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Why would you use Android in an Apple ecosystem?

The line between iPhone and Android has long been firm and clear, but it's very slowly starting to blur. Google's working on an Assistant app for iPhone. The G Suite of apps is available for iPhone and iPad. Macs, at the end of the day, are just computers that can communicate with all manner of devices.

Still, why would you use Android with an Apple ecosystem? Wouldn't it be better if everything worked together? Maybe. But I use a Samsung Galaxy S8 with an iMac, iPad, and Apple TV.

Here's why you might want to get a little Android in your Apple.

Cost

First and foremost, price is one of the biggest motivators when it comes to purchasing tech. Apple's devices come at a premium, especially when you consider the Android alternatives.

While iPads are arguably the best tablets on the market, there are decent tablets you can get for a fraction of the cost. When it comes to smartwatches, again, Apple Watch is probably the best available, but there are cheaper Android options.

And when it comes to phones, forget about it. There are a ton of excellent, inexpensive Android phones available. Hell, even some premium Android phones, like the OnePlus 3T, are available for half the cost of some iPhone models (the OnePlus 3T is $439).

Choice

There are so many more android devices available from so many more brands. If you like the idea of choosing your phone or your tablet or TV box, Android affords you that luxury. I switched back to Android phones because I simply got tired of the cookie cutter experience (among other things). If I get sick of my Galaxy S8's UI in a few months, guess what — I can change its look and it's like having a new phone (in essence).

G Suite is superior to iCloud

Come at me, bro! Kidding, chill out. I think Google's suite of apps is better than iCloud. That's my preference (and the empirical truth! JK), but it might ring true for many folks. You get 15GB of free storage, Google's apps work on just about any platform with a web browser, the interface is pleasant and relatively simple to learn, and you can communicate with each app via Google Assistant (again, coming to iOS in the near future).

Many Apple users are perfectly happy with iCloud, and that's dynamite. Just know that if you do decide to implement an Android device, you have an excellent alternative. And if you have a Gmail account, then you have G Suite. (Yeah, yeah, yeah, Slides sucks compared to Keynote.)

Gmail: Everything you need to know!

Best of both worlds

If you're like I was and just kind of sick of the same old Apple, then adding an Android device (be it a tablet, phone, or Android TV box) might just be the very thing that keeps you using Apple products. Having the best of both worlds might keep you from wondering what you're missing and completely jumping ship.

You can also get many apps that are specific to each platform on the other. There's an Apple Music app for Android (opens in new tab), Google apps for iOS, and more.

The best of Android

AirDroid

Yeah, Android devices don't always play well with Apple devices, but AirDroid (opens in new tab) makes life a lot easier. It lets your Android phone or tablet interact with your Mac in almost the same way your iPhone does. You can even send and receive SMS, and you can mirror your Android device's screen onto your Mac. It also makes transferring files from your Android device to your Mac way easier.

The best part is that it's free.

Learn more (opens in new tab)

Hey, it beats Windows

Shots fired. mic drop

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.

24 Comments
  • The irony is that right now the Samsung S8 is more expensive than the iPhone 7, at least at the T-Mobile where I work. Otherwise, I don't care about getting themes and app launchers. I see the iCloud/Gsuite complaints, I guess (certainly for email), although outside of the 5 GB storage issue being a nuisance, I disagree that iCloud "doesn't work." It's not perfect, but Apple made some huge improvements with iOS 10. I feel like I get prompted for my login info like 1/10 as often as I did on iOS 9. Of course, I'm also unusual to some degree in that my desktop and documents on my Mac are in iCloud Drive (since I know Dropbox and Google Drive are the popular options here), but setup was dead simple and I don't have to think about it, which is how technology should work to begin with. I don't know. I've thought about trying a Pixel just to see if the grass is greener over there, but switching all of my stuff off of iCloud and iMessage seems like a big hassle to be able to move app icons around differently.
  • I'd like to expand on that "G Suite is superior to iCloud" notion. Most iOS users know that the free 5GB of iCloud is not even enough to hold a device backup, let alone keep a decent amount of pictures in the cloud for Photo Stream or the iCloud Photo Library (and try explaining the difference to a non-tech-savvy person). HOWEVER, while you get 15GB of free Google Drive, you can opt for UNLIMITED cloud storage for photos or videos. Granted, photos and videos will be downsampled (correct me if I'm wrong) to 16 megapixels and 1080p resolution, but that's a far cry from literally being forced into spending for the monthly cost of iCloud. On top of that, since it's all cloud-based, you are no longer subject to storing a huge Photos library file on your Mac. I used to knock out nearly a 100GB chunk out of every MacBook I bought, just because of that huge photo library, and now with everything stored in the cloud on Google Photos, that precious SSD space is free for other uses. Last but not least, the Google Photos Uploader for Mac is a great way to converge photos from everyone in your family into one huge online library. Since Apple doesn't give a way to receive multiple Photo Streams into a single Photos library, you're stuck making multiple, separate libraries, each that have to be tied into the iCloud account on its own macOS profile. Very messy. Simply use the Google Photos app on iOS or install the Google Photos Uploader on the Mac, and photos shot on each iOS or Android device will eventually, automatically be thrown into one Google Photos library.
  • I'll stick with my all Apple devices
  • Ahhh.....no. I don't use anything by google--not even search. Why not? Their business model. The poor aesthetics of their products and user interface. The superiority of Apple devices and the ecosystem.
  • Apple still use Google analytics. Apple had Google search. Apple use Youtube regularly.
    If you really had the courage of your convictions you’d avoid them too?
  • Don't be silly. I pay my taxes but can't withhold the percentage for bombs and corporate welfare and only pay for roads and bridges etc.
  • Points!!!
  • Since they implemented Material design, Google's products are far more aesthetically and ergonomically pleasing than Apple's. Just compare the usability of Gmail with the Mail app, or Play Music with Apple Music
  • No, they're not. Already did, and no.
  • This is your opinion. I believe Google apps may have more functionality than Apple's apps, but it's very arguable whether they're better in aesthetics, ergonomics and usability
  • Ergonomics are always a personal experience but I find it very surprising that anyone could find the stock Mail and Calendar apps preferable to Gmail or Google Calendar, or Apple Music to Play Music.
  • Agreed, my wife, when I had her try android hated the look and feel of the stock google apps. I however, enjoy them more than the Apple Stock apps. The iPhone 6s+ was the first iPhone I used in about 5 years. It was a good experience but my opinion at least for me is that the google stock apps are better.
  • For the functionality that the Apple apps have, they are very intuitive and so long as a user doesn't need any more functionality they'll most likely be more than happy with the Apple apps. If you need more functionality then obviously you will prefer the Google apps
  • I tend to joke with a friend of mine, who is a self professed “Google *****”, that the one thing about Google is ironically you can get one of the best Google experiences via IOS. The caveat is are you more concerned with Google or Android because then you’re talking about two different things. If it’s just Google then put their Apps on your iOS device and keep it moving but if you want the Android system itself it’s a different conversation. With respect to iCloud I personally have never had any issues, my info syncs with no problem, handoff works for me, universal copy and paste are a godsend, and family sharing is indispensable, so I’m not sure if it’s something others are doing wrong or something I’m doing right. Cloud storage is really more of a case by case because if you’re a day to day user who’s only camera is their phone and Instagram is your only means of taking photos then cool, but as an amateur photographer with almost a TB photo library by itself, that’s a lot of non-iPhone pics and while a 2MP compression might not sound like much, it is if I ever had to re-download my library from the cloud, whereas with iCloud photo library I didn’t have that issue. In that case I get what I’m paying for. Just my two cents.
  • Agree about the pathetic 5GB on iCloud. It's especially unfair to people who've bought multiple devices from Apple. If someone buys a new iPhone every two years and a new Mac every four years, he/she really deserves an upgraded iCloud storage plan at no additional cost.
  • I recently left an iPhone for a Samsung s8+. I was tired of the cookie cutter environment and wanted to go back to Android. There is nothing wrong with ethier platform and I enjoyed my time on both but even the continuity between my Macbook Pro, iPad, Apple TV and Watch weren't enough to make we want to stick with iPhone. I feel the innovation is stagnant within Apple. I can be proven wrong with the iPhone 8 but lets stop speculating how it is going to be the BEST PHONE EVER and see what they actually present. I feel the though process about their products and services are antiquated. I mean 5GB in iCloud storage? Come on. I couldn't keep my iPad and iPhone backed up much less store any photos. I will more than likely never use a computer that is not a MacBook. I love the operating system, the battery life, the look and build quality but I'll lean more to Android when it come time for a new phone or my current one. Oh, and the unlimited photo storage is awesome. Yes they downgrade it slightly but in my case I keep a backup on site with a large NAS box. It's nice to know that if my house burns down, I get robbed or so on, that I have those photos somewhere where I'm not paying to store almost 20 years of my life in photos.
  • iMessage is the one thing keeping me on an iPhone. And I'm not even engulfed in Apple's ecosystem. But my life becomes significantly harder (ok, we're talking first world significance here :P ) when I'm not using iMessage because literally every important person or group in my life uses it - both work and personal. I wish I could break free of it...
  • iMessage is the one thing I miss from my iPhone. Just like you 95% of my friends and family are on iMessage, that includes my wife. Airdroid at least covers me with messaging from my PC (work) and MacBook (Home).
  • I try to switch every now and then. But I always end up back. Things like video / image sharing apart from iMessage are pretty paltry. And group messages with coworkers get all messed up. I prefer Android, but these are communication devices, and if switching hinders communication... Maybe at some point my coworkers and I can all get on something like Slack or Group.Me or something like that.
  • I've never really had any issue with group messaging but man are you right about sharing images / video. The cell networks downgrade our pictures and videos when we send them to each other. iMessage always gave the full image / file. I do miss that. Airdrop between my wife and I are probably the second missed feature on my list.
  • This is a very niche solution it s definitely not for everyone. It works for me so that's all I care about
  • What is the s8 wallpaper? It's cool can you send me a link to get it? I'd appreciate it a lot! -JustinCool
  • I recently added an android tablet for the reasons listed above. Getting a decent Samsung tablet for $129 was too hard to resist. I own several macs, an iPad, an Apple TV, several iPhones, a apple tv, and an amazon fire stick. Generally, due to privacy concerns (and having ads popup due to google spying on me) as google is an advertising company vs a technology company like Apple or Microsoft, I try to avoid as many google owned apps/services as possible (google, gmail, …). Obviously I still have to use youtube, etc.
  • Things I can’t do on my tablet or can’t do as well and that I miss: -iMessage/Facetime/etc
    -CSmart for Craigslist
    -Access marketplace icon on FB app (I can search for marketplace then click the link)
    -Get privacy on google sites since I had to sign in on google store
    -Get privacy of email accounts- for example my dropbox email now appears on sites that request an email address
    -Airplay (I think there are 3rd party apps, but when I tried airplay servers on my -Amazon TV they didn’t work reliably)
    -Ad block
    -Have to repurchase apps that I’ve paid for iCloud specific functions (I realize most can be avoided if I used google services on my mac, but for reasons above I choose not to).
    -Copy/Paste between laptop and tablet
    -Access my mac desktop files (via iCloud)
    -Access my mac pictures
    -Access notes (could use evernote but limited for 2 devices)
    -Upgrade from 6.0.0 to 6.0.1 took forever!!! Things I can do better on my android that I can’t on my ipad: -Instagram has a full view experience
    -User switching
    -Have access to different apps (eg. Kodi)
    -SD card memory expansion For now, my instinct is to bite the bullit and return it and get a cheap ipad.