I’ve been an Android user since 2010. I’ve been exposed to iOS ever since, and I’m pretty familiar with the operating system. Even so, I haven’t really used it as my first choice until recently. I decided to do a little test and use my iPhone 13 Mini as my daily driver for a while. That happened recently, and I documented my experience in a recent editorial, in case you’re interested. That said, in my usage, I’ve realized that iOS could easily become a better operating system if only Apple “borrowed” some features from Android. So, in this article, I will list 9 Android features that I would like to see in iOS.
It is true that there are more features that can make the transition, but we will basically have two Android operating systems. These are just the things that I believe can really push iOS to the next level. iOS is quite limited and that is Apple’s intention. I’m not trying to say it’s going to be Android, I’m just saying that Apple can do a lot more to improve what they offer inside its iOS bubble. That being said, let’s get started, there’s much to talk about here. Of course, I will separate everything into sections, in no particular order.
1. Popular back button/gesture
Unlike Android, iOS doesn’t have a generic back button/gesture. Most of the time, you can tap the back button in the top left corner or swipe from the left edge of the screen toward the center to go back…however, that’s not always the case. That’s what drives me crazy in my iOS usage. Of course, people get used to it, like everything, but it’s just counter-intuitive. Sometimes you can’t tap that button or swipe to go back, for example, you have to swipe down. That applies to some menus, when you are watching a video in full screen mode, etc. It happened many times during my usage, and I don’t understand why it is. It makes using iOS counter-intuitive and it should be a really simple operating system to use. This should have changed a long time ago.
2. Swipe right
Another navigation related feature that I think should be added is right swipe. Everything is fine for now, with iOS 15.X you can just swipe in from the left to go back. Needless to say, that movement is really hard to do when you’re using anything other than an iPhone 13 Mini. The bigger the phone, the harder that gesture is to perform. Of course, this is true for lefties, if you’re left-handed you don’t really care. So why not give the user an option to swipe from the right edge to go back? As on Android. Apple could enable both gestures, or at least let the user choose one. This will do wonders for one-handed use.
3. Easier access to the notification drawer
To access the notification drawer aka the notification center on iOS, you need to swipe down from the top left of the screen. If you swipe from the top right, you will access the control center. Needless to say, this action (for the notification center) is really hard to do if you are a cooperative person. This is even harder to do on the iPhone 13 Mini let alone any other iPhone 13 model. On Android, on most phones, you can set a swipe down from any screen to call on the notification drawer. It doesn’t really matter where you swipe, as long as you’re on the home screen and swipe towards the bottom of the phone. Needless to say, this is really easy to do and it’s one-handed friendly. Apple should copy this or come up with another way to do it. Enabling accessibility mode whenever you need access to the notification center isn’t the best solution, and even with it enabled, motion isn’t the easiest way to do it. presently.
4. Improved message handling in general
Android does a much better job of handling notifications than iOS. It always happens, although Apple has improved things by introducing notification groups and a few other features. However, Android still leads. Notification cards look better and provide more information, and that goes for both the sheer amount of text they can display and the quick options they offer. To access some quick options for iOS notifications, you have to long press on a specific notification, with no notifications available. Also, you can’t simply turn off the screen that lights up whenever there’s a notification, you have to turn off notifications on the lock screen or activate DND mode. Such a simple conversion should be included. Speaking of which, the settings related to notifications are a mess in iOS. You have to set up almost everything on a per-app basis, there’s no universal switch for most things. iOS also moves your notifications to the ‘older notifications’ menu if you haven’t opened them in a while, and as far as I can tell, there’s no option to remove this “feature”.
5. Interactive widgets
Apple finally introduced widgets with iOS 14. The experience it introduced was pretty basic, as those widgets weren’t interactive. Apple was expected to change that with iOS 15, but that didn’t happen. Basically, the widgets remain non-interactive, which leaves them in a halfway state. You can’t use a simple music control widget for this, that’s just an example. You cannot set the music control widget to switch between songs or play/pause music from your home screen. Every time you interact with a widget, an app it belongs to will appear. Needless to say, that makes Apple’s widget implementation…well, not the best. It would be really cool to see interactive widgets in iOS.
6. Move in free style
Improved scrolling is another feature I’d love to see for making the switch from Android. Currently, in iOS, scrolling is linear. You can’t quickly scroll through a lot of content with a single swipe. You can gain momentum by swiping a few times to get there. As a result, the scrolling feels quite limited. For Android users switching to iOS, that will feel odd. It’s one way that Apple is probably keeping performance running as smooth as possible. Who knows. Regardless of the reasoning behind it, it would be rather odd if you used something better. I prefer free scrolling, because using iOS scrolling is like using a really low DPI computer mouse.
7. Improved Control Center
iOS’s Control Center is really good. You can access it by swiping from the top right of the screen. There are a lot of toggle buttons you can access there, but still not as many options as on Android. You can basically make anything appear in the notification toggle on Android, either from scratch or with some help from a third-party app, depending on what you’re doing. run on your device. Another limitation that has been really annoying during my usage is the inability to completely turn off Wi-Fi from the Notification Center. It just disables it until the next morning, so temporarily. You have to navigate to the main Wi-Fi settings menu and work from there to make it permanent. This can be really annoying if you’re used to turning on Wi-Fi when you wake up. There is simply no reason for this temporary transition.
RCS stands for Rich Communication Services. This is commonly known as SMS 2.0, as it increases your SMS application fees. It basically allows the SMS app to act as an instant messaging app. Google Messages is just one example of an app that supports RCS, so are many other SMS apps for Android. However, Apple does not. That’s not surprising, since Apple is using iMessage to keep people locked in its own ecosystem, which makes sense for them. Why would they enable RCS and allow users from other platforms to communicate with iMessage over the Internet. Well, that would benefit users, but it likely won’t, unless Apple is forced to do something similar. Still, it would be nice and possibly harmful for some popular instant messaging apps, if it ever became the norm, of course.
9. More Customization
iOS isn’t exactly known for its customizability, and that’s perfectly fine. That’s where Android shines. However, Apple can do more in this regard, not to the length of Android, not even close, but they can still do more. An example is the home screen. Would be nice to see some grid options, so users can fit more icons on the screen. Another suggestion for making customizing app icons easier is that Apple provides that option from the start. That feature is pretty gimmicky right now, as users use the ‘Shortcuts’ app to create different app icons. It’s a long and complicated process, because that application is not for it. You also cannot place app icons and widgets anywhere on the screen, they must be pinned to the top, to the next available position. These are just some examples, there are tons of smaller customization options that Apple can offer to benefit users without diving into Android territory.