Android - Advantages
1) Choice of hardware & varied pricing
As Android is open sourced, there are hundreds of devices to choose
from. All major manufacturers - including Asus, LG, HTC, Sony, Samsung
and Motorola - offer handsets with varying screen sizes and
This wealth of choice means there's an Android device available for all
budgets and tastes.
Android is designed to be customisable. Pick how many homescreens you
want, change the themes and install widgets if you want a snapshot of
emails or social networking messages.
Don't like the look of the default interface or the keyboard? Simply pop
over to the Google Play Store and install a third-party alternative.
You can even make Android look like iOS or Windows Phone is you want.
Experienced users can gain root level access to devices and flash the
ROM with custom distributions such as CyanogenMod.
I've always preferred notifications on Android, and Google has made
improvements with Lollipop. It's possible to view and respond to
messages from the lock screen and set up priority notifications.
Perhaps the best feature is the introduction of the heads-up display,
which makes alerts less intrusive. When you're in an app and you receive
a phone call, a pop-up appears so the caller ID doesn't take over your
Android devices generally have a notification light or screen pulse too,
so you can immediately see if you've got messages when you've been away
from the phone without having to pick it up.
4) Battery life
Many of the high-end Android devices have larger battery packs than
their iOS rivals and when you factor in the battery saving options, they
usually last longer.
Handsets like the LG G3 and the Galaxy S5 allow you to swap out the
battery by unclipping the back cover - ideal for power users.
5) Set any app as default
You're not restricted to using default Android apps to open files. If
you find a third-party app you prefer to open photos or videos, for
example, Android gives you the choice to use this.
6) Google Now/Voice search
Google Now provides information cards about the weather, your favourite
sports team, airport check-in times or how long it will take for you to
get home from work.
Meanwhile, Voice allows you to search your phone, the web, and nearby
locations without typing. You can also call contacts and get directions
by saying "OK Google" followed by the command.
Multi-window is a prominent feature on the Galaxy and Note ranges from
Samsung. This allows power users to run two apps at the same time. You
can watch videos whilst responding to emails or browsing the web, for
Multi-Window - S4
8) File Transfer
Transferring files from a Mac or PC to an Android handset is simple. All
you have to do is plug in the device and it'll mount like a hard drive
so you can drag and drop files.
9) Ability to boost storage
Many Android handsets feature micro SD support, allowing you to boost
the internal storage of devices. Even if your device doesn't come with
micro SD support, it's possible to buy an On-the-Go USB stick with micro
USB connectivity or an adaptor for 64p so you can plug in any flash
Android - Disadvantages
Android is a target for hackers due to its widespread usage and because
there is huge fragmentation. At the time of writing, nearly half (46 per
cent) of Android users are still using Jelly Bean 4.x, which is two
Apps are not checked by Google before they are made available for
purchase in the Play Store. Instead Google scans the store for malicious
content, so it's easy for rogue apps to remain in the store. Whilst the
issue of malware is a problem, using a common sense and avoiding apps
from unknown developers and those with low star ratings should keep you
safe. If it looks dodgy, then it probably is.
However, issues are restricted to dodgy apps. The Android Browser had a
critical flaw exposed in September 2014, which meant code could be
injected into it that allows hackers to read cookies and grab keyboard
inputs, such as passwords.
2) No control over app permissions
Android 4.2.2 offered the ability to control the permissions of apps but
this was subsequently removed. At present, you can see exactly what
information your apps have but you can't restrict them. A particularly
dodgy app we found was FM Radio, which gave itself permission to
directly call phone numbers, and send text messages. Your only option
with apps such as these is to delete them.
3) Software updates
If you own a Nexus or Google Play Edition handset, you'll be first in
line to receive the yearly Android update. However, this isn't always a
good thing as these early versions almost always introduce bugs and
require a patch.
If you buy a device on a contract, you have to wait for the networks to
push out the updates. This process takes months but on the plus side
you'll probably receive more stable code.
4) Performance variation
Stick with the high-end handset and you'll have no problems. Issues are
likely to become apparent if you invest in some of the low-end models
with single core processors and 1GB of RAM or less.
iOS - Advantages
1) Best of both worlds
Apple is criticised for having a "walled-garden" approach but it's not
as straight forward as it seems. Of course the firm pushes its
proprietary services such as iCloud, iTunes and the App Store but you're
not restricted to Apple's applications.
Almost all of Google’s popular services - including Gmail, Maps,
Hangouts, Now, Inbox, Chrome, Translate and Drive - are available on
2) Immediate backup and restore
If you move to a new iOS device, you can install a backup from iCloud and get up and running in
3) Excellent default Mail app
The Mail app in iOS is superb - allowing users to sync up multiple email
accounts. It's got a unified inbox, and also allows you to set up VIP
contacts and thread notifications as well as search by content type like
attachments or flagged.
4) Tight security and privacy controls
Apple keeps tight control of the App Store with all submissions vetted
before they are made available to the public. This means there are few
instances of malware.
iOS allows you to see what information apps have access to on your
device and allows users to restrict them if they wish.
Tighter privacy controls have been introduced in iOS 8. You can see
exactly which apps have access to location data and you generally have
three options when it comes to tracking. You can set access to "Always",
"Never" or "While Using".
You can turn off notifications and adverts that may pop up based on your
5) Apple Pay
Initially rolled out to retail stores across the US, Apple Pay uses NFC
so users can pay for purchases using either the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus.
Payments are made in conjunction with Visa, Mastercard or American
Express. Apple Pay is expected to arrive in the UK during 2015.
6) Opening up of APIs
Apple has started to allow users to customise their devices with iOS 8.
Core APIs have been opened up to third-party developers to provide a
better user experience.
There's a long way to go before it reaches the level of Android. But at
least users can now do the basics like swap out the default iOS keyboard
for a third-party alternative, such as Swype or Swiftkey.
Opening up APIs has meant the usefulness of Touch ID has been extended
beyond unlocking the handset and paying for iTunes and App Store
downloads. Touch ID now works with third-party apps including Amazon,
eHarmony, Evernote Premium, LastPass and 1Password.
Apple's personal assistant lets users talk to their phone much in the
same way as Google Voice.
You can ask Siri to set reminders, take notes, compose messages or for
answers to general knowledge questions.
Unlike Google Voice, you need to long-press the home button to initiate
Siri. You can only use it completely hands-free when the iPhone is
plugged into a power source via the phrase "Hey Siri".
The Apple App Store is the first port of call for developers, so if an
app is worth having, it's guaranteed to be available on iOS. Apple users
generally get first access too. For example, Microsoft introduced its
Office suite on the iPad before rolling it out to Android.
9) Connect iOS to Mac OS X
Apple has increased communication between iOS and OS X devices with the
latest updates (iOS 8 and Yosemite).
You can now make and receive calls on your Mac when it's connected to
the same Wi-Fi network as your iPhone. It's also possible to see all
your iMessages and respond to them as well as start using an app like
Safari or Pages and continue where you left off when switching devices.
10) Connect to Apple Watch
Following the most recent update (iOS 8.2), iOS devices will be able to
hook up wiht Apple Watch. At the time of writing, AppleWatch isn't
genereally available, so the Apple Watch app (which cannot be
uninstalled) will only open up a web page showing off the new wearable
and not much else.
When the watch is finally released, this will be updated to provide more
detail on how iOS works with the devices.
iOS - Disadvantages
1) Choice of hardware is limited & cost is high
iOS isn't licensed out by Apple, so you're limited to four models: the iPhone 5c, 5s, 6 and 6 Plus.
The 5c is the cheapest and available free on contract from £22.50 per month or £319 SIM-free.
2) No multitasking or widgets
The iOS operating system doesn't offer multitasking or live widgets at
this time, so if you're a fan of them, bear this in mind. There have
been rumours that Apple plans to introduce these features, but so far
nothing has been confirmed.
3) No way to expand physical storage
Probably the most annoying thing for end users is the inability to
expand physical storage. Apple has also axed the 32GB model with the
release of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The entry-level 16GB model is not
going to be enough for most users, so this means you'll have to fork out
for either the 64GB or 128GB model.
There are a number of devices on the market that connect via the
Lightening port to provide extra storage but is not as elegant a
solution as being able to insert a MicroSD card into a slot.
4) Battery life
With the exception of iPhone 6 Plus users, anyone who's ever owned an
iPhone has probably had to carry out a mid-afternoon charge ready for
the commute home.
We'd like to see bigger batteries and a manual power saving mode
introduced to stop this.
5) Getting files on/off the device can be irritating
Getting files on and off your device can be fiddly, especially when they
haven't been acquired via iTunes or the App Store.
iPhones don't mount as a regular hard drive. You can only copy pictures
off them when they are connected to a Mac or PC. There are ways around
this using third-party tools, such as iSkySoft Tunesover, but using
these programs interferes with how the device syncs with iTunes.
6) Be careful of the yearly update
Apple rolls out yearly iOS updates to everyone directly, so
fragmentation is less of an issue on the platform (69 per cent are on
iOS 8). However, as we've seen with iOS 8, it's best to wait until bugs
are ironed out before installing the update, otherwise you can lose
So which should you get?
- Users on a budget will gravitate towards Android
because devices are cheaper. But be careful because if you don't keep on
top of privacy and security issues you could end up having your
At the high-end, Android devices offer more options for power users with
the ability to fully customise the interface, use the device as a hard
drive and swap out the battery.
- Generally suited to users for whom interface customisation
isn't a priority, iOS is secure and has more privacy controls. It's
ideal for those who want to mix and match services from Apple and Google
- for example use iTunes and also have access to Google Maps on the