An iPhone switch story from a reluctant Android switcher

Posted:
in iPhone
The iPhone launched 10 years ago, but Roger switched much more recently, in 2015. On the milestone anniversary of Apple's groundbreaking handset, he tells his story.

My trio of dusty unused Android phones. From left to right: the Nexus 5, the Galaxy Nexus, and a forgotten LG budget model.
My trio of dusty unused Android phones. From left to right: the Nexus 5, the Galaxy Nexus, and a forgotten LG budget model.


I sometimes like to think of myself as the office heretic here at AppleInsider. Case in point: despite writing about Apple products for many years, I only got my first iPhone, an iPhone 6, in early 2015 -- making the leap from a string of Android devices.

The change wasn't predicated by any dissatisfaction with Android. Instead it happened mostly because I was already nearing upgrade time, and offered an opportunity to transition on the cheap. Also, while I was already using the latest iPad, it felt increasingly hard to talk about Apple without having its flagship product.

Due to various circumstances, I'd gone through three Android phones in three years by that point. I started off with a cheap LG phone on Virgin Mobile -- functional, but the sort of product some Apple fans might imagine when they criticize Android. It was a slow, clunky Android 2.x device that wasn't much good past its core functions. It did the trick, but had so little internal storage that even with an added microSD card, I eventually had to upgrade to a "real" phone just to keep using my favorite apps.

By comparison, Samsung's Galaxy Nexus was a breath of fresh air, at least initially. I might've stuck with it for a while in fact, except that both its battery and performance degraded faster than expected. Hitching and slow loading times became a severe annoyance towards the end -- something I learned was relatively common with Android devices at the time, especially since many of them didn't have TRIM support for their flash storage.

My last Android phone was an LG Nexus 5. That one was actually pretty solid, with a sharp display, improved OS, decent camera, decent battery, and no major slowdowns to speak of. Before my iPhone 6, there was no plan to switch until later in 2015, if not the next year.


Like many users, Roger's first iPhone was the iPhone 6. The larger screen size led to huge sales growth starting in 2014.


After switching, my main discovery was how smooth an iPhone felt. Because of Apple's integrated hardware and software, apps and the OS ran like butter 95 percent of the time. My Nexus 5 had been a workhorse, but still stuttered occasionally with things like Google Maps. I think I finally understood why some people were iPhone stalwarts -- it's just innately satisfying to have such a polished experience.

Speaking of apps, that was another, minor revelation. Android devices have access to many of the popular titles iPhone owners do, but after making the leap, I could suddenly assume anything I wanted would be available. Chalk that up to Apple being first to market, as well as the higher profits often made off iPhone owners.

It was also pleasing to get OS updates the moment they became available. Nexus devices were always guaranteed to get the latest version of Android, but staggered rollouts could sometimes take weeks.

There were things I missed about my Android phones. I enjoyed the convenience of Android's integration with various Google services, for example, even if that might be scary for some people from a privacy perspective. For all of Apple's efforts with Siri and iOS, there was no comparing against Google Now's voice commands and info cards, hooked into data from services like Gmail and Google Maps.

An accessible filesystem and less rigid sandboxing also made my Android phones more customizable. One of the apps on my Nexus 5 changed my wallpaper to an animated 3D landscape, which would adapt to both weather and the time of day -- I could sometimes tell it was raining without making it past the homescreen. Android owners can also put widgets directly on their homescreen, something I desperately wish Apple would emulate.

My iPhone 6 also proved to be less tough eventually, despite Apple using "premium" materials. The display developed a permanent white spot, and also began lifting off the metal shell on one side. Not wanting to risk a possible battery explosion, I was forced to ditch it for a (hopefully sturdier) 6s Plus.

I'm happy to stay in the iPhone world for the moment, but unlike some Apple fans, I imagine I could be just as happy with a high-end Android phone. There are pros and cons to both platforms. It's just a matter of smart shopping, and deciding which tradeoffs you're willing to live with.
RobertoBobarez
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 52
    jingojingo Posts: 92member
    The lack of guaranteed updates in a world where there is ever more (and cleverer) malware is the real gotcha for me with Android. I don't want to be forced to get a new phone every 12 months or so, when I am totally happy with my current one, just to be safe on the airwaves.
    palominejony0lolliverradarthekatdunkswatto_cobralongpathredgeminipa
  • Reply 2 of 52
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    I don't understand why anyone in their right mind would choose an iPhone knockoff. Unless money is a problem I can't wrap
    my head around it. 
    magman1979larryalolliverradarthekatcornchipwatto_cobraredgeminipa
  • Reply 3 of 52
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,624member
    The endless customizing options of Android is also its Achilles heel.  I know that I can pick up any iPhone and know how to navigate around everything.  My Android friends have their phones so customized that at times I get frustrated when attempting to find the most basic element.  

    Add Android's pathetic lack of security, and I'm left to wonder why anyone would choose to use them.

    You always hear about some legal entity complaining about the difficulty of cracking an iPhone.  When's the last time the same rhetoric has been said about an Android phone?  Spoiler: Never.
    magman1979palominelordjohnwhorfinjony0lolliverradarthekatcornchiplamboaudi4jingolongpath
  • Reply 4 of 52
    mrshowmrshow Posts: 151member
    This article reads like someone threatened him 2/3 of the way through.  :D
    lordjohnwhorfinradarthekatcornchiplamboaudi4[Deleted User]
  • Reply 5 of 52
    BluntBlunt Posts: 223member
    I hate customizing. Reminds me off ugly skins and shit like that. 
    radarthekatcornchiplamboaudi4watto_cobrajingo
  • Reply 6 of 52
    cmauscmaus Posts: 27member
    Actually, Android is far from being customisable. I tried hard already, but couldn’t get an Android phone to do just what I want.
    the most basic things are simply not possible.
    I’m speaking of customising privacy settings per app, and moreover, Notification settings per app.
    I do want a tapable notification for most apps as well as lock screen notifications.
    But for certain apps, I want discrete notifications (sound and badge ok, Notification Center too...but no banners and nothing on the lock screen). Funnily, Apple is takin this even further with iOS 11 and per-app switch for enabling or disabling showing a notification’s contents.
    Where can Android do any of that?
    If not even notifications work, how can I even go on with that OS?
    lordjohnwhorfinlolliverradarthekatwatto_cobralongpathStrangeDays
  • Reply 7 of 52
    cali said:
    I don't understand why anyone in their right mind would choose an iPhone knockoff. Unless money is a problem I can't wrap
    my head around it. 

    i) Access to File System (The most important one. I know everyone in this forum would laugh at this point - only to be hypocrites 1 year later when Apple opens it up in iphones as well, apart from opening it up in iPads this year)

    ii) Better battery life (of course not through optimization, but by use of larger batteries)

    iii) Customization (yes, even basic customization options can go a long way in improving user experience, which is just NOT possible in IOS)


    And a salute to the author for sharing his viewpoints openly, particularly about Android - which WILL infuriate MANY people in this forum.

    edited June 2017 cpdpr
  • Reply 8 of 52
    cali said:
    I don't understand why anyone in their right mind would choose an iPhone knockoff. Unless money is a problem I can't wrap
    my head around it. 
    Roger even mentioned that his Galaxy Nexus started to run poorly and that he went through 3 phones in 3 years, but at the end makes those things sound acceptable enough to go back.  I used my original iPhone until I upgraded to an iPhone 4 on launch day (6/24/2010).  I used that 4 until I went with a 5s and I still use the 4 several times a week at the gym just for music.

    He also mentions noticing the smoothness of iOS as his main discovery.  Why go back to a less smooth experience?  Does anyone really pine for the days of watching 12 fps videos on the internet? I know I don't.

    A friend of mine won't switch from Android and recently made a comment along the lines of "remember those commercials years ago showing an iPhone with people doing pinch-to-zoom and it was really smooth.  It's funny that just now we're actually getting to that point."  My reply was, no, it's always been that way on an iPhone.  He doesn't believe it.  Oh, and he is constantly charging his phone. Sitting down to eat? Charge the phone.  Just got out of the car? Go in and charge the phone.  Just been on FB for 30 minutes? Charge the phone while we have a conversation.  It's ridiculous. 


    edited June 2017 jony0lolliverwatto_cobralongpathredgeminipa
  • Reply 9 of 52
    Roger_FingasRoger_Fingas Posts: 142member, editor
    cali said:
    I don't understand why anyone in their right mind would choose an iPhone knockoff. Unless money is a problem I can't wrap
    my head around it. 
    Roger even mentioned that his Galaxy Nexus started to run poorly and that he went through 3 phones in 3 years, but at the end makes those things sound acceptable enough to go back.  I used my original iPhone until I upgraded to an iPhone 4 on launch day (6/24/2010).  I used that 4 until I went with a 5s and I still use the 4 several times a week at the gym just for music.

    He also mentions noticing the smoothness of iOS as his main discovery.  Why go back to a less smooth experience?  Does anyone really pine for the days of watching 12 fps videos on the internet? I know I don't.

    A friend of mine won't switch from Android and recently made a comment along the lines of "remember those commercials years ago showing an iPhone with people doing pinch-to-zoom and it was really smooth.  It's funny that just now we're actually getting to that point."  My reply was, no, it's always been that way on an iPhone.  He doesn't believe it.  Oh, and he is constantly charging his phone. Sitting down to eat? Charge the phone.  Just got out of the car? Go in and charge the phone.  Just been on FB for 30 minutes? Charge the phone while we have a conversation.  It's ridiculous. 


    Hi,

    To elaborate a little, the Nexus 5 proved to me that good experiences were possible in the Android world, and any flaws were worth some of the perks and the cheaper pricetag.

    There are even better options now - a Galaxy S8 or a OnePlus 5 would probably delight most people.
    cpdpr
  • Reply 10 of 52
    BluntBlunt Posts: 223member
    muthuk_vanalingam said:

    i) Access to File System (The most important one. I know everyone in this forum would laugh at this point - only to be hypocrites 1 year later when Apple opens it up in iphones as well, apart from opening it up in iPads this year)

    ii) Better battery life (of course not through optimization, but by use of larger batteries)

    iii) Customization (yes, even basic customization options can go a long way in improving user experience, which is just NOT possible in IOS

    Who needs an filesystem on a phone, your're second point made me laugh and for the last point: iOS is designed the way i like it no need to customize. Android users think their Pro users because they can customize. BIg deal.
    edited June 2017 magman1979mwhitewilliamhjony0lolliverpscooter63watto_cobrajingoredgeminipaStrangeDays
  • Reply 11 of 52
    cali said:
    I don't understand why anyone in their right mind would choose an iPhone knockoff. Unless money is a problem I can't wrap
    my head around it. 
    Roger even mentioned that his Galaxy Nexus started to run poorly and that he went through 3 phones in 3 years, but at the end makes those things sound acceptable enough to go back.  I used my original iPhone until I upgraded to an iPhone 4 on launch day (6/24/2010).  I used that 4 until I went with a 5s and I still use the 4 several times a week at the gym just for music.

    He also mentions noticing the smoothness of iOS as his main discovery.  Why go back to a less smooth experience?  Does anyone really pine for the days of watching 12 fps videos on the internet? I know I don't.

    A friend of mine won't switch from Android and recently made a comment along the lines of "remember those commercials years ago showing an iPhone with people doing pinch-to-zoom and it was really smooth.  It's funny that just now we're actually getting to that point."  My reply was, no, it's always been that way on an iPhone.  He doesn't believe it.  Oh, and he is constantly charging his phone. Sitting down to eat? Charge the phone.  Just got out of the car? Go in and charge the phone.  Just been on FB for 30 minutes? Charge the phone while we have a conversation.  It's ridiculous. 

    He already answered that in the article itself - "There are pros and cons to both platforms. It's just a matter of smart shopping, and deciding which tradeoffs you're willing to live with. "

    As to your friend having an Android phone charging it more time than using it - There are multiple solutions to that (find the apps which kill battery and uninstall them, change battery, change to a phone which has good battery life etc etc). The fact that he has chosen to live with it - is his choice. It is NOT a problem faced by majority of Android phone users (only a minority is impacted like that).

    edited June 2017 cpdpr
  • Reply 12 of 52
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,762member
    The iPhone launched 10 years ago, but Roger switched much more recently, in 2015. On the milestone anniversary of Apple's groundbreaking handset, he tells his story. [...]
    For the most part, comparing premium devices between Android OS and iOS seems a limited, but rational means to decide which ecosystem has the best fit for an individual at any time. Since Roger appears to be uncommitted to Apple's ecosystem, I would suggest to him that he would probably be happier in the Android OS ecosystem of more choices, Google services, and outlier hardware features to choose from. The fact that he makes no mention of any other Apple hardware or service benefits pretty much defines him as "toe in the water" for Apple's ecosystem.

    Roger, in the long run, you will want to go back to Android OS.
    edited June 2017
  • Reply 13 of 52
    People clearly weight those "trade-offs" differently. For me, personally, Apple would have to shit the bed and making a truly horrifying broken turd of a phone before I would even consider using an Android phone.


    Bluntlolliverpscooter63radarthekatwatto_cobra[Deleted User]StrangeDays
  • Reply 14 of 52
    BluntBlunt Posts: 223member
    There are even better options now - a Galaxy S8 or a OnePlus 5 would probably delight most people.

    LOL. Just buy an iPhone get the real deal. Galaxy S8 gets smoked bij iPhone 7. Android is for cheapskates.
    magman1979lolliverradarthekatlamboaudi4watto_cobrajingoStrangeDays
  • Reply 15 of 52
    williamhwilliamh Posts: 660member
    cali said:
    I don't understand why anyone in their right mind would choose an iPhone knockoff. Unless money is a problem I can't wrap
    my head around it. 
    Roger even mentioned that his Galaxy Nexus started to run poorly and that he went through 3 phones in 3 years, but at the end makes those things sound acceptable enough to go back.  I used my original iPhone until I upgraded to an iPhone 4 on launch day (6/24/2010).  I used that 4 until I went with a 5s and I still use the 4 several times a week at the gym just for music.

    He also mentions noticing the smoothness of iOS as his main discovery.  Why go back to a less smooth experience?  Does anyone really pine for the days of watching 12 fps videos on the internet? I know I don't.

    A friend of mine won't switch from Android and recently made a comment along the lines of "remember those commercials years ago showing an iPhone with people doing pinch-to-zoom and it was really smooth.  It's funny that just now we're actually getting to that point."  My reply was, no, it's always been that way on an iPhone.  He doesn't believe it.  Oh, and he is constantly charging his phone. Sitting down to eat? Charge the phone.  Just got out of the car? Go in and charge the phone.  Just been on FB for 30 minutes? Charge the phone while we have a conversation.  It's ridiculous. 



    Never had an Android phone, can't imagine ever getting one.  I think the author found his/her/zhe last Android phone quite good and would go back to a premium Android phone and not one of the lesser ones.  People have mocked various iPhone models for having short battery life and iPhone users often have to plug in frequently (my hand is up).  Many people are familiar with Android and see that as the standard against which others are judged.  For me, the lousy security record is enough that I wouldn't want to touch an Android phone even if it had a condom on it. (Maybe especially if it had a condom on it, but you know what I mean.)
    watto_cobrajingolongpath
  • Reply 16 of 52
    Blunt said:
    muthuk_vanalingam said:

    i) Access to File System (The most important one. I know everyone in this forum would laugh at this point - only to be hypocrites 1 year later when Apple opens it up in iphones as well, apart from opening it up in iPads this year)

    ii) Better battery life (of course not through optimization, but by use of larger batteries)

    iii) Customization (yes, even basic customization options can go a long way in improving user experience, which is just NOT possible in IOS

    Who needs an filesystem on a phone, your're second point made me laugh and for the last point: iOS is designed the way i like it no need to customize. Android users think their Pro users because they can customize. BIg deal.
    Everyone!!! You would be the first person to appreciate it once it is available!!!! What about access to file system on ipad? Did you ever ask for it? Did you ever imagine Apple would do it? Now that it is available in iPads, everyone would praise it because it is that damn useful (much like when large screen iphones were launched). Same would happen as and when Apple decides to do the same in iPhones.
    edited June 2017
  • Reply 17 of 52
    muthuk_vanalingam said:

    i) Access to File System (The most important one. I know everyone in this forum would laugh at this point - only to be hypocrites 1 year later when Apple opens it up in iphones as well, apart from opening it up in iPads this year)
    Can you list a few use cases where that's helpful?  I can think of a few outlier cases (copying MAME ROMs into an app comes to mind.)

    For my media iTunes does a pretty good job of syncing my files.  I'd hate to have to manage my music manually.  And it's easy to send PDFs to my phone to get added to iBooks. 

    I really cannot think how this is a big advantage.  (And yes I know Apple is adding this feature in iOS 11.)
    magman1979lolliverpscooter63watto_cobrajingo
  • Reply 18 of 52
    brucemcbrucemc Posts: 1,527member
    cali said:
    I don't understand why anyone in their right mind would choose an iPhone knockoff. Unless money is a problem I can't wrap
    my head around it. 

    i) Access to File System (The most important one. I know everyone in this forum would laugh at this point - only to be hypocrites 1 year later when Apple opens it up in iphones as well, apart from opening it up in iPads this year)

    ii) Better battery life (of course not through optimization, but by use of larger batteries)

    iii) Customization (yes, even basic customization options can go a long way in improving user experience, which is just NOT possible in IOS)

    And a salute to the author for sharing his viewpoints openly, particularly about Android - which WILL infuriate MANY people in this forum.

    It doesn't infuriate me in the slightest...though you sound a bit defensive...

    I think the author did a good job of highlighting what he (and I am sure many millions more) "prefer" about Android phones (customization, widgets, Google services integration).  Unfortunate about his product defect on the 6 - based on my experiences (personal & via friends/family) and reviews, Apple devices last quite well absent physical damages, and Apple is good about replacements / fixes when broader issues.  But there are going to be issues for certain with millions of devices.

    A friend of mine has a Galaxy S7 Edge (high end device as much $$ as an iPhone), and what I see there:
    - Overall good phone, great screen, good camera.  He is quite happy with it.
    - Fingerprint scanner was never as reliable as TouchID (nor as fast), and has degraded in accuracy in just over a year.  He doesn't use it anymore.  I use TouchID at least 50x every day (and while I have an iPhone 7 now, I had a 5s for 3 years and TouchID was as good as the day I bought it).
    - Very difficult to get any OS updates
    - Responsiveness has slowed a bit (not much) in the year+ that he has had it.

    To each their own.  My experience with Apple has been excellent - for Macs, iPhones and iPads (and Apple Watches). Build quality is great, useful life is excellent, security is top notch, ecosystem and useful services continues to grow with time.  

    Some may laugh, but I *honestly and truly* trust Apple far more than any other tech company with my security and privacy. Their business model aligns with it.  Google's aligns with security (for the data they collect), but not with privacy.  Same for FB.  I am not sure Amazon's aligns with either.  Right now, the masses don't seem too concerned with either security or privacy, but I am not so sure that will remain the case forever.  For decades people weren't really concerned with the health effects of smoking either.


    Bluntgatorguycpdprlolliverradarthekatwelshdogwatto_cobra[Deleted User]jingoredgeminipa
  • Reply 19 of 52
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,862member
    cali said:
    I don't understand why anyone in their right mind would choose an iPhone knockoff. Unless money is a problem I can't wrap
    my head around it. 

    i) Access to File System (The most important one. I know everyone in this forum would laugh at this point - only to be hypocrites 1 year later when Apple opens it up in iphones as well, apart from opening it up in iPads this year)

    The iPhone always had a file system and you accessed the file system the same way you do with apps on a desktop app, like Safari or Keynote (i.e.: through the app).

    Even when you plugged it into iTunes, possibly at least as early as iOS 2.0 when the App Store launched, you could add files directly to an app. What it didn't have was a way to share files between sandboxed apps on the device (although that's debatable with features in the Mail app), access to system or hidden files (which Apple needs to clamp down on in Finder for Mac as it's pointless for typical users in 2017), or a command line app (like mobileTerminal) so that you can pretend to be L337 on your smartphone.

    What Apple is doing with iOS 11 is not opening up the file system in the way you imply with Android, but adding APIs so that the Files app, nee iCloud Drive, can allow for hierarchal GUI of some files and folders that will work with various apps of the developers choosing. This is exactly how myself (and others here) said it should happen, and that is nothing like what you imply with Android.
    edited June 2017 tzm41jony0lolliverpscooter63radarthekatwatto_cobraredgeminipaStrangeDays
  • Reply 20 of 52
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,617member
    cmaus said:
    Actually, Android is far from being customisable. I tried hard already, but couldn’t get an Android phone to do just what I want.
    the most basic things are simply not possible.
    I’m speaking of customising privacy settings per app, and moreover, Notification settings per app.
    I do want a tapable notification for most apps as well as lock screen notifications.
    But for certain apps, I want discrete notifications (sound and badge ok, Notification Center too...but no banners and nothing on the lock screen). Funnily, Apple is takin this even further with iOS 11 and per-app switch for enabling or disabling showing a notification’s contents.
    Where can Android do any of that?
    If not even notifications work, how can I even go on with that OS?
    For controlling permissions on a per-app basis
    https://support.google.com/googleplay/answer/6270602?hl=en
    To customize notifications and when/where they appear on a per-app basis
    https://www.howtogeek.com/268943/how-to-use-android-nougats-new-notification-controls/
    and for older Android versions https://www.androidpit.com/how-to-manage-android-notifications

    Perhaps not as granular as iOS but far from "can't be done". 
    edited June 2017
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