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What I miss most about the iPhone as a Samsung user

I've been an Android user since the summer of 2015 after spending two years using the iPhone 5. I wanted a change from the constant iCloud notifications and "running out of storage" nonsense, so when I heard that Android phones had microSD card slots (yeah, I had no idea then), I jumped on the Samsung Galaxy S5. I absolutely loved it… for a time. Then Android 6.0 Marshmallow was released, and I was left waiting. And waiting. And when I finally downloaded the update, my S5 was never the same.

I switched phones on and off for the next year and a bit, coming back to the iPhone 7 when it was released. I enjoyed the hell out of it until I didnt, and jumped back onto Android with the Nexus 6P and now the Samsung Galaxy S8. I've been mostly happy with my decision over the last year, but there's still one niggling thing that's driving me bananas about this phone.

Android Oreo was released on August 21, 2017. Google's Pixel phones received the update immediately, and some other well-meaning Android manufacturers gave the update to their users very soon after.

Here I am, sitting on one of the top flagships of the last year, from arguably Apple's largest competitor, and I'm still munching on Nougat. No updated notifications or battery improvements or anything of the sort, because Samsung absolutely sucks at doling out timely updates. And that's not just a pain in the ass feature-wise — it's less secure.

The fact that Apple can hand out an update instantly when the shit hits the fan is invaluable, both to Apple and to iPhone users, and it's not something I take lightly as an Android user.

Apple's best feature, hands-down

The fact that all iPhones and iPads receive the latest iOS update at the same time (as it rolls out, country by country of course) is, in my opinion, the best thing Apple has going for it. All users are consistently receiving security updates and new features as they're released. That really makes you feel valued as a consumer. It's clear that Apple wants you to have its latest and greatest as soon as possible, which is part of the reason its adoption rate for new OSes is way higher than Android.

The other part is that, since Android is an open platform, each manufacturer can put its own stamp on the software, and Samsung is the guiltiest party when it comes to masking Google's beautiful interface. Its TouchWiz launcher is pretty "meh", with icons that just aren't as elegant as Google's and bloatware to beat the band (the fact that I can't disable most of the Samsung apps is _infuriating). It's Why I went with another Samsung phone, I'll never know, but here I am. On the Galaxy S8. The Galaxy S9 comes out on March 16, and I can bet my dumb ass that that day will come before I see Oreo on my phone.

So yeah, when I pick up my iPhone 7 to use it for work, I lament the switch just a little. It's honestly still not enough to make me go back, but I do feel that little pang every time I check for an update on my Samsung only to read "The latest updates have already been installed" and to know that it's been saying that for months.

Google is working on getting manufacturers to speed up the delivery of updates, but the first part of that won't be implemented until August 2018, and it's unlikely Android users will see immediate updates on every phone for a few years yet.

So for now, I sit, and I wait... Until it's time to upgrade and I buy a phone straight from Google, which really blurs the line between iPhone and Android user when you think about it...

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.

79 Comments
  • "The other part is that, since Android is an open platform, each manufacturer can put its own stamp on the software, and Samsung is the guiltiest party when it comes to masking Google's beautiful interface." so... you don't like choices? Just get one you can remove stuff on. I like that I can use AdHell on my S8 and yank all the garbage bloat that Samsung throws on. I do not have a face book at all, and don't want their garbage on it at all. However, on my iPhone, it's baked in to the settings. Don't like Touchwiz? Get another launcher or a Pixel, what's the big deal?
  • The big deal is, first of all, it’s not open. It just pretends to be. You wait for months and months for updates, and updates stop way faster than on iPhones. You have to remove bloatware that shouldn’t be there in the first place if they had any respect for you. Half-baked features there just so they can say they’re there. The list goes on and on. If Samsung works for you that’s great. The big deal is that some people don’t want to deal with the nonsense.
  • What do we call Health, iBooks, Stocks, etc that comes pre-installed in our iPhones
  • You've clearly never had to endure the bloat **** that is an out-of-the-box Samsung device. Pre-installed iPhone apps are like a treat compared to that.
  • What bloat? Samsung user here, that also owns iPhone 6s. Both devices have the same number of apps that I remove out of the box (arguably iPhone has more, since Samsung's stock email and calendar apps are actually great).
  • My uncle has a cheap Samsung phone, and it's always running out of space because all the built-in bloat apps take up room, and you can't remove them. You can only disable them or "remove all updates for this app". It has things installed like Facebook/Instagram which is nothing to do with Samsung, yet it's forced on the phone and can't be removed
  • Disabling them actually reduces the amount of storage they use by around 90%.
  • I didn't find the difference to be that large (I disabled a lot of them) but even still, applications like Facebook should not be forced into the software. It's crazy that the internal phone storage can be filled up just by pre-installed apps that can only be disabled. Samsung's QC is obviously only a priority on their high-end phones
  • So you will buy an iPhone, clearly high end but skimp on the Samsung....got it.....
  • It wasn't my phone, it was my uncle's (if you'd had actually read my comment 😞). But that's beside the point, if you buy a cheaper phone, you shouldn't get a worse service. You don't get delayed/half-baked updates on an iPhone SE as opposed to an iPhone X
  • It's been a while since I've owned one, but I remember having to uninstall ridiculous numbers of apps. It also varies by carrier...AT&T (what I have) is one of the worst.
  • I have. And they can be disabled as well
  • Disabled ≠ uninstalled. Facebook should be able to be uninstalled even if Samsung/carrier has pre-installed it on the phone
  • One prime example of bloatware is having 3-4 different text messaging applications installed out of the box, some from Android, some from Samsung, some from your carrier, and some from who knows where. And all the apps you mention can be hidden or deleted on iOS devices now. You can't say that for all the bloatware on Android devices.
  • Never had that issue. Must be a Verizon thing
  • And updates being carrier-dependant, is an Android thing.
  • The way Android updates work is sort of like begging Dell, HP, Lenovo, or whoever made your computer for the security update to Windows that Microsoft released six months ago. How is this even accepted? There should have been a clear delineation between the Google side of the house and the OEM's side of the house. The OEM can add anything that they want but it must be able to plug into the base Android OS with no modifications to the core Android code so as to allow for Google to update the OS while leaving the OEM stuff alone. This is how it's done in the Windows world, all software has to do is add some appropriate registry entries in specific parts of the system and the stuff becomes part of the Explorer shell. Anything can be plugged into whatever you want including context menus and File Properties windows. This is how Android should have been made!
  • Samsung updates much faster than that.
  • Depends on the carrier, rather than Samsung, which means every Android user gets the updates at different times.
  • Also, Facebook isn't baked into the settings app starting with iOS 11. Just FYI.
  • So really, this article should be titled "What I Miss About iPhone as a Samsung User." Because if you buy a Google phone, you get updates every month.
  • You get updates every month as a Samsung user too :) This article is... a clickbait? Hey I clicked, so good job iMore.
  • These monthly security updates are not necessarily the same as feature updates (I still have an S6 and a Nexus 9 tablet that I keep around for s#*ts and giggles). Granted, iOS has been buggy with 11.x, and they've been updating (as well as a robust developer/public beta program that no other manufacturing comes close to offering) quite a bit. But, if you're hoping for Oreo (or even Nougat - if you're lucky), for instance, you'll wait FOREVER for your OEM (especially Samsung), and whatever carrier you're tied to, to push it out -- if it's not cancelled for some odd reason. This is, alone, was my sole justification to go back to iOS from HTC/Samsung/Nexus devices of quite a few years. I tired of hoping and waiting that I'd get an update with new "features" that were definitely "half-baked" and got tired of waiting for whatever XDA developer to update whatever ROM I was running to fix/update/etc. It was a nice distracting mess for the few years I dabbled with it, but, too irritating and not worth the distraction to continue. I went from OG iPhones to Android and back to full buy-in w/Apple -- MacBook, Watch, and iPhones - their stuff literally "just works." I had no issue evangelizing the features/benefits of having an Android powered device to dismissing them completely for the mess that comes with the unnecessary fragmentation issue the OEMs maintain. My $.02.
  • If you came to iOS just because of that, you're not who Samsung targets. Samsung targets those that want features.
  • He just told you that he had to wait ages for features, that were half-baked. iOS gives you features through frequent updates, that are "mostly" stable.
  • No you don't. I had Samsung phones for years, Note 2, Note 3, Note 5, Note 7 (x's 2), Note 8, S6, S7 edge, and S8+, and not one of them got monthly security updates. The updates came once a quarter. That's it.
  • Yes, I sure do get updates every month on my Note 8. In fact they have come on roughly the same date every month since I bought the phone. That can vary by carrier so I am not saying you are lying about your experience, but on the flip side, you shouldn't assume that your experience is the same as as mine or the person above.
  • Yep, My S8 Plus gets them as well
  • cwbcpa makes an important point, though. It varies by carrier, so not everyone gets them every month, and this is one of Android's biggest issues.
  • That's surprising, my Note 8 is getting updates monthly and so's my Note 5.
  • cwbcpa makes an important point above. It varies by carrier, so not everyone gets them every month, and this is one of Android's biggest issues.
  • Ditto if you're a Nokia and HTC user.
  • Honestly to a good number of people, you either have a Samsung or an iPhone, so I think the title is fine.
  • The title insinuates monopolism, which isn't a good thing to promote. If someone is thinking of moving to Android, they should be encouraged to try phones from a variety of brands. Isn't Google's advertising slogan for Android to "be different"?
  • Oh look, another person who doesn't get that stock android is not by any means the same as Samsung's android. Also how is Samsung's android less secure? My 2 years old galaxy s7 is on February security update, and gets updated every month like a clockwork. I feel that is pretty security-conscious.
  • True but there's more than just security updates. Android Oreo brings a lot to the table including better battery saving techniques, leaner and cleaner code, etc. all of which benefits you the user but because your OEM has decided not to care about releasing new versions of Android to your device you're stuck with what came with it. Sure, you may get security updates but that's not fun. The fun stuff is NEW FEATURES!!!
  • I would rather have it correct than fast. And Oreo isn't that big a deal.
  • Some of Oreo's best features:
    • 2x faster boot speed
    • Background limits to increase battery life, as well as other improvements to increase battery life
    • Autofill in apps
    • PiP
    • Improved notifications
    • Accessibility improvements
    • Reduced app size meaning more space on your device
    • Integrated printing support
    • Wi-Fi assistant
    • Redesigned (and also more) emojis I would say these are a big deal, I'd hate being on Android and knowing I can't have these features until a 6 months to a year later after the Android version has been released
  • The Android version found on the Galaxy S7 is heavily skinned it's not the same as Stock Android Nougat so Oreo for a galaxy phone wound not bring the same battery of performance improvement it brings for stock Android unless Samsung does some additional optimisations.
    What I'm saying is that the S7 has more battery options and optimisations that stock android anyway. Also about security, nothing beats Galaxy phones and the option of a security platform like Knox.
    You apple fanboys like to drink the same koolaid about security but almost every single time you ignore Knox.
  • "What I'm saying is that the S7 has more battery options and optimisations that stock android anyway." Got any proof to back up this crazy claim? How can something native, be slower than something which has had Samsung's apps/skin placed on top? Also iOS beats any Android device in security, due to the fact that you're restricted to the App Store, and App Store apps are restricted as to what they can do with your phone.
  • I like Android, you can not do iPhone like on an Android.
  • Can you elaborate?
  • There's only two devices I'll ever consider purchasing: the latest and greatest iPhone or a Google Pixel. I can count on getting quick and monthly updates for either of those devices. I used to be a huge Samsung fanboy, having owned the Note 2, Note 3, Note 5, Note 7 (x's 2), Note 8, S6, S7 edge, and S8+, and I hated that none of them got regular security updates. It concerns me because I stay in hotels a lot for my job and I need a device that's secure. That's why I'll only use a Pixel or iPhone device moving forward.
  • Then do that. Some people like having useful features on the device.
  • I could sort of understand that reply to the iPhone (even though it was a bit snarky), but why the Pixel? The Pixel comes with the latest version of Android, which has an abundance of wonderful features
  • These day/date OS updates are the one reason that I have and will NEVER consider an Android device as my mobile phone. It is absolutely unacceptable and makes Android a huge dumpster fire in my opinion. I'm sorry, but I consider OS, security, identity, and emergency updates to be a primary reason to buy any device, and as long as no Android phone manufacturer can guarantee me that, I will never consider their products.
  • You can use a Google Pixel, or an Android phone that runs stock Android, which gets the latest updates AFAIK. But it's still shocking that this isn't the case for every Android phone.
  • That's because you don't understand the process.
  • The very unnecessary, convoluted process, that still makes everyone's point about the lack of updates valid.
  • Indeed, and also wlonsdale's response was completely unnecessary, given that I had researched and understood the process (which I have detailed below).
  • What an assumptive reply. As if I hadn't researched the process beforehand. But hey, here's the process on both OS's as I understand it. Android:
    Google pushes update > Phone manufacturer has to adapt update to device > Update gets pushed to carrier, who then do further adaptions > push to consumer's phone. iOS:
    Apple pushes update > push to consumer's phone The problem with Android's process, is that the carrier gets involved. The phone manufacturer having to adapt the update makes sense since every device running Android is different, but the carrier shouldn't delay the process any further than that. Unfortunately, they do, hence why Apple was so adamant to skip the carrier process, despite carrier's not initally being happy with it. The difference between Apple and Google, is Apple wouldn't give in, where as Google just wanted to make the big companies happy, rather than their consumers.
  • Boy, I hear ya. Love the Samsung phones, but the lack of updates is a complete deal breaker.
  • Which is why I now have a Pixel.
  • It gets updated all the time. What are you talking about?
  • I think it depends on your carrier, as well as the country you reside in, whereas iOS updates get pushed worldwide practically at the same time
  • I am a regular user of both an iPhone 7 Plus and a Note 5. I switch back and forth from time to time depending on my mood. I appreciate the updates Apple brings to iOS, that's why my family almost all use iPhones. I can say honestly, iPhone apps still work better and battery life is definitely better than my Note 5. Things I prefer on my Note 5: Samsung Pay, the S-Pen, and Android Auto. Not every place has Apple Pay, but I can use Samsung Pay almost anywhere. I don't use the S-Pen everyday, but it's very convenient to have, and I love it for note taking. I've tried Car Play and Android Auto, and IMO Car Play looks nicer, but there is more flexibility with Android Auto. I prefer Waze to Apple Maps. Apple Maps is ok, however, I've ran into 2 situations recently where the maps were not up to date. I appreciate going all in with the Apple ecosystem would result in a seamless experience, but I don't prefer to be locked into that ecosystem. My Note works with more accessories that I own. I can live without Oreo on my Note 5, it's an older phone, but the Security updates are a must. Just my 2 cents.
  • What I miss most about Samsung as an (ex-Samsung) now iPhone user: <crickets chirping>
  • Really the only thing I missed from Android, was customisability. With the iPhone I got increased stability, battery life, performance, app quality, interface consistency, latest software updates, and just a generally nicer to use/nicer to look at device. With all that mentioned, customisability didn't matter all that much any more.
  • compare the OLED screen of the S7 with the LED screen of the iPHone 7 and ask your self if the IPhone can possible be worth the $150 or more extra (with no ability to add memory via micro sd card) . . . Apple makes lots of money using inferior LED screens . . they are taking the X off the market because the OLED screen used therin was eating into their profits!
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/fc6duavm5qljdqu/DSC_5997.JPG?dl=0
  • Why are you comparing old phones? Obviously an OLED display is better than an LED display, which is why the iPhone X has an OLED display. They aren't taking the X off the market. Also the reason why the iPhone has never had a microSD slot, is because a microSD has a much slower read/write speed than the phone's internal memory.
  • You live in a cocoon. You're the typical obnoxious iPhone user that can't see beyond their nose.
  • I imagine he has valid reasons, but he should've explained them instead of the snarky comment
  • Software options(flexibility), customisation, SD card support, faster and more reliable LTE and Wifi Speeds, Knox, Samsung Pay, Google Now Feed, True File Management System, Headphone Jack, Skip the lock screen, Play music on two Bluetooth devices, Bixby Vision(Live Translations), Always On Display, Notification LED, 4 Different Colour Modes, Link Sharing, Fingerprint Gestures, DEX, Separate App sounds and so on. I keep seeing apple fans talking about software updates but what do they really bring to the table in general? I don't see anything interesting as an Android user from Apple in terms of software updates, better yet I feel Apple fas a lot of catching up to do on the software options department. Most updates ios 11 was meant to fix critical bugs and instability issues. Basically for the last few months Apple has only been fixing ios 11. How is that a great thing?
  • Software options and customisation are more or less the same thing, and have always been the main difference between iOS/Android. I'm mostly ok with the restrictions on iOS, but I would like to see default apps and maybe a little more customisation on the home/lock screen. The iPhone has never had a microSD card slot due to the fact that read/write speeds are much slower on a microSD compared to the phone's internal storage. The LTE/Wi-Fi speed may be faster on Samsung's high-end devices, but I don't know how it can be more reliable. Samsung KNOX is a great idea, but security software has existed for a long time, it's nothing innovative. Also considering we're comparing to the iPhone, surely the iPhone is much better in this department due to it's strict restrictions and sandboxing? You can download Google Now onto the iPhone via the Google app, it gives you this feed. I agree with you on true file management, my main problem is having to use iTunes to transfer things, it would be much easier to just plug my phone in and access the files normally. Headphone jack… really? Watch the Apple keynote to understand why they got rid of it. My only problem with it, is that Apple should be using a standard port (aka USB-C). They're using USB-C on the Mac, so why not on the iPhone? With Face ID, you practically have skipped the lock screen since the phone is almost instantly unlocked. Bixby vision is a copy of another application which I'm pretty sure was originally released on the iPhone, plus I think Google Translator has this now, and since they are in the lead with machine translation, I'd trust it more. I definitely would like to see an always-on display, I think the iPhone X should've had this on release since it has an OLED display. I'm not really fussed about the notification LED, it looks a bit cheap to me and I think it wouldn't be necessary if an always-on display was available. The rest seem fairly gimmicky, link sharing is surely something iOS does already? I do like the idea of DEX though. Technically different apps do make different sounds, you just don't get to pick what that sound is. I think you've overlooked a lot of things, but there are some things that I would really like, like the Always on display, and true file management. The iPhone has a lot of benefits to it, obviously having the latest updates is a big one. Having an OS that is specifically designed for the phone, means there are a lot of performance/stability improvements, and generally makes things work a lot smoother. iMessage seamlessly integrate with SMS, and links seamlessly to a Mac or iPad, it also has a lot of great features. I don't believe Google or Samsung have anything to match the flexibility and seamlessness of iMessage yet. There are many fantastic apps that are iPhone-only, and I couldn't do without, like Tweetbot, Calcbot, Halide, Apollo, not to mention Apple's fantastic built-in Office suite. I think both iPhones and Android devices have their fair share of advantages and disadvantages, which is why people are so divided between them. One is certainly not miles better than the other.
  • I can't believe that I actually switched to an iPhone. I have been a staunch Android user for many years.... I do have 2 ipads though - Air2 and iPad Pro. I was looking for a good Watch and ended up with the Apple (metal issues etc with others). So I debated on getting a SE to use with my watch and keep the Note 8 (I have had Note 4 and 2 Note 7s). But I had a Pixel XL between Note 7 & 8. I liked the Pixel but hated the bezels. But the Note 8 had some issues and was uncomfortably big for my hands. I am a big stylus user, had one for my Pixel and now have one for my iPhone X. I miss some things a little bit.... But I am anticipating getting an iPhone that supports the pencil - now that will beat Samsung.... I also love having updates right away.
  • Can you define "updates"?
  • I'd imagine it would be OS updates, since both Android and iOS get frequent application updates. iOS updates get pushed to everyone at the same time, whilst Android updates depend on your carrier. That's the reason why Android OS adoption is far lower than iOS
  • Personally I am not crazy about iOS The updates are not error free even though they are rolled out to all users.
    The updates also seem to contribute to device obsolescence as the iOS takes more space and processing power to do the same task causing older devices to slow down.
    Neither iOS or android are perfect
  • Android is far worse. Updates are far and few, meaning that if you do have an issue, then you'll have to make do for a long time. Android have a much more serious case of "device obsolescence", in that they usually end support and updates after 2 years. Meanwhile on iOS, it's 4+ years. After disabling Apple's #iPhoneSlow code via iOS 11.3, iOS seems to run fine on older phones
  • Apparently you've never owned an Android device.
  • I've owned about 3 or 4 Android devices, actually. Admittedly, it was a while ago, I'm aware that the situation has improved a lot since then, but compared to iOS it's still bad in terms of updates
  • >Android is far worse< No it's not, you are just exposing your ignorant opinion.
  • It is worse in terms of updates/device obsolescence (which is what I was referring to). I wasn't saying Android was bad overall, there's many things I like about Android
  • I've currently have one each: iOS, Android and Win10 mobile. Honestly Win10 is my favorite interface, even though app selection is poor. At least MS plans on security updates through 2019. iOS is beautiful, but an expensive proposition and is thus my oldest device. Android comes in dead last from _my_ usability perspective. Yes, it's customizable, powerful and has lots of features, but it's also a hot mess of unpredictability. Q: Whoever hear of an OS that would allow another app to install a second PIN code (not talking SIM pin either) and require it each and every time? A: Android. So many times it just doesn't work and I now have a one year old phone that is two generations behind in software. I get that a lot of people like its power and have taken the time to understand the ins and outs of the OS. However I find it regularly frustrating with a too-high learning curve that I don't encounter in Win10 or iOS. My 2¢; I'm don't write this to change others' opinions, but simply stating my own. Thanks for reading.
  • >Whoever hear of an OS that would allow another app to install a second PIN code< What are you talking about exactly?
    Apps that allow you to secularize them?
  • Secularize? Is there another definition of that word? Because as far as I know, that's to do with religion
  • That is a REALLY bad reason. There's nothing wrong with Nougat. That's just whining
  • Why is it a bad reason? He explained what he didn't like with Nougat
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