Switching from Android to iPhone Part 0: Deciding to switch

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.

All things considered, we're in a time where it is relatively easy to switch from one mobile platform to another. Of course, while there technically are a few different options for mobile users, in reality the choice really boils down to Android vs iOS. My general line of reasoning has been that if you're deep into Google services, Android might be the best option (depending on certain personality factors), but that's not actually true. I realized that I haven't done a solid deep dive into iOS for too long, and I needed to rectify that error because deciding to make the full switch to iOS can be daunting and I wanted to fully understand it.

I actually had somewhat of a late entrance into the smartphone world. Until 2008, I had only ever owned basic cellphones. The reasoning was more a matter of necessity than anything else. I had a basic cellphone during college, because I was a poor college student. I didn't have a cellphone while living in Montreal because at the time, mobile plans in Canada were designed by an extraordinarily greedy monster (think: 200  daytime minutes and 100 texts for about $50 per month, and don't even think about data). And, when I lived in Japan, phones were not subsidized, so I couldn't afford a smartphone, but also I knew that Japan was a short stop for me and didn't want to buy a device that I couldn't bring back and use in the States once my time was done.

That meant the fall of 2008 was when I got my first smartphone, which was an iPhone 3G. I enjoyed the phone quite a lot for a time. The screen and UI were amazing, and I loved having the Internet in my pocket at all times. But eventually I got bored with the locked-down nature of iOS (not that it was called that at the time), and eight months after buying an iPhone, I sold it (after unlocking it, to ensure the highest return on Craigslist) and bought a Nexus One.

Since then, I've owned almost exclusively Nexus devices. As mentioned in previous articles, I owned most of the Nexus devices released (including tablets) excluding only the Nexus S, 2013 Nexus 7, and the Nexus 5X. I have also owned the Moto X (which I traded in my Nexus 5 to get) and Moto X 2014 in that time, but essentially my life was pure Android. The only iOS experience I had from mid 2009 until about two months ago were the iPads that my wife and family owned and in my nerd need to go into the Apple store every time I passed one to play around with the devices. I have taken time to intensively test out Windows Phone, as I've written, but iOS was ephemeral to me.

Even so, I've always tried my best to be fair when tackling issues in the mobile sphere. I have no problem admitting that I prefer Google services and Android for myself (even if some things annoy me about that), but I understand and accept that what works best for me isn't what will work best for everyone else. I have friends and family who prefer iOS, and I've recommended both iOS and Windows Phone to various people over the years based on what I thought would be best for them.

Your reasoning and challenges in deciding to make a switch to iOS will be personal, but the barriers to switching are fairly basic. The smaller subset of Android users who would routinely unlock, root, flash custom ROMs, etc., are obviously not a group that would consider switching. But otherwise, if you have invested a lot of money in the Google Play Store for apps, games and media content, that may be your biggest hurdle to handing over your Android phone for an iPhone. 

Personally, I felt like I needed to fully experience daily use of iOS today in order to do my job better. So, I borrowed an iPhone 6 Plus from a friend and I've been using that as my primary device for the past two months while my Nexus 6P lay sadly to the side, unused. What will follow here is my experience making the switch, as objectively as possible. I have taken into account the fact that I'm not judging iOS by the most recent hardware and I will try to give an idea of what some of you face if you decide to give up Android for an iPhone.

As I did when switching to Windows Phone, I'll add the disclaimer that this is not intended to be a review of iOS, since my colleagues have done a great job doing just that in the past. This is intended as something of a running diary showing the process of an Android user getting to know and use iOS.

TL:DR -- It's actually quite nice and may not be too bad of a switch, if that's what you think is right for you.

Up next

The tentative plan for this journey is a four part series covering:

            • Setting up and restoring a new iPhone,
            • Initial thoughts and struggle,
            • Apps and services,
            • And, long-term impressions and conclusions.

If a piece grows too large, the series could extend. But generally in upcoming pieces, I'll detail my experiences with using the iPhone 6 Plus as my daily phone over the past two months. As of right now, I'm still using the iPhone as my daily driver, though I still have my Nexus 6P and Nexus 9 (the latter running the Android N preview) standing by, but I've found that the iPhone might not be too far away from a device I could use permanently than I might have thought going into this experiment.

Stay tuned for more.

Related phones

iPhone 6 Plus
  • Display 5.5" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.2 MP front
  • Processor Apple A8, Dual-core, 1400 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 2915 mAh(24h 3G talk time)



2. kxng_poetic

Posts: 5; Member since: Mar 17, 2016

I've always wanted an article like this. At least now it makes things a bit easier.

3. tyrionTheWise unregistered

Pros: 1. Notifications are more consistent, also drain less battery. 2. No random heating or battery drain by android system/facecrap/google services. 3. Apps feel more polished, much better and more optimised games, exclusives. 4. Unified update policy, no fragmentation. Cons: 1. Customization = changing wallpaper. 2. No homescreen or widgets(widgets in notification = stupid). 3. A lot of FACEPALM moments after using android: a. Why do you have to go to settings to change video resolution b. iTunes. c. No back or multitask buttons. back on top feels too hard to reach on plus variant, and double press is not so great if you have to do it multiple times a day. 4. No file manager 5. A lot of features lacking compared to android skins. Personally, I hate both. Windows mobile seems promising but the app condition + no good hardware + buggy software is enough to keep me away.

7. Arschsalat

Posts: 158; Member since: Feb 29, 2016

And no Notification LED

11. tyrionTheWise unregistered

That is a con of iPhone, not iOS.

18. AlikMalix unregistered

You can set up your flash as a notification led.

21. iushnt

Posts: 3122; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

doesn't serve the purpose of having led notification lights..

26. tyrionTheWise unregistered

And put the phone screen down? Not to mention the battery drain it will cause. Plus, we are talking about RGB notification lights, with different color for different types of notifications.

91. submar

Posts: 713; Member since: Sep 19, 2014

Flashlight is too bright and battery consuming, isn't it?

16. AlikMalix unregistered

@tyrion Fair analysis, but let me adreess some of the cons as better experienced iOS user. 1. Customization on iOS is primarily focused on function rather than looks, for example: we can customize app permissions even for the native ones. We can set content blockers to block ads in safari without needing to root. Other things you have to do on android like using greenify to keep apps from draining your data and battery already done by default and pretty well on iOS. Every physical button can be added modified and some instances can be changed functions. There are launchers for iOS that can give you full customization of a custom home screen just with one tap. 2. How's widgets in notifications stupid? This allows you to access widgets writhing any app, within any screen, including locked screen, including inside games, vs having to remember which screen you left it on and then navigate there. But I understand it's s preference thing. 3. a. I agree - that's dumb. Same for low power mode which is set automatically at 20% if I want and then at 10%. But sometimes I have to turn it off. b. iTunes - it's been a long long time since you didn't need to use iTunes for anything: transfer media files on and off the device or Back up everything. Several people I know do not have iTunes installed on ther pcs. I used it before my iPhone days as a music player/organizer. So it's s bonus for me. But I don't use it to transfer photos videos off the device or put them on - I don't even use USB cable. c. Back button hard to reach: um I don't use it on my phone - try force swipe off the edge of your screen (on iPad try 4 fingers swipes and 4 finger pinch). Or slightly double tap on home button - you'll see. I early double press - as I keep all apps in ther - like 35-40 at a time. 4. You can download any file manager you want, they have cloud acces, transfer files between devices, and can store files that are not associated with anything on iOS like .exe and .psd files same as you would on a flash and the one I have can also access your photos and videos, notes, and files from within other apps that u use to crest with like my blueprint drawing app. 5.there are a lot of iOS features lacking on any android too. But I would love for Windows to get some app support. I would love to try that especially since I'm a PC user.

25. tyrionTheWise unregistered

1. Some of the features you mentioned are device specific/require jailbreak. 2. Maybe it is. But having 2 notifications panes unnecessarily complicates things. 3. P.S. You need iTunes if you want to put music on your phone/tablet from your PC. Fore swipe only works on 6s series and it's even less reliable. Sorry, but just tapping a button is far easier. 4. Stuff like Documents5 exist, but their content is only to themselves. In other words, it's not system-wide. Not to mention pains with downloading and unzipping a folder natively. For a full fledged file explorer, you need jailbreak. Which is non-ideal. 5. I can get almost all of them on android skins. You can't swing it around. Skins like touchwiz just smack iOS in the ass when it comes to features. PS: I'm not discrediting iOS or anything. In fact, I want to switch from android as the fragmentation and rogue nature is getting in my nerves. But it has its cons. I am using an iPad for 1.5 years now and am fairly familiar with iOS. If only we could get Samsung hardware on iOS.

30. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Samsung hardware with ios = 5 year between phone change its would be so fast its would be crazy!

59. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Yeah I would love to have iOS on a Samsung, with all the exact same Samsung benefits. The iPhoen would die an instant death if that was to happen. The only way IOS woudl ever be used by another brand is Apple says, you can't have capabilities that exceed our phone. In other words, you cant open up the file system, you can't have default apps, and you must only use Apple Service as defaults. In this case, iOS on another brand would be an equal failure. But iOS with the same capabilities of today's Galaxy S or Note, with openness and customization; would turn the industry upside down.

62. AlikMalix unregistered

None of what I posted requires a jailbreak or side loading.

29. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

1- I can customize permission on all app including native on moto x play ( marshmallow device can. ) 2- As you said its préférence.. i like having my calender as a full page on my desktop. 3- lots of small detail are dumb in iphone setting but i guess i could live with thats. 4- do download manager make it possible to create files and move item between them? not on ios one of the main reason to use one is this. 5. Care to give me those features ( the one thats an app installed on an android cannot replace ) Beside 3d touch i dont see any O_O If there was as much app on windows mobile as on android and ios i would probably jump ship as well as at least there more than 1 OEM making windows phone.

45. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

I would say your point number one, is more of looks. Remember in the past, the iPhone didnt even have wallpapers; which would serve for as keeping the overall look the same for everyone. Being able to change wallpapers is more of function because it allows you to do something. Something specifically for a look is usually made so you can change it, or has still penalties if you do.

19. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

I agree with you on everything, iOS without jailbreak is a disaster IMO. I agree except one thing: widgets. I personally find their implementation great, I can access dictionaries, calculators, tv schedule anytime using phone, just curious why do you consider them stupid. Back when I was using Android on Z3C I was basically using only weather and mail widgets, on iOS I use plenty of them.

31. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

I use an app called multitasking on android its give lots of goodie thats i can open no matter where i am ( games ect ) For me widget are more to keep something on my desktop already open at all time like Calender or emails inbox love to have them on a full desktop page.

4. darkkjedii

Posts: 31307; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Popcorn article for me.

5. byazatt

Posts: 316; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

Never ever.

6. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

I switched in january and the iPhone experience has been a lot better than I thought it would be.

15. TBomb

Posts: 1571; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

Question is.... is it better? Not better than you thought, but is it better?

37. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

I can't fairly answer that question because I haven't spent anytime with an android device that's on the same level as my 6s plus. I wish I had the money to buy a Nexus 6P so that I really could give my honest opinion about which is better android or ios. What I will say is this, if you are the type of android user who doesn't go full custom on their device, odds are you want dislike ios..

23. saif2711

Posts: 99; Member since: Feb 22, 2016

Same here.It took me a week or 2 to understand the basics of ios and now I don't regret my decision of switching.Infact ios is really pretty awesome,faster and more importantly lag free.the lag on my note 2 used to give me nightmares and with the 6s plus it's so fluid.

33. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Newer phone dont lag unless if its run a crappy skin... My moto x play is butter smooth.

38. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

iOS has almost zero lag and plays games really well. I'm straight loving it. Don't listen to those people that say new android phones doesn't lag(post #33)because they do and a lot of them struggle with games as well.

79. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015


40. natypes

Posts: 1110; Member since: Feb 02, 2015

lol Note 2 vs iPhone 6s+ and you think iOS is better b/c of this???? I find that to be the typical comparison. "I had an Android Galaxy Prime and it was terrible Android sucks..."

43. saif2711

Posts: 99; Member since: Feb 22, 2016

I opted the iphone because my friend's 4s was n is still working so smooth and I wanted a lag free user interface that's why preferred the 6s plus over s7 or s7 edge.

50. Macready

Posts: 1824; Member since: Dec 08, 2014

The 4S that I used for a week on iOS 9.1 was an absolute lagfest. It made my 5 year old S2 on 4.1 and animations turned off, feel like a speed demon at times. Which it really isn't, by any stretch.

82. refillable

Posts: 1071; Member since: Mar 10, 2014

I can't believe you said 4S can be 'working so smooth'.

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