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iOS 7: how does it stack up against Android?

Posted: , by Nick T.

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iOS 7: how does it stack up against Android?

So we've been playing with a beta version of iOS 7 for a while now on our iPhone 5. Some things about it we like, while other we aren't really that happy with, as those who have read our iOS 7 preview probably know. But now it is time to take a look at Apple's mobile OS from another perspective – how does its latest form fare against the competition? In particular, how does iOS 7 stack up against the latest version of Android? Well, that's what we're here to find out with the help of our iPhone 5 running iOS 7 beta and our Google Nexus 4 with Android 4.2.2 on it.

Lock and home screens

iOS 7: how does it stack up against Android?
The lock screen (if enabled) is the very first thing a user sees upon turning their smartphone on, which is why its flawless execution is of utmost importance. And it is hard to decide which one we like more – the one on iOS 7 or on Android 4.2, but we're pretty sure they both leave room for improvement. The iOS 7 lock screen is minimalist, providing instant access to the camera, the Control Center, or the pending notifications. However, it would have been better if one could slide either way to unlock it; only a swipe to the right takes you to the home screen. The Android 4.2 lock screen is flexible when it comes to customization, with its widgets and all, and it doesn't matter which way you swipe to unlock it. However, the selection of widgets one can place there isn't as broad as we wish it was. Overall, both lock screens are great, although they could have been better.

On each home screen of an iPhone 5 running iOS 7 there's room for 24 icons total. Interestingly, a stock Android home screen on a Google Nexus 4 leaves room for only 20 app shortcuts even though the smartphone has a larger display with higher resolution. Of course, that's not too big of a deal, especially when both interfaces allow apps to be sorted in folders. The iOS 7 home screen design and layout aren't bad, but perhaps it's all a bit too static, which is why we tend to like Android more for its versatility. It's just that widgets are a pretty cool feature that Apple's mobile OS has yet to adopt in one form or another.

Quick controls and notifications

iOS 7: how does it stack up against Android?
Control Center adds functionality that iOS sorely needed. Simply put, swiping up from the bottom of an iOS 7 home screen brings up a list of toggle buttons for turning things like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on and off, controlling music playback, adjusting the screen's brightness, even using the camera's LED as a flashlight. Options like these have been available on custom Android UIs for a long time, and the stock Jelly Bean interface has many of them as well out of the box, located in a menu accessible from the notification bar.

Speaking of notifications, the Notification Center in iOS 7 has been overhauled and now takes the user straight to their agenda. That's very convenient for people who actually use the Calendar app. Furthermore, the user is free to pick what notifications are to be displayed there – stocks information, unread email, Game Center alerts, reminders, and more. Android's notification bar is a bit different for it doesn't display much if there aren't any pending notifications. But on the other hand, the user does get updates via Google Now.

Dialer and contacts list

iOS 7: how does it stack up against Android?
Yup, people still use their phones to talk to people. On iOS 7, the Phone app is pretty much all you need to call someone as it lists your contacts, your recent calls, and your favorites. Of course, a keypad is available as well. Android's Phone app is pretty much the same, but it has one notable advantage over its iOS counterpart, namely that it displays a photo of each contact as you scroll down the list, while the iPhone's contacts app shows a contact's image only if you tap on them to view detailed information.

On-screen keyboard and messaging

iOS 7: how does it stack up against Android?
Typing on a mobile device quickly and efficiently is often a matter of getting used to its on-screen keyboard's size and layout. With iOS 7 and the iPhone, in particular, we can easily type texts using a single thumb because the phone's width is optimal for the purpose. The Google Nexus 4, running Android 4.2, is wider and is therefore more comfortable to use with two thumbs rather than one. Overall, both virtual keyboards are pretty nice. Perhaps Android has a slight advantage in this category with its dedicated smiley key and the option to enter text using the swiping method.

But when it comes to messaging, iOS has a significant advantage over Android with its iMessage system, which automatically routs texts over the web instead of eating up the user's monthly SMS allowance. Not that Android's Hangouts is a bad solution, but it would have been more convenient if the Android messaging features were unified in a single app.


iOS 7: how does it stack up against Android?
Well, we have nothing to complain about really when it comes to both platforms' implementation of multitasking. Switching between apps on both iOS 7 and Android 4.2 is pretty straightforward. Apple's mobile OS now provides app preview windows, unlike in previous version where the apps were listed only with their icon. Multitasking on Android is also executed well, with recent apps listed vertically along with a screenshot of their last state.

Customization features

iOS 7: how does it stack up against Android?
When it comes to customization, Android is still king with its widgets, live wallpapers, and custom launchers. However, Apple has done some progress in that aspect. The latest version of the platform features the so-called dynamic wallpapers (yup, they are just like Android's live wallpapers) – these can be set on both the home and the lock screens.

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posted on 13 Jun 2013, 12:51 30

1. quadrazeus (Posts: 359; Member since: 03 May 2013)

Congrats to Apple for successfully hitting a homer with the iOS 7. They did a commendable job in just one year. Hats off.

posted on 13 Jun 2013, 12:55 19

8. Android4u (Posts: 456; Member since: 16 Aug 2012)

Major improvement yes!! But a home run lol more like a base hit out to center field

posted on 13 Jun 2013, 12:55 36

9. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4888; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)

Yeah it's always easy when Android and WP8 do all the heavy lifting. So yeah I guess you are right.

posted on 13 Jun 2013, 13:05 11

17. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5498; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)

I have heard that people are joking that iOS 7 icons are painted using MS Paint. :D
But talking more serious, I'm pretty sure that Apple has a big group of professional programmers, then why Apple has made so little work?

posted on 13 Jun 2013, 13:05 7

18. christianqwerty (Posts: 467; Member since: 05 May 2011)

Without Apple doing the heavy lifting in 2007 with the first iphone, android wouldn't be what it is today ;)

posted on 13 Jun 2013, 13:09 35

20. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4888; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)

You mean the LG Prada, because that phone came out BEFORE the iPhone. So PLEASE know what you are talking about before you speak. lol

Not to mention that Windows Mobile had apps before Apple even thought of making an iPhone.

So guy please get off your Apple high horse. Apple did NOT invent the smart phone. lol

iOS 7 is a direct clone of all good things Android & WP8. ;)

posted on 13 Jun 2013, 13:14 17

24. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5498; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)

Wake up and look around! There is more companies not only just Apple and competition exist not only between Apple, competition also exist between other companies too. Technological evolution was here even before Apple company was founded!

posted on 13 Jun 2013, 13:15 2

25. quadrazeus (Posts: 359; Member since: 03 May 2013)

Fandroids and WP fanboys are having a hard time, lol.

posted on 13 Jun 2013, 13:23 4

28. christianqwerty (Posts: 467; Member since: 05 May 2011)

Really? Did the LG Prada really revolutionize the way phone and mobile operating systems work today? If you really think that the LG Prada changed "The game" more than the original iPhone, you are crazy.

posted on 13 Jun 2013, 13:24 22

30. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4888; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)

I don't think Android & WP8 fans are having a hard time, it's the total opposite. We are flattered by the blatant copying.

You know what they say "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."

I mean WE ALL know Apple didn't come up with iOS 7 on their own.......right? lol

posted on 13 Jun 2013, 13:31 22

32. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4888; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)

The smartphone is a natural evolution from the feature phone. If it wasn't Apple it would have been someone else.

The smartphone would be what it is today with or without Apple because that is how technology moves. Please Apple had a nice run but Android is king of the world. So much that Apple has to now literally bite off of Android JUST to stay in "The game".

You are giving Apple too much credit, Apple has nice, hip & catchy commercials that you obviously fell for. At the time the smartphone was already gaining momentum. Apple was just the first to advertise it on TV.

posted on 13 Jun 2013, 13:47 1

37. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)

Because they "focus" and go back to the drawing board way, WAY, WAY too much.

They have to though because imagine if IOS lagged from a new feature? They would lose that advantage that IOS fans hold so dear. The funny thing is that if the IOS7 multitasking is true multitasking like they claim, IOS 7 will lag especially with 1gb of ram. When that Pandora box opens, it is game over.

So Apple tries to keep it closed as long as possible. That is why they have so little progress with that much money.

posted on 13 Jun 2013, 13:48 11

38. Googler (Posts: 813; Member since: 10 Jun 2013)

Of what? That Apple finally got a little closer to Android? There's still more that you can do on other phones than an iPhone, so there's nothing to have a hard time with.

Personally I find it comical that iFans ragged on other phone OS users but are silent about all that now that Apple finally gave them what we've all been enjoying for years.

posted on 13 Jun 2013, 13:52 8

39. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4888; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)

Ironic isn't it?

So is it safe to that if you like iOS 7 then you like Android right? lol


posted on 13 Jun 2013, 13:53 7

40. Whateverman (Posts: 3284; Member since: 17 May 2009)

Dude, that was only 6 years ago. Blackberry and Palm had been doing it for many years before Apple came along. People called them Crackberries for a reason.

posted on 13 Jun 2013, 13:59 11

41. Feanor (Posts: 830; Member since: 20 Jun 2012)

But we cannot spend our entire life paying hommage to the iPhone for being the first to change the smartphone landscape. If it weren't the iPhone, it would be something else. The fact is that for some time now iOS is playing second fiddle to Android and occasionally is only doing some catch up. Even after the presentation of iOS 7 I still feel like Android is ahead in many things (widgets, Face Unlock, Now) and by the time iOS 7 will be available, it will have to compete with Jelly Bean 4.3 with Key Lime Pie 5.0 following suite.

posted on 13 Jun 2013, 14:03 4

43. Googler (Posts: 813; Member since: 10 Jun 2013)

Now that's a mind bender. I think a safe way to say it is if you started liking iOS due to version 7, you should like Android even more because Google gives you more than what Apple would bend to allow. Even beyond that, I'll never go back to a 4" screen again.

posted on 13 Jun 2013, 14:06 5

45. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4888; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)

Thank you for the Whateverman knowledge. I am glad to hear from you. We need to educate these youngbloods.

They think & only know of Android & Apple. They don't know/remember the Palm Treo's, the Crackberries, & the Windows Mobile phones from before Androids & Apples. lol


posted on 13 Jun 2013, 14:33

50. good2great (Posts: 1042; Member since: 22 Feb 2012)

SAE what happened man? you used to be a reasonable guy here... you never expressed so much hate for apple like you're doing now. wow!

Everyone bashed apple that the OS never changed. now that they change it, they didn't make changes that any other OS doesn't have.

I guess to you its a lose - lose situation for apple. smh.

posted on 13 Jun 2013, 14:40 16

51. buccob (Posts: 2627; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)

I have to say that even if the overall feel of the article is objective, and tries to be neutral... it is a bit TOO neutral, and not balanced when it comes to details...

For example:

- Under Lock Screens, the author criticize Apple a bit more, for not being flexible and too minimalist, but then he levels the ground saying that both need improvements... What is the critic for Android? Lack of more widgets option? give me a break...

- Under Notifications paragraph, the author praise the new functions of iOS's Control Center and changes on Notifications that does something it was supposed to do from the begging. And then when it comes to talk about Android's Notification bar, he just says that it does not show much when there is no notification.... How about saying that you can actually customize it to display whatever you want with third party apps without a jailbreak... How about talking the awesome functionality of expandable notifications, where you can have instant replies, music controls, and more. (Even Waze added a power off button when expanded)

- Under Messaging and Text input, saying that having different keyboard layouts and options in Android is just a SLIGHT advantage is honestly a lie... I find text input way more important than an unified SMS, web chat, support... Text Input is needed across the whole OS, while browsing, playing games, managing files, making documents, unlocking passwords... While SMS unified is just a small advantage, specially when the vast majority uses Whatsapp anyway, and Hangout has the advantage of beind cross platform unlike iMessage.

Don't get me wrong, I liked the article and I like that PhoneArena make a comparison for users to easily detect the differences with this new OS. But even when they try to be fair, they are still a little bit bias towards iOS, by not paying attention to details on both OSes

Even if most PA readers already know iOS and Android, is pleasant to read a balance article where details are taking into consideration equally...

The Author forgot to mention that in Android OS you can set defaults for actions that can be made with more than one app... Example opening a link in a different browser than Chrome by default... Also Android is significantly easier to share files and select which way you would want to do so.
And speaking of doing things easier... try opening the camera on both OSes and then while you are there, change settings for taking a picture... like MP, or smile detection... etc in iOS you have to go back to the Settings app and find the UNIFIED settings in which you can find the camera app and select the options you are looking for... Android has a convenient menu button in which you can configure native apps within itself.

Bottomline... iOS still have a long way to go before you can compare it to Android in a neutral way...

posted on 13 Jun 2013, 14:40 4

52. andro. (Posts: 1999; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)

Oooooh stop there SuperAndroidEvo,I got banned from phonearena once for saying the Lg Prada was before the first Iphone. A rather angry moderator emailed in capitals "The Lg Prada was announced AFTER THE IPHONE"....! Of course history shows the Prada was unveiled dec 2006 and the iphone was later unveiled Jan 2007.

posted on 13 Jun 2013, 14:49

55. darkkjedii (Posts: 23575; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)

Quad whatup

posted on 13 Jun 2013, 15:05 6

56. tedkord (Posts: 13230; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)

I think most of us agree that the changes Apple made in iOS 7 were sorely needed, and help to make it an actual contender.

The issue most of us have is that Apple and it's rabid fans have always screamed about others copying what Apple does, and condemned those supposed acts of copying. Now that Apple has released an iOS update that is 100% copied features, none of those fans have an issue with copying.

I don't have an issue with it, either. It's just increbible, almost biblical proportion hypocrisy from both Apple and it's sycophants.

posted on 13 Jun 2013, 15:09 3

57. tedkord (Posts: 13230; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)

What mod was that? It's well known that the Prada design was shown off (and won awards) well before the iPhone was released.

posted on 13 Jun 2013, 15:11 2

58. tedkord (Posts: 13230; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)

Actually, we've been having a very easy time, because we had all this for years now.

posted on 13 Jun 2013, 15:13

60. buccob (Posts: 2627; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)

Well talking about lagging, I really don't know what iOS users presume about this... Cause the other day I was timing my Sony Xperia Acro S with Android 4.1.2, and my cousin's iPhone 4s, and the only thing the iPhone did faster was using the Camera... and even then the Quick Launch feature on Sony beat it to the first picture from lockscreen... Everything else, from firing up the system (24 sec Sony, 26 sec iPhone) to opening same apps such as Whatsapp, Viber, Waze... my Sony Xperia did it faster....

It is true that the iPhone 4s is smoother in gestures and moving on the homescreen, but it still lacks the functionality I find on having 6 widgets, and 5 contact shortcuts on my homescreen.

(Both phones are from last year, and Sony uses a older chip)

posted on 13 Jun 2013, 15:17 1

62. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4888; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)

No, I am glad Apple is finally catching up, it's just that Apple & their fans are coming off like Android or WP8 didn't have A LOT to do with iOS 7.

Hey I am happy that Apple fans will FINALLY get to experience things that are the norm for Android users.

posted on 13 Jun 2013, 15:18 1

63. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4888; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)

I remember that. lol


posted on 13 Jun 2013, 15:48 4

66. E.N. (Posts: 2610; Member since: 25 Jan 2009)

The thing you said about texting is biased. Many people will disagree with you saying that a unified experience is more important. And the iPhone's keyboard is actually pretty good and very responsive. Just because you have a lot of options doesn't mean that they are all better. I hated Samsung's stock keyboard, I never really understood the whole Swype craze, especially because it gets somewhat uncomfortable on larger screens, etc etc. I ended up just using a jellybean keyboard from the Play Store which was just OK, nothing to brag about at all. Being able to download your own keyboard is more important to for Android users because let's be honest, some of the stock keyboards suck.

And at the end of the day, iOS still boats the best applications. I think you guys get so caught up in widgets that you constantly forget how much the applications are so much better on iOS. Every time I think my switch to Android is final, the suck ass Play Store drives me right back to iOS. It's ridiculous. What makes things even more sad is that the developers have more access to Android APIs yet you still get battered down iOS ports.

iOS is also the slickest/smoothest OS right now. The difference is still night and day. Can someone explain why in 2013, some Android phones are still lagging? Makes no sense. I guess project butter wasn't all that it was cracked up to be.

Bottomline... Android was never the clear winner, even in iOS6.

posted on 13 Jun 2013, 15:56 3

67. Chaseism (Posts: 82; Member since: 08 May 2013)

To that point, I don't think it's quite fair to judge iOS 7 to Android just yet. iOS 7 is still in beta and although it's extremely usable (and stable from my testing), it's not the final version that's going to release to the public, just yet.

I think we also have to put things into context in a very big way. Before Scott Forstall was fired, Apple functioned in a way that different departments didn't have to collaborate with others. Period. If everyone hated Forstall's skeuomorphism, it didn't matter as long as the CEO okay'd it. And as we all know, Forstall was pretty well liked by Steve Jobs, but not by anyone else. So Tim Cook fired him. Basically, everything that iOS 6 is and isn't is a result of Forstall.

And I'll be the first to say, I was extremely nervous to hear that Jony Ive was now over software...something that isn't in his background. But I think we all have to admit that this is a huge step forward for iOS. This is what collaboration can do. This is what new leadership can do. Sure, it's not perfect. iOS took years to get a really awesome groove. But man, iOS 7 makes anything that came before it look almost childish. I absolutely cannot wait to see what's to come. Especially if this is what they've done in 6 months.

Just like Apple became a different company when Cook took over, iOS will be a different OS now that Ive has taken over. Good or bad, it will be different.

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