Android 6.0 Marshmallow vs iOS 9 visual interface comparison: vote for the better one here

Apple and Google are pretty much done for this year in terms of operating systems. With iOS 9 and Android 6.0 Marshmallow officially out, we don't expect either of the giants to unveil anything exciting anytime soon as far as operating systems are regarded. 

To be completely honest, both Android Marshmallow and iOS 9 are certainly not oriented at visually overhauling the platforms; on the contrary, both are centered around under-the-hood improvements that aim to enhance the user experience on a more basic, fundamental level by focusing on things like performance, battery management, and general feature polishment.

We've reviewed both, and guess what, there's little not to like about either of the platforms we mentioned. But which one do you like more? That's a question that has been lingering in our HQ for some time now. Hoping to put it to an end, we decided to devise a visual comparison between the two venerable mobile platforms and allow you to vote for your favorite one in a series of different polls. These will be open until October 19; we will reveal the winner afterwards.

Scroll down below and cast a vote wherever you feel appropriate!

Lock screen and home screen

In this section, you're going to evaluate each the lock screen solutions that Marshmallow and iOS 9 flaunt out of the box. The two haven't changed much in comparison with their previous iterations. However, in line with the under-the-hood proactive functionalities both platforms scored, the lock screens got tweaked, one more than the other. iOS 9 provides users with a shortcut to a frequent app in its lower left corner, while Marshmallow has ditched the dialer shortcut for a Google Now voice search one. 

Well, the latter is not a very pro-active solution, but at least it now allows you to jump straight into Google Now in a jiffy. We also miss the dialer shortcut a bit, but hey, that's our opinion! We are interested in your opinions, though - vote and let us know which one looks better to you. 

Which one has better lock and home screens?

iOS 9
Android 6.0 Marshmallow

Quick Settings & folders

In this category, you will have to vote for the OS that implements quick settings and folders in a better way and more more eye-pleasing way. As you're certainly aware, Android Marshmallow comes with the very same quick settings pane that debuted with Lollipop. There are a couple of differences though - the new quick settings pane comes with a new Do Not Disturb toggle, as well as the ability to add, remove, or rearrange the items thanks to the hidden System UI Tuner menu. In Apple's camp, we are also greeted by a well-known friend of old, Control Center. It provides you with a couple of more important settings toggles, audio controls, as well as shortcuts for a couple of staple apps. 

When it comes to folders, both platforms don't differ much. With a third-party launcher, Android users can change the appearance and styling of their folders, but the stock version of the OS doesn't allow for such intricate tweaks. Nor does iOS, mind you. In fact, both only allow you to rearrange the icons inside and change the names of the folders themselves.

From a visual standpoint, which one comes with better Quick Settings and folders?

iOS 9
Android 6.0 Marshmallow

Siri vs Google Now

In this category, both platforms have new weapons in their arsenals. For starters, Siri now has pro-active abilities and suggest regularly-used apps and contacts in the returned Spotlight Search page on the leftmost home screen. Android Marshmallow also provides app suggestions, but it does so inside the launcher. Additionally, Now on Tap is on board Marshmallow. You can read more about it in our review, but here is the "TL;DR" version: it's a proactive and contextually-aware functionality for Google Now. 

Which one has a better-looking virtual assistant?

iOS 9
Android 6.0 Marshmallow

Stock wallpapers

True, getting a custom wallpaper for your device is easy as abs regardless of the platform, but the on-board wallies are an integral part of the OS. That's why we decided that it's worth comparing them. So, give us your best shot at which platform supplies the better looking background pics.

We have not included the iOS 9 Live wallpapers that make use of the new 3D Touch feature. You can view and download them here, though.

The OS with the better-looking wallpapers is:

iOS 9
Android 6.0 Marshmallow

App switchers

The app switcher of iOS scored a major overhaul with iOS 9 - apps get displayed in a more fashionable way now and browsing them creates an effect that reminds us of flicking a book's pages back and forth. On the other hand, Marshmallow's carousel app switcher, for the most part, has remained largely unchanged in comparison with what Android Lollipop brought to the mix last year. It still doesn't come with "clear all" button of sorts, but neither does iOS. That's one of our rather minor nuisances with both platforms.

It's also worth mentioning that if you're running Marshmallow and use Google Chrome as your go-to browser, by default your tabs will appear as separate cards in the app switcher. This feature can't leave people indifferent - you either hate it in the guts or can't live without it. The former type are probably glad it can be easily turned off.

So, without further ado, what do you think about the app switchers of iOS 9 and Marshmallow?

Which platform has the better app-switching solution?

iOS 9
Android 6.0 Marshmallow

Settings menu

We can't help but love the search functionalities both platforms scored. No more aimlessly digging through the different menus, you can now search for anything and it will be promptly displayed. We're quite glad both platforms now employ such a time-saving feature. Another similarity is the light background both employ. Sadly, the stock dark theme of Marshmallow is nowhere to be found in the official release, so we are stuck with the default one. Same can be said for iOS 9, with the difference being we never saw evidence it might come with a dark mode of sorts.

It might be a minor feature, but undoubtedly allowing users to choose between white and dark UI theme will have a small, but beneficial effect on the overall user experience. Here's to hoping that iOS 10 and Android N will provide us with such a small but nifty functionality in 2016.

The platform with the better Settings menu is:

iOS 9
Android 6.0 Marshmallow


One of the not-so-major, but still beneficial improvements that iOS scored was the new uppercase keyboard. It beats us why it took Apple so long to implement such a feature, but anyway, it's here now and shows what case you're typing in. Hallelujah! In stark contrast, the stock Android keyboard is no stranger to such a feature as it has had it for some time now. 

In contrast, the stock Marshmallow keyboard is not vastly different from the Lollipop one - save for a couple of under-the-hood API improvements, it doesn't offer any groundbreaking new feature, but we feel it's just as good the way it is at the moment.

Which one has a better keyboard?

iOS 9
Android 6.0 Marshmallow

Camera interface

Say what you want, but this is an aspect we are inclined to like the iOS solution more than the Android one. In case you're an avid fan of minimalism or other artsy movements that are ruled by the "less is more" approach, then Marshmallow's stock camera interface will feel just right. While this is not bad, the one of iOS 9 is much more functional. Most of the latter's features are displayed at all times, making it quite easy to turn on or off a given feature easily. 

In terms of features, things have not changed much - apart from regular photos, the iOS camera app allows you to shoot Time Lapse, Slo-Mo, Panorama, and regular video as well. Oh, and let's not forget the new Live Photos feature. 

The stock Marshmallow camera app is not different from its predecessor - Photo Sphere, Panorama, Lens Blur, and video recording are some of its defining features. The Nexus 6P and 5X's arrival will bring forth some other new features, namely camera burst and slo-mo. 

Which one has a better camera interface?

iOS 9
Android 6.0 Marshmallow



1. mawi2013

Posts: 67; Member since: Oct 18, 2014

Android 6 all the way apart from the camera.

3. Bm888

Posts: 517; Member since: Jul 06, 2015

Android as always is the king of Mobile OS functionality

11. PhenomFaz

Posts: 1236; Member since: Sep 26, 2012

Is it just me or did Apple just rip off ICS and JB?

12. Kelley71

Posts: 105; Member since: Nov 26, 2012

No, Google just ripped off iOS9 before it was developed in creating ICS and JB..

30. phonearenarocks

Posts: 607; Member since: Mar 26, 2015


18. imnotascammer

Posts: 160; Member since: Aug 22, 2012

True that.. I like the design and the look of the iOS better though. (,--) Somehow its more appealing. No wonder why a lot of people are drawn to it regardless how far it lag behind the true king android..

36. Loveneesh

Posts: 444; Member since: Jul 14, 2015

I think they are voting for there OS's not for the purpose of pole. That's why android m gets lots of love.

67. Jack58221

Posts: 157; Member since: Feb 23, 2013

I agree that people may vote for their OS, but a lot of people choose to buy an Android or Apple device because of the OS. I use an nvidia shield tablet and a Moto X 2nd gen. because I prefer almost everything about Android other than the camera. People vote what they buy because most buy what they like.

33. CyberFalcon

Posts: 223; Member since: Apr 17, 2014

"Marshmallow lags" and "Marshmallow lag" . Really PA!!! You had to imply it like that? That was totally unnecessary.

34. discharge unregistered

Chill there I bet you don't even have a phone compatible for that so how can you say that?? Ohhh you must be a Apple fanboy

52. CX3NT3_713

Posts: 2362; Member since: Apr 18, 2011

Lmmfao!! Thanks ! I needed a good laugh

56. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

I wont lie....visually I chose iOS 9 for some things: Settings Folders n Notifications Camera Keyboard Wallpapers because of the moon, planets shots.

15. trustory

Posts: 132; Member since: Jan 23, 2013

I voted for ios everywhere except for Lock/home screen, app switcher, and keyboard

35. Niva.

Posts: 440; Member since: Jan 05, 2015

Which means you voted for Android almost everywhere.

41. aba71983

Posts: 807; Member since: Jul 24, 2014

I vote iOS 9 because I'm using it. I'm not sure about Marshmallow on how many user will use this OS update on there phones and tablets. But I'm sure that iOS 9 by the end of this year will have 98% user update there iPhones and iPads.

47. vincelongman

Posts: 5745; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Just wondering, why do iOS fans care so much about how much % iOS/Android phones are on the latest version? Why would I care if another Android user is on 4.0? Basically all my apps have already been updated to fully support 6.0. The ones that haven't been updated still fully work since I can give/take permission in the Settings menu

54. aba71983

Posts: 807; Member since: Jul 24, 2014

Of course I care about it if there a new update on iOS. How can I enjoy my phone without new features like the ForceTouch. And now Samsung is copying this type of features of the new iPhone 6S/6S+.

58. vincelongman

Posts: 5745; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

If you care about updates and want Android, get a Nexus Then you get update support basically on par with Apple

60. Ordinary

Posts: 2454; Member since: Apr 23, 2015

I forgot how to download force touch on my iPad Air 2, can you teach me?

61. ILikeBubbles

Posts: 525; Member since: Jan 17, 2011

it's only fair to compare iphones to the Nexus line... many of which already have marshmallow... and have for some time.

45. dazed1

Posts: 806; Member since: Jul 28, 2015

+ 1000

51. iLovesarcasm

Posts: 589; Member since: Oct 20, 2014

iOS won the camera and folder only.

2. senseiJ

Posts: 172; Member since: May 02, 2015

Android is a much exciting OS but iOS is very attractive, at least for me. I like the keyboard and messaging app a lot, but aside from that, it's a meh, specially Siri.

4. Pattyface

Posts: 1658; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

Other than camera interface it's all android. I hate stock camera for Android.. Google needs to step up big time in thus area

48. vincelongman

Posts: 5745; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Google Camera 3.0 with a major UI overhaul is potentially coming in the next few days (or weeks if rumors are wrong) Hopefully it brings many of the new features of the Nexus 6P/5X as well

5. talon95

Posts: 1002; Member since: Jul 31, 2012

Apple settings menu drives me crazy. I'm not sure how anyone can vote for it, but it must have some redeeming quality. When I have to fix my 65yr old parents phone it's always such a pain to find anything in menus. The rest of the list is nearly a tie for me, both have evolved to be quite useful. Only the android stock camera interface is clumsy and lacking options, but I prefer its method of panoramas, and photo spheres are awesome. So interface I give to Apple but features would be more of a tie again.

6. mawi2013

Posts: 67; Member since: Oct 18, 2014

Agree with Apple settings but it would be much easier if apple and android both added a search bar to their settings.

25. SirYar

Posts: 351; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Which they both have...

7. carlemillward unregistered

I can see why the Chinese like the iOS camera app

8. natypes

Posts: 1110; Member since: Feb 02, 2015

I set up both iOS and Android at work for both phones and tablets daily and Android is by far more intuitive, easy to use and attractive. The iOS keyboard is severely lacking. The letters don't show the change from caps to lower case, no comma, accessing numbers is just plain asinine. Sometimes there's a 'period' key, sometimes there isn't. It's horrible. iOS looks like a barbie phone. Even though they went away from so many feminine colors in iOS9, it's still ugly and looks like a child's toy.

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