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Can an iPhone user learn to love Android?

Kirk McElhearn | March 17, 2014
I've been using an iPhone for a few years, but I've always been curious about Android. Not because I didn't like my iPhone, but I wanted to know if I was missing anything. I'd seen how Android works when friends showed me their phones. But given the cost of smartphones and tablets, it wasn't worth getting an Android device just to play around with it.

I couldn't directly migrate my Safari bookmarks, but if you already use Google Chrome on the desktop, your browsing data will sync; same goes for Firefox. (I could have imported my Safari bookmarks to Chrome and sync them, if I'd wanted to.) Google offers some useful instructions on how to sync your Google account with iOS.

Period of adjustment

While Android certainly requirements some adjustments for a die-hard iOSer like me, most of what I needed to do was easy to figure out; the way you control Android isn't that different compared to the way you work in iOS. I won't get into the who-invented-what-first debate, but the differences are minimal. It only took a day for me to feel comfortable.

All that said, there are a number of differences worth discussing.

General look and feel: Compared to iOS, Android looks a bit like Windows XP. Icons aren't as refined, and the interface feels clunky. But you get used to that pretty quickly. One thing I didn't get used to: I dislike the use of white on black text in the Settings apps; it's not always easy to read.

The missing home button: To get to the home screen on the Moto G, you tap a software button, not an actual hardware button as you do on iOS devices. While it's possible to tap this Android button accidentally, I actually found it more comfortable to use. I've seen iPhones that have lost home button functionality; that won't happen with the Moto G. (Other Android phones do have the hardware home button.)

Getting around: There are three buttons at the bottom of the display. On the left is the Back button (which goes back to the previous screen, even if it was in a different app). I find this very useful, and it's much quicker to navigate than in iOS. The button to the right is the application switcher. On iOS, the windows scroll horizontally; on Android, they scroll vertically; this actually allows you to see more windows at a time. Point goes to Android. And the middle one is the All Apps button, which shows all your apps in alphabetical order; this is very handy, as it shows apps even if they're buried in folders.

Moving apps: I find it easier to move apps from one screen to another on Android; you can leave empty spaces anywhere on the grid. However, you can choose to hide some apps, if you wish; those you hide are then accessible only via search or by tapping the All Apps button. So you need to take some time to browse all your apps, and decide which ones you want to make visible on a home screen. Also, it's possible to put a given app in more than one folder; try that on your iPhone.


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