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Fight for the top: Android 4.4 KitKat vs iOS 7

Posted: , by Nick T.

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Fight for the top: Android 4.4 KitKat vs iOS 7

Dialer and contacts

Kudos to Google for adding a smarter Phone app in Android 4.4. What makes it better than ever is that it can search for the phone numbers of nearby businesses and venues. In other words, you just type the name of a place near you that you need to call – a restaurant, a bank, a store, you name it – and the app will get its number for you, pulled from its vast database. This works the other way around as well, so if a business is calling you, its Caller ID will be filled in by the app. Of course, how well this feature works depends on whether the business you're contacting is in Google's database or not. But we gave it a shot and it worked quite well.

This isn't the only change brought by the Android 4.4 Phone application. Its layout has been altered as well, so the first thing you see upon launching the app is your list of favorites, as well as the person you last contacted. Like it or not, there is no list of frequently called people, but chances are these are going to appear near the top of your call log anyway.

The iOS 7 Phone application is simpler, and not necessarily in a good way. Contacts, for example, don't have a photo displayed next to them, unless they are listed in your favorites. This little drawback aside, the app is intuitive and well laid out, displaying the user's own phone number of top for those times when it is needed.

When it comes to contact management, iOS 7 does have a thing or two to stand out with. It has the neat feature to block specific contacts, thus preventing them from calling, texting, and even initiating a FaceTime conversation with the user. Calls from blocked people appear in red in the log, in case you're wondering. Also, we appreciate Apple adding the option to set not only individual ringtones to specific contacts, but also specific vibration patterns for their texts and/or calls. Both Android and iOS will sync and back-up your contacts with the cloud.

Keyboard and messaging

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 5, running Android 4.4, is wider and is therefore more comfortable to use with two thumbs rather than one, and that is usually valid for any Android device with a screen of 4.5-inches and above. Overall, both virtual keyboards are pretty nice. International users can rest assured that both support a wide variety of input languages.

The messaging experience on iOS is augmented by iMessage – Apple's alternative to SMS, routing texts via the web instead of sending or receiving them through your wireless carrier. Texts transferred via iMessage are usually faster, with higher-quality media attachments, no character limit, and display a notification when the message is read. The downside to Apple's service, however, is that it works only on Apple devices. As for the iOS 7 messaging app itself, we have nothing to complain about. It is simple and intuitive, while texts are easy to read.

On Android 4.4 KitKat we see that Hangouts has taken over messaging, thus encouraging users to use Google's IM solution instead of SMS, all the while eliminating the need for a separate texting application. The app itself isn't bad and we love the option to attach our location to the message we're sending.


Whether you're using Android 4.4 or iOS 7, setting up your email account is a straight-forward process, requiring you to input nothing but your address, password, and perhaps your real name. Email settings can be entered manually, in case that is required. Android users may use the stock and plain Email app, or the Gmail app in case they are using Google's email service. We're into the latter, by the way, as there's a lot to like about it. Gmail automatically filters out social network updates and mail from businesses, placing them in their separate tabs. The result is a clean inbox containing mail you are actually interested in reading. What's more, there's the Priority inbox, which automatically highlights only emails from people you communicate with the most. Apple's approach to email is a tad simpler and its iOS app doesn't quite pack as many features. But it still definitely gets the job done. In iOS 7, the email app has the so-called VIP inbox option, where emails from people you mark as important are collected. This marking process, however, has to be done manually.

Productivity tools

No mobile OS can be considered complete without its pre-loaded set of productivity features. Thankfully, neither Android 4.4 nor iOS 7 disappoints in that respect. On both operating systems we find minimalist, streamlined Calendar applications for organizing appointments with their help. Nothing in terms of features is missing – new events can be added in just a few steps, and a reminder will alert you prior to that event's beginning. Both Calendar apps can be synchronized with the cloud, which makes them accessible from other devices as well.

At a glance, the calculators on Android 4.4 and iOS 7 look pretty similar, but those who need to access advanced functions often will appreciate Apple's solution a lot more. The advanced panel is accessible with a flip of the phone in landscape mode, while stock Android 4.4 requires the user to bring forth the advanced panel manually.

Android's clock used to be poorly organized, but things have changed with version 4.4. The app is now clean and intuitive. The Clock application on iOS 7 feels just as well made, if not a tad prettier. Both provide easy access to additional timekeeping features.

Notes and reminders in Android 4.4 are organized using Google's Keep application, which is a very simple, yet very handy little tool. The app lets you take down quick notes and to-do lists on the fly, with the option to assign alerts to each of them, activated at a given time or location. Moreover, audio and photos can be attached to the note. And if that's not cool enough, your notes are automatically synchronized with the cloud, which makes them accessible from your PC or tablet. Apple, on the other hand, has chosen to have two separate apps for Notes and Reminders. The former is really basic, allowing us to input text only. The latter is a bit more advanced, allowing us to organize to-do lists and set time- and location-activated reminders to each of them. The user interface of the app, however, can be a bit confusing at first. Both Notes and Reminders on iOS 7 can sync their data with the cloud.


Apple has sprinkled iOS 7 with a number of goodies that many users will appreciate having. Passbook is one of them, used for managing boarding passes, movie tickets, retail coupons, and more. In addition, you get a Stocks app, voice notes, compass with a built-in level, and a gorgeous weather application. Android 4.4, on the other hand, is pre-loaded with Google Earth for exploring in detail every square inch of the planet, as well as Google Drive for storing files in the cloud, and Quickoffice, allowing us to quickly open and edit Word, Excel, or PowerPoint files. 

Game Center vs Play Games

Both Android and iOS users play games. In fact, games are one of the most popular app categories on these platforms' markets, which is why it makes sense having an app dedicated to organizing all the games that the user owns. Apple's solution is called Game Center. Introduced with iOS 4, it lists the user's games, as well as all achievements and scores. Game Center is also used to send and receive turn requests and challenges to and from friends. Having the app recommend us games we might be interested in based on others that we've played is a neat, clever feature. Android's Play Games application is very similar when it comes to functionality. Google has also added the option to see what games our Google+ contacts are playing, which is a good way of discovering download-worthy titles. All in all, both Game Center and Play Games will be of great use to those who spend a lot of time playing games on their iOS or Android device.

Mulitasking and multiple users

When it comes to multitasking implementation in iOS and Android, we don't really have anything to complain about. Switching between apps is a smooth and lag-free process – just open up the multitasking menu and pick the app you wish to go back to. Both UIs present us with screenshots of all recent apps in their last state. If you need to close a particular app, just flick it to the side.

Support for multiple users is built into Android 4.4 and available to users of tablets running the stock variant of the operating system. Each person has their own personal workspace, with apps and widgets arranged to their liking, and switching between profiles happens in a snap. That makes Android tablets highly suitable for sharing with classmates or family members. What's more, users can have their personal stuff secured with Android's option to prevent a specific account from launching particular apps. At this time, Apple has yet to implement support for multiple user accounts into iOS.

  • Options

posted on 18 Nov 2013, 12:35 32

1. ihavenoname (Posts: 1693; Member since: 18 Aug 2013)

Both are awesome. Please no retarded hate comments.

posted on 18 Nov 2013, 12:38 9

3. NexusPhan (Posts: 632; Member since: 11 Jul 2013)

Speaking of hate comments.


posted on 18 Nov 2013, 12:41

6. ihavenoname (Posts: 1693; Member since: 18 Aug 2013)


posted on 22 Nov 2013, 20:53

119. jdot104 (Posts: 95; Member since: 17 Jun 2011)

Thank you so much for posting this.

posted on 18 Nov 2013, 13:46 47

26. squallz506 (banned) (Posts: 1075; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)

"those who simply aren't sure what they want, would be perfectly happy with a device running iOS 7."

Truer words have never been spoken.

I know what I want. I want Bluetooth file transfer, a voice search assistant that can access my apps. I want to be able to choose my keyboard and my sms app. I want USB otg capability and a native file system. I want restricted user profiles for when I let my children play with my tablet. I want full control over my software and hardware. IOS offers none of these features. I want android.

posted on 18 Nov 2013, 16:31 2

51. GeekMovement (unregistered)

lol you beat me to it.

posted on 18 Nov 2013, 16:54 7

58. darkkjedii (Posts: 24329; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)

Are you trying to convince us, or yourself dude? We're techies too, you don't need to tell us these things on PA, we already know em. Copy your post, and paste it on soccermoms.com.

posted on 18 Nov 2013, 18:01 7

63. squallz506 (banned) (Posts: 1075; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


posted on 18 Nov 2013, 18:24 1

66. darkkjedii (Posts: 24329; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)

See post #26, then see post #58.

posted on 18 Nov 2013, 18:27 2

67. squallz506 (banned) (Posts: 1075; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


posted on 08 Jun 2014, 13:57

131. BurritoBear217 (Posts: 1; Member since: 08 Jun 2014)

Darkkjedi, one question. what exactly qualifies you to be a "techie", or whatever name you like to call yourself? Tell me if you've ever touched a linux command line, or if you know at least one programming language, be it something ridiculously simple like python, or even applescript, and you have my respect. I've seen so many people on the internet automatically qualify themselves as "techies" after figuring out what a filesystem is....

posted on 19 Nov 2013, 00:01

89. JakeLee (banned) (Posts: 1021; Member since: 02 Nov 2013)

You forgot to mention that you also want people you don't know to transfer your personal data to their servers, don't you?

Of course, you don't have to know whether, when, to whom, and how many times.

You also don't have to know what they do with your data.

That I call self-service par excellence.

The sad thing is though, you pay the transfer cost.

posted on 20 Nov 2013, 08:44 1

105. iamovie (Posts: 6; Member since: 10 Sep 2013)

Lol notice how every other comment above yours has thumbs up but yours do not?? yeah....you know why that is??? Cuz you are literally talking Sh*t

posted on 20 Nov 2013, 09:11

106. SleepingOz (unregistered)

Oh that's apple you're talking about, aren't you?

posted on 22 Nov 2013, 13:14

117. alienwarex (Posts: 3; Member since: 28 Sep 2013)

Did you realize that the safari browser allowed Google to do this?

posted on 08 Dec 2013, 07:36

126. adoptop70 (Posts: 20; Member since: 29 Apr 2013)

You have spoken nothing but the truth of highest order,
Infact i can't use my hard earned money to buy ios, though it's acceptable if it is dash

posted on 18 Nov 2013, 15:13 17

40. fanboy1974 (Posts: 1345; Member since: 12 Nov 2011)

I could no longer take iOS 7 and had to go back to Android this past weekend. I was actually fine with the iPhone 5s (small screen and all) but the OS got plain and boring quick. This was my first time with iOS after being with Android for 4 years. So maybe it was better pre iOS 7 but that doesn’t help the situation today. And I was not too pleased that apps were crashing on me from time to time with “lowmemory” errors in the diagnostic log. I expected things to work and gave iOS/Apple/iPhone a fair chance for 2 months but I’m done with it.
I wanted a Nexus 5 and the $30 t-mobile monthly plan but after trying it out on my iPhone 5s for 2 days the coverage was horrible where I live and work. So because I wanted to stick it out with Verizon I did an even trade for my 16gig iPhone 5s for a Note 3 this weekend. I do miss the smaller size and relatively quick performance but everything else about the experience left me unsatisfied and wanting more.
I guess I’ve come to the conclusion that I would rather be behind Samsung’s slow updates of Android vs. the quick updates from Apple’s iOS 7; if that makes sense.

posted on 18 Nov 2013, 16:56 2

59. darkkjedii (Posts: 24329; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)


posted on 18 Nov 2013, 18:16 1

64. chemhaz (Posts: 161; Member since: 04 May 2012)

iOs7 a hell of a lot more exciting than previous iOS versions. If you lasted short time on it, you would have only lasted a day on iOS6.

posted on 27 Nov 2013, 23:36

122. lilduderob (Posts: 13; Member since: 27 Oct 2011)

to be honest fanboy I like iPhone because on android I had a lot of apps that had advertisements that come up. You have to check each app to see if you get a virus. Any of them could be. iTunes is the best app store. They say so many apps on android are free most of the ones I have used when I had android devices were not free. I use the reminders on IOS. If you don't have cellular service because of a storm but still have internet. You can text apple devices call them or video conferences. I am not trying to sound like I am just a fan of apple and not changing because I like them. I just thought android had bad battery life. I know people who have had androids but see iPhone with a better battery life. You can text an iPhone for free that is so awesome.

posted on 09 Feb 2014, 21:58

129. charminxtra (Posts: 2; Member since: 19 Dec 2013)

Just fyi, if you don't have cell service with an android you can text, call or video chat anyone, not just other apple users. That imessaging crap also hijacks your phone number so even if you get a new phone or you lose yours, texts from other apple users will continue to go to your imessage account instead of your new phone. This was a huge problem I had to help my friend with when he switched from an iphone 4 to an lg g2. It also forces you to send texts to other i,essage users over your data connection, and even if it is a small amount of data, why not have the option to utilize your probably unlimited sms? Also ad's on android are easily blocked and you may want to try third party solutions for your android apps (impossible on iphone without a jailbreak) as I've found my most useful apps outside of the playstore and they're almost guaranteed to be free.

posted on 08 Dec 2013, 07:43

127. adoptop70 (Posts: 20; Member since: 29 Apr 2013)

You have spoken it all in your conclusion, those that know what they want go for android

posted on 18 Nov 2013, 20:22

78. Pancholo (Posts: 380; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)

They even have the SAME date format!

Oh, wait...

posted on 19 Nov 2013, 08:40 1

96. 123Andy (Posts: 7; Member since: 25 Jun 2013)

But Android phones are much cheaper : P

posted on 18 Nov 2013, 12:35 5

2. Mxyzptlk (unregistered)

Customization vs the worlds most advanced mobile OS that just works.

posted on 18 Nov 2013, 12:38 7

4. ihavenoname (Posts: 1693; Member since: 18 Aug 2013)

Both are great on their own way. Lot of pros and some cons.

posted on 27 Nov 2013, 23:36

123. lilduderob (Posts: 13; Member since: 27 Oct 2011)

The iPhone has things I do not like and so does the android.

posted on 18 Nov 2013, 12:56 37

10. av911 (Posts: 200; Member since: 19 Nov 2012)

Most advanced that can't do half of what a Note 3 can do.

posted on 18 Nov 2013, 12:59 6

13. Commentator (Posts: 3722; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)

Yeah, but Android lags 1% of the time, whereas iOS lags 0.5% of the time. That's a HUGE deal-breaker!

posted on 18 Nov 2013, 15:30 6

43. PBXtech (Posts: 1032; Member since: 21 Oct 2013)

Lol. And I thought you were going to compare the difference of nanosecond screen responsiveness. Now that was HUGE!

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