We often get asked whether we prefer Android’s operating system to Apple’s. So here’s a look at iOS 10 vs Android Nougat – our take on the best and worst elements of both operating systems.
Over recent years both Apple and Android have been developing their operating systems into very sophisticated and streamlined systems that have garnered adoring fans on each side of the divide.
There are now enough similarities that users have felt more comfortable jumping ship to a rival OS than perhaps ever before; when the Apple and Android audiences were more tribal, and perhaps more stuck in their ways.
So let’s take a closer look with our comparison of iOS vs Android Nougat (also known as Android N).
iOS 10 is available for the iPhone 7 and 7+, with Nougat available across a range of devices.
Android typically puts a greater emphasis on customisation and adaptability, whilst iOS offers their trademark out-of-the-box solution.
Both phones have notifications screens that can be swiped down from the unlocked screen.
Both present a stacked view of notifications and allow you to interact with each in turn.
For example, you can reply to a text message you’ve received as a notification on both systems.
However, Nougat offers deeper interactivity such as the ability to swipe down to expand individual notifications such as Gmail messages.
Nougat also lets you customise individual notifications direct from the notification screen, unlike with iOS where you have to navigate to the settings screen on an app-by-app basis.
Nougat closes the notification screen once you’ve replied to a message, unlike iOS where you stay in the screen till you choose to leave (which some may prefer).
Both systems let you swipe to activate the control panel. With Nougat you have to swipe down from the top twice with one finger, or once with two fingers which is a little fiddly. With iOS it’s a simple swipe up.
However, as with notifications, the Nougat control panel is much more customisable, allowing you to add or remove functions with a few swipes.
With iOS, you also have access to your music controls from the control panel screen (just swipe right from the panel) giving you instant access to your music tracks.
With iOS the app drawer is a static display of icons which simply allows you to move icons around on the home screens as well as creating folders. The iOS icons are all in the same blocky format and snap to a grid, unlike with Nougat which has cool translucent icons of varying shapes to add a bit of visual interest… and you can move icons to wherever you want on the screen. A little bit more messy, a little bit more creative.
Also with Nougat you can press and hold to add widgets to the home screen. With iOS you have to open a separate widget screen to access the same functionality.
iOS has a more sophisticated photo messaging functionality.
Its iMessage app allows you to very easily take and edit photos, adding captions and editing images. You can also send a range of animated visual gestures using a variety of taps, including screen effects like cascading balloons, and invisible ink messages that you have to slide to reveal. Whilst many Android users may baulk at this rather cutesy functionality, it’s still a nice touch.
This is a reminder of Apple’s emphasis on creating streamlined, user-friendly experiences. Android is much more about having a range of options at your fingertips which you can tailor to meet your needs. When choosing between the two, it often comes down to which kind of person you are.
With Nougat you can run several apps together in a split screen function. So, you can be writing a message whilst reading a news article, for example. This is not currently an option on iOS which has a much more basic application switch function. Again, this points to Android as being the user interface for people who want to get things done, rather than have fun.
Both iOS and Nougat have fully optimised performance with no lagging, which represents a catch-up from Android who suffered with lag for a long time contrasted with Apple’s historically more smooth and stable user experience. Still, both are now offering first rate performance.
Nougat has a nice feature where it delivers various stats such as volume settings, number of apps installed, etc., when you enter the settings screen, whereas iOS takes you straight away to adjust individual settings. It’s a nice touch from Android, though both settings functions are admittedly similar.
Google Now vs Siri: the battle of the assistants
iOS has Siri which has been opened up to developers so can now be used to voice control 3rd party apps.
With Android Nougat you have Google Now.
Again, each company’s ethos shines through with their design of their respective assistants.
Apple’s Siri has a focus on providing info cards in response to your queries. In one test, the question, “who won the Super Bowl?” delivered a nicely designed info card from Siri, which also read out the answer.
Google Now opened up a Google search results pages which highlighted the answer but didn’t read it out.
Siri certainly win in terms of presentation. However, by serving you up with Google results it makes it easier for your to continue your query via search.
Similarly, if you ask maths question Siri brings up a nicely designed answer card displaying the calculation, whereas Google Now brings up the calculator app to give you the option of doing further sums.
Asking for a nearby pharmacy, Google Now takes you to a Google maps screen with options and details of open times; with Siri you are presented with a single location on a simplified map card. Clearly there’s an emphasis on user-friendly presentation with Siri, and an emphasis on user functionality with Google Now.
Google Now also reminds you about upcoming appointments based on estimated travel times, and can flag up package delivery details when they arrive in your inbox.
In many ways the difference between the two operating systems comes down to taste.
Jayce over at Android Authority describes the essential difference between the two OS’s as being between too rival attitudes.
Android OS is for geeks, whereas iOS is for “civilians”. The people who want to tweak and play around with their OS, vs those who just want a smooth user experience with no fuss and where you always know what you’re getting.
Again, you have to ask yourself, which kind of person are you?
video on split screen use: