iOS 9 vs Android M: early visual comparison

With Google and Apple already having released the developer previews of their upcoming software products, it is, naturally, time to put them against each other and compare them, just like we will do once the final releases are out. Google's I/O 2015 gave us a pretty extensive sneak peek at the features that Android M will introduce later this year; meanwhile, Cupertino showed us some of the additions that will arrive with iOS 9.

To be completely honest, both Android M 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.

Still, being as curious as we are, we decided to devise a quick visual comparison between the two soon-to-be-polished rivals. All set? Okay, let's go!

Lockscreen, homescreen, notifications

Just as we said, there are very few changes in the UI section. First things first, we should mention that iOS 9 has scored a new system-wide font, San Francisco, which will replace Helvetica Neue, while Android M is still relying on the good ol' Roboto. This is one of the more striking differences, but it mostly concerns longtime iOS users who will probably be in for a surprise later this year. 

 Both the lockscreens and the homescreens of iOS 9 and are very much like you'd expect them, with a few small, but not so minor changes. For example, unlike Android Lollipop, Android M Developer Preview doesn't come with a dialer shortcut on the lockscreen; instead, we get a shortcut to Voice Search. iOS 9 will also score a more "proactive" Siri that will put a shortcut on your iOS lockscreen.

Swiping down from the top on both platforms shows us a familiar view - the ever-so streamlined iOS philosophy and the relatively new notification shade, which debuted with Lollipop. The iOS 9 has scored little to no changes in its notification dropdown menu, while Android M comes with a new toggle - a dedicated one for the Do not disturb mode.

Search - Siri vs Google Now 

"Search" was one of the keywords during both Google's and Apple's events, as the upcoming features of Google Now and Siri got demoed extensively on stage. Most of them are not out yet, because we're dealing with early developer previews here, but from the looks of it, fans of Google Now and Siri will have a lot of reasons to rejoice later this year.

Among the notable new changes in both platforms that are now live are the new search page in iOS, which makes a comeback and is accessible by swiping right on your default homescreen. It gives you access to a search bar, Siri, your recent contacts (which have are no longer located in the task switcher), and a handful of recently-used apps. 

In Android M's camp, we currently have an improved search functionality. Tapping on the search widget straight on your homescreen now also provides you with four recently-used apps, just like in the iOS 9 beta preview. Apart from this new feature, there aren't other additions to Android's search functionality. We should also mention that Google Now On Tap is not yet available in the beta release, but once it arrives, it will most certainly greatly improve the user experience of those users that swear by Google Now.

Task switchers

With Android Lollipop, Google introduced a much more visually-appealing, carousel-styled recent apps switcher that overhauled the previous one. Well, it's now time for iOS to receive some love in this department. Unfortunately, iPhones won't get the split-screen mutli-tasking feature at this point (it's iPad-exclusive as of now), but at least the iOS switcher has been revamped.

In iOS 9, we get a revamped task switcher that ditches the favorite contacts displayed on top(seriously, does anyone use these?) and employs a bit more blur than before. The new app switcher now displays the app cards in an overlapping fashion; scrolling around also seems a bit faster, but this might be your usual "placebo" effect.


There's a lot happening in the settings menu of Android M - the upcoming Android release will score a dark UI theme, customizable tiles, improved RAM usage screen, as well as an ever-so slightly revamped menu hierarchy. In the meantime, Apple will also improve the arsenal of iOS. Apart from a handy search feature in the Settings app, iOS 9 will come with a revamped menu hierarchy - among the new features that got introduced are a dedicated battery menu (which is also home to the newly-introduced Low-power mode for iOS), better notification control, and many, many others, which are detailed in our official preview of iOS 9.

Permissions are yet another aspect in which both platforms are getting more alike. iOS has required users to grant certain app permission immediately they're used for the first time, but Android's solution has just recently gone down this road. It's also scored a similar app permissions screen that allows you to explore what apps have access to what components of your device.


Whereas the stock Android camera app has not been updated recently, it looks like iOS 9 will bring some visual changes to the standard iOS one. They are pretty minor, mind you, but we still tend to like them due to their improvement of the user experience. Now, when you disable certain features, like flash or HDR, the iOS camera will strike them through for you, hinting you that they're disabled; turning on auto mode will make them go white, whereas forcing them to remain always on will paint them yellow, providing you with a easy way to tell what's going on. Alas, certain features like the fps selector in slow-motion mode has been nixed, but here's to hoping that they'll get re-introduced with the final release of iOS 9.



1. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Wow! Besides the app drawer and that unsightly black strip with the on screen buttons, Android takes every category. However, they both took a step back. IOS 8 looks better and so did lolipop.

5. Awalker

Posts: 1986; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

They should get rid of the lettering in the app drawer. There's too much dead space. They should also think about making the nav bar translucent.

35. housry23

Posts: 136; Member since: Jun 03, 2012

Navbar is translucent. It's not in settings, but for most apps, home screen it is. It also auto hides in the camera and other full screen apps and comes back when you swipe in from the top or bottom of the screen.

6. waddup121 unregistered


7. Daftama

Posts: 641; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

How about four ios 10 let the users decide on what they want in it. And fit the Android O P C what ever may be let's have asay in it

15. iosl0ver5eva

Posts: 119; Member since: Jan 16, 2015

I don't agree. I think camera, task switcher, app drawer, and lock screen go to apple.

19. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Task switcher was created by google lol. Camera i got to agree stock android camera suck... I disagree for the app drawer they both nice. For Lockscreen its Google all the way you have much more options to customize it.

27. true1984

Posts: 870; Member since: May 23, 2012

ios has an app drawer? since when?

52. hoshawjake

Posts: 1; Member since: Jun 14, 2015

Just because Google created the first task switcher doesn't make it automatically the best. I mean, Pong was the first video game, but that doesn't mean it can't be outdone.

26. KhmerLoveKhmer

Posts: 149; Member since: May 26, 2015

woww. u made a real speech today, not bashing apple like u usually do. it's gonna rain today?

30. Ordinary

Posts: 2454; Member since: Apr 23, 2015

First article you didnt bash Google... oops post #25 says otherwise

34. Simona unregistered

While iOS 9 looks same the android M has som visible changes..

2. gaming64 unregistered

Both of them look stunning. Except for the settings and camera UI. It loons horrible. 4.4 settings ui looked so much better.

13. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

Yeah, loons suck.

3. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Cheese popcorn for this article. This is gonna be good.

4. joevsyou

Posts: 1093; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

i was thinking about getting a 6s when they are released and leave android, but after paying attention to these updates shows me how far apple is behind in the game, guess i just get a note 5 or a s6

9. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

I mean how about trying it first before talking?

20. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

IF he dont want to try it because he feel its not at the same level for what he need it then its is choice. I personally agree with him most new stuff on IOS look like an android ripoff.

47. joevsyou

Posts: 1093; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

i been trying it already that's the thing... apple is behind

11. Awalker

Posts: 1986; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

I wanted to try iOS so I bought a used iPhone 5 on eBay. I sold the phone a couple of weeks later. There wasn't anything particularly wrong with the OS; it just wasn't my cup of tea. I'll tell you one thing that really irked is that I couldn't use WPS push button to connect to my WiFi. My password is a long string of random letters and numbers and I don't know what it is so I rely on the push button to connect all my devices.

14. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Use both.

43. gaming64 unregistered

Too expensive. I say test drive them

44. darkkjedii

Posts: 31529; Member since: Feb 05, 2011


16. iosl0ver5eva

Posts: 119; Member since: Jan 16, 2015

Troll alert. You have no idea what the 6s will even be like, you just wanted to start a war.

21. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

So by saying he feel like for what he need the phone ios is not as advanced as Android thats he is a troll? Really?

23. Salazzi

Posts: 537; Member since: Feb 17, 2014

No. If you are willing to give a device a shot, it means you're open minded about the hardware and software.. you're willing to see what's at the table. For example, if I think I'll try out the Galaxy Note 5, it's not because I think "woowee.. the software is gonna be kickass, I hope!".. instead it's "I don't know how much I'll like it, if at all.. but I'm gonna see if I do". Simply looking at a few screenshots of the OS and suddenly "after looking at the updates" you preemptively decide you're not into the PHONE, is not realistic. It was a troll statement, but one you're trying to defend because it's a pro-Android comment. To make a purchase decision based off a few screenshots is simply retarded. I'd understand if the hardware was announced, and together, with the software, it didn't appeal to you.

31. cripton805

Posts: 1485; Member since: Mar 18, 2012

But he said he already kept up with the updates and he already reached a point where it was a deal breaker. Why would he give something a try if the software is already missing key things he wants? That makes NO sense whatsoever. I don't go to restaurants asking for raw onions on my burgers knowing that I don't like them. Just to give them a try.

36. iosl0ver5eva

Posts: 119; Member since: Jan 16, 2015

EXACTLY, he's a troll and a liar.

40. Salazzi

Posts: 537; Member since: Feb 17, 2014

Take the time to think about it. If I say I'm willing to give Note 5 a try, its with the understanding that the software as it is now, will remain relatively the same. If he was hoping to buy the device based off a wishlist of software features, that makes him a moronic consumer. It would be like saying you'll give Ford a try next year, ASSUMING they will include x and x features in the vehicle. Does that make sense? Of course not. You assume that next years model will have SOME improvements and new features, BUT will remain relatively the same. THAT is the mindset one has when they say they're willing to give something a try.. not the mindset where you expect a feature but it appears to be not there (after all, did he actually try out iOS 9 before making his deduction?). Hell, maybe I won't be buying my Merc anymore because it can't fly.

51. cripton805

Posts: 1485; Member since: Mar 18, 2012

Some missing features are deal breakers for some people. How hard is that to figure out? Regardless of how the rest of the OS feels. What if it doesnt play music? Some people wouldnt buy it for that reason alone and others wouldnt care. Its all about how important it is to each buyer. I wouldnt waste my time even looking at a product that I knew I wasnt going to buy.

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