10 Things You Must know before switching from Android to an iPhone

By June 8th, 2014 AT 7:18 PM

From the past 4 years, I’ve had enough experience with all the major smartphone and tablet operating systems; be it Android, iOS or Windows Phone. Apple is supposed to announce the iPhone 6 with a 4.7 inch screen and a 5.5 inch screen. A lot of people who are using Android smartphones just because they offer large screens are expected to jump to iPhone 6. If you are someone who are willing to make the switch for the first time, you need to know these 10 things before making that jump.

1. iOS does not have a native File Manager

Apple still hasn’t provided a native file manager or even a download manager in the iOS, including the upcoming iOS 8. One cannot see or use the actual files in the iOS. All the apps save the data in their own file system which cannot be used by other apps on the device.

Although it does have an iCloud Drive which shows app specific folders and related files inside them, it only shows the data which is synced to your iCloud account.

You cannot simply attach various kinds of files such as zip files to the emails as you can in Android without using a third-party apps. Users can’t even download apps via Safari web browser.

I generally use third-party download managers like iDownloader Plus which has an in-built web browser with download functionality. After downloading these files, it shows an option to open them via compatible apps.

2. Get prepared for limited customisation options

If you are fond of customising your smartphones in your own way, be prepared for limited options. You can’t install custom fonts, custom live wallpapers, etc like you can in Android. You can’t install custom app launchers but that may be a good thing.

I never liked custom launchers other than a couple of them. I mostly use Google Launcher after it was made available to the public. Also, if you don’t already know, home screen and app launcher are one and the same in the iOS. So where would you find widgets? Apple introduced widgets in the notifications centre, starting with iOS 6.

Starting with iOS 8, you can even access third-party widgets from the notifications centre. Just like Android, these widgets are accessible on lock screen as well. Staring with iOS 8, Apple has announced support for 3rd party keyboards like Swype, SwiftKey and Fleksy. So I hope you won’t miss keyboard customisation when switched to iOS 8 compatible iPhone.

3. You can’t install pirated apps easily on iPhone

Yes, without jailbreaking, you can’t really install pirated apps and games in the iPhone. The app installer isn’t accessible manually by the users so even if you download the apps from the internet, you won’t be able to install them on your iOS device.

4. You can still access data from Google Services

If you have all your data stored on Google servers, you can access it by installing Google apps which are available to install from AppStore. Right now almost all Google apps are available for iPhone including Google Chrome, Google Search, Google Translate, Hangouts, Google Play Books, Google Currents, YouTube Capture, Blogger, Chromecast, Google Play Movies & TV, Google Plus, Gmail, YouTube, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Drive, Google Maps, Google Authenticator apps are available from Apple AppStore. But there are still some apps like Google Keep, Google Play NewsStand, Google Goggles, MyTracks, etc aren’t available.

Also, if you rely on Google Contacts for storing and syncing contacts, you should know that reverse syncing of contacts isn’t available till iOS 7. I had to add contacts every time via Gmail’s web interface through a web browsers which was very inconvenient for me. Google Now is available via Google Search app. Google Maps isn’t integrated well enough into iOS because they have their own Apple Maps, which is almost useless in India due to lack of India related data.

5. Very Limited App Flexibility

Due to its locked down nature, iOS doesn’t have apps like Tasker, Sony SmartConnect or Locale, which can integrate with other apps to make things happen automatically. Also, iOS apps can’t talk to each other as freely as Android apps. Starting with iOS 8, Apple has introduced extensibility APIs which will let apps use each other’s files. This comes very close to ‘Open With..’ option which we see in Android but it won’t be equally open in comparison.

6. Not So Smart Dialler & Contacts Apps

iOS still doesn’t allow 3rd party developed dialler apps. The inbuilt dialler doesn’t include ‘Smart Dialling’ option which was just introduced in Android’s stock dialler app. Although iOS has Facebook and Twitter integration, those social media details aren’t shown under the same contact. So you can’t just go to a contact and tap on their WhatsApp and start sending messages.

7. Locked Down Connectivity on iPhone is a major letdown

Apple iPhones are very limited in terms of wired as well as wireless connectivity features. Although it has Bluetooth v4.0, it can’t be used for file transfer to other devices including iPhones. AirDrop is a proprietary wireless connectivity feature which is used to transfer files such as images and videos to other iOS devices and Macs (starting with iOS 8 and Mac OS X Yosemite). Instead of using Miracast Screen Mirroring, Apple has used AirPlay. AirPlay is yet another proprietary connectivity feature which is used to stream multimedia from iOS and Mac devices to Apple TV only.

There is no NFC as of now. I don’t think it will be integrated in iPhone 6. So there are no NFC triggered features such as Android Beam file transfers. There is no Wi-Fi Direct as well.

Wired connectivity is limited to Lightning Connector. You can’t charge the iPhone using your existing microUSB charger. Same follows with wired data transfer to PCs or Macs. iPhones can’t act as USB Host devices so connecting accessories such as flash drives, wired keyboards, mice, game controllers aren’t compatible with the iPhone or iPad.

8. Google Now vs. Siri

If you are accustomed to voice commands and voice recognition in Android, you’ll be disappointed with iPhone as it isn’t as accurate. It is particularly bad in understanding English in Indian accent. Although Siri is better in interaction with the users, in my personal usage, I found Google Now to be much more helpful, especially to Indian users. Google has integrated a lot of services such as Parking Spot, Package Tracker, Sports Updates & Scores, Movies Timings, Breaking News, Interesting Nearby Places, etc.

9. Complete offline & online backup solution

Apple iTunes is a great desktop app which provides a complete offline backup and sync feature for iOS devices. This is a feature which Google never made available to Android users. Although there are solutions such as Helium, which back up date from Android devices, they are not directly from Google. There is no one stop solution for Android devices like Apple iTunes. It generates periodic backups including app data so when you restore and sync your iPhone, all of your apps and their related data will be available instantly.

Apple iTunes also integrates Apple AppStore and iTunes store which can be used to download or buy music, podcasts, videos, books, magazines, ringtones, apps and games. Even if you do not have Wi-Fi, iTunes can download latest app/game updates to PC and then sync it to your iPhone/iPad with the latest version when connected (wired or wirelessly).

10. Guaranteed Same Day Software Updates & Great Collection Of Free Apps

The best thing about Apple is guaranteed software updates to iOS devices. As opposed to Android device which don’t get periodic updates, Apple provides software updates to iPhones for as long as 3 years after its original release. Even Google Nexus devices don’t get updates for more than 2 years. Also, the software updates are provided to all the compatible devices on the same day so you are not left waiting and guessing the date when the update will hit your device.

Apple has made some of its excellent apps like iPhoto, iMovie, iWork (Pages, Numbers, KeyNote), free for new iOS devices. So you don’t have to download other 3rd party apps for editing photos or videos. You can open, edit, save and sync MS Office files via iWork.

Every week, a popular app or game is available for free via Apple AppStore. Apple has also announced ability to list app/game bundles via AppStore so you can get some excellent deals for your iPhone and iPad starting with iOS 8.

Computer science engineer turned technology blogger. Following consumer electronics industry closely from 2006, he can now predict pretty much where the market is heading. He has a dream to own Android, Windows Phone and iOS smartphones all at the same time.

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