Which Mobile Operating System Is The Best?

Almost 80% of people in this world own a smartphone, but the division of people who use iOS vs Android operating system is like choosing between Republican vs Democrat. There’s an invisible line drawn and most people don’t float back and forth across it.

Smartphones are the center of our digital lives and most people feel lost without their phone nearby. According to Kantar Worldpanel, the latest stats I could find (August 2017) show that in the US, Google’s Android is currently winning the race with 63% of the market and iOS at 35%.

One big discrepancy in the number of people using iOS is because it is proprietary to Apple products, where Android allows their operating system to be on any number of different devices. That makes it more difficult to analyze the two options because it is like comparing Apples to…Robots. 🙂

This post from Forbes provides more insight on iOS vs Android operating systems, starting with a quote from Google VP Dave Burke:

“There are now 2 billion monthly active Android devices globally,” he wrote. “This is an extraordinarily humbling milestone — and it’s the largest reach of any computing platform of its kind.”

Android operating system

gfkDSGN / Pixabay

That is an amazing number, and it is extremely impressive.

Just a bit less amazing but also impressive is that over a year ago, Apple announced that there were more than one billion iOS devices in active use. Since that announcement in January 2016, Apple has sold more than 260 million iPhones alone, according to publicly-released sales figures. (Note: iPads also run iOS, and would bolster that number additionally.)

Add the two billion Android devices Google announced today with the one billion iOS devices Apple announced 15 months ago — even ignoring the almost 300 million more iOS devices Apple has sold since then — and Apple has a third of the mobile devices running either stock Android or iOS in operation today.

Surprise: Google Reveals iOS Market Share Is 65% to 230% Bigger Than We Thought

iPhone users in particular are devoted to their beloved iOS, but there are some valid reasons. At the top of the list are the simplicity of upgrades, backups, and ease of transferring your phone data to a new phone. Since iOS is under the Apple umbrella, the process is managed flawlessly.

On the other hand, the Android operating system is much easier to customize, allowing you to use the apps of your choice. On an iPhone, the apps are locked down.

Android also has notification lights for texts, emails, etc. without actually opening the app to see them. This open source system also groups notifications at the top of the screen, where iOS displays everything individually and has no notification lights.

It is interesting to listen to an unbiased opinion of which is the better operating system; however, that isn’t all that easy to find. The narrator for this video has a pretty good grasp of both phones and their advantages/disadvantages:

Considering all of the benefits of each operating system, it mostly comes down to familiarity. People get comfortable using a piece of software, and change isn’t always easy, especially if you aren’t particularly tech-savvy.

I did find an article that coaches you on how to switch your iPhone apps to Google or Microsoft, so there are ways to work around keeping your iPhone intact but still using the applications you prefer.

The Bottom Line

One of the biggest differences when comparing iPhones/iOS to any that use the Android operating system is the cost.  Even though there are Android flagship phones that are in a similar price range, their costs vary drastically.

However, for the iPhone series, the expense is significantly higher. Depending on storage and other factors, most iPhones start out over $500, with the new iPhone X costing $999 at the lowest price point.

This post sums up the differences in cost:

Cost comparison for smartphones

geralt / Pixabay

Some, such as the Samsung S7 and the Google Pixel, are every bit as attractive as the iPhone 7 Plus. True, by controlling every step of the manufacturing process, Apple makes sure iPhones have great fit and finish, but so do the big Android phone manufacturers. That said, some Android phones are just plain ugly.

Part of the reason for this is that Apple makes nothing but luxury phones. There will never be a “cheap” iPhone. If you don’t want to pay top dollar for an iPhone, your only choice is to get a used one.

Decent Android phones can go for as little as $100. Are they good looking? Not really, but they do the job at a fraction of the price of an iPhone.

iPhone vs. Android: Which is better for you?

One problem with purchasing an older iPhone was highlighted in the news this week. Apple apologized for an update that slowed down earlier iPhone versions, which some thought was a ploy to encourage individuals to purchase a newer version.

To make up for it, they offered a cheaper battery replacement.

Ironically, all iPhone peripherals are way higher than any universal Android phone options, so a lower priced battery is still probably way more than an Android battery. Always walking a fine line between the bottom line and keeping their software proprietary.