What exactly makes Android so different from iOS?

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by GKDAIR, Jun 22, 2013.

  1. GKDAIR macrumors regular

    Oct 4, 2011
    I have only had ios devices since they first came around back in 2007.

    I honestly don't know very much about Android aside from it's an open platform.

    Around a couple of years ago I did try switching over to Android, I can't tell you which version it was, but I believe it was Honeycomb. It was an HTC phone, and I had nothing but problems with it from Day 1. It wasn't so much the android platform, it was the phone itself.

    I'm getting tired of ios. There's nothing wrong with it, I just would like to try something new.

    I don't know anything about rooting or sideloading apps or anything technical like that, but I'm a geek so if someone would explain to me what exactly "rooting" is, then I could easily learn.

    The Samsung galaxy S4 honestly looks amazing, and when my current phone (a horrible windows phone, again, I wanted to try something different) contract is up I want to try the Galaxy.

    I'm in the market for a 7" tablet, and I hear good things about the Nexus 7, but it's also getting an update within the next month I assume, given that the last model came out this time last year.

    Any other big name android tablets besides the Nexus 7, I know the Kindle Fire HD is but it's a locked down version?

    Anyway, what makes Android so...different than the ios? I mean to me it seems the same, besides the two different app stores and such.
  2. daveathall macrumors 68000


    Aug 6, 2010
    North Yorkshire
    I would forget about all the nonsense spouted about needing to do a lot to an Android phone to make it work. Straight from the box it is fairly easy to get up and running, even for non tech people like myself, for a self proclaimed geek like yourself there will be no problems at all. I would suggest that for the time being to forget about rooting etc your new phone, it really will be enjoyable as is. Later, perhaps you could go the rooting, flashing route.

    Do not, do not, do not compare it to iOS, it works differently, not wrongly, just differently, if iOS does something one way, it does not mean that Android doing it another way is wrong. Take your time to enjoy your new phone, don't just give it a week or two, give it a good chance.

    I came from a long line of iPhones (3GS, 4, 4S and 5) and move to a SGS3, Nexus 4 and now a Galaxy S4, I have been very lucky, all of the phones I have owned that I have mentioned have been superb, I just enjoy Android more at the moment.

    Enjoy your new phone. :)
  3. eaglesteve macrumors 6502

    Aug 10, 2009
    To me, the key differences are:

    (A) With Android, you get to choose bigger screen size. That's to me the only advantage.

    (B) TO ME PERSONALLY, iOS on a JAILBROKEN iPhone holds advantages in all other aspects, as there're many things which Android isn't capable of providing. These are just a few key ones FOR ME:
    1) I have lots of music videos and want to be able to play them in the background while doing other things with the phone (no pop up video please), and also with the phone completely switched off. This can't be done with Android as far as I know.
    2) I want to create playlists that contains both music and music videos. This again could not be done.
    3) I want to be able to start/pause/skip/go back in music/video playing while the playing in in the background or when the phone is switched off. With iPhone, we can jailbreak it and install Activator to perform such functions. With Android, this can't be done. I listen to music just before going to sleep every night, and do not want to turn on the bright screen to perform these task. Instead I want to just put my fingers on the hardware buttons that perform these task and to perform them without having to open my eyes.

    (C) Of course, malware, fragmentations, software upgrade, vendor support, ecosystem, integrations across PC/tablets/phone are some other areas that you would find these two platform to be quite different.
  4. ChazUK macrumors 603


    Feb 3, 2008
    Essex (UK)
    Don't you omit all those platform advantages the moment you Jailbreak?

    By default you have root access with a commonly known password unless you change it.

    You're stuck on an older release of iOS just to keep your jailbreak.

    software upgrade
    You can't "software upgrade" because of the previous reason.

    vendor support
    Apple will not support a jailbroken device without it being fully restored to stock (forcing you to upgrade to the latest release, losing your jailbreak).

    These are different I do agree but some of this is thanks to the differences between platforms.

    integrations across PC/tablets/phone
    Something I find inferior on iOS compared to Android.

    All of my iTunes Matched music for insistence is only available on my Windows PC's or my iPod/iPad iPhone. Google Music is however avaiable on my iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Lumia 620 & Linux installations. Not only that, I can stream my music collection wherever I have a browser and an internet connection (at work for example) with no third party software.

    Google hangouts has video calling and messaging available to all of the above except my Lumia whereas my iMessages only sync to my iPod/iPhone/iPad.

    Google Docs/Drive and all files are available on all of my devices through the Google drive app.

    -----To the OP:-----

    for me it's "different" because it has enabled me to consume far more of my content across the many devices and operating systems I use.

    The way applications can integrate with the system (the universal sharing function is a big one I use) and the ability to open files and services with applications other than the ones Apple let you on iOS make the platform even more powerful and what I need.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Google Now has served to become a useful service to me, alerting me to leave 15 minutes to a doctors appointment because of traffic in the past and things like the below are nice touches:

    This was an alert I got when on a recent business trip to Ghent in Belgium.

    Customization (if you're into it) can be very powerful on Android but can be a complete disaster in the wrong hands.

    Most of the above can be duplicated on a jailbroken iPhone but the way it all works out of the box on Android is refreshing. If you're into rooting/custom firmwares the possibilities of the OS can be enhanced further but I have zero issues with using a non-rooted or hacked phone.
  5. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 604

    Oct 27, 2009
    Openness is a huge factor for me. From choosing differ keyboards, setting default apps, toggling between accounts, sideloading apps and using other app stores, access to file manager, Full bluetooth usage, widgets, multiple ways to access or sync your media, and the list goes on & on.

    Also rooting is just as easy as Jailbreaking. (For most popular devices)
    Overall I find rooted tweaks more stable than jailbroken tweaks/apps.

    Then you have to factor that iOS and iPhone are dependent on each other, can't have one without the other. With Android you have a tons of differ devices too choose from.
  6. Vegastouch, Jun 22, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2013

    Vegastouch macrumors 603


    Jul 12, 2008
    Las Vegas, NV
    Interesting....you say bigger screens are the only advantage you see and then go on to only list playing music and videos in the background as an advantage to iOS...and it has to be jailbroken to do that.

    Well, that is only one thing and im not so sure Android cant do that since that is something i dont do much but i can play a video when doing other things and i can play music with the screen off. I just probably do it differently than you are. When rooted, you can do tons more to go with the many more things you can do on Android being stock.

    As for fragmentation,...coming to an iPhone near you soon when they make different size screens. And ive never had a malware problem. That is only an issue in the China Playstore.
  7. Explicitic macrumors 6502

    Oct 26, 2012
    It's pretty hard to take someone seriously when one of their problems with a(n) (mobile) operating system is malware.
  8. blitzer09x87 macrumors 6502

    May 19, 2013
    UIs, launchers, different phones, different physical(like the IR blaster) and software features (airview in the s4)
  9. chagla, Jun 22, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2013

    chagla macrumors 6502a


    Mar 21, 2008
    I think you ought to try an Android device. As many of things you mentioned can actually be done on Android WITHOUT any sort of rooting.

    lastly, part C is nothing more than propaganda. seriously....

    on Android, you can not only choose your default programs (browsers for instance) but you can also set your desired homepage!

    real access to file system and storage. why is that important? so you can take your phone anywhere, plug in to any computer and transfer files (every type of file). you might be aware, on ios you put files inside an app, thats really bad. firstly that file can't be seen by any other app, you can only put certain type of file inside the app and lastly if you delete the app, guess what? your files are gone too! absolutely unacceptable. as such, you may end up with multiple copies of same file.

    rooting - is not required. it's a misconception. on android, 90% customization can be done by anyone without rooting or voiding warranty. its just a matter of installing app from play store. two minute deal. rooting is actually for hardcore geeks who want to flash roms.
  10. Dr McKay macrumors 68040

    Dr McKay

    Aug 11, 2010
    Rooting is also for that 10% of things you can't do without it. I root so that I can use Adaway, gain access to system files in the File Browsers, use Titanium backup, gain extra features in Cerberus, the list goes on but those are my personal reasons for rooting.
  11. torana355 macrumors 68030

    Dec 8, 2009
    Sydney, Australia
    In many ways they are very similar, both have homescreens with icons and widgets with Android. The biggest difference is you are not locked down with Android, if you want Firefox to be your default browser you have that choice, if you want to use your favorite song as a ring tone you can simply select it, if you want to share a file, webpage, video, playstore link ect you can do so to any third party app, the list is huge. It is also very easy to customize your icons and homescreen setup with a custom launcher that you can download from the playstore, NO rooting required. Then there are the simple things like being able to use the phone like a usb stick, you can copy your music, photos or videos straight over to it. To put it simply Android just works. :)
  12. Partron22 macrumors 68020


    Apr 13, 2011
    Access to the file system is nice on my Nexus 7. Rather than doing all that crazy syncing with iTunes and camera rolls and Image Capture and such, I can just drag files around between devices, and open them with different apps of my own choosing.
    No one's mentioned this yet, but if you hook up a hard drive, keyboard, and mouse to a rooted Nexus, they all work. You get a cursor on screen from the mouse and double-clicking does what it's expected to do. Turns out having a mouse that works is really nice for doing word processing.
  13. T5BRICK macrumors G3


    Aug 3, 2006
    You don't even need to root to flash your ROM, you just need to unlock the bootloader.
  14. eaglesteve, Jun 22, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2013

    eaglesteve macrumors 6502

    Aug 10, 2009
    You don't need to install SSH. If you do, you should change the common password, this I agree.

    My concern is more on degree to which one could be tricked into installing malware from the Android Play Store vs that from the App Store.

    It is true that jailbreaking takes some time. However, the most recent iOS version jailbroken is never that old. The current iOS version is 6.1.4, which has no significant functional difference from 6.1.2.(which is the newest untethered jailbreakable iOS for iPhone 5). According to a recent report, 93% of its iPhone users are using iOS 6, which is the latest version, 6% are on iOS 5, which was released in 2011 and just 1% are still on earlier iOS, which was released in 2010. In contrast, 36.4% of the Android users are still on Gingerbread (Android 2.3 – 2.3.2), which was released in 2010, 33% of the users are on Jelly Bean (Android 4.x.x), which is the latest version and 25.6% of the users are still on Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0.3 – 4.0.4), which was released in 2011. So a majority of Android users are still on older version of the software. This does not include devices like the Kindle Fire and millions of devices in China than run on Android but do not use Google’s services. If we take those variants of Androids into account the situation is even worst.

    Usually, when we go for "support" that involves the phone hardware (as oppose to getting other form of support such as attending free training in Apple Store), we expect a swap and to get a brand new phone. We would of course first backup our phone and wipe it first.

    On iOS you can have both of these methods, whereas on Android you could have only one of these methods.

    Similarly if I'm on iOS, I could have 100% secured messaging using iMessage and really fluid video conferencing using Facetime, as well as other form of communications available on the Android platform (such as Tango, Whatsapp, Viber, WeChat, etc).

    Talking about Google now, it is ironic that 99% of the iOS users (who are on iOS5 or iOS6) are able to use this service, whereas just 33% of the Android users can use Google Now as it needs Android 4.1 or later. The percentage is even lower if you include all variants of Android.

    Having playlist combining video music and normal music as well as playing them in the background do not require jailbreaking. It's the control of music with hardware buttons that needs jailbreaking. I should have made this clearer in my post.

    There's another key requirements of mine that needs jailbreaking, which is the ability to use system-wide TouchPal keyboard (Ability to use third party keyboard, as we all know, is a strength of using Android phones, and unfortunately, something users of iOS can get only via jailbreaking).

    I have. I'm currently also using a Samsung Galaxy Note 2. I will also be getting perhaps an HTC One when they put in a Snapdragon 800. Before this I also had a Samsung Galaxy S. I just don't find them capable of meeting my needs (where music is a big part), so they're just my hobby phones as oppose to my day to day main phone.
  15. Assault macrumors 6502a


    Mar 19, 2013
    in the taint
    Have you tried PlayerPro Music or Double twist or Poweramp to do all this? I'm not big into Music so not sure if any of these fit your needs?

    I'm not gonna bother commenting on your misguided views of Android vs iOS regarding malware, ecosystem, fragmentation and so on.
  16. blackhand1001, Jun 22, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2013

    blackhand1001 macrumors 68030


    Jan 6, 2009
    CM10 and pretty much every other custom rom in existence has volume key playback controls. Heck most stock manufacturer roms do as well.

    The fragmentation argument also holds no merit. Unlike iOS, the core apps like maps, gmail, the keyboard, play store, google now, etc... are all updated separately from the OS so you have the latest version no matter what android version you are on. Also you can root any release of android. If someone buys an iphone 5 right now and wants to Jailbreak it they are out of luck.
  17. Abazigal macrumors G3


    Jul 18, 2011
    Fragmentation is an issue which concerns developers more than users. The cost to consumers is that those using older versions won't be able to use apps coded to run on the latest OS version.

    So on Android for example, what this means is that because Google Now is not accessible to 2/3s of the Android user-base, an app developer may not be inclined to devote time and resources to making use of the improved notifications APIs that come with it, because he knows that majority will not benefit from it anyways. So to make an app backwards compatible all the way to Gingerbread, the drawback is that the app may not be as useful or versatile as it could have been.

    Also, not many people know what rooting is, much less how to go about it, and even fewer will bother with it. Likewise, because the number of people who jailbreak their phone still represents just a small proportion of overall IOS users and technically involves exploiting loopholes in the OS, I personally wouldn't include jailbreaking as a viable alternative.
  18. eaglesteve, Jun 22, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2013

    eaglesteve macrumors 6502

    Aug 10, 2009
    I'll go ahead to try them out now. Will let you know if any of them do what I need to need. Thanks.

    PlayerPro Music:
    It does allow me to play one single music video with the phone switched off which is great. However,(a) I have not been able to play the audio in the background while doing other things.(b) the playlist seems to be only for normal music but not for videos, and there does not appear to allow mixing of music and music videos in a playlist.(c) No hardware button control.

    Perhaps I'm missing something? Anyone knows ?

    Double twist:
    All the problems (a) to (c) under PlayerPro music applies here. In addition, the audio for music video stops the moment I switch off the phone. Perhaps I'm doing something wrong?

    Does it play video? I can't seem to get it to see any of my music videos.
  19. sentinelsx macrumors 68010

    Feb 28, 2011
    There are apps to map hardware buttons to play/skip/rewind songs on play store, and their are apps that allow music and videos playlists in play store, and malware is a big deal unless you are super naive (seriously, take 2 seconds to read those permissions okay?).

    Only applicable thing is that video background play. That depends if you use the feature or not though (iirc chrome on android now also allows background video playback).

    Also the tweaks after jailbreaks tend to make iPhones highly unstable compared to a simple root on android. I have jailbroken all my iPhones since the 3GS (currently on 6.1.2 on an iPhone 5) and most stable I have seen is an iPhone 4 on 4.3.3 jailbroken. Even then I expected to see my weekly share of bizzare behavior which happened. Nowadays after uninstalling lock info (which is such a GREAT tweak), my iPhone is a little more stable, but it was kinda frightening to see it respond to my taps a whole 3 seconds later last week. Wow, never thought it would do that. Good thing I was able to reboot it.
  20. eaglesteve macrumors 6502

    Aug 10, 2009
    What's the name of the application? I had asked this questions many times before and this is the first time someone tells me that such application exist. I would be thrilled if you would share this info with me.

    Yes, all my music playlists combine normal musics and music videos, and I have the habit of listening to them while using all kinds of applications in the foreground.

    I guess that depends very much on what Cydia applications have been installed. It can be perfectly stable if the errant applications and tweaks are not installed.
  21. ilovewasabi macrumors member

    Feb 3, 2013
    There's nothing nearly as powerful as Activator on any operating system besides a jailbroken iPhone. If there's one clear advantage a jailbroken iPhone has over any Android phone, it's Activator. I was quite surprised Android didn't have it because I was contemplating changing to Android, but I googled "android activator" and all I got were suggestions that don't even come close.
  22. LIVEFRMNYC, Jun 23, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2013

    LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 604

    Oct 27, 2009
    Nottach Exposed for the S4.

    Also there is ButtonRemapper.
  23. Assault macrumors 6502a


    Mar 19, 2013
    in the taint
    LOL. Activator allows iPhone to do things that are stock on Android. And that is why Android doesn't have an app for something that is built in. Now if you root and ROM, even a jail broken iPhone is still significantly behind in capabilities.
    Activator is an essential Cydia tweak though, because so many other tweaks depend on it. In fact, Activator is probably the most important tweak in the entire Cydia store. It gives you a lot of the same functionality of stock Android phones, but the inherent locked down state of iOS, still makes for a patched work experience in using these tweaks.
  24. eaglesteve macrumors 6502

    Aug 10, 2009
    I agree.

    I have also been searching for the equivalent of Activator since I started using Android phones, but you're right in that it does not exist up to this point in time.
  25. ChazUK macrumors 603


    Feb 3, 2008
    Essex (UK)
    Great responses eaglesteve, thank you!

    Is this a personal concern or a concern for the general public? Whilst there is possibly a call for some people out there to use vetted applications exclusively, I can't say I've been affected at all with any malware susceptible operating systems for around a decade. I've managed to keep my Windows, Linux, Mac OS X and Android usages malware free for as long as I can remember.

    I'm not entirely sure I understand how this correlates with the people that jailbreak that may end up unable (or unwilling) to jump on iOS 7 once it is released. On the flipside, anyone capable of jailbreaking would most likely be more than capable of using a custom Android ROM of the latest release of Android. I find it funny that those that jailbreak are likely to be stuck on older firmware releases whereas those that decide to go the custom firmware route on Android will most likely be updated faster than the OEM will with their customization.

    I have an old ZTE Blade which launched with Froyo and was only officially updated to Gingerbread by ZTE but there are Android 4.2 releases for the thing. Not bad at all for such old and unsupported hardware.

    Apple will likely refuse refuse to support a jailbroken phone. http://support.apple.com/kb/ht3743

    Not only that, it's my understanding that a restore through iTunes to get back to stock prior to any support neded will result in the latest ipa file being flashed as the older ones are no longer signed for flashing. Also, any white box replacements done in store are likely flashed to the latest iOS release before being passed on to the end user. Until the next exploit is found (and it should be noted that jailbreaking is only possible thanks to the discovery of security exploits), you're stuck with stock iOS... All of the benefits of a JB, gone.

    A massive selection of Android devices do not require any security exploits to gain superuser rights and custom firmware flashing on the handsets (most of this is restricted by carrier branded handsets.

    Many Samsung (non-carrier & some carrier branded) handsets are bootloader unlocked.
    All Nexus devices are bootloader unlocked.
    HTC Dev: http://www.htcdev.com/
    Sony: http://developer.sonymobile.com/services/flash-tool/
    Motorola: https://motorola-global-portal.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/87215
    LG allow the unlocking of some devices.

    There are plenty of options for the tinkerers out there to keep up with the latest Android releases. Certainly not something for everyone but to the jailbreaker, much of this should be do-able.

    You certainly can do this on both iOS and Android (which is why I said so! :p) but throw Windows, Windows Phone and Linux into the mix and you need something that is truly universal. Lots of people may love the vendor lock in that Apple provides but others that use far more than just Macs and iOS devices may need a little more.

    Apple would do well to move more of their services to the web, iTunes match streaming, iMessages all in a browser would be fantastic!

    I can't say I'm much concerned for those on lower OS builds as me. I haven't ever fretted that some people still use XP, Vista, Windows 7, older Linux releases, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Lion over the past few years so I'm unlikely to be worried about those on Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb or Ice Cream Sandwich.

    What I have noticed is that there are plenty of applications that take advantage of the latest API's and Android 4.0+ regardless of the "fragmentation" problem. Most of the applications I use are designed with Android 4.o and above and seem optimised for those specific releases. Instagram, Twitter, Google Mail, Press, Pocket, TuneIn Radio, BBC Weather, CPUz, Genius Scan, IMDB, Netflix, Noom Walk, Pocket, Press, RunKeeper, Snapseed, TuneinRadio and Vine all seem to be optimized with the newer design guidelines and rich notifications designed for 4.x.

    When it comes to the dreaded fragmentation, I can't help but feel that a lot of the negativity is bought up without any actual issues for the user saying it. It does seem to be a big issue with a lot of Apple proponent's I've found over the last few years.

    As I said though, great replies! Thank you. :D

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