Why I’m NOT Switching to Android — The TRUTH

The iPhone 13 is here with better cameras, better video, better battery, better display… pretty much better everything. And I’m going to give you 7 very specific reasons why you’re gonna want to switch — or switch back — from Android to iPhone, and 3 just as specific reason why you might want to stick with the Pixel, Samsung, OnePlus or whatever Droid done brung ya.

1. Variety

Now, I’ll get to why you really might want to make the switch in an Apple silicon hot minute, but first there are a few reasons that make you want to stick.

First, Apple is still the only company making iPhones. So, if you don’t like what Apple’s doing, you’re out of luck.

With Android, if you don’t like what OnePlus did with the 9, not a problem, you can pick up what Google did with the Pixel 6. If you’re bored with black slabs, you can get flips and even folds. If you hate notches, you can get hole punches or foreheads or even mechanical choochers what raise and lower cameras and spin them around. If Lightning isn’t your thing, you can get USB-C.

Point being, there’s just an endless variety of hardware options — and yes, experiments — other there that Apple is simply not going to even try and match. Either never, or just not any time soon.

2. Customizability

Same for software customization. Sure, with the iPhone you can change your wallpaper, your widgets, even use Shortcuts to swap up your icons, if you’re willing to put in the work. But you’re still locked to that classic iPhone launcher and grid, with nothing like a proper ThemeKit in sight.

Now, Android… Android isn’t your dad, your mom… your parent. Android isn’t the boss of you. No matter how much the Google Play APIs increasingly try to make you clean your room.

You can customize, you can theme, you can make it material… YOU! Which is legit terrific looking. But you can also make your system font Comic Sans if that’s exactly the type of monster you gotta be.

And while some people just want their phones work for them, if you’re willing to work for your phone, the more time and effort you put in, the weirder and wilder you can make your Android experience.

3. Control

There are two types of apps you can get on Android that you just can’t on iPhone. The first is real game streaming services like Google’s own Stadia, or Microsoft’s Gamepass. That means you can stream the latest games as easily as you stream the latest shows from Netflix or Disney+. Apple, not so much. They’re bizarrely stuck in the past and want every app stuck in the store. Fingers crossed that changes and soon, but it is what it is for now.

The second type of app you can get on Android that you can’t get on the iPhone is… yeah, anti-virus. Insert your own punchline here.

But Android also lets you side-load, which means you can install apps from the web instead of the Google Play store if you really want to. You’ll get a bunch of warnings 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, which is something Apple’s never implemented on the iPhone.

And you can also set pretty much any app to do pretty much anything by default. Apple allows that for a very few things, like Mail and Browser, and has Shortcuts so you can automate pretty much anything, but Android is still more open world to Apple’s life on rails.

Do Switch to iPhone

1. Small… and cheap

Now, switching to the iPhone has more than a few quad-major advantages too. For example, you can get really good, really small iPhones.

There’s the iPhone 13 mini, which takes everything that was great about the one-handed iPhone 12 mini and adds a way better camera and way longer battery life. Seriously, it’s gone from a day-timer to an all-dayer, packing every single feature from the full sized 13 in a body small enough to fit into your change pocket or clutch. Which is something that’s just not that easy to find anymore.

And, if you just don’t want to pay that much for that small a phone, there’s also the iPhone SE 2, which has an iPhone 8 design, complete with Home button and Touch ID, but with iPhone 11 internals, so it’s still plenty small and plenty fast, not compared to the latest iPhones, but still compared to the latest Androids.

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 different vendor.

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 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 120Hz 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 load and scroll and last and shoot way better than a similarly or even much higher specced Android device.

And in North America, tying into iMessage and FaceTime… just works.

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. Great even.

Google makes it so that you can pick up almost any Android device, log in with your account, and 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 be up and running just as fast. But,, if you love you some Google and want to stick with all of their services as well, 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 Google on the iPhone 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… modern Android phone.

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

That means you can make the iPhone into a really top-flight Google phone if you want, but 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 Edge and Outlook. 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… Meta… whatever 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. Or any SDK now with App Tracking Transparency. You can stop them, literally.. in their tracks… tracking… whatever.

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? Just like Apple won’t put iMessage on Android, Google won’t put the Pixel Camera app on iPhone… or other Android phones for that matter!

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. It routinely outshoots the monstrous glass Samsung and Huawei keep bolting on their phones like face huggers from aliens.

But Apple’s also doing something really special as well, with hardware like in-body image stabilization, or IBIS, to ProRAW, to color matching not just between cameras but through the entire pipeline from capture to display, and computational photography that’s built into the silicon, so a lot of it runs in real time, in the live view, instead of all being shunted off to a post-process. And it launches fast and saves every frame, so you never miss a shot.

And Apple still has the best video in the business. Not just up to Dolby Video HDR in 4K60, but ProRes now as well.

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 Stores, 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 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 Apple Silicon Macs, you can now have an laptops as fast as some workstations, with all day battery life, 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 to 5 years now. Which is something even the biggest Android vendors are only now even attempting to match.

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.

That’s as true with a $400 iPhone SE as it is with a $1100 iPhone 12 Pro Max. And the good news is, no matter which one you choose, you can stay always up to date, with today’s sponsor, Morning Brew…

The switch

Now, I get it. I totally get it. What one person can find focused and consistent another can find tunnel-visioned, even boring. One person’s security and protection can be another’s straight-jacket. Each advantage can be a disadvantage.

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