iOS 7: how does it stack up against Android?

So we've been playing with a beta version of iOS 7 for a while now on our iPhone 5. Some things about it we like, while other we aren't really that happy with, as those who have read our iOS 7 preview probably know. But now it is time to take a look at Apple's mobile OS from another perspective – how does its latest form fare against the competition? In particular, how does iOS 7 stack up against the latest version of Android? Well, that's what we're here to find out with the help of our iPhone 5 running iOS 7 beta and our Google Nexus 4 with Android 4.2.2 on it.

Lock and home screens

The lock screen (if enabled) is the very first thing a user sees upon turning their smartphone on, which is why its flawless execution is of utmost importance. And it is hard to decide which one we like more – the one on iOS 7 or on Android 4.2, but we're pretty sure they both leave room for improvement. The iOS 7 lock screen is minimalist, providing instant access to the camera, the Control Center, or the pending notifications. However, it would have been better if one could slide either way to unlock it; only a swipe to the right takes you to the home screen. The Android 4.2 lock screen is flexible when it comes to customization, with its widgets and all, and it doesn't matter which way you swipe to unlock it. However, the selection of widgets one can place there isn't as broad as we wish it was. Overall, both lock screens are great, although they could have been better.

On each home screen of an iPhone 5 running iOS 7 there's room for 24 icons total. Interestingly, a stock Android home screen on a Google Nexus 4 leaves room for only 20 app shortcuts even though the smartphone has a larger display with higher resolution. Of course, that's not too big of a deal, especially when both interfaces allow apps to be sorted in folders. The iOS 7 home screen design and layout aren't bad, but perhaps it's all a bit too static, which is why we tend to like Android more for its versatility. It's just that widgets are a pretty cool feature that Apple's mobile OS has yet to adopt in one form or another.

Quick controls and notifications

Control Center adds functionality that iOS sorely needed. Simply put, swiping up from the bottom of an iOS 7 home screen brings up a list of toggle buttons for turning things like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on and off, controlling music playback, adjusting the screen's brightness, even using the camera's LED as a flashlight. Options like these have been available on custom Android UIs for a long time, and the stock Jelly Bean interface has many of them as well out of the box, located in a menu accessible from the notification bar.

Speaking of notifications, the Notification Center in iOS 7 has been overhauled and now takes the user straight to their agenda. That's very convenient for people who actually use the Calendar app. Furthermore, the user is free to pick what notifications are to be displayed there – stocks information, unread email, Game Center alerts, reminders, and more. Android's notification bar is a bit different for it doesn't display much if there aren't any pending notifications. But on the other hand, the user does get updates via Google Now.

Dialer and contacts list

Yup, people still use their phones to talk to people. On iOS 7, the Phone app is pretty much all you need to call someone as it lists your contacts, your recent calls, and your favorites. Of course, a keypad is available as well. Android's Phone app is pretty much the same, but it has one notable advantage over its iOS counterpart, namely that it displays a photo of each contact as you scroll down the list, while the iPhone's contacts app shows a contact's image only if you tap on them to view detailed information.

On-screen 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 4, running Android 4.2, is wider and is therefore more comfortable to use with two thumbs rather than one. Overall, both virtual keyboards are pretty nice. Perhaps Android has a slight advantage in this category with its dedicated smiley key and the option to enter text using the swiping method.

But when it comes to messaging, iOS has a significant advantage over Android with its iMessage system, which automatically routs texts over the web instead of eating up the user's monthly SMS allowance. Not that Android's Hangouts is a bad solution, but it would have been more convenient if the Android messaging features were unified in a single app.


Well, we have nothing to complain about really when it comes to both platforms' implementation of multitasking. Switching between apps on both iOS 7 and Android 4.2 is pretty straightforward. Apple's mobile OS now provides app preview windows, unlike in previous version where the apps were listed only with their icon. Multitasking on Android is also executed well, with recent apps listed vertically along with a screenshot of their last state.

Customization features

When it comes to customization, Android is still king with its widgets, live wallpapers, and custom launchers. However, Apple has done some progress in that aspect. The latest version of the platform features the so-called dynamic wallpapers (yup, they are just like Android's live wallpapers) – these can be set on both the home and the lock screens.



1. quadrazeus

Posts: 359; Member since: May 03, 2013

Congrats to Apple for successfully hitting a homer with the iOS 7. They did a commendable job in just one year. Hats off.

8. Android4u

Posts: 456; Member since: Aug 16, 2012

Major improvement yes!! But a home run lol more like a base hit out to center field

51. buccob

Posts: 2963; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

I have to say that even if the overall feel of the article is objective, and tries to be neutral... it is a bit TOO neutral, and not balanced when it comes to details... For example: - Under Lock Screens, the author criticize Apple a bit more, for not being flexible and too minimalist, but then he levels the ground saying that both need improvements... What is the critic for Android? Lack of more widgets option? give me a break... - Under Notifications paragraph, the author praise the new functions of iOS's Control Center and changes on Notifications that does something it was supposed to do from the begging. And then when it comes to talk about Android's Notification bar, he just says that it does not show much when there is no notification.... How about saying that you can actually customize it to display whatever you want with third party apps without a jailbreak... How about talking the awesome functionality of expandable notifications, where you can have instant replies, music controls, and more. (Even Waze added a power off button when expanded) - Under Messaging and Text input, saying that having different keyboard layouts and options in Android is just a SLIGHT advantage is honestly a lie... I find text input way more important than an unified SMS, web chat, support... Text Input is needed across the whole OS, while browsing, playing games, managing files, making documents, unlocking passwords... While SMS unified is just a small advantage, specially when the vast majority uses Whatsapp anyway, and Hangout has the advantage of beind cross platform unlike iMessage. Don't get me wrong, I liked the article and I like that PhoneArena make a comparison for users to easily detect the differences with this new OS. But even when they try to be fair, they are still a little bit bias towards iOS, by not paying attention to details on both OSes Even if most PA readers already know iOS and Android, is pleasant to read a balance article where details are taking into consideration equally... The Author forgot to mention that in Android OS you can set defaults for actions that can be made with more than one app... Example opening a link in a different browser than Chrome by default... Also Android is significantly easier to share files and select which way you would want to do so. And speaking of doing things easier... try opening the camera on both OSes and then while you are there, change settings for taking a picture... like MP, or smile detection... etc in iOS you have to go back to the Settings app and find the UNIFIED settings in which you can find the camera app and select the options you are looking for... Android has a convenient menu button in which you can configure native apps within itself. Bottomline... iOS still have a long way to go before you can compare it to Android in a neutral way...

66. E.N.

Posts: 2610; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

The thing you said about texting is biased. Many people will disagree with you saying that a unified experience is more important. And the iPhone's keyboard is actually pretty good and very responsive. Just because you have a lot of options doesn't mean that they are all better. I hated Samsung's stock keyboard, I never really understood the whole Swype craze, especially because it gets somewhat uncomfortable on larger screens, etc etc. I ended up just using a jellybean keyboard from the Play Store which was just OK, nothing to brag about at all. Being able to download your own keyboard is more important to for Android users because let's be honest, some of the stock keyboards suck. And at the end of the day, iOS still boats the best applications. I think you guys get so caught up in widgets that you constantly forget how much the applications are so much better on iOS. Every time I think my switch to Android is final, the suck ass Play Store drives me right back to iOS. It's ridiculous. What makes things even more sad is that the developers have more access to Android APIs yet you still get battered down iOS ports. iOS is also the slickest/smoothest OS right now. The difference is still night and day. Can someone explain why in 2013, some Android phones are still lagging? Makes no sense. I guess project butter wasn't all that it was cracked up to be. Bottomline... Android was never the clear winner, even in iOS6.

73. buccob

Posts: 2963; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

Well everyone is entitle to an opinion and I respect yours, actually you kind of complemented what I was talking about text input by saying that you have many options in Android and you ended up downloading the one that fitted you better... I never bashed iOS for having a bad keyboard, it is actually a great typing experience... but I prefer the one on Android and I did bother to learn swype typing, and after that it is faster and easier to use than tapping... You are correct that it is not possible to use it on very large screens or in landscape, but then in those situations you can just tap... I only focused my comment on Widgets because it is the main difference in the OS and in the article's comparison, and it is actually a major advantage over iOS. Yes, the iPhone gets many apps first, and some are prettier and even better, but there are also many exclusive apps, and features within apps for Android... such as Tasker (exclusive), or even the new Flipboard (with exclusive Android features). But I completely disagree that Android gets battered down iOS ports... this is not true. Actually many times it gets free apps that people have to pay on the App Store... Android in flagship devices does not lag and it is as smooth as it is the iPhone, you just can't compare the iPhone experience to a 50$ cheap handset... you have to compare it to the S3, S4, Nexus 4, One, Xperia Z, ZL... which are in a price range comparable to an iDevice... And regarding lagging and smoothness I timed my current phone to an iPhone and compared it... my comment was this from a bit down below: "Well talking about lagging, I really don't know what iOS users presume about this... Cause the other day I was timing my Sony Xperia Acro S with Android 4.1.2, and my cousin's iPhone 4s, and the only thing the iPhone did faster was using the Camera... and even then the Quick Launch feature on Sony beat it to the first picture from lockscreen... Everything else, from firing up the system (24 sec Sony, 26 sec iPhone) to opening same apps such as Whatsapp, Viber, Waze... my Sony Xperia did it faster.... It is true that the iPhone 4s is smoother in gestures and moving on the homescreen, but it still lacks the functionality I find on having 6 widgets, and 5 contact shortcuts on my homescreen. (Both phones are from last year, and Sony uses a older chip)"

93. E.N.

Posts: 2610; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

Duuuddde, don't even get me started on exclusive applications. As for battered down iOS ports, I wasn't joking. Just look at Vine in the play store, the #1 free app. Its missing a ton of stuff that iOS users have. Cinemegram, a popular Vine alternative, is in even worse condition. This is a comment directly from the play store from Android user of Cinemegram posted yesterday: "Just realize why do android have less function then iphone user's when androids the one with the most function? Example android cant do a simple photo stream, when Iphone users can?..... We're far more advanced but yet we always get the dummy things!" - michael jung Lag is about fluidity throughout the entire OS, not just launching and closing applications. There are many comments/articles/videos about lag on the S4. I personally owned the Note II and it lagged as well (though I think it was after I started using an SD card).

91. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Apple fan can forgive every short coming Apple has ever made. I use a lot of Apple product because they are truly better than the one in the market. E.g Mac book pro with parallel to Windows 7 for work. Pure DIY custom build Windows 7 for PC gaming. iPad for tablet and Android phone for a complete mobile experience. Let me tell you that iOS is just an app launcher as they don't have a file system to share data between apps. Even my Samsung galaxy tab 7.7 with jelly bean is more useful than my iPad 3 now. Apple fan would not be able to accept simple facts.

92. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

A simple fact that Android is the better mobile experience now.

96. Sauce unregistered

You want a simple fact? The iPad is the highest selling tablet of all time. Want another fact? The numbers provide the proof to which everyone like's better.

100. jromy

Posts: 114; Member since: Feb 26, 2013

The Toyota Corolla is the highest selling car of all time...what the hell does it have to do with it being the best? Numbers don't mean a thing,

95. Sauce unregistered

Well said

101. arsme

Posts: 1; Member since: Jun 18, 2013

if you've tried ios 7 on your iPhone? on my iphone 5 very lagging now... try nexus 4 with pure android its very smooth... if you have brain,You would not compare iPhone with lowend android device. compare iPhone with HTC one or s4

67. Chaseism

Posts: 82; Member since: May 08, 2013

To that point, I don't think it's quite fair to judge iOS 7 to Android just yet. iOS 7 is still in beta and although it's extremely usable (and stable from my testing), it's not the final version that's going to release to the public, just yet. I think we also have to put things into context in a very big way. Before Scott Forstall was fired, Apple functioned in a way that different departments didn't have to collaborate with others. Period. If everyone hated Forstall's skeuomorphism, it didn't matter as long as the CEO okay'd it. And as we all know, Forstall was pretty well liked by Steve Jobs, but not by anyone else. So Tim Cook fired him. Basically, everything that iOS 6 is and isn't is a result of Forstall. And I'll be the first to say, I was extremely nervous to hear that Jony Ive was now over software...something that isn't in his background. But I think we all have to admit that this is a huge step forward for iOS. This is what collaboration can do. This is what new leadership can do. Sure, it's not perfect. iOS took years to get a really awesome groove. But man, iOS 7 makes anything that came before it look almost childish. I absolutely cannot wait to see what's to come. Especially if this is what they've done in 6 months. Just like Apple became a different company when Cook took over, iOS will be a different OS now that Ive has taken over. Good or bad, it will be different.

84. darkkjedii

Posts: 30964; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Well said bro. I cannot wait to get my new iPhone with this sweet OS. Septembers gonna be a fun month for me. Wedding and honeymoon pics/vids, with my new Iphone. Can't wait.

87. G1andonly

Posts: 31; Member since: Jun 13, 2013

Well said my friend.

68. evarod48

Posts: 154; Member since: Oct 30, 2012

more like a bunt that was misplayed by the pitcher

9. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Yeah it's always easy when Android and WP8 do all the heavy lifting. So yeah I guess you are right.

18. christianqwerty

Posts: 467; Member since: May 05, 2011

Without Apple doing the heavy lifting in 2007 with the first iphone, android wouldn't be what it is today ;)

20. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

You mean the LG Prada, because that phone came out BEFORE the iPhone. So PLEASE know what you are talking about before you speak. lol Not to mention that Windows Mobile had apps before Apple even thought of making an iPhone. So guy please get off your Apple high horse. Apple did NOT invent the smart phone. lol iOS 7 is a direct clone of all good things Android & WP8. ;)

28. christianqwerty

Posts: 467; Member since: May 05, 2011

Really? Did the LG Prada really revolutionize the way phone and mobile operating systems work today? If you really think that the LG Prada changed "The game" more than the original iPhone, you are crazy.

32. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

The smartphone is a natural evolution from the feature phone. If it wasn't Apple it would have been someone else. The smartphone would be what it is today with or without Apple because that is how technology moves. Please Apple had a nice run but Android is king of the world. So much that Apple has to now literally bite off of Android JUST to stay in "The game". You are giving Apple too much credit, Apple has nice, hip & catchy commercials that you obviously fell for. At the time the smartphone was already gaining momentum. Apple was just the first to advertise it on TV.

41. Feanor

Posts: 1346; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

But we cannot spend our entire life paying hommage to the iPhone for being the first to change the smartphone landscape. If it weren't the iPhone, it would be something else. The fact is that for some time now iOS is playing second fiddle to Android and occasionally is only doing some catch up. Even after the presentation of iOS 7 I still feel like Android is ahead in many things (widgets, Face Unlock, Now) and by the time iOS 7 will be available, it will have to compete with Jelly Bean 4.3 with Key Lime Pie 5.0 following suite.

77. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

The difference between the Prada and the iPhone is the iPhone got more attention. If Apple woulda never did the iPhone....or the Prada had more attention your other post woulda had the LG and the Prada in it.

78. amstarred

Posts: 16; Member since: Oct 11, 2012

iPhone controversy LG Electronics has claimed the iPhone's design was copied from the LG Prada. Woo-Young Kwak, head of LG Mobile Handset R&D Center, said at a press conference, “We consider that Apple copied the Prada phone after the design was unveiled when it was presented in the iF Design Award and won the prize in September 2006.”[9] LG later claimed that Apple stole both the ideas and concept of the Prada phone. A lawsuit by LG had been rumored prior to this announcement;[9] however, LG never followed through with it. Similar non-physical were revealed by Apple as part of the evidence in the 2012 Apple vs. Samsung court case, such as the prototype dubbed "Purple" which was dated August 2005, and the "Howarth" design from March 2006. The KE850 actually got an 2007 iF product design award,[10] where entries had to be shipped by September 2006.

79. amstarred

Posts: 16; Member since: Oct 11, 2012

Awards International Forum Design—Product Design Award for 2007 [1] Red dot design award—LG Prada Wins "Best of the Best" red dot Design Award, 2007 [2][3] Fashion phone of the year—Mobile Choice (2007) [4] Best fashion phone—What Mobile Awards (2007) [5] Gold for best looking phone—CNET Asia Readers' Choice Award (2007/08) where is iPhone when Prada is is wining this awards

50. good2great

Posts: 1042; Member since: Feb 22, 2012

SAE what happened man? you used to be a reasonable guy here... you never expressed so much hate for apple like you're doing now. wow! Everyone bashed apple that the OS never changed. now that they change it, they didn't make changes that any other OS doesn't have. I guess to you its a lose - lose situation for apple. smh.

56. tedkord

Posts: 17307; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

I think most of us agree that the changes Apple made in iOS 7 were sorely needed, and help to make it an actual contender. The issue most of us have is that Apple and it's rabid fans have always screamed about others copying what Apple does, and condemned those supposed acts of copying. Now that Apple has released an iOS update that is 100% copied features, none of those fans have an issue with copying. I don't have an issue with it, either. It's just increbible, almost biblical proportion hypocrisy from both Apple and it's sycophants.

62. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

No, I am glad Apple is finally catching up, it's just that Apple & their fans are coming off like Android or WP8 didn't have A LOT to do with iOS 7. Hey I am happy that Apple fans will FINALLY get to experience things that are the norm for Android users.

69. darkkjedii

Posts: 30964; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

It's very much inspired by those two, and a little HTC. The important thing is that they've finally took a chance, and implemented that chance very well. I use both OS's, but everyone knows that iOS is my primary, but I'm no fanboy. The source of the inspiration isn't all that important. Respect and kudos should be given to the source though.

52. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

Oooooh stop there SuperAndroidEvo,I got banned from phonearena once for saying the Lg Prada was before the first Iphone. A rather angry moderator emailed in capitals "The Lg Prada was announced AFTER THE IPHONE"....! Of course history shows the Prada was unveiled dec 2006 and the iphone was later unveiled Jan 2007.

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