Tug-of-war between a robot and an apple

Why I think Android is ultimately better than iOS


Art by Johanna Wen

The decade-long divide between Android and iOS started back in the late 2000s. Both systems have been improving and building upon each others’ features.

Between the option of a cute, little green robot or a half-eaten apple, I prefer the robot, even if the apple is shiny and silver.

From Apple devices, like iPhones and iPads, to Android phones, from brands like Samsung, Motorola and Asus, my family has had it all. As a proud owner of a Galaxy Note 9 and a 6th generation iPad, I know what it’s like to have devices with the Android and iOS operating systems. After over five years with both systems, I can conclude that Android is better.

Over 1000 students share their opinions about Android vs Apple through Instagram polls. Many students support iOS more than Android. (Graphic by Irene Zheng)

Operating systems are computer software that integrate hardware (tangible parts of the computer like the keyboard, mouse and monitor) and software (what developers code such as operating systems, internet browsers and computer games), allowing them to work together to make up a functioning device. Android is an open-source operating system started by Android Inc. in 2003 and acquired by Google in 2005. iOS is a closed-source operating system developed by Apple and released in 2007. Android’s open-source characteristic means anyone can use their source code for free, while iOS’s closed-source aspect requires one to acquire Apple’s permission to use their source code.

Both operating systems debuted their first mobile devices in the late 2000s, with Apple unveiling their first smartphone in January 2007 and Android launching theirs in September 2008. Over the years, Android has come to dominate the smartphone market with around a 73% global market share while iOS has fallen behind with around a 26% market share.

Android is more accessible than iOS for manufacturers and consumers. Android’s open-source software allows over 1,300 brands of manufacturers to modify and enhance the code to produce over 24,000 distinct devices, giving consumers a variety of options to choose from. In addition, Android’s app store, Google Play, is the world’s largest, providing Android users with around 3.48 million apps. Apple, however, releases an average of three new phones a year that are pretty much the same as previous models, just with a few tweaks. Apple’s app store only boasts around 2.2 million apps, 1.2 million fewer than Google Play.

Android phones are generally more affordable than Apple phones. The global average selling price of Android phones in 2020 was $261, which is cheaper than Apple at $796.42. In fact, you could find an Android phone at just $39.99. Although the quality of a $39.99 phone may be lower, it is much more affordable for people who may be struggling financially and are in need of a mobile device.

By making phones affordable to people of all financial backgrounds, Android devices help increase global accessibility to smartphones which can provide people with opportunities they otherwise wouldn’t have had. So let’s stop thinking of the cute little robot as inferior or worse than the apple because it’s honestly not.