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 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
  • Tip 8: iOS privacy controls are a boon for anyone that misses App Ops

    For all its customisation features, permission controls for apps are missing entirely in Android. For the prospective Android to iOS switcher, there's a lot to gain here by moving to iOS 7 and even more in iOS 8.

    Per-app privacy controls were once available through App Ops, but Google removed the feature in Android 4.4.2 because it was unintended for consumers. Android also has poor visibility into new permissions that apps can gain thanks to Google's recent effort to simplify the update process, which seemed to ignore the possibility that good apps can go rogue.

    When it comes to privacy controls, Android has other shortcomings. Moving to iOS 7 opens up the choice to approve location services on a per-app basis by going to Settings —> Privacy —> Location Services. There are also controls in Privacy for apps that have access to Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Photos, Bluetooth Sharing, and Microphone.

    A key privacy control to inspect, tucked away at the bottom of Location Services, is System Services. As per ZDNet Apple watcher Jason D O'Grady's advice, people that care about their privacy should disable Diagnostics & Usage, Location-Based iAds and Frequent Locations (not in iPhone 4). Discreetly placed at the bottom of Privacy is the Advertising setting, where iOS owners can enable Limit Ad Tracking and Reset Advertising Identifier. This won't stop ads, but it will make them "less relevant".

    iOS 8 introduces a new, simpler way to manage privacy within the settings for each app. Instead of managing an app's access to things like the Location, Contacts, Calendar, Reminders, Photos and so on through privacy settings for each element individually, all of those settings will now become part of the app's setting page.

    iOS 8 also notifies the user about apps that are running location services in the background, giving them the opportunity to revise permissions.     

    Another important improvement to privacy in iOS 8 is Apple's choice to randomise MAC addresses, a move that should thwart marketing efforts to track users' location in places like malls.

    Image credit: Apple

  • TIp 9: There's no place like the home button

    Android to iOS switchers will find Apple's home button easy to grasp, since the two OSes offer variations on the same theme.

    iOS lacks Android's back arrow (to go back to the last open app) and the multi-window button, but in terms of efficiency, only the back arrow offers Android a real advantage.

    Apple improved the usability of its double tap on the home button in iOS 7 with the introduction of new thumbnail images of each open app, and the ability to re-enter the app in the state it was left.

    And if you just can't stand the physical home button, there's a feature in iOS called AssistiveTouch that's actually designed for people who have difficulties pressing buttons.

    AssistiveTouch is an interesting way of navigating an iPhone without a physical home button. It can be switched on through Settings —> General —> Accessibility —> AssistiveTouch. Enabling the feature will produce a translucent soft home button that is always present but can be placed anywhere, and provides all the functionality that the physical home button otherwise would, from multitasking to volume controls.

    Another Accessibility feature, if customisation takes your fancy, is Invert Colours. It does make for easier night reading than dialling down brightness by minimising the white light emanating from the screen.

    Image: 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.