Monday, June 24, 2024
Smartphone news

Android Vs. iPhone 2024 – Forbes Vetted

If you’re looking for your next smartphone, you have one big choice to make before you even consider cost, size or brand. You need to choose if you’re going to carry an iPhone or an Android smartphone. First, here’s the good news: There is no bad choice. Both iOS (the operating system that runs on iPhones) and Android are very good operating systems in their own right. But there are some things that the iPhone does better than Android and vice versa.

If you already carry a smartphone, this may already be an easy choice for you. Maybe you love your phone and you just want something more current. Or, maybe you’re getting a little bored of your phone and you want to see how the other half lives. Whatever your reasons, we’re going to break down the obvious differences between the two smartphone operating systems so you can make that first important decision.

Price: $1,199 and up | Camera: 48 MP wide, 12 MP ultrawide, 12 MP 5x optical zoom, 12 MP selfie | Processor: Apple A17 Bionic Pro | Display: 6.7-inch, LPTO OLED, 120Hz, 1,290 x 2,796 resolution | Battery: 4,441 mAh | Storage: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB | RAM: 8GB


  • Increased base storage
  • Great cameras
  • Solid Apple ecosystem


  • Expensive (and increased starting price)
  • Hard to use one-handed

Price: $999 and up | Camera: 50MP wide, 48MP ultrawide, 48MP 5x optical zoom, 10.5MP selfie camera | Processor: Google Tensor G3 | Display: 6.7-inch, LPTO OLED, 120Hz, 1344 x 2992 resolution | Battery: 5,050 mAh | Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB | RAM: 12GB


  • Great battery life
  • Useful post-photography tricks for beautiful shots
  • Solid Apple ecosystem


  • Video camera isn’t as good as other devices
  • A lot of built-in AI

Android Vs. iPhone: Design

Distinct Differences Between The Two

Right off the bat, there is one major difference between the two operating systems. If you want an iPhone, you’re going to get an iPhone, and it’ll be the iPhone-iest iPhone that ever iPhoned. In other words, there is very little wiggle room for customization or form factors. Even the launch of the iPhone 15, the latest iPhone, comes in only two sizes. The only choice you have is how much to spend and how many cameras you want on the back of it.

That’s perfectly okay. There’s a certain security in having a smaller pool to choose from, and much less chance of buyer’s remorse. After all, you know exactly what you’re getting—it’s the same as literally hundreds of millions of other people.

Android phones, on the other hand, come with many different form factors and manufacturers that you can choose from. If you want a Nothing Phone 2 with a clear back and some slick software tricks, or the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra with its own One UI, or the foldable Oneplus Open, you have a wide variety of options available to you. You can also opt for smaller Android devices like the Google Pixel 8. In short, you can get a phone based on a size and form you want rather than being stuck with one general design.

Android Vs. iPhone: Security

How To Unlock Your Device Varies Greatly

How you unlock that smartphone is the next choice to consider. The iPhone uses your face to unlock your phone, called FaceID, and it’s extremely reliable. If for some reason it can’t scan your face biometrics, you can fall back to your passcode to unlock the device. That’s a good—and bad—thing because anything that uses your face to authenticate also falls back to the passcode. That passcode is, up until recently, what thieves relied upon, spying your passcode in public and then snatching your phone, thus having access to all your apps. Apple recently fixed this by implementing FaceID precautions if you’re outside a geofenced area, so the phone is more secure.

Meanwhile, Android uses a few different methods to unlock the device. The most common is a fingerprint sensor, either mounted on the side of the phone or underneath the screen. Android also falls back to a passcode in the event of a fingerprint sensor failure, but Android does not allow your phone’s passcode to bypass biometric authentication in individual apps. So it doesn’t have the same problem Apple did.

Another, less common way to unlock an Android phone is with facial recognition, but Android phones don’t have the same level of security involving IR sensors that Apple includes, making it less secure, but it’s also optional. Some downsides to Android biometrics include speed and accuracy which, depending on which Android phone you choose, may not be all that great.

Android Vs. iPhone: Home Screen

One Features More Customization

Your phone’s home screen is where you are going to spend a lot of your time on your phone. You’ll place your favorite apps there, along with widgets to give you at-a-glance information. Android has the most customizable home screen. You can choose from four or five columns and any number of rows, depending on the phone. Throw foldables into the equation and you have an expansive digital canvas at your fingertips. Further, icons and widgets go where you place them, regardless of the position of other icons on the screen.

Further, on some Android builds, you can have what’s known as an App Drawer which is a list of every app you have on your phone, typically in alphabetical order. The iPhone also has an app drawer, but apps are grouped into categories. You can find an alphabetical list, but you have to swipe to the App drawer screen and then tap the search box, which is not terribly intuitive. Both Android and iPhone also offer the ability to “group” apps in folders so if you prefer to keep your social media apps in one folder and work apps in another, you can do so on both.

On the iPhone, you have far less flexibility in app icon placement and, indeed, the number of rows and columns available to place those icons. You’re stuck with six rows and four columns, no matter how large or small your iPhone is.

Further, your app icons automatically settle into the first available slot, rather than where you actually place them. What this means is if you have three rows of icons and you want to place one more icon in the sixth row, you can’t. It’ll force itself up to row four, position one. It can feel maddening when you want to customize placement.

However, for those that don’t want to think about how to shape their home screen and just want the apps available to them with a quick tap, this automatic placement can feel like a game changer. It really just depends on what you want as a user.

Android Vs. iPhone: Apps

App Quality And Third Party Apps

Both operating systems have a library of apps available to users. When it comes to quality, in general, apps tend to function better on iOS than Android, but that really depends on the app itself. There are bad apps on both platforms.

Android apps tend to be free, but often rely on advertising. The same can be said for iOS, but paid apps are more common on that platform. That means you pay only once, no subscription required. iOS developers tend to make as much as ten times more per user than Android developers. As a result, apps tend to come out on iOS before Android, but that is not nearly as often the case as it used to be.

One key difference between the two operating systems is the ability to sideload apps on Android. While phone operating systems lock their app installations to apps found in their respective stores by default, installing an app from a third party is far easier on Android than it is on iOS. That may be changing in the not-too-distant future; there are some rumblings that Apple may start allowing third-party app stores sometime, but for right now, if you want an app on your iPhone, it’s coming from Apple’s App Store. On Android, you have choices.

If you’re a general user who doesn’t want to worry about installing apps from third parties, this feature won’t matter much to you. However, if you’re hoping to install third party apps outside of the App Store or Android’s usual app store, the Google Play Store, then strongly consider an Android device.

Android Vs. iPhone: Notifications

There Is A Clear Winner

When it comes to notifications, this is one area where most will agree that Android is vastly superior to iOS, but neither one is perfect. On Android, when you get a notification, you can swipe down the notification shade and see what apps have served you notifications. Often (but not always) you can expand the notification to act upon it without even opening the app. You can reply to a text message, pause and play your music or quickly reply to emails.

On iOS, you can do some of this, but the iPhone groups notifications oddly, and not in any order that makes any kind of sense. You can see all of your notifications, and while they’re generally grouped by app, the notifications that you don’t dismiss hang around until you do something with them. Typically on Android, when you open an app, the phone assumes the notification is no longer necessary and dismisses it. On iOS, it gets moved down to a “prior notifications” area, so you end up with two different sets of notifications.

Not that Android is perfect. Android notifications don’t show up in chronological order, so when you hear the beep and sweep down the notifications shade, the top one isn’t necessarily the most recent. Rather, you have to look at the time stamp for each to figure out which one just went off.

Needless to say, notifications are hard, and your best strategy for both operating systems is to react to and/or dismiss them as they roll in and don’t let them accumulate. But then, you’ll quickly find yourself beholden to your phone’s beeps, which is not a great way to live.

Android Vs. iPhone: Software Ecosystem

Only One Has A Strong System In Place

If notifications are an area where Android dominates the iPhone, then the supporting ecosystem of devices and accessories is definitely the iPhone’s wheelhouse. Put simply, it’s amazing. Apple devices are all designed for seamless productivity right from their unboxing. You can work on your MacBook and import a photo from your phone’s camera roll in seconds. You can accept calls and texts on your iPad or Mac. Your iPhone can automatically serve as a Wi-Fi hotspot for your other Apple devices. It’s seamless, and for the most part effortless—and it all works together from top to bottom.

You just don’t see that on Android devices, except when you stay within a manufacturer’s brand. Some Samsung phones, Motorola phones and Google phones will do similar things with other devices, but they have to be made by the respective brand. You have different manufacturers all trying to push their own ecosystems. Meanwhile, Apple has control of all its devices.

Samsung and Motorola, in particular, also work well with Windows PCs which is a very good start. Samsung Dex and Motorola’s Ready For allow for calls, notifications and app mirroring on your Windows PC. But it’s nowhere near what Apple can provide, which makes iOS great for students and remote workers who need an all-in-one, closed ecosystem.

Android Vs. iPhone: Cameras

Depends On How You Plan To Shoot Images

The cameras are one of the most important parts of your phone. The cameras on the iPhone are universally very solid, giving you very good main and ultrawide lenses. Depending on your iPhone model, you might also get a 3x or 5x optical zoom lens as well (though expect to pay for it). iPhones have remarkable point-and-shoot capability meaning that if you pull out your phone and snap a photo, it’s probably going to be pretty good. The same goes for video.

That is not the case on Android. Depending on the model you choose, some cameras on Android phones, like the Google Pixel 8 Pro, have powerful cameras that give the iPhone a serious run for its money. Other Android cameras are better off just being stickers on the back of the phone. The different qualities of cameras are usually tied to the price you pay for the phone, but even that isn’t always the case. Foldables, for example, typically have below-average cameras when compared to their slab counterparts.

The bottom line for Android cameras: Make sure you research before you buy, because the camera you end up with may not be all that great. With an iPhone, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be pretty good, regardless of which phone you buy.

Android Vs. iPhone: Verdict

Convenience Versus Customization

Ultimately, which operating system you prefer will fall to your individual preferences. There are plenty of reasons to choose an iPhone. It “just works” which means you don’t need to think much about how to finagle the settings, or how to get it to do what you want it to do. If you want a phone with generous app support and a premium feel across the board, I recommend an iPhone. Most importantly, if you already own Apple devices, like AirPods or an iPad, then an iPhone makes the most sense for you.

If you’re seeking a more customizable mobile experience, Android phones allow a user much more flexibility. You can change fonts, themes and even the entire launcher if you want—and that’s just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. You can also micromanage your Android phone until it really conforms to you and your workflow. Android also has a ton of apps, but many will agree that iPhone apps generally have that extra bit of polish to them. Also, as with iPhone, if you’re tied into the Google ecosystem of software, or Windows-based hardware, then an Android phone better compliments your other devices.

But the overall takeaway here should be that there is no bad option. Both iOS and Android are great, mature operating systems that are easy to enjoy. Whichever one you pick will have some quirks, but in general, they’re strong ecosystems. It really comes down to how you’re going to use your device. If you’re looking for convenience, Apple is the way to go; if you’re seeking a more personal flavor, invest in an Android.

My Expertise

I’m a Chicago-based freelance reviewer and have been writing about consumer electronics for over a decade with a particular focus on mobile phones and cellular technology including the birth of 5G. I’ve also tested most foldables on the market over the last several years.

When I’m not testing the latest and greatest flagship phones, I’m hosting the Benefit of the Doud podcast/YouTube channel with my co-host Clifton M. Thomas and editing technology news articles for SlashGear. In addition to Forbes and SlashGear, I have bylines at Android Central,, Android Authority, Lifewire and more.

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Forbes Vetted regularly covers all types of consumer electronics and then reviews and recommends the best products in specific categories. Here are some other articles you might enjoy reading:

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