If Apple wants me to believe the iPhone is a gaming phone, it needs to take notes from Android phones

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
If Apple wants me to believe the iPhone is a gaming phone, it needs to take notes from Android phones
Gaming on a phone — a topic that's less and less controversial and in fact getting to be a part of everyone's daily routine. As handsets get more powerful, games get more diverse, ranging from complicated and hard to your casual time-burners that have always been around.

Developers took note — we now have ports of classic games revived for phones and tablets, and even massive franchises like Call of Duty making the jump to mobile. Google believes that it can deliver seamless game streaming with project Stadia, and Apple itself launched the Apple Arcade service, which gives us tons of exclusive, high-quality games to enjoy straight on the iPhone.



The iPhone has been one of the best smartphones to enjoy games on for years now. The powerful hardware coupled with the Metal API and the minimum fragmentation on the side of iOS has ensured that games will usually launch for iPhones first and often run better or have more detailed graphics than on Android.

With iOS 13, Apple not only acknowledges the iPhone as a gaming machine, it wants to actively encourage us to use it as such. Not only do we have Apple Arcade, we finally have support for proper Bluetooth controllers — DualShock 4 and Xbox gamepads now connect effortlessly to your iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV. So long, MFi, you shan't be missed!

But in their push to make the iPhone more gamer friendly, Apple forgot one simple feature, which Android handsets have had for a few years now:

A dedicated gaming mode


Now, I — as well as many others — didn't really take gaming modes seriously when the concept was in its infancy. Developers stated the feature clears up the phone's background tasks and forced the processor to always work at full power, so that we get good performance at all times. "Whoopee", I thought, "that sounds like a gimmick that may or may not give us a 5% boost in performance".

But what really makes a gaming mode is not the supposed overclocking or RAM management. No, it's the little things — like having your notifications pop up in a small, non-intrusive manner, or not pop up at all. Or automatically turning off Auto-Brightness for the time of playing.


Doing what I do on a daily basis, I often find myself using a different phone as a daily driver. And let me tell you, as much as I praised the iPhone's gaming prowess in the first half of this article, there's nothing I dread more than receiving a barrage of messages while playing a high-octane round of Call of Duty or trying to survive a run on Full of Stars on the iPhone. iOS' notification banners are huge, intrusive, and persistent, to the point you start hating your friends for wanting to communicate with you.

"Just turn on Do Not Disturb", you say? Yeah, that'll work, as long as you remember to toggle it on and off every time you open or close a game, respectively. When it comes to full screen content and unobtrusive notifications, Android handles them better, often without the need of user input — the default settings are pretty close to "Let's try to not mess up this guy's winning streak".

Then, we have the issue with the ambient light sensor and its effect on the "auto brightness" setting. Let me start by pointing out that the iPhone's proximity sensor works in cahoots with the light sensor. If the former detects that your hand is covering the latter, no steps will be taken to automatically adjust brightness. And that's great — kudos to Apple for that stealthy feature.


But often, we play our games in environments with directional lighting, or rapid change in lighting, where the phone is in such an angle that we need more brightness — or less of it — than the software is willing to give us. To top it off, Apple insists that it knows exactly what you want and the Auto-Brightness toggle keeps getting buried deeper and deeper in the iPhone's settings. Right now, you can find it in Settings -> Accessibility -> Display & Text Size -> Auto-Brightness (at the very bottom of the page). So, it's not a simple "toggle it manually" solution.

First world problems!


Minor grievances and nonsensical ramblings? Probably. The point I am trying to make is that every other company, which markets its phone as a "gaming smartphone" — or simply insists that it's super-powerful — includes these basic gaming features, nicely bundled into a Gaming Mode (naming varies). Apple, despite developing a whole platform for games in the form of Apple Arcade, still kind of refuses to adopt these pretty basic features, which is not really out of style for the company. I do think that we will see some form of "do not disturb while gaming" option make its way to iOS in the next couple of iterations — those being iOS 14 and iOS 15.

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21 Comments

1. treypoundz

Posts: 92; Member since: Sep 05, 2017

Yup. Apple needs to stop using the entire screen when u get a phone call in a app.

20. ahmadkun

Posts: 649; Member since: May 02, 2016

Man .. this thing literately killing me

2. User123456789

Posts: 1084; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

I hate there are stuff hidden in iOS. The option to turn off auto brightness should never be part of accessibility. Few cameras settings out of cam app ... Ridiculous too.

3. iloveapps

Posts: 909; Member since: Mar 21, 2019

To much whine on gaming here. Don’t worry, apple will provide a gaming console in a few years. I saw Android having problem with their gaming app, it crashes, lag, not buttery smooth, battery hunger, it makes phones very hot and when a full screen keyboard and pop ups.

4. TBomb

Posts: 1632; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

what gaming app is that?

5. User123456789

Posts: 1084; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

If your asking about the one that shows the soldier game, it is from Xperia 1. I remember Samsung had something like this with s7. Imdo not know if they still put on their phones.

12. tedkord

Posts: 17452; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

The one in his jealous, fevered imagination.

15. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Notice he never provides any links?

19. Deadeye

Posts: 131; Member since: Jul 26, 2019

don´t feed the troll.

6. srgonu

Posts: 565; Member since: Feb 13, 2012

@iloveapps. Argument for the sake of argument without knowning things. Very childish.

7. XperiaFanZone

Posts: 2280; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

Lol what? Are you still living in 2010 like your favourite tech company? Half baked features and you fanboys would think they invented gaming consoles

8. lyndon420

Posts: 6860; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

What makes you think apple will be putting out a gaming console?

18. civicsr2cool

Posts: 277; Member since: Oct 19, 2016

The UI isnt even the worst part about gaming on iOS, its the thermal performance. I exclusively use iPhones and iPads for hours a day on games like PubG, CODM, and fortnite becuas the touch latency is a HUGE advantage over any Android device available. But I have to use a fan grip because they chose a stainless steel chassis.. WTF where they thinking? That's one of the absolute worst choices in materials possible for heat dissipation and then they top it off with no heatsink on the CPU. (Not to mention the CPU is inside of the sandwhich layered PCB!)

21. ahmadkun

Posts: 649; Member since: May 02, 2016

but over all gaming on iOS is brilliant

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