Android vs iOS: A comparison of concepts

Apple has presented some new features in iOS 11 that are already familiar to us Android users. On the other hand, Android O is continuously expanding its strengths, which iOS users are having to do without. We decided to compare the two systems.

  • iOS 11: three new features that won’t surprise Android users
  • Android O: latest news and features

Want to skip ahead? Jump to section:

  • Beta features
  • New iOS features we already knew from Android
  • New Android features we already knew from iOS

Beta features


iOS 11 masters multitasking on tablets with drag and drop for text. Android also lets you effortlessly drag and drop text from app to app and you can do it on smartphones too. By the way, this has been possible since Android Nougat, provided the respective smartphone manufacturer has implemented the standard feature into its version of Android.

  • How to download and install Android O

Smaller keyboard

In iOS, you can change the size of the keyboard. Hold down the smiley and select the side to which you want to shrink the keyboard. On Google’s Gboard keyboard, you can do this practically at the same place and in the same way, namely by holding down the comma button, which is also located to the left of the space bar.

Gboard – the Google Keyboard
Install on Google Play

androidpit marshmallow screenshot gboard
You can also move Gboard to the side / © AndroidPIT

Indoor maps

Apple Maps lags behind competitors such as Here Maps or Google Maps and is testing indoor navigation. It allegedly works in the US, but Google Maps is still the quickest way to find the nearest McDonald’s at JFK international airport.

Lock screen notifications

iOS 11 now arranges notifications by how recent they are. In the first test, it looked like anything older than three hours was categorized under “older notifications”. It does not appear at the top on the lock screen but instead, it needs to be swiped up from below.

betas android o vs ios 11 notifications
I like the notifications better on Android than iOS. / © AndroidPIT

On Android, the new notification system was already introduced with the update to Nougat 7.0 . It sorts notifications according to the apps that send them. They also provide quick actions for replying immediately before opening the app. Holding down on the notification takes you to the notification settings for the respective app. At least it lets me configure the interruptions substantially faster than on iOS 11.

betas android o vs ios 11 notifications2
You can answer notifications directly. / © AndroidPIT

QR code in the camera app

It was actually so obvious that you really wonder why they hadn’t thought of it before: Apple is integrating the QR reader into the camera app. If you hold the camera app over a 2D code, a heads-up notification appears with the URL or readable transcription.

Barcode Scanner
Install on Google Play

On Android, this function is only available in a few manufacturers’ camera apps. People often download QR scanners from the Play Store, some of which contain ads while others read and sell your data.

Setup assistant

Apple’s new setup assistant obtains the Apple ID and additional settings from other nearby Apple devices. Android’s setup assistant can do that as well or at least, it can do on the devices of many manufacturers. At the initial start, the assistant pairs the old and new Android device via NFC, cable or another interface, thereby transferring accounts, images, text messages and other information to the new cell phone.

android setup nearby device
Device setup in Android can also be initiated from the old device. / © AndroidPIT

App Store revamped

The App Store is getting an editorial tab called “Today” where it shows news and special offers using a very brief text. In contrast, the Play Store first displays special offers and below it are the games, which are likewise very visible. However, Android’s Play Store is updated independently of larger system updates, allowing it to develop more quickly than the App Store.

app store vs play store 2017
The App Store and the Play Store are equally overloaded. / © AndroidPIT

Photos app with new live effects

Apple captivates its users with beautiful features in the Photos app. Conversely, Google optimizes its camera app less and relies on third parties instead. The camera interface already received an overhaul with Android Lollipop, paving the way for professional, alternative photo apps. RAW export, stabilized time-lapse recording and AR effects were possible; apps for those are available in droves in the Play Store. Unlike the iOS camera, they can completely replace the standard camera app, freeing users from having to use the inadequate stock app.

Control center vs quick settings

The control center is a great idea to provide easy and quick access on the lock screen. iOS 11 lets you choose which ones are displayed. Maybe Apple will allow third-party providers to access the buttons someday.

control center vs quick settings
Quick settings can be accessed on the spot. / © AndroidPIT

Android has already implemented this. Since Android Nougat, third-party providers have been able to officially place tiles in the quick settings. The example in the video shows you how it works with LastPass. Furthermore, managing quick settings is way more intuitive than the control center.

Browse files

Files is Apple’s answer to “Explore files” in Android. You must admit, the integration with cloud services is ingenious. On the other hand, Android’s explorer can search USB sticks, external hard drives, micro SD cards or even other smartphones. And Google Drive is already integrated there, too.

Here we will show you features that were already known in previous versions of the operating systems.

iOS features that we already knew from Android

  • Directly reply to notifications
  • Send short messages using voice commands
  • Shout iMessage messages
  • Search photos using keywords
  • Taxi integration in Maps
  • Apple Home vs Google Home

Directly reply to notifications

Notifications will offer a new dimension of interaction, at least on the iPhone 6s and future 3D Touch-enabled iPhones. iOS 10 also lets you interact with notifications right on the lock screen.

Android 7.0 Nougat also refines notifications. On the one hand, they are bundled according to the app; on the other hand, they have expanded interaction options. You can finally answer instant messages or e-mails directly in the notification area without opening the app.

Send short messages using voice commands

Siri, Apple’s voice assistant, can finally control apps. If you say: “write a message with Telegram”, Siri will ask whom you wish to send it to. This function is extremely useful in the car, when wearing the headset or when you just want to quickly bark out the command.

voice command apps android 7 ios 10
“Hey Siri/OK Google: write a message with Telegram!” / © AndroidPIT

Apple already managed to get WeChat, Slack, WhatsApp, Ridebooking, Uber, Lyft and Didi on board with the Siri interface. When it’s complete, the feature can be used in all Siri languages right away, which is something that Google’s voice assistant can do, too.

We have already prepared a list of Google voice commands for you. 

Shout iMessage messages

Just like Google’s Allo messenger, iMessage will go completely crazy. Write text messages in different font sizes or with invisible inks. Send the messages with an animation – even in full screen. Send hand-written notes, show links and videos as a preview and immediately play music in the chat window. Find the right GIF animations for the conversation and even send money in iMessage.

shout message android 7 ios 10
We need volume control for instant messages. / © AndroidPIT

iMessage features work when both users utilize iOS 10. Conversely, Allo is available for both platforms and many versions.

Search photos using keywords

If you want to have pictures automatically tagged in Google Photos, the cloud is the only way to do so. If you want to use Google Photos offline, images are not automatically categorized either. Google solely uses its own AI, which is trained in this manner.

tag photos ios 10 android 7
Apple supposedly tags your photos offline. / © AndroidPIT

Maps integrates transport services

For some time now, you could order a cab driver in Google Maps via its taxi integration. Apple Maps lets you track the Taxi, Lyft or Uber vehicle live on the map, and you can also pay directly in Apple Maps.

maps ride android 7 ios 10
Both Apple and Google maps lets you call and pay drivers. / © AndroidPIT

Apple Home vs Google Home

Apple Home is Apple’s uniform interface for home automation. Until now, hardware manufacturers have been unable to – or only occasionally able to – agree on control standards for IP pinging, remote-controlled curtains and networked lighting. As a result, mixed operation using devices from various manufacturers could quickly get complicated, which resulted in potential customers holding off on a purchase.

A few weeks after the debut of Apple Home, Google responded and quickly renamed the Chromecast app to Google Home. It will also integrate smart home devices from many different manufacturers. Whether this will bring order to the chaos remains to be seen.

Google Home
Install on Google Play

Android features that iOS users already knew

  • Launcher shortcuts
  • Nighttime reading mode
  • Multi-window

Launcher shortcuts

This function was already introduced as Force Touch with the iPhone 6s in Fall 2015. Android 7.1’s launcher shortcuts copy this feature. Press and hold an icon to access quick-start options that perform a certain action with the app.

launcher shortcuts android 7 ios 10
Launcher shortcuts open the app with a specific action. / © AndroidPIT

Android allows you to customize the actions and save them as individual quick-start icons on the homescreen.

Nighttime reading mode

Filters blue from the display. iOS 9.3 brought nighttime mode to iPhones. Android 7.1 has it under certain conditions. An update was announced that will become a standard feature, and we hope that Google will finally make up its mind.

Multi-window and multitasking

It’s no fun running two apps at the same time on the iPhone’s small screen. However, Android smartphones are often significantly bigger, making the added value much more apparent. Android 7.0 already has this feature, bringing it to smartphones where the manufacturer has enabled it.

iOS also has this feature, although Apple only enables it on certain iPads. On the other hand, smartphones multitask differently. If they are equipped with Force Touch, their users can swipe firmly from the left edge to right, which then launches the previously opened app. Conversely, Android 7 users double-tap on the recents button to quickly switch back and forth between two apps.

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The future lies in assistance. / © AndroidPIT


Looking at the development of both systems, it feels like watching a tennis match. Ideas are thrown about like a ball over the net and each player hopes that the other will mess up. This is the only way that Google or Apple can score points with their customers, who use these functions and evaluate devices according to them.

Which iOS feature would you like to see in Android or which Android feature would you like to see in iOS? Is there any new feature that you love and we haven’t covered yet? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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