iOS and Android update process compared

iOS and Android update process compared

Summary: Like millions of device owners, yesterday I updated my iPhone to IOS 6. Coincidentally, my Nexus S 4G update to Jelly Bean rolled out and I updated it, too. Seeing the two platform updates side-by-side reinforces the reality of Android updates.

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TOPICS: iOS, Android, Mobile OS
103
Nexus iPhone updated

As I mentioned earlier, I am in no hurry to swap my iPhone 4S for the new iPhone 5. That decision was easy because yesterday Apple rolled out the iOS 6 update for iPhones and iPads.

After months of waiting I was surprised to see my Jelly Bean update was available for my Nexus S 4G on the same day iOS 6 was released. Updating both phones at the same time drove home the reality of updates on the two platforms.

The update on the iPhone 4S was flawless. It didn't take very long even though Apple's servers must have been slammed with everyone updating at the same time. The entire process was straightforward and in short order I was packing what in essence is a new iPhone.

There are reports of some iPhone owners having problems with Wi-Fi after updating to iOS 6, but I am not one of those. Maybe I'm lucky but my Wi-Fi is working perfectly with iOS 6.

My iPhone 4S is like a new phone in surprising ways. The overall operation is faster than it's ever been, and even the operation is smoother than ever. It is a tremendous update for me so far.

While the iPhone received the latest iOS update immediately after its release, the same couldn't be said for the Android Jelly Bean update. 

Even though the Nexus S 4G is a Google Android flagship phone, the Jelly Bean update has been anything but prompt. This update was greatly delayed just like the previous Ice Cream Sandwich update. Google lets the handset makers and carriers control the update, so delayed for months it has been until yesterday.

The Jelly Bean update process started off nicely. The update downloaded OTA and then rebooted the phone for the install. That went well too, at first. 

The system update applied and then Jelly Bean started optimizing (whatever that means) installed apps for the new OS. That took a while and then the phone rebooted again. Once complete I ran the Google Play Store app to see if any apps needed updating, but the Play app crashed immediately upon opening.

This kept happening so I manually rebooted the Nexus S 4G to see if that would clear it up. The Play Store app is critical for getting and updating apps and I needed to get it running.

The manual reboot worked and the process quickly informed me it was optimizing some other apps for Jelly Bean. I don't know which apps or why they weren't "optimized" the first time around. 

Once that finished I ran the Play Store app again with the same results, it crashed. I manually rebooted the phone yet again and then the Play store ran properly. No telling why it finally worked.

Google server error

I was then confronted with an error screen informing me that "there was a problem communicating with Google's servers, try again later". I use Gmail and the Google cloud heavily, so this prevented me from doing anything with Google for about an hour until the servers mysteriously came back.

This update comparison verifies what is frequently said about iOS and Android. Apple's devices get updates all at once with no waiting. The update process tends to go without issues, and life goes on.

Android on the other hand, is a mixed bag. Some phones still haven't received the Jelly Bean update and perhaps never will. My experience with the Nexus S 4G shows that even going with a flagship phone for Android isn't a sure bet for prompt updates. I have been waiting for months for each major Android update, even while Google was promising that wouldn't be the case.

The difficulty getting Android updates out even for Google's own devices convinces me that the updates are unusually complicated to get right. I don't see it getting any better as it's been this way since the birth of Android. It will always be hit or miss if/when any given Android phone/tablet will get an update, or how good the experience will be.

Before Android enthusiasts jump in with the inevitable comment that all I have to do is root and install a custom ROM to get the latest and greatest, let me make it clear I don't want to do that. When I buy a Google flagship phone I should get updates right away without jumping through hoops. I don't like how rooting and replacing shipping software cuts me off from official updates. That's why I don't jailbreak my iOS devices either.

Topics: iOS, Android, Mobile OS

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103 comments
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  • As an Android user...

    I've got to say there was something not right with the market after the update to Jelly Bean. I suspect that the update was automatically looking for apps that needed updating and our impatience caused issues. Whatever happened, it wasn't great.

    As for all the other updates I've it on my various android devices, they all went like clockwork. Pone popped up a message saying an update was ready and off it went. No cables, no software, nothing.

    I've had experience with two updates on iOS devices and neither went well. In both cases he system died, iOS had to be reinstalled and then everything on the device too.

    The log in problem you had was unrelated and was a wider problem that hit quite a few Google users today. Again, not great - although it didn't cause me as many problems as you - but it had nothing to do with the update.
    mintSlice
    • Never had issues with Android

      Unless its an ATT or Verizon device, then you will stumble.

      Regardless its an easy fix.

      Regarding, James K. With IOS 6 he will very happy with his IOS Maps and will quickly be using Google maps on his Android device because thee simply isn't a fix for Apple's products.
      Uralbas
      • Oh how clever

        " simply isn't a fix for Apple's products."

        I am sending you now the award for the cleverest insult designed to manipulate reality.

        The award is a 1 foot square of astro-turf mounted on a wooden plinth, and will be dispatched via google maps to the door of someone who knows what they are talking about. When you find them you can claim it.
        richardw66
        • IOS 6 Map app is pretty

          Useless.

          As it doesn't provide good directions or has accurate information.
          Uralbas
          • Maps version 1.0

            Remember that this is version 1.0 of the Maps app, and some errors are bound to pop up until an update corrects them.

            The Maps app doesn't have transit or walking direction... yet. The app currently has empty tabs for these features, which will be added to the app in an update.

            BTW, Google didn't get its current maps app to where it is overnight. Google developed its maps over several years. Considering that this is only the first version of Apple's Maps app, it's quite good. In fact, Apple's 3D flyovers make Googles version look amateurish.

            People who use Android should also realize that Google gave iOS users a stripped down version of maps from day-one in 2007. Google maps in iOS had no turn-by-turn navigation, or many other features. So this new Apple Maps app, even with its current flaws, is MUCH better than the Google maps app we had previously.
            Harvey Lubin
          • Ummm, excuse me...

            You said "Google" gave the striped down version of maps since day one....I don't think so, that was Apple's map app that used Google data. Apple gave you that shit for years and you ate it up!
            jivester
          • Absolutely wrong!

            It was Google Maps on iOS and Google would not agree to allow turn by turn on iOS as they wanted to keep as a feature exlusive to Android. Apple still had a year left on the contract but switched to their own maps early to get this feature.
            non-biased
          • So what you are saying

            "Remember that this is version 1.0 of the Maps app, and some errors are bound to pop up until an update corrects them."

            Never ever buy a 1.0 version of an Apple product. Based on the iPhone (where iPhone 4 is the first good one) you should wait for the 4.0 version of an Apple product. So Apple Maps will be good in 2016. Meanwhile, Apple is refusing to approve the standalone Google Maps app.

            "The Maps app doesn't have transit or walking direction... yet. The app currently has empty tabs for these features, which will be added to the app in an update."

            Sounds like vaporware. No release date, no pricing.

            "Google didn't get its current maps app to where it is overnight. Google developed its maps over several years"

            Is this seriously the line you are going to use to make yourself feel better? "Sure I'm using a worse product from Apple but it isn't fair, the competition started so much sooner. It isn't Apple's fault that they were extremely late to the market."

            "People who use Android should also realize that Google gave iOS users a stripped down version of maps from day-one in 2007."

            Remind me how many apps Apple has "given" Android? 0. Right.

            "Google maps in iOS had no turn-by-turn navigation"

            Apple maps doesn't have turn-by-turn navigation on my iPhone. How do I turn it on? Right, I have to pay $800 to have a feature that Apple swears requires a hardware upgrade. I guess Apple just admitted that the developers behind Navigon are better programmers than Apple.

            And even for those of you with a 4S or a 5, what good is turn-by-turn navigation if you want directions to a gas station and it directs you to the roof of a highrise HQ in Texas? Apple is a laughing stock over this. It is really really bad.
            toddbottom3
          • Moron Alert!!!

            "Never ever buy a 1.0 version of an Apple product. Based on the iPhone (where iPhone 4 is the first good one) you should wait for the 4.0 version of an Apple product."
            Apple hit a home run right out of the gate with the iPhone and it just got better with each version. iPhone 4 was a great version as well but it certainly wasn't the first good one.

            "Meanwhile, Apple is refusing to approve the standalone Google Maps app."
            As usual speaking of you have no clue about. Google has stated that they have not even submitted a standalone version of Google Maps to Apple. Since it hasn't been submitted as stated by Google, how is Apple refusing to approve it?

            "Is this seriously the line you are going to use to make yourself feel better? "Sure I'm using a worse product from Apple but it isn't fair, the competition started so much sooner. It isn't Apple's fault that they were extremely late to the market.""
            Is there anything factually wrong with what he stated? Can you refute what he stated? Of course not. The Apple maps release has flaws as with any version 1.0, it's not an excuse it's a fact of life and even Tim Cook is applogizing for that.

            "Remind me how many apps Apple has "given" Android? 0. Right."
            How many maps has Google given Apple, ZERO. You know they charge for it but as usual avoiding facts helps your case.

            "Apple maps doesn't have turn-by-turn navigation on my iPhone. How do I turn it on? Right, I have to pay $800 to have a feature that Apple swears requires a hardware upgrade. I guess Apple just admitted that the developers behind Navigon are better programmers than Apple."
            I see the facts are still evading you. Based on how long you claimed to have had that iPhone you could get a new 5 for 1/4 of the price you claimed or a 4S for 1/8 and get Turn by Turn. Also, please link to where Apple swears it requires a hardware upgrade, hand not heard that claim.

            "And even for those of you with a 4S or a 5, what good is turn-by-turn navigation if you want directions to a gas station and it directs you to the roof of a highrise HQ in Texas? Apple is a laughing stock over this. It is really really bad."
            Been testing the maps off and on since June and have yet to have it misguide me. Of course just like every other "major issue" or "gate" with the iPhone there are 10+ haters posting rants about the issue for ever actual user that has had an issue.
            non-biased
          • Who cares about previously?

            We're told that WP7 shouldn't have been compared to what the original iPhone had. Why should Apple's products be compared to an old product?
            Michael Alan Goff
          • What does it matter?

            You still update your phone and go from a mature app to one that is not ready for prime time.

            So much for Apple not putting out anything until it works right. First Siri, then Maps. Should kill that piece of Apple's reputation. Of course, it won't matter to the Kool-Aid Crowd.
            AudeKhatru
          • Have been using Apple's Maps since June

            with no issues. I don't use it that much because all my vehicles have GPS but just testing it here and there, I have not had issues. Is it perfect, of course not but like you said it's version 1.0 and considering that it's pretty good.
            non-biased
          • Have YOU had a problem or are you just repeating what you heard?

            Unless you have had an issue with iOS maps then shut the hell up, you have no idea what you're talking about.
            gribittmep
          • Issues with Apple Maps

            1) Turn by Turn directions from my home to my office (5 blocks) did not work right.
            2) A customer could not find the Office Complex he is building in Sofia, Bulgaria. Google Maps had no problem (before we updated his iPad 2 to iOS 6).
            3) When I was 1 block away from the address I was going to Apple Maps would have sent me on a 4 block excursion through a very busy street to get to it. Good thing I knew where I was going.

            Equipment tested so far: iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and iPad 3 ("new" or whatever Apple wants to call it). Apple maps has some promise, but I'm not waiting for a year for good maps that work.

            I am a long time iOS user and have owned every device since the iPhone 3. All I can say is, I am really glad that iOS 6 did not break my Tom Tom app. I did not buy the iPhone 5 because I want to look at Android Jelly Bean and Windows 8 phones before I make a decision about the next 2 years.
            jdb5
          • Maps

            Lucky for you the I phone maps do accurately take you to the nearest Apple store.
            naplesjoe
          • Apparently you weren't happy with Google Maps on iOS either

            If Google Maps on iOS was so great then you wouldn't have purchased the Tom Tom app would you?
            non-biased
      • What is the issue

        With the Apple product Uralbas? Most people when they have an issue actually come out and SAY what the issue is. Your statement leads me to believe that you do not in fact have any iOS device and are simply trolling. So what is the issue with the new Maps app?
        NonFanboy
        • If you rely on maps.....

          To see how good / bad Apple maps is, I remapped my last 8 business trips in Apple maps on my iPad 2 under iOS6.
          Note: I cut that down to 6 as two of the trips involved public transportation in the NE corridor.

          Each trip involved airport, car rental, hotel, business visit, evening activities.
          Cities: Philadelphia, Washington DC, Houston, San Francisco, New York City, Phoenix.

          Good:
          AMaps (Apple Maps) was correct for all airports, car rentals and hotels

          Bad:
          AMaps plotted the incorrect location for 2 of the 6 businesses
          AMaps was unable to find 3 restaurants from the map app. If manually entered (address) no problem
          AMaps routed me through a closed street in Washington DC - concrete barricade closed
          AMaps routed me the wrong way on a NYC one way street.

          For all the AM issues, simulating a reroute did not solve the issue.
          Also noted was AMaps showed much less location detail than GMaps for a given zoom.

          I routinely use GMaps for my trips, car, public, etc... and seldom have issues unless I am in a very rural location or run into construction. At that time rerouting is seldom an issue.

          So I will continue to try AMaps (work i5 being delivered tomorrow) and I hope Apple fixes these critical shortcomings soonest.
          Till then, I'll have my GNexus and I'll add a GMaps icon to the i5 Home Screen.

          One thing this will show, is how much dependence I place on Google Now.
          rhonin
          • Thank you rhonin, a truly fantastic post

            I appreciate the comparison and the time you spent on this. Very useful.
            toddbottom3
          • That really wasn't a comparison

            The only thing you saw was that he posted negatives about Apple so you had to praise it.

            I do thank rhonin for doing the testing and pointing out the issue. I don't rely on the maps in iOS, never did before witGoogle Mapsps and don't now so really a none issue for me. The reason I said it wasn't a comparison is I didn't see where you did the same with Google Maps and had zero issues. Not saying that Google would have those issues but it wasn't a comparison. Either way, they are issues and need to be fixed. From everything I read Apple is working hard to correct these issues and bring in new team members to help move it along.
            non-biased