The Pros and Cons of Android vs. Apple

Android still needs improvement, but it's got a lot going for it

Android Rooting

Android has come a long way since it launched in 2008, and while it has had its fair share of issues, relating to security and usability, the OS still has many benefits over Apple's iOS.

The information below should apply no matter who made your Android phone: Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc.

Loving the Chaos, Mostly

To say the Android operating system is fragmented would be a vast understatement. Between the different hardware manufacturers, each of which offers a slightly modified Android experience to the fact that it often takes FOREVER to get an update, this OS is messy. Apple is historically way better about releasing updates than Android, though Google has gotten better when it comes to their Pixel flagship phones. Having control over the hardware and software is a huge advantage.

This fragmentation complicates many things, such as when you need support, though Google's help articles are generally well-organized by OS version. But if you don't have stock Android, it may take a few tries to find the right setting. 

On the other hand, this chaos, the opposite of Apple's buttoned-down approach, means that users can tweak the heck out of my phone and use it the way they want, not how Google or Samsung or others tells them they should. Android users can set default apps, install a third-party Android launcher, add widgets to the home screen, and customize the lock screen. There are very few limitations when it comes to what you can tweak and customize on an Android device, and if you run into one, you can always root, which opens up more possibilities, including the ability to upgrade your OS as soon as you want.

Hardware and Apps

The range of Android hardware manufacturers also has an upside: choice. Options include Google's Pixel line, and third-party options such as HTC, LG, Motorola or Samsung, to name a few. While Apple recently started offering multiple smartphones with different features and screen sizes, for a while, it was either the new iPhone or the old one. And they all sport the same interface and the same restrictions. Not to mention that the latest iPhones don't have headphone jacks; if you want one, you're out of luck. While some Android smartphones also lack a headphone jack, there are plenty of devices that retain it.

On the app front, it's increasingly rare that a software company launches only an iPhone app. However, developers that design apps for Android don't have a universal user to reach, which results in many apps that are only available to newer devices.

Security Needs to Improve

It's not all sunshine and rainbows, though. Android security still needs some work. Consistent updates are available for smartphones running newer OS versions, again leaving many users who have older phones vulnerable. Compared to the closed system that is iOS, Android is significantly more susceptible to security threats. As an Android user, your best bet is to install mobile security software, keep your OS up-to-date, and follow our security tips to make sure you're doing all you can do.