7 lessons Android taught the iPhone

7 lessons Android taught the iPhone

Android has always shared a healthy rivalry with the iPhone. Features across both platforms – both hardware and software – get better each year and past iterations look a little more dated. But it’s widely known that Android has taught the iPhone one or two lessons. Here are seven.

sony xperia z3 plus vs apple iphone 6 front
Android has taught the iPhone a few things. / © ANDROIDPIT

1. Multitasking

It might seem like a basic feature, but multitasking was not always available for the iPhone. Multitasking – simply the process of switching between apps without having to reload them every time – wasn’t introduced on the iPhone until iOS 4, which was released in 2010.

Android, on the other hand, had multitasking from version 1.0. Although it’s now a standard feature in smartphones, it took Apple three years to bring multitasking to iOS.

iPhone 6 2
It's OK can multitask now. / © ANDROIDPIT

2. Big screens

Even before Samsung released the Galaxy Note, the first popular phablet, everyone knew Android phones for being ridiculously big. The phones got bigger every year, the gap between phones and tablets shrinking proportionately with growth in display size, but Apple stuck to the same 3.5-inch display for years.

androidpit galaxy note 4 vs iphone 6 plus 05
iPhone screen sizes gradually caught up to Android phones. / © ANDROIDPIT

But even when Apple eventually increased the size of its displays with the iPhone 5, bumping it to 4 inches, it kept the same width. This led to a longer, more narrowly-shaped display. Then Apple did it again with the iPhone 6, but a bit differently. They bumped up the display size, this time to 4.7 inches, but also released a phablet, the iPhone 6 Plus, at 5.5 inches.

It took a while to catch up, but Apple spent years kneading out the iPhone to inevitable parity with Android display sizes. And with multiple sizes now on offer on both platforms, that’s certainly a good thing.

3. Settings panel

Swiping up to get quick access to phone settings wasn’t always a luxury iOS users had. In fact, it was only introduced as recently as iOS 7. If you’re an Android user, being able to swipe a shade over a running app and quickly change settings was a feature available years before it came to the iPhone. Yet another lesson Android has taught the iPhone.

AndroidPIT Galaxy S6 TouchWiz Lollipop mobile data toggle highlight
Accessing quick settings is a luxury that iPhones didn't always have. / © ANDROIDPIT

4. OTA updates

Being able to update firmware without connecting to a computer has been a normal way of life for Android users practically from day one. But iPhone owners weren't always able to update over-the-air. It wasn’t until iOS 5 that OTA updates arrived for the iPhone.

AndroidPIT Moto X hero erasing leftedit
OTA updates have been around for a long time on Android. / © ANDROIDPIT

With the option to either connect an Android device to a PC, or just update it via Wi-Fi, it seems a little crazy to think that iPhone users once had to plug their phones into a USB port and update their phones via iTunes.

5. Interactive notifications

It makes sense today: when you receive a notification, let’s say for an email, you can reply to or archive the message directly from the notification shade. Interactive notifications are awesome, but they weren’t always a thing. But interactive notifications only came to the iPhone with iOS 8, allowing for interaction with notifications without the need to open apps.

Yep, you guessed it. Interactive notifications were already available for Android before Apple did it.

6. Cameras with flash

Apple’s phones didn’t have flash until the iPhone 4. It seems inconceivable that a smartphone – with many of the earlier models having rubbish camera sensors compared to today’s – could be used at night, or indoors, to take a photo. One worth sharing, in any case.

Moto G 2015 hero 1 5
Android phones have always been a bit flashy. / © ANDROIDPIT

Although you mightn’t remember, Android phones had flashes before this, such as the original Samsung Galaxy from 2009. But tech moves quickly and even now flagships are packing front-facing flashes. That means no more grainy bar selfies.

7. Customizable wallpapers

Some lessons that Android taught the iPhone are a bit crazy, such as with customizable wallpapers. They aren’t exactly high-level bits of software, but Android users have been switching around wallpapers from the early days. Heck, I remember running an animated wallpaper on Android a few years back and thought it was the coolest thing.

lg g4 apple iphone 6 icons
Customizable wallpapers...only on the iPhone since 2010. / © ANDROIDPIT

But iPhone users could only run black backgrounds for three years. Yes: three years from the first iPhone. It wasn’t until iOS 4 that iPhone users could switch to custom wallpapers. These changes might never have happened if it wasn't for Android.

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  • Joshua Jefferson Sep 24, 2015 Link to comment

    And if it wasn't for iOS, there would be no Android at all. You left that one out.

  • Kevin G Sep 11, 2015 Link to comment

    I see iOS9 has FINALLY caught up with showing lowercase letters on the keyboard when its in lowercase, rather than you having to guess by very subtle changes in the appearance of the shift key. Drives me mad when using my iPad over my N5.

  • Spoonie Sep 11, 2015 Link to comment

    What you are all forgetting is there would be NO android phone if there was no iPhone. The ENTIRE CONCEPT of android was taken from the iPhone. =)

    • Kevin G Sep 11, 2015 Link to comment

      The concept of a smartphone is a lot older than the iPhone. It came out in the court case where Apple tried to sue Samsung, that actually Apple had largely copied Sony. I remember the term "smartphone" first being used in their adverts for the P800. Apple just did it a lot better, which they are very good at doing (e.g. tablets had been around for ages, but the iPad just did it much better)

  • Emmanuel FU Sep 10, 2015 Link to comment

    You missed one. Finger Print Scanner. That originated from Motorola Mobility when they were the very first smart phone manufacturer to implement a finger print sensor on a smartphone with the Motorola Artix back in 2011. Motorola sold its biometric supplier Authentec to Apple in 2012 and that's how Apple ended up with finger print scanners on the iPhone. Now slowly making its way back to Android. FIDO will be the future.

    • Omar Hamwi Sep 11, 2015 Link to comment

      If we could write about everything, the list would be almost too long I think!

  • Pilz Sep 10, 2015 Link to comment

    What about NFC payments (Google Wallet)
    Better camera
    Higher resolution displays
    Widgets (they still haven't figured it out yet even in ios 9)
    Google maps >>>> Apple maps
    Bigger batteries

    • Vindictive Sep 11, 2015 Link to comment

      Someone is finally agrees

    • Spoonie Sep 11, 2015 Link to comment

      iOS has had widgets since iOS8.

    • Omar Hamwi Sep 11, 2015 Link to comment

      Thanks for the suggestions, Pilz!

  • Hussain Ahmadi Sep 10, 2015 Link to comment

    I agree with all the points here except No.1 Multitasking. iOS still does not have multitasking. All apps in the background shut down after 4 mins or so. How is that called multitasking? This is the worst thing about iOS. Android has real multitasking where every app remains in the background without reloading.

    • Martin Sep 10, 2015 Link to comment

      That is 3 minutes and 30 seconds after my Galaxy S6 would shut apps down haha. Back to my trusty Z3 I went.

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