I’ve been an Android user for more than ten years at this point, having swapped to Google’s mobile OS from the now-ancient iPhone 3GS. I’m no stranger to iPhones or iOS in general, since my job pretty much demands it.
But am I likely to buy an iPhone of my own? The answer is still no. And despite all the flaws Android has, it still suits me much better than Apple’s smartphone will. Not even the iPhone 13 is going to change that.
- 5 reasons why I’m skipping iPhone 13 for the iPhone 14
- Everything we know about the iPhone 13
- Plus: iPhone 13 cameras: Here’s the biggest upgrades for the new iPhones
The main thing I like about Android, as an operating system, is its inherent ability to customise your experience. Android itself has the option to have whatever you darn well like on the home screen, and has done for over a decade.
The main thing I like about this is that I get to pick and choose what apps to have on my homescreen, and how they’re presented. The rest all live in the app drawer, waiting for me to flick it open and find whatever it is I’m looking for.
Granted, the iPhone has had its own dedicated app library since iOS 14, and you don’t necessarily have to keep all your apps on the home screen. But iOS still doesn’t give you complete control over their positioning either, since you can’t leave any empty space between icons.
Even Apple’s revamped home screen widgets, which are now more like Android’s than whatever the heck Apple thought it was doing before, can’t make up for that fact. At least not to me.
Sure, things have improved a lot over the past year or so, but for now Android still has the edge. Plus, there's a multitude of customizable launchers out there, giving you the option to further tweak your phone's UI if it's not to your taste.
I’m also no huge fan of the fact Apple has tossed Touch ID to the wayside; there was no mention of it at Tuesday's Apple Event, and it won't be making a return with iPhone 13. While I very much preferred the classic physical fingerprint scanner over the new under-display options found on many recent Android phones, I still find the latter option to be a lot nicer to use than Face ID.
Frankly, having to look at my phone to unlock it, especially when verifying a payment in Apple Pay, is such a chore that I find it baffling Apple picked it over something as easy as tapping a finger on a button.
I get where Apple is coming from with Face ID being more secure than a mere fingerprint scanner, but it would be nice to have an option, especially since under-display fingerprint scanners are pretty well established at this point.
The same goes for USB-C, which Apple has been pretty slow to adopt in its mobile devices. MacBooks switched to the standard back in 2015, with iPad Pros joining them in 2018 and the new iPad mini 6 including the port this year. And yet, Lightning has still lingered, despite now being ancient by tech standards.
There is the argument that Lighting is absolutely fine, and doesn’t need changing — barring a few exceptions where USB-C’s enhanced connectivity is required. But there are also rumors that Apple is trying to wait it out, and only ditch Lightning when it can release a reliable portless iPhone.
When I’m buying a new phone, I want the option to keep using all the various chargers I’ve accumulated over the years — even if they don’t offer the very best charging speeds. With any other phone, I wouldn’t have that problem, but Apple still insists on being the outlier.
Apple does get some of the important stuff right
That said, there are things that appeal to me about iOS. Apple’s focus on privacy and security is great, and something more phone makers (Google especially) should be focusing on. Likewise, the fact that iPhones all get software updates around the same time, rather than waiting for an OEM or carrier to start rolling them out, is pretty great.
Alright, so Google does do that with the Pixel range, but on the flip side it still doesn’t support its phones for nearly as long as it could. While Apple still provides software updates for the iPhone 6S, and other phones released back in 2015, Google only supports Pixels for a few years. As a result, the oldest one still getting regular Android updates is 2018’s Pixel 3 — but that support expires at the end of next month. It’s a problem all Android phones have, and one I'd love to be solved.
Then again, none of these things really make up for the fact an iPhone costs so much. Plenty of flagship Android phones do too, but I have the option to stay clear of them; there are many excellent lower-cost options available to pick up the slack.
With iPhones, “cheaper” usually means smaller, and I don’t want to go back to the postage-stamp-like screens of the iPhone SE or iPhone 12 mini. Sure, the $349 iPhone SE has everything an iPhone 13 does where software is concerned, but its hardware is absolutely not my thing.
I’m aware that these are all very minor criticisms, but they do add up. And they add up to the point where I genuinely do not want to make the jump from Android back to the iPhone — especially once you also take price into consideration. And unless Apple is going to make some pretty sweeping changes with the iPhone 14, then it isn’t going to happen anytime soon — iPhone 13 or not.
- More: Apple Watch 7: What happened to all the upgrades we were promised?