Torn between an iPhone or Android device? Here are ten amazing things the iPhone can do that Android device cant.
Most people consider Android to be the more feature-packed mobile operating system, but although that’s true to an extent, Android still doesn’t have some features that you get on iOS. In fact, some of these missing features have been an integral part of iOS for years.
If you’re someone who’s planning to switch from an iPhone to an Android device in the near future, you need to know the software functionalities you’ll miss out on. Here, we’ll take a look at the things that an iPhone can do that an Android simply can’t.
1. iMessage gives you that blue bubble feeling
Perhaps the biggest feature that Android users don’t have, and likely never will, is Apple’s proprietary messaging platform iMessage. It seamlessly syncs across all of your Apple devices, is fully encrypted and has a ton of playful features like Memoji.
When you send a message to another iPhone and you see the chat bubble turn blue, you know that the person on the other end of the conversation is using an iPhone, too. That makes you part of a club, sure, but it also includes certain benefits, like chatting over Wi-Fi and being able to share high-res videos and photos with the person on the other end of the line.
iMessage also lets you request or send money via Apple Pay and pepper the message with extra colorful animations, for example, which makes for a more robust conversation than using standard SMS on the iPhone. You’ll know you’re in typical texting mode when the chat bubbles are green.
Google recently announced the global rollout of its own take on iMessage as part of its Messages app. It uses something called rich communication services that let you send higher quality photos and videos, and see read receipts and even typing indicators so you know when the other person is replying. While Google’s RCS brings huge improvements to chatting on an Android phone, it’s not as widely used as iMessage right now and doesn’t have Apple’s full set of features.
2. Wireless headphones and earbuds are a breeze to set up and use
Pairing the wireless AirPods earbuds to your iPhone is a seamless experience that makes Apple’s system leagues ahead of Google’s. One of the most impressive benefits is being able to use the same AirPods with your Mac or Apple Watch without having to pair them again.
Samsung’s Galaxy Buds try to recreate that magical experience, and they come close, but lack the range and ease of use across multiple devices. Google’s Pixel Buds 2 are Android users’ best hope for recreating that magic — and they do a good job, but so far, nothing has truly matched the AirPods experience.
3. Every eligible iPhone gets software updates at the same time
Software updates have always been a shortcoming of the Android platform as a whole. Unless you own one of Google’s Pixel phones, you never really know when you’re going to receive a security update or major feature release, because that timing is up to each individual phone brand. Some are more consistent than others.
On the other hand, when Apple releases a software update for the iPhone, every single user has immediate access to that update as long as their iPhone is still supported. Currently, iOS 15 supports iPhones all the way back to the iPhone 6S, which was released in 2015. And when iOS 15.5 is made available in the coming weeks, every eligible iPhone, from the iPhone 13 to the iPhone 6S will get the update at the same exact time.
You just don’t get that kind of consistency and assurance on the totality of Android phones.
4. Video calls with iPhone are as simple as a phone call
FaceTime is one feature that Android has never been able to match, despite Google’s best efforts with its Duo app. FaceTime works so well because it’s encrypted and ready to use the moment you set up your new iPhone.
Like iMessage, FaceTime is for many people synonymous with video calls. It’s the only app they want to use and they don’t have to log into a third-party app or search for contacts to set it up and start a call. It’s just automatically linked to your contacts, camera and dialer to do all the work. It’s this ease that makes FaceTime one of the reasons that family groups stay rooted to the iPhone.
5. Seamless backup and restore
I’ve set up hundreds of Android phones, and the process has never been as painless as it is when I set up a new iPhone. With the iPhone, I log into my iCloud account, tap on Restore and then wait about 20 minutes. That’s not the case with an Android phone.
Google’s backup and restore service does a decent job, but more often than not there are apps I need to reinstall or log into, setting to adjust, and disappointment to manage when the phones frequently fail to restore my home screen layout exactly how I had it. The Restore feature is supposed to save time, but I still spend a chunk of it fine-tuning the Android devices I set up this way.
Meanwhile, my iPhone backs up to iCloud every night (as long as it’s connected to Wi-Fi and charging) and completely restores installed apps, accounts, home screen and settings without fail.
6. Shortcuts Siri = time saved
Apple’s Shortcuts app is preinstalled on the iPhone and lets owners create and share automations for common tasks, like checking the spelling for a document, viewing the Amazon price history for an item, or converting a video to a GIF with a couple of taps.
I use Shortcuts on a daily basis, and more recently I’ve been giving Siri voice commands to do things like combine recent screenshots into one image or even used the Stats app and telling Siri to “warm up my car.”
For years, Siri had a bad reputation as being inferior to Google Assistant and Alexa — and rightfully so. Apple’s personal assistant was behind the competition for far too long. However, I use Siri for common tasks ranging from playing music, trivia questions and weather forecasts — all of the same stuff I use Alexa for — and Siri’s results and capabilities match Amazon’s assistant.
The addition of Shortcuts support to Siri’s repertoire has only strengthened it. Indeed, Google Assistant has routines and the ability to automate certain aspects, but the flexibility and on-device automation of Shortcuts makes it an indispensable tool.
AirPlay is one of the biggest features that Android devices are still missing. Since AirPlay is a propriety protocol that Apple developed, we don’t expect it to come to Android ever.
Although several third-party apps on the Google Play Store let you wirelessly stream audio and video content from your smartphone, nothing comes close to this built-in solution. This is why we want Google to crack the code and bring similar functionality to Android devices natively.
Back in 2020, Google managed to bring an AirDrop-like functionality, called Nearby Share, to Android 11 devices. So, we won’t be surprised if the company is working on something similar to AirPlay for the Android platform.
8. Drag and Drop
Drag and drop is a feature that iOS devices have had for a few years, but with the recent iOS 15 software update, drag and drop now works system wide. You can drag content from one app and drop it into another to replace the copy and paste action.
Apple has managed to perfect drag and drop over the years, but unfortunately, even the latest Android 12 update doesn’t offer this functionality, which is quite a bummer.
9. Offloading Apps
Offloading apps is a unique way to save storage on your iPhone. Apple allows iOS users to remove unused apps while keeping their files and data intact, so you don’t have to start all over again the next time you install it. You can save gigabytes of storage space by setting an iPhone to offload unused apps automatically.
Unfortunately, Android users don’t have access to a similar feature and, therefore, they need to rely on third-party apps to quickly free up space on their devices.
10. Battery Health Check
Checking iPhone battery health
A few years ago, Apple got into trouble for intentionally slowing down its iPhones to compensate for battery degradation. Shortly after the public backlash, the company introduced a new feature that allows iOS users to conveniently check their iPhone battery health. When battery health goes below 80%, iOS prompts users to get their battery serviced or replaced.
There’s no built-in way to check the battery health of an Android device, but you do have other options, which include a third-party app that gives you additional information about the battery.
11. Hide My Email
Online privacy is incredibly important, but it’s hard to keep your identity secure when you have to give your email address away whenever you join a website. And if your email address is just your name looking at you, email@example.com you could be giving away even more data.
That’s where Apple’s “Hide My Email” service comes in. Hide My Email lets you create unique, random email addresses to use with apps, websites, and more so your personal email can stay private. It’s built in to Sign in with Apple and iCloud .
Hide My Email is a service that lets you keep your personal email address private whether you’re creating a new account with an app, signing up for a newsletter online, or sending an email to someone you don’t know well. This keeps people from seeing your email address, and still lets you get the emails you want.
Google doesn’t have similar feature for its Android devices just yet and, as a result, users have to rely on third-party alternatives like VPNs for the time being.