An Android Enthusiast’s Honest Opinion of iOS 12

Being an Android (stock Android) lover, I own a Google Nexus 6 and have been using it for the past three years. Even though I really like this phone, it isn’t without its faults and the lack of support for recording at more than 30 FPS (read: no slow-mo) is the one that I find the most annoying.

I have been in the market for a good, reasonably-priced phone for a while now. However, recently, I had to go on a trip to Azad Kashmir with a group of friends, and being a photography enthusiast, I needed a phone with a decent camera and support for slow-motion videography (must!). I faced a dilemma, either make a hasty decision and grab whichever stock Android phone with a good camera that fit my budget, or just go with my current phone and make crappy videos.

I went with the third option, by borrowing my father’s iPhone 7 for a while. Even though I knew I would miss Android and Google’s amazing HDR-option in the stock Android camera app, I hoped the iPhone’s camera alone would make up for it. This made it my first experience ever living with an iOS device.

Last week, Apple finally released the iOS 12 update for iOS devices and I downloaded it on my iPhone 7 as soon as I got it. Having spent a whole week living with it and testing it out, here is what I think of iOS, the pros, the cons, and every other thing that I liked or disliked.

Disclaimer: This is not a formal review of iOS 12. It is merely an opinion of iOS’s latest version and what an Android user thinks of it, with all its pros and cons.

There are many things that I have come to love about iOS, like its fluidity and back gesture (swiping in from the left), but there are also many things that I find annoying about iOS, from the mediocre notification system to the lack of a proper file explorer.

First, I’ll start off with my annoyances with Apple’s mobile operating system in general, as well as with this specific version of iOS,

Things I hate about iOS 12

Notifications are still not good enough

Apple may call itself an innovator and not an imitator, but in some areas, it could really use some inspiration from others. The notifications on iOS have been a complete mess! For example, if someone messaged me 10 times on WhatsApp, I would get 10 different notifications. Factor in multiple people sending you multiple messages and you wouldn’t even bother opening the notification tray.

For longtime iOS users, this might not seem like such a big problem as they might have gotten used to it now. However, if you have used Android for even a short while, you would be hard put to make sense of iOS’ notification hell. Before the iOS 12 update, I wouldn’t even bother glancing at the notification tray if I had more than a couple of notifications. I just used the number indicator beside each app’s icon to see the number of notifications it had and I don’t know what I would have done without it.

With iOS 12, Apple finally introduced grouped notifications, allowing each app to group notifications together if they had multiple notifications. Even though it is still no way close to how Android handles notifications, which allows you to interact with individual notifications without even opening the app, it is still a big step up for iOS.

Even though my Nexus didn’t get an update after Android 7.0 (Nougat), released over two years ago in 2016, it still has a better notification experience than iOS 12. Here is a glimpse of what notifications looked like in Nougat,

ios 12 notifications

(Image:phoneia)

It neatly groups each message into individual chat groups. Moreover, I can glance at the top of the notification to see that I have ‘6 messages from 2 chats’. Now compare that with iOS 12, which only gathers all the notification from an app into a bunch. (Remember Android did this right 2 years ago!)

ios 12 screen notifications

(Image: ZDNET)

Lack of a Proper File Explorer

I know Apple prefers to keep a tight grip on iOS and maybe this is how it ensures that third-party developers don’t tinker too much, but coming from an open source world where I could run a Linux terminal emulator to run C, Java or Python code on my phone, I am still not prepared for this.

I know this is not what most people look in a phone but for me, this is an absolute necessity. Recently, I had to transfer all my photos and videos from the iPhone to my computer (Windows) and I found the whole process excruciatingly frustrating.

I tried everything — Apple’s recommendation to use the default Windows app to import pictures, which kept giving me an Import error after every two seconds; plugged the device in and tried to use Windows’ AutoPlay (File Explorer) to access the contents by copying the 100APPLE folder, which also gave me a ‘Not Accessible’ error; used two third-party software, one of which stopped responding mid-transfer while the other transferred them in a format which even VLC couldn’t read (nor could Apple’s own QuickTime player).

In the end, I had to transfer all the videos to Documents on the iPhone and use VLC’s iOS app to create a local connection over WiFi, which allowed me to download each photo/video one by one by clicking on them (there has got to be a better way).

I know there must be a better way that I haven’t come across yet, but this shouldn’t be needlessly hard.

Other Little Issues

  • Why does selecting multiple items need a separate button? If you don’t want to use a long-press-and-hold, at least use the Force Touch. It is pointless to have a separate button to allow selecting multiple items.
    apple ios 12 albums
  • If I want to share a video with an app, WhatsApp for example, the processing, and uploading of the video will take up the whole screen inside the Photos app, and while that happens, I am unable to use the app while it is finished. Seriously Apple?
    apple ios12 whatsapp
  • I am not onboard with the idea of having one Settings app for all settings on my phone, though I see how it makes sense. It is just one extra step for me. Maybe I am just too set in my ways, or maybe I am just too lazy.
  • iOS gives the same treatment to almost all calls, be it WhatsApp or Messenger or a regular call, which can get kind of confusing as they all look the same to me unless I focus.
  • The fingerprint sensor isn’t as good as I thought it would be — it takes a couple of tries to get it right if my finger is even a little sweaty.
  • Not a fan of the force-touch home button.

Things I love about iOS 12

Unbelievably Smooth and Fluid

I admit this is still one of the biggest issues about Android phones. Most Android phones (not all) tend to get at least a little sluggish over time. However, I think Google has finally managed to fix that problem with the recent updates and most modern Android phones you buy today will never experience that problem, or the impact won’t be that big.

Having said that, I will always be a fan of iOS for being so smooth, so consistently. It never misses a beat and I can expect the phone to be there and ready when I need it — not something I could have said for my previous phone. And contrary to the popular belief that newer updates slow down iPhones, iOS 12 actually managed to do the opposite — it made it a little more fluid and fast.

Back Gesture is Really Intuitive

When I owned an Android, I thought on-screen, touch navigation buttons were the best way of navigation on a phone. But Apple’s approach to using a swipe in from the left might have changed my mind, as it is really intuitive and comes naturally once you get used to it.

I am happy that Google has taken a note out of Apple’s book and has introduced gesture navigation in Android Pie and I would love to try that out to see their take on it.

Screen Time

With iOS 12 and Android 9.0, both Apple and Google have set out to save the users from their worst enemy — themselves. We have become addicted to our smartphones and it’s by design!

Apple’s initiative is Screen Time, an app on your phone that tells you how much you use your phone in a really detailed way. You get usage statistics for each app like when and for how long did you open that app, right down to the minute. Moreover, each app is grouped into a category so you can see exactly how much time you are spending on Social Networking apps.

The app also does a couple of other things like telling you how many times you picked up your phone in a day and how many notifications you are getting.

But the best feature about it is that it allows you to set Usage Limits for each individual app. For example, I can set Facebook to only allow me to use it for 45 minutes per day. After that time is up, it will notify me and also gray out the app’s icon from the app drawer.

You can choose to ignore it, but sometimes, it is enough to know that you have wasted two hours on Facebook to make you close it for the day! Sometimes, all you need is a wake-up call.

Shortcuts

Shortcuts, an app made by Apple, is an intuitive way of linking multiple apps together and performing multiple tasks with just one command.

The app is available to download from the App Store and lets you quickly perform tasks on the go or just ask Siri to do it.

Create Shortcuts on iOS 12

Basically, it captures actions from an app, like sending a message or copying a contact name, and allows you to trigger this action based on an action of another app. For example, I can set a shortcut for sharing a person’s contact, like I made this one.

When I trigger this shortcut, either by asking Siri or pressing on the shortcut icon on my homescreen, it will ask me to choose a contact and then choose another contact, then it will share the first contact with the second one via a text message automatically — just like I set it to do.

It’s pretty intuitive and there are hundreds of combinations you can make, like sharing your current location or a pre-determined piece of text, getting directions to the nearest coffee place everytime you search for it and more.

contact sharing in ios 12

It’s quite similar to what Google has been doing with its Assistant and their Actions on Google project.

Photos App

Coming from Android and Google’s amazing Photos app, I didn’t expect much from the Photos app on iOS. However, it has still impressed me and, although Google’s offering far outweighs Apple’s with its free storage and amazing search, the app on iOS isn’t bad either. The built-in editor works really great, thanks to its non-destructive editing capability.

Also, I really liked some of the videos that the Photos app created for me on its own from my collection of Photos and Videos. It also gives you easy-to-use editing controls, allowing me to do some really decent bit of editing on the go. And if that’s not good enough, Apple’s iMovie software should satisfy your thirst (it certainly satisfied mine).


I am still living the iPhone life, loving the fluidity and cursing the annoying little things, but I plan to move back to Android as soon as I find a good enough camera phone in my price range. iOS may be amazing but it certainly isn’t my cup of tea, not yet.


  • Finally found the best line of this article ” but I plan to move back to Android as soon”

    • Irfan Ahmad Sial

      due to over priced IOS 12 XS

    • Mubashar Ali

      Oh really! was your bad experience? Actually different users have different needs. My brother hates iOS. I love iOS due to it’s speed.

      • I never touch Apple : Because I Hate Apple & IOS

      • Hassam Tahir

        you love iOS due to it’s speed? Are you living in 2011?

    • haseeb

      android cannot compete with IOS.
      Its secure, smooth and easy to use. many things Android tried to copy. but copy is always a copy. :)
      I am a IPhone user since 2010 and 1 year I use S7 Edge. it was very bad experience and finally back to IOS.

    • haseeb

      android cannot compete with IOS.
      Its secure, smooth and easy to use. many things Android tried to copy. but copy is always a copy. :)
      I am a IPhone user since 2010 and 1 year I use S7 Edge. it was very bad experience and finally back to IOS.

      • No One Secure on the Internet, & Andriod have more option in devices & andriod are common instead of Apple :

      • abobobilly

        May I remind you about the recent iCloud hack involving ranchy celeb pics ?
        So much for secure iOS

      • Hassam Tahir

        The last time iOS was more smooth and easy to use than android was maybe in 2013 and secure? Android still hasn’t had a major data leak and Apple, well have you forgotten the fappening?

        and fyi mr. easy to use. Just look at the comments below on the complicated process to copy paste pictures onto your computer. I rest my case

  • Franstek

    You could have installed itunes on windows, it installs iPhone drivers, which lets you copy photos directly from the media drive created in explorer.

    • Franstek

      Sorry you did, I missed that part.

  • Eli Ehsan

    there’s a Sync everything Option on iTunes once you’ve “Authorize This computer” ticked on iTunes tools menu. That’ll do the job for your Media Libraries perfectly.

  • Umar Farooq

    i disagree with this comment
    “If I want to share a video with an app, WhatsApp for example, the processing, and uploading of the video will take up the whole screen inside the Photos app, and while that happens, I am unable to use the app while it is finished. Seriously Apple?”

    you can just press home button to back on home screen. after that you can see your pending videos or files (by opening whatsapp) which u shared with other apps on whatsapp

    • Haseeb

      new bnda ha time lgta ha used to honay mai

    • abobobilly

      So basically you have to come back to home once, and then go back to What’s app again.
      What a convinence.
      In Android sharing a video doesn’t take up full screen. All processing and waiting will happen inside the chat area. And you can even go back to other chats without disturbing the process. Plz tell me if you can do that in iOS, if it’s still stuck at “sending video” notification .

  • Mubashar Ali

    Love this balance review. Just I need, a Mac OS review too. I read different blogs about migration of Windows to Mac. And almost all I read was about: They don’t want to go again to Microsoft. Due to Windows 10 release, and forced updates and bla bla bla.. I want to switch to Mac Os too.

  • Waqar

    The new distance measure app in iOS 12 is very useful

  • Ahtysham Afzal

    My Review of IOS as an Android user!

    iOS is faster than Android, because Android is not all about optimization its about customization.

    IPhone battery sucks, i have iPhone X but still i cannot use it brutally like i used on my Android device. I just watch my iPhone X battery drain as i put it in my hand. Actually this is helping me fight my phone addiction, i barely use my phone now.

    iOS is secure but at least Android can let you play gallery videos through third party apps like VLC. In iPhone you have to add file to VLC through iTunes which sucks.

    iOS doesn’t show photos Meta data, Android does.

    You can install apps from anywhere on internet on Android, even mod apps. You can do this in iOS as well but with only limited apps.

    Camera is no better than Android phones but Low light photography is great.

    Gestures, aah iOS is great when it comes to gestures.

    Yes, Android copies iOS. Google photos is 70% copy of iOS photos app. Google Calendar is carbon copy of iOS calendar app.

    iOS heat issue, i hate it when i pay more than $1000 for my phone and still my phone gets heated if i use mobile internet, camera recording or any high end game.

    App Store downloading takes forever, mtlb hadd ha yar. Itni slow downloading? Subha subha thori taiz ho jati ha wrna kuch na pocho.

    iOS apps are paid on the other hand you can get even paid Android apps for free if you are a pro user.

    I think iOS is not for a common person and Apple doesn’t care about your opinion because they target a certain type of class. You and me are just extra money.

    The problems we Android users face aren’t known to Apple community, they don’t even care about those problems.

    Conclusion:
    There will always be two groups, you don’t have to force anyone to accept your opinion. Just accept others and live life.

    Two groups se mera mtlb tha
    Flat Earth vs Round Earth
    Android vs iOS
    PMLN vs PTI

    Apple is providing less as compared to money, warna agar aaj new iPhone X 30k~50k ka ho jata ha to delhna kese Android walay bhag k lete hain.