Android 5.0 Lollipop vs iOS 8.1: the best, compared

Android 5.0 Lollipop vs iOS 8.1: the best, compared

Keyboard and messaging


We have no complaints about the virtual keyboard included with Android 5.0. It is fast, accurate, and rich in features, and we don't feel the need to replace it with a third-party one. It goes without saying that Lollipop's keyboard supports tons of input languages, predictive text, voice input, and auto-correct which you can disable if you feel like it. On top of that, you can input words with a swipe, enter digits quickly using a key shortcut, and pick from a lengthy list of emoticons.

As for the iOS 8.1 keyboard, Apple has once again chosen to keep things simple, which is why we don't get quite as many extras as with Lollipop. But at least Apple is giving us the freedom to pick a third-party keyboard, and some great ones are already available on the App Store. Overall, the stock iOS keyboard is pretty decent, with voice input and support for many languages. Its accuracy is undisputed, and the intelligent word prediction is nice to have. But at the same time, some features could have been executed better. For example, inputting a digit or a symbol requires us to toggle between keyboard layouts as there are no shortcuts available.

Now let's shift our focus over to the Messenger application in Android 5.0. Yup, Google's OS has a dedicated SMS app again after it disappeared with KitKat's debut. In other words, we no longer have to use Hangouts for both texts and IMs. Those who want may set Hangouts as their default SMS app, but we'd rather stick with the humble Messenger. The latter is a simple, straightforward texting application with a chat-style conversation layout. Naturally, we're given the usual options to attach photos, videos, or audio to our outgoing texts.

The Messages app in iOS 8.1 is a superior solution, we have to admit, serving as a benchmark as to how integration between SMS and instant messages should be executed. When possible, the text is automatically sent as an iMessage over a data connection. Photos, videos, sounds can be attached to outgoing iMessages using the conveniently placed shortcuts. in addition, we can share our location with the recipient, be it one or over a period of time. One downside to iMessages, however, is that it only works between Apple devices, whereas Hangouts is accessible on Android, iOS, and within a computer's web browser.

Search and voice commands


Android 4.4 KitKat made it possible to initiate hands-free searches and commands with the "OK, Google" voice trigger, which worked from any home screen. Now, the voice command also works from the lock screen or when the phone is on stand-by and plugged in. Similarly, Siri in iOS 8.1 has the ability to listen for voice triggers. "Hey, Siri" is the command she (or he) responds to, but there's a catch – don't expect a response unless your iOS device is connected to a charger or the Siri interface is open already.

But our guess is that most of the time, you'll be typing in whatever it is you're searching for. On Android 5.0, the Google search bar is placed permanently on the top of any home screen, just like before. While it does occupy precious screen space, it lets us search the internet, find a contact, or search for an app installed on the device. At the same time, Google Now provides us with relevant, timely updates on traffic and conditions, sports games, upcoming events, it even reminds us where we parked our car. Spotlight search in iOS 8.1, which is accessible with a swipe down gesture in the middle of any home screen, is no less versatile, if not better in some ways. It can be used to search the internet, the user's inbox, contacts, installed apps list, and will also display results from news outlets, from Wikipedia, and the iTunes store.

Web browser


To no surprise, Chrome is the browser of choice for Android 5.0 Lollipop. It is fast and functional, packing all kinds of neat features an app of this sort should support, including incognito mode, tabbed browsing, and text size inflation when that's appropriate. Plus, Chrome lets us sync tabs and bookmarks with other devices on which we have Chrome installed, while the built-in data compression, which can be enabled manually, reduces data consumption significantly without that affecting the browsing experience.

Safari on iOS 8.1 is no less awesome of a web browser. Like Chrome, it lets us have multiple tabs open and browse in incognito mode. Having our bookmarks synchronized between Apple devices is also a feature. One neat option that Chrome doesn't offer yet is the built-in reader mode, which clears the page of all unnecessary content, leaving only the text of the article for easy reading.

Camera and photo gallery


Lollipop uses Google Camera as its default camera application. Overall, it is a decent app, although getting used to the UI layout takes a bit of time. The app is meant to be simple, which is why you won't find advanced controls in it, such as the options to control the ISO and shutter speed, or to fine-tune the focus manually. Most folks, however, wouldn't really care about the omission of such settings. In fact, the majority of users should be satisfied with the built-in camera modes, which include Lens Blur, Photo Sphere, HDR, and Panorama. But as good as Google Camera may be, the iOS 8.1 camera application is better in a number of ways. First and foremost, it is easier and more intuitive to use. Also, we're finding it much easier to control the exposure of the image, should that be required. The built-in slow-motion and time-lapse modes can be fun to experiment with.

Photos in Android 5.0 Lollipop are viewed from the Photos application, which is tightly connected to Google's ecosystem and services. One key benefit of this is the option to have full-resolution copies of your images backed up onto Google's servers so that they're never lost. You're also granted the option to have images automatically enhanced. As for the app's interface, images are organized in two separate tabs – one containing all images grouped by date taken and another labeled "Highlights". As the name implies, the latter organizes select images in albums and arranges them by date. In terms of editing tools, there's a lot at our disposal – from basic Crop and Rotate to image filters, frames, collages and effects. Best of all, you don't need any pro-grade image editing skills in order to use the app's tools effectively. Feature-wise, the Photos app in iOS 8.1 has a lot to offer, but probably not quite as much as Lollipop. Images can be easily sorted by time and date taken for easier management and backed up to the cloud for safe storing, which is awesome. But we don't get quite as many image editing options as we do with Android's Photos app. Still, the editing features packs in iOS 8.1 are simple and intuitive to use.

Maps and navigation


Google Maps is one of those apps that need no introduction. For the longest time, it has been one of the best applications of its kind, and for a number of good reasons. It provides accurate and up-to-date data, satellite imagery, and reliable navigation, be it while you're driving, walking, or using public transportation. In addition, you have the options to share and save locations and to roam the streets in Street View. Unfortunately, offline usage is limited for the most part. Even though portions of the map can be saved offline, searching isn't available without a data connection. However, you may still use the Google Maps turn-by-turn navigation feature offline as long as you're online when the route is being calculated.

Is Apple Maps any better? Well, we'd say it is a decent, fully-functional alternative. Since Maps's launch, Apple has done a lot to improve its service's accuracy and reliability, and we don't mind using it on a daily basis for our navigation needs. It may not be as feature-rich as Google Maps, but it has all the essentials covered, including turn-by-turn navigation while driving, walking, or using public transportation, it displays traffic data, and it lets you easily share locations with others. Alas, offline maps aren't supported, but you may still pre-load a route while you're online and then use it without the need for a data connection.

Continuity, Family Sharing, Multi-user support


There are features in iOS 8.1 we wish we could compare to Android 5.0 alternatives, but we can't since Lollipop isn't offering any, at least not at this time. Among them is Apple's innovative Continuity solution, which is integrated into the latest versions of iOS and OS X Yosemite. Long story short, it allows Apple devices to intelligently work with one another. For example, one may start an email or a document on one device, then switch to another and be asked whether they want to pick up their work at the point where they left off. If your iPhone rings while you're on your iPad or Mac, you can pick the call right from your tablet or computer. Sending and responding to text messages works the same way. Android, on the other hand, hasn't reached this state of device interaction, but we're hoping that Google is going to take note as many people now own and switch between several smart and portable devices, such as a smartphone, a tablet, or a laptop.

Family Sharing is another great feature Apple brought to iOS. As the name implies, users may share content they've purchased – games, apps, movies, music, and books – with family members. At the same time, kids may request permissions from parents to purchase specific content. The process is facilitated by the fact that a single credit card can be shared by the members in a family group. Android 5.0, on the other hand, lets us share entire devices, not specific content, with others, all without worrying about our privacy and personal data. That is made possible by the baked-in support for multiple user accounts, which Lollipop brings to smartphones as well. (Multi-user support has been available since Android 4.2, but on tablets only.) Each user's data is stored separately and can't be accessed by others without permission.

Conclusion


Android 5.0 Lollipop vs iOS 8.1: the best, compared
It has been a year since we last did an equally thorough comparison between Android and iOS, and even though both platforms have evolved significantly since then, our opinion as to which one is better remains unchanged – we can't rank one OS higher than the other. Doing so just wouldn't be fair as both Android 5.0 Lollipop and iOS 8.1 are polished, reliable, and feature-rich mobile operating systems well worthy of the attention they've been getting. It is different factors that make them so awesome, however, so at the end of the day, picking a favorite depends on one's priorities.

Lollipop, in particular, shines with its visual presentation. Material Design adds the extra flare Android was missing until this point, and the results are worthy of applause. Apple's iOS 8.1, in comparison, is minimalist and with a more subtle approach to visuals. It isn't bad by any means, but it is not quite as fresh and appealing as stock Android 5.0, in our opinion. At the same time, Android remains the most customization-friendly mobile platform you can get your hands on, although as far as customization goes, iOS has come closer to Android than ever.

Functionally, an approach observed in both iOS 8.1 and Android 5.0 is to go a step beyond core functionality, to add more value to each and every bit of software without making it any less intuitive to use. This principle is best experienced with Lollipop's great lock screen, keyboard, and phone app design, as well as with the iOS 8.1's splendid messaging experience, excellent camera app, and a rich array of extras, such as Continuity and Family Sharing. At the same time, we're happy to see that Android has learned a few tricks from iOS, and the way lock screen notifications are handled is a good example of that. Likewise, iOS has assimilated ideas from Android, such as the options for having third-party widgets and on-screen keyboards – nothing wrong with that, if you ask us.

And so continues the race between Android and iOS for dominance across the mobile landscape – a race that's as exciting to comment on as always. To summarize, both platforms have come a long way since last year, and it will be exciting to see how they're going to progress in the time ahead. In the meantime, don't hesitate to go with either as chances are you won't be disappointed.

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132 Comments

1. Micah007

Posts: 266; Member since: Oct 09, 2014

Let them fight.

7. ThePython

Posts: 902; Member since: May 08, 2013

Popcorn?

12. XperiaFanZone

Posts: 2277; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

Android is the world's most advanced mobile OS as mentioned before. Nothing comes close. WP is the only mobile OS that can heat up Android but the rate that WP is, Android's chilling in the park.

18. technosiastic

Posts: 33; Member since: Sep 18, 2014

Xperia fan. Can u please elaborate that what is new in lollipop. Ios is still superior in terms of speed, design, gaming, surfing web.

20. XperiaFanZone

Posts: 2277; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

Speed (browser) is negligible. Some YouTube videos show different results for speed. As for gaming, they look better on bigger screens. Design of Android can be changed (to me, iOS looks like a finalised kid's colouring book. That's just to me).

83. technosiastic

Posts: 33; Member since: Sep 18, 2014

As for gaming looks better on bogger screen ? Fyi iphone 6 & 6+ has bigger screen Ios looks like a finalised kids colouring book? Fyi. Lollipop copied the lock screen design from colouring book. Lollipop has nothing new all these thing that they are offering are already there. They just add some animation and changed the icons. Tell me a single ground breaking thing that they have introduce thus year..

94. pulkit1

Posts: 354; Member since: Jul 03, 2014

lol do a little research before posting . with lollipop google has introduced 5000 new api and not to mention ART .

114. curbthepain

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 06, 2014

lol "Fyi iphone 6 & 6+ has bigger screen", well here not only does the Note 4 have a 5.7-inch QHD Super AMOLED display (which is way way way stronger than your plain old IPS display and also has almost twice the pixels) it also has a quad-core 2.7GHz Snapdragon 805 processor, 3 Gigabytes of RAM, and a Adreno 420. Which all in all against the iPhone 6 Plus and its 1.4 ghz dual-core processor, 1 Gigabyte of ram, and PowerVR gpu scores a 3272 in Geekbench vs the iPhones 2917. That's a 355 score difference! You think just cause your thin bendable piece of metal and glass has a 64-bit processor that it is the future in comparison to our beasts. Android users can choose from single core processors all the way to octa-core processors and they have a multitude of customization options for the multitude of phones they have to choose from. Android takes nothing from apple BTW. the lock screen is really not all that different from kitkat. It just has new animations, new notification ribbons on the lock screen and a new "material" feel to it. If you want to argue about ground breaking, choose an operating system that has tons and tons of developer communities that dedicate their days to making android better. An operating system that has more than just one company working on it full time. We have Samsung, Lg, Motorola, ZTE, Sony, Xiaomi, and many more. You have apple. We released 5000 api's in our new os. You released around 4000. Get up to speed. Android is next gen. iOS is just our competitor that just cant keep up in the race. Open-source vs Closed-source. (since the beginning) there is no comparison.

27. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

I can't make comparisons to iOS, but Lollipop is fast and smooth. I can't really quantify it, but 5.0 just feels more "pleasing" than older iterations of Android. Not a big fan of the stock colors though. This is based on my tinkering with the L dev preview ported to the Nexus 4.

38. vincelongman

Posts: 5645; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Speed Nope, "laggy" TouchWiz on the Note 4 is faster than iOS 8 on the 6+https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVkaY-F6Zhs Lollipop is far faster than KitKat, mainly due to ART, but also to other things like improved RAM management Design Totally personal preference Gaming Hard to say, personal preference again since: iOS has great exclusives, such as BioShock and Bastion But so does Nvidia on Android, such as Half Life 2 and Portal Also Nvidia has GameStream and GRID And Sony has PS4 Remote Play But iOS also has Metal API which reduces driver overhead like Mantle Surfacing the web Again personal preference iOS has Safari which is the fastest browser (see browser benchmarks such as Octane & SunSpider) But the difference is negligible in actual usage. And Android has browsers with more features, e.g. third party multi window browsers so you can leave it loading in the background and for multi tasking

42. Neo_Huang

Posts: 1067; Member since: Dec 06, 2013

Android obviously wins design, because you can easily make the UI look however you want it to.

45. diehardnokian

Posts: 147; Member since: Apr 27, 2014

woah both the operating systems are becoming very identical to each other...just look at the dialer and the lock screen. :O

131. iHateFanBoys

Posts: 4; Member since: Jan 17, 2015

The lock screens are completely different. On lollipop, you swipe UP to unlock and you also have the phone and camera shortcuts by swiping left or right. iPhone doesn't have all of that on their lockscreen and you unlock by swiping right.

107. skyhaunter

Posts: 7; Member since: Mar 15, 2013

The shield trumps all and any dreams Apple has about games or performance.

50. Liveitup

Posts: 1798; Member since: Jan 07, 2014

Android may be most popular bug many of the features and looks like the lock screen animation, the three dot menu, the alphabetized contacts list, the different themes of text messaging apps, the Tiled based contacts apps, in app purchases, app trials, the Flat minimalistic UI, the new widgets looks etc are all inspired by WP, pretty soon Google will use sorely Live based Tiles on the homescreen and call them widgets, just a matter of time, Samsung Iconic UI, HTC Blinkfeed they are all looking up to WP UI so yeah Google may be chilling with market share but its new OS is MS inspired.

51. T.Law

Posts: 423; Member since: May 10, 2014

Again the same BS! Yawn..

60. Liveitup

Posts: 1798; Member since: Jan 07, 2014

Not crap its the truth.

66. androidwindows

Posts: 216; Member since: Oct 04, 2014

Delusional wp user is delusional. I suggest that you go to a shrink. You seemed depressed.

72. Liveitup

Posts: 1798; Member since: Jan 07, 2014

Well tell me what was delusional about what i said, its easy to call someone names its another thing to prove them wrong.

65. androidwindows

Posts: 216; Member since: Oct 04, 2014

Lol you're the most delusional wp user I've ever encountered on the internet. And my God just stop with the everybody is copying WP UI.

67. shuaibhere

Posts: 1986; Member since: Jul 07, 2012

Again utter BS.... Flat =! WP... Btw material UI is not flat it's layered...it gives importance to small things which metro doesn't...material UI uses shadow metro doesn't...material UI strikes balance between function and form....metro gives importance to form.... The base of material UI us laid in honeycomb 3.0...and various google apps and websites....it didn't happen all the sudden....

74. Liveitup

Posts: 1798; Member since: Jan 07, 2014

Of course Material UI is Flat, the problem is the disingenuous people like yourself cant give credit where ts due, look at WP in 2010, look at Android in 2010 now look at Android today its clear that its WP influenced. http://www.developer-tech.com/news/2014/jun/26/googles-material-design-pays-homage-microsofts-flat-cross-platform-modern-ui/

78. androidwindows

Posts: 216; Member since: Oct 04, 2014

Just because an obscure writer from an obscure blog says that android is inspired by wp ui doesn't make it true. Again android lollipop isn't flat. It shows layers through the use of shadows. Wp ui is flat and ugly.

95. AfterShock

Posts: 4146; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

Cause that look does so much for WP no? You are only fooling yourself, an maybe other WP fans but that would be about it.

61. ishan.heru

Posts: 69; Member since: Aug 31, 2014

Android and iOS are "Brothers from another Mother" :)

113. MrOmkar

Posts: 13; Member since: Mar 08, 2012

I agree! but most android fans don't think so, they are becoming more and more like iSheeps!

22. ABDULGHAFOOR

Posts: 106; Member since: May 04, 2012

Unbiased Review Well done Phonearena +1

71. irbaaz

Posts: 175; Member since: Mar 27, 2014

At some point I like the ios, but most of the time I liked Android UI..

88. dorfoz

Posts: 156; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

iOS = 3 phones (iPhone 4s, 5, 6/6+) Android = Too many to list For iOS, its a conspiracy that they ALWAYS lag the oldest model so that you buy a new phone, but overall you're dealing with 2 variants. Android has hundreds of phones with multiple spec variations. To sum this crap up, each OS is only as good as it's BEST phone, in iOS's case, the 6+ and for Android it's (Insert your most biased phone preference here). Then battle. Until then, this is an ongoing war between two fanbases that will never end. In my case, I'd rather have some techs of Sony, Samsung, and Motorola and slap an iOS on that sucker and call it a day. (one can dream right? lol)

2. Liveitup

Posts: 1798; Member since: Jan 07, 2014

Honestly its good that they updated their OS visually but the way i see it being a WP user ive been used to what other have been enjoying or is now going to be enjoying on Android or iOS, that's the nature of trends i guess.

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