What are some things you can do on Android that you can't on iOS?


macrumors 65816
Original poster
Feb 25, 2011
The one complaint I hear from Android users is that they feel too locked down when using iOS. Just wondering what are those things that you can do on Android that you can't on iOS? I've always used an iPhone, so I may not even know what I am missing. I am willing to try the new Android L on a Nexus if I can be convinced of the benefits of using Android over iOS.

Also, will iOS 8 close these customization and other feature gaps to Android, or will there be stuff that will still be missing from iOS even after the next release?


macrumors regular
Oct 13, 2013
I've always loved having custom launchers and custom keyboards on Android. I think ios8 will bring 3rd party keyboard IIRC, but to have a custom launcher, you'll need to jailbreak and iOS device.

Having viable browser alternatives on android is nice as well, since Apple restricts the Nitro engine to just being used on safari, meaning every other browser is slower and not at the fault of the developer.


macrumors 65816
Feb 27, 2011
This is not a comprehensive list, it's just the software features that matter to me:

* Sharing information between apps. I believe this is going to be improved in IOS8 (3rd party share sheets).

* Choice over which apps get added to homescreen (all apps go to alphabetical app drawer/list; you get to choose what to add as shortcuts to your homescreen which helps a lot with avoiding clutter). I don't think this is something IOS8 is getting.

* Swype keyboards. This is something that IOS8 will get.

* Easy file transfer with computers. With Android you can just plug your phone to a computer and easily transfer files without needing extra software. I expect iOS8 will still require iTunes and a file transfer app installed on your iPhone.

* Widgets. I only use one widget - a weather widget - but find it very useful. Don't know if iOS8 is doing adding widgets.

I also like various hardware benefits of the varied Android device ecosystem.
* Screen sizes
* Price points
* SD card support

Obviously, there are also some downsides of Android though.


macrumors 6502
May 13, 2014
Cape Town
Having viable browser alternatives on android is nice as well, since Apple restricts the Nitro engine to just being used on safari, meaning every other browser is slower and not at the fault of the developer.
Did :apple: not open up the use of Nitro to 3rd party developers with iOS 8?


macrumors 68000
Nov 24, 2009
Well keeping it fair not bringing Root/ROM/Jailbreak/ in:

1: Custom icon packs & and launchers which can dramatically change the way your home screen behaves and looks. For example, in Smart Launcher 2 i can swipe up to open an app right on my home screen. i also can double tap to turn off the screen if i want.

2: File browser. this one is nice, just like a regular one on your desktop. iOS has some apps like this but they aren't true file browsers.

3: Sideload APK's (android apps) and files. This is nice feature to have. Also, probably even more cool is the ability to install 3rd party stores, like Fdroid, amazon app store.

4: Google Now. i can bring up the voice screen without pressing a button and now it's everywhere pretty much in any app including the lock screen (although it's not working atm, hopefully soon). iOS 8 i think will get Hey siri so your covered here.

5: Google play store. So here's a nifty little feature. I can go to the play store, log in, download an app, and it will push it to my Nexus 7 so long as i have a WiFi connection.

6: Search in recents. In Android L in the keynote the Lady showed off the chrome tabs. There also was a search bar at the top, which is nice.

7: Animation options. So, in iOS 7 you can change the way the animations look but not the speed. In android (and upcoming L) you can do this in the developer options.

8: Lastly, Android easter eggs! Tapping the Android version in 4.4 will get you some nice tiles of all android desserts codenames. 'course this works on past Android devices too.

Shows Google has some humor. And these features gets me High on Android everyday.


Oct 17, 2013
Central California
iOS8 shores up many of the missing features found in Android except for the following:
1. Downloading any file from the internet and placing it on the phone (basically USB storage). Having onboard file storage, access and usability is extremely useful. You can do similar things with the iphone, but you are limited on the file types you can download, where you are able to put them and transferring them on to another non-apple device cam be impossible or extremely slow.

2. Making the phone look the way YOU want. If you buy an iphone, you are stuck with a grid of icons. That's it. It is so antiquated looking and boring. Every iphone setup looks just like every other iphone setup. Identical icons in the same grid Pattern. I almost fell asleep typing that it is so boring and dull to talk about.

3. OTG accessories and game controllers. This has been a huge fault in ios, but luckily with MFi it is going away. Ios has had great looking games hampered by a ridiculous way to play games. Tap, swipe, tilt? Ugghhh. Pathetic. So glad this is a thing of the past.

4. Size. Sorry, but a 3.99" screen at 326ppi in this day is pathetic. Talk about eye strain and constantly having to pinch to zoom and scroll left, right, up and down on webpages. So glad Apple has finally decided to join the rest of the world in larger/1080p screens.


macrumors 6502a
Aug 1, 2011
Real attachments in emails, not the silly way Apple implemented it.

I'll answer the question before it's asked: You can not easily attach a file to an email you are replying to in iOS.

All the rest of my examples have already been stated in this thread.


macrumors G5
Jun 12, 2012
Google now. That to me is the biggest difference. It is just so good and apple has nothing that can even remotely compete.


macrumors 68020
Oct 25, 2008
  • Choose your default programs.
  • Add system features such as unique LED colors for different notifications, quick toggles on top of the notifications bar (the stock Android version of it sucks), tweak various settings (not present on default install) to your liking.
  • Do whatever you want with files and find them in the obvious location: file browser.
  • Use a browser that has a rendering engine that is not Webkit.
  • Improve your phone beyond what the manufacturer intended with custom ROMs and kernels.
  • Get unofficial support for the latest OS versions in older phones - usually the latest Android version runs faster and breathes a bit of new life to old phones.
  • Get annoyed by the lack of decent smaller size phones.

For me the default programs is still a killer. I don't like Safari or Mail, I'd rather use Chrome and Gmail. I really don't like the usability of most of Apple's software, OSX is still their crown jewel in that department and like Android, it's easily extensible. If they had allowed more abilities for developers from the start they would have a really great platform by now. Android has a lot of things to like but there are also many "designed by engineers" things to it that make it less pleasant to use at times.


macrumors 6502
Apr 13, 2013
The ability to have a separate downloads folder is a gem. My gf and I have recently moved place and don't have internet yet, so she's been using her iPhone to apply for jobs. Some sites required her cv (or 'resume', to my american cousins) to be uploaded but there was no way she could do it. She had it in google drive but couldn't download it anywhere for upload in safari. It's such a simple thing, but "iPhone said no".

I think android has the notifications down. Much better than iOS IMO.

Also, in iOS you have to store files within apps. eg movie files in the movies app or VLC. In android, you store them in the phone and choose which app to play them with. Much like a desktop.



macrumors 6502a
Mar 2, 2011
I like the fact that I'm old enough to make my own decisions without Apple telling what I can and can't do


Clearly you've nevered owned an android device


macrumors G5
Aug 7, 2011
How many threads like this have we had already ?
too many....and they usually end up with page after page of of name calling, hair pulling.....eye gouging......pushing and shoving....... mine is bigger than yours boasting........ From people who have this.....



macrumors demi-goddess
Oct 20, 2011
Austin, TX
For me the big thing is widgets. When I turn on my phone, I get the current temperature, a 4-day forcast, and my next appointment all on my homescreen without doing anything else.
Back when I had my S3 for a while, I felt like widgets were something I didn't need. However, now that Jelly Bean has since come and gone, resizing widgets has been a major asset to the Android experience.


macrumors 68040
Dec 22, 2009
Even ignoring things that iOS 8 will be able to do when it comes out and things you must be rooted to do:


Custom launchers

Custom lock screens


Choose what apps perform what actions

Access to the actual filesystem

Install apps from outside official sources (without workarounds)

Bluetooth file transfer (such a basic feature, why does iOS not do this properly?)

Expand your memory without buying a new phone (depending on hardware, but must Android phones allow this)

On that note, choice of hardware, not just the latest one then the last two year's old models (and no, the 5C does not count as choice, it's a 5 with colours)

Basically Android lets you set your phone up as you want it not as the OEM wants you to have it. And of course rooting on most Android phones is a lot easier than jailbreaking on iOS and does not often require hacking the bootloader these days, and apps that take advantage of what you get from rooting can be downloaded from Google's official app source.


macrumors regular
Apr 5, 2007
Calendar widget on home screen so I can quickly see what's up, without having to remember to open Calendar app

Native sharing (send picture from Photos to Gmail) (looks resolved with iOS 8)

Back button to switch between apps I just used (have to use Home screen, then reopen app with iPhone)

AirDroid (use my desktop web browser to do contact/photo management, exporting, etc.)

Default Apps: I want Chrome for my browser, Waze for my maps