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How to make your iPhone look like Android

So you bought an iPhone and you're stuck with it for the next couple years. That's fine. Maybe you were super excited for it at first, but the luster has worn off and you're now enviously eyeing your friends' Android phones with a bit of buyer's remorse.

Don't let your jealousy consume you. Though iOS is locked up pretty tight, there are still a few things you can do to make your iPhone more like Android.

Change your keyboard

Hallelujah! Apple has finally opened iOS up to third-party keyboards, and it's about damn time! I've always been annoyed with the iOS keyboard, most simply because there's no way to have the number row on all the time. I mean, come on. And even switching things up won't change that, but it's a step in the right direction.

Changing your keyboard is one of the simplest and perhaps least system-shocking ways you can make your iPhone more like Android. Google's Gboard (opens in new tab) is a great choice and perhaps the most like Apple's in that you can search for GIFs, but that might be where the similarities end. With Gboard, you can perform Google searches right in whichever app you happen to be using, and you can seamlessly share that information when you're in Messages.

Swiftkey (opens in new tab) is another excellent option and it might just be the best predictive keyboard around. Swiftkey learns how you type and the words you use and uses that to provide more intuitive predictions. You can also customize its theme to give your iPhone a bit of a different look, and you can slide your fingers to type, which is an excellent accessibility feature.

If you want a keyboard that simply does more, then change it up and see what works for you.

Use Google apps

This may seem kind of obvious, but if you want your iPhone to feel more like Android, then live in Google's ecosystem. The iOS Gmail app (opens in new tab) was completely overhauled earlier this year, and it definitely works more like its Android counterpart.

But Google apps don't begin and end with Gmail; there's Maps (opens in new tab), Calendar (opens in new tab), Drive (opens in new tab), Photos (opens in new tab), Docs (opens in new tab), Sheets (opens in new tab), Keep (opens in new tab), and more. Google Drive is one of the best cloud storage options around, giving you 15GB of free space, and Photos gives you unlimited (4PB) photo backup. Docs and sheets let you create documents and take them with you wherever you go, and the best part of Google's suite is that you can you can access it from any device with an internet connection.

Wanna be more like Android? Live the Google life.

Get a widget launcher app

One awesome feature of Android is the notification shade, which is similar to Control Center in iOS but far more comprehensive. On some Android phones, you can even customize the buttons you see in your notification shade, which allow you to change all sorts of settings on the fly, like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, blue light filter, power saving mode, location services, airplane mode, do not disturb, NFC, and lots more.

While Control Center in iOS 11 is going to be more comprehensive than ever, it still doesn't have the functionality that Android's notification shade does. And the Today View widgets will also never have that functionality (at least, you can't make it so right now).

You can, however, download launcher apps (opens in new tab), which let you curate a widget of your most-used apps, as well as some settings, so you can access everything from one spot.

It'll never be the same as the Android notification shade/quick settings, but it'll have to do.

Jaaaaaailbreak

The only true way to manipulate your iOS is to jailbreak your iPhone. This is the process of removing the software restrictions put in place by Apple to prevent you from mucking around with it's glorious design.

Jailbreaking lets you do just about everything, from changing app icon shapes to adding functions, and it's been happening since the first iPhone came out in 2007. Jailbreaking will also let you add apps to your iPhone that don't appear in the iOS App Store. If you really want your iPhone to look more like Android, Jailbreaking is really the only way you'll be able to do it properly.

That being said, if you're willing to go to that length, then do it for this phone, but when it comes time to upgrade, just do yourself a favor and buy Android.

Do you have an iPhone you wish was more like Android?

Are you thinking of making the switch but want to try things out first? Or do you love your iPhone's hardware and would just prefer a more Android-like user experience? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Mick is a staff writer who's as frugal as they come, so he always does extensive research (much to the exhaustion of his wife) before making a purchase. If it's not worth the price, Mick ain't buying.

17 Comments
  • Really, iMore? I appreciate the cross-pollination between MN sites, and I think it’s a virtue to be amicable with people of all mobile religions. But...“iMore!” Oh wait, there is an iPhone in the article. 🙃
  • Wouldn't the simplest option be, go buy an Android phone? I have nothing against iOS or Android, or the people who prefer them. I'm a Windows Mobile user myself, but have and use the other options. Pick the one you like and use it. If a different platform has enough stuff you crave, switch platforms. No need to make one work or look more like the other.
  • Why is there always one person that says "why not just buy X device if you want it to look like X device"? Have you stopped and begun to think of the large variety of reasons they might not want to go to Android? It's definitely not the simplest option
  • Exactly, maybe I like the android look and feel but need the iphone security.
    Plus there is the cost factor. I'm sorry, but most people do not have the money to go out and buy a new phone whenever they willy-nilly want to. I get tired of people spouting off the same nonsense like "just go buy X." When I buy an $800 phone, I'm keeping it for a few years before buying a new phone.
  • When you jailbreak your iPhone you no longer have ‘the iPhone security.”
  • When you jailbreak your iPhone you still have the iPhone security so long as you don't download strange apps from Cydia. Apps downloaded from the App Store are still sandboxed and the rest of the security features are still in place
  • Geez, I got an iPhone because they started making them with bigger screens so I wouldn’t have to use Android or Google apps. I used an HTC One M7 for a year after the BBOS fiasco, and even themed it to look like iOS. Why in the H E double L would anyone want their iPhone looking like Android ?
  • Yeah, I don’t know why anyone would want to try to turn their phone in to Android. Gross.
  • I started out on Android because the iPhone wasn’t on Verizon yet, stayed because the screens were tiny, but was so happy to switch when the 6’s came out. Not having to root and tinker with my phone to get a consistent look with software was so nice. Although there have been times where I wouldn’t mind an app drawer or being able to do different sized widgets with real-time info. But, I prefer Apple’s ecosystem and love the iPad, so I’m content. Although I wouldn’t mind having the Google Pixel XL as a second phone just to tinker with and keep up with Android on.
  • If I wanted to tinker with or micromanage my phone Android is sort of nice. But I don't. Being an engineer who writes firmware on bare metal in C I do my tinkering elsewhere.
    Also, as an engineer, running a virtual machine with garbage collected memory management on a battery powered device just feels wrong.
  • May be some things are better left alone. Making your phone looke like another brand. You know, now that I think of it, Samsung has been doing that for years.
  • Haha very true
  • Some people are issued iPhones at work and wouldn't mind being able to switch up the interface a bit. I've already done all of these things (aside from jailbreaking) on my work issued iPhone a long time ago, it's not as weird as you people seem to think it is.
  • "Do you have an iPhone you wish was more like Android?" No. Neither do I have a flat screen TV that I wish was more like a CRT tube TV. What a ridiculous article.
  • Why would you want to do that. It's like I'm having ferrari and I want it to look like plane car :D
  • Lol... These comments are hilarious in their snobbishness. Using both iOS and Android every day I can tell you iPhones are great but they could stand to steal a few of Android's tricks. iPhones may be Ferraris, but there are plenty of Lamborghinis, Maseratis and Porsches out there.
  • Wolf in sheep's clothing. Good one :D