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iPhone vs. Android: How To Pick The Right Smartphone For You

Making a rational choice between iPhone and Android smartphones necessitates determining which features and specifications are most important to you. Here’s what you need to know to make a smart decision.

I don’t care if your favorite tech expert claims that only a moron would buy an iPhone. Or that your IT friend swears that the other guy is a moron and that her Android phone is the best of the best. That is not selecting a piece of technology, but rather a tribe. If you want to make a logical choice between an iPhone and an Android phone based on technical specifications, I must first state that there is no single correct answer.

The simple truth is that tribe allegiance and marketing genius aside, iPhones running iOS and smartphones running Android OS both have advantages and disadvantages. To make matters even more complicated, comparing operating systems does not reveal much.

The iPhone’s operating system and hardware are inextricably linked. It’s a different story with Android phones. The difference between Android smartphone models is so great that comparing the iPhone 13 to, say, an excellent budget Android smartphone like 2020’s Moto G Power is like comparing apples (ahem) and oranges. A more up-to-date comparison would be the brand-new Samsung Galaxy S22 or the Google Pixel 6 line.

So, when weighing this option, I consider the operating system as well as the differences between phone models. You can’t compare these two phone systems unless you understand the hardware differences.

Having said that, here’s how Apple and Android smartphones compare in 14 key aspects of the smartphone experience.

Usability

People are fond of saying that Apple products “just work.” It is undeniably true that the iOS interface is simple to use. However, the Android interface is as well. To be honest, if you can use one, you’ll have no trouble using the other.

Sure, when the iPhone first appeared and the competition was Windows Mobile and Nokia Symbian phones, the iPhone blew them away. That was back then. This is the present.

Today, all phone interfaces are better and easier to use than they were back then. The key difference, in my opinion, is control. Android smartphones provide significantly more control over your phone and its applications than Apple phones. I enjoy having control. If you’re content with what Apple provides — this is your home screen; add a photo if you want to be unique — that’s fine, but I prefer being able to configure my phone exactly how I want it. Android phones allow me to do this.

Fit, finish, and price

iPhones are beautiful. Thank you very much, Jony Ive.

What about Android phones? They vary, to be sure. Wildly.

Some, such as the top-tier Samsung S22+ and the Google Pixel 6 Pro, are just as appealing as the iPhone 13. Apple ensures that iPhones have excellent fit and finish by controlling every step of the manufacturing process. However, the top Android phone manufacturers do as well. However, some Android phones are just plain ugly.

Part of the reason for this is that Apple only makes luxury phones. There will never be a low-cost iPhone. If you don’t want to pay full price for an iPhone, your only option is to buy a used one.

But, remember, no matter how pretty the outside of a phone is, you’ll probably hide it behind a rather ugly, sturdy case if you want to keep it safe. Nobody is going to say an OtterBox case is beautiful. But it protects my expensive phone, which is essential.

Good Android phones can be had for less than $300. They aren’t the most attractive phones, but they look the same inside a case and work just as well for a fraction of the price of an iPhone.

Closed vs. open systems

The iPhone remains as exclusive as ever. That’s fine if you don’t want anything in your pocket that you can’t get from Apple. However, keep in mind that as long as you own an iPhone, you will be locked into the Apple software ecosystem. As a result, when Apple clashes with Epic, the creators of the popular Fortnite game, over how to pay for the game, your ability to buy or play the game is severely hampered.

Android is free and open-source software. It is also much more open to alternative applications.

Furthermore, Apple does not port its applications to Android and is unlikely to do so in the future. iMessage is the most popular and most vexing of these iPhone-specific apps. My friends who use it rave about it. But it has one major, vexing flaw. Other messaging systems are incompatible with it. Yes, you can send SMS messages to Android texting apps, but the translation removes many useful features.

Still, most users won’t notice unless a software company’s battle with Apple directly affects an app they like, as with Fortnite. However, if you prefer open systems to closed ones, Android is your only option.

Artificial Intelligence and voice assistants

When it comes to Google Assistant vs. Siri, there is no contest: Google Assistant wins by a country mile.

Google Assistant is more than just a great voice search interface. Google Assistant can help you if you use Google applications like Google Calendar and Google Maps. Assume you’re meeting someone for lunch downtown and the traffic is terrible. Google Assistant will figure out that you need to leave early for your appointment and will notify you. That’s great.

Siri may have been the first to market, but it remains fairly basic. It’s adequate for answering questions, but it’s not exactly an artificially intelligent assistant.

Google Assistant, on the other hand, isn’t a compelling reason to choose one operating system over another. Because it is also compatible with iPhones.

Regular updates

When it comes to software updates, however, Apple has a clear advantage over Android. When Apple releases a new update or patch, it applies to all phones — at least those that are still supported. With Android phones… you have to pray and hope for the best.

That’s because, unlike the iPhone, where Apple controls every detail, Google provides the base operating system and some bundled programs, but it’s up to the phone manufacturer to deliver upgrades and patches. With high-end phones, the chances are you’ll get the patpromptlyanner. However, many other Android smartphones are unlikely to receive a security patch.

Skycure, a mobile threat defense vendor, claims that nearly three-quarters of Android devices have out-of-date security. ally surprised at how low this figure is. I’d guess that 90% of Android devices were running out-of-date software.

Some Android vendors, most notably Samsung and Google, do an excellent job of maintaining their Android distributions and software. Anyone else? Not at all.

This gets old quickly.

iOS updates, on the other hand, can be erratic. Apple needs to improve its quality assurance. I can’t recall a single major iOS update that didn’t cause a Wi-Fi issue, beginning with iOS 6 and progressing to the latest and greatest, which had more than its fair share of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and 4G/5G issues.

I’m not sure why this is the case. Apple has complete control over all of its hardware. Why is it so difficult for the company to get something as basic as wireless connectivity right?

My Android updates, on the other hand, “just work.” When I can get my hands on them.

So, while Apple generally provides better updates, the best Android phone vendors provide better patches.

Security

When it comes to security, it’s not so much that Android has flaws as it is that Google is laxer than Apple in terms of what apps it allows into its app store. Getting apps from the Google Play store is the best way to keep malware off your Android device. Nonetheless, Google reports that malware is present in 0.16% of all apps.

But don’t get too cocky if you own an iPhone. There is iPhone malware waiting for an overconfident user to download it.

In general, iPhones are more secure by design. If you believe you can trust Apple with your personal information. While Google receives a lot of flak for not being trustworthy with personal data, Apple is not universally regarded as trustworthy. For example, Apple recently admitted that iOS 15 recorded some Siri conversations.

Accessories

I’m not sure about you, but I like to connect my phones to other devices. Android has the upper hand here. Because all Android devices use standard USB ports, you can connect a wide range of devices to your phone. Something that connects to the iPhone’s proprietary Lightning port is required.

Another advantage of Android is that USB cables and devices are less expensive than their Lightning-port counterparts. It may be old-fashioned of me, but I prefer phones with a headphone jack. It’s all too easy for me to misplace my expensive AirPods. So I’ll always opt for a good, low-cost wired headset.

Charge and battery life

Because Android phone models differ so greatly, judging battery life is difficult. In my experience, primarily with Samsung, Google, and Motorola phones, Android phones do not require as frequent charging as iPhones. Because your charging may differ, we’ll call this a tie, depending on the phone in hand and how you use it.

Cloud integration

Apple’s iCloud remains a huge pain for me, whether I’m trying to use it on an iPhone or a Mac. It always goes wrong. And I’m not the only one who is having issues with iCloud.

Android, on the other hand, is deeply integrated with Google’s applications and services. I use Google apps for work and play all the time. When it comes to cloud integration, there is no doubt that Android is the winner.

Videoconference

Google can’t decide between voice, video, and instant messaging applications. Google Hangouts and Google Meet are the company’s primary communication tools at the moment. I like them and use them almost as much as Zoom.

Facetime is the only option for iPhone users. Facetime is an excellent videoconferencing application. I wish it was available on platforms other than Apple. However, if your entire family or workgroup uses Apple, you’re good to go. Grandma, on the other hand, will be out of luck if she uses an Android phone. I am a firm believer that the first job of a communication program is to, well, communicate. Anything that stands in the way of that is a no-go.

While it’s true that iPhone users running iOS 15 can invite Android and PC users to a Facetime call, it’s still a pain in the rump. I’d prefer Hangouts and Meet over Facetime any day.

Cameras

I’m no camera expert, but I know a few. Andrew Hoyle, my go-to colleague on this, tested all three of today’s top smartphone cameras. And he discovered that the Galaxy S22 Ultra Camera outperformed both the Pixel 6 Pro and the iPhone 13 Pro. You simply cannot compete with Samsung’s 10x optical zoom.

Software choice

Once upon a time, you could argue that one app store had better apps than the other. It’s pretty much a tie these days. Besides, with nearly 3.5 million apps on the Google Play store and 2.2 million on the Apple App Store, you’ll never run out of apps to play with.

5G and beyond

There was little reason to upgrade to 5G until recently. Despite the hype, there wasn’t enough 5G to warrant purchasing a 5G-compatible phone. This has changed. Today, there is finally enough 5G available to make purchasing a 5G phone worthwhile.

Which one should you choose? To be honest, it’s whatever works with your phone company’s 5G network. The term “5G” is a misnomer. There are four types of 5G, and they are not all compatible. Simply purchase the phone, whether an iPhone or an Android, that your carrier guarantees will work with the specific 5G varieties they support.

Price

This one is simple: iPhones are expensive. The third-generation iPhone SE is priced at $429. The most expensive iPhone — excluding status symbols like the Falcon Supernova iPhone 6 Pink Diamond Edition, which costs $48.5 million — is the iPhone 13 Pro Max, which costs $1,599 with all the bells and whistles (including a 1TB drive). Even without a pink diamond, that’s a bit much.

The Pixel 6 Pro, on the other hand, is the best of the best in the Google Pixel line and costs $1,099. The most expensive Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra will cost $1,299. However, you can get a perfectly functional Android phone for much less money.

People are willing to pay a premium for an iPhone, in theory. According to a recent survey, “87% of teens own an iPhone, and 88% expect an iPhone to be their next phone.” Please excuse me if I believe the majority of the teens they interviewed were lying. They may desire iPhones because they are “cool,” but desire and ability to afford them are two very different things.

True, iPhones appear to be more popular than Android phones in the United States, but only by about two-thirds, not ninetieths. This is based on the US government’s Digital Analytics Program (DAP), which provides us with a running count of the technologies used by visitors to US government websites in the previous 90 days.

So, which is best for you? I recommend that you choose the smartphone that best meets your budget and requirements. There is no one-size-fits-all solution that applies to everyone. As I previously stated, both phone ecosystems have advantages and disadvantages. If you’re currently using an Android device and want to switch to an iPhone, check out our Android-to-iPhone switching guide. If you have an iPhone and want to switch to Android, we have a guide for you as well.

It all comes down to your budget and what is most important to you. For me, the answer is Android, but I won’t argue if you prefer an iPhone. We’re all good if it works for you.

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The article above was written by the BestTopReviewsOnline team, which includes many of the US’s most knowledgeable technical experts. Our team includes well-known writers with extensive experience in mobile phones, computing, technology, photography, and other fields.

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