- My partner and I have been diehard Apple users for as long as we can remember, and we’ve exclusively used iPhones since shortly after the first one came out in 2007.
- When it came time to retire our iPhone 6S devices this year, we decided to give Google’s Android operating system a try.
- While I fell in love with the OnePlus 6T and Android’s customizability and intuitiveness, my partner decided to return her phone and switch back after only three days. The culprit: She couldn’t give up iMessage.
- I asked her to share her perspective, which she’s given below.
Mypartner, Annie, and I are what you might call Day One Apple users. But in September, we switched to Android. After three days she was back on her iPhone, while I don’t think I’ll ever return. As someone who’s thrilled with the switch, I asked her to explain why she decided not to switch. She shares her reasoning here:
I’ve used Apple products and Mac computers forever, from the MacBook my parents bought me before heading off to university, to multiple iterations of iPads and iPhones, starting with the first iteration and continuing through the 3GS, 4S, 5S, and the 6S.
On the last upgrade cycle, I held out for as long as possible.
Harrison and I left our life in New York behind nine months ago to travel around the world full time for Business Insider. Travelling with a brand-new phone seemed like a bad idea, particularly when we considered that Apple’s top-of-the-line options – the iPhone X and its successor, the XS – felt ridiculously priced, at $US999.
But when we returned to New York in September, we both had to admit that it was time to retire our iPhone 6S devices. Both of our phones had stopped holding anything resembling a reasonable charge, calls and service were dropping regularly, and the cameras felt terribly outdated.
Harrison suggested we try switching over to Android because of the availability of high-quality budget phones that we wouldn’t worry about breaking or losing while travelling.
At first we looked at the budget options and settled on the $US230 Moto G6, which many say is the top budget phone right now. Harrison ordered two of them on Amazon, because of its easy return policy, and we both switched over excitedly when the phones arrived two days later.
But while Harrison adjusted quickly to Android, talking up the customizability and intuitiveness of the platform, I never did. Like Harrison, I was able to get my phone quickly up and running with all the major apps I use (Instagram, WeChat, WhatsApp, Spotify, etc.), but there was one app missing that just wasn’t available on Android.
Giving up iMessage is too much of a pain for me
I couldn’t give up iMessage.
By embedding its locked-in messaging system into the default SMS app, Apple turned every iOS user into a dedicated iMessage user. Many don’t even realise that they are using an instant messaging service instead of SMS.
As most of my friends and family are on iOS – and everyone is seemingly allergic to the “green bubbles” – I was suddenly in the unenviable position of trying to persuade my circle to use WhatsApp.
For me, this was a deal breaker. WhatsApp is a far inferior messaging service, with few of the embedded apps and functions iMessage has.
My parents, not the most tech-savvy people in the world, didn’t want to have to download WhatsApp for our weekly catch-up video chats. FaceTime was far more intuitive and reliable.
Then I started thinking about the numerous group chats I already have established with friends on iMessage.
Android users will likely scoff at the so-called “green bubble” problem. I’m the first to admit that the idea that friends will not want to text you because you have green bubbles is ridiculous.
When groups of friends are already engaged in a long-running iMessage group chat, the introduction of an Android user is disruptive. Suddenly, the group chat gets separated into a million individual SMS-MMS threads, until you get each individual person to fix the problem in their settings.
Then you add in the fact that both of us are out of the US for most of the year. SMS-MMS group chats rack up expensive charges with each message, whereas iMessage – as an instant messaging service, rather than SMS – costs nothing. It’s not as simple as everyone accepting the green bubbles.
Within two days, I was researching my options to return the Moto G6 and what kinds of iPhones I could buy. When Harrison opted to return the G6 and decided to purchase the OnePlus 6T because of its far superior camera, it was the final straw.
If he was going to spend $US580 on the 6T, I reasoned, why not just spend a couple extra hundred to get the iPhone XR, a phone that I would be truly happy with?
I’m the first to admit that it comes down to familiarity. I’ve used iOS forever, already have my photos synced with iCloud, and use a MacBook and an iPad for work.
With the iPhone XR priced at $US750, the price difference of a couple hundred bucks wasn’t enough for me to give up all that, plus it comes with the ease of transferring files and photos with AirDrop, answering iMessages on my computer or iPad, and not having to bother with Android’s learning curve.
That was enough of a deal breaker for me. I’m sure it would be for many others, too, and that’s what Apple is counting on.
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