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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.
Tip 10: You won't worry about OS envy
Sure, iOS loyalists can face higher costs for the latest iPhone or iPad, but you won't hear many of them whining about being stuck on iOS 5 or iOS 4.
The latest stats from Google and Apple on OS distribution for their respective mobile platforms shows why. Seven months after Google released KitKat, around 21 percent of users are running the OS.
As of 27 July, 90 percent of iOS devices were running iOS 7, and 10 percent were running iOS 6. That's good news for both developers and consumers.
Sure, Google Play Services helps keep apps update, but owners would probably prefer the latest version of Android. Some Android device owners are still waiting for OEMs to deliver the latest version of Android and sometimes they won't get it at all as HTC and Samsung told owners of some 2012 model devices.
Google ensures Nexus devices get Android updates so long as they're younger than 18 months. By contast, the iPhone 4, pushing its fifth birthday, got iOS 7 along with newer iPhones. The update initially harmed the iPhone 4's battery life but six months on, the device copes with the latest OS and, unlike Android owners who want the latest update, don't have to resort to buggy ports.
Image credit: Liam Tung