Switching from Android to iPhone 12 — The TRUTH!

I’m going to tell you 7 specific reasons why you’re gonna want to switch to the brand new iPhones 12… and 3 reasons why you might just want to stick with the Android that brung ya. And I’m going to do it, right now!

So, yes, right up front I do have to point out that there are a few really big reasons why you may NOT want to switch to the iPhone.

Do NOT Switch to iPhone

1. Variety

First, Apple is still the only company making iPhones. So, if you don’t like what Apple’s doing, you’re out of luck. There just aren’t any other phones running iOS.

With Android, if you hate what Google did with the Pixel 5, not a problem, you can pick up a Galaxy S20 FE. Or any of a dozen other phones from a dozen other brands.

You can also get features and form-factors that Apple just doesn’t consider ready for primetime yet, like 108 megapixel, 100x periscope zooms and, yeah, just all the folds and flips. All of them.

If you hate notches you can get foreheads or hole punches or them mechanical choochers what raise and lower cameras or spin them around.

You can get waterfall and wrap-around displays, USB-C ports, the occasional 3.5mm headphone jack, SD card slot and even physical keyboards. Yeah, BlackBerry is basically a Draco Lich by now.

There’s just a metric tonnage of hardware options and that’s something Apple just won’t and can’t ever match.

2. Customizability

Second, like Subways, you can have your Android your way. Sure, with the iPhone you can change your wallpaper, put widgets on your Home screen, and, with iOS 14.3, now in beta, you can finally customize your icons without compromise, but you’re still locked to Springboard as your launcher and the grid for your layout.

Android isn’t your dad. Or mom. It’s not the boss of you. No matter how much the Google Play APIs increasingly try to send you to your room.

You can theme, even make your system font Comic Sans if you really want to. But, just, oh god, please don’t.

Some people just want their phones to just work for them, but… if you’re willing to work for you phone, literally the more time and effort you’re willing to put in, the weirder and wilder you can make your Android phone — for YOU.

Apple’s making huge strides here, especially this year, but there’s just no telling if or ever they’ll go as far as Google.

3. Availability

Lastly, Google allows some things on Android that Apple still doesn’t on the iPhone.

One is game services like GamePass and Stadia, which let you stream games from the cloud as easily as you stream movies or TV shows from Netflix or Disney+. Apple just seems stuck in and old world model here, but fingers crossed that changes and soon.

The other is side-loading. Which means you can install apps from the web instead of the Google Play store if you really want to. Google will throw up a bunch of warning about safety and security, because it is a huge risk and there’s tons of malware out there, but you can do it.

It’s a lot like Gatekeeper on the Mac, Apple’s just never implemented it on the iPhone.

DO Switch to iPhone

On the flip side — not… not an actual flip… sorry — there are some totally valid reasons to make the switch to iPhone.

1. Small and cheap

Four years ago or so, Apple released the iPhone SE — basically the iPhone 6s guts stuffed inside an iPhone 5s chassis — and it was both smaller and less expensive than any iPhone had been… ever.

This year, Apple released the second generation iPhone SE — basically, the iPhone 11 guts stuff inside an iPhone 8 chassis — and it’s… about the same size as a regular iPhone but back down to that sweet, sweet SE price of just US$399.

Now, yes, it’s not the same in India and many other countries, thanks to the tyranny of international pricing. But, in the U.S., that price is compelling and, frankly, something Apple hasn’t had to offer in a good long while.

If the Home button and Touch ID aren’t deal breakers, hell, if they’re deal-makers for you, the iPhone SE alone is probably the biggest incentive anyone’s had to switch to the iPhone in years.

Except… maybe… for the iPhone 12 mini. It’s nowhere nearly as cheap, but wow is it small. Smaller even than the current iPhone SE but with an edge-to-kinda-edge display that’s almost as big as the old iPhone Plusses.

You can get the regular sized iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro if you really want to, even the massive iPhone 12 Max if you need your phone to be your primary computer. I’ve got in-depth reviews up for all of them, so hit that subscribe bell and button and check them out.

But there are a lot of big phones on the market these days. There’s only one flagship level that’s really mini.

2. The Experience

Because of the way they’re engineered, like beginning of time engineered, iPhones tend to run smoother for longer than Android phones. Even with far fewer resources.

iOS and iOS apps run native on the iPhone, not through an interpreter like Android and Android apps, the code uses active release instead of garbage collection, and every bit of it was written specifically for the device it runs on — there’s no overhead meant to cover every quirk of every possible different device from every possible company.

Apple also still makes the highest performance processors, calibrates everything about the display and imaging pipeline, custom designs every power management and audio system, and the list goes on and on.

The result is, if you just look at the specs and see 4 to 6 GB of RAM or a physically smaller battery, or a 60Hz refresh rate or a non-pixel binned camera, it’s still night-and-day compared to the quality and experience you have using an iPhone. They just load and scroll and last and shoot way better than a similarly or even much higher specced Android device.

It’s like airplane food versus home cooking. Apple can make just exactly the iPhone they think is best.

3. The Google

If you’re on Android, outside of China, with very, very few exception, you’re on Google. And that’s totally fine for a lot of people.

Google makes it so that you can pick up almost any Android device, current Huawei bans not withstanding. All you do is log in with your account, and basically be up and running rickety split.

With an iPhone, you can use your Apple ID, which you might already have from iTunes back in the day or an iPad now, or whatever.

And, if you love you some Google and want to stick with all of their services, that’s fine. Just download any or all of the plethora of iOS apps that Google provides, from Gmail to YouTube, Maps to Chrome, and log into any of them with your same Google ID. And… Google will very helpfully try to log you into everything else using that ID.

iPhone users still provide so many eyeballs and so much money for Google that Google makes damn sure they’re all over the iPhone.

And, for anything you may have that’s not Google, Apple has a Switch to iOS app right on the Google Play Store that’ll help you move just all of that content just all the way over.

And it works… really, really well. So well, that you can legitimately make the argument that the iPhone + Google Apps is simply one of the best Google phones on the market. Best hardware, best services, best combo since peanut butter and chocolate. Even better than than some, maybe many Android phones.

4. Not the Google

But… but… If you don’t like Google, outside of China, using Android is tough. Google has their hooks in deep in the OS, even further down than the Google Play APIs which let modern Android phones be Android.

Even if you go out of your way to avoid Google services, Android is essentially a Google service.

So, while you can make the iPhone into a really top-flight Google phone if you want, you can also make it only partially a Google phone or, not any kind of Google phone at all.

If you don’t like Google’s privacy policies or security track record, if you hate the idea of data harvesting and exploitation and surveillance capitalism or whatever, you can avoid Google’s services entirely.

You can stick to Apple’s apps if you want, use a mix of indie apps, or even go all-in with Microsoft. Because, yeah, you can make the iPhone into a pretty great Windows Phone too.

The point is, you get to choose. If the Google services just aren’t worth the intrusions into your privacy, you can go completely without them and not miss a beat.

5. Privacy

Speaking of which, if you want to, you can absolutely deck out your iPhone with all the Facebook apps you want. The big blue one, Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram. The other dozen messaging apps it feels like Facebook has floating around there too.

They all work great on the iPhone, better even than any other phone. I mean, that’s the reason you so often see celebrities with Android endorsements, even the media teams at other Android makers, accidentally posting their Android ads… from the iPhone. Whoops. Whoopsie.

Same with TikTok. It’s why you see iPhones in the hands of so many of the biggest people on the platform.

But, like with Google apps, you also have the option of just saying ‘no’. To Facebook apps, even apps using the Facebook SDK. It can certainly be tricky, but you can find privacy-centric options for pretty much every kind of non-social app. Including Signal for messaging.

And that’s because Apple has been leading the way on privacy. And when Apple talks about privacy, they’re talking about privacy as in zero knowledge. As in even Apple doesn’t harvest your data.

Sure, you can choose to back up online with Apple if you want to but you can also choose not to and use the good old USB hardline instead.

Google and Facebook have been forced to talk about privacy lately as well, but Google has been intentionally conflating it with data retention and Facebook with encryption.

They’re also both really, really happy to cut third party developers out of the data chain and call that improved privacy. So far, though, Apple’s the only one being really, really happy to cut themselves out.

If you think that just means Apple’s services suck, that’s totally fine: You still have the option of using Google’s or Facebook’s or Microsoft’s or anyone else’s services instead.

Apple and the iPhone are the only ones currently offering you that range of privacy and security options.

6. The camera

Ever notice that the one app where Google’s open-ness ends, hard, is the Pixel camera app? Google doesn’t make it or its amazing algorithms available, never mind for the iPhone, but even for other Android phones.

And, seriously, I don’t blame them. Companies tend to keep closed what makes them money and open up what makes their competitors money. It’s why AdSense is closed and Safari is open.

And the Pixel camera is absolutely terrific. With even commodity camera sensors that are unchanged since the Pixel 2, it routinely outshoots the monstrous, behemoth sensors companies like Samsung and Huawei are bolting on their phones like face huggers from aliens.

I’ve been using Pixel phones for years, I get it. But I also really like what Apple’s doing.

Especially with the new iPhone 12 Pro Max, it’s massive new wide angle sensor with IBIS — in-body-image-stabilization, like fancy cameras — and its new 65mm telephoto. Which, after claiming it was so much better than an ultra-wide-angle, Google just straight up dropped from the Pixel 5 this year like they caught in not showering or something.

Now, Apple may not be using 108 megapixel sensors or periscope cameras, but they’ve put together a pretty remarkable blend of camera hardware, silicon image signal processors, and machine learning software to create what are, routinely, some of the best photos in the business and the best video… period.

Going all the way up to Dolby Vision HDR in 4K60 this year. And, already in beta, ProRAW, which gives you the flexibility to of RAW with the ability to tweak the computational pipeline pretty much any way you want.

Apple’s even made a custom storage controller, so you never miss a photo or a frame, offers real-time, live previews for computational effects, and has instant shutter so what you see is what you capture.

Likewise, the depth and quality of photo and video apps on the iPhone is simply unmatched. Maybe unmatchable, given it’s just easier to make apps for hardware as consistent as the iPhone’s.

7. The ecosystem

Almost everyone talks about the value and power of the Apple ecosystem. And for a reason.

When you buy an iPhone, you also get all the free apps Apple makes for it — free as in free, not free as in your data — including the iWork suite, GarageBand, iMovie, and more. Plus all the free training and courses they offer, not just at Apple Store’s, but increasingly online as well.

There are still more, better, third party apps sooner. And for a variety of reasons, not much of that is likely to change any time soon.

You can use iMessage and FaceTime for end-to-end encrypted text and audio/video chat. They’re not cross-platform, which is super frustrating, but they work great. And, if you need cross-platform, you can again get everything from Facebook Messenger to Facebook WhatsApp to Google Meet/Hangout/Duo/whatever, to Microsoft Skype, to Signal and Discord instead or as well.

There’s the Apple Watch, which is the best wearable on the market — so much so, it pretty much is the market. And AirPods, which have become so popular they’ve also become a meme.

If you have a Mac or iPad, Continuity lets you share cellular data, copy and paste clipboards, and even sync not just data but state between apps, so you can put down a half-written email on your iPad, pick up your iPhone, swipe, and just keep typing that email.

And, of course, AirDrop lets you send files back and forth so quickly and easily you literally start feeling lost with it.

And with the brand new M1 Apple Silicon Macs, you can now have an ultralight as fast as some workstations, and totally, completely, and always in sync with your phone.

Plus, you get software and security updates, in every country, on every carrier, all the time, at the same time, for years. Around 4 to5 years now. Which is just far more than the 3 years only Google, and recently Samsung, offer for even flagship Android devices.

So, if you decide to stay with the iPhone you bought, you get a lot more value in the long run, and if you decide to sell it or trade it in, you get a lot more sale or trade-in value as well.

And that’s as true with a $399 iPhone SE as it is with a $1099 iPhone 12 Pro Max.

The switch

Now, I get it. I totally get it. What one person can find focused and consistent another can find tunnel-visioned, monotonous, even boring.

One person’s security and protection can be another’s over-control andstraight-jacket. Each advantage can be a disadvantage.

End of the day, you have to get the best phone for you.