When making the choice between Android and iOS devices, one of the big pros you hear about Android is that it’s just so customizable. For the more tech savvy, Android phones are the obvious choice. But what about for the regular old Joe? Is Android really that customizable? And why? What can you do with it? We’re taking a look at why Android customization still beats out iOS, even after a solid decade of competition…
Android Customisation Options
Yes, Android is far more customizable than iOS, in any number of ways. But there are five main things that make Android the king of uniqueness. While iOS, of course, allows you to change your wallpapers (which, by the way, is a fairly new thing, you couldn’t switch backgrounds on the original iPhones) and ringtones, Android just lets you do so much more. Like what? Check this out…
Your Default Browser
Some of Android’s customization options are shockingly simple, and this is a good example. While iOS locks you into using Safari as your mobile internet browser, Android not only allows you to choose any third party browser that you’d like (meaning you’re not stuck using Google), but you can also set it as a default. This means that clicking on a link in an email, for example, will open up the browser that you’ve chosen, rather than opening plain old Google.
We’re going to get techie, so hold on to your hats! Yes, Apple allows you to download other browsers (like Firefox or Chrome), but you can’t set them as default browsers. And not only that but the browsers you download aren’t really pure. Apple forces other browsers to build a version around the shell of Safari (if you want to be really technical, all third party browsers are forced to use Safari’s rendering engine, rather than their own), which means these other browsers work more slowly than their desktop counterparts… Android, on the other hand, lets you use the pure version of whatever browser you choose.
Your SMS Client
Another simple difference is that with Android you can choose any SMS app that you like and install it, whilst with iOS you’re stuck with the default SMS app that came on your phone. This didn’t use to be a big deal. But nowadays, with so many great SMS app options available, with new features like desktop messaging, social media integration and the like, this is more important than you might think. And it’s just one more way that Android allows you to design the phone that you want.
Your Lock Screen
The last of the small things is that Android also allows you to customize your lock screen. Downloading something like Next Lock Screen gives you the ability to get all kinds of info onto your screen, even when your phone is locked. Maybe not such an important feature, but for some people, this is a selling point…
Talking about launchers can get kind of technical, but in very basic terms, the home screen on your Android phone is just like another app. And you can change that app by downloading a new launcher. This lets you completely control what your home screen looks like, from changing icons completely to cramming more widgets onto your screen, and even hiding apps and icons from view. Installing a new launcher (such as Nova Launcher, the most popular option) is slightly complicated, but does mean that your phone is completely designed by you…
Lastly, there’s the most technical customization option, which is installing a custom ROM. Essentially, this is like installing a new operating system on your phone. Rather than using the Android version that came with your device, you can put a whole new, designer OS on there, which will allow you to do pretty much anything you like with your phone. Admittedly, these custom ROMs are built on a shell of Android (to make them compatible with your device), but they still open up a whole lot of customization options…
What’s the Deal with iOS?
In fairness to Apple, we do need to defend customization on the iPhone a little. First off, it is possible to customize your iPhone by jailbreaking it. This isn’t really recommended (it’s tough to do, voids your warranty, and doesn’t always work), but if you’re dead set on customizing your iOS device, it’s technically possible. Though it’s nowhere near as easy as it is on an Android.
Secondly, we should address the issue of just why iPhones can’t be customized as easily as Androids. And the reason is very simple. Apple devices are built to be easy and intuitive to use. By banning customization options like custom ROMs, launchers, and the like, Apple ensures that their phones are the simplest to use devices on the market. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Handing your grandma an iPhone is likely to go a lot better than handing her an Android. This doesn’t really address the question of why you can’t change your default browser or SMS app, and both of these are just the policies of big business. Apple makes their own apps and wants to force you to use them, which is fair enough (though irritating).
Ten years down the line, Apple has yet to add much customization to their devices, and it’s unlikely that they’re going to do so. Their selling point is intuitiveness, and they have a firm grasp of their market. Apple strictly controls what apps can be sold through their app store, and their operating system is closed source (as opposed to open source Android which allows programmers to see the entire programme and tweak it as they wish). This results in a phone that lacks customization options, it’s that simple. The bottom line for you is that if you want a customized phone, you’ll have to go Android. If you want something that’s easy to use, then go iOS. Both devices are excellent choices, it really just depends on what you’re looking for.
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Tyler Allen says
Apple is about security, but most of all it’s about an ecosystem. As an ex-jailbreaker, let me tell you, outside of loading a custom rom, iOS is every bit as customizable. I stopped jailbreaking because 1. I develop, and being on the current OS is important. 2. It’s just not that important. I’ve been to a few hackatons and been around some of the brightest minds in tech. Do you want to know how many of them even customize their lap/desktop? Under 10%! Much less their phone. Yes, they like nice looking things, but if it doesn’t increase their workflow, then it’s not worth their time. It’s about what you do on your device that’s important, and not what themed icons you have. I used to enjoy showing off my custom looking Mac and iPhone. Now I just show off Apps/Games currently in development. To Apple, it’s about what you do on the device… not to it!
iOS is every bit as customizable. WTF best joke of 2018
Hahaha! Apparently, best joke of of 2017 when he wrote that. And, now, of 2019!
Ihosvany Rodriguez says
I like having a different car then most people a Lamborghini looks so much nicer with a sweet body kit vs standard Lamborghini which is still nice but looks the same like most some of us like driving same boring car others do , I like to be unique and a jail broken phone can do what a standard Android can do , if I root and mod a phone then I really can jump miles ahead of iPhone in customization . Sorry to tell u but everything apple is doing now is copying Android admit it if u want to or not , I love VR , iPhone does not have I love that I can take gorgeous pics with my Android in the pool u can’t with iPhone , I love how fast my phone charges I love my expandable memory , I love not having all my apps on the screen or having to swipe to see a beautiful picture in 2k AMOLED display ,and apple just got 2k when Android is about to move into 4k real soon , u can say what u want u might have all the CPU in the world and iOS might be smoother but I will tell u after Android jumped into 64x it’s gotten very smooth my pixel XL , was amazing ,and my my pixel XL 2 I’m sure is going to run circles around apples camera again like it did in 2016 , also let me know when Almighty apple catches up to Google Assistant it’s still so far behind funny how Android is whooping apple at its own game little by little and will continue Google maps yep, Google photos amazing app, icloud trash keep paying , and using trashing Siri lol, also if iPhone is so secure how comes u only here about peoples iPhones and iCloud getting hacked I work for verizon and almost daily someone with an Almighty secure iPhone gets hacked , u never hear someone’s Android got hacked never… Why because iPhone just calls for a reason to hack it’s a challenge ,no one wants to hack Android phones , so while I keep enjoying 1000nits of brightness in the sun and manual pics which looks miles ahead of apple , sure u got an Almighty iPhone but since apple keeps everything so lock down that why I can build and overclocked computer that will run circles around the best Mack with dual video cards and all and maybe just maybe pay half or less then what u spent on the Mac . So while apple might keep making powerful cpu ,it don’t mean nothing if it’s limited potential waste…..
Right, I.R. You work at Verizon & I’m the head of NASA. ? Someone with your obvious lack of education (evident by your use of language, grammar, punctuation etc.) would never be hired at Verizon. Maybe Sprint. Lol Unless you’re the Verizon president, you definitely don’t drive a Lamborghini. ? You’re telling lies when it comes to hacking. An iPhone getting hacked is almost unheard of. Androids are hacked constantly! I was hacked on FB messenger via a Google video, as were many of my friends. Guess who wasn’t hacked? The answer is every one of my iPhone using friends. If you’re going with the “I work for Verizon” story, at least make it plausible.
An old fox says
Lol Bry Facebook isn’t android which shows you’re the one lacking intelligence
“Apple devices are built to be easy and intuitive to use. By banning customization options like custom ROMs, launchers, and the like, Apple ensures that their phones are the simplest to use devices on the market.”
Really? The company I work for switched is from heavy duty Androids with built-in push to talk and sapphire coated screens to the iPhone for some stupid reason. Not ONE individual is happy about it because the phones are not intuitive, with menu options and settings hidden in all sorts of unintuitive places. Took me two days to figure out how to add an URL shortcut to the home screen. And I guess it’s impossible to add a phone number quick dial icon to the home screen. As an emergency responder, having quick access to the 5 to 7 things I use on a daily basis is essential. But apple is garbage for intuitive operation and lacks customization options that should EXIST even if they are disabled by default. The one page of very limited widgets is simply idiotic as it requires you to wait for full applications to load just to open a bookmark or call someone. Sure, you can show a “favorites” widget and add the phone numbers to that in the phone app (with no shortcut from the widget to the app or vice verse), but it displays insufficient lines of text to know who the contact is and instead shows a huge friggin icon, like all the other enormous icons. Apple designed their OS for soccer moms and tweens obsessed with texting, not business professionals or first responders. I am going to miss that old Keyocera (probably spelled that wrong) as it was flawless, indestructible and worked perfectly. Now I have an iPhone for my work phone and have to learn how a phone would operate if it was designed by morons. And if it gets damaged, it’s $700 out of my pocket because insuring iPhones is stupid expensive. The $700 price doesn’t even make sense for an iPhone 8 in 2020. But that is what they said. $800 will get you a state of the art flagship of any major manufacturer. But Apple still charges $700 for the crappy tiny 8? People that get iPhones perpetuate a product line that should have died, smothered by the flames of the vastly superior Android options.
LOL, this article is REALLY outdated. It’s been ages since iPhone lets users change their default browser, you’re not stuck with Safari anymore. On iPhone you can use Chrome as default browser, Google Calendar as default calendar, and so on. Nowadays, iPhone is more customizable than Android in several areas (think about the Shortcut app, most Android users don’t know about). Most Android users think iPhone has not evolved since 2007…
Tell me how to reduce the font size of the first thing you see on an iPhone; the clock on the lock screen. Customisable much?