The Android vs iPhone debate — or rather, the Android vs iOS debate — has been raging for as long as the two operating systems have been out in the wild, but new numbers suggest one camp is happier. both in 2023.
According to a new report (Opens in a new tab) from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP), the past 12 months have seen Apple attract more users from Android than at any point in the past five years. The research institute found that, from March 2022 to March 2023, 15% of individuals who bought an iPhone indicated that they switched from an Android phone.
In other words: iPhones are winning the war. But why? In this article, we highlight five possible reasons – some objective, some subjective – why Android phones continue to lose ground to Apple’s pocket-sized wonders.
1. iPhones offer longer software support
iPhones’ strongest grip on Android phones is their superior longevity. Apple usually supports new iPhones with iOS updates for five or six years after their release, and updates come to all devices in one fell swoop. Sure, the oldest devices don’t always support it EVERY new features in a given iOS update, but their security and basic functionality have been maintained at a high standard for an impressively long time (there’s a reason why you see so many banged-up iPhone 8s knocking).
Android phones, on the other hand, aren’t supported anywhere near as well as iPhones. Samsung, for example, offers four years of software updates and five years of security updates for its best Samsung phones, while Google offers Pixel users three years of -software updates (and the same security commitment). You do the math: you can use iPhones for longer.
As TechRadar’s US Mobiles Editor, Philip Berne – a loyal Android fan – recently wrote an article pleading with Google to give Android its day at Google I/O 2023: “We respect the something reliable. We respect products that last and last, proving their value. We respect products that exceed our expectations and never let us down.
“If I buy an iPhone 14 now, I know that Apple will support it for the next five or six years, maybe more. […] That’s enough to be a hand-me-down, which can be a game-changer when a phone costs a lot. I can use my iPhone 14 Pro for 3 years, then give it to my son to keep for a few years. I know I’ll have the same locks and parental protections I have now because Apple will continue to update.
“If I buy a Samsung or Google phone now, the best I can expect is four years of updates, and that’s only if I buy the best phones. If I buy anything less, that life span for support will be greatly shortened. “
2. iPhones offer better resale value
As a product of their greater longevity, iPhones offer better resale value than Android phones. They’re wiser investments for those who regularly tear down and replace their devices, which are some of the most expensive phones to buy second-hand.
Take the iPhone 13 series, for example. At launch, the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro cost $799 / £779 / AU$1,349 and $999 / £949 / AU$1,699, respectively. Two years later, and you’ll get 75% of that cost back, depending on your chosen market.
|iPhone 13 Pro
|up to $500 / £485 / AU$830
|up to $400 / £390 / AU$655
|up to $704
|Carphone Warehouse (UK)
|up to £530
|up to £430
|JB Hi-Fi (Australia)
|up to AU$700
|up to AU$550
|eBay (typical price)
|up to $849 / £700
|up to $599 / £525
For comparison, Samsung’s 2021 flagship phone, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, cost $1,199 / £1,149 / AU$1,849 at launch and sold for around 60% less on the second-hand market in 2021 (and that’s eBay – where used iPhones cost the most).
3. iPhones to offer iMessage
iPhones offer iMessage while Android phones do not. Why is this important to people? It’s hard to say for sure, but we suspect the reasons are more than a simple preference for blue-colored messaging bubbles.
Instead of being a fancy version of SMS (Short Message Service), iMessage works in a similar way to Facebook Messenger. Messages, photos, and videos sent between iPhone users use Wi-Fi and data instead of eating up users’ text message plans, and this dissociation of cellular networks allows a set of features specific to iMessage. You can react and reply to iMessages, translate them, and even send money in the Messages app using Apple Cash.
None of this is possible with basic SMS messaging, and although a new communication standard – RCS (Rich Communication Service) – may eventually improve the messaging experience between Android and iOS devices, the Apple currently shows an (understandable) reluctance to level the playing field. field.
4. iPhones are more popular among young people
Let’s take the band-aid off: iPhones will still look cooler than Android phones in 2023. Why? It’s hard to say, but their popularity among young people is undeniable.
As Phil put it in his aforementioned article: “The Wall Street Journal (Opens in a new tab) says Gen Z is leading the charge toward Apple dominance. I can attest to that myself, because my son is 14 and he has an iPhone 11. This is not his first iPhone 11, this is his third, because he has been divorced for years.
“Every time he breaks his iPhone I ask if he wants to exchange it for something else. ‘A better iPhone?’ he asked. Well, no, I mean. A Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus. See, Samsung will give you good money for your iPhone, even if it’s broken, and all you have to do is switch…
“He waved me off with a flap of his hand. This conversation ended before it began. He won’t move from his iPhone. No way, I don’t have to suggest it. He couldn’t even explain why. His friends all have iPhones. Does he get annoyed when a friend shows up with a green bubble in a chat? He doesn’t know, because it hasn’t happened yet.” Well.
5. iPhones boast a better app selection
It’s a little subjective, but iPhones offer a better app selection than Android phones. To be clear: we’re not talking about numbers here – actually, some reports (Opens in a new tab) that the Google Play Store boasts nearly two million more apps than Apple’s App Store. But the indisputable fact is that apps on the App Store are of higher quality than their counterparts on Google Play.
Why? There are two reasons, in our book. The first is that app developers usually make money through iOS, so they prioritize the App Store when it comes to speed and polishing their products. The second is that Apple’s App Store offers a larger selection of pro-level creativity and productivity apps – those optimized for the respective screen sizes of the iPhone and iPad, while the Android tablet apps are not always optimized.
It’s no secret that Google faces an uphill battle if it hopes to close the gap between Apple and its iOS-powered iPhones, not least because popularity breeds more popularity. The more people who use iPhones, the more popular iPhones are – and it doesn’t look good if users continue to defect from Android in increasing numbers.
So, what can Android developers do to stop the exodus? They should start by taking a leaf out of Apple’s book and streamlining the entire operating system. When you first boot up an Android phone, you’ll find tons of junk — games, in-house apps, third-party apps — that most people don’t care about. . Who needs two photo gallery apps, anyway?
To its credit, Android is certainly a more versatile platform than iOS, but great customization shouldn’t come at the expense of usability, and there’s no denying that Apple nailed the ‘anyone can use it’ aesthetic in iOS. Your grandmother or teenage daughter might not have a hard time setting up a new iPhone straight out of the box, but Android phones still seem like incredibly complicated devices full of of options and shortcuts that can confuse and frustrate the unfamiliar user.
Finally, there’s the “Which Android are you using?” question Since Android is available from many different handset manufacturers, there’s no telling which version of Android you’ll get. With the iPhone, when you buy a new one, it comes with the latest version of iOS. Even if you get a used one, you can immediately – if it is supported – upgrade to the latest version. Android may not catch up to Apple if it doesn’t get every partner (and the carriers that often control updates) on the same page.