5 Greatest Differences Between iOS and Android Devices

The battle between the iOS and Android operating platforms has been going on for the past five years— ever since they were released to the public (iOS in 2007 and Android in 2008). And now, Apple and Google, the two titans of the tech industry, are the centers of two very different tech cultures.

Each platform has their own set of devoted websites, forums and conventions— detailing that platform’s specific features and specs.

If you’ve ever been shopping for a new mobile device— whether a tablet, cell phone, etc., and found yourself at a crossroad on what to get, you probably knew that either an iOS or Android device was the way to go.

But how do you know which platform will best meet your needs and expectations?

iOS and Android are two unique operation systems; becoming more different and distinct with every software update and new model released.

So, take some time to figure things out; there are several factors to consider:

1. Screen Customization

Being able to customize your screen is the first part of the user experience. Many would like to think that Apple has the upper hand with, pretty much anything, when it comes to technology. But, iOS devices provide the tail end of the stick when it comes to screen customization.

This is one category that Android will far surpass any iOS device.

With Android 4.3, users can manage multiple screens to accommodate a massive selection of apps and widgets from the Google Play store.

And for those who want the option to develop and write their own apps, Android has always been at the forefront of letting writers customize their screens with seemingly limitless widgets and wallpapers.

Apple, even with the recent update to iOS 7, is still caught up in a uniformed screed; which allows a very limited arrangement of apps; in icon form. The only way around this would be for iOS users to jailbreak their devices for increased customization.

2. Internet Browser

Much like what you might have experienced with your own laptop, there’s always that dreaded default Internet browser on your mobile device.

As fast-moving as Apple has been with providing users with cutting-edge technology and features, users still have to deal with mobile Safari as their default Internet browser.

In contrast, Android devices allow a bit more freedom. Although Google Chrome seems to be the most favored on many Android devices, there isn’t an exact default browser that is used across the board. Android users can download any internet browser they’d like and have it set as the default option.

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3. Available Apps

Apple and Google are like two young siblings who are constantly fighting for the approval and love of their parents. Except the siblings are worth billions of dollars and the parents are millions of users.

They never seem to want to work together when it comes to making apps available on both platforms; the perfect example of this is YouTube.

While YouTube is available on iOS, it isn’t as accessible as it used to be. Google owns YouTube— something that Apple didn’t take too kindly to when the acquisition was made. As a result, the YouTube app, which used to be a default app on iOS devices, is now something that has to be downloaded by the user.

There are other similar instances of this happening between the operating systems; it’s not so much a disadvantage, but it’s definitely a hassle.

But when you look at available apps in-general, both iOS and Android devices have their fair share of options.

Google Play, provides over 1,000,000+ apps for Android devices; and there are other app stores like Amazon and Getjar. In comparison, the Apple app store contains 850,000+ apps for iOS devices.

Uniquely to iOS devices are iphone spyware apps, for true tech Macgyvers, who are interested in surveillance and monitoring.

4. Mapping

This one is a simple, yet big difference between the two systems. It comes down to this: iOS maps could very well lead you off-track, making you wind up in the middle of nowhere; while Google’s maps are relatively more accurate and reliable.

You might be familiar with the scandal last year when Google dropped its mapping software from Apple devices, causing Apple to have to build their own. The result was a complete disaster; and the trust has yet to be rebuilt.

If you go with iOS, do yourself a favor and get Google Maps to get you where you need to go. Apple’s maps are better off sitting idle on your “seldom-used” screen.

5. Contacts List

When it comes to technology, most people want all of the latest frills and visual specs.

Android OS users can customize their contact list. Contact pictures can be pulled from either Google Plus or Facebook. It’s putting an image to the name; making the experience more personal and dynamic.

In contrast, Apple’s contact list makes it pretty simple for you to find who you are looking for, but there’s no media to go along.

What it boils down between the iOS and Android platforms is this: do you want a sleek sort of simplicity or do you want customization? Each simply provides a different type of user experience.

Andrea Fisher is an online marketer and content specialist for home intrusion alarms. She has been published in a variety of publications, including the Chicago Tribune.