The first iPhone was unveiled on Jan. 9, 2007, the first Android handset (the HTC Dream) showed up on September 23, 2008—and though it’s impossible to know for sure, I assume the very first Android vs. iOS article ran very soon after that.

It’s a debate that’s spanned the decades, like Windows vs. macOS or Coca-Cola vs. Pepsi, and it tends to attract a lot of interest. Both of these mobile operating systems get refreshes every year too, which means there are always new talking points to discuss.

As a tech journalist writing guides, news, and reviews, I’m not a normal phone user: I spend a lot of time using both Android (specifically at the moment, a Google Pixel 8) and iOS (an iPhone 15 Pro Max right now). I’m not switching from one to the other—I’m using both regularly, and extensively.

That means I know the ins and outs of both platforms when it comes to day-to-day operations, and the phone I make use of the most—for personal messaging, social media, web browsing, music, podcasts, and everything else not to do with work—is the Pixel 8. So I thought I’d add to the Android vs. iOS discussion by trying to explain why.

Bear in mind that I don’t hate iOS or the iPhone—I’m actually quite a fan of the slick combination of hardware and software that Apple has put together. The iPhone 15 Pro Max is a great smartphone, no doubt. However, I’d rather use Android for my regular device, and these are the reasons why.

Android offers more customization

Android vs iOS

Rotating Home Screens is one feature Android has that iOS doesn’t.
Credit: Lifehacker

You’ll see this mentioned in every Android vs iOS comparison out there, and it’s still true. You can still do more with the Home Screen, the Lock Screen, and the app icons on Android—you can even reskin the entire interface with a tool like Nova Launcher. To a certain extent, iOS has caught up, but the customization options on the iPhone still aren’t as comprehensive or as easy to use.

Get this: The Home Screens on Android actually rotate and work in landscape mode too. I like having pixel-by-pixel control over how my phone looks, whether it’s having one single app on a Home Screen or stretching widgets in all directions. The rumor is we’ll see more Home screen customization once iOS 18 rolls around, so Apple clearly agrees with me that it’s lagging behind Google in this area.

I find the current iOS home screen and app library set up rather clumsy. Why can’t I just see a simple list of all the apps I’ve installed? To find an app that’s not pinned to the Home Screen, I have to swipe all the way to the last of these screens, and then figure out which category Apple has decided to drop the app into.

Google apps work everywhere

Android vs iOS

Google TV works fine in iOS. Apple TV on Android? Not even available.
Credit: Lifehacker

To each their own, but I find Google’s suite of apps much more appealing than Apple’s, with a couple of exceptions. When it comes to Gmail vs. Apple Mail, Google Docs vs. Pages, Google Maps vs. Apple Maps, and Google Photos vs. Apple Photos, I’m choosing Google every time (though I do love Apple Music).

There’s no space here to go into all of the individual reasons why, but Google’s apps are speedy, reliable, and—crucially—available everywhere. If I rent a movie from Google, I know it’ll play on just about every device out there, pretty effortlessly—but have you tried getting Apple TV running on Android? It’s a bit of a mess.

Admittedly, this is more about the apps and services that Google and Apple offer, rather than Android and iOS. But if you split your time between Apple and non-Apple devices like I do, your life is clearly going to be easier if you pick Google—and if you’re picking Google’s apps, then it follows that they work best and are updated quicker on Android.

Apps get more control on Android

Android vs iOS

You can change more of the default apps on Android.
Credit: Lifehacker

Speaking of apps, Android lets developers get their hooks deeper into the operating system than iOS does—which Apple would say makes Android less secure. As an app like Tasker, which lets you create all kinds of automations and routines, shows, Android is the better pick for tinkerers and hackers (and I’d include myself in that group).

As a result of this, there are entire app categories you can find on Android that don’t exist on iOS—apps to check battery health and usage, apps to run wifi network diagnostics, apps for managing files on your phone (beyond Apple’s own options). As with the customization options, it’s fair to say a lot of users might not want these extras, but I do.

Beyond the individual apps themselves, on Android you’re able to do much more with them: You can install multiple instances of the same app, you can run two apps side by side on the screen, and you can change more of the default apps. You can even install a different app to manage your text messages—something I wouldn’t expect to see on iOS for quite a while (if ever).

Android feels more intuitive

Android vs iOS

Two things you won’t see on iOS: Notifications in the status bar, and gaps on the Home Screen.
Credit: Lifehacker

This might be partly because I’m more used to Android at this point, but some of the key ways for getting around the software work better for me on Google phones than they do on Apple phones. The universal back gesture is a case in point: one swipe, go to the previous screen. This works in some apps in iOS, but not every app, and it’s not consistent across the whole system—on my iPhone, I’m often reaching for the little back button or the app switcher (or just staring at the screen, confused).

Then there’s notifications. This is partly personal preference, but I much prefer the Android system—including the way unread notifications stick around in the status bar and on the Lock Screen on Android, rather than disappearing away to the Notification Center in iOS. Expanding and dismissing notifications feels quicker on Android too, though there’s not much to choose between the platforms here.

Of course, if you’ve used every iPhone since the first one and never tried Android, switching would probably disorientate you, and leave you pining for the ways of iOS. However, having used both, I’d say Android makes more sense in quite a few ways—such as actually being able to see that you’ve set an alarm on the Lock Screen, which you need to add a widget for on iOS.


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