iOS is worse than Android

Posted on Aug 15, 2021

About a year ago I was forced into getting a new phone. My pixel was approaching its third birthday and that is when updates stop, leaving it insecure. I opted to switch to an iPhone, my decision revolved around iPhones receiving updates for years longer than Android phones. In my mind the space was relatively solved. Year over year the hardware is getting marginally better, but nothing drastic is changing in terms of functionality, or form factor. I saw iPhones and Androids generally having feature parity, so the longevity tipped the scales.

Initially I enjoyed being in the same ecosystem as all my friends and family. Facetime was especially convenient during the pandemic. I do also think that iPhones look better. I am not sure why android manufacturers struggle so much with the physical aesthetics of their phones, but, to me, iPhones are just prettier. I had some struggles with the software, but I thought it would just require a little time to adjust. I play around with different technologies all the time and adapt quickly.

It has been a year and there are still aspects of iOS that drive me up a wall. Some of the core functionality is so half-assed and poorly thought through Apple should be embarrassed, especially since they have a direct competitor showing them a better way. Even though I switched to iOS for longevity, I am considering getting a new phone to get away form it.


New notifications on iOS, by default, result in red circles with the number of notifications inside it next to your app icon. Unfortunately these provide no context as to what the notification is. Apps these days love to send notifications for all kinds of things. Most unimportant, but some important and that red number provides no distinction. This means that you have to open the app to see what is going on. Frequently I have apps, like banking apps, behind two factor authentication, so this process takes some time. Fortunately Apple provides you with the notification center, where you can see notifications with context around what they are.

Unfortunately the notification center is not much more useful. First and foremost if you clear a notification in the notification center the corresponding red number next to the app does not go away. This means that when you filter through notifications to clear out the unimportant ones you have to do it in the notification center and then you still have to open the app anyway. Fortunately you can just turn off the red number notifications, so problem solved?

Of course not. For starters the notification center is a weird experience. You unlock your phone and swipe down from the top. Suddenly you are back on your lock screen, but with a bunch of notifications, but your phone is still unlocked. The top third of the screen is taken up by a clock. It does not make any sense to devote so much of the screen in the notification center to a clock. The whole experience feels like an exercise in trying to reuse the lock screen notification experience instead of taking the time to make a notification center. I could get over this, though.

What I cannot get over is notifications not disappearing based on activity on other devices. On Android, if you check your email, or similarly handle a notification for another application on a different device the notification disappears on your phone. Not so on iOS. You are going to see that notification on every iOS device you have and have to clear it on every one, or just ignore the notification center entirely. Once most of the notifications in the notification center are outdated I just start ignoring the whole thing instead of digging through for the few notifications that are relevant.

Despite iOS having two different methods of notification they are both so bad it effectively has none, unless you spend your day opening apps and combing though notifications. The frequency with which I miss important communications since switching to iPhone has gone up significantly.

Quick Settings

iOS enables you to swipe down from the top right of your phone to access a quick settings menu. The experience is fine for simple settings, like rotation lock. Tap it on/off. For the more complex settings, like wifi, or Bluetooth it is abysmal.

If you want to do anything more than turn them on, or off, long press. This will take you to an expanded view that shows six instead of four settings. Never mind that the screen initial screen was only two thirds full, so all of these settings could have been displayed from the beginning. Long press again and it will show you a list of available wifi networks/Bluetooth devices that is a third the size of your screen, making it hard to find the right one.

After swiping down, tow long presses and one tap you can finally press a button to just go to the settings for wifi, or Bluetooth. The alternative is to locate your settings app and navigate to the relevant settings through it. If you are on the app screen where your settings app lives this is just two taps. If you are in an app this can be multiple swipes to get to your home screen and then the right app screen.

On Android you swipe down from the top and long press on the settings icon. A short press will turn it on and off.


iOS has overly aggressive, opaque auto correct and makes reverting its changes infuriating. iOS does not highlight words it has auto corrected in any way. This means that when you finish typing there is no quick way to review any auto corrections to make sure what you have written is what you wanted to write. Even if changes were highlighted you would never know what you originally typed. If what you typed gets auto corrected and you do not notice it immediately after hitting space you will never be able to get back to your original spelling. You will simply have to type it over again.

That is not as bad as it seems because even if you get your original spelling back and just need to modify one letter you will never be able to get your cursor to the right place. No matter where you click iOS will snap your cursor to the beginning, or the end of the word. If you refuse to let it push you around and take the fight you may eventually get it to the right place in the word through long presses and cursing and holding your finger as still as possible for a while. However, this will have taken longer than simply deleting the entire word and starting over.

Changing to gboard helps this a little bit by making the auto correct less aggressive, but it seems like iOS is missing APIs to enable most of the functionality gboard has on Android.

On Android words that were changed by auto correct are highlighted. If at any point while you are entering text you click on them it will show you what you had originally written and give you the option to revert to it. If you need to edit a word you can tap anywhere in the word and your cursor will predictably end up at that location.


Apple does have advantages due to the integration of hardware and software and manufacturing some of the best chips in the world. For me, though, the interfaces through which I interact with a phone are more important than performance, especially when phone specs have gotten so good across the board.