October 7, 2018

November 25, 2019

iOS (iPhone X) - a review from Android user

I'm not sure right now if I remember my first phone with Android system. I think I started using Android about 7-8 years ago, maybe more. It became better from version to version. I really liked my Nexus 6P, it was the best phone with Android I ever had.

Some time ago I decided to buy my first MacBook and I don't regret that decision. I can admit that I would like to use Linux system because I was a Linux user for about 17 years and I really like it, but to be honest, I don't think that it will work as good as macOS in the near future. I like that everything works on macOS and I don't need to spend my time on configuration and trying to improve how the system works.

I heard a lot of good (and bad) opinions about iPhones and I decided to try it. If MacBook works for me, maybe iPhone will work too, right?

I bought iPhone X and today it's my fourth month with it.

One thing is sure. Changing from Android to iOS is not the same as from Linux to macOS.

What do I like?

  1. I like it as a hardware because it's solid, looks very good, the display is amazing (haha) compared to my previous phones.
  2. I like the camera, it takes very good photos.
  3. I like the integration with macOS. I can call and answer calls using MacBook, I can read and send SMS, share WiFi password, etc.

That's all.

There is nothing wrong with other things but I realized that it's not about the phone, it's about the ecosystem, services and apps.

It's really hard (at least for me) to switch from Google services to Apple and I'm not talking about habits (in most cases) or because I'm a Google fanboy (I'm not). I still think that Google services are better and they give me more possibilities.

Let's forget about privacy for a moment. I understand that probably our data is safer in Apple’s hands than in Google’s because they don't need them to make a money but we are not 100% sure what they are doing with our data... Stop here. I want to talk about services and apps.

E-mail. #

I really like Gmail and I even don't remember the date when I started using it.

I was using Apple Email client for one month (on desktop and mobile) just to check if it's worth because it would be nice to have better integration with macOS and iOS. Second thing, it would be nice to not need Chrome in the background all the time to read emails.


The worst thing: readability. At the beginning, I had troubles to indicate which email is read and which is not. It's not the worst user interface I have ever seen but comparing to Gmail... I don't like it.

Second thing, email synchronization. The most frequent synchronization for Mail client on iOS is every 15 minutes. Using the Gmail app I can have a real-time notification about each new email. It's not a deal-breaker. I even thought that it's good because I don't need to check my email real time but I'm not sure about it. I had real-time notifications for years and it's not easy to change this habit.

I will try to use Apple Mail client once again in the future, maybe I will get used to it.

Calendar. #

Can I use Apple Calendar as the only calendar system? No, I can't. Everyone uses Google Calendar - 80% of my friends, my family, 100% of companies I had worked with. I'm not sure why but synchronization between Apple Calendar and Google Calendar not always works perfectly. I like to have a calendar widget on the phone to see a list of next meetings but sometimes I need to open the calendar to synchronize events. I also like Google Calendar UI better than Apple Calendar. I could use the Apple Calendar for my needs but it looks like it's not possible to remove Google Calendar from my life, at least for now.

Reminders. #

Works good on both platforms but adding reminders through Google Assistant works better than using Siri. I would use reminders from Google but it's not possible to get notifications on MacBook. I'm using both for now.

Maps. #

Do I know anyone who is using Apple Maps? Google Maps are better but I can't set them as default on iPhone.

Photos. #

Both photos applications work very well and I have no problems with using Apple Photos... except one big thing: sharing photos.

I think that 80% people I know use phones with Android. I have a lot of albums shared with my family. How can I share my photos with them using Apple Photos? Should I buy iPhones for them? I don't think so. I know I can create a shared album and send a link which can be opened in the browser but actually, my family can open Google Photos, go to shared section an see a list of all shared albums. They can share their albums with me. I can use Google Photos on iPhone but they can't use Apple Photos on Android. It's not easy.

Additionally, my family knows how to display photos on TV using Chromecast. If I buy iPhone for them, I will need to buy also Apple TV and teach them how to use it.

There is another small issue. It's not possible to synchronize photos without opening the Google Photos app. It's not a big issue but sometimes background synchronization is a nice option because I don't need to remember about it.

Documents, Presentations, Spreadsheets. #

The situation is similar to the calendar because everyone uses Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc. Why? I can create a document and share it with others. I can share documents with people without Google Account - they only need a browser. I can share documents with people and edit it concurrently. What about Apple apps? Can I do the same? I didn't use Apple applications a lot (I tried) but I think that Google apps works better and have more possibilities.

Keyboard. #

I tried to use the keyboard from Apple on iPhone but it does not work as good as Gboard. The autocomplete with multiple languages works better on Gboard. I'm not sure why but I have a lot of issues with writing on iPhone even using Gboard. It seems to me that it works in a different way than on Android phones.

Notes. #

This is what I like better from Apple. The notes app is a lot better than Google Keep but... I can't share my notes with android users.

Drive. #

There is no difference for me between iCloud and Google Drive when it comes to storing files, but again, everyone uses Google Drive and it has better synchronization with other Google services. I can share documents and folders with everyone.

Personal assistant. #

Siri has one advantage over Google Assistant. The name. I don't know why Google can't rename their assistant. "Hey Siri!", "Hey Cortana!", "Hey Alexa!" - all of them sounds better than "Hey Google". ;-)

Except for that one thing, I can't use Siri. It does not work for me. I have Google Home and I like it. I like to use it to add reminders and things to the shopping list, ask about the weather, play Netflix on TV, etc. Can I use Siri for that? Will it work as good as Google Assistant? I don't think so (at least not now). I tried Siri a lot of times on MacBook and iPhone and it does not work well.

Google Assistant for iOS is not available in Poland.

Music. #

I tried to use Apple Music but it's not intuitive. I still prefer Spotify and even Google Music. Recommendations are useless for me comparing to Spotify.

Safari. #

I don't want to use Safari (should I try?) but I can't set Chrome as default browser on iPhone.

FaceTime. #

I have never used it for video calls. Everyone uses Messenger, WhatsApp, Hangouts and other apps.

Watch. #

It's not a service but I wanted to buy an Apple Watch. I was waiting for the Apple Watch 4 and I watched the last Apple event. Do I want to still buy their watch? No. ECG does not work in Poland, the same with LTE. Without those things, I don't see a lot of differences between the newest version and the previous one. I'm also not convinced about the look of the watch. I would prefer something like TicWatch Pro or some Garmin watch. Another thing - the battery. I'm not sure if I want to charge my watch every day.

I would like to have Apple Watch because it probably has better integration with iPhone than any other watch for Android phones. I hope that Google will release own watch with WearOS.

Is iPhone camera better than cameras from Android phones?

It depends on the phone. I saw photos from OnePlus 6 and to be honest, I don't see a huge difference. Of course, photos are different but I can't tell which is better. I heard a lot of opinions that Pixel 2 makes better photos than iPhone X and probably Pixel 3 will be even better but I'm not a photographer, I want to make a photo without playing with settings, it should look good, that's all I need.

Privacy (I have to write it). #

Every Apple user can tell that Apple is more privacy friendly and that's one of the reasons they use it. Maybe yes, maybe not but what's interesting, I would say that 95% of Apple users I know use Google services. They don't use Siri, they use Google Assistant. They use the Gmail, Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Google Calendar, Google Photos, Google Translate, Google Maps, Google Drive, Google Search. A lot Apple users have Google Home on their desks. Please tell me, why is it better to use Google services on iPhone than on the Android phone?

Google Cloud. #

It's also a service which I use every day. It's not possible to use it without Google account.

G Suite. #

Does Apple have something like G Suite where a company can set up everything for employees? Everything under the same domain, control over all services used by employees, sharing, etc. The answer is simple: no.

iOS notifications. #

It’s not a tragedy in iOS 12 but still, Android has a lot of better notifications system.

Face ID. #

I really like it, it works very good but after 4 months… I would say that sometimes it’s easier to use fingerprint to unlock the phone.

Store and applications quality. #

I heard a lot of opinions that Apple Store contains less dangerous software because of better verification - I can believe in that. I also heard that apps for iOS works better than for Android but I can’t agree with that. I didn’t notice any difference. All apps which I use works in the same way on both platforms - no issues.

What’s wrong with iPhone? #

Nothing. It’s a very good phone with a very good system. If all my friends used Apple services, I would use them also. The reality is different. Most of my friends uses Android and that’s the first reason why I’m considering to switch back. Second thing is that I think that Google services works better for me.

Should I use the iPhone? #

I'm not sure right now. Currently, I have iPhone and I use all Google services. Is there any sense here? I don't want to use iPhone because it costs a lot of money and it has an Apple logo. Google services work better with Android phones. About 80% of my friends use Android phones, my company where I'm working now uses G Suit. It seems to me that Google services work also better for me. Why should I use iPhone then?

What options I have? #

  1. I can use MacBook + iPhone + Apple Watch + Chromecast (maybe Apple TV in the future) + Google Assistant + all Google services but I don't see any sense here and the integration between all those things is not as good as an integration of services inside a single ecosystem.
  2. I can try to remove Google services from my life and use only Apple services and applications... oh wait, I can't.
  3. I can also... keep MacBook only for programming because that's the main reason I bought it. Seriously, I'm using MacBook because it supports everything that I need to do my job. It's like a mix of Windows with Linux. I would like to use Linux because it works better for programming and I can't use Windows for that. I would like to use Windows because it has better support for hardware, more apps are supported, more games, etc. I can have both (more or less) with macOS. Give me a laptop with Linux distribution which works as good as MacBook with macOS and has support for all the software which I need and I can switch now! If I will do it:
    • I can sell my iPhone and buy Google Pixel 3.
    • I can still use Google services, Google Home and Chromecast.
    • I don't need to convince my family and friends to Apple ;-)
    • I can buy any watch with WearOS.
    • I can buy Google Pixelbook and use it for everything except programming. I have never used it but it looks like a very good laptop/tablet for everything that can be done using Chrome - reading news, articles, emails, watching movies, Youtube, listening to music, Hangouts, etc. It has the best integration with Google services and I can replace my android tablet with it. I saw that it's possible to run applications from Google Play and even Linux apps. The newest Pixelbook may also integrate with Google Assistant. The only thing that I can't do on ChromeOS (at least for now) it's a programming - and that's why I need a MacBook.

I'm waiting for Google Pixel 3 and the newest Pixelbook and then I will consider whether I want to stay with iPhone or back to Android.

If anyone wants to convince me to stay with iPhone - I'm listening ;-)

© 2020 Przemysław Kołodziejczyk