Why people switch phone platforms – the continuing saga

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NEWS – The Gadgeteer readership (and editors!) have a healthy mix of folks who prefer Android devices and those who prefer iOS/iPadOS. Individuals in each group may have reasons they prefer the platform they are on, but why do folks switch from one to the other? The researchers at the Consumer Intelligence Research Partners found four major reasons for switching from Android to iOS, of those who said more than just “I want something new:”

  • Prior phone problems
  • New phone features
  • Cost
  • Community connecting

So, it’s not just about those pesky green bubbles after all. The full article is behind the CIRP paywall, but the summary linked above is interesting enough. I’d be interested in seeing why folks leave iOS for Android. Any former iOS folks want to share their reasons in the comments? (Remember: Neither system is “The One True OS™”. We are all friends here, so keep it civil!)

For those wanting an in-depth comparison, Tom’s Guide has a great article looking at things from both sides. (The header photo for this article is from that site as well.)

12 thoughts on “Why people switch phone platforms – the continuing saga”

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  2. I switched from android to apple recently despite the fact that I like android more. The problem for me was my employer. While they “support” android, their software choice for a secure email system was so clunky that using it was infuriating after a while. The default apple email system, by contrast, was deemed sufficiently secure without modifiaction. After a few months of bumbling aroud with the android mail method, I gave up.

  3. I started out with Palm OS phones, then I switched to the iPhone for a couple of years, then Android for several years, and as of 2020 I’m back to the iPhone. My reasons for switching were always new features or cool new hardware. But now I find that I feel “stuck” with the iPhone because I also have a MacBook, Apple Watch, and iPad and my main family members also have the iPhone. We use Find My to track (stalk) each other. 😉 It’s tough to ditch the iPhone at this point to switch back to Android.

  4. I’m an Android user mainly due to the variety of manufacturers and devices on the market and the potential of lower prices vs. Apple. I think the competition between the two platforms makes for better products from both platforms. Anyone switching to iOS ‘for something new’ will be stuck with one single manufacturer, so the next new thing will be the latest model at a very pricy price. Yet Apple’s security is tops. I see both sides. Viva la difference !

  5. I’ve been using iPhones since the 3G. Prior to that, I used various PDAs as my general pocket devices (which is also how I came to start following this site!). I’ve tried a few times to dip my toes into the Android market (with a Samsung Galaxy tablet of some flavor I can’t remember many years ago, and more recently a Microsoft Surface Duo that I still have and use for some miscellaneous stuff, but they have never stuck with me for my “main device”. I view my smartphone mainly as an appliance for communication and basic web stuff, and for entertainment only in a dire emergency (if I’m going to be viewing or reading media, or playing a game, I’d rather be doing it in almost *any* other form factor than a phone or tablet) — I’m quite busy with many other things, and I enjoy having it mostly work out of the box with minimal tweaking on my part. I also am part of the Apple ecosystem, with an Apple Watch, Apple TV — I still mainly use Windows or Linux for my desktop PCs/laptops though. I spend enough time installing/uninstalling/compiling/tweaking stuff on my PCs that when I’m away from those screens, I want something that “just works” and needs as little care and feeding on my part as possible. Most of my experiences with Android devices, so far, has been marked by poor build quality, software bloat, and requiring too much effort to configure.

    If I had more time, or were more interested in these devices as a hobby, I could certainly see the appeal of the Android ecosystem.

  6. It’s way past time when these 2 systems should play nice together. There’s no excuse for walling us off from each other.

    1. Serious question, not being snarky: In what way do they “not play nice?” Other than sending MMS attachments, I’ve not really found anything that I can’t do with Android friends that I can do with iOS friends. Sure, I can’t sideload apps, but I don’t really want to. (There are too many fraudsters out there that I don’t want to try and police. And my 97-year-old mom hits every wacky link she is sent, so I’m glad I don’t have to spend hours on the phone with her three states away trying to figure out where she sent her credentials.)

      But otherwise, where are these two systems not compatible? They’re just different, in my judgment.

  7. As the “tech guy” in my extended family, I usually get stuck setting up phones/tablets and troubleshooting them when there are problems. Early on, my family was mostly Android for no other reason than cost of hardware. It was OK, but soon I had a family that had Android phones from all sorts of different manufacturers. All handled things differently. All seemed to run different versions of Android. When there was an Android update, it was completely hit or miss on if a particular unit would accept the update or was locked in to only the current version. And they all rolled out updates differently. Google phones would roll out immediately. Samsung a couple months later. LG never it seemed. I’ll assume it’s better now, but back them it all drove me crazy. I finally made the switch over to iPhone with the 6. Work made the switch at the same time. Once I got a feel for that, I slowly moved the family over and we’ve never looked back. It was SO much easier to manage. Now everyone has iPhones, iPads, Apple TVs, Macs, etc. Life is good. Except for my blacksheep sister who still lives in the land of the green bubble for no other reason than she gets “free” phones. We don’t talk about her.

    1. “We don’t talk about her”… That made me laugh out loud! I completely agree about the OS updates and needing to do tech support for family members. When my better half had a different phone from me, it was always tough to try to help her over the phone find some feature. Now it’s easy because we have the same phone/OS version. I still miss some aspects of Android like the customization options (icon placement), but in the grand scheme of things, that’s a very small thing.

  8. jeff goodstein

    I work in IT
    I was always an Android guy and the best phone ever was the Note 4! It had so many cool features – IR blaster (so much fun with that!!), removable battery, a docking station… Then Samsung wanted to be Apple and took away so many features in the Note 5 that I did not buy it. I went to LG who had many of those features I wanted still available. And I was vindictively happy when the note 7 crashed and burned. But then LG did same – took away all the cool stuff.
    Google hardware always sucked in my opinion, so I was buying Motorola for a while. But their mid-range phone was too slow for me and I wanted to switch.
    When the iPhone SE 2020 came out, I asked my work for it (we were all working from home then) so I could support users with iPhones since I couldn’t just pick up their phone and show them.
    This was a great Apple starter phone and I learned to appreciate iOS on a phone (I always used iPads).
    It was so good that I then got the 13 Pro Max from work, and I loved it too, but like Apple stuff it became boring and restrictive…. Why can’t I use the Apple Pencil with my phone? Why can’t I easily plug in an external monitor?
    So I started paying attention to Samsung’s Dex…. What? I can use my phone with a big monitor and the OS will change to a more desktop-like environment? I could connect any USBC docking station and make it a mini laptop? You get a a free stylus when you buy their S series of tablet? I tried Dex with the Tab S8 and it can take the place of a laptop in lots of cases.

    So, I requested the Galaxy S23 Ultra and love it!! It has a built-in stylus, 100X zoom camera, and with the right docking station I can sit at anyone’s desk and use their monitor, keyboard and mouse with my phone and then reconnect them when I leave.

    Do I care if I’m another color in a text conversation? hell no! Ignore what I am saying at your own peril, I always read what you have to say. Apple can easily fix this nonsense but they are Assholes and won’t. Just another little thing to keep you trapped in their padded jail.

    The amount of customization you can do with a Samsung phone and their special apps is amazing, battery life is great, and the battery saver trick (set the phone to only charge to 85 percent) means the battery will last a lot longer thru the years. I don’t like the curved screen though, its needless and harder to protect.

    I will request the cheapest iPhone 15 when it comes out so I can finally get rid of all those stupid lighting cables I have, but I don’t think I will use that phone as my regular phone.
    Maybe I will change my mind if their folding phone is somehow better than the Fold 5 or 6.
    But for now I am android/Samsung guy and can’t wait for the Galaxy Watch 6 Pro to be released.

    If you have read all this, thank you! and I hope it was informative.

    1. Jeff, reading what you say about DEX really resonates with me because I’ve always had a one-device-to-rule-them-all dream. One device that could work as my laptop, tablet (I’d need the Fold for that), and phone. GAH!!!! Why did you have to type that? Now I’m thinking about Android again dang it! 😉 I always want what I don’t already have 😉 ha!!! And like you, I think the whole blue vs green bubble is stupid and I could care less.

      1. That’s why I request to review an Android device every few years. I need to make sure there’s nothing out there that I’m truly missing out on. I’ve lusted after pencil support on my iPhone since the 6s Plus. I’d even settle for trackpad support like we have for iPadOS! I’m working on a review for a keyboard/trackpad multi-device unit that makes me want it even more!

    2. I loved my Note 4, too. I bought the original Note, then Note 2. I skipped the Note 3 for some reason but got the Note 4 as soon as it came out. I wore out that original Note 4 and bought a used one in pretty good shape and used that for another couple years. I am always using the stylus. Currently using a Note 10.

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