My journey from iOS to Android

I bought a Google Nexus 4 to replace my iPhone 4 which I have had for over a year beyond contract. Getting used to a new mobile OS is not an easy thing after 5 years locked into Apple (bar the jailbreaking years).

First of all I get twitchy as my muscle memory complains from absence of certain buttons in certain places; no home button to wake the screen and the power button is not top right but top side right. These small differences irritate beyond measure. Other irritations are the familiar things that have gone, e.g. notifications do not wake the screen. A widget has fixed that but rather annoying to have to find one. Also, there’s no hardware button to switch notifications sound off and you have to hold the decrease volume button.

These irritants were plenty soothed by the swipe down notification menu once the Android device is running. A quick and easy way of keeping up to speed with all your phone comms which I can Imagine android fans would consider a reason not to switch to iOS. It’s awesome.

Quickly I was plunged into my yesteryears unpleasant experience of using windows based XDAs. The tweaking to get it just so seems infinite; setting appearance and widgets and behaviour to suit your needs. This became a pet hate of mine in XDA days (and with Windows as well TBH) and the move to iOS some five years ago was welcome, like the de-cluttering feeling that minimalism brings. But all that is within the users control because you can set up your android just like iOS should you wish to. I liked less clutter on iOS too. Most time is spent in a handful of apps with others used once or twice a week. And then some less regular ones kept in quick reach. I’ll share my basic ios setup as a comparison.

iPhone setup. Four images: homescreen, most taskbar folder, next taskbar folder, and next screen full of folders
My iPhone setup. Four images: homescreen, most taskbar folder, next taskbar folder, and next screen full of folders


Another niggle is folders. When you open a folder on Android, you have to cross it off top right of the folder rather than click out of it. Alos, it might seem odd, but on iOS you can see micro icons of the apps contained in a folder without opening it, which you will see is really helpful for my iPhone setup. That is not on android. I’m sure there will be a folder pimping widget of some sort (there are many).

Keyboards. My brother raves about SwiftKey so I’m using a trial. Still I’m typing rather than swyping, but the predictive text puts likely words across the top of the keys which come in handy (interestingly allows for touch-touch-typing of sorts). Still the android kb looks too busy for my comfort; saying that it has nice press and hold features for numbers and punctuation that I foresee becoming well used.

So far so good on the app front because all my major apps are covered and I haven’t stumbled across a problem yet. Music was a concern but Google play music manager syncs iTunes to the cloud and then, from your device, you select music to store offline and mobile. Sorted.

Apps are fast and slick as you would expect from a new handset with the Nexus4 hardware.

The one app that has made a big difference is launcher pro plus. It allows me to drill into OS behaviour in a more granular way. Again I’m not sure I’ll keep using it but it has taught me more about how this system works. It’s continued use will depend on battery life and performance.

So here is my droid set up 48 hours after it arrived. I’m sure I will make many changes over the coming weeks but I will aim to get it sorted ASAP because otherwise I might drop it on something hard. There are so many possible variations that, in time, I imagine I will delete widgets that update automatically because they sap battery. I also have flipboard on another homescreen not included in this image.

Middle one is main one with apps and time and weather; Left is evernote widget, volume sliders and power management; right is twitter feed.
Middle is main screen with apps, time and weather; Left is evernote widget, volume sliders and power management; right is twitter.

There is much more I could say about all this. I am pleased to have made the transition because it will give me experience of what using Android – reportedly the most used mobile OS – is like. The Nexus4 seems really good but I am a little concerned about battery life; if it requires charging before bed I will be sad.

I would really like to hear any cool tips experienced droid users have to offer!

My journey from iOS to Android

11 thoughts on “My journey from iOS to Android

  1. Drew says:

    In the latest SwiftKey you can swipe whole sentences. It took me a while to realise but you actually swipe ignoring apostrophes and swipe the space bar everytime you want to start a new word. Only issue is when swiping a long sentence my finger starts to stick to the screen!

    1. Alright bruv! I haven’t got into swiping the words yet. Old habits die hard. Prediction stuff is good though. Although I now have different frustrations with the prediction text when inputting none dictionary stuff like URLs etc. I’m on the swiftkey trial – not sure how long it lasts but it will have to convince me further to part with £3. That’s nearly half a pint where I come from.

      1. Drew says:

        It learns eventually and puts the things you regularly type into the 3 suggestions… takes a little while but to speed its learning process up you can go to Applications > SwiftKey Trail > Personalization and get it to search Twitter/Facebook/GMail/SMS and even RSS Feeds from your blog to improve the predictions it makes.

  2. Neil Brown says:

    I have had an iPad and an Android smartphone for a while now. Small differences aside, I don’t find a massive difference between the two. iOS is more usable out of the box, but there are times where it seems to deliberately get in the way or restrict you — Android seems to have a higher ceiling. A huge benefit of Android is that when I plug my phone into a PC with a USB cable, it shows up as a USB disk, and I can read/write all my music, films, etc using the normal OS file management on Windows/Mac/Linux without installing any software. So now my music collection lives on my phone, and I can play it on whatever machine I’m sitting at. I’ve had a little play with developing apps for the phone (being free) but not the iPad (not being free).

    Another impressive thing about the Android phone is the connection flexibility (may not apply to tablets): I’ve used my phone as a wireless access point (bridging 3Gwifi), a wireless broadband device (USB3G) and a wifi dongle (USBwifi). Although, to say something positive about iOS: they finally added NTP support in iOS 5, which meant my iPad finally runs on correct time (the internal clock used to quickly run to 15-20 minutes out). In contrast, the Android phone can’t do NTP without jailbreaking, so it keeps running several minutes out. (I have no idea why the internal clocks in these things keep time so poorly! My phone loses several minutes a week.)

    1. Aha. I’ll watch the clock thing. I don’t wear a watch so my phone is my timekeeper. I’ll be using it as the internet connection for my ipad whilst at school so I’m glad to hear it is versatile. My happiness at going droid is as much about speed as anything else. But my iPhone was three years old. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Thanks Dai, an interesting post. I moved from iOS to MeeGo (Nokia N9) for about 6 months, and then to Android. Ultimately, I spent so long *configuring* my phone I gave up and went back to an iPhone!

    1. I’m hoping not to go back anytime soon. After writing the post I deleted all the apps and widgets bar evernote (todo list), installed a folder widget that works more like iOS folders. Down to two screens and two folders. Feels good. Have to be disciplined about the fiddling. Liking the sound of badges and moodle BTW. Wish we were still moodling.

  4. Great post, interesting to hear a new Android user coming in with a Nexus 4 and Jelly Bean. I’ve got an iPad and Nexus 4 and it’s a great combo giving you the best of both worlds.

    Couple of ideas: get Power Wigets. This allows toggles directly from any of your home screens. One of the most useful toggles is the tethering one. I can get my wifi only iPad online with one press on my Nexus. Also, personally I wouldn’t use a launcher as it does suck a bit of extra battery and I’m sad enought to like the minimalist nature of vanilla Android. This may also solve your folders problem as I just press out of a folder when I want to close it.

    Battery for me has seemed fine. A charge overnight always does the trick.

    Finally, if you are into vintage gaming, you can get emulators for anything upto and including the PS1. Make sure you own the original ROMs though!

  5. Check out the app ‘Tasker’, it allows you to automate your phone. There are some simple recipes, like starting Spotify when headphones are plugged in, to more sophisticated ones where your phone can change its profile etc when it detects say your home WiFi. Probably one of the best apps not available on iOS. I too have an android phone and iPad.

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