While Apple may have the No. 1 operating platform on the market right now, that does not mean they are the best. The benefits of using Google’s Android operating system outweigh Apple’s iOS.
The Android operating system is on multiple different devices as opposed to Apple iOS which is only on iPhones. The different devices have a variety of hardware modifications that make each device special and can be tailored to the needs of the user.
Some devices have audio headphone jacks (Google Pixel 5a), a fingerprint scanner on the back (Samsung Galaxy A21s), pop-out cameras (Lenovo Legion Duel 2) and even foldable screens (Samsung Galaxy Z Fold series.)
The price ranges are also very different. According to the New York Times, the best budget phone of 2021 with Android is the OnePlus Nord N200 with 5G capabilities. It is only $240 as opposed to the cheapest iPhone of 2021, the iPhone SE, with a starting price of $400. That’s a $160 difference, which in college could very well be a whole week’s paycheck.
For less money, the Google Play store (Android’s App Store) also has 2.87 million apps available for download as opposed to Apple’s 1.96 million apps. And according to Lifewire, Google Play apps are on average cheaper than ones sold on the App Store and have more free alternatives. Android operating system devices are proving to be cheaper than iPhones in more ways than one.
Madonna Bortle, the manager of the IT Service Desk at Utah State University, is an avid user of Android products.
Her reasoning for using Android is partly because of how long she has been using it, as well as the ability to use it on multiple devices. It’s also useful if she breaks her phone. She can go on Amazon and buy a cheap Android phone, as opposed to buying a new iPhone for at least $400.
A common concern for mobile phone users is cheap phones lose security. Users worry Android does not compare to Apple. Apple iOS does have a closed operating system versus Android which has open-source code. This means Android users have the liberty of changing their operating systems, which puts it at greater risk than Apple iOS of being hacked.
However, both are vulnerable to cyberattacks, and both are equally vulnerable to phishing attacks, which are emails or text messages that appear to be from reliable sources that trick users into giving away confidential information. This commonly happens to young adults on Instagram when hackers create fake Instagram login pages. It can happen to anyone, despite their device security.
Bortle said she thinks her Android devices are just as protected as Apple. Androids’ software is evolving to combat cyberattacks, and now have changing IP addresses like Apple devices to provide extra protection.
Bortle uses fingerprint protection and multiple methods of authentication when entering her device. She did remark this extra protection must be set up by users, unlike Apple devices when it is automatically made when first entering the device.
Apple’s ecosystem has been attributed as being the key to its success. Features like AirDrop, using your phone from your MacBook, listening to music with AirPods, and Apple Pay are well-loved and well-used Apple features.
On the other hand, Android also has an ecosystem with arguably better features, specifically in the Google Pixel series. All Android devices can use Android Auto, Android TV and Google’s Wear OS Smartwatches.
Google’s products are very expansive from the Nest Doorbell to the Google Pixelbook laptop (which has a touch screen unlike MacBooks), to Google Pay, to the Google Fi cellular network.
As for messaging features, Google Messages will be available on all new Android devices starting 2022. It includes similar features to iMessage, such as end-to-end encrypted messaging, read receipts, full-resolution photos and videos and allows users to message from their computer.
The Android operating system also works on tablet devices just like Apple iOS does on iPads. Both iPads and tablets expand the ecosystems of both operating systems; however, Apple only makes up 34% of the tablet market, while Samsung, Lenovo and Huawei (all of which use Android) make up 33%.
iPads come with no storage expansion, fewer customization options and are more expensive than Android tablets. With Android tablets, there are more firmware and software options allowing you to cater the device to your liking and add more storage apps for streaming services, games and more.
As a college student, accessories for these devices are also very important such as wireless mouses and styluses and Android accessories are cheaper than Apple. For instance, the second-generation Apple Pencil is $129 while the Galaxy S21 Ultra S-Pen is $39.99.
Not only are iPads more expensive, but their accessories’ prices add up resulting in pricy replacements and, overall, a heavy weight to students’ bank accounts. Android devices also have a variety of inexpensive alternative accessories that work with their devices; Apple is very strict on what accessories work with their devices, making only their high-end products compatible, such as not having a 3.5-mm headphone jack for corded headphones. To attach them, you need Apple’s Lightning to 3.5-mm adapter.
The wide range of options can make Android operating system overwhelming. iPhone’s minimalistic design scheme makes their devices attractive, as well as approachable. With only a select number of phones to choose from, the decision for picking a phone becomes less daunting and easier to decide.
For individuals who do not want the extra hardware design options that come with Android iOS, the iPhone is an easy choice. But for college students, Android provides a wide variety of options to fit the high demands of school.
Sara Prettyman is a Maryland-born-and-raised sophomore majoring in applied mathematics. She loves drawing, running and reading.