android-vs-ios

Android features that still make it better than iOS 8

Your friends may still be waiting in line to buy a new iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, but while they’re out there braving the unpredictable weather, you’re inside your cozy house customizing the heck out of your Android device.

Apple’s new iOS 8 may have blatantly appropriated some of Android’s marquee features—like the Notifications panel and support for third-party keyboards—but it still misses some of what Android users love about the mobile operating system. Your Apple-using friends may try to rub your nose in their shiny new version of iOS on their shiny new iPhone, so here are ten features that Android has that you can retort with.

Better app management

App Management in Android
App Management in Android

*In Android’s Settings menu, under Application manager, you can force quit and uninstall apps as you see fit. You can also clear the cache for apps that are acting up, or view how much storage space each app takes up. And if your carrier bundles bloatware on your device, you can disable it in stock Android, or hide it entirely on Samsung and LG’s user interfaces. Best of all, you can choose your own app defaults.

*iOS 8 merely allows you to force-quit an application by swiping up on the app in the App Switcher. You can delete an app by long-pressing it on the interface or through iTunes. But you don’t have much control over whether or not you want to use Safari as your default browser, for example, and not many applications offer transparent options for limiting how much room its data takes up.

Widgets on Home and Lock screens

*It’s wonderful that Apple finally allowed widgets inside iOS’s notifications panel, but it’s too little, too late. Android users have been able to plop widgets on both the Home screen and the Lock screen for years now.

Widgets in ios
Widgets in ios

*Most widgets come bundled with an application when you download it from the Google Play Store.

Total interface customization

*iOS 8 may have a few new neat new interface perks, but the overall interface of Apple’s mobile operating system hasn’t evolved much over the years. It’s still the same old grid of icons, one stacked after the other. You can’t hide apps, and you still have to cycle through various screens to find the app you want to use. You can’t even change the icons or really customize how things appear, save for changing the wallpaper.

Interface Customization in Android
Interface Customization in Android

*On other hand, Android allows you to customize the interface as you see fit. You can move icons around, group them however you like, ban apps to the Application Drawer so that they’re there if you need them but aren’t taking up Home screen space, and toss in a few widgets to change it up a bit and if you really want an interface makeover, you can download one of the many different launcher apps in the Google Play Store to tweak every little nook and cranny of the Android interface.

Transit directions in Maps

*Apple may have fixed its Maps app since its disastrous launch in iOS 6, but when you ask it for directions it still won’t tell you how to get there by bus. Google Maps offers options for different types of transit, too, so if you decide to take a boat, bus, or train to get to where you’re going, you’re covered.

Easy split-screen multitasking

*While split-screen multitasking isn’t a feature that comes with stock Android, manufacturers like LG and Samsung have made it a standard part of their interfaces. Samsung calls it Multi Window Mode, and LG calls it Dual Window, but both do exactly the same thing: allow you to use two apps simultaneously, side-by-side.

Multi Tasking screen in android
Multi Tasking screen in android

*At present, iOS 8 does not have a feature for split-screen multitasking. There’s hearsay that Android L will have it at launch, but nothing has been confirmed. Still, it’s a good example of how Android’s openness has enabled the development of these types of features, and the more users clamor for it the more it seems to become a standard part of the interface.

Individual user profiles for tablets

*There’s nothing worse than having to share your device with a kid. They’re already getting their grubby, sticky fingers all over your phone or tablet, and now you have to accommodate them with apps to keep them entertained.

Individual User profiles
Individual User profiles

*That’s why Android’s profiles were a welcome respite for all the inevitable gadget sharing. It essentially allows you to create different partitions in the operating system with its own custom apps and settings. Currently, this feature is limited just to Android tablets running Jelly Bean and above, but there’s some evidence that it might come to smartphones too in Android L.

Keep music, movies, and more on a MicroSD card

*Apple requires as much as 5.8GB of free space before it will let you upgrade your iPhone to iOS 8, which has caused a lot of users to go through deletion anxiety. It wouldn’t be such an issue if iOS users could store their videos, images, and music on a MicroSD card.

*Android users can. If you want up to 128GB more room to store photos, music, and videos, all you have to do is buy the MicroSD card and then pop it into the phone or tablet. And while it’s true that Android KitKat nixed some of the powerful abilities of expandable storage, you can at least still move over those extraneous files as you see fit. Oh, and you can use a USB flash drive, too.

Installing apps from the web—or anywhere
*This is simply one of the best things about Android. If you want to install an app, you can type in “play.google.com” from any web browser, log in with your Google account, and hit Install to download an app to any of your linked Android devices. The iTunes App Store doesn’t really exist on the web for iOS devices; if you click to install an app, it opens up iTunes or the mobile App Store app on a device.

*If you want to try out a new app that’s in beta, or simply can’t wait for the Google Play Store to push out an update, all you have to do is download the appropriate APK from a trusted source and then sideload it on to your device. You don’t need to be a hacker to do this, and it’s easy-to-do hacks like this that make Android that much more customizable than iOS.