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iPhones are great — but this is why I can't quit Android

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs iPhone 13 Pro Max cameras
(Image credit: Future)

If you've been a follower of my journey from Android to iPhone over the past six months or so, you’ll have discovered that I’m somewhat smitten by the iPhone 13 Pro.

Despite the critique of some people calling into question my logic or Android familiarity (I’ve tested a lot of Android phones), the iPhone 13 Pro remains my smartphone of choice. But recently, deals writer Millie Davies-Williams wondered why I had multiple phones on me, specifically my iPhone, a Google Pixel 6 Pro and an Oppo Find N

Now, I like to have a toe in both ecosystems so I can check for oddities or new features when bringing you the latest tech news. But if I dig a little deeper, the answer is a little more abstract.

Simply put, iOS and iPhone are not interesting enough to keep me away from Android. I admit the iPhone 13 Pro is brilliant but it’s also boring.

Ecosystem vs. excitement

photo of iphone 13 pro, pixel 6 pro, and find x3 pro

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

First things first, I really like the iPhone 13 Pro. Its rear camera array is one of my favorites out of the best camera phones; it offers a consistent smartphone experience; and there’s really not a lot or dislike. 

Once I got set up on my iPhone 13 Pro it was done; I didn’t feel like there were any particularly special features or options to tweak.

Sure, it’s locked down and sometimes infuriatingly inflexible, but in return I get an ecosystem of products — the AirPods Pro and Apple Watch SE, specifically — that works wonderfully together.

But my problem with the iPhone 13 Pro and iOS is once I get used to it there aren’t any features that delight and excite me. iOS 15 is stupidly easy to use, even compared to the very slick Android 12. But I find the iPhone 13 Pro doesn’t encourage one to really dig deep into its functions. 

And iOS is intuitive but offers no stand-out special features, beyond the likes of the Cinematic mode on the camera. Once I got set up on my iPhone 13 Pro it was done; I didn’t feel like there were any particularly special features or options to tweak.

Comparatively, the Pixel 6 has cool tech like the Tensor chip that enables the almost sci-fi Magic Eraser, as well as features like live transcription. While the Samsung Galaxy S22 range can deliver pseudo-desktop duties with DeX. And the Oppo Find X5 Pro has a 10-bit display and clever optimizing tech to upmix SDR content to HDR.

Give me options over optimization

a photo of the iPhone 13 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

Android phones in general tend to have a myriad of options that let you play with their settings, appearance and all sorts of other parameters. There’s a real joy to setting up an new Android phone, from perusing a manufacturer’s take on Google’s mobile OS to calibrating the display’s colors and layout.

To my mind the price of iPhone convenience and ease of use comes at the cost of innovation and intrigue.

Granted, iOS now has widgets and other flexible tools for an added layer of customization, but they pale in comparison to the scope of customization that Android offers. This has always been the case, but I reckon it’s only something that you feel is very noticeable when you use an iPhone for a decent amount of time.

Don’t get me wrong, Apple’s iOS limitations are one of the reasons why it’s great when it comes to intuitive software that's honed to a fine point, consistent performance and an enviable app and hardware ecosystem. I hardly ever feel the iPhone 13 Pro makes doing something an annoyance.

With iOS, having an operating system that “just works” rather than complicates things is awesome. And there's a good argument that smartphones shouldn’t be tools of tech discovery but small slabs of electronics that instantly respond to your whims.

In comparison, some Android phones can feel janky, with the Pixel 6 Pro being the latest culprit; its under-display fingerprint scanner is still sub-par.

Yet as a tech fan, I still enjoy poking around in the features and options offered to me by a Samsung, Google or OnePlus flagship phone, even if some oddities and inconsistencies make me want to hurl such phones into the sea.

Messing around with phone options, say display or audio calibration tools, gives one a taste of what a tailored phones experience can feel like, rather than one orchestrated and dictated by a bunch of folks from Cupertino. To my mind the price of iPhone convenience and ease comes at the cost of innovation and intrigue.

Sadly, with the iPhone 14 looking set to offer disappointing upgrades and the iPhone 14 Pro tipped to be an evolution of the current pro phones, I can’t see Apple’s smartphones getting exciting again any time soon.

Does all this mean I want to swap back from the iPhone 13 Pro to a Pixel 6 Pro or Galaxy S22 Ultra? Well no, as I’m enjoying the wider Apple ecosystem too much and I reckon the 6.1-inch phone offers the best screen size.

But that means you’ll rarely catch me leaving my apartment for any length of time without one of our best Android phones; as good as the iPhone is, my Android addiction is a tough one to kick.

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face. 

  • GoGoGriffster
    I hear you completely. But the cool features of iOS is that it works, and it works. It seems every time I try and use my Tab S8 Ultra for anything it just highlights how badly applications are coded and how badly Android is coded. Simple thinks like copy and pasting from a web page to a chat window are frustratingly so difficult. Copy and pasting from a web page to OneNote just doesn’t work. All the things that make the Duolingo app on iOS simple to use aren’t available on the Android version. So many Android apps default to portrait on a tablet and have to be Windowed or used in Dex…..and the list goes on and on. Every little niggle is like a death of a thousand cuts. I’d love to get the Galaxy Z Fold 4 when it comes out but I couldn’t use it as a daily driver. Even if all those issues were resolved, for me personally, it would be hard to switch as 90-95% of my family and friends are on iOS so iMessage, shared Reminders, Notes and Calendar work so Much better than the Google versions for shared items, reminders on behalf of someone else or the family.