Why I finally switched from iPhone to Android
Most people make their choice and stick with it: iOS or Android. But here at Geek Squad, we're lucky enough to have access to a whole range of different devices –
So, after eight years of using an iPhone, the time has finally come to move over to an Android. The device that has tempted me to the dark side? The Nexus 5X!
Now don’t get me wrong: I’ve never been fully against Android devices. Some are better than others, but each device has its own positives and negatives – and after using various devices over the years, I’ve always been tempted by the Nexus line. The recent Nexus 5X and 6P were the ones to finally lure me away – and there are plenty of reasons why I felt it was finally time for a change.
First and foremost, I’ve always been a user of Google’s services. Since beta testing Gmail back in 2004, I’ve fully immersed myself in their ecosystem – allowing them to take full control of my email, calendar, productivity (via Google Drive) and many more parts of my online life.
Since migrating my photo backup to Google Photos, everything which was on my iPhone could be transferred to an Android device without any issues – so it was time to make the jump!
There are a plethora of ways to transfer personal data from one device to another: there are both desktop applications and mobile apps which can do everything for you. The only thing I chose to do manually was export my contacts from iCloud and then import then into Google Mail Contacts. This was completed in a matter of minutes – and as everything else in my digital life is either app- or cloud-based, I was ready to switch.
With the inclusion of a fingerprint sensor – a much-loved iPhone feature – the new Nexus 5X was the obvious choice for me. And aside from the great hardware, it also let me dive straight into the newest version of Android – Marshmallow – and enjoy the 'raw' Google experience, without any skins or apps provided by the phone manufacturer (which in the case of the 5X is LG).
That said, at first I was unsure about the positioning of the fingerprint sensor. Why is it on the back of the phone? That’s ridiculous! I was so used to having the fingerprint sensor on the Home button of my iPhone, it seemed odd to place it on the back... until the first time I got the device out of my pocket.
Then, the moment of realisation hit me and everything made sense: the rear of the device is where your finger naturally rests when you're holding it. You don’t even have to press a button – just place your finger on the sensor and the phone instantly unlocks. To borrow a phrase from Apple… it just works!
In general, Android handsets can do everything iPhones can do. The App Store and Google Play Store have both come a long way, and most popular apps are available on both platforms with very little difference between them.
Indeed, I found that everything I previously did with my iPhone I could also do with the Nexus. Apple Music has finally reached Android, too – so I could even access all of my iTunes purchases with no problems at all!
There were only a couple of things I missed – but at the same time, there are a couple of great new features that made up for it…
What I Missed
First of all, I was sorry to say goodbye to iMessage. I’d been using an iPhone for so long that everyone I speak to knows I’m on iMessage – and it took some time to remind everyone they have to text me or contact me on WhatsApp. In fact, Apple have helpfully provided a tool to deregister you from iMessage, which helped – as friends or family soon found their could only send me an SMS rather than an iMessage using their iPhones.
FaceTime was another important feature I missed. I used it quite a lot to speak to my family – and with young kids around, it was great to watch the children grow and see them face-to-face more regularly. As such, I had to find some alternatives, which wasn’t hard – but again, it took some time to get family members to switch over to something else so I could video-call them.
Finally, this is a strange one, but I missed number badges for notifications – the little red numbers on the app icons that let you know you have unread notifications.
On Android, if I dismiss the notification from the status bar – and because I like a clean status bar at the top of my phone, I do – I don’t know what’s left to do. No unread email count, or unread messages – I have to manually check each app to see what’s going on inside it. This might be down to how I use the phone, but surely it shouldn’t be like this!
Those gripes aside, though, I found a lot to love in Android...
What Was New?
The first new feature I loved was 'Users' – allowing multiple people to have their own profile on one device. Some Android tablets have had this feature for a while – but Marshmallow brings it to phones for the first time. It’s genius!
With this, I can set up a user account for my son so when he wants to watch YouTube or play games, he can – without me worrying about him accidentally purchasing something or accessing anything he shouldn’t! This works really well: you can switch users from the lockscreen, allowing him to accesses his own part of the device for whatever he wants – and I allow!
The is another ‘wow’ feature is 'Bluetooth Trusted Devices' – frankly, I can’t believe this hadn’t been implemented sooner!
When you connect to a device via Bluetooth, you can set it as a 'trusted device' – which will allow you to unlock your phone without the PIN code when it's nearby. This means you can pair it with your car or a smartwatch, and when you’re connected you’ll be able to open your phone immediately.
Personally, I paired the device to my home computer – so whenever I’m at home, I can instantly unlock my phone! Of course, with the Nexus 5X it’s easy to unlock the device with your fingerprint anyway – but this feature still allows family members to use your phone without you having to tell them the PIN!
The Main Upside – and Downside
Weirdly enough, the main thing that I love about the Nexus 5X is the same thing that I hate about it: the battery life.
At first, I noticed that the battery life was just as good – if not better – than my iPhone. But after a longer period of time, I noticed the battery lasting less and less. In fact, it got to the point where I would take it off charge in the morning, charge it again before I left work and then again before I went to bed. I was having to recharge my battery twice a day – which just isn’t right for a mobile phone.
The upside is that because the Nexus 5X uses USB Type-C, there's a ‘fast charging’ feature which will recharge a full battery in just over an hour! If I let the phone get down to about 30%–40%, this'll get it back up to 90% in 20 minutes or so.
That's why the battery is such a mixed blessing: even though I have to recharge the device more often than my iPhone, it actually recharges a lot quicker – so that makes up for it.
I have to say, it’s been great using Android for the last month or so, and my intention is to continue using it for a while longer. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything by using the Nexus – and in fact, I think at this point that I kind of like it!
That said, I do think at some point in the future I'll be returning to the iPhone. Migrating to Android is a bit like going on an exotic holiday: it’s great to get away once in a while, and you have a great time while you’re there – but it’s always nice to go back home for a brew in your own bed!
Have you made the switch from iOS to Android – or vice-versa? Let us know about your experiences in the comments below!