At this point, Android 5.0 Lollipop and iOS 8 are fully mature and featured mobile competitors that have mostly grown past catching up to each other. Now, their developers spend their time and money on making each operating system's features bigger and better than the competing platform's. Although you will be hard-pressed to find significant functionality differences between Google and Apple, at least something beyond that which has been familiar to us for years now, such features exist. Google spent the time between KitKat and Lollipop wisely and emerged with a freshly redesigned platform that takes important aspects such as security and battery life to heart, while retaining everything else Android users love about it.
Here are ten Android 5.0 features we found to be missing from iOS 8 for one reason on another. And don't you worry - soon, we'll repeat the exercise from the iOS 8 perspective, because Apple hasn't been sleeping at all during the time Google was busy with Material Design and Project Volta!
8 Android 5.0 Lollipop features missing in Apple's iOS 8
8 Android 5.0 Lollipop features missing in Apple's iOS 8
1. Guest mode for comfortable device sharing
Apple is so focused on treating your iPhone or iPad as the most personal thing you own, it seems to be oblivious to the fact that the smartphone, and especially the tablet, can be incredibly social devices. A tablet, for example, is something the whole family wants to share in delight when there's one in the house. Google knows this, which is why you'll be able to comfortably let your kids play with your new Nexus 9 - or any other Lollipop-running tablet - without worrying they'll mess up your settings or send the boss a devilish e-mail. Same with your smartphone.
iOS 8, though? Apple is yet to figure out a Guest mode for its mobile devices, which is quite puzzling. But Cupertino will get there, eventually, as it already has the Family Sharing feature in rotation. It lets up to six people share each other's music, books, app purchases, and schedules... between their personal Apple devices.
2. Battery saving features
With Android 5.0, Google introduced a battery saver feature that can coax up to 90 additional minutes of usage from your device by disabling connectivity, reducing performance, limiting vibration, and tightening the belt in other places. Additionally, the energy consumption overhaul that is Google's Project Volta made it possible for a Nexus 5 running a developer preview version of Lollipop to last a full hour and fifteen minutes longer in our battery test than the same phone running KitKat.
Apple is yet to bring such features to iOS, and it should - the iPhone 6 might please the eye, but it's not a poster child for battery longevity.
3. Smart Lock for enhanced security
Android is the only operating system so far to let you secure a device by pairing it with a trusted smartphone, tablet, wearable, or even a Bluetooth-connected car. And while we're at it, Android users are privileged to no less than five different device unlock mechanisms - including drawing custom patterns and using Face Unlock.
iOS only lets you swipe, enter a four-digit pin, or sign in with the authority of your thumb's fingerprint. Which is actually plenty enough, but we have a comparison going on here!
4. USB mass storage support
It's been seven years since the first iPhone, yet plugging it into a Windows computer still results in it being treated as a portable camera with a folder full of photos and not much else on it. An Android device, on the other hand, bares the entirety of its flash memory space for your data storage needs. Being able to treat it as external portable storage might be much more insecure in comparison, but having to do all file transfers through iTunes can get really old really fast. Additionally, you're free to expand your Android device's storage space as long as it has a microSD card slot. That's never an option on iOS.
5. Application management & app hiding
On an iOS device, all you can do with an app after you install it is to open it and delete it. Fair enough, as iOS is designed to be as simple as possible. However, Android lets you do that and more. You are free to uninstall an app completely, or merely revert back to an older version that used to crash less, for example. The icing of the cake is App Defaults. On Android, each app you install can become your new go-to browser, e-mail client, photo editor and such. On iOS, though, it's Safari or nothing for your default browser. Such an Apple-y thing to do!
Oh, and we almost forgot - Android lets you hide apps you're especially privy to, so it will be only you who knows they are there.
6. Complete NFC support
Android, Windows Phone, even BlackBerry OS have been touting full NFC support for years - admittedly, without turning it into a killer feature. But Apple was holding it back until, postponing its inclusion in iOS until it saw clear business benefits in it. And behold, Apple Pay is now a thing! However, the convenient payment system is the only piece of functionality entitled to an iDevice's NFC chip. It remains closed off for file transfers, automated tags, or any other non Apple-approved stuff that's perfectly common in today's tech-hyped world. It's a pity, but things could change as NFC catches on among the non-techie types.
7. Install apps from the World Wide Web
On Android, you are free to install applications from any place you want - as long as you acknowledge the potential for harm in third-party apps sourced from sketchy websites. On iOS, it's the Apple App Store or bust! If you want to install anything from "the underground", you will have to jailbreak your device and void your warranty.
8. Advanced photography features
In Android Lollipop, Google made it possible to capture photos in raw formats like YUV and Bayer RAW, control capture settings for the sensor, lens, and flash per individual frame, and capture metadata like noise models and optical information. Additionally, Android has built-in 4K video playback and recording capabilities. In iOS 8, Apple offers a very competent camera app, but it left fine manual controls and 4K video recording for another day. Well, at least it nailed consumer photography to the point of rending point-and-shoot cameras obsolete.