So. I decided to get an iPhone! I’ve owned three Samsung Galaxy S-series phones during about 6-7 years, ranging from Galaxy S3 to Galaxy S6 Edge and the latest one being Galaxy S8. All these phones were great at the time, top of the line flagship phones. However the lifespan for a highend Samsung phone has seemed to be 2 years, 3 years tops. Before all this, I used to be a hardcore Nokia fan with Symbian phones and later owned an Lumia 800. I’m not a strong believer of a certain mobile OS anymore, there are different schools of thought and they all have their ups and downs.
Findings mentioned in this post are based on differences between an older Android 9 and latest iOS 14.1. As my older device was a 2018 phone and OS, my blog findings don’t reflect or present the current state of OS rivalry. Some things mentioned here might be fixed or have major improvements in latest Android OS. This post focuses only on the things you might want to know if you switch from an older Android to iPhone.
As an Android user, when you’re closing into 3 years, you’ll see more and more lag and updates come rarely. Android phones have had a tendency to degrade faster. Apple however provides a longer software support for 5 years which is very respectable from consumer standpoint. iPhone users may even get real, actually useful improvements and more software functions with these updates. These updates provide value and nurture the user. However, with Android, this nurturing phase didn’t happen and manufacturers just keep swamping the market with more and more phones and don’t value the current user base. There are no saints in the mobile tech industry, the prices have gone through the roof and Apple has led the way surging the prices. The question is: are the high prices justifiable?
High price – long life? I certainly hope so.
Nowadays when the technological updates are quite incremental and stagnant, tech companies have been mainly focusing on better screens, faster performance and improved photography. The development has been quite frankly boring, so how do you justify huge prices for a not that special phone? I think this is starting to boil down to longer device lifespan. A few years back 500-600 euros could get you a high end Android phone with a 2-3 years lifespan. Now, during 2020, you’ll get a top-of-the-line Android phone for 1000-1200 euros with a lifespan of… hmmm still probably 2-3 years? Android manufacturers problem is that they push so many devices out and haven’t provided more lasting support for all of them. Mainly because there are just too many phones to support.
Apple however claims to provide software support for 5 years and apparently their user base has stayed loyal and felt like they get more value for their devices. There have been however reports that Apple has also intentionally slowed down their older devices to save battery life. Anyways, if an 1200 euro phone holds up for 4 years then the price may be justifiable – provided that even after 4 years it still holds some sort of flagship or at least midrange position. I kinda doubt this though, but I’d like to stay hopeful. Maybe with iPhone this might work out? I don’t know, I’ll see.
Even after 4-5 years there might be a new phone in the market with a bionic cyborg chip A2000 and telescope lens with lasers and disco lights that you just must buy. One reason for switching was the issue of longevity as stated above and frustration against the Samsung empire. Also, I’m an UX designer and this is my first iPhone ever.
- Was mentally prepared for a more closed ecosystem
- Android -> iPhone switch would be easy
- To get wider UX perspective
- Hoping that iPhone has better emphasis on privacy, or atleast tries to respect user data.
- Getting apps with a bit more polish and slightly better UX.
- Longer lifespan
Was mentally ready for a more closed ecosystem. So far so good, I’m hoping that there are no hiccups in sharing content from Netflix/HBO/Youtube to my Android TV. This is an overlap that I feel is important and hope that there’s a solid crossplatform support. There may be however surprises just lurking and waiting to reveal themselves. A positive surprise was that there’s more control over the apps in iPhone. No bloatware and you actually have the power to remove Facebook from your phone or just not install it at all. Wow, just wow! The bar has been set really low by the way.
Android -> iPhone switch would be easy. NOT. As soon as I started to download “Move to iOS” for my Samsung S8, my phone decided that “Nah, first I must update myself here and now”. Scheduling the almost 500 mb installation for later didn’t work, it still prevented me from downloading anything new from Play store. Even this tiny transfer app with a size of tops 4 megabytes. It was probably just a coincidence, or a petty move by Samsung. Who knows.
Anyways, after system update and installation of “Move to iOS” I attempted to move all my contacts, apps and media to my iPhone. App shows “Estimated time remaining : 1 hours”. For over an hour. And it didn’t even finish transfer and just gave an error “Sorry. Try again”. Nope, didn’t try again. Just decided to skip all the media and just transfer contacts, messages and apps. I decided to back up my pictures and videos to Google photos, which is an excellent cloud service for backing images with an amazing web client. I managed to transfer data with ease this way, however I faced more issues with Googles Authenticator.
I use 2FA-authentication to many services and the Android app led me to believe that I could just scan a QR-code and all the account codes would be transferred to my iPhone. WRONG. This probably works perfect from Android to Android, but Android to iPhone proved to be more of hassle. You needed to add all those authentications individually and it was just painful.
TLDR; the most painful experiences during the switch were media transfer with “Move to iOS” and getting Google Authenticator codes running on iPhone.
To get wider UX perspective. Too early to say anything too profound yet. First impressions are that iOS has plenty of gestures which I’ve always been conflicted with in UX sense. Gestures aren’t self-explanatory and the way they have been used in different apps is incoherent. In iPhone gestures are baked in the OS and you just have to learn them through trial and error. In iOS I like the quick controls from top right, it’s visually pleasant. iOS has decided to show notifications from top left, so there are basicly two different top drawers in iOS14. These don’t really do all the stuff as in my older Android 9 though. Android’s top drawer is so handy and practical with notifications and quick toggles for anything you want. It however is more intrusive and blocks everything else in the screen in a stronger way – iOS also does this but more discreetly with background blur. Nuances, though.
Hoping that iPhone has better emphasis on privacy, or atleast tries to respect user data. I’m happy to say this seems to be true. iOS asks app permissions for one time use, only when you use the app or not this time. I like this approach, I feel like it respects the user. Although there’s controversy how much Apple uses user data for marketing purposes or for third parties. However it doesn’t seem to be a blatant data mining machine as Android in this sense. In some sense, iPhone absolutely does the same but Apple may have a more discreet approach on user privacy. They also pissed off Facebook which always makes me happy. Safari also has extended privacy controls to prevent tracking!
Getting apps with a bit more polish and slightly better UX. True. Nothing mindblowing yet though. Everything just feels and looks slightly better. It’s way easier for developers to make apps for a smaller device pool than a gigantic swarm of different sized Androids. Yes, apps look better but the difference doesn’t seem that big.
The culture shock continues
And so does the journey. I’ll keep you posted!