Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
Have you ever thought that there might be a reason Android users brag about their customizability? Sure, as an iPhone user, you can add and configure apps, change your wallpaper, and otherwise make yourself feel at home. But at the end of the day, you’ve only changed a few small details. If you happen to have jailbreaked your iPhone to run Cydia and are enjoying some of the best Cydia tweaks, you can do more. But users with stock iOS are able to do much less. Don’t believe me? Check out these different things that Android users can do but iOS users cannot.
From changing your keyboard to using a live wallpaper to putting an entirely new face on your phone (in the form of a launcher), Android lets you customize your phones in remarkably flexible ways.
If you don’t like the keyboard on your iPhone, tough luck. Without jailbreaking the device, there’s no way to get a different keyboard app on your iPhone. On the contrary, Android is built to allow users to choose between different installed keyboards, from the very capable default keyboard to Swype to SwiftKey. This not only allows for different looking keyboards, but also different typing mechanisms (tapping versus swiping) and prediction algorithms for those fast typers with low accuracy. I’m not saying that the iPhone’s keyboard is bad, but I highly doubt that every iPhone user likes it and those picky users will just have to endure.
Home Screen Mechanics
The iPhone’s home screen is one of the most iconic features of the iOS platform — big icons in a 4×4 grid (or 4×5 grid with the iPhone 5) and four buttons along the bottom bar for commonly accessed apps. Besides changing the wallpaper and rearranging the order of the icons, there’s nothing that the iPhone user can do to change how it looks. For example, a mechanic that annoy me would be the fact that I cannot move an icon from the very top of the screen to the very bottom — all icons fill in row by row. At least iPhone users can move their icons onto a new page.
Android launchers also have another cool feature that is entirely lacking in iOS — widgets. These nifty tools can be placed anywhere in your home screens and offer quick access to the related app’s functionality. For example, the Wunderlist widget will display your to-do list, the New York Times widget can be configured to show the latest news, and weather widgets can show the forecast for your location. Widgets can usually be resized, too.
I absolutely love the default Android launcher, but others may want to use other alternatives. With Android, you can install additional launchers and choose which one you’d like to use. Each launcher can offer different functionality, such as themes and the ability to add more pages to your home screen. With iOS, this is also completely impossible as Apple wants everyone using the same launcher.
Android includes some creative features with wallpapers to give your phone a nice touch with small details. Whenever you set a new image as your wallpaper, you can choose how you’d like to resize it, as well as determine whether the image should be “scrollable” or not. When set to scrollable, the wallpaper moves left and right as you switch between different pages in your home screen. Otherwise, the wallpaper would remain completely still as you switch between pages in your home screen. Additionally, Android also offers the use of live, animated wallpapers. These cool wallpapers are similar to Windows Vista’s DreamScene wallpapers; however, are more appropriate on a smartphone as they usually include smooth animations and other computer-generated objects, and not a real-life video. Some live wallpapers animate on their own, while others react to the user’s touch. They can be pretty fun to mess around with, and with (usually) minimal battery impact.
Android vs iPhone – Conclusion
Believe me now? Android users can change some significant stuff to their phones, without having to resort to rooting or installing custom ROMs. I’m sure this list isn’t entirely inclusive of all things Android users can do that iPhone users cannot, but it gives you a good idea of how you can do more with Android.
What’s your favorite feature of your Android or iOS device? What do you wish it could have that the competitor has? Let us know in the comments!
Image Credits: Ricky Romero