Difference between an Android and iPhone

Published on November 23, 2016

Android smartphones and iPhones both constantly fight for the right to be an integral part of our digital lives. Their war is far from over, with both sides winning and losing battles. Let’s highlight the main features of Androids and iPhones to help you decide which device is better for you.

Definitions

Android vs iPhone
A Google Nexus phone side by side an iPhone 6

Android is an operating system (or OS) developed by Google and is used by many mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets. The first commercially available phone that used Android was the HTC Dream that came out in October 2008. Today, many smartphone and tablet manufacturers such as Samsung, HTC and LG use the the Android OS. With the majority of smartphone manufacturers choosing to run the Android OS, Android phones are known for their diversity and varying price ranges. However, this diversity has also led many to complain about the lack of consistency across Android devices.

Since the inception of the Android OS, Google has developed Android systems for various applications, such as Android TV, Android Auto and Android Wear (wristwatches). Various brands of game consoles, digital cameras and other electronic devices also run on Android-based systems. Google regularly releases updates to the Android OS, with each major update named after a sweet treat or dessert in alphabetical order (i.e., Cookie, Donut, Éclair, etc.). Each update includes many enhancements and bug fixes found in previous releases.

Android also offers 2.2 million  apps via the Google Play Store, with more applications available at third-party app stores. Applications can also be installed from a computer using a USB cable. Android’s music app, called Google Play Music, features a comprehensive free music playlist. Android also features Google Now, a very intuitive device assistant app.

Android phones feature detailed battery usage statistics and even give estimates of how much power is left. In addition to battery saving apps, most Android phones have built-in features that allow users to tweak performance or shut down background apps to extend battery life. Some Android phones even offer wireless and fast charging options.

Many Android users enjoy an extreme level of customization not offered in other mobile operating systems. Rooting (though discouraged by manufacturers) allows users to customize their devices more than they normally could. Android users also have access to the system’s bootloader, where the OS can be tweaked to load faster when starting your phone.

Android uses Google Drive for storing data in the cloud, and offers 15GB of storage space for free or 100GB for $2 per month. Google Photos also offers users unlimited storage space for standard-sized videos and photos, while Google Pixel comes with unlimited storage for photos and videos at full resolution.

The iPhone is Apple’s popular line of smartphones. The first generation iPhone was released on June 29, 2007.  The original iPhone was the first to implement the touchscreen and minimize the number of physical buttons. The majority of smartphone manufacturers replicated this design to some extent. Industry experts believe that the commercial success of the iPhone has helped shape the current smartphone industry.

iPhones run on the iOS mobile operating system. 2 million apps for the iPhone are available at the App Store. Developers find it easier to create games and apps for the iPhone. This means the best apps tend to be available at the App Store instead of the Google Play Store. Apps on the iPhone are usually more expensive, but are more stylish and uniform in terms of design. It is possible to jailbreak the iOS, which allows users to install non-App store apps and unlock a few additional OS features.

Updates to the iOS are done over the air (OTA), and as a result are seamless and quick. This is one feature iPhone users gloat about to Android users. Android firmware updates are first sent to cell phone network providers, where they are tweaked and tested further to comply with the carrier’s requirements. This results in a delay period before getting the new OS. The majority of iPhone users would already have the latest available OS by the time the newest Android OS update is released.

The iPhone has a Low Power Mode to address fast battery consumption that arose from certain OS updates. Even after working to resolve the short battery life, iPhone users were still complaining about the battery consumption. The bigger batteries of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are Apple’s solution to this problem. Although battery life is no longer as big of a concern, iPhone users have yet to experience the fast charging option Android users have been enjoying for years now.

iPhone users get 5GB of storage space via the iCloud and a $1 monthly fee will get iPhone users 50GB of storage space.

Android vs iPhone

So what’s the difference between an Android and iPhone? Android refers to a mobile OS developed by Google, which is used by several top smartphone manufacturers. The iPhone is a smartphone from Apple which runs on the iOS operating system.

Android phones have a wider price range compared to the iPhone’s high-end price tag. While overall there are more apps available in the Google Play Store, iPhone users enjoy better (but more expensive) apps from the App Store. Applications from the Play Store are downloadable from a computer via a USB cable, while iPhone users can only download applications straight to their device.

Major OS updates in Android phones suffer many delays due to cellphone carrier testing. Since this is the norm, most Android users would rather purchase the newest Android phone just to get the latest OS. In contrast, iPhone users receive new OS releases almost instantly.

Android users get 15GB of storage space for free with Google Drive or 100GB of storage for a $2-monthly fee. iPhone users get 5GB of free storage space or can pay a $1 monthly fee for 50GB of storage to store photos, videos and other files in the iCloud.

Newer Android phones generally have fast charging capabilities and other built-in functions that can help extend battery life. .Newer iPhone models have incorporated bigger batteries to resolve the power drainage issue.

Android users can root their device to optimize performance. iPhone users, on the other hand, can only jailbreak their phones. However, both of these options are highly discouraged by the majority of phone manufacturers.

Comparison Chart

Android iPhone
Mobile operating system developed by Google and used in many smartphones Smartphone developed by Apple, runs on the iOS operating system
Wide price range (device, apps) High-end price (device, apps, peripherals)
Delayed OS update releases Quick OS update releases
Offers high level of customization Offers limited customization
15GB free storage via Google Drive 5GB free storage via iCloud
More options to extend battery life (fast charging, background app killers) Increased battery size for longer battery life

Video

Watch this YouTube video for more Android and iPhone differences.