- I have been an Android user for years.
- In January I decided to switch to the iPhone X.
- It was totally worth it, despite its high price tag and a few small annoyances.
Update: This article and headline have been updated to correct a reference to the Motorola Razr being an Android phone. That phone predated Android by four years.
I have long been a faithful Android user, shuttling through the HTC Desire, the Samsung Galaxy S3, a Moto G and, most recently, a Huawei P9.
But it’s over. I switched over to the iPhone X in January, because if you’re going to give up a near decade-long relationship you may as well do it in $US1,000 (£1,000) style.
Here’s how I’ve found it so far:
I bought the iPhone X through the upgrade program – which is cheaper than buying it through a carrier
It is insane to me that people still sign up for two-year contracts with a carrier when they renew their phones. Sure, you get a shiny new phone, but then you are locked into an expensive contract that is bad value for you over the long term.
But it’s also extremely expensive paying $US1,000 (£1,000) upfront for a phone.
Luckily Apple offers a workaround where you can pay a monthly fee for a SIM-free iPhone X, meaning you aren’t tied into a contract. Once you’ve paid off the $US1,000 in 20 months or less, the phone is yours. And unlike with a normal mobile tariff, an operator hasn’t squeezed an extra few hundred dollars out of you in the process.
I wrote about how good of a value the upgrade program is in December – and acted on my own advice a month later. There’s some caveats: mainly about paying your monthly fee on time and also keeping the phone in good condition. But otherwise it feels like an affordable way to buy an amazing device.
Face ID has changed the way I shop on my phone
Face ID is Apple’s facial recognition system which, when you pick up the phone, lets you unlock it just by using your face.
That’s extremely cool, but not the coolest or most useful aspect of Face ID.
The iPhone X will approve purchases and sign you into services provided you authenticate with Face ID. This felt like an amazing innovation, and makes it much faster to download apps and sign into, for example, my banking app. The “wow” feeling hasn’t worn off even after several months of using the phone.
I would in no way count myself as an Apple fangirl, but I never came across anything this futuristic on Android. It feels like a genuine innovation for smartphones, which are otherwise highly commoditized. It was also extremely handy while I was skiing and couldn’t fumble around in the snow trying to unlock the phone with a passcode.
Force Touch and 3D Touch are a complete puzzle
When you first unbox the iPhone X, the phone comes with a simple manual. So simple, that it doesn’t really explain how to use the phone – I had to ask another longtime iPhone owner how to take a screenshot and search for items on a webpage, because these basic functions are quite different on Android.
The biggest puzzle was Force Touch and 3D Touch. This means that the iPhone X screen is pressure-sensitive, and the device will do different things depending on how hard or lightly you press it. For example, pressing hard on an unread email in your inbox will show you a preview of the email. Keep pressing, and it will actually open the email.
There are myriad uses for Force and 3D Touch on the iPhone X that I just can’t quite be bothered to try and understand. It feels like a confusing feature that’s poorly explained – and as the user, it shouldn’t be on me to try and Google different uses for Force and 3D Touch. Apple’s whole reputation, after all, is staked on its simplicity.
Restoring WhatsApp and Google accounts were a total nightmare
Whatever Apple tells you about how easy it is to switch your contacts from Android to iPhone isn’t what I experienced.
Like many people, I use my phone for both work and personal purposes. Business Insider runs on Google, as do I, and so I need to manage multiple Gmail and Google Drive accounts from my phone.
Importantly, my work and personal contacts, and trying not to duplicate everything, was extremely difficult. In the end, I imported contacts from one Gmail address which holds both my work and personal contact details – but still lost some numbers in the process. It was annoying, but not insurmountable.
The biggest outrage is trying to switch from WhatsApp on Android to WhatsApp on iOS. Basically, you can’t.
If you were on Android and changed up to a new Android phone, you could simply back up your old WhatsApp chats on Google Drive, then restore them to the new phone. Likewise an iPhone upgrade, if you backed up your chats on iCloud.
But you can’t do this if you’re switching ecosystems – so an Android user cannot use Google Drive to restore WhatsApp chats to a new iPhone, as I discovered.
No one turns their iPhone off and this blew my mind
When I had an Android phone, my normal routine was to set my alarm on an analogue alarm clock, then set a back-up alarm on my phone, because you can’t trust anything. And then I would switch my phone off before going to sleep.
This is, according to a straw poll of my Business Insider colleagues, totally alien behaviour.
Most of my colleagues use iPhones – and also rely on their phones as an alarm.
The iPhone X alarm does not go off if you power down the phone. This completely blew my mind after years of setting alarms on my Android and then properly plugging off.
Now I keep the iPhone X on overnight, but on silent. On principle, I don’t like this. I think having screens on in your bedroom affects your sleep, and I don’t like my tendency to pick up the phone first thing in the morning to look at Twitter. If the phone’s off, I’m more likely to get on with my morning routine.
All of the small annoyances are nothing compared to the huge advantage of extra security
The main reason I switched to Android was paranoia. I’ve covered technology for a decade, and while iOS isn’t totally devoid of security issues, there’s an alarming trickle of stories about how poor Android’s security is. Some of Google’s security decisions may be justified, but the company is bad at explaining to users why, for example, it seems to be collecting their locations when GPS is switched off.
For the most part, you are pretty secure if you use two-factor authentication and use strong passwords. But Face ID means you don’t have to go to the trouble of remembering passwords, and Apple’s tighter security makes me feel surer that my information (and sources) are not at risk.
Finally, it’s just a beautiful phone. And until Android can fix its fragmentation and security issues, and give the same level of customer service that Apple can, I’ll be sticking with this new relationship.
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