Apple released their first Android app last week. Named Move to iOS, it’s meant to make switching from Google’s Android operating system (OS) to Apple’s iOS a smoother transition. If you don’t mind ignoring Mihir’s advice about sticking to one mobile ecosystem, it’s easier than ever to leave Android behind with the help of this app.
Predictably, Android fans with no intention of switching are leaving 1-star reviews on the Google Play Store. Why do people spend time doing this? I’ve attempted to dive in and see what motivated people to trash this app.
The App Itself
For completion’s sake, let’s take a quick look at what the app actually does. It’s fairly barebones, looking more like an iOS app than one following Android’s Material Design guidelines. Simply run the app on your Android device when setting up a new iPhone (it won’t work if you’ve already run through iOS initialization), ensure a code matches on both devices, and choose what data to transfer.
What’s interesting, though, is that apparently Apple didn’t even create Move to iOS themselves. It’s an almost-exact copy of the app Copy My Data, with the original design elements swapped out for Apple’s graphics and their licensing agreement added. When examining the code, tons of references to Copy My Data and developer Media Mushroom are present, so it’s likely that Apple had some agreement with the developers of the original app.
I wasn’t actually switching to an iPhone when testing the app out, so I can’t comment on how well it works, but to be fair neither did most of the early review writers. Here’s what they had to say.
Here Come the Trolls
Move to iOS launched on September 16 to coincide with the launch of iOS 9. In the few days since, it’s earned a 1.7 out of 5 star review average, with over 22,000 users giving it a single star at the time of writing. You can imagine the kinds of things the Android faithful have to say about Apple’s first foray into their platform:
Reading just a few of these reviews sets off all the signals of the kinds of online reviews to ignore; most people aren’t reviewing this app to let you know if you should download it or how functional it is, but rather just exercising their irrelevant Apple hate. It’s not constructive criticism, but just someone letting anyone who would look at this app how much they love Android and, therefore, despise iOS.
Though it may be satisfying for some to bash this app, it’s pretty pointless. Apple will have links to this app and instructions for using it on their website and when setting up a new iOS device, so the people who really need the app will be able to find it.
The only possible benefit from flaming the reviews is moving the app down in the search results so people casually browsing the Play Store won’t come across it. Right now, searching for “Move to iOS” in the Store doesn’t even bring the app up in the first dozen results, even though the search is an exact match. This is likely due to its low rating, but could also be because it’s a new app. Regardless, it just shows off more problems with Google Play ratings.
One user decided to go even further and created his own app, Stick with Android, that allows you to “keep your content . . . on your Android device” with “just one step”. It does nothing, of course, but it’s garnered a 4.9/5 star review average in just a few days. The reviews on this one are just as cheesy, showing more fanboy behavior:
We Ask the Reviewers
In an attempt to figure out why people take the time to download Move to iOS just so they can write a negative reivew, I reached out to a few folks through the Play Store and asked. Here are their reviews, and what they had to say when I chatted with them.
First I bleed green, I’m an Android Fanboy through and through. I know that Apple has a policy that states that a developer cannot mention a competing mobile platform and yet they release a “Move to iOS” app on Android in the Google Play Store. So to me they are trolling Google by doing this while knowing that they would not accept a “Move to Android” app in the iOS store.
I thought it was my duty as an Android developer, lover and fan to contribute my “review” and 1 star rating.
And for the record, no zombies actually ate my brain nor did I try to plug in any micro-USB cable to an iOS device, obviously those comments were in jest.
Josh Moorcroft-Jones (coincidentally, a reader of MakeUseOf!)
I was once a user of iOS actually and was intrigued by this app when Apple launched it, so I downloaded it to have a play around, obviously with no intention of moving to iOS!
It then just started to annoy me more and more that Apple had released this app and decided to leave a negative review like everyone else.
Google have released many great apps on iOS and Apple had the cheek to do this!
Haha. I read a news article on it being dissed by Google fan boys so with a spare 5 minutes on the train decided to join the party.
So, one reviewer felt obligated as a fan of Android to downvote the app, another gave the app an honest try and felt like it was in bad taste, and a third actually heard about the mass of bad reviews before he decided to chip in with his own. Three different Android users with three different stories, each giving a glimpse into this phenomenon.
Not every person who left a bad review falls into one of these three categories, but it surely explains a fair number of them. People are loyal to their favorite operating system, and Android fans viewed this as an attack on their platform; maybe it is as simple as that.
"Move to iOS" let's you move to a platform that wouldn't even allow sth like "Move to Android", but is possible only b/c Android is open.
— Manuel Kiessling (@manuelkiessling) September 9, 2015
What About the Reverse?
We’ve established that the animosity towards this app isn’t accomplishing much. However, it’s interesting to note the contrast between the two platforms here. While this is Apple’s only Android app and it doesn’t conform to their design guidelines, Google has plenty of apps on iOS, and they’re great. Google doesn’t try to force Material Design into their iOS apps, generally complimenting the rest of the iOS aesthetic.
Having all these apps makes the switch from either platform easier, because your mail, contacts, and other content are backed up to your Google account.
Apple, on the other hand, bans mention of any other mobile operating system in their App Store Guidelines Section 3.1. So a similar “Move to Android” app would, in theory, never be allowed on the App Store. iOS is certainly a more protected ecosystem, but would Apple be willing to allow its users to have an easy way to jump ship like they’re pushing on Google here? Try copying the code from Copy My Data, publishing it as a new iOS app, and find out for yourself; it’s already available on iOS.
So now we’ve taken a look at the app itself, how people reacted to it, why they did, and why it’s a bit hypocritical of Apple to produce it. This is just another form of proof that time and again people will defend what they use and bash all else, time and again – just look at the comments on our final Windows Phone article. Would iOS users have done the same thing if this situation were reversed? Perhaps we’ll never know.
Are Android fans being ridiculous, or was Apple acting in poor taste? Do you think there’s more to this story? Weigh in with your thoughts below; I want to keep this discussion going!
Image Credits:network by 3dkombinat via Shutterstock