4 Android things that need to be better than iOS

By Aman Rashid: Using a favorite operating system is mostly about getting used to it: once you get used to Android or iOS, you’ll most likely continue to use the one you feel comfortable with. And that’s why it’s often difficult to cross the fence when you really want to. For example, I mostly use an Android smartphone but due to my profession I also carry an iPhone as my secondary phone of choice. And, in this way, they are very much in line with both Android and iOS. However, not everyone carries two phones like me, and if you’re someone who primarily uses an Android phone, but want to make the leap to iOS, you should read this first.

You see, change is good, and if you want a new iPhone, that’s great too. However, there are still a lot of features missing from today’s iPhone models, even in 2022. And we’re talking about the features that have already been on Android phones for years. So which of these essential Android features should be on iPhones in 2022? Here is a list.

1. Telephone services and call handling could be improved

The primary use of a phone is to make calls, and modern smartphones come with a number of features that take call handling to the next level. But, in my opinion, I still feel there is room for improvement when it comes to handling call services on the iPhone.

For example, the iPhone has a call log, but it’s only limited to storing the last 100 calls, including calls from your social media apps like WhatsApp or even apps like Google Meet and Zoom. Now, I’m not saying Android is the best here, but at least the call history limit is 500, and that’s only for cellular calls. For any other call logs, like for WhatsApp or Zoom calls, you need to go to their respective apps.

Other than that, the iPhone lacks a built-in call recorder. Of course, privacy is one of the reasons behind this, and anyway, there are still workarounds to record iPhone calls using other methods. However, having a native call recorder like many Android phones would have been great. Just give users this option.

Finally, one of the smaller but significant omissions in iOS’s dialer is that it doesn’t have a T9 dialer. Android has had this feature for over a decade, but no one knows why we still don’t have it on iPhones. It’s like, on Android, if you want to make a call to Rahul, you open the dialer, dial 72486 and make the call, very simple. On an iPhone, if this person isn’t saved to your favorites, you’ll need to open the contacts card, search for the name, open the contact, and then place the call. Why the extra step when things can be easier?

2. Standard keyboard

When it comes to typing on a phone, by far my favorite keyboard is Google’s Gboard. And there are some basic features in Gboard, which just make me wonder how crippled iOS’ stock keyboard is. Now, before we go any further, let me tell you that yes, Gboard is available for download on iPhone as well. However, it doesn’t offer the same level of functionality as an Android phone.

That said, let’s mention some of the major iOS keyboard pain points that we think keyboards on Android phones do much better. Something as simple as a dedicated number row is missing from the stock iOS keyboard. Aside from that, there is no way to adjust the keyboard height, let alone resize the keyboard to suit personal preference. Also, the iOS keyboard is totally missing key features such as a one-handed keyboard and a floating keyboard. Finally, the clipboard feature on Android that let us copy something from one place and paste it into another app using Gboard, is once again missing from the iOS keyboard.

3. Clumsy WhatsApp experience

Android or iOS, WhatsApp is the favorite messaging app for many people around the world. And there’s a certain set of platform-specific features, meaning that something that’s on iOS won’t be on Android, and vice versa. However, the basic feature set of WhatsApp for Android makes a lot more sense than that of WhatsApp for iOS.

For example, by default, the chat section in WhatsApp for iOS is the fourth tab from the bottom. Unlike Android, where you open WhatsApp and are automatically taken to the chat screen. Similarly, you can’t swipe the WhatsApp UI on iOS, as you do it intuitively on Android. Apart from that, selecting chats in WhatsApp for iOS requires you to first press the Edit button at the top left and then choose the chats one by one. However, on Android, you can simply long-press on a chat to choose it and take action. Moving forward, forwarding a message again involves an extra step in WhatsApp for iOS, where you first long-press on the chat, then tap Forward, then tap the Forward button again, and finally forward it to the sender. Unlike Android, where you simply select the chat to forward by long pressing, then tap the forward icon and send it to the sender. Similarly, to send photos too, on Android, you tap the camera icon and start selecting multiple photos by just long pressing on them and it just starts sending. However, for sending media on WhatsApp for iOS, there is again an extra step, where you first tap the camera, then select a photo first. Next, to select multiple photos, tap the + icon, then start selecting multiple photos, and once you’re done, hit Submit. And these were some of the things that really make using WhatsApp on Android more intuitive than it is on iOS.

4. PiP for video calls is half done

Picture-in-Picture mode, or PiP mode, allows users to multi-task while one app in a small window floats above another full-screen app. Of course, the best example of using PiP mode is for watching YouTube videos, and the feature works on both Android and iOS devices. However, if you’ve ever used an Android phone, you’ll feel my sentiment when I say that PiP works exactly as it was designed. And not only for watching videos, but also for answering video calls.

As of now, you can only make PiP video calls on iPhone while using FaceTime, which is Apple’s native internet-based calling service for its ecosystem. However, many other popular apps, like WhatsApp, Google Duo (now built into Meet), or even Zoom, can’t make PiP video calls on an iPhone. For example, on an Android phone, if I’m on a WhatsApp video call, I can literally minimize the app, go to the main menu and launch another app, and the caller window will still be active. But if I try to do the same thing on an iPhone, say, for example, I’m on a WhatsApp video call on my iPhone, and between calls I go to the main menu… In this case, instead of the call I switch to the PiP mode, the video will turn off unless and until you restart the app.

So obviously, FaceTime is an iOS exclusive, and PiP video calling with FaceTime works wonders on an iPhone. However, other popular apps like Google Duo, WhatsApp, Zoom, and others support PiP video calling on Android, and it’s about time iOS did too.


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