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iPhone vs Android Compared: Which Is Better?

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There are two kinds of people in this world—iPhone users and Android users. As of early 2024, StatCounter put Apple's share of the US mobile phone market at 60.14%, with Android accounting for 39.45%. Meanwhile, here at Navi, we polled our team and found a much more even split among between iPhone and Android fans—interesting given we work in the wireless industry.

In this article, we dig into the iPhone vs Android debate. While you can't go wrong with either, there are some categories where one type of phone stands above the other.  

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Which Is Better, iPhone or Android?

Modern smartphones are dominated by two primary operating systems: iOS and Android. iOS is only installed on iPhones, while Android OS is available on various phones and devices.

Both of these see constant updates to keep up with one another at a technological level regarding hardware and software.

iPhone vs Android: Popularity

Winner: Android

Android phones dominate the global market, taking up 70% of smartphone sales in the fourth quarter of 2023. This is because Android doesn’t limit itself to one brand; almost every smartphone that Apple doesn’t release will run an Android operating system.

Google, Samsung, Motorola, and many other top smartphone manufacturers utilize Android. At the same time, iOS is exclusively used by the limited range of iPhones that are out at any given time.

However, despite having a much smaller pool of hardware to work with, iPhones are still the most popular smartphones on the American market. In October of 2023, four of the top five most popular smartphones in the United States were iPhones. This means that Apple phones from a generation ago are actively beating out new models from other companies, at least here in the States.

Android’s success is spread across many Android smartphones, while Apple competes by having a few immensely popular devices. Of course, Apple products are not limited to handsets: with the Mac, Apple Watch, and AirPods, the company offers a variety of products that attract customers with ease of use and cross-compatibility.

iPhone vs Android: Modification

Winner: Android

This is one of the most significant differences between Android and iPhone. Android as an operating system is open-source, meaning many companies can work on it and make changes if they prefer.

Android manufacturers can make changes to things like layout and preloaded app capability. Anybody worldwide could develop a device using Android software if they want to.

Apple prefers to be uniform in its designs, offering little to no room for customers to customize or change the devices in any way. iOS is meant for internal use only within Apple and is only allowed to function however Apple wants it to. No other companies are developing iOS devices or making changes to iOS in any way.

That said, there are methods of jailbreaking Apple devices — but the downside is that if you do have a jailbroken device, you’ll likely have trouble getting Apple to service it if you ever run into any problems. Jailbreaking your Apple device is not encouraged, as it interferes with your software and could even get you into legal trouble if you are jailbreaking your phone to install illegal apps.

iPhone vs Android: App Availability

Winner: Android

Apple is stingy with what it allows on its devices, and not all apps are available. In Q3 of 2022, the Google Play store had over 2.5 million Android apps for customers with Android phones.

Meanwhile, the Apple App Store only has 1.8 million apps. It is much harder to have an app developed and approved for compatibility with the App Store, going back to the closed-source nature of iOS.

A plus for Apple, however, is that it caters heavily to groups who all use iPhones. Apps like iMessage, Siri, and FaceTime are exclusively available to Apple iPhone users, offering better messaging services and a smoother user experience to people who use them. While Android offers similar features that somewhat mirror those of Apple devices, many Android users may find that they don’t come close to the efficacy and overall user experience of the Apple features.

Apple stays competitive by developing these iPhone-exclusive iOS apps that even notify others when they are messaging someone who doesn’t use iOS.

Even still, Apple has a drastically reduced number of apps, many of which can only be downloaded on a jailbroken iPhone. On the other hand, Android users can load up their home screens with way more third-party apps on all the best Android phones, such as the Galaxy S24 Ultra or the Pixel 8 Pro.

iPhone vs Android: Repair and Reliability

Winner: Apple

It is generally easier to get consistent support from Apple compared to Android.

One of the benefits of having such a limited range of hardware options is that switching to a new phone is a reasonably straightforward process within the Apple ecosystem. iPhones (and iPads) evolve linearly, unlike Android phones, which branch off and take the software to different places.

Usually, by the time you are considering getting a new iPhone, there is already a new, upgraded model released from the phone giant. This makes it easy to choose your next device — and there are generally a few different options available with slightly different features and prices depending on what your priorities are.

Another big reason is that Apple devices get consistent updates more often than Android phones on average, meaning they last longer for many people. Apple is fairly proactive about releasing updates to fix bugs or glitches, address major concerns from iPhone users, and provide general software and functionality improvements.

Apple also has a lot of physical locations where you can go to get your phone looked at in person. Apple stores are abundant in the United States, and they are an easy central location where all Apple questions can be asked.

Android is spread across many companies, and many people will have to go through their internet provider if they have issues with their phone that need solving.

iPhone vs Android: Price

Winner: Tie

Cost is a mixed bag when it comes to smartphones in general. iPhones tend to be on the middle to the upper end of the pricing spectrum as far as mobile devices go. The iPhone 15 has a retail price of $829, with the iPhone 15 Pro Max going as high as $1199. However, Apple also sells the iPhone SE, a budget model for $429 for the base model.

Android has a much more comprehensive range of prices. You could get a cheap Android phone for a few hundred dollars if you look for one. On the other hand, you could get something like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5, which can cost upwards of $2000 depending on storage capacity. Android gives you more options, while Apple prefers to stay squarely in its sweet spot.

The Bottom Line

For some, it's a matter of brand affinity. But for those who are trying to decide objectively whether an iPhone or Android better meets their needs, hopefully this article helps.

Apple comes out on top with reliability and consistent customer service. The simplicity of its range of hardware options makes it relatively easy to get support when needed. iPhones are the most popular phones in the U.S., and Apple takes full advantage of that by making plenty of iPhone-specific apps and features.

On the other hand, Android is an open-source platform and offers a ton of variety to customers. Android shoppers can choose from different kinds of phones for a wide range of prices, especially compared with iPhones. There are way more apps available on Android, and there is more freedom to modify the OS.

When it comes to software updates and security updates, both mobile operating systems are effective and safe to use. They are also frequently updated, seeking to improve the user experience.

Whether you're team iPhone or team Android, Navi's free and unbiased Phone Deal finder below can help you find the latest and best smartphone deals you currently qualify for in a matter of seconds.

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