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Why switching from iPhone to Google Pixel isn’t worth it



Google Pixel 3Hollis Johnson/Business

  • Apple’s iPhone
    has dominated the smartphone market of late, holding the
    highest smartphone revenue in the first half of 2018, according
    Strategy Analytics
  • iPhones run Apple’s iOS software, which some tech

    find to be a more secure operating system than
    Google Pixel’s Android software.
  • But Android tends to beat iOS on customization, app
    selection, and cloud integration, according to
  • After 5 years with an iPhone, I
    decided to put Android to the test and buy the Google Pixel. A
    year later, I wish I hadn’t switched.


Every time my brother downloaded
a new song or app, it would appear on my iPhone. And every time
we got an iOS update, I would start to receive his text messages.
We tried everything, but the glitch wouldn’t go away.

At the same time, I had been
hearing praise for the Google Pixel’s professional-grade camera.

tech reviewers

also praised Android’s superiority over iOS for qualities like
customization, cloud services, and app selection.

Sure, the

iPhone X

had been the most popular smartphone in the
world in the first quarter of 2018, but popular didn’t
necessarily mean better, right?

So after five years with an
iPhone, I decided to give the Google Pixel a go.

User experience

If you choose not to customize
your Pixel, you’ll notice it has a nearly identical user
experience (UX) as the iPhone. Both smartphones sport a grid
layout with rounded icons in bright colors. Getting used to the
new system took no longer than getting used to the dashboard and
brakes of a new car.

Where the Pixel in particular and
Androids in general excel is in their vast capacity for

Android’s software is built

an open-source

, which gives
developer the ability to create apps that can do more. The
potential for customization is basically limitless.

In theory, this is awesome. Tired
of tapping calculator when you meant to open clock? Download a
new family of icons. Play around with the widgets so they’re
always where you want them. Explore hundreds of themes on Google
Play. If you’re feeling cheeky, you could even give your Pixel an
Apple interface.

Read more:

I’ve used Apple computers my entire life. Here’s why I’m never
buying one again.

In reality, however, the only
thing I’ve bothered to change is my wallpaper. Turns out

just because you can
download a third-party app to customize your phone doesn’t mean
you want to. Storage is limited and not all third-party apps are
trustworthy. And to be honest, many themes, such as

3D Ice Wolf


Pink Paris

, look gaudy and bring back bad MySpace

Privacy and security

Google Pixel 3Hollis Johnson/Business

While I never got a virus scare
with iOS, using Android reminds me of surfing the web in the
early 2000s. I’ve frequently had to exit out of apps like a
maniac as pop-ups flooded my screen.

More than 80% of hackers target
Android users, while less than 4% target iOS users,

as reported in Nokia’s Mobile
Threat Intelligence Report

. Compared to iOS, Android’s open source
platform is reportedly

easier to


Security and privacy go hand in
hand, especially when you consider how much sensitive data we
make available on your phone, sometimes unintentionally.

If I had fully understood
Google’s approach to protecting user privacy, I probably would
have never switched.

This hit home for me earlier this
year when an Ars Technica


revealed Facebook had been collecting SMS
data and call history from users through its Messenger app.
Though users technically opt in, the specifics of what Facebook
was allowed to collect was hidden in the fine print. This breach
of privacy only impacted Android users.

Apple distances itself from user
information through its “


” policy.
According to the policy, the company can add “statistical noise”
to any data it collects so personal information can’t be traced
back to the individual user.

Read more:

7 things you can hire a hacker to do and how much it will
(generally) cost

Google also uses a form of

differential privacy

, but with

a “heavy-duty”

to data
collection that has drawn criticism in op-eds like this
Fortune column
from University of Pennsylvania communications
professor Joseph Turow.

Though Google


this data collection improves the Pixel’s
user experience, I’ve found the personalized suggestions and
reminders more creepy than helpful.


If you switch to the Google
Pixel, expect to lose some of the amenities that come standard on
most phones.

What I missed most was the
ability to copy and paste from a text message. Google recently
resolved this issue, but at the time it was a huge pain,
especially when people sent addresses. You really get used to the
ability to simply click an address and have it come up in your
maps app.

I also missed being able to set
my music to a sleep timer without having to install a new app.
Even my

Samsung Juke

had that feature, and it was as
wide as my thumb. 

Hypothetically, you could find
many of these functionalities on the

Google Play

store. But the effort of finding
something and vetting its quality never seems worth it.

Ultimately, I wish I hadn’t
switched. I’m not a coder. I’m not a big gamer. I’m not even that
inclined to change my font or background. For this reason, the
freedom to customize simply doesn’t outweigh the issues I’ve
outlined. While the experience hasn’t been bad enough to get me
rummaging around for my old Juke, I definitely won’t go for a
Pixel the next time I’m in the market for a phone.

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