What Would It Take To Make You Switch To Android Or iOS?

What Would It Take To Make You Switch To Android Or iOS?

The iOS vs Android debate can get pretty heated. While both mobile operating systems have their die-hard fans, many people could be convinced to switch if just one feature or two changed. What would convince you to switch?

Illustration: Tina Mailhot-Roberge

Every time I have to upgrade my phone I face this dilemma: Should I stay (with Android) or should I go (to iOS)? I appreciate Android’s customisability, but the iPhone’s stellar build quality (and the fact that most developers introduce iOS apps before Android).

If you could almost go either way, what’s the one thing lacking in the other OS that’s keeping you from switching?


  • I made the switch from iOS to Android back around iOS6 -> iOS7. I have since switched back. I had a flagship phone that was pretty much useless after about 12 months (I held on for another 6 after that hoping it was a minor software problem). It was running slower than an iPhone 4 years after purchase. Android was nice with how low level some of the apps get and what they can do, but at the end of the day, the third party apps on iOS felt nicer to me (probably because the Interface Builder in XCode really pushes you in the right direction for UI design).

  • Big thing im considering at the moment (Android to iOS) is the lag between updates on Android depending on carrier. 6 Months to get lollipop.

    • I was going to make that exact point. I’m seriously looking at an LG G4 after been with iOS since the 3GS, but the apparent delays with issuing software releases worries me. I know the G4 already comes with Lollipop, but M is on its way and will likely hit the same delays.

  • Google going bust would probably push me to iOS but grudgingly. I’m pretty invested in the Google ecosystem and really love the flexibility to get it working how I use the device.

    I only buy the Nexus devices which are probably akin to iPhones as it’s a pure android experience. Don’t have to worry about OEM’s or carriers, updates direct from Google within a week of being available (staged rollout).

    edit – only app I am missing is FTL – that looks pretty interesting.

    • Great question LH. Much better than “killer interview question: what did you order for lunch today?”. Btw, it was a BLT with dijon mustard and walnut.
      Apps, books and music are locked into an eco system. Once you’re invested, you’re stuck.
      Great article, great question.

  • Apple going bust would push me to Android or Windows.
    At the end of the day, they all do the same thing, and what they don’t all already do is stuff I usually don’t care about. There’s no benefit for me to switch, only the annoyance of switching.

    • 2 million wouldn’t be enough for me.

      Thing is I’m not so much a die hard Android user as a staunch Apple hater. I’d use pretty much anything as long as it doesn’t have the Apple logo on it.

  • Sad that the authors don’t even mention the other phone operating systems and the potential show around the corner of Windows 10. The mobile phone world isn’t a duopoly.

    • This – if I could no longer use Android on a Nexus device, I’d go Ubuntu Phone, Sailfish or Tizen before iOS.

      If I got brain damage and could no longer miss customisation and free thinking I’d go iOS

    • I switched from a heavy investment in the android OS (music, books, games, email, everything) to Windows Phone. It was a lot to change over, but I don’t regret it in the slightest.

      Windows 10 is only going to improve the best experience I’ve ever had with smartphones. Here’s hoping people actually give it a try this time.

  • After 5 years of iOS I switched to Android. Driven by Apple forcing a major upgrade on me to fix a major bug and then the phone became unusably slow. When i went to the Apple Store, they had the hide to lecture me about devices not being able to cope with the demands of a new OS.

    Anyway no more midnight howls to the void when dealing with iTunes. I walked away from a significant $ app investment, but much happier.

  • Will never go iOS – even chose a blackberry at work over an iPhone. Currently on WP but would consider Android if I could find a way besides custom firmware to ensure the phone is clean and runs how I want it to.

      • Yup – the OS was a huge leap from, well, before we had smartphones – but it’s a serious piece of bloatware now.

        • By the same logic Android is even more bloated due to the various hacks needed for it to work on the wide range of hardware it works on.

    • A user of the a low-market-share windows OS complaining about the crapware OEMS bundle with the market-dominant linux OS.

      Man, things got weird in the last ten years.

      • The Android OS itself is a pretty cleak beast. It’s only when you let Sony or Samsung at it that it becomes a pile of junk – even on the latest hardware.

        I have a Sony Xperia Z2 tablet. It ran like a dog before I threw Cynagen on it.

  • I also use a Blackberry OS 10 for work (my employer requires it) and I have a Nokia 1520 WP8.1 for my personal device. I also have an old iPhone 4S that acts more like an ipod now – just syncs Spotify playlists.

    I would move back to iOS for my personal device if Windows Phone ever ceases to exist. I would NEVER in 1,000 years move to Android. What a fragmented mess.

  • I was originally iOS, went to Android around 2011. Its been a bit of a mixed bag with different devices. None of them have been perfect, although, neither were the iOS devices. I think the overall quality of the iOS devices was better. The thing about iOS devices is that they just seem to ‘work’ (well, for the most part). Every Android device I have owned has had some sort of little ‘quirk’. Sometimes hardware, sometimes software, but they’ve all had ‘something’ thats annoyed me.
    The one thing that holds me back from making the switch though… expandable memory. The day an iOS device accepts a microSD card is when I’ll unhesitatingly make the switch, however, I won’t hold my breath on that happening…

  • If Microsoft totally balls up Windows 10, I think that’ll be my time to switch back to iOS. Left iOS after 2 years on a 3G-S. I honestly don’t think much could convince me to go Android, I still just want a phone that just works, and there are too many compromises. Want awesome hardware? Get crappy software. Want to sort that out yourself? All of a sudden, you’re rooting, and flashing, and the “just works” goes out the window.

  • I’m an iOS user. Jumped ship with the Galaxy S5 and had a lot of issues with the software and hardware. I also did not like that carriers have such a big say in when you get a software update. I switched back to iOS and find now that because I used Android for a while, I am making much better use of all of the tools that iOS has that I never bothered to use before.

    I would consider a switch to Windows phone if they had more real apps in their app store and not third party *fake* clients

    • In defence of third party fake clients. God the Instagram app is god awful on iOS and Android when compared to 6tag.

    • Hopefully the new OS tools will bring a lot more to the WinApp store. Developers being able to make a program for windows desktops and then have it ready to run natively on Windows Phone should get a lot more in the store. There’s no further cost for development, so why not just have the app in the store?

  • Once there is an Android or Windows phone that reliably works as an actual phone then I might consider switching from iOS.

    • Have you tried Windows Phone recently? My Lumia 520 is WAY more reliable than my Iphone 5.

      • I tried Windows Phone about 6 months ago. The less said about that, the better.

  • I’ve been using Windows phones since the days of Pocket PC 2003 (my first smartphone was a O2 XDA Mini – long before iPhones or Androids existed). Microsoft would have to stop making Windows Phone for me to stop using it. I’d most likely grudgingly switch to Android, simply because there’s a better choice of hardware for Android phones. I don’t like Apple’s “Here’s our one phone – take it or leave it” approach. Well, two now that they have the Plus.

  • After getting the 5.0 OS update on my Galaxy S5 going back to the iPhone seems like a good proposition. In the words of Comicbook Guy – Worst. Update. Ever.

  • I when from the Nokia old days to an iPhone 3 and loved it. Stayed with iOS all the way up to iPhone 4 and iOS 6, then left behind my significant investment in the Apple eco system and tried an S3 4G.

    The first thing was the lovely big screen and bright colours… oh and atrocious battery life, but I lived with that… which only lasted 6 months until it gave up the ghost (freeze/reboots/the usual story for that model phone and corrupted NAND). I liked thatt I could do whatever I wanted on Andriod, but the apps (at the time – dunno about now) lacked the quality of the apps on the Apple App store. It was slower and laggier than my iPhone 4 at the time. Left with that bitter taste, i had to go back to a 3GS (the wife took my 4), and immediately felt at home (albeit I missed the back button on Andriod). Then upgraded to iPhone 5 and now iPhone 6 and haven’t really looked back. Rock solid (even my iPhone 5 still runs without lag and lasts all day – just used it on holidays with bluetooth and wifi off and it lasted over 5 days!).

    In-short, all the awesome hardware, cool customization and funky stuff you can do in Android did not win me over the smoothness/performance/battery life/user experience of iOS for 90% of every day use – which is a real pity.

    What would get me to switch back? Hard to say now that i’m even more invested in the Apple eco system.

    1) Maybe the big 3 or 4 mobile companies can co-operate to make android a better OS rather than try and differentiate with sloppy customized ROMS and launchers.

    2) Solve the Andriod Lag issues with Java RT (http://siliconstation.com/the-story-android-lag-ios/) / allow native programming? This would help with getting more performance / smoothness out of lower spec hardware and better battery life… but this is probably up there with “when pigs fly” at the moment and would involve significant investment by many, including third party app developers.

    3) Better battery life with wifi/bluetooth – my iPhone(s) seem to outlast all my android friends even when I keep wifi/bluetooth/everthing on and they turn bluetooth/wifi off and they try all these battery maximizer apps.

    4) Long shot, but maybe the play store along with some of most popular apps could offer a “free” or “discounted” transition to equivalent apps on Andriod for paid apps on the Apple app store?

    So, in short… nothing short term. I really hope Android lifts it’s game big time in the next few years. I really would like an proper option to Apple rather than it becoming a virtual monopoly dictating my choices.

    • Umm, that article is 2 years old. Android does not use Java RT anymore and all apps are native.

      I still can’t see any flying pigs though.

      • Good point… it’s been a while since I’ve looked back at Android, but still doesn’t explain why Andriod needs twice (or more) power/memory to keep up with iPhones for most things.

        I’ve only developed software on iOS, so only know about that side of things.. still though… Java’s not all that great for performance IMO…

        Can someone with more Android and iOS education please educate me further on what’s the difference?

        I’m not an Andriod/Apple fanboy. I’m an intelligent consumer who needs edumacation in things i’m not an expert in.

        • Android used to use Java runtime. Now they use Android runtime (ART). It was first made available in KitKat but you had to manually turn it on. It was made default in Lollipop and the old runtime is gone. It’s also smart enough to know how to run apps that were made for the old system. At installation all apps are compiled into native machine code. I’m no expert, but that’s the basics.

          As for Android needing more specs – it is more of a general platform that can run on lots of different hardware. iOS can be optimised to work on a very very small subset and be very efficient on that subset. iPhones have also had really little screens for a long time so a lot of Androids devices were pushing many more pixels.

          • Well explains my laggy Jellybean no ART Samsung S3…

            iOS being able to be optimized for a much smaller number of different hardware specs and screen sizes does help in ensuring that apps are easier to develop.

            Android didn’t work out for me last time and I got particularly burned.

            I have many friends on both sides of the Android/iOS fence and a very small number on Win phones. We’ve never been able to convince each other as to which is better conclusively and a couple of friends actually have both Android and iOS!

          • I think iOS apps kind of need to be developed somewhat like Android apps now, as there are a heap of different screen sizes out there now.

            As opposed to the old way “This element is x pixels tall and wide” at can be now “This element is 30 percent of the screen tall and the whole screen wide”.

  • the big things that stop me from swapping from android to ios are that every android phone I’ve had has a microSD slot which is important in a world where the top of the line, flagship phones only have 16gb internal storage; the versatility of the android ecosystem – being able to download apps from anywhere (getting an apk off the internet for example) is a huge deal for me, and the ability to install custom launchers that completely change the layout of the phone to whatever you want was a really nice change of pace for a few months when I did it.

    On top of that; I don’t see any benefit in the iOS ecosystem. I can’t think of something an iphone can do that my phone can’t do, but when I use an iphone I actively miss a lot of the things android phones can do.

  • I switched to Android because variety is the spice of life. There are dozens of Android devices to choose from, whereas with iOS you’re stuck with what Apple gives you (which is often under-specced and over-priced).

  • I’m an IOS user who has already decided that I’m switching when it’s time to buy a new phone. It’s not Android per se that I’m interested in, though. I just want a phone with a removable battery and a microSD slot. I’m so sick of having to constantly manage my storage space and charge my phone twice a day while carrying around a battery that’s bigger than the phone.

    I’m hoping that the BlackBerry Android rumors are true, because I would love to use a nice physical keyboard again. OTOH I would absolutely switch to WIndows Phone if the developer support improved.

    • This!!! I just want a phone with a removable battery and a microSD slot I still don’t understand why manufacturers are moving away from this. Look I get cloud storage, but what if I want to quickly swap out or transfer files? Or if I’m in a remote area with no coverage?

      Also with any new phone the 1st thing I do is buy a larger capacity version. The stock phone batteries just never cut.

      • I still don’t understand why manufacturers are moving away from this.

        It’s simple: profits.

        No microSD slot means:
        – You have to buy extra storage from the manufacturer, not a third party.
        – They can charge more for that memory. Last time I checked an extra 32GB in an Iphone cost 3x the cost of a 32GB microSD card.
        – It limits the lifetime of the phone. When you fill your 16GB phone and want more space, your only option is to buy a new phone.

        A non-replaceable battery limits the lifetime of a phone. Once the battery degrades you have to buy a new one.

  • I rock both an Android phone for personal use and a Windows phone for work. I love Android (especially when it comes to custom ROM’s) but I’d go all Windows if I could get past some of the quirks in the Windows phone (Sorry but windows maps and Cortana are just all full of ‘Nope’ to me, where as Google Voice and maps simply work). The Windows OS for all the quirks is just really snappy and responsive not to mention easy to navigate.

    I’m not going to knock iOS though as my experience using it is less than 5 minutes, and if a phones OS can’t be user friendly from the start then I’m not one to invest half a day trying to figure it out.

  • I had an iPhone and got sick of the lack of customization and the need to jailbreak to do anything worthwhile. Then I switched to Android, however the updates are few and far between and I find my phone is lagging and freezing etc, however that is probably my fault for going with a Samsung device. I am contemplating switching back to iOS with my next upgrade, more for stability. I will miss Tasker as it is not available on iOS. Other than that all my needs can be covered on either device.

  • After owning several Android handsets, I lost my iPod. Needless to say, the current Android handset at the time was hardly operational so I bit the bullet and got an iPhone.

    I love not having to replace Android handsets every year because they get broken, the OS slows to a halt or the phone itself just stops working. Not to mention the fact that it didn’t ship with a bunch of pre-installed applications from my phone provider that took up space and couldn’t be deleted.

  • Apple would have to buy me a house to get me to swap back to iOS. I would go to Windows before going back to Apple.

  • To get me to switch to IOS, Apple would have to offer a vast array of choice and different configurations. I like being able to choose a device that fits my needs. I cannot stand a one-size-fits-all approach, I find it offensive and banal.
    Yes, they introduced a slightly bigger model and more colours… but these are superficial choices for morons, the devices are still pretty much exactly the same.

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