iPhone vs. Samsung Phone

The pros and cons and ups and downs of Apple and Samsung phones

Together, Apple and Samsung make up nearly two-thirds of the smartphone market. The popularity of iPhones and Galaxies can be explained by good design, user experience, personalization, and brand loyalty. If you're unsure which brand to choose for your next device, this guide can help. Here are some things to consider when deciding between an iPhone and a Samsung Galaxy.

iPhone vs Samsung Phone
Lifewire

Choose an iPhone for Better Compatibility

What We Like
  • Continuity with other Apple devices.

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't work well on devices with other popular systems, such as Android, Windows, and ChromeOS.

An iPhone is ideal if you own a Mac computer, iPad, or Apple Watch. You can start activities or projects on one Apple device and continue where you left off on another. The Apple Airdrop feature also makes it easy to transfer files from one iOS or macOS device to another.

Apple products
Sura Ark / Getty Images

Additionally, Apple Watches are only compatible with iOS and Mac devices. That means if you want to get an Apple smartwatch, you need an iPhone to take full advantage of it.

Choose a Samsung for Better Customization

What We Like
  • Set up apps and programs like TWRP Custom Recovery for advanced customization access.

What We Don't Like
  • Gaining root access to a device can render it unusable if not done correctly.

Samsung has customized its user interface so that it's different from other Android devices. Older devices use the Samsung Experience UI, while newer devices with Android Pie use the Samsung One UI.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Drew Angerer / Getty Images 

Samsung's new interface is minimalistic, intuitive, and task-focused. You'll spend less time looking for apps and functions, and more time doing what you want with your device.

Design wise, the Samsung has a theme library. You can create themes to give your device a unique look.

If you're an advanced user, root your Samsung device and install custom recovery firmware to access the back end of the device. Many people use these methods to install leaked updates and programs that aren't native to Samsung devices. There's some risk in performing such functions, but many superusers like knowing that they're able to do it.

Choose an iPhone for Regular OS Updates

What We Like
  • iOS updates release in a timely fashion for all compatible devices.

What We Don't Like
  • May have to wait while bugs and other small issues are patched with smaller updates.

When the latest iOS update is released, it's available to all compatible devices at the same time. It takes a few months for the majority of iOS users to update to the latest system version. Most Samsung devices only get the latest Android system version when it's first released. 

Choose a Samsung for Expandable Storage Options

What We Like
  • Manually add more storage if the internal storage isn't enough.

What We Don't Like
  • MicroSD cards for expandable storage are typically sold separately.

Samsung devices use a microSD card to expand the storage amount on the device. The internal storage on the latest smartphones can be expanded up to 256 GB or 512 GB.

Prices vary depending on the brand and capacity, but microSD cards are often on sale at stores like Best Buy and Target. Samsung also occasionally offers deals to get a free microSD card with the purchase of a new device.

Choose an iPhone for a Greater Variety of Apps

What We Like
  • iOS users are typically the first to know about the latest new app craze.

What We Don't Like
  • iOS apps tend to consume more disk space than Android apps.

Apps typically release and update on iPhones before other devices because developers find it easier to create on iOS. Many developers wait until apps become popular on iOS before attempting to build an Android version. If you want to make sure you have access to the latest apps, the iPhone may be the better choice for you.

Choose a Samsung for Better Displays

What We Like
  • Samsung hasn't adopted the top-notch design.

What We Don't Like
  • Replacing broken or damaged screens can be costly.

Samsung devices have one of the best displays on the market. The Samsung OLED displays are known for rich color and detail and are guaranteed on all Galaxy S and Galaxy Note models.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 display
Chesnot / Getty Images

OLED displays are great for watching videos and displaying pictures. While the super-premium iPhones also have OLED displays, if you want a lower cost or older iPhone, you may have to settle for an LCD display, which isn't as bright and has less color variation.

Choose an iPhone for Faster Performance

What We Like
  • Don't have to close apps for better performance.

What We Don't Like
  • iOS navigation can be challenging.

Many people enjoy how iPhones seem to run fast and smooth, with few instances of freezing or crashing.

High-performance functions, such as gaming, watching videos, or having several apps open at once don't seem to slow an iPhone down. Some iPhone navigation and gestures may be challenging for those who aren't familiar with iOS, but these gestures are easy to learn.

Choose a Samsung for Better Battery Life

What We Like
  • Samsung devices tend to have longer daily battery life with typical use.

What We Don't Like
  • High-performance users may experience faster battery drain.

Despite fumbles from the past, Samsung devices tend to have decent battery life due to the large batteries. The Galaxy S and Galaxy Note smartphones also support quick charging, so if your battery does dip to a lower percentage than you're comfortable with, it only takes a few minutes to get most of the battery power back.

Choose an iPhone for Better Security Options

What We Like
  • Users that stay away from risky behaviors are comparatively safe.

What We Don't Like
  • Major native bugs can lay dormant for some time.

Apple devices have a high level of security. While not foolproof, if you avoid risky practices, you can keep your iPhone free of bugs and viruses. Other ways to keep an iPhone safe are keeping iOS up to date, not installing unauthorized apps, services, or programs, and having strong passwords.

Choose a Samsung for Great Camera Specs

What We Like
  • Great for low light photography.

What We Don't Like
  • Can struggle to capture image and video detail, especially in third-party apps.

Samsung improved the quality of its cameras significantly over the years. Samsung mobile cameras are some of the best among Android devices. Some of the top functions include a wide-angle mode, low light-HDR, and a scene optimizer, which adjusts the camera settings to get the ideal shot based on the subject.

Choose an iPhone for Better Camera Features

What We Like
  • High Dynamic Range features are superb.

What We Don't Like
  • Low light images can be lackluster.

Cameras on the iPhone shine for practical functions. Many users find it easier to get a first time shot with an iPhone, where images don't suffer from a lack of detail or overexposure.

Features like Live Photos are popular for sharing, as this captures three-second gifs. iPhone cameras are also ideal for capturing images and videos on third-party apps like Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat.

Choose a Samsung If You Prefer a Headphone Jack

What We Like
  • Can use a standard 3.5mm audio jack with the latest Samsung devices.

What We Don't Like
  • No real downside to this feature.

Samsung's flagships are some of the only premium smartphones to include 3.5mm audio jacks. There's no telling how long this will last, but for now, the Galaxy Note 10, Galaxy S10, and Galaxy 10+ feature headphone jacks.

All of Samsung's older devices also include headphone jacks. The Galaxy Note 9, Galaxy S9, and Galaxy S9 Plus are viable options for those looking to purchase a high-end smartphone.

iPhone vs. Samsung: Which Is Better?

Both Apple and Samsung phones are great, and each comes with pros and cons. An iPhone may be ideal for those who want a straightforward user experience. A Samsung device may be better for power users who like more control and variety. Overall, choosing a new smartphone often comes down to lifestyle and personal preference.