Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS are operating systems used primarily in mobile technology, such as smartphones and tablets. Android, which is Linux-based and partly open source, is more PC-like than iOS, in that its interface and basic features are generally more customizable from top to bottom. However, iOS’ uniform design elements are sometimes seen as being more user-friendly.
You should choose your smartphone and tablet systems carefully, as switching from iOS to Android or vice versa will require you to buy apps again in the Google Play or Apple App Store. Android is now the world’s most commonly used smartphone platform and is used by many different phone manufacturers. iOS is only used on Apple devices, such as the iPhone.
|Developer||Various, mostly Google and Open Handset Alliance||Apple Inc.|
|Initial release||September 23, 2008||July 29, 2007|
|First version||Android 1.0, Alpha||iPhone OS 1, before named iOS|
|Latest stable release and Updates||Android 10 (September 3, 2019)||iOS 13.3.1 and iPadOS 13.3.1 (January 28, 2020)|
|Customizability||A lot. Can change almost anything.||Limited unless jailbroken|
|Source model||Open-source||Closed, with open source components.|
|File transfer||Easier than iOS. Using the USB port and Android File Transfer desktop app. Photos can be transferred via USB without apps.||More difficult. Media files can be transferred using the iTunes desktop app. Photos can be transferred out via USB without apps.|
|Yes, except on lock screen||No, except in Notification Center|
|Internet browsing||Google Chrome (other browsers are available). Any browser app can be set as default.||Safari (Other browsers are available but not as default)|
|Web mapping service||Google Maps||Apple Maps, default as of iOS 6 (Google Maps also available via a separate app download, but not as a default, formerly used in iOS 5 and older)|
|Available language(s)||100+ Languages||34 Languages|
|Video chat||Google Duo and other 3rd party apps||FaceTime (Apple devices only) and other 3rd party apps|
|Virtual assistant||Google Assistant||Siri|
|Available on||Many phones and tablets. Major manufacturers such as Samsung, Oppo, OnePlus, Vivo, Honor, and Xiaomi. Android One devices are pure Android. Pixel line of devices is made by Google, using an almost pure version of Android||iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV (2nd and 3rd generation)|
|Calls and messaging||Google Messages. 3rd party apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Google Duo, Discord, and Skype all work on Android and iOS both.||iMessage, FaceTime (with other Apple devices only). 3rd party apps like Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Google Duo, Discord, and Skype all work on Android and iOS both.|
|App store, Affordability, and interface||Google Play Store – 2,000,000+ apps. Other app stores like Amazon and Aptoide also distribute Android apps. (“.APKs”). Apps containing virus rare, but existing.||Apple App Store – 1,000,000+ apps. Apps containing viruses very rare or nonexistent.|
|Alternative app stores and side loading||Several alternative app stores other than the official Google Play Store. (e.g. Aptoide, Galaxy Apps)||Apple blocks 3rd party app stores. The phone needs to be jailbroken if you want to download apps from other stores.|
|Battery life and management||Many but not all Android phone manufacturers equip their devices with large batteries with longer life.||Apple batteries are generally not as big as the largest Android batteries. However, Apple is able to squeeze a decent battery life via hardware/software optimizations.|
|Open-source||Kernel (Based on Linux), UI, and some standard apps||The iOS kernel is not open source but is based on the open-source Darwin OS.|
|File manager||Yes. (Stock Android File Manager included on devices running Android 7.1.1)||Files app, limited, and less useful (iOS 12).|
|Photos & Videos backup||Apps are available for an automatic backup of photos and videos. Google Photos allows unlimited backup of photos at a compressed quality. OneDrive, Amazon Photos, and Dropbox are other alternatives.||Up to 5 GB of photos and videos can be automatically back up with iCloud, more paid iCloud storage available via subscription. All other vendors like Google, Amazon, Dropbox, Flickr, and Microsoft have auto-backup apps for both iOS and Android.|
|Security||Monthly security updates. Android software patches are available soonest to Pixel device users. Manufacturers tend to lag behind in pushing out these updates. So at any given time, a vast majority of Android devices are running outdated OS software.||Occasional security updates. Security threats rare, because iOS is locked, and downloading apps out of the App Store is complicated.|
|Rooting, bootloaders, and jailbreaking||Access and complete control over your device are available and you can unlock the bootloader.||Complete control over your device is not available.|
|Cloud services||Native integration with Google Drive storage. 15GB free, $2/mo for 100GB, 1TB for $10. Apps available for Amazon Photos, OneDrive and Dropbox.||Native integration with iCloud. 5GB free, 50GB for $1/mo, 200GB for $3/mo, 1TB for $10/mo. Apps are available for Google Drive and Google Photos, Amazon Photos, OneDrive, and Dropbox.|
|Interface||Touch Screen||Touch Screen|
|Biometric Authentication||Fingerprint and/or Face Authentication. Availability depends on the manufacturer’s hardware.||Fingerprint or Face Authentication. Touch ID available on iPhone (5s and later) and iPad (Air 2 and later) but not on iPhone X or later. Face ID available on iPhone X and later, replacing Touch ID|
|OS family||Linux||OS X, UNIX|
|Headphone Jack||Some current Android smartphones and many don’t.||None on iPhone 7 and later, lighting to 3.5mm no longer comes with the phone after iPhone XS|
The Bottomline: Choosing between iOS and Android
To summarize the key pros and cons of Android and iOS:
iOS pros and cons
- Massive app ecosystem: distinct advantage for tablet apps while on smartphones popular apps are usually available for both platforms
- Deeper integration with Facebook and Twitter: it is easier to post updates and share on social networks using iOS than Android because of how deeply integrated these platforms are with iOS.
- iOS-only apps like Passbook, FaceTime, and mobile payments app Square (available on iOS 3GS,4,4S,5 and up, nut only for limited Android phones)
- The interface is locked down: Limited customization options for the home screens; only rows of app icons are allowed. No third-party apps are pre-installed by the wireless carrier. Users can only install apps from the App Store
- Software upgrades: Apple offers software upgrades to all devices that have the hardware capable of handling the new software. This means devices stay current with software features for at least two to three years.
- Better privacy controls: iOS offers better control over the access apps have to users’ private information such as contacts and location.
Android pros and cons
- Massive hardware selection: A large number of Android devices are available at various price points, with varying hardware capabilities, screen sizes, and features.
- Highly customizable user experience: The home screen can be customized with not just app icons but widgets that allow the user to stay connected or informed. Other examples include SwiftKey, which modifies your Android smartphone’s keyboard, and apps that emulate older gaming consoles. Google has fewer restrictions than Apple on what kinds of apps it allows in its Play store. Moreover, you can choose to install Android apps from places other than the Google Play store.