Moving from iPhone to Android

adam42381

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Sorry if this has been discussed recently. I searched, but had no luck.

I’m eligible for an upgrade (Sprint) on my iPhone 8 and am considering making a switch to the Samsung Galaxy S10. I’ve been an iPhone user since the iPhone 3G, but don’t have any other Apple devices. I’m hesitant because the iPhone is basically the only smartphone I’ve ever used or known outside of the old Blackberrys back in the day.

I don’t play any games and basically use my phone to surf the web, use social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter), listen to Spotify and listen to podcasts via Overcast - which I know isn’t on Android.

Any thoughts or suggestions? I’m fine with my iPhone 8 right now and am okay holding off until a newer model comes out if there’s something in the pipeline worth waiting for. I do like the idea of being able to listen to my old headphones without a dongle.
 

finnVT

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All those things (other than overcast) will work just fine, and almost identically as before. The biggest differences are ecosystem changes-- if you use iMessage outside of the phone messaging system, you'll lose that (android has a web interface now, but it's a little iffy), and existing text groups where all other users were on iPhones were broken for me for a while after I upgraded (which was BY FAR the most annoying thing we dealt with when upgrading-- people were sending texts that we never got). If you use iCloud stuff for photos, that's gone (at least by default, I haven't investigated whether it's possible to install something to continue using it). I find google photos much better for both backing up and sharing, but YMMV. I haven't missed it at all, though I imagine it could be a pain for those that make more use of the apple ecosystem stuff.
 

adam42381

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All of my group texts are via FB Messenger, but I still use iMessage quite a bit with individuals. Most of my friends have iPhones, but I assume texting will basically work the same, right? I don’t use iCloud at all. I do use Safari as my iPhone browser, but switching to Chrome or Firefox shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
 

bohous

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I made the jump from iPhone 7 to a Pixel 3 in November. The Pixel/Android definitely has its benefits* but I miss my iPhone and am already looking to switch back. The downgrade in messaging is significant and has not been overstated. Group texts are screwy and sending attachments sucks. Android compresses videos to the point of being pretty much unwatchable, and I've had texts with photo attachments just not send at all unless I send them as links. I also find email syncing isn't as dependable. Email and text are the features I use most so this is a problem.

*I will say that my Pixel camera is outstanding and I love that I get full resolution Google Photos storage for free. I also love the flexibility and customization options, as well as default to Google apps, especially Google Maps. For me these benefits don't outweigh the downgrade in messaging and mail. YMMV.
 

jercra

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The super compression of video is apparently a carrier thing and not an Andriod/iPhone thing. That's why video from iPhone to iPhone works. It's using iMessage behind the scenes, not MMS. Lots of messaging clients can solve this for you, but it's a pain in the ass to deal with multiple clients. For years you could just use Hangouts to handle both SMS/MMS and "hangouts" messages in a seamless way very similarly to iMessage but Google, as always, has decided to remove Hangouts with no replacement.
 

Joe Sixpack

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I mostly use WhatsApp or Signal with other android people. If they have either of those that would be the way to go.

Its more a limitation with SMS/MMS than anything inherent to Android.

Signal is good because similar to iMessage (or the old Hangouts), it can integrate as your default SMS client and will just fall back on SMS if Signal messaging isn't available with someone, so it's pretty seamless. I actually got my mom using it which is really something.
 

Gorton Fisherman

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Any thoughts or suggestions? I’m fine with my iPhone 8 right now and am okay holding off until a newer model comes out if there’s something in the pipeline worth waiting for. I do like the idea of being able to listen to my old headphones without a dongle.
Is there anything in particular you're looking for in an upgraded phone, other than just the usual faster/better/bigger screen? If you want to consider staying within the iPhone lineup, the upgrade choices currently available would be the iPhone XR or the iPhone XS/XS Max. If you're just looking for faster/better/bigger screen, the iPhone XR is worth a look IMO. It has the same "edge-to-edge" screen design that Apple has gone to in their top-of-the-line X/XS phones (and which most other phone vendors have either already gone to, or are moving toward). The XR has a pretty big screen (6.1-inch vs. the 4.7-inch in your iPhone 8), and the same (very fast) A12 CPU that is in the XS phones. And as iPhones go, it's fairly "reasonably priced" at $749 MSRP (probably the best value in the iPhone lineup right now). The only significant thing you don't get in the iPhone XR that you would get in the XS (or the Galaxy S10) is an OLED screen; the XR has an LCD screen. But Apple's LCD displays are pretty nice. I recommend the XR to most people who ask me "what iPhone should I get", mainly because I don't think the $250 price bump to go to the OLED screen in the XS is worth it for most people.

Also, if you're not in a big hurry, you might consider waiting until Apple announces their new phones in September. The "XR-class" model will almost certainly get at least a CPU bump. There are also rumors that Apple may introduce a cheaper OLED phone.

Unfortunately I don't foresee the headphone jack making a comeback, so if you stay with an iPhone you'll still be stuck using a dongle for your old headphones. I've pretty much converted over to using Bluetooth earbuds/headphones. If you're not a super-audiophile there are tons of decent and inexpensive Bluetooth earbuds and headphones available these days.
 
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Gorton Fisherman

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BTW I agree 100% with @finnVT above that Google Photos is a much better solution for photo backup/sharing than the Apple equivalent. Fortunately Google Photos works just fine on the iPhone.
 

adam42381

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Is there anything in particular you're looking for in an upgraded phone, other than just the usual faster/better/bigger screen? If you want to consider staying within the iPhone lineup, the upgrade choices currently available would be the iPhone XR or the iPhone XS/XS Max. If you're just looking for faster/better/bigger screen, the iPhone XR is worth a look IMO. It has the same "edge-to-edge" screen design that Apple has gone to in their top-of-the-line X/XS phones (and which most other phone vendors have either already gone to, or are moving toward). The XR has a pretty big screen (6.1-inch vs. the 4.7-inch in your iPhone 8), and the same (very fast) A12 CPU that is in the XS phones. And as iPhones go, it's fairly "reasonably priced" at $749 MSRP (probably the best value in the iPhone lineup right now). The only significant thing you don't get in the iPhone XR that you would get in the XS (or the Galaxy S10) is an OLED screen; the XR has an LCD screen. But Apple's LCD displays are pretty nice. I recommend the XR to most people who ask me "what iPhone should I get", mainly because I don't think the $250 price bump to go to the OLED screen in the XS is worth it for most people.

Also, if you're not in a big hurry, you might consider waiting until Apple announces their new phones in September. The "XR-class" model will almost certainly get at least a CPU bump. There are also rumors that Apple may introduce a cheaper OLED phone.

Unfortunately I don't foresee the headphone jack making a comeback, so if you stay with an iPhone you'll still be stuck using a dongle for your old headphones. I've pretty much converted over to using Bluetooth earbuds/headphones. If you're not a super-audiophile there are tons of decent and inexpensive Bluetooth earbuds and headphones available these days.
I’m not looking for any specific features, just considering an upgrade. I’m pretty partial to my old school Sony headphones and probably listen for around 15-20 hours a week on them, so the dongle is an unnecessary issue for me. I don’t like the idea of having to have an extra charger just for Bluetooth. I do have some running earbuds that I use, but the sound quality is pretty awful. My wife has the XS and she likes it, but I’m not a huge fan of it for whatever reason. Probably because I’m just used to the home button and it would be an easy thing to get used to using.
 

Gorton Fisherman

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Yeah, I hear you on the Bluetooth headphone thing. Most of my phone listening these days is podcasts and whatnot, so for that Bluetooth earbuds are fine. But when I’m listening to music, I do still prefer old-school analog headphones. I have yet to find a pair of Bluetooth headphones that can fully match good hard-wired headphones as far as pure audio quality goes. I believe Bluetooth itself is a limiting factor there. You can find some decent sounding Bluetooth headphones, but you generally have to pay a little more. I recently splurged on a pair of Sony Bluetooth noise canceling headphones, and the audio quality is pretty good. Another nice thing about a lot of Bluetooth headphones is that many also have an analog audio input. I’ve used that occasionally with my Sony headphones, and the audio quality is noticeably better than when using them over the Bluetooth.

Having to charge Bluetooth headphones is a bit of a hassle for sure, although I will say that most Bluetooth earbuds or headphones I’ve tried lately have pretty good battery life, like 15 to 20 hours on a single charge. And as far as charging Bluetooth headphones goes, you wouldn’t necessarily need an extra charger per se, just another cable. Most Bluetooth headphones use a micro USB charging port. If you just get a USB to micro USB cable, you can charge your headphones using the same charging block you use for your iPhone.

Regarding the home button thing, I recently upgraded from an iPhone 8 to an iPhone XS, and I was initially worried about the lack of a home button as well. But you would be amazed at how fast you get used to it, once you start using the new phone on a daily basis. Now when I go back to an iPhone or iPad that uses the home button, it actually feels clumsy/awkward to me.
 
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bohous

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The super compression of video is apparently a carrier thing and not an Andriod/iPhone thing. That's why video from iPhone to iPhone works. It's using iMessage behind the scenes, not MMS. Lots of messaging clients can solve this for you, but it's a pain in the ass to deal with multiple clients. For years you could just use Hangouts to handle both SMS/MMS and "hangouts" messages in a seamless way very similarly to iMessage but Google, as always, has decided to remove Hangouts with no replacement.
I mostly use WhatsApp or Signal with other android people. If they have either of those that would be the way to go.

Its more a limitation with SMS/MMS than anything inherent to Android.

Signal is good because similar to iMessage (or the old Hangouts), it can integrate as your default SMS client and will just fall back on SMS if Signal messaging isn't available with someone, so it's pretty seamless. I actually got my mom using it which is really something.

I understand all of these things but the bottom line is that with imessages you don't need workarounds, no using seperate messaging apps for certain users of groups. I guess what I'm saying is ... It just works.
 

jercra

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I understand all of these things but the bottom line is that with imessages you don't need workarounds, no using seperate messaging apps for certain users of groups. I guess what I'm saying is ... It just works.
Except it doesn't. It "just works" with other iPhone users. It sucks at interacting with Android devices. I'm also not entirely sure why it's a big deal to install a messaging app, but to each their own.
 

Gorton Fisherman

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Except it doesn't. It "just works" with other iPhone users. It sucks at interacting with Android devices.
Well, when it's interacting with Android devices, it's exactly the same thing as SMS. Which I guess you could argue "sucks", but at least it is 1) extremely reliable and 2) supported on every single phone in existence.

The beauty part of iMessage is that it isn't some rando third-party app that you need to find / download / install / create a new account in order to use. It's simply the default, built-in, system-level texting application that is built in to every single iPhone, out of the box. It has enhanced functionality when talking to other iPhones, and falls back to SMS when the other device isn't an iPhone.

The problem with third-party apps that provide iMessage-like functionality isn't their functionality per se, it's that none of them are THE single built-in, default messaging app that is built into every (non-Apple) phone. Hence if you want to use one of these apps you must get all of your friends / family / colleagues to agree to use the same app and sign up for the underlying service. For me that would be like herding cats. With iMessage, you don't need to worry about any of that. If you send a message even to a completely unknown person/number, you automatically get iMessage-enhanced functionality if that person happens to have an iPhone, otherwise you "merely" get SMS. Other problems with third-party messaging apps are just the hassle of creating an account for that app, and also concerns (if you care about such things) as to the privacy of your messages, as well as whether the app vendor is mining your messages for advertising, etc (none of which are concerns when using iMessage). For example, I'm sure Facebook Messenger is a perfectly functional messaging app, but it requires that I have a Facebook account, and also subject my messaging content to whatever undoubtedly nefarious purpose that Facebook deems advantageous to them. Personally I'd rather have a sharp stick in the eye, but YMMV.

I think iMessage is quietly one of the seemingly small things that is so good that it helps create "stickiness" that keeps users within the Apple ecosystem. I am amazed that Google has not been able to come up with a true system-level messaging equivalent after all these years. Certainly they have the technical prowess and market power to do so if they wanted. But they have continually screwed the pooch on that front for years, which is just weird.
 
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jercra

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Well, a lot of that is ecosystem based. I agree that Google has failed at this but I think it's mostly because they haven't the ecosystem advantage. There is no difference between what iMessage does and what other apps do but Apple makes you sign up for that new account when you buy the phone, not when you download the app and they've got so many people to buy their phone that the app has pretty good coverage. Google hasn't had that kind of ecosystem. They don't control what messaging app Samsung or Huawei or Sony or any other non-Pixel uses for default messaging.

As far as switching from one ecosystem to another, it's certainly something to consider, but it seems pretty minor to this Andriod user.
 

Gorton Fisherman

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Well, a lot of that is ecosystem based. I agree that Google has failed at this but I think it's mostly because they haven't the ecosystem advantage. There is no difference between what iMessage does and what other apps do but Apple makes you sign up for that new account when you buy the phone, not when you download the app and they've got so many people to buy their phone that the app has pretty good coverage. Google hasn't had that kind of ecosystem. They don't control what messaging app Samsung or Huawei or Sony or any other non-Pixel uses for default messaging.
Well, unless I'm mistaken, does Google not also "make you sign up for that new account" (in this case, a Google account) when you buy/use any Android phone that uses Google services (i.e. pretty much any Android phone that anyone would want to actually use)? To me, "iPhone" is to "Apple ID" as "Android phone" is to "Google ID". They seem completely equivalent to me. There isn't any additional burden placed on iPhone buyers in this respect that does not also exist for Android buyers.

On Android, though, if you then also want 'non-shitty' messaging, you must either use whatever random alternative messaging app that the OEM has put on your phone out of the box (which will obviously be non-universal and brand-specific), or download / sign up for some third-party messaging app. None of this is necessary on an iPhone.

I also disagree that "Google hasn't had that kind of ecosystem". My understanding is that any OEM that wants to ship an Android phone that incorporates "Google services" (e.g. Google Play, Gmail, Google Maps, Google Photos, etc.) must sign an agreement with Google. Obviously since these Google services are essential to the core functionality of what nearly everyone expects from an "Android phone", pretty much every OEM that makes an Android device (especially for sale here in the U.S.) signs this agreement. This agreement allows Google to place whatever requirements or restrictions they see fit on the OEM and the phones that they ship that include Google services. So I believe Google could easily impose a requirement such as "the default messaging app on the phone shall be Google Messages (or whatever)". This would preclude any Android phone vendor from making some crappy alternative "Samsung iMessage" type app or what-have-you and making it the default messaging app on their phones. If Google was serious about solving this problem, this is exactly what they would do (and should do, IMO).

Obviously, an even better solution for everyone would if the SMS "standard" could be modified to include enhanced functionality like that of iMessage and these other more modern messaging apps. Or, even better, if Apple and Google could agree on a cross-platform enhanced messaging app/standard that both companies would use as the default system messaging service on their platforms. I don't see any realistic chance of that ever happening, though, unfortunately.
 

jercra

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Well, unless I'm mistaken, does Google not also "make you sign up for that new account" (in this case, a Google account) when you buy/use any Android phone that uses Google services (i.e. pretty much any Android phone that anyone would want to actually use)? To me, "iPhone" is to "Apple ID" as "Android phone" is to "Google ID". They seem completely equivalent to me. There isn't any additional burden placed on iPhone buyers in this respect that does not also exist for Android buyers.

On Android, though, if you then also want 'non-shitty' messaging, you must either use whatever random alternative messaging app that the OEM has put on your phone out of the box (which will obviously be non-universal and brand-specific), or download / sign up for some third-party messaging app. None of this is necessary on an iPhone.

I also disagree that "Google hasn't had that kind of ecosystem". My understanding is that any OEM that wants to ship an Android phone that incorporates "Google services" (e.g. Google Play, Gmail, Google Maps, Google Photos, etc.) must sign an agreement with Google. Obviously since these Google services are essential to the core functionality of what nearly everyone expects from an "Android phone", pretty much every OEM that makes an Android device (especially for sale here in the U.S.) signs this agreement. This agreement allows Google to place whatever requirements or restrictions they see fit on the OEM and the phones that they ship that include Google services. So I believe Google could easily impose a requirement such as "the default messaging app on the phone shall be Google Messages (or whatever)". This would preclude any Android phone vendor from making some crappy alternative "Samsung iMessage" type app or what-have-you and making it the default messaging app on their phones. If Google was serious about solving this problem, this is exactly what they would do (and should do, IMO).

Obviously, an even better solution for everyone would if the SMS "standard" could be modified to include enhanced functionality like that of iMessage and these other more modern messaging apps. Or, even better, if Apple and Google could agree on a cross-platform enhanced messaging app/standard that both companies would use as the default system messaging service on their platforms. I don't see any realistic chance of that ever happening, though, unfortunately.
I'm not sure this is helping anyone looking to switch one way or another so I'll drop it with the exception of your last point. Google has been pushing RCS for a while. RCS has lots of features that solve all of the current MMS/SMS issues. Apple is reportedly "in discussions" to maybe someday support something that would benefit everyone but don't hold your breath. What's best for the consumer isn't always what's best for the business. Hopefully RCS wins and iMessage loses, but who knows?
 

Gorton Fisherman

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I'm not sure this is helping anyone looking to switch one way or another so I'll drop it with the exception of your last point.
Well I would say the discussion is relevant to someone looking to switch, in that the messaging situation is (IMO) mildly but definitively worse on Android than it is on iPhone. Not necessarily a show stopper for a potential switcher by any means, just another in a long list of factors to consider.

As to your other point, it would be great if something like RCS would take off, but I don't think RCS is the answer. Among other things, RCS lacks end-to-end encryption, which for lots of people (including me) is a deal-killer.
 

Gorton Fisherman

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