipe up and almost hesitate mid-way up the screen.
Bedtime feature in the clock app is quite good. You can set the time and days that you want to wake up, then work out how much sleep you need and the app will send you a notification to remind you to go to bed. It’ll also wake you up in the morning.
Airdrop. One of the most convenient features within iOS and macOS. An extremely useful, not to mention simple, way to share files, photos and videos between devices.
WHAT IS NOT SO GOOD
Notification light. Yes, you can set the iPhone to use the rear camera flash for notifications but that wasn’t very discreet at all, and can be quite blinding if you forget to mute your notifications.
Changing default apps is something you can do in Android and also Windows, but not in iOS. You’re pretty much stuck to using whatever apps Apple wants you to use in certain moments. Opening a link in an email will open Safari, even though you might want to use Chrome.
While being able to use alternative keyboards, as soon as you need to enter a password it defaults back to Apple’s terrible keyboard. I understand that this is a “security feature” but Apple could learn a thing or two from Google’s own Gboard or Microsoft’s Swiftkey and make their keyboard shine.
Let’s talk about the homescreen. While I’m not huge with customising my phones it’s nice to be able to choose your own launcher and select where app icons sit on the home screen. The app drawer is also nice is clearing the clutter without needing to move certain apps to a folder called 'iCrap'. Add to that being able to hide certain apps - such as all the preloaded stuff that comes with some phones these days (yes, I’m looking at you Samsung).
The back gesture. While I found the gestures very fluid overall, sometimes you hit speed hump within different apps. Where you should be able to slide across the screen to go back, you simply cannot and you need to manually tap the ‘back’ arrow which is usually located at the top of the screen. A little bit annoying when using the large screened iPhone XS Max.
While we’re on the homescreen… Widgets. In recent versions of iOS, Apple’s version of widgets have made an appearance but they’re not as flexible as the ones found in Android. I have become used to them, and there’s some really great implementations but it lacks flexibility of where to place them. You pretty much get one screen to the left to load your iOS widgets. Android allows multiple pages of widgets within the home screen, which is something that’s very welcome.
The iPhone XS Max has the largest battery that Apple has ever put in a phone. It also supports fast-charge, however if you want to use this feature then it’s going to cost you. The charger that comes with the latest iPhones provides a standard (slow) charge. You’ll have to shell out another $100-plus to experience faster charging speeds. Other manufacturers such as Samsung and Google provide fast-chargers with their phones so I’m not sure why Apple decided not to include as standard.
Where is the T9 dialer? Every Android phone that I’ve ever used has a handy feature where you can use the dialer to quickly search for contacts to call or view contact details. For some reason Apple think that it’s better to have to scroll down your contact list to find those details. It’s really not, Apple.
So there you have it. I switched from Android to iPhone and survived. As I found from the two weeks I spent with the device, there's not too much that separates the different platforms and the gap is closing constantly. If you put Google's Pixel against Apple's iPhone you're pretty much guaranteed a great experience. It's only when you start delving into other brands who change how Android operates through heavy skinning of the platform where you begin to see issues.
It's a case of you get what you pay for. If you're going to buy a $500 Android phone, don't expect it to work just as well as the $1200 Google Pixel or the much more expensive iPhone.
You can browse the latest Android smartphones and iPhones at Harvey Norman.