Apple's iPhone beats Android phones these 8 important ways. Every. Single. Time.

iMessage, AirPods and instant software update availability are just a few of the features that give the iPhone bragging rights over Android.

Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani
6 min read

The iPhone has a leg up on Android. 

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The argument between Android and iPhone users will probably never be settled, with each side having its own bragging rights. For example, Android users boast about the customization options, Google Assistant, and superior multitasking. 

On the iPhone side of things, iOS 14 has added new home screen features, including widgets and custom app icons, plus there's iMessage, FaceTime and regular OS updates. 

Here are eight features that Android users are missing out on.

iMessage gives you that blue bubble feeling

Perhaps the biggest feature that Android users don't have, and likely never will, is Apple 's proprietary messaging platform iMessage. It seamlessly syncs across all of your Apple devices, is fully encrypted and has a ton of playful features like Memoji.


There's a lot to like about iMessage on iOS 13. 

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When you send a message to another iPhone and you see the chat bubble turn blue, you know that the person on the other end of the conversation is using an iPhone, too. That makes you part of a club, sure, but it also includes certain benefits, like chatting over Wi-Fi and being able to share high-res videos and photos with the person on the other end of the line.

iMessage also lets you request or send money via Apple Pay and pepper the message with extra colorful animations, for example, which makes for a more robust conversation than using standard SMS on the iPhone. You'll know you're in typical texting mode when the chat bubbles are green. 

Google recently announced the global rollout of its own take on iMessage as part of its Messages app. It uses something called rich communication services that let you send higher quality photos and videos, and see read receipts and even typing indicators so you know when the other person is replying. While Google's RCS brings huge improvements to chatting on an Android phone, it's not as widely used as iMessage right now and doesn't have Apple's full set of features. 

Just keep stacking widgets until you're happy. 

Animated image by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Better-looking widgets

Sorry, it's true. Apple may be late to the game or copied Google here, but it did it right. There are a few different sizes of widgets that developers can create for their apps, which you can then place anywhere on your home screen. You can stack widgets on top of each other and let iOS decide which one to show you depending on your device usage, or you can scroll through them on your own. 

The AirPods experience is unmatched.

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Wireless headphones and earbuds are a breeze to set up and use

Pairing the wireless AirPods earbuds to your iPhone is a seamless experience that makes Apple's system leagues ahead of Google's. One of the most impressive benefits is being able to use the same AirPods with your Mac or Apple Watch without having to pair them again. 

Samsung 's Galaxy Buds try to recreate that magical experience, and they come close, but lack the range and ease of use across multiple devices. Google's Pixel Buds 2 are Android users' best hope for recreating that magic -- and they do a good job, but so far, nothing has truly matched the AirPods experience. 

The AirPods have plenty of features and tricks you'll want to learn, like sharing audio and asking Siri to read your incoming messages. The AirPods Pro can do even more


iOS 13 is a pretty big update for your iPhone. 

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Every eligible iPhone gets software updates at the same time

Software updates have always been a shortcoming of the Android platform as a whole. Unless you own one of Google's Pixel phones , you never really know when you're going to receive a security update or major feature release, because that timing is up to each individual phone brand. Some are more consistent than others. 

On the other hand, when Apple releases a software update for the iPhone, every single user has immediate access to that update as long as their iPhone is still supported. Currently, iOS 14 supports iPhones all the way back to the iPhone 6S, which was released in 2015. And when iOS 14.3 is made available in the coming weeks, every eligible iPhone, from the iPhone 12 to the iPhone 6S will get the update at the same exact time. 

You just don't get that kind of consistency and assurance on the totality of Android phones.


FaceTime is simple to use, requiring no special setup or extra accounts. 

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Video calls with iPhone are as simple as a phone call

FaceTime is one feature that Android has never been able to match, despite Google's best efforts with its Duo app. FaceTime works so well because it's encrypted and ready to use the moment you set up your new iPhone. 

Like iMessage, FaceTime is for many people synonymous with video calls. It's the only app they want to use and they don't have to log into a third-party app or search for contacts to set it up and start a call. It's just automatically linked to your contacts, camera and dialer to do all the work. It's this ease that makes FaceTime one of the reasons that family groups stay rooted to the iPhone. 

Read more: How to place group video calls, or have some fun with Animoji in FaceTime


Backing up your iPhone is simple.

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Seamless backup and restore

I've set up hundreds of Android phones, and the process has never been as painless as it is when I set up a new iPhone. With the iPhone, I log into my iCloud account, tap on Restore and then wait about 20 minutes. That's not the case with an Android phone. 

Google's backup and restore service does a decent job, but more often than not there are apps I need to reinstall or log into, setting to adjust, and disappointment to manage when the phones frequently fail to restore my home screen layout exactly how I had it. The Restore feature is supposed to save time, but I still spend a chunk of it fine-tuning the Android devices I set up this way. 

Meanwhile, my iPhone backs up to iCloud every night (as long as it's connected to Wi-Fi and charging) and completely restores installed apps, accounts, home screen and settings without fail. 

Read moreMake sure you've taken all the proper steps to ensure your iPhone is backing up


Once you start using Shorcuts, they become addictive. 

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Shortcuts + Siri = time saved

Apple's Shortcuts app is preinstalled on the iPhone and lets owners create and share automations for common tasks, like checking the spelling for a document, viewing the Amazon price history for an item, or converting a video to a GIF with a couple of taps. 

I use Shortcuts on a daily basis, and more recently I've been giving Siri voice commands to do things like combine recent screenshots into one image or even used the Stats app and telling Siri to "warm up my car." 

For years, Siri had a bad reputation as being inferior to Google Assistant and Alexa -- and rightfully so. Apple's personal assistant was behind the competition for far too long. However, I use Siri for common tasks ranging from playing music, trivia questions and weather forecasts -- all of the same stuff I use Alexa for -- and Siri's results and capabilities match Amazon's assistant. 

The addition of Shortcuts support to Siri's repertoire has only strengthened it. Indeed, Google Assistant has routines and the ability to automate certain aspects, but the flexibility and on-device automation of Shortcuts makes it an indispensable tool.  


You don't have to delete preinstalled apps from the iPhone. Ever. 

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What bloatware? 

Bloatware, crapware. Whatever you want to call it, it doesn't exist on an iPhone. Apple doesn't allow carriers to install any apps before you get the phone, unlike Android devices that are loaded with carrier-specific apps from the moment you first turn them on. 

Yes, you can delete or hide those apps in just a few minutes on your Android phone, but it's not something users should have to deal with. Who really needs the AT&T locker app? Or random games pushed on you because the developer struck a deal with your carrier? I know I don't. Not to mention, researchers have found that preinstalled apps are prone to bugs and security issues. In my opinion, the owner of a phone should have control over what is and isn't installed. 

If you're looking for more features that make the iPhone better than Android, look no further than this long list of features Apple added in iOS 14, and if you're still not convinced, here's a healthy list of hidden features.