Julie’s gadget diary – Why I am thinking about switching back to the iPhone

We use affiliate links. If you buy something through the links on this page, we may earn a commission at no cost to you. Learn more.


It’s been almost three years since I put my iPhone 4s in a drawer and switched over to an Android device as my full-time smartphone. Since I made that switch, I’ve used a Samsung Galaxy SIII, a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and my current phone, an LG G3. I’ve also used Android tablets like the Nexus 7 and my current favorite, the Samsung Galaxy S Tab 10.5. During these last three years, I’ve felt superior to iOS users because I have been able to do so much more with my Android phones than they can with their iPhones. I used all those cool Android features like Qi wireless charging, NFC, widgets, micro SD cards and I have even used Tasker to create elaborate macros that triggered when I got in my car and would start streaming music which I could then control with a wave of my hand. Sounds awesome, right? Then why am I thinking about going back to an iPhone?

The thing is, as time has gone by, I started realizing that I haven’t been using all those gee whiz Android features that much anymore. Although I still love Qi charging, I can’t remember the last time I used an NFC tag for a task other than pairing with a Bluetooth headset or speaker. As for widgets, they have been one of the main reasons why I have confessed my love for Android. But in all honesty, I have really only ever used one widget! It’s a calendar widget that shows my upcoming appointments and events on the home screen. That’s it. And I have become “blind” to it and rarely even pay attention to at it anymore. These days I just set my events and appointments to send me an email reminder a day or two in advance, so I won’t forget something.

Micro SD cards are another feature that has been on my smartphone feature must have list. But these days the majority of Android phones don’t have a built-in expansion memory slot and the only way I ever use mine is to store images taken with the camera. With automatic image backup to the cloud, having an micro SD card really isn’t that important to me anymore.

What about those macros I made with Tasker for playing music my car? I still use one that pops up a menu with large buttons for Pandora, Spotify and favorite people to call, but the special media control scripts I had that allowed me to control music with hand gestures has been replaced with the Satechi Bluetooth Media Button which works a lot better and doesn’t rely on scripts that can sometimes go wonky.

When it comes down to it, most of the features that I claimed made Android so much better than iOS, are features that I haven’t even been using. Does that make me a feature hypocrite? I some ways I think it does. I’m sorry.

Ok, so I’m not using all the features of my Android phone. Why do I feel the need to switch to iOS? It comes down to being bored, wanting a change and one big reason that is inherent to Android – slow OS updates. Waiting for OS updates to come to your Android phone is an exercise in patience. Unlike iOS updates which are available to everyone on the day Apple releases them, Android phone owners have to wait for their phone maker and carrier to test and release the update. This can take weeks or more likely months to happen. As someone who likes to always have the latest and greatest features and bug fixes, this can be really frustrating.

I was really close to using one of my upgrades on Verizon to get the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus at a discount, but with the 6s and 6s Plus due to be available in a few weeks, I’m waiting. I haven’t been this excited about a new phone in a long time, so if I don’t change my mind (I am female you know…), then I will probably be plunking down my hard earned cash for a new iPhone really soon.

What about you? Are you in the same situation as I am? Ready for a change and considering switching to an iPhone or to Android? Tell us all about it in the comments below.

51 thoughts on “Julie’s gadget diary – Why I am thinking about switching back to the iPhone”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
  2. I agree with your points on the widgets, internal memory, and, sadly, the slow OS updates. I too have an LG G3 and still love it.

    Apple hides their inner workings as much as Android mostly leaves the system open. That makes much of the difference in my use of a smartphone. With Android, there’s usually more than one way to “do” things at all levels of the OS.

    As much as having a benevolent overlord make the smartphone “just work”, I’d rather have the system be a bit messy to allow for me to be able to personalize my device.

    That, and using iTunes drives me crazy. My wife has an iPhone. No thanks for my use. I’m hoping for more innovation from the Alphabet soup formerly known as Google.

      1. I’d be LOST without Pandora. I HATE the FM radio stations (mostly rock that I listen to) that play THE SAME 15 SONGS OVER AND OVER. Then, the 3-4 I listen to, must have some stupid thing they do, where their commercials almost always overlap. Try flipping and you run into them all taking a commercial. If it wasn’t for Pandora, I don’t think I would even bother with a car stereo.

          1. I have Pandora pro on both my Android phone and iPad. Frankly, I find them both equally as good and feature-filled. Android used to lag until about 1 year ago, but they are now comparable, so you won’t lose anything if you switch to iOS Pandora.

  3. I enjoyed my Android phones (Samsung Moment and Note 3). I love Apple Music and Photo Stream, but iOS is kind of boring. I would love to be able to customize the home screen of my 6 Plus like I could on Android without jailbreaking.

  4. As you are The Lead Gadgeteer we give you permission to switch back and forth at will Julie. Assuming you can go with a GSM carrier so you can just switch around your SIM. Just not T-Mobile. 😉

  5. If you use a Mac, an iPhone is a no-brainer. Everything works well together. I switched from Verizon to T-Moile and I like their service. Free data while traveling around the world, 20 vents per minute out of the country, and makes calls over WiFi at home. I bought Apple’s unlocked version of the 6, which works with all 4 carriers unlocked. It’s the best way to go as long as phones are no longer subsidized.

  6. As a current user of both android with my OnePlus One, and a iphone5s- i can tell you that i’ve been sitting on the fence for years… I don’t think i can fully commit to either platform with both having slight advantage over the other. Same goes with Androidwear vs. iWatch. And you may have guessed, i own both a moto360 and Apple watch – neither of those with a strong enough advantages over thE other.
    I can tell you one thing Julie… IMO the lack of a back-button is a major reason i cannot give iPhone my 100% commitment !

    1. Hmmm, I forgot about the lack of the back button. I do use that quite a bit to navigate. It’s been so long that I can’t even remember if there’s an easy way to switch between open apps on the iPhone.

      1. To switch between open apps you double-click the home button and all the open apps are in a row.

        FYI, this also works if you are using a BT keyboard with a key set to ‘Home’–this saves you from having to touch the device.

  7. Faster updates and the newest features? Sounds like you need to switch to Nexus. I mean, of course get any phone that makes you happy, but I don’t think an iphone will do the trick. I did that about a year ago; I’m an Android user, but my workplace only supports ios for mobile, so I tried to make an ipad work. I expected some limited functionality from apple’s walled-garden model, but I was frankly shocked at how much just *didn’t* work. File management and sharing was a constant struggle without a file system. Media (since none of it was purchased from apple) was equally frustrating. It seemed like any new thing I wanted to do required the purchase of a $5+ app (thank goodness I didn’t have an iphone, or I’d have to buy each of them twice!). Apps that I’ve come to know and love across multiple other platforms, like OneNote and Lastpass were Nerffed to the point of near uselessness. But the kicker that made me finally put it in a drawer and forget about it was the frequent app crashes and device restarts, often causing data loss. If there was one thing I was expecting out of an apple device it was reliability!

    My girlfriend got a Galaxy S4 Active a couple years ago (after smashing 3 iphones in 2 years) and she talks about going back to ios every once in a while, but every time she picks one up she’s like ‘Wait, why can’t I do such-and-such?”, or “How do I do that with only one button?”. There’s a romance to living in the ‘apple experience’, but once you’ve tried a real mobile platform, it’s hard to unsee all of the barriers and limitations.

  8. You should try the upcoming Moto X. Moto keeps the phone relatively stock and pushes updates out pretty fast. I had the original and loved it, the OS update actually came out for the X before it did on the Nexus line (but that was when Google still owned Moto.

  9. First time commenter… Long time reader. I am a previous iPhone owner and current Android owner and to confuse my brain more I have an iPhone for work now. Simply put, the Android is much easier to use. App management, going back to a previous screen/app or running off a notification and then back to what you were doing is so much better on the Android. I currently have the Galaxy S5 and love it. In comparison to my other front pocket companion, the iPhone 5s, the only pro is the speaker phone which is far superior to the Galaxy (could be Samsung and not Android) , but honestly, I would prefer, wait for it, my old beat up blackberry for work than the iPhone. It did two things very well, phone calls and email (loved the keyboard) where the iPhone is a smart phone built to do way more so certain functions suffer, like a good keyboard and email app. I digress, back to topic, the Android seems to have add ons and tweaks not available on the iPhone. It is not choked out so you can customize it better. They both force bloat ware on you. If I have to do it again, I will stick with another Android, likely a Galaxy. Nothing against iPhones, I think the scale tips just slightly which is why it’s a hard choice for some who are now die hard Apple geeks. Thanks for a great blog Julie, love the site!

    1. There are features I like from all devices, even Windows phones. The problem is that no single phone is perfect (for me). That’s why I get bored and like to switch around every couple of years. It will be interesting to see if this next switch really happens and then if I do buy one, if the switch sticks. 🙂

  10. I have a samsung 5 my question is will my sim card work in the Iphone. The only cloud backup i have is Google and that is not reliable for backing up my datta. . What cloud backup do u use?

  11. Hi @Julie! I am in the same position of being able to upgrade my phone in the next month or so. I plan on paying full price for the phone so I can have it unlocked and ready to take a sim card for a future trip to Europe. That being said, I currently have a Note 3. I have loved the larger format of the phone. What I hate is all the extra crap that Samsung throws on the phone along with AT&T. I was really stoked about the new Note 5, but it is dawning on me that even though Samsung will have less crap on the phone, AT&T will still load it down with useless apps I never use. I know I can jail brake the phone, but it is then such a pain to keep it updated going forward.

    You made me think twice about going back to Apple with this article. Like you, the last iPhone I had was a 4s. I just got frustrated with the boring icons on the screen. I really like to have my weather widget and I use the heck out of my Audible widget. Nothing like being able to start and stop an audio book without having to open an app all the time. I am considering a Moto or Nexus device because like you, I want quicker updates and a clean OS. The only thing that I must also have though is a fingerprint unlock. Work makes my phone lock up every 5 min and having to type in a 6 digit pin over and over is a MAJOR drag. I really like the new Moto Pure coming out but unfortunately it does not have a fingerprint reader! AAAAAh what am I going to do? The Nexus devices are almost a half a year old and I really want a latest and greatest since I am paying full price. I may have to see more about the LG G4 Pro and if and when it is coming out.

  12. “When it comes down to it, most of the features that I claimed made Android so much better than iOS, are features that I haven’t even been using.”

    I think this is part of the genius of Apple. They are good (not perfect) at figuring out what will be used—or not—before they release a product or update. They don’t waste their time on features that they think have limited appeal. Even though they are sometimes wrong, they tend to be right much more often.

    1. It’s really hard to break the habit of thinking you need something that you really don’t need or use. But I’m currently in a simplification phase and am trying to be conscious of things like this.

  13. I have used both Android and iOS. As of today I’m using an iPhone 6, but I was using a Galaxy s5 and LGG3. I to find iTunes to be bloated but I hardly ever use it. I backup my phone to iCloud and use iTunes Match to sync all of my music to the cloud. I honestly can not remember the last time I plugged my phone into my Mac.

    Both OSes are mature and both work very well. For me it came down to the fact that my wife and kids all use the iPhone and family sharing made the choice easy for me. As Julie stated in her post, I don’t find myself customizing the screens as much as I used to. When Apple added quick reply for text messages to iOS8, I found that I no longer needed to jailbreak. I also like my calendar widget on my notification shade.

    Good luck Julie, I look forward to reading your experiences.


    1. You mentioned another reason why switching might be a good move for me. I have also thought about moving Jeanne to an iPhone too. Right now she’s using my old Samsung Note 2. Since Android phones don’t all have the same interface, it’s been a challenge to help her when she calls me to say that something isn’t working right. I’ll tell her to go into the settings and change something but when I describe what to do, it’s not the same on her phone. It would be nice if we both had the same device.

  14. Julie, I am totally in the same boat. I’ve actually loved my Note 4 thus far, and was considering upgrading to a 5, but I heard they were nixing expandable storage and replaceable batteries. If it comes down to just OS, I think I might just switch back to iOS. I’m already heavily invested in both ecosystems so the transition wont be too rough, but like you, I’m starting to get bored. And I miss being able to use an assistant from the lock screen, something that has annoyed me about google now, that I know can be done with Siri. I will likely flip flop again next year. Sigh.

  15. Stay right there Julie, don’t move, and do anything rash. We will send someone out there who can talk you down from this, everything will be OK I promise. We all make mistakes and slip now and then, the important thing is to realize the mistake and start again… one day at a time. If need be I’ll be your sponsor through this rough time.

    🙂 Actually as someone who now has to have an iPhone 6 on my right hip and a Note 4 on my left hip (work mandated iPhone) I can see the pros and cons of both. Unfortunately my work only allows iPhones (with Mobile iron) to touch our networks so I’ve come to use the iPhone much more when either inside our buildings or accessing it remotely. I still can’t give up my Android, I have too many apps I need that do not have iPhone equivalents (either performance/features or priced).

    Years ago I was a major pusher of Open Source software and Anti-apple/Anti-Microsoft. I went out of my way to avoid buying software, or using “mainstream” software/hardware. However I’m getting old…er and wiser (often debated) and am now more in the mind set of using the tools that WORK best for ME. Sometimes it’s opensource sometimes I buy it. Sometimes it’s Linux, often times its windows. You use what makes your life and job easiest, fastest, and most efficient.

    Examples. I use Zabbix (open source) Monitoring to monitor thousand of servers and processes, Not because it’s open source but because I feel it’s the best product/option out there for my needs

    I looked into dozens of free/open source Active directory management/auditing tools but none performed as I needed, However I found a closed source product from managed engine called AD-Audit. It’s expensive about $3,000 a year for us. However I gladly pay it because it cuts down hundreds of man hours of work for me every year.

    I’m a huge fan of 3D printing, there are a ton of open source projects out there to slice and prepare models for printing. I’ve used and tried them ALL. However I ended up purchasing Simplify3D (after the company agreed to refund me within 2 weeks if I didn’t like it) because it made my life simpler. It didn’t do ANYTHING I couldn’t do with the free open source products. I could slice and manipulate the same, my print quality was exactly the same, the end result was identical. Except Simplify3D did in 2 minutes what took me 30 minutes per print with the other software. This ended up being the “right” tool for the job.

    So in closing, amidst my ramblings use what works for you, use what makes you happy, use what makes your life/work/fun faster, easier and most efficient, to hell what others think, you have only to make your life better, not anybody elses.

    1. It’s a first world problem worrying about which smartphone to use, isn’t it? 🙂 It’s amazing how vocal some people can be when you decide to change mobile devices. I know I’ll change back and forth. I always have. It’s what keeps me interested in devices and makes me try to bend them to my will. But after successfully bending my Android phones to my will, I have figured out that all the bending isn’t that important to me anymore. At least not this week it isn’t 😉 Ask me again next week and the answer will probably be different.

  16. Julie, I always hoped you’d come back to iPhone, because you were one of the main reviewers who led me to switch from Palm. The company I work for develops for iOS and Android, and I’ve always believed that there’s no “best” OS on phones or PCs. Go for the one you feel best about, I’ve always said. Yet still somehow I was let down when you went off to explore Android. Silly, I know. So anyway, welcome back. Enjoy iOS while it’s right for you, and thanks for keeping the site so accessible and down to Earth all these years!

  17. exactly my story. You read my mind, but then again you are Julie The Grand Master Gatdgeteer.

    The Android features were fun, like a game. But did not use them much. But they had to appear on my decision list.

    When my Nexus 3 Cyanogenmod blew up, I borrowed my wife’s old IPhone 4. It worked. No fuss, no bother, no fanfare.

    The killer points? The speed of updates from Apple. Always the latest so long as the hardware was not old old. Secondly, one particilar app that looked better on the iPad mini and iPhone.

    The intro of a 4.7 inch screen. At last.

    Thanks Jule for a down to earth article and website.

    1. Here’s another story that drives home the fact that I would like to see if simplicity is better…
      I still have some Tasker scripts that run on my LG G3. Basically when I get in the car and stick my key fob in the slot, my phone sees that I’m connected to my car’s Bluetooth and it pops up a special menu with large buttons to launch Pandora, Spotify and buttons to call home, and my spouse. The script also keeps the screen turned on if I’m using Pandora or Spotify. And last but not least, I use scripts to remap the << button on the Satechi Media button to be a thumbs up in Pandora. So nothing to crazy right? 😉 for the past few months, whenever I'd get to work, I'd pause the music (Pandora or Spotify) before getting out of my car to walk into the building. For some weird reason, the stock Music app would start up on its own and start playing. So recently, I rooted my phone so that I could freeze (disable that app) so it wouldn't happen any longer. But then instead of Music, the Google Music app would popup. So I froze that one too. Today when I was driving back from lunch, I started playing Pandora, but for some strange reason Spotify launched too and both apps were playing music at the same time. The only way to fix it was to restart the phone. When I got back to my desk, I disabled Tasker because I'm tired of dorking around with scripts that seem to flake out for no reason. 🙂

      1. For the record, I have this same problem with my phone and bluetooth. Every time I get into the vehicle it auto played the last audio app I used. Be it Audible, Pandora, Spotify, Google Music, etc. I battled this for months, I never had a problem in my Chevy. After many weeks of google foo, I found that the problem was with the Vehicle itself. The vehicle actually sends the play command AFTER it connects. Turns out in my Chevy that was a feature you could enable, but in my Honda it’s not user configurable, thats just how it works. I also tried this on my iphone, and the behavior is the same. The work around I have is to keep my Pebble watch selected as the Media control for my phone. When the car and phone pair, it pairs media, and phone, but not media control. I have to control my music with my watch while driving but that is not a big deal. I’ve written to Honda compaining, never heard back. The Dealer told me to check back every few months to see if they received any firmware updatges for the entertainment center.

        1. Hmmmmm, my car doesn’t play media. The Bluetooth connection can only be used for calling. BUT, I have a Bluetooth audio transmitter that is connected to my Aux-In jack in the car. Now that I think about it, I think this all started when I switched to a new transmitter that I could plug directly into the car’s USB port instead of the 12v power socket.I don’t think there is anyway I can change that behavior without switching back to the other transmitter. Unless there’s a way to do it on my phone via the Bluetooth settings for that device. Thanks for the clue though!

  18. I still love my HTC One M8 android phone. Still prefer an actual “file system” that android provides over iOS. Love the ease of dragging and dropping files that I need into android without the whole mess of “syncing with itunes”.
    As for me, I’ll be keeping android phones but I’ve gotten the new iPod Touch 6th Generation for the occasional iOS cravings.

    1. I forgot about that. Trying to get audio books (not purchased from itunes) to play right, and not screw up your playlists or artists. I remember having to jump through hoops to get it to play the chapters in the right order, editing id3 tags, importing into itunes, etc. I got so frustrated I ended up buying a cheap $20 MP3 player for the car just for audio books. I have not even thought about that in many years. Now I just drop the audio book rip (legal from library) into my audio books folder, select that folder in my audio book player, and press play.

  19. Well I went ahead and pre-ordered the new Note 5. I was pretty excited about the rapid wireless charging AND the ability to drag and drop files from the PC or Mac to the phone. That should come in very handy for me I think. I also LOVE how you can just write a note on the locked screen. I ordered from Best Buy since they were throwing in a free wireless charger.

    @Andrew Baker – question for you on audio books. I am a big fan of Audible and I listen to audio books most of the time instead of music. Audible does an excellent job of remembering where I am in the book even through a phone reboot. That being said I also remember the nightmare that was iTunes when it came to listening to them. It would often lose the position I was at in a book. When you download the file from the library and play, does it remember where you stopped or do you have to physically bookmark it? I am asking because I remember if I had to restart my device or kill the player it lost the position of where I was at and you know it is a nightmare to find your place again in an audio book. Does anyone else have experience playing audio books in any kind of player in Android besides Audible?

    1. I agree I am very impressed with Audible. Not only does it perfectly remember my position, but it syncs it with the audible web player on my desktop. I can listen on way to work. Stop it get into my office and hit play on desktop app resuming where I left off in the car. Then reverse the process when I head home. I had this screw up only ONCE, and that was when I did a restore to previous day on my phone. Audible freaked out. However that is not a normal situation so I can’t blame them.

      As for regular library, (at the time a few years ago) the built in google audio player was awful. It lost my place, started over, skipped tracks, etc. HOWEVER I found an awesome no frills audio player. I think it was $2-3, well worth it. It was designed for playing Audio Books. Not music, or albums, just audio books. It does a great job. You don’t have to create bookmarks it will remember where you left off between listening sessions and reboots .


      There is a free version with ads, but I found it so useful I splurged the few bucks and supported the author. I will warn you tho, It’s NO-FRILLS. Don’t expect a program with a million options, You get play/pause fast forward rewind, bookmark, chaptor select, and it’s not going to win any awards for beauty. But it Works PERFECT and has remained one of my top 5 apps to get moved from phone to phone.

      1. I looked up my google purchase history, I payed $4.81 early 2011, so a little bit more then I originally thought, however I’m still using it today (literally TODAY) but I would do it again, heck I probably would pay more based on how much I’ve used it.

  20. I have ipads and ipod touches, but just moved from a Windows Phone to a Nexus 6.

    The one things that really sold me on android, besides being able to do things my way (think different), was putting on the Action 3 launcher….I love it.

    While you can use widgets, Action 3 lets you create shutters of apps…so you drag up on your app icon and it displays the widget…keeps down clutter.

    If I drag from far left of screen I bring up (wait for it) an alphabetical list of all of my apps.

    Truly, this to me is the main reason I don’t like IOS…finding apps is impossibly, and organizing them is ridiculous…my wifes iPhone 6 screens are a nightmare!
    So, while stock Android can be boring (though not as boring at IOS) adding a new launcher is very easy, and really changes the look and feel.

    And best of all, my Nexus 6 has a bigger screen than the apple 6+


    Seriously, putting on a different launcher is awesome!

  21. Uhhgggg this is why Apple drives me up a wall and keeps giving me reasons to stay away. I upgraded my iPhone 6 to iOS 8.4.1 last Friday. Since the upgrade every single one of my Belkin chargers refuse to work. Two desktop docks, a travel charger and car charger. I get the lovely “This accessory may not be supported please go to Apple and pay them ~$180 in docs, cables and chargers”

    Irritating. Apples response (from Apple store in Fresno California), “We can’t help you, you should have purchased your accessories directly from us, I can sell you new chargers now if you want”

    Yeah thanks allot, I now have 4 worthless chargers/cables that worked perfectly a few days ago.


  22. I use to have an iPhone 4S, but it got turned into a “brick” by Apple by one of their software updates – iOS 7 if I recall – which essentially sucked its battery dry in a few hours. From what I gathered talking to others, Apple does this every now and then to force users to upgrade to new phones. I was willing to pay a premium for a phone, but only to a vendor that considered it worthwhile to look after its users i.e. not release software updates that would kill battery life. Plus iTunes is cr*p that should have been cleaned up long ago and they shield stop messing with it, as it invariably breaks. I get cheap Android phones now and don’t live under any illusions. I also don’t do major OS upgrades. The reality with any phone is that they are not tested for new OS versions and you run the risk of your phone being bricked. I’d go back to Apple and pay more, but they’d have to seriously commit to quality before I’d do that. Thanks

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *