Should I switch from Android to iPhone?

Not a transport post. For those who only visit for those, sorry – I’ll have something meaty for you in a few days.

Having just ranted on vaccines, here’s something else that may be controversial.

When I was a kid, the tech debate was which home computer was best.

Nowadays, it’s operating systems. Mac OS vs Windows vs Linux, and on phones, iOS vs Android.

Since smartphones first arrived, I’ve always had Android phones, mostly midrange models. Cost has been a factor.

The last few have been Motorolas, which have been good initially, but after a couple of years seem to get – at times – frustratingly slow.

While pondering my next phone, I’ve been considering if I should switch to iPhone.

Why? One reason is I’m getting very conscious of reducing my waste, including eWaste, so I want my next phone to last for longer than my previous ones. (I like getting new toys, but buying a brand new phone every 2 years is silly.)

Let’s assume the next one would be a recent iPhone or a medium to high end Android.

Advantages of switching to iPhone:

  • Longer support – my current phone is a Motorola G7 Plus. It’s been good, but it’s only 2 years old and is no longer getting security updates. Older Google Pixel devices got 3 years. The new models will get 5. Some Samsung phones get 4 years. Against all this, iPhones get 6-7 years.
  • iPhones have much faster CPUs … which alongside the longer support, which theoretically means I’d be inclined to keep it for longer, so less eWaste over time.
  • Generally better cameras (at least that’s my perception, particularly in low light conditions)
  • Can share my existing iPad chargers/cables

Advantages of sticking with Android:

  • iPhones are usually more expensive – or at least, there are more low to medium-cost Android devices available.
  • Yes the iPhone SE is a relatively cheap iPhone option at $679, though it has a smaller screen than I’d prefer. Apple also continues to sell older models such as the 11 and 12 at lower prices than the current 13.
  • With that in mind, the Google Pixel 6 is A$999, the Pixel 6 Pro is A$1299, against the iPhone 11 $849, iPhone 12 $1199, iPhone 13 $1349 (or even more for the Pro or Max). They all cost a lot more money than the ~$500 I’ve been spending on Motorolas, but I’m aiming to keep this one for longer.
  • Staying with Android means keeping all my current apps
  • I use the Google eco-system a fair bit (Gmail, Photos, Maps, Fit, Drive/Docs etc) – maybe not a huge issue?
  • Plugging in Android USB C cables is less fiddly than iPhone Lightning
  • Learning a new UI may be frustrating
  • Some stuff isn’t available on iPhone, such as Mobile Myki (though with the PTV app you can now instantly top up any physical Myki card on an Android or iPhone with NFC. Very neat.)


  • Dual SIMs are handy, and now pretty common on both platforms (even if one has to be an eSIM)
  • Android doesn’t require any special software to be installed to copy photos out to my PC. Looks like iPhone no longer requires iTunes for this.
  • Either way, I’d like to find a phone (and/or advanced camera app) that supports Shutter Priority mode to make good photos of LED displays (such as on the front of trams) easier. The Adobe Lightroom app partly does it, but badly, and nags you about buying other Adobe products. Would be interested to know if there are other more lightweight apps (free or paid) that do this.

Maybe I’ll wait for reviews of the new Google Pixel phones before deciding. They look pretty nice.

What else should I consider?

And at the risk of starting a minor war, because it’s highly subjective, which do you prefer? (Extra points if you’ve actually tried both)

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

23 replies on “Should I switch from Android to iPhone?”

I’ve had both. Have always viewed Apple as the evil empire. I’ve stuck with the Google phones, first the Nexus 6P and now a Pixel 3, which after three years is still going strong, even the battery is still quite ok. Pixel photos have always been excellent. For a more ethical approach you may want to consider the Fairphone

I’ve had Samsung and Sony phones since smartphones have been around and have found them very good. With the higher end Samsung phones I’ve usually had 2-3 Android updates and a year or two more at least of security updates. To Apple’s credit their software support is very good, but I think mobile myki should definitely factor into this one here ?

The whole family has had Apple phones for years. I’m sick of dealing with Apple about all the problems that constantly crop up, so got myself a Samsung. All good so far, no disadvantages at all that I’ve come across, in fact more user-friendly I think. Very prompt with help too if you have questions, unlike Apple.

I think the world trend is a drift to Android. I fired up my old unused Samsung S8 a couple of months ago and it immediately wanted to update the system. My current S10 is my fourth Samsung of about eight phones. I’ve never dabbled with Apple products because of the way they seem to lock you into the Apple environment. The camera in my partner’s S21 takes stunning photos, the only real improvement I can see over my S10. Perhaps not recently but iPhones battery charge never used to last as long as an Android.

I’ve had both types over the years, but have never bought a new phone, always get 2nd hand (usually from my brother who upgrades every 2-3 years). Brother has been an Apple man for since their release in 2008. Other family members have flipped between OS but are all iPhones now. I’ve been with Samsung for the past 4 years maybe, curently S8, nowhere near leading edge, but it does what I need (phone, SMS, GPS for games). In general, basic iPhones seem to have a smaller screen which is always an issue for me as I have a vision impairment. I love using my Google signin everywhere on the net (it’s just easy) and that includes my Android apps, games mostly. Yes, iPhone cameras in general seem better quality, but that just means bigger files, more storage, bigger data plans if you instantly cloud sync them. I’ve never had a major issue that required servicing, but Apple does seem to replace phones for minor faults (at least that was the case around 5 years ago when work were issuing iPhones if you wanted them). On a totally trivial matter, iPhones are seen as a better status symbol. Many friends have them but only make calls and text, nothing that uses the extensive processing power or grunt inside the phone, but hey, they spent $1100 on a new phone and that’s good, right ?

iPhone really do have an amazingly long use life, and when you do decide to upgrade one the second hand market is extremely strong, so not can you recoup more of your initial purchase price, but the phone continues to be used and not just some worthless be of electronics in a draw somewhere. Or if you can’t be bothered you can trade it in at Apple and they will give you a credit(they are still paying for 7 years old phones!) or recycle the phone

Surprised that you didn’t mention privacy/security which is much stronger on the iphone than on andriod products

I really like the whole Android and Google ecosystem. There just seem to be so many more options and customisations, and they just seem to do so many more interesting things with their phones and computers. I also really like the Chromebooks, they have evolved tremendously over the past few years and just work so simply and well. (This used to be a strong selling point for Apple in the past, but hearing all the complaints from people about Apple recently I don’t think that is the case any more) And Chromebooks are now starting to integrate so much better with Android phones, I can jump from one to the other very easily. One of my Chromebooks is 8 years old and still working crisply and faultlessly.
Regarding longevity, Google are really starting to address this as evidenced by the new Pixel phones with 5 years of updates. I think this will flow through to all Android phones eventually. Unfortunately Motorola seem to have lost their way a little in the mobile phone market, so I’m sure a new Pixel or Samsung would be a huge upgrade for you, especially with the photography department. I think you would be blown away by the quality of the photos you would get, especially inside railway stations or trains. I am always getting Wows of amazement from my iPhone friends when they see the quality of my photos. (And that’s from a 4 year old Galaxy)
So to me it’s a no brainer: stick with Google/Android and reap the benefits.

If you can afford / planned to buy outright anyway – anything bought from Apple (including iPhone, cases, along with the rest like iPad, Mac etc) has a 14 day no questions asked return policy, so if after 10 days you decide iPhone isn’t for you, you can take it back to Apple and get a full refund.
This is one of the Apple Store benefits; you don’t get something like this if you buy from anywhere else (like JB HiFi, Officeworks) or get it on a repayment plan with Optus/Telstra/Vodafone.
A good way to ‘try before you buy’

You have ‘Learning a new UI may be frustrating’ as a point for sticking with Android – if you already have an iPad, then iPhone is essentially the same thing, just smaller!

(And for what it’s worth, the ‘5’ years of Pixel updates is broken down to 3 years of major OS updates, 5 years of security updates – so you don’t get any new features or anything like that after three years, whereas iPhone tends to get the ‘major OS updates’ (even if some features don’t make it to older models, generally due to hardware support, it still has most ‘features’ or frameworks for apps to take advantage of) for longer than that

I have an iPhone 6S that I bought new from Officeworks when it was a run-out model for $427. That’s two years so far, and it’s still at 93% of its battery capacity and showing no signs of giving up. It works perfectly. They’re all more expensive than that now, but there’s usually a model for a less-insane price.
The new SE is a good one, giving you the fingerprint sensor that is now absent from other new models, and a reasonable hand-held size (though you said the screen’s a bit small for you). The SE is as powerful as the larger and more expensive 11.
I find the iCloud process very good for transferring photos – I select the ones I want to send (on the phone), then ‘Copy iCloud Link’ and email the link to myself. On my computer, I use the link to download a zip of all those photos. It’s a pretty good process.
There will definitely be a camera app with shutter priority but I haven’t looked for one.
The trouble I’ve had with Lightning cables has always turned out to be dust in the phone’s socket, except for one dud cable I bought. I thought USB-C would be more reliable until I discovered the other day that it has something like 14 pins in the connector! I doubt that is going to be more reliable than Lightning in the long run, with repeated plugging and unplugging. Though with a new SE, you can use inductive charging and that will save wear on your socket anyway.

I am a long term iPhone user. The best thing about using an iPhone is that a 4 year old phone still can get the latest software and perform decently.
I tried Android on a Pixel in 2019 and lasted about a year before becoming frustrated and putting my sim back in my Original iPhone SE (which to my surprise worked better than the Pixel).
There is a lot of personal preference there but the sustainability and longevity aspects of the iPhones are really beneficial.

Halide is the big third-party camera app for the iPhone. It has all kinds of settings, including shutter speed. I haven’t used it myself, in order to deliberately prevent myself futzing around with settings for iPhone photography.

I am somewhat surprised my iPhone 7 doesn’t have an “anti-flicker” setting like modern DSLRs. Maybe later iPhones do. Maybe it automagically sniffs the flicker and fixes it without telling you. That would be very Apple. Anyway, Halide lets you set the shutter speed.

Starting with iPhone 7, the supplied Camera app can shoot HEIF instead of JPEG. This is a much more space-efficient format that also allows for wider dynamic range. The supplied Preview app on macOS can convert HEIF to JPEG. HEIF is patent-encumbered so you can’t send them about willy-nilly yet.

The good thing about Android phones is after they have been abandoned by their manufacturer, custom ROMs can be flashed to revive old phones. My Samsung S7e is still working fine in 2021 with an Android 10 ROM. Of course, it is not for everyone but the option is there.

After a decade or so using Android phones – from the HTC Desire through several Samsung Galaxys to the XL variant of each Google Pixel phone, I made the switch to iPhone a year ago – albeit as part of a larger transition to Apple products across the board (I already had a Mac and iPad Pro).

Honestly? I wouldn’t look back. You can do almost everything you did on Android on the iPhone, on what are arguably more reliable, easy to use devices and they seem to have more longevity.

I have always been an ‘upgrade each year’ tech enthusiast all the time I had Androids – they dated and became slow quickly. One year after getting an iPhone I don’t feel the same pangs. The phone looks and feels as good as on day one and runs like a dream. Borderline sounds like an ad for Apple, but just telling my truth I guess?

Either way, go for what suits you best!

You won’t regret an iPhone. There’s a reason they’re growing market share in wealthy countries, they work great, have excellent support, and have a very polished user experience along with top of the line hardware. If you buy an iPhone 13 today it will cost you a few hundred a year over the useful supported life of the phone, very similar to android but you have a state of the art experience for the first couple of years (and a well supported on after that). If you every want to change back resale value on iPhone is very stable and a 2 year old iPhone will still sell for many hundreds of dollars which is not necessarily true of androids (particularly midrange).

I currently have an iPhone 11 despite considering myself a tech enthusiast/early adopter/geek. iPhones just work well year after year and take a long time to succumb to slowness and bloat unlike other phones. I have the money to upgrade and experiment but realistically my current phone works amazing and apart from midly better quality photos I don’t feel like I’m missing anything at all.
As for Apple locking in the only really essential purchase is iCloud for a few dollars a month (for photo backup). Everything else people describe as lock in like Apple Music, Fitness, TV, News is really very optional. Spotify works great, other streaming services have excellent support, every company makes an iPhone app (often before android).

Hey Daniel! I made the switch a year ago, after 7(ish) years on Android (had two Motorola devices in the early days, like you, and more lately I had gone for Xiaomi).

I can’t say I regret. It definitely provides better user experience than Android. The transition was very smooth, a few things got wrong here and there, but all times it only took me a quick search on Google to figure out what to do next.

Also, I’ve had no problems using Google Photos and Drive on it.

Thanks everyone for all the comments. Keep them coming!

Thanks especially to Richard (“Average Suburban Dad”) who wrote a whole blog post in response with some thoughtful points.

@Andrew P, the FairPhone looks like a great idea! A shame it’s not officially available in Australia.

@Marek, something I’ve definitely noticed is the trade-in or secondhand value of iPhones is much better than Android, though I suppose Android flagships do okay… if they’re still in support.

Privacy. Yes. Google do great stuff, but their privacy issues and their feeding of their advertising revenue is a concern. Some of the latest allegations are eye-opening.

@Philip, yeah the reason I don’t think I want an SE-sized screen is my eyesight isn’t getting any better with time! The 6-odd-inch screen of my current phone is a good size for me.

@Francis E, will check out Halide, thank you!

One of my sons has ordered a Pixel 6 Pro. I think I’ll wait for his (and others) to review it!

I’ve been using Apple products since 1987, but brand loyalty has meant I’ve had some absolute stinkers (Centris 660AV, MacBook Pro with touch bar). That said the iPhone has been very good, I did 4S, 6, X, 12 Pro, the X is still going as a hot spare for me or my wife.

Plusses include the app ecosystem being a bit more curated with less malware, Apple has a better approach to privacy, build quality is excellent, with a basic case I’m never worried about dropping it, they do last a long time with good support. Security is more of an issue with android, my friends who work in infosec all use iOS. I can claim no special expertise there but trust them.

Really the only downside I can see is initial cost and repairability – they do cost a lot to repair and self repair is pretty much impossible. I was able to do self repair on the 4s, that said I haven’t had anything that needs repairing, I’ve managed not to break a screen since the 4s. Battery replacement is the real issue, and my major gripe with apple, they make it too hard and expensive to replace the battery and extend the life of the phone.

I’ve always had iPhones , now on X, will probably hang onto it a bit longer although I do see the newer versions have better cameras but improvements may be slight. I’ve not had an issue with any of my iPhones but then I am good with things, being careful with them, always invested in a decent clear case with ‘bumper’ (thicker) type sides which has been tested a few times but never as much as a cracked screen. My old phones are passed onto my daughter and I usually sell hers whenever I get an upgrade and have sold them for decent money – have always kept the box, accessories etc so the bundle looks quite good. Battery life on older versions used to be a bit less than it is now, but no complaints at all with current model.

To set the context, I’ve been a competent Microsoft products user (i.e. Windows and various products) since the days of Win95 and consider myself semi-techie.

I was slow to jump on the smart phones bandwagon though and went straight from 2G (remember those “dumb” phones?) to iPhones at around 2013ish. Basically inherits my wife’s iPhones whenever she upgrades to a newer phone so what it means is that I’m always using a 3 to 4 year-old phone. I inherited my 2nd iPhone (iPhone 7) about 2 years ago and the battery’s bad by now ( I’ve to keep a powerbank handy). I’m beginning to think about the latest iPhones (yes no way am I going to ditch Apple but more of that later). So far I’ve had no regrets whatsoever with the 2 iPhones I’ve used. They are reliable, apps update regularly, very secure and most importantly, the UI just works. I know it’s not an analogous comparison but it’s like when you’re used to Words and then you try to do the same thing on Google Docs. Try adding and editing a picture in Docs. It’s like OMG life is too short for this! ;) Those who have been forced to work on both apps or software will know what I mean. By the way, I’m also a heavy user of both Google (Drives, Docs, Sheets), Microsoft (Words, Powerpoint, Excel) and Adobe apps and these work seamlessly on iOS. If anything, I’d imagine the user-experience’s much better on iOS.

My wife on the other hand, flipped and flopped between iPhone and Android (Samsung). When she had her Android, she was always complaining about how (relatively) slow the developers update apps and games compared to iOS. For iPhone, the complains used to be over bad photo quality (in low light) versus Android. She’s back on iPhone (iPhone 12) now and I’ve not heard any complains so far. Turning point maybe?

Obviously I can’t tell you anything about Android except the pain I feel whenever I have to fiddle with the settings on my old folks’ android phones. Now what really cements me to Apple: I recently bought an iPad Pro (with Apple pencil) and the seamless way in which I can work between my iPhone, iPad (and windows laptop running both Google and Microsoft software) made me wonder why it took me so long to join the Apple crowd.

Comments are closed.