From IOS to Android: It’s Not Easy

by francine Hardaway on December 2, 2013

Over the past two years, many of my geek friends switched to Android from iPhone, citing lack of innovation. I held out, because I couldn’t believe Apple had just ceased to innovate on its most important product. But when the iPhone 5s launched, I made up my mind. I was switching to Android, at least for a while.

I’m one of those people who trades in her phone way too often to be eligible for an upgrade, so when Google announced the unlocked Nexus 5 for $349-399, I decided that would be my next phone.

So far, I’m a bit disappointed, but not enough to go back. I love the 5″ screen, and the integration with my other Google devices — Glass and the Nexus 7. I also love Google Now, which sends me information based on what I am reading, where I am traveling, and what I’m interested in. And all my apps are there in the Play Store, as my music is all uploaded to Google’s Play Music.

I also love how the Google productivity software — Drive, Calendar, Contacts, Gmail, and even G+ work for me. I never liked any of the Apple software; I didn’t use Mail, Calendar, and Contacts anyway. I used to try to get rid of them, and couldn’t.

What I don’t like: mostly the camera software, which is dreadful. I was used to the iPhone 5, which took awesome photos. I’ve had to download an app to enhance the photos I take with the Nexus 5, but that doesn’t take care of the poor low light performance and the random times the flash goes on or does not. I am hoping Google will fix the camera software, because everyone’s complaining about it.

Fewer people are complaining about the microphone, but some of my friends are having trouble hearing me, and I’m having some difficulty understanding them. It’s not terrible, but it’s not as good as the iPhone 5.

And I had great difficulty programming a custom ring tone. I didn’t like any of the ones that came with the Nexus, most of which were variations on robot noises. On IOS, I was happily using the bark.

But the worst problem for me is the way Hangouts has become the default text messaging app with KitKat. That’s similar to the way iMessage is the default message platform for iPhone. What this has meant to me is an inability to get text messages from family members who have iPhones (all of them). I tried downloading another SMS app, but that doesn’t fix the problem. I also read a post by Eric Schmidt about switching from IOS to Android, and followed all its instructions. That didn’t help either.

You see, in order to receive texts from IOS users, I have to turn off iMessages on all my Apple devices, and I have four: a Mac Mini, a Macbook Air, a Mini iPad, and my old phone. I turned off the messaging on the Mini IPad and the phone, but am not sure how to do it on my desktop and laptop machines without simply deleting the Messages app. And then I’d have no way of knowing when someone sent me a text that I didn’t receive on the phone.

Oh, and in case that’s not enough, my contacts won’t sync. I think I have too many of them: over 3000 in Google and some 2700 in iCloud. And there’s not all that much overlap, either.

So it turns out that the worse part of Android for me isn’t Android, it’s being stuck with one foot in each ecosystem, and wanting to keep it that way. Anyone have any solutions?


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Ursula December 3, 2013 at 6:53 am

I switched from an iPhone to a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 a little over a year ago and didn’t have the same issues with dumping iMessage.
I am thinking it was because I got rid of my iPhone and never used iMessage on my previous iPad or my new mini.
I love the new Hangouts app and use it for my sms application as well. Hopefully, you can get a work around.
I am interested in the Nexus 5 but the reviews on the camera issues are disconcerting.

Leanne December 3, 2013 at 7:22 pm

Use both. I regularly carry both. I love Android (Samsung Galaxy s4) for the widgets — just turn on my phone and swipe through widgets to see if anything needs my attention. I love iPhone (5s) for the camera and easier gps/maps — access camera from lock screen, open maps and it finds my current location faster than my Galaxy does. I also sometimes have a Nokia Windows phone tagging along with me (because companies hire me for my mobile usability research skills so I keep up with a bunch of mobile devices). I like the Windows phone for it’s alphabetical list of apps. Easier to find what I’m looking for. Android also has an alphabetical list of apps — so much easier to find an app in a maze of apps if it’s in a list (compared with a bunch of randomly organized icons on multiple screens in iOS). I also like the extra help with auto correct in Android and that settings are available to pull down from the top (in the new iOS, settings are pulled up from the bottom and I accidentally pull them up all the time while using something in an app).

Using both is sort of like my community of friends. Some are conservative, some are liberal, some are in between. I keep tabs on them all.

Francine December 3, 2013 at 8:31 pm

Truthfully, that’s what I am doing. Still, it would be better if they played well together.

Francine December 3, 2013 at 8:32 pm

I’ve been researching it and I think I have an old device out there in the wild (I waterfall them to family members) that still has iMessage connected. I can’t even begin to track it down:-)

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