I have been using iOS and Android right since their inception. However, while I have always preferred my primary smartphone to run Android, my tablet of choice has been an iPad. The reason for this is that with my smartphone, I want the most flexible OS possible, while for my tablet, I am fine with a slightly restrictive OS if it offers a higher quality of apps.
I absolutely love Apple’s hardware. Despite the iPhone X being over 9 months old, it is still among the best and most premium smartphones in the market. Sadly, as much as I love the iPhone X, there’s no way I can use it as my primary smartphone due to various restrictions in iOS.
As a long time Android user, I am always amazed at just how restrictive and annoying using an iPhone can be in certain regards. Below, I have shared 25 such iPhone annoyances which might make a long-time Android user think twice about switching to an iPhone.
1. Home Screen
This might be a personal preference but the iOS home screen is extremely limited and does not do justice to the hardware it runs on. The iPhone home screen has remained the same right since its inception in terms of functionality — its all about icons.
On a smartphone with a 5.5-inch or a 5.8-inch screen, a home screen filled with icons might work. But on something like an iPad Pro, which Apple is aggressively promoting as a computer replacement — a home screen filled with icons is nothing but a huge waste of space.
Imagine an iOS home screen where you can have widgets alongside app icons on the home screen. At least on an iPad, the information density on the home screen needs to increase. Having widgets a swipe away works on an iPhone but not on the iPad.
2. Share Menu
The iOS Share sheet has improved a lot in recent years, but it still pales in comparison to Android. Sure, Android’s share menu in itself can turn into a mess but even in its messiest form, it is far better and powerful than that of iOS.
While I can share links, pictures, and other such data from one app to another in iOS, the whole process is convoluted and extremely limited.
For example, Direct Share in Android provides quick access to contacts with whom I frequently share media files and other information. So, in just two taps (Press the share button followed by the contact’s name), I can directly share photos and videos with them. On iOS, I need to share the media file to WhatsApp or any other preferred messaging app, search for the contact and then share it with them.
Widgets on Android are overrated. There’s no denying that but some of them are genuinely useful. I, for example, must have a calendar widget on my primary home screen to remind me of important and upcoming events otherwise I will simply forget about it. While iOS does have widgets, they are not a glance away — it is more like a swipe and a glance away. This might seem inconsequential to many, but once you have to swipe to access the calendar widget every single time, it adds up fairly quickly.
4. Crippled Google Assistant Experience
If you are not heavily invested in the Google ecosystem, this might not bother you much. But in the part of the world where I live, Siri is barely usable while Google has made huge strides in ensuring its products and services are available to the next billion people slated to come online over the next few years.
On an Android device, the Google Assistant experience is far, far better than what you get on an iPhone with the standalone Assistant app. In just a tap (or swipe), I get a quick overview of all the latest happenings in the world, the topics I am interested in, stocks that I am following, the status of my orders from Amazon, and more.
On an iPhone? You don’t get any such information. Instead, the app only acts as a gateway to Google Assistant’s voice features. If you have used Google Assistant extensively on your Android device, you will know just how good it is. It is a shame that iOS users are missing out on it due to Apple’s restrictive policies.
Siri on the iPhone in itself is a deal breaker that I don’t even need to compare it to Google Assistant.
The latest results might show that Siri has improved dramatically since last year but that improvement is primarily for users in the United States. This is made worse by the fact that Siri only talks to Apple’s products and services properly. The lack of integration with third-party apps and services greatly limits what the digital assistant can do.
Siri can become significantly more useful if it started sourcing data from Google Maps and other such services instead of relying on Apple’s own offering. But that’s likely never going to happen.
6. Poor Voice Recognition
In my part of the world, Siri fails to understand the local accent properly and a slightly complex command is enough to trip it up. I asked Siri to set a reminder in Todoist and this is what followed:
Compared to Google Assistant, Siri also understands fewer languages especially complex commands in any other language.
7. Apple Maps
If Siri is a joke, the less said about Apple Maps, the better. There’s really very little reason for anyone to use Apple Maps over Google Maps. Heck, I uninstalled the app from my iPhone months ago and have never missed it since. I don’t want to use Apple Maps but…
8. Default Apps
…but the inability to set default apps in iOS means that I am always reminded of its existence. On Android, I can simply say “Ok Google, navigate to Home” and be rest assured that Google Maps will open with the fastest route available to my home. On iPhone, I cannot do the same because Siri will rely on Apple Maps for this and the latter’s mapping data is just not as good as that of Google.
Similarly, I prefer using Chrome as my go-to browser but every time I open a link from the Twitter client, I am forced to use Safari since I cannot set Chrome as the default browser in iOS. On Android, I can set Microsoft’s Edge browser as my default browser and Apple Music as my music player of choice if I wish to.
9. Reliance on Apple Music
The inability to set any other app or service as my default choice also means that I cannot use any other music streaming service other than Apple Music on my iPhone. With Google Assistant on Android, I can set Spotify, Saavn, Gaana, or even Apple Music as my default music app. This way, my phone will automatically start playing music from my preferred streaming service whenever I connect it to my Bluetooth earbuds. On an iPhone, this will only lead to music being streamed from Apple Music which I don’t even subscribe to.
10. Limited Call Log
The Recent calls list on an iPhone is limited to 100. As an Android user, I had to take a few seconds for that second to register with my brain. In this day and age, a smartphone’s call log is limited to just the last 100 calls?!? On my OnePlus 6, the last entry in my call log is from June 4.
11. T9 Dialer
As if the limited call log was not already enough, iPhones do not support T9 Dialling. This is a feature that was found in mobile phones before even smartphones existed. It is a handy little feature to have since it makes managing a phone book with thousands of contacts significantly easier. To this day, I struggle to get this thing around my brain as to how such a simple and useful feature is not found on what Apple calls the world’s most advanced smartphone and OS.
12. Advanced SMS App
Spam SMS is a huge issue in the part of the world where I live. On an average, I receive over 20 spam SMSs from different numbers every single day. On my OnePlus 6, I use a third-party messaging app from Microsoft called SMS Organiser which not only mutes all incoming spam messages but also organizes my SMS inbox depending on their content. Even better, it automatically reminds me of pending bills and their due date by going through my inbox.
In iOS, firstly, I am limited to the stock Messages app. Thankfully, there’s a way to filter out spam messages using a third-party plugin. However, unlike SMS Oragaaniser, there’s no way the Messages app will automatically categorize SMSs based on their type or parse their content in an easy to read format.
13. Google Photos Does Not Work Properly
Every once in a while, I will open Google Photos on my iPhone to see that it has not uploaded any of the photos that I have taken in the last week to the cloud. I rely heavily on Google’s photo storage service and while the app offers largely the same experience across platforms, it will randomly stop uploading photos in the background on iOS.
It is understandable that it is happening due to Apple’s restrictive approach towards third-party applications running in the background. To prevent this from happening, I have to keep opening the Google Photos app once every few days to ensure its functionality is not compromised in any way.
14. Camera Shortcut
Apple promotes the camera on its iPhones heavily, and yet, it does not offer a way to open the camera app quickly. Yes, there’s a camera app icon on the lock screen but that still requires me to take the device out, swipe left from the right edge of the screen to get to the camera. And this shortcut only works when I am on the lock screen. On my OnePlus 6, or any recent Android smartphone, I can simply double press the power button to open the camera app. This shortcut works from anywhere in the OS and even when the device is sleeping.
Considering that Apple heavily promotes the imaging capabilities of the iPhone, its a shame that it does not believe in providing a quick camera access shortcut with it.
15. Wallpaper Changer
This might be about one’s personal preference but I prefer to use a new wallpaper every single day on my iPhone. On my OnePlus 6, I can use one of the many wallpapers apps to automatically apply a new home screen wallpaper every 24 hours.
On iOS I will have to manually open the wallpaper app every single day for the same. Heck, Google offers this option as a part of its own wallpaper app in Android and I cannot get the same functionality from even third-party iOS apps.
16. Notification Center
iOS deserves a far better Notification Center experience than what it currently has. In comparison, Android’s notification experience is so much better that it feels like both notification centers were developed at least a few years apart.
On Android, you get a single grouped notification from one app along with the ability to quickly reply to them. You can also dismiss a notification and have it show back up after a specified period of time. Even better, you can disable only certain type of notifications from an app if you wish to. And finally, you can even archive an email or check its contents right from the notification share in Android if you want to.
iOS 11 does not have grouped notifications but Apple is getting around to adding that with iOS 12. However, despite this addition, the iOS Notification Center is inferior to that of Android in terms of usability and functionality. In a world where notification overload is quite common, the iOS Notification Center is simply not good enough for the job.
I will never understand why settings of third-party apps installed on iOS show up inside the Settings app of the OS. This is further complicated by the fact that almost all apps have a settings menu of their own as well. This leads to all important and advanced options being scattered across two settings menus for no reason at all.
For example, I will never understand why there’s no way to change the camera video recording resolution and fps right from within the iOS camera app. Instead, I have to exit the app, go to the Settings menu, find the Camera app settings and then change the setting from there.
With iOS 9, Apple added Picture-in-Picture to its mobile OS. However, the feature is limited only to the iPad as Apple believes PiP will not be particularly useful on an iPhone. Google, on the other hand, added PiP to Android with the release of Android 8.0 Oreo last year. The feature is available on both tablets and smartphones.
Sure, PiP on a smartphone has a very limited use case but it is still an incredibly useful feature to have. I can continue reading an article while running Google Maps in PiP for walking directions on my OnePlus 6. Or order food from Swiggy — a food delivery service — and keep track of its location whilst continuing the conversation that I was having on Telegram.
None of the above is possible on an iPhone since it does not have PiP support.
19. Password Autofill
In Android Oreo, I can easily log into third-party apps and services by using the password autofill feature which works across the system. Apart from Google’s own password manager, I can also use a third-party password manager of my choice like LastPass or 1Password for this.
iOS currently lacks this feature, though to be fair to Apple, it is adding something similar to the OS with iOS 12.
20. Third-party keyboards
Apple added third-party keyboard support to iOS quite a few years ago. But if you have used SwiftKey or Gboard on Android and then on iOS, you will know that the keyboards don’t work in the same way as they do on Google’s operating system.
Third-party keyboards on iOS feel crippled and their performance is not up to the mark. The stock iOS keyboard is pretty good, but I just prefer using Gboard due to its stickers and GIFs integration along with support for a vast array of languages.
Due to the restrictive nature of iOS and its various limitations, IFTTT is simply not as useful on the OS as it is on Android. This might be a case specific to me, but I use IFTTT on my Android device to forward banking OTPs received over SMS to my another number. On iOS, I cannot do this using IFTTT or any other app since third-party apps cannot access the SMS inbox.
22. Chat Shortcuts
On my OnePlus 6, I have shortcuts for direct chat conversations with my favorite contacts on WhatsApp and Telegram. On iOS, I can only have a shortcut of WhatsApp or Telegram on my home screen but not of a conversation that I am having inside these apps.
23. Chat head-style Browser
On my OnePlus 6, whenever I browse through my Twitter timeline, I can tap on any interesting link I come across and it will open in a chat head-like browser window which I can minimize. The webpage will continue to load in the background whilst also allowing me to continue browsing my Twitter timeline.
On an iPhone, I cannot do the same. If I come across an interesting link, I will first have to read it in Safari and then resume browsing my timeline. Sure, I can always save the link and read it later but that’s not what I want to do and then there’s also the additional step of removing it from the reading list later on.
24. Automatically Disconnect From a Patchy Wi-Fi Network
In my part of the world, it is common for the internet/Wi-Fi to stop working during a heavy downpour. In such cases, my OnePlus 6 will automatically switch over to mobile data and show a notification to inform me that the Wi-Fi is not working properly. This ensures that I keep getting notifications and emails on my phone even if the Wi-Fi is down.
My iPad, on the other hand, remains connected to the WI-Fi network and does not fall back to mobile data which means that it will not notify me of new emails unless my Wi-Fi starts working again.
25. Restriction over Mobile Data Download From App Store
In India, you get 50GB of monthly mobile data for as low as $10 per month. And yet, I cannot download games and apps from the iOS App Store over 150MB. A warning and an explicit confirmation that I will incur a huge amount of mobile data charges like Android does would have been just fine But in Apple’s world, that’s simply not an option.
26. Volume HUD
12 iterations of iOS later, changing the volume will still bring up a box right in the center of the screen thereby obstructing whatever you are doing. This is such a usability disaster that I believe Apple has not gotten around to fixing it due to its pure laziness.
27. Incoming Call Screen Takes Over the Whole Screen
Whenever you get a call on an iPhone, the incoming call screen takes over the whole display thereby forcing you to stop whatever you are doing and deciding whether you want to take that call right away or not. On Android, an incoming call notification will show up at the top of the screen thereby giving one ample time to finish whatever they are doing and then take the call.
There are a lot of other restrictions in iOS that I can possibly live with. But the above restrictions are something which frustrates me on a regular basis and are an absolute deal breaker. That’s not to say iOS is bad. The quality of third-party apps available for the platform is far superior to that of Android and so I look forward to the day when Apple does away with the above annoyances so that I can switch to an iPhone as my primary smartphone.
Have you switched to an iPhone from Android? Let me know what annoys you the most about the iPhone as a former Android user in the comments below.
Update: Our readers below have pointed out some pretty great iPhone annoyances as well which I have added to the article.