iOS iPhone vs. Android: Which Is Better in 2024

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Deciding between iOS and Android is about selecting an ecosystem that aligns with your preferences for usability, personalization, and security.

Our comparison of iOS vs. Android cuts through the noise to help you understand the fundamental differences and make an informed choice between these two powerful operating systems.

Is Android better than iPhone or vice versa? Would you prefer the best iPhones to the latest Android smartphones? Make a better-informed decision with our head-to-head comparison.

Key Takeaways

  • iOS emphasizes a streamlined and simplified user experience with consistent features across devices.
  • Android offers greater customization and flexibility, appealing to diverse user needs and preferences.
  • Software updates in the iOS ecosystem are regular and consistent across devices due to direct management by Apple, contributing to wider adoption and security
  • The Android update process is more fragmented due to disparate approaches by various device manufacturers.
  • Apple App Store is considered more secure, with strict app review processes.
  • Google Play Store offers a broader array of apps and the flexibility to install from third-party sources.

Android vs. iOS: Which Is Better?

The showdown between iPhone vs. Android showcases each platform’s distinct set of tools.

Apple’s iOS, for instance, polishes and enhances existing features while introducing new ones, providing a more streamlined user experience.

On the other hand, Google’s Android enriches its tools to offer a more customizable smartphone experience, allowing users to craft their devices to their liking.

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What does the global audience prefer better?

iOS vs. Android Market Share

According to the latest iPhone vs. Android sales data gathered by Counterpoint Research, seven of the top ten best-selling smartphones are iPhone models, indicating the strong market performance of Apple’s flagship devices.

Share of Global Top 10 Best-Selling Smartphones, 2023

However, Android’s greater freedom in hardware and software personalization appeals to a significant user base despite traditionally having fewer high-quality apps and accessories.

In terms of iOS vs. Android market share, Android had a 71.31% worldwide market share, while iOS had 27.95% as of April 2024.

Things look a little bit different for the percentage of iPhone vs. Android users when looking just at the US.

In April 2024, iOS had a 56.53% market share in the US, while Android had 43.12%.

Interface & User Experience

The user interface and experience distinguish these two platforms. Famously, iOS is known for its consistent and uncomplicated interface.

In contrast, Android’s interface includes intuitive features like a universal back gesture that works across the system. It also provides users the flexibility to employ widgets and house apps in a dedicated drawer, compared to the rows of app icons on iOS’s home screen.

Our choice for interface and user experience: iOS

Software Updates & Maintenance

For software updates and maintenance, clear distinctions emerge between the two platforms.

iOS devices receive software updates directly from Apple, ensuring consistent updates across all supported devices. This translates into a more extensive adoption rate for its latest version compared to Android and generally more frequent and timely updates.

On the contrary, Android’s landscape is more fragmented. Android device manufacturers have autonomy in deciding whether and when to release software updates, often leading to several months’ delay after a new Android version is released. This inconsistency can significantly impact the user experience in terms of new features and security.

Our choice for software updates and maintenance: iOS

Exclusive Features

Delving into the unique features of both operating systems reveals that iOS offers an array of inbuilt apps, such as iMessage, Reminders, and iMovie, which enhance the user experience.

In contrast, Android flexes its muscles in the area of flexibility and multitasking, allowing users to run two apps side by side, install multiple instances of the same app, and manage files with greater flexibility. This enhances personalized use, painting a stark contrast between the two platforms’ approaches.

Our choice for exclusive features: Android 

Customization: Android’s Flexibility vs. iOS’s Simplicity

In terms of customization, Android’s flexibility contrasts sharply with iOS’s simplicity. Android presents a customizable experience with numerous interface tweaks, elevating user flexibility to a whole new level. It provides extensive customization options, including dynamic widgets, alternative launchers, and possibilities for replacing core services.

On the flip side, iOS is praised for its polished design and simplified user experience. It offers a consistent interface, albeit with less freedom for customization compared to Android. This approach caters to users who prefer a controlled, streamlined experience over extensive personalization.

In the great debate of Android vs. iOS, Android’s strength lies in its open system that caters to multitasking and user-defined experiences. At the same time, iOS’s polished design and simplified experience cater to users who value consistency and simplicity over customization.

Home Screen Customization

As the user’s initial point of interaction with their device, home screen customization is crucial to the user experience.

Comparing iPhone vs. Android, Android scores high on this front. It allows users to personalize their home screens extensively with the arrangement of apps, widgets, changing of icons, and even employing third-party launchers for a completely revamped experience.

It further extends this customization to the pixel level, including resizing widgets and placing apps anywhere, and even introduces themes, fonts, and icons that dynamically adapt to match the user’s wallpaper.

Comparatively, iOS offers improved home screen customization options, though they remain less extensive than Android. It focuses on a selection of pre-designed themes and less flexibility overall, catering to users who prefer a clean, streamlined interface.

Our choice for home screen customization: Android

Functionality Tweaks

Beyond the home screen, Android maintains a plethora of customization options. Users can tweak system settings for improved performance, such as faster boot times and enhanced sound and display settings. They can even modify Android system functions and settings through Settings database editor apps without needing root access.

This level of control is a stark contrast to iOS’s more controlled environment, further highlighting the inherent differences between the two platforms.

Our choice for functionality tweaks: Android 

App Ecosystem: Google Play Store vs. Apple App Store

Exploring the app ecosystem in iPhone vs. Android reveals that the Google Play Store offers an impressive 2.44 million apps for Android users, surpassing the Apple App Store’s 1.8 million apps for iPhone users.

The Google Play Store’s more open approach to app availability leads to a wider variety of games and apps. Android users can replace many of the default apps with third-party alternatives, offering more flexibility compared to iOS.

However, the Apple App Store is generally considered more secure than the Google Play Store. This is largely due to Apple’s rigorous vetting of its App Store, providing a controlled environment that limits the chance of malware.

Besides that, more doesn’t always mean better. Reportedly, the Google Play Store has more buggy apps than the Apple App Store.

App Quality & Security

When it comes to Android vs. iPhone apps, quality and security are of the utmost importance.

The Apple App Store’s rigorous app review process implies a higher barrier to entry, aspiring for higher-quality applications, especially in gaming.

Each application in the Apple App Store is subject to thorough inspection to minimize the likelihood of applications with malware and security issues. This approach contributes to a more secure environment, leading to reduced instances of security vulnerabilities.

In contrast, Android users have the option to modify device settings to install Android apps from sources outside the Google Play Store. While this increases flexibility, it can also increase the risk of encountering malicious software.

This highlights the trade-off between flexibility and security in the Android app ecosystem.

Our choice for app quality and security: iOS

Developer Preferences & Support

For various reasons, many developers prefer to develop apps for iOS rather than Android. This choice reflects the priorities and opportunities for developers in the mobile app industry.

This is likely due to the streamlined development process and higher revenue potential on the App Store. However, Android gives developers more freedom to integrate their apps with the operating system, allowing for a wider range of app functionalities and customizations not possible on iOS.

Furthermore, developers on a limited budget may find the Google Play Store more attractive due to its lower one-time developer fee of $25.

Our choice for developer preferences and support: iOS 

Hardware Diversity vs. Unified Design: Android Phones & iPhones Compared

In terms of hardware, Android provides a wide assortment of options from different manufacturers, offering devices at various price points and hardware capabilities.

From affordable yet efficient devices to flagship models boasting cutting-edge technology, Android’s hardware diversity is unmatched. This is in stark contrast to Apple’s approach, confining users to the hardware from a single vendor.

However, Apple’s narrow hardware focus allows it to optimize performance meticulously. While Android devices often showcase higher RAM and faster processors, iPhones maintain smooth performance through meticulous hardware and software optimization.

Among Android manufacturers, design philosophies vary significantly. Some manufacturers, like Samsung, often utilize high-end materials to achieve a premium build quality in their smartphones. Other manufacturers, not so much.

In contrast, Apple cultivates a consistent aesthetic across all its products, including iPads and Apple Watches. This uniform design language reinforces the Apple brand identity and enhances the cohesion of the Apple ecosystem.

Voice Assistants: Google Assistant vs. Siri

The contest between voice assistants adds another intriguing dimension to the iOS vs. Android debate.

Google Assistant showcases more intelligent behavior than Siri due to its advanced speech recognition system that leverages deep learning algorithms to better understand user intent.

Furthermore, Google Assistant provides support for over 30 languages, surpassing Siri’s capability and making it more accessible to users worldwide.

In terms of user experience, Google Assistant offers a more interactive and customizable experience compared to Siri’s straightforward interface.

Despite Siri being exclusive to Apple products, Google Assistant’s cross-platform integration capabilities make it a compelling competitor.

Our choice for voice assistant: Android 

Gaming, VR & AR Capabilities

For those passionate about gaming and technology, both Android and iOS provide a vast selection of games and support VR and AR technologies.

However, Android takes the lead by allowing software installation from non-Google app stores and offering Google Play Pass for game subscriptions. This flexibility makes Android a more appealing platform for gamers and tech-savvy users seeking cutting-edge experiences.

Our choice for gaming, VR, and AR: Android

Integration with Other Devices

With the world becoming more interconnected, the ability to integrate smartphones with other devices grows in importance. iOS excels in device integration through Continuity features such as Handoff, Universal Clipboard, and Continuity Camera, fostering seamless interaction across iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, and macOS.

This integration extends to file sharing via AirDrop, remote activation of Personal Hotspot, and using AirPlay to Mac, adding to a cohesive Apple device experience for users with multiple other Apple devices.

On the other hand, Android’s cross-device connectivity shines with features like making phone calls and app-streaming improvements when connected to PCs.

Our choice for integration with other devices: iOS 

Privacy & Security: Protecting Your Data

When choosing an iPhone vs Android smartphone, privacy and security are among the most crucial factors to consider. Here are some reasons why iOS is considered a more secure platform:

  • iOS’s closed-source code and integrated device design make it more difficult for attackers to exploit potential vulnerabilities.
  • Apple rigorously vets its App Store, providing a controlled environment that limits the chance of malware.
  • With the introduction of iOS 17, users have enhanced security features like Lockdown Mode, boosting iOS’s reputation as a more secure platform.

In contrast, Android’s open nature allows for more frequent malware targeting. It also enables a variety of security measures from different manufacturers and the potential for sideloading apps that may bypass some controls. However, the freedom to install software from non-Google sources can increase the risk of encountering malicious software.

Despite these differences, both platforms support VPN applications for enhanced security.

Uniquely, iOS offers users the ability to opt out of app tracking across their devices, giving them more control over their personal data. This highlights the contrasting philosophies of both platforms: iOS’s focus on an integrated, secure environment versus Android’s emphasis on flexibility and customizability.

Security Updates & Patch Frequency

Considering security updates and patch frequency, iPhones receive regular updates, including security patches, with support lasting around five years. This consistent update schedule ensures user devices are protected against the latest security threats.

On the contrary, the frequency and duration of support for security updates on Android devices can vary significantly. Due to the large number of models and manufacturers, Android devices often experience less frequent updates and a shorter support lifespan. This inconsistent update schedule can impact overall user security, emphasizing the fragmentation challenges within the Android ecosystem.

Our choice for privacy and security: iOS 

Pricing & Accessibility: The Cost of Ownership

In terms of pricing and accessibility for Apple vs. Android devices, Android devices typically offer a more economical alternative to iPhones, with a broader range of price points. Here are some examples:

  • The average price for smartphones running the Android operating system is $286.
  • The latest iPhone model starts at a price point of $799.
  • Android phones offer a broad price range, from budget-friendly options under $500 to premium versions exceeding $1,000.

While iPhones are often seen as a premium brand with a higher price tag, the diversity and affordability of Android devices make them an attractive alternative for cost-conscious consumers.

Our choice for pricing and accessibility: Android 

iOS vs. Android: Head-to-Head Comparison

Feature Winner
Interface and User Experience iOS
Software Updates and Maintenance iOS
Exclusive Features Android
Home Screen Customization Android
Functionality Tweaks Android
App Quality and Security iOS
Developer Preferences and Support iOS
Hardware Diversity Android
Voice Assistants Android
Gaming, VR, and AR Capabilities Android
Integration with Other Devices iOS
Privacy and Security iOS
Pricing and Accessibility Android

The Bottom Line

To wrap up, both iOS and Android offer unique experiences and features that cater to different user needs and preferences. Whether you prefer the consistency and simplicity of iOS or the customization and flexibility of Android, your choice of smartphone platform ultimately depends on your specific requirements and lifestyle.

As the mobile technology landscape continues to evolve, the iOS vs. Android debate is likely to remain a prominent topic of discussion among tech enthusiasts worldwide.

FAQs

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Alex McFarland
AI Journalist
Alex McFarland
AI Journalist

Alex is the creator of AI Disruptor, an AI-focused newsletter for entrepreneurs and businesses. Alongside his role at Techopedia, he serves as a lead writer at Unite.AI, collaborating with several successful startups and CEOs in the industry. With a history degree and as an American expat in Brazil, he offers a unique perspective to the AI field.