Apple’s iOS platform and Google’s Android operating system have never been more capable and feature rich than they are today. Both ecosystems enjoy tremendous support from a wide range of third-party developers. Both platforms are available on both affordable devices and on gorgeous, premium devices. In 2017, you really can’t go wrong with either platform. Each one has advantages over the other, and each one is beloved by a huge portion of its user base. And yet in countless studies over the past few years, Apple almost always seems to top the charts in brand loyalty and customer experience across every category.
Users flow from one platform to the other all the time, for various reasons. But according to data shared by Apple CEO Tim Cook — which is backed up by anecdotal evidence that we often share — Android users switch to the iPhone far more often than iPhone users bail on Apple’s platform. Why is that? We did some quick digging to find out.
In a thread we came across on Reddit two weeks ago, an iPhone users who had switched to the Google Pixel XL wrote about why after four months, he went back to the iPhone. It was an interesting read, and it prompted us to reach out to a number of iPhone users to discuss why they switched from Android, or what keeps them from switching to Android. People email us all the time to discuss their smartphone preference, so we asked people to quickly and concisely list the main reasons why they switched to the iPhone or why they have no plans to switch away from the iPhone.
In this post, we’ll cover the 10 most common responses we received.
Software updates: This was easily the reason that was cited most frequently.
As of February 20th, 79% of all active iPhones, iPads and iPod touch handhelds were running iOS 10, the most recent version of iOS, which was released to the public this past September.
As of February 6th. 1.2% of active Android devices were running Android 7 Nougat, the most recent version of Android, which was released to the public this past August.
The most popular version of Android is Lollipop, which was released more than two years ago in November 2014. Nougat, the most recent version of Android, won’t achieve that feat until sometime in late 2018, at which time Android 9.0 will likely have been released.
Google has created a platform that proliferated rapidly since it’s open source and available to vendors for free, but software updates have to pass through so many hands that it takes forever to push them out. What’s more, only flagship Android phones typically enjoy software updates for several years, which means mid-range and entry-level devices will often stop receiving updates with key Android features long before the user is ready to upgrade to a new phone.
Customer support: This is another huge one, and it’s one we wrote about at length recently. No other consumer electronics company on the planet comes anywhere remotely close to matching Apple’s after-sale service.
Water resistance: This is an interesting one since Apple was pretty late to the game when it came to water-resistance, but a number of people mentioned switching to the iPhone 7 or 7 Plus because of the IP67 water and dust resistance.
Premium hardware: A number of people expressed a desire to have a $650+ phone that actually looks and feels like they paid $650+ for it. This was interesting to me considering how much better phones like the Galaxy S, Note, Moto and OnePlus handsets have gotten in recent years, but it was still a reason that was mentioned quite often.
iMessage: Seriously… there are so many people out there who just can’t come to terms with living life as a green bubble.
Continuity: Samsung is working on offering tighter integration with Windows and there are great third-party apps like AirDroid that offer features similar to Continuity, but nothing is as slick and smooth as Apple’s solution.
Apple Watch: Android Wear recently got a bit better, but it still as a long way to go before it even comes close to matching Apple’s watchOS platform. Add to that the fact that the Apple Watch is a sleek and elegant accessory while most Android smartwatches are giant, chunky gadgets that look like oversized G-Shocks, and you’ve got yet another check in the win column for Apple.
Apps: We have addressed this issue a number of times before here on BGR, and it’s still something that is on plenty of people’s minds. Apple’s iPhone almost always gets apps first, and the user experience is nearly always superior on iOS. Add to that all of the iOS exclusives out there, and you’ve got a third-party app ecosystem that can’t be beat.
Simplicity: This is another one we’ve touched on a few times here on BGR. The fact that Android is so versatile and customizable is a huge draw for many users. But for others, it’s little more than a hassle. A number of people said that it took them far too much time and effort to set up an Android device and to maintain the user experience, so they prefer the simplicity of iOS.
Battery life: Just about every single iPhone 6/6s Plus and iPhone 7 Plus owner who spoke with us listed battery life as a big reason for switching to the iPhone. Apple’s smaller iPhones don’t have great battery life at all, but the Plus models are class leaders. Personally, since I switched to the iPhone 7 Plus from an iPhone 6s, I can’t even remember the last time I worried about battery life.