Switching from Android to iOS? 11 tips to help make the move

Switching from Android to iOS? 11 tips to help make the move

Summary: Thinking about switching from an Android to an iPhone? iOS 8 could be the right time to say goodbye to the Google OS.

TOPICS: Mobility, Android, iOS

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  • Tip 5: The walled garden is beginning to open up

    The list of sharing options above would be a surprise to iOS owners who haven't used Android before. As the latter camp know, sharing links and content from an app with just about any other relevant app is one click away.

    In iOS it hasn't been possible to send a tweet to Pocket or, for example, open a foreign language tweet in Google Translate. Even Twitter, a prioritised third-party app, has been limited to four actions: report tweet, mail tweet, copy link to tweet, and send to Reading List (a feature in Safari).

    iOS sharing options
    Sharing in iOS 7. Image: Liam Tung

    Developers thought Apple might enable better sharing in iOS 7 but it instead yanked what limited sharing was available, leaving iOS developers and users constrained by the lockdown.

    Again, iOS 8 will finally open up its closed garden just enough to make iOS interesting again for users that had deserted the platform. 

    The new app data sharing is a part of iOS 8's new extension system, which should allow iOS users to do basically what Android users have been doing for some time.

    But, with an eye on the home automation and health apps tied to the iPhone and possibly its long-rumoured companion iWatch, Apple has also introduced new frameworks to handle data sharing in these emerging areas of tech.

    Using iOS 8's Health Kit, developers can build apps that will be notified when, for example, the user takes their blood pressure or if their blood pressure becomes too high. The Home Kit meanwhile opens the door for apps to discover and control networked devices in the home.

    The other door Apple has opened up is its Touch ID fingerprint authentication system, which so far is more usable than rival systems. Owners of iPhone 5S and later will be able to open not just the device, but unlock apps with their fingerprints too. That it is now open to apps should help reduce the reliance on passwords. Some developers, such as the makers of password manager app 1Password, have already put that access to good use.

    Image: Liam Tung

  • Tip 6: What to do about voice search

    Neither assistant needs an introduction, but while consensus is that Google's two-year-old helper is leading Siri and Microsoft's Cortana, it's too early to say which will be the better long term bet.

    Today, both have their shortcomings. Twitter remains the only third-party app with Siri integration, and while for the most part Apple's maps are the default, Siri will palm off transit routing searches to Google Maps, which Apple doesn't support.

    Android owners on the other hand can open Twitter, Facebook, and basically any app with Google Now voice commands. Yet it can't do what Siri can: send a tweet.

    Ex-Android people can still use Google Now in the Google Search for iOS app, but to get equivalent capabilities, such as opening the native email app or dictating a message and sending it, Siri is the only option on iOS, just as Now is on Android.

    Siri may eventually offer more possibilities in vehicles, given support for Apple's CarPlay is due in forthcoming models of Volvo, Mercedes, and Ferrari. Panasonic is also offering after-market integration with CarPlay in several NEX in-vehicle systems. For the most part, however, it looks like car manufacturers are supporting both Android and iOS for in-vehicle systems.

    Some key changes to Siri coming in iOS 8 include that is always listening. So, just as Android users can open Google Now today by saying "OK, Google", tomorrow iOS users will be able to say "Hey Siri" to activate it.

    Image: Liam Tung

  • Tip 7: Notifications are on a par

    It shouldn't take long at all for Android switchers to get to grips with Apple's Notifications Centre, given that Apple took its cue from Android in some respects.

    There are superficial similarities between the two, including that notifications in both OSes are accessed by swiping down from the top of the screen. But Apple broke up notifications into Today, All, and Missed tabs, while Android has a unified dropdown from notification icons in a bar at the top of the screen.

    While Android notifications are in some ways easier to access and clearer than in iOS, in iOS it's been possible to access notifications from the lockscreen and control which apps appear there by toggling the settings of each the app listed in Settings —> Notifications Center.

    Android L, Google's new OS to arrive expected later this year, will also enable access to notifications from the lockscreen, so the difference is somewhat neutralised.    

    Historically, neither Android nor iOS allowed replying to messages from within notifications. In each, the app would launch from notifications for any followup action.

    This will change in iOS 8, with the ability to respond to messages directly within notifications for Apple and third-party apps like Facebook (as pictured above). The main advantage of responding to messages within notifications is that you don't have to leave the app you're in. Actions include accepting calendar events and replying to email.  

    Android L will deliver a similar capabilities in the Heads Up notification system, however. For would-be Android to iOS switchers, instead of icons and Android's pulldown screen of notifications, they'll see 'banners' drop down and quickly vanish or 'alerts' that pop up in the centre of the screen and require an action to clear. Users can select which type appear in Settings —> Notifications Center. This is also where users can select which apps appear in notifications, enable sound alerts, and set up whether to show alerts on the lockscreen.

    iOS offers more options to customise notifcation settings than in Android, yet Android notifications seem more intuitive and a larger part of the overall experience.

    An advantage of iOS notification customisation becomes apparent for email, which lets the user select contacts they want to appear in notifications.

    Another feature Apple borrrowed from Android for iOS is Control Center, which offers shortcuts to various settings including Aeroplane Mode, wi-fi and Bluetooth as well as flash light, clock/timer/alarm, calculator and camera. In iOS, it can be accessed by swiping upwards, including from the lockscreen.  

    Image credit: Apple

    2014-05-13 10.02.17 pm
    Image credit: Apple

Topics: Mobility, Android, iOS

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • This article must be for

    unfortunate people recently suffered from brain damage and can no think for themselves. They need Apple to dumb things down for them and take away all choices.
    Sean Foley
    • What?

      Not sure what you are saying. iphone users don't like choices?
      • Clarify

        Well...I guess iPhone users have some choices. They can chose between black and white phones. Looks like they can also now choose a new keyboard (assuming Apple doesn't sue or ban people form making iOS keyboards).
        Sean Foley
    • LOL

      A guy who types "can no think" is talking about the brain damage of others.
      • LOL

  • Android users at least used to adult sized phones

    not child sized versions, what version ios is meaningless.

    going to a small phone is a huge shock, an iphone 4 came for uberx and i still look twice at it everytime.
  • ya right

    ROFLMAO. Like anyone does that...
  • Accessibility

    There are many reasons why I prefer iOS over Android, but one place where its very noticeable is accessibility. I'm legally blind, but despite the smaller screen on the iPhone 5, I can still see and use my phone much easier than I could any Android device. The accessibility features are built in, intuitive, and comprehensive, just like on the Mac. Android and Microsoft could learn a lot by following Apple's lead when it comes to addressing the needs of individuals with disabilities.
    • I don't think so

      Perhaps you have never heard of Narrator on Windows Phone or Cortona? I think you need to use the products before bashing the competitors. Android has talkback and braileback. These ecosystems are just as advanced as iOS and offer just as much to the disabled. I completely disagree with your assessment of Windows Phone & android with regards to acessibility. They have just as much if not more than iOS.
      • oh, do you rely on these services daily?

        Their post made it sound like they've tried android and found iOS to better fit their accessibility needs.
        If you don't have the same accessibility needs, you shouldn't judge that.
        Note: you may, I don't know, but you didn't mention it.
  • Can't fantom it

    After leaving the iPhone for a Nexus 5. I don't think apple can do anything to get me back. The Nexus is much faster and having the ability to tap and pay has made things so easy.
    Do I miss somethings apple iPhone does? Sure. But what I gained is far better.
  • You can attach from an email in iOS

    You just hold the screen - to bring up the Paste menu, and scroll over. There's an Insert Photo or Video option in the native Email client
    • You can but it's limited

      I own and use a 5S and a G3.
      Attachment functionality in iOS is extremely limited. Add to that sharing in iOS is also limited.
      iOS is getting better, but I have become numb to the recurring promises in functionality from Apple. They deliver infrequently.
  • You can insert a picture from the mail app.

    When composing an e-mail hold down your finger until the menu pops up then click the arrow on right and click insert photo.
  • So your argument to switch is...

    ...that iOS is gonna get features that have been part of Android for quite some time already?
    While that is good news for iOS users this isn't very convincing for current Android users.
    And about the home button, how is that a good thing? Having one button sucks. There is so much space next to it! Why not have a back button at least?
    iOS is still a walled garden, even with those changes. Why anyone would want to change from a system where you can do almost anything you want to a system with severe restrictions is beyond me.
    • it's pretty sad

      Reading the article actually made Android seem like the better choice among the two.
    • iOS Defection

      That's because a lot of iPhone users left for the keyboard and the screen size, and would come back in a heartbeat if those two conditions were alleviated.

      There's fair amount of pain experienced leaving iOS for Android, in everything from leaving some apps behind to media handling to getting only a couple of versions of the OS before you're abandoned.
  • Well...

    That was a bit of a chore to read. Honestly I lost hope for reliable info when I got to the part about virtual assistants, which is just plain wrong.

    Last I read (and tested) Cortana and Google Now are pretty close competitors, with Cortana getting the edge if either of them do.
  • A-men, brother!

    This article is basically just a Fruity puff-piece...

    'Look at what we _may_ do this time around, or not.'

    Each an EVERY point the writer is trying to entice for changing OS for, you can have by STAYING with Android.

    And the singular REAL benefit that Apple has - the guaranteed update - is only good for two or three model-cycles. So, for example, iOS8 won't be applicable to the i-4, and possibly the i-4s. Which totally rubbishes their claim of non-fragmentation.

    The double-tap Home button? Sorry, my HTC One Max does the same thing. PLUS, it will act as a 'menu' button on a long press.

    Bigger screen? Downgrade from my 6" to one that's 5.5", so no.

    Swipe Keyboard? Im sitting here giggling as I type on my Thumb Keyboard...

    Better app selection? Only because Apple pays them off to keep it from Android development...

    Permissions? G-Now v. SIRI? The calendar/agenda- the one being touted not even the one integrated? Really? Going there? All of them on Android, and the last betten with the STOCK app in Android.

    So,no. This is not a true review, or a how-to article. This is just another Fruit-head trying to give a dying company a boost.

    Go gentle into that good night, Apple. And join Palm/RiM.
  • Are you kidding? I dumped my iPhone for Android. Why would I ever go back

    I kept my iPhone for software development purposes only. It's not connected to the phone company now. But I can test iOS apps I'm developing for iPad and iPhone.

    Other than that I have absolutely no plans for return to iPhone even with iOS 8. I run my cloud on Google Drive and Apps. Dumped Office 365 too.