Six updated features of iOS7 that Android still does better

by Luke Olson on October 15, 2013

Six updated features of iOS7 that Android still does better

One thing I have learned about in the 6 weeks using the iPad mini is that this is not an Android device.  Android remains my OS of choice based on one simple fact, Android offers more features to the developers and end users than iOS does.  The iOS 7 update has enhanced some features but they still fall short to the Android equivalent.

Notifications
Apple added Notification Center in iOS 6 and updated it in iOS7.  Currently, it lists all the notifications and allows you launch the application with a tap to the notification.  The only visual cues on the home screen are the numbered badges on the application icon. To dismiss a notification you can either tap on each one or tap the clear button twice per  application.  The notifications don’t clear when acknowledged in application or when dismissed on another device.  I need to be very diligent and spend a couple minutes each time I used the device to manage the notifications or else they get out of control. The small benefit Notification Center provides is overwhelmed by the amount of time I spend on housekeeping.  I’m close to just disabling it.

Android has always had the Notifications Drawer.  In Android 4.3, the notifications can be individually swiped away, tapped on to open the application, the user can choose app-defined actions from within the notification (reply to sms, share photos, archive email, skip songs), the notification will be automatically dismissed when acknowledged within the application or web service (read an email in the application or online and the notification on the phone goes away automatically), and have a “dismiss all” button when they get out of hand.   A simple glance at the status bar will tell you if you have any pending notifications.  Managing notifications is mostly hands off and automatic with the occasional need to hit the Dismiss all button.

Multitasking
Multitasking, for 3rd party applications, was introduced in iOS 4.  It was a joke then and remains a joke now.  I can’t reliably start a task in one application and then move onto another task without the previous task stopping.  Dropbox remains high on my iOS shit-list with its auto-backup option.  It works without interaction on Android, but on iOS I need to open and remain in the application to backup my photos.  The same goes for Pocket Casts.  Perfect on Android with zero interaction, but on iOS it needs its hand held.  The developers know how to accomplish the tasks, so the blame falls to the OS.

Defaults
If you would like to use the interoperability between applications you are forced to use the stock applications.  Click a URL: Safari opens.  Click a email link: mail opens. Google is finding workarounds to this but they need to be hard coded into every applications and it only works for Google services.

In stark contrast Android lets the user set defaults.  Don’t like the Gmail application? Delete it from your phone and install Yahoo mail, Outlook, or any number of other email applications and set which ever you want as a default.  Same goes for calendars, browsers, keyboards and launchers.

Sharing
In iOS 6 Facebook was added as an option for users to easily share content from their devices.  This brought the total third party applications that have this permission to two.  Twitter was the first.  The only other options are to share links between applications via copy and paste or use the first party applications

Another feature Android has had for years and still does better.  Android has a share menu.  You can share content from one application to another with the press of one button.  No copy and paste required.  No need to store a picture on your device first.  It just works, however you want it to.

Control Center
A new feature of iOS 7, Control Center is Apple’s answer to the pull down toggles of Samsung and HTC and the new Quick Settings built into Android 4.2. Again, the feature falls short.  It’s limited to turning settings on and off and offers no other options.  For example, I routinely switch my bluetooth headset from my phone to the iPad mini.  The headset is paired with both.  I turn off my phone’s bluetooth off and turn my iPad’s Bluetooth on, nothing happens.  I power cycle my headphones, nothing happens.  I dive into settings and manually select the headset, finally it connects.  Control Center has done nothing for me.

To switch back I turn off the iPad’s bluetooth via Control Center and tap a toggle on my phone.  Connected.  If I ever needed to drill down to switch a bluetooth device or wifi network on Android, all I need to do is long press the appropriate toggle.  Instantly I’m in the correct settings menu.

Widgets
Android has them, iOS doesn’t.  ‘nuff said

iOS has been playing catch up on OS features for years and every year Android pulls further into the lead.  What doesn’t make sense is that iOS could offer features like good notifications, multitasking, default applications, a share menu, quick settings, and widgets and maintain their walled garden, ease of use, and polished feel.  For some reason they don’t.  Do they believe end users cannot understand options? Would the system stability be impacted with the features?  or are they just holding back for the next upgrade?

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by Luke Olson via https://plus.google.com/107295341423763791593/posts/8xGY4ifuCrF