iPhone to Android: It's getting better, slowly

By Rene Santana on December 10, 2019

Are you considering buying your friend or loved a new smartphone? Word of advice: keep note of what operating system they’re using. While smartphones have gotten much more advanced and easier to pick up, if you buy an Android for someone with an iPhone, you may run into a couple issues, some of which I’ll explain.

The Dilemma

I’ve switched from iPhone to Android various times. I like both equally but my heart will forever be with the Windows Phone (R.I.P.). Anyhow, there’s one problem I always encounter when switching between an OS.

Image by tookapic from Pixabay

It’s having to re-learn every single gesture, menu, and process. Though granted, the iPhone doesn’t change all too often, but there are changes nonetheless.

While I like to switch OSes often, not everyone else does. For newcomers, the switch can be hard to watch. I see them hit this pain point to the edge of giving up.

As painful as it is to watch, it can be just as hard finding ways to smooth out the process. Telling the newcomer to just do this or that, change a setting, or move the apps around, doesn’t help the issue. It just shows that Android’s UI is still not as polished as iPhone’s. I do, however, think the gap is closing with the release of Android Pie.

However, as seen in past experiences, iPhone to Android is still a leap. There are nested menus under nested menus, different home screen launchers, and a file manager. You can automate functions for every system app, and even sideload apps. If that’s not enough, you’ll have access to every one of Google’s apps, whether or not you asked for them.

It’s overwhelming. And frustrating.

There’s still hope! Maybe.

After a few months – three to be exact – the experience improves.

With Google’s powerful camera software, the iPhone no longer reigns as the camera king. You don’t even need to have a Google Pixel to have its camera! Just sideload the app on any android device and boom, you’re camera becomes everyone’s go-to selfie and group shots.

Little by little, people are switching. With such big improvements in the camera quality, it is easy to see why. Plus, the change in layout and design, and cost-effective newer phone options help sway iPhone diehards.

As exciting as it is to watch this trend, though, it will only stay incremental. And that’s due to Android’s introductory UI, or lack thereof.

After booting up, an Android gives you a few sign-in screens, and then you’re on your own. At this point, you feel lost, confused, and feel a longing for Apple’s user-friendly interface. A few weeks pass and you finally managed to find the notifications page. You still miss how clean and smooth all the iOS apps were in comparison to the Android variant. You cope by taking awesome pictures and resting assured that your photos are backed up on Google photos.

Then things go sideways. You sign in to your work email through Gmail to quickly check email, and all of sudden, everywhere you go, you’re logged in. Before you know it, you’ve liked Youtube videos, visited a multitude of places with Google Maps, and made some personal Google docs. You realize this after seeing weird recommendations from your work email. Feeling frustrated, you dream and count down the days before you can switch back to your once simple life on an iPhone.

Future improvements between iPhone to Android?

I’m sure Google doesn’t their customers to feel this way. Yet, this is the current state of their OS. Switching from iPhone to Android shouldn’t be this painful.

If Google, Samsung, and Huawei want to bring more people to their customer base, they’re going have to change up their introductory UI.

It can something as simple as a walkthrough, or occasional tips on navigating through Android. Heck, they make it into a fun game that rewards the user for learning new tricks on their device! Anything but leaving the user in the dark to figure it out on their own.

People in the tech sphere don’t realize how lost customers can be to fast-evolving tech. The same goes for tech users too, since any product can be hard to learn without proper instructions or tutorials. I’ll also add that there are Android tutorials out there, but shouldn’t it be the product manufacturer to guide the customer to success?

By improving the user’s initial experience, they’re more likely to commit, time after time. I mean, after all, it’s just good product design to include an easy to read manual. But, to be updated, it might help to make it a part of the phone instead of a piece of paper.

So, if you’re still considering getting someone a new smartphone, trying sticking with the same line of devices their using. Or, ff you know your friend wants something different, be sure to find something that’ll closely mimic their current smartphone set-up.
CWU Graduate | Writer | Editor @WaldorfPress | Favors Tech, UX, and the Serial Comma.

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