I recently began migrating my mobile presence from a Samsung Note 8 to an iPhone 13 Pro Max. One might think that the great differences in power and maturity between the two devices means that everything is better now. Here I am summarizing my experience.
I am comparing the default installed apps or the ’canonical’ free apps that are widely used and accepted as default.
Scheduling text messages for sending later is trivial on Android. Right in the messages app there’s an option “schedule message” that is simple to use, and utterly reliable. I used it frequently to send my spouse reminders upon her request. This option is nonexistent on iPhone. Instead, one has two main options, both bad: the first is to download a third party app which costs a monthly subscription to send delayed texts, with the additional drawback of showing up as coming from a third party number. The second is to use the built in Shortcuts app to write or download a script that in theory automates the sending of a text message at a future time, but that in fact hardly ever works due to a bug/security limitation in iOS.
So, that’s one useful feature on Android unavailable on iOS. I don’t understand why. Is it Apple’s vaunted privacy? I’m sending the message from my own personal device, after all, so that’s implausible. After thinking for a while, I come the conclusion that it is one of the following: First, that the central planners in Apple don’t care; or, second, that Apple prefers users downloading a third party paid app so as to make its percentage. So, either incompetence or malicious greed. I don’t know which is worse.
On the Samsung S-Planner, the monthly view shows an entire month with the titles on the events in each day. This way I can easily see all monthly activity. On the iPhone the monthly view is actually about one and two-third months, and there are dots in the days that had activity. So what I get is a series of useless dots. When I click on the month name, the view changes to a long list of events I have to scroll through.
I have no explanation for why this is so other than Samsung catering more to my needs as a consumer.
Searching the internet, I found a recommended app called WeekCal, with a MiniMonth view that indeed is similar to S-Planner’s. However, to perform even the most basic and essential functions, like going to the previous month, one must buy the Pro subscription version. The free version is too limited to use properly. Another calendar app, BusyCal, is also a paid app. In the end I installed Google Calendar, which has a passable monthly view, though less pleasant to the eyes than Samsung’s, with tiny fonts that are not changeable in iOS.
On Android, I could use the translate button to instantly translate any webpage using Google Translate. In Firefox on iOS this option is blocked by Apple.
Safari on iOS does have Apple’s own translate, but with far fewer languages than Google. Also, I use Firefox as well as Safari and there’s no reason I shouldn’t be able to install the G translate add-on. To finally solve this problem I downloaded Chrome, which comes with Google Translate built-in. But if I’m using Chrome, what’s the benefit of iOS? Besides, Safari is the default browser opened from any app.
I prefer to always record all my calls. On Android this is a trivial option in the default phone app. Once activated, it records and saves all calls locally, such as the SD card. On iPhone this is nonexistent, due to privacy issues (which differ from state to state and country to country). Instead, one has to download a third party app and pay a subscription of 10 dollars a year. If a third party app saves all your recordings on its servers, where’s the privacy, exactly? There is a lite version, but useless in practice as you can only listen to the first 60 seconds unless you upgrade to the paid version.
Using Apple Notes has been a pleasure so far. I never liked Samsung’s S Notes and refrained from using it, instead opting for the free version of Evernote, which I also have installed on my iPhone. One particularly good service is the speech to text microphone. It works much better than that on the Note 8, though that could simply be a matter of better, newer hardware.
[Edit: two months later I am back to using Evernote by default, since I can access it on my other, non-iOS devices].
No built in dark mode on mobile Safari. One must pay for a third party app.
Firefox for iOS does have dark mode, but font size is too small and the default cannot be changed in iOS.
This while on the Note 8 both the default Samsung browser and the Opera browser have the capability of changing font size and dark mode (which works much better than on Firefox on iOS).
On-screen zooming in /magnifying:
On iOS one makes a three fingered double tap to zoom in on the screen. For people like yours truly whose digitalia are on the stubby side, this can have the unfortunate side effect of inadvertently clicking on links or buttons. Zooming with Samsung’s s-pen, while requiring one to draw it out, reduces the chance of errors.
My iPhone 13 Pro Max comes with a dedicated hardware switch on the upper left side to make the device enter silent mode. There is a brief notification lasting about 2-3 seconds then disappearing. From then on there is no indication anywhere that one is in silent mode. I have several times entered silent mode then forgotten to switch back, sometimes hours or even an entire day. I just now discovered that there is another option called Focus that does have a crescent moon indication in the top bar.