5 reasons a record number of Android owners have switched to iPhones

If you paid attention in 2014, you would have seen at least two reasons for the growing number of Android switchers to Apple's iPhone, but there are even more reasons today.
Written by Kevin Tofel, Contributor

Nearly 30 percent of Apple's 48.04 million iPhones sold in the last quarter went to customers coming from an Android handset. That's 14 million people new to iOS, helping Apple further build its iPhone base.

But after seven years of Android and eight of iOS, why is that?

You could argue that the two mobile platforms from an end-user perspective are largely the same. Yes, they might have different pros and cons but they both let you handle e-mail, consume content, run apps and work with social networks, for example. Indeed, there are few features exclusive to one or the other, although I doubt we'll ever see Apple's FaceTime on an Android phone.

Still, there are several reasons that explain the growing rate of Android switchers moving to iPhones, and the first signs actually appeared last year.

1. Bigger phones in two choices

Until 2014, the largest iPhone you could get had a 4-inch display. Then came the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus; the first time Apple chose to release a pair of new phones.

These were meant to compete against Android hardware that provided more screen size choices all the way up to 6-inches. In fact, I remember getting my Galaxy Note 2 with 5.5-inch display back in 2012 partially because I had outgrown my puny iPhone screen.


2. Sharing data between apps is more Android-like

Last year also saw the release of iOS 8, bringing a new way to share information between apps on an iPhone. When that happened in June 2014, I noted that the changes would entice some Android folks to make the switch.

And why not? Android has long boasted this functionality with its intents framework and it's a standout feature. Apple finally opened up its apps to do the same with iOS 8 although it did so in an Apple-y way: Tap the Share button in iOS and choose where to share information.

In one respect, Apple's method is even better because you can configure with apps appear when tapping the Share button. Android simply shows all possible or compatible apps installed, sometimes making for a long, unwieldy list.

3. You know what you're getting with Apple

Shop right now for Android phone and there's a dizzying array of choices ranging from screen size, to processor used to memory installed and camera sensors. Sure, choice is good but it can also overwhelm and confuse.

That's not the case with Apple: You know what you're buying and choosing if you first decide iOS is for you. The company's product line is simplified and understandable, mainly because Apple focuses on selling experiences, not specs.

The standardization applies to software as well as hardware. Turn on an iPhone and you know what apps are already installed and what the environment will look like.

Take a handful of Android phones from different manufacturers and short of Google Nexus devices, you won't have a standardized look and feel thanks to device maker software skins and pre-installed apps. Heck, just switching from one manufacturers Android phone to another can have a small learning curve.

4. Fast software and security upgrades direct from Apple

Although I think Apple is a little disingenuous when touting its iOS upgrade rates compared to Android's -- Google Play Services shouldn't be ignored by Apple, but is -- there's a reason Tim Cook and company continue to tout them: They're a key benefit to going with an iPhone.

Hindsight is 20-20, but it's obvious now that Apple's effort to wrest control of mobile software away from carriers was worth it.

The company can push updates directly to iPhones without the weeks or months of carrier testing used for Android updates.

That's a big deal when it comes to security as Google is now realizing. Google has only just recently committed to monthly security updates for Android. Yet, even there, the company is hamstrung because it can only assure such updates get pushed out to Google Nexus phones where carriers aren't a middleman.

5. It's still an iOS-first world when it comes to new mobile apps

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of fantastic mobiles for both iPhones and Android handsets. Nearly all of them, however, share one commonality: They launched first on iOS.

Indeed, I'd be hard pressed to name a handful of fantastic apps that launched first on Android. Eventually, iOS developers bring their software to Android -- or they launch simultaneously in some cases -- but Apple's iPhone still has huge first-mover advantage for programmers and offers one of the best ways to make a solid return on the investment.

Editorial standards