“Hmmmm” was my reaction to hearing that Instagram boss Adam Mosseri reckons Android is now better than iOS.
In response to YouTuber MKBHD (aka Marques Brownlee) posting on the Meta-owned Threads app asking for tech “hot takes” Mosseri replied with: "Android's now better than iOS." This take saw a flurry of responses in both support and opposition to Mosseri’s stance on the matter; some noted it explains why there’s no native Instagram app for iPad, while others said that Android is more privacy-sapping and offers worse customer service than iOS.
Now I’ve been writing about this long enough to know that such hot takes trigger tribalism in smartphone users (it’s the same situation when it comes to pitting the PS5 vs Xbox Series X). But I’ve got my tech toes in both the iOS and Android pools, and can see where Mosseri is coming from, though I also don’t fully agree with him.
First off, Instagram on iPad is a joke. In all my years of using an iPad, the Instagram app still hasn't been configured to play nicely with the tablet, yet it works fine on the best Android tablets as well as the best foldable phones more recently. And that situation doesn't look like it’ll change any time soon, especially as Mosseri has said in the past that there aren't enough iPad users to justify Instagram making a native iPad app a priority. I think this is just something iPad users have mostly just swallowed up.
As for Instagram on iPhone, I find the main app works fine and ties in nicely with the camera on my iPhone 13 Pro. However, I have noticed that opening posts in third-party apps like WhatsApp could cause them to open in Safari rather than in the Instagram app, which can be irritating. Though at the time of writing, I only managed to replicate this issue once so perhaps it’s mostly been solved.
Nevertheless, I can see where Mosseri is coming from. But I also don’t agree with him in full.
Android vs iPhone: iOS still wins for me
At the end of 2021, I swapped from Android to iPhone. And while I've used and still use some of the best Android phones, I’ve not yet swapped back from my iPhone 13 Pro. And the reason for that is how consistent iOS and the overall iPhone experience is.
It’s a cliche, but things do just work on iPhones. The content management system Tom’s Guide uses is easily accessible on iOS and can be used to do quick edits if needed, while on Android it really doesn't work. And I’ve found the same to be somewhat true of all manner of devices and services; connecting to Bluetooth headphones, streaming audio to smart speakers, display mirroring and so on, all just feels easier to do on iPhone than on Android devices.
Sure iOS has its frustrations with widgets that aren't up there with Android equivalents, and it baffles me how hard it is to easily drag and drop apps without other apps flying all over the place on iOS. I also find Android more interesting to use than iOS; the different phone brands and the skins applied to Android phones make for a more attention-grabbing experience, whereas the user interface of iPhones doesn't change a great deal from generation to generation.
Yet metaphorical gun to my head, if I was to recommend either iOS or Android to the average consumer — when not factoring in budgets — I’d have to recommend an iPhone. Android phones lack that pure polish that I believe iOS still has; they are great for tech aficionados, but for everyone else who just wants a smartphone to be as easy as possible to use in most cases, then iPhones still represent the gold standard.