Android Oreo vs. iOS 11: Everything You Need to Know
With the world's leading two mobile operating systems celebrating their decade anniversaries, it's only natural to wonder how far each has come. Fortunately for those who love comparisons, both saw major releases in the summer of 2017. This makes it a bit easier to weigh Android and iOS on the scales of consumer opinion.
Which platform will ultimately win the battle for smartphone and tablet supremacy? Although it may still be too early for hard predictions, there are definitely a few things we can say about Android Oreo and iOS 11.
Mobile OSes are all about convenience. As you might imagine, Apple and Google both seem to have the ultimate experience firmly in their sights. Both OS versions incorporate some major upgrades in a few key realms that are sure to please.
Usability and User Experience
Oreo lets you apply the same snooze functionality formerly reserved for alarms to notifications. You can also group them into different channels, which is sure to appeal to anyone who's ever felt their sanity slipping after looking at their constantly cluttered phone screens. iOS, on the other hand, includes a mode that lets you completely block certain notifications when your phone is linked to a vehicle via Bluetooth, and the software even helps you save face by automatically sending replies to people who message you while you're driving.
Google also seems to have made some changes pertaining to resource usage: The company maintains that its latest OS can cut down on background activity to get more life out of your battery, and it includes features like
- A freshly redesigned Settings app with more accurate categories,
- Support for Wi-Fi Aware and Neighborhood Aware Networking,
- Cache handling and performance improvements,
- A new low-level architecture that keeps the vendor code and Android OS framework separate so that vendors must provide forward-compatible low-level software and seamless updates, and
- A lightweight Android Go distribution designed for low-end hardware and updates to the Play Store that let users know which software will work on these devices.
Apple took its whole-platform user experience improvements in a different direction by shifting iOS 11 towards its proven Mac OS layout and all-in-one design philosophy. For instance, you can
- Natively scan QR codes,
- Record the screen without a third-party app,
- Drag and drop files from one app to another,
- Switch between apps using a multitasking view, and
- Keep multiple apps on screen simultaneously.
Other Important Changes and Potential Oversights
Both companies also made some significant aesthetic strides. While it's tempting to discount these gains as being merely cosmetic, they might make a difference in how easily you can put your devices to use, especially if you're a visual person. Of course, some new features, like the fresh emojis in both OSes, are pure fluff, but others are far more useful.
For instance, Android hardware is finally catching up to its iPad counterparts with picture-in-picture capabilities, and unlike iOS, this feature is available on Android phones as well as tablets. Apple, on the other hand, is starting to shift towards the kinds of augmented and virtual reality support that users have previously only seen from Google devices. While some argue that it's still lagging behind in terms of its digital assistant, die-hard enthusiasts are sure to view Siri's new translation, typing input and local learning as improvements.
Android Oreo ships with native support for password managers and an Autofill API, which has potential positives and negatives. With this feature, it's way more convenient to connect with your accounts, but it may also introduce new security threats that will make you wish you had iOS instead. Of course, flashy improvements like HDR, superior video and photo storage space allocation, and heightened control over functions like location usage don't mean that Apple's latest effort is a clear winner. The ability to offload an iOS app's data when you uninstall the app may make it easy to free up space and later change your mind without consequences, but it doesn't bode well if iCloud gets hacked.
Which OS Is Best?
If there's one takeaway lesson from the iOS 11 and Android Oreo feature sets, it's that the distinctions aren't quite as clear-cut as they used to be. The smartphone giants are clearly watching each other for inspiration, and this means that the functionality gaps between the OSes are narrowing. Both still offer unique experiences, but if you're already a big fan of either brand, these releases probably aren't any reason to jump ship. On the other hand, the fact that the two are getting closer may indicate that you can finally make the switch you've been considering without experiencing too much of a productivity dip.
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