As you may or not be aware, two big players dominate the cellphone market. The two market leaders are of course Apple’s iPhone running its exclusive iOS, and then there are the various devices from a plethora of manufacturers running Google’s Android OS. Yes, there are other phones and OSes out there, but their market share is mostly insignificant. For some the choice between Android or iPhone is just that, a choice. Some folks really prefer one or the other. For others the choice is a default influenced by work requirements, family, social groups, or budget. For full disclosure, I maintain both an Android phone and iPhone, with my iPhone being a seldom used secondary phone. Nevertheless, I have a strong preference for Android devices. Here is why.
(TLDR: It has to do with freedom of choice)
Android Offers More Freedom
This is the biggest draw for me to Android. I am a big believer that when I buy a device I should be able to do whatever I wish with it. Apples approach is more so that they know what is best, so no sense in allowing you to change it. While Android still has many restrictions, they are nowhere near the level of Apple’s restrictions. Some examples include:
Android Allows Custom Software and Direct File System Access
I can easily install custom APKs that may not have passed the Play Store gatekeepers. While this may present a security risk, it is my choice to take that risk. Sure, you have to jump through a couple of minor hoops to get it working, but at least I have the option. Furthermore I can access the entire file system on my Android device through my computer, even use it like a USB drive if I choose to.
Android Allows for More Customization
Another aspect is being able to customize portions of the interface. While you can’t customize everything, the parts that you can can really make a difference. For example, if I don’t like the default launcher, I can easily download a different one. I actually like Samsungs OneUI, but have found that I like Microsoft Launcher even better. Either way, It is great to have the choice.
Android Phones use Common Standards
Another thing that Android does well is to work with existing standards. For example, Android devices more or less universally use USB-C, while Apple is still obstinate about sticking with that proprietary lightening cable. Android supports the open RCS standard, while iPhone does not, and chooses to rely on their proprietary iMessage. These are just a couple of examples, but there are others.
Android has More Device Choices
I’ve been with Samsung since the Note 8, but I don’t have to be. There are literally hundreds of Android devices from many vendors out there. If Samsung no longer suited me, I can just see what the other manufacturers are offering. There are awesome offerings from many different manufacturers. I can take all of my data and easily move it to any Android device, from any manufacturer. Not to mention that if you need a budget smartphone, Android has you covered there too. Many Android devices are significantly cheaper than even the lowest cost IPhone.
I Don’t Like the Cult Mindset That Surrounds Apple
It is often remarked that Apple’s true genius is in marketing. They have positioned themselves as having a superior product. They have created emotion surrounding their brand. The have created a culture where Apple users are damn near rabid about their products. They have created a situation where some of their users almost look down on those who do not use Apple products. I know this to be true; as I am regularly chided for appearing in green when I text them, a fact that Google has started a minor war about. There are some zealots on both sides, but there just don’t seem to be as many as on the iPhone side.
Granted this is not every Apple user, but it is a lot of them. I will admit, iPhones have features that are great, but few that aren’t available elsewhere. They have just created a walled garden where their proprietary services reign supreme, and don’t play nice with outsiders. Apple was first to market with a great consumer-focused smartphone, but these days they are no longer doing much that is unique or groundbreaking in comparison to others.
I Don’t Hate Apple
As is obvious in the title, this is an article about why I prefer Android. With that said, I will give Apple props where props are due. They do make great products, and the iPhone does look good. They have mastered the art of making most popular features easily accessed, and their products “just work” together. If you are an iPhone user and use other Apple products the experience is seamless.
The reasons for my preference don’t affect most users. Most users are not nerds, and just need something that simply works. iPhone does this well, and although Android has caught up in many ways, it still has a ways to go on seamless integration with other devices. Some features, while available elsewhere, do work better on IPhone. A great example of this is the biometrics. My Note has face unlock, but it just seems to work better on IPhone.
Android is not Perfect
As much as I have a preference for Android, and I genuinely find it to be a better experience, it is far from perfect. One of the unfortunate problems that plagues Android is updates. With so many manufacturers and cell phone companies themselves involved, updates rolled out in a timely manner are not a thing outside of Google’s own Pixel devices. When they do roll out, not all Android devices get them at the same time. Another issue with Android is in device security. The inconsistent updates are definitely a negative for security. Additionally, with the looser store restrictions and the easy ability to install custom applications there can be significantly more issues with malware and spyware. Finally, Apple seems to take privacy more seriously. While Android is coming along in many of these areas, there is still work to do.
The Bottom Line
Whichever phone you might use, they perform the same basic functionality well. I’m not an Android zealot, as I stated earlier I own both. I just prefer my Android. Some of the more advanced features that I desire just aren’t available on an iPhone. I also find the interface and accessory options on Android to be superior. With recent changes to Android and the efforts of Microsoft to integrate Android into Windows and Microsoft Services, the features that were once exclusive to iPhone are no longer so exclusive. Therefore, while the iPhone folks look forward to the next iPhone, I got my eye on the next Z-fold.