Comparison of mobile operating systems

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When choosing a smartphone, the operating system (OS) is the very first important parameter you get to decide, followed by equipment, functions or design. To help you decide which one to choose, this article offers an overview of the available operating systems, their strengths and weaknesses. 

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Comparing mobile operating systems - CONTENTS

Android

Android

  • Used by the vast majority of manufacturers
  • Covers all price categories
  • Many customisation options

Android OS, developed by Google, is the most widely used operating system for mobile devices. It is available on a wide range of smartphones, from the budget ones to flagship models.

Advantages and disadvantages
  • Premium options, highly customisable
  • A wide range of available models
  • Broad compatibility with a wide range of accessories
  • Integration with Google services
  • Cheaper phones don't always run smoothly
  • Many pre-installed apps cannot be uninstalled
  • Frequent inability to upgrade to a newer version of the OS

Basic characteristics

Android OS is an open-source operating system and has virtually unlimited customisation options - some adjustments can be made using the default settings, while the majority of modifications are downloadable from the Google Play app store.

You can easily modify not only the graphical interface (eg the icons, settings or even the look of the entire interface), but also the phone's controls (e.g. gesture controls, soft keys, etc.).

The system's openness, however, also means it is more susceptible to attack by malicious software. As a result, it is recommended to use antivirus software and to be cautious when browsing the Web or installing applications from unknown sources.

Examples of phones running on the Android operating system:

App menu

There's no need to worry about a lack of digital content on Android. The Google Play Store currently offers approximately 3.48 million apps and games (as of Q1 2021). Many are also free to download.

What can be considered a weak spot is the large number of pre-installed apps. They are not always bad, sometimes they even improve the functionality of Android itself. On the other hand, they often duplicate those from Google or they are commercial apps and games you most likely don't need—this is called “bloatware“. However, most manufacturers pre-install reasonably useful apps and you can uninstall most of them.

Integrated Google services

One of the typical features of Android OS is the integration of Google services, i.e. Gmail, Google Drive cloud storage, Chrome browser, Google Maps and others. If you are using these, you will surely be pleased that they are pre-installed on all Android phones.

Recently, however, there has been a problem with the Chinese manufacturer Huawei. Due to trade sanctions, it is not allowed to use Google services, and therefore it uses the open-source Android OS without app support and connection with Google. Google Play Store, Gmail etc. are replaced with Huawei Mobile Services and their own apps.

Screenshots

Grafické rozhraní OS Android

iOS

iOS

  • Operating system on iPhones
  • Perfectly tuned for Apple hardware
  • Long-term device support

The iOS operating system can only be found on iPhones. Apple software put emphasis on the user experience and simplicity. It is also characterized by an elegant design and seamless connection with other Apple products. So iOS control is very pleasant, simple and intuitive.

Advantages and disadvantages
  • Perfectly tuned and smooth-running OS
  • Simple and intuitive use
  • Always up to date thanks to regular system upgrades
  • Integration with Apple services
  • Available only on Apple iPhones
  • More expensive harware and accessories
  • A closed-source system, which some may find limiting

Basic characteristics

iOS is a closed-source operating system. This minimizes the risk of attack from malicious software, making it safer than competing open-source options. On the other hand, it also means you cannot make major changes to the appearance or functionality of the system. There is plenty of setting options, but unlike Android, Apple doesn't allow changes in the color theme, gesture controls, etc.

Examples of phones running on the iOS operating system:

App menu

The Apple AppStore currently has around two million applications and games ready for download—not much different compared to Android's Google Play.

Integrated Apple services

iOS is closely linked with other services typical for the Apple platform. For example, it offers iMessage, FaceTime for video calls, iCloud for data synchronisation, including calendars, reminders, notes etc.

Screenshots

Grafické rozhraní iOS

FAQ

What are the differences between Android and iOS?

When comparing the two systems, we can focus on several main areas:

Customisation

Everybody knows that you can customise virtually everything on Android. From the desktop background, through app icons to the appearance of the interface itself or even entire apps. Basically anything you can imagine is possible in the Android system.

On the other hand, the iOS customisation options are slightly more limited. This is mainly due to the close-source system, which makes it a bit harder for the developers. Of course, there are not many things that jailbreak couldn't solve.

Interface speed

It is generally believed that iOS phones run faster and smoother. One of the reasons is that iOS is tailor-made for Apple phones, so you will encounter minimal software problems.

Development speed

You can look at the development speed from two perspectives.

If you care about the speed of system updates, Apple definitely wins. On iPhones, you will receive the latest version of iOS either immediately or within a few weeks. With Android phones, you can wait a few months, with older devices it can take up to a year, and with the budget models you probably won't see a new version of the operating system at all - here you often get only the security patches.

But if we talk about developing new features, Android would probably win. Google gets often inspired by the features of other phone manufacturers and slowly integrates them to the Android system itself.

In which areas are these two systems similar? Is it difficult to switch from one system to another?

Both interfaces are similar in functions. You can of course make calls, write messages, browse the internet from any phone, and in most cases the available apps are similar. You could also find many similarities in the interface - both Android and iOS offer some form of notifications and an overview of the phone's features. On both operating systems, you can also grant security permissions to individual applications, which gives the user an overview of information that each application uses.

The controls are quite similar, especially in the recent versions. Google has already introduced gesture controls to its Android system, similar to those on iPhones.

If you plan to switch from one operating system to the other, you probably won't get lost in the interface. However, moving data and applications is a bit more complicated, especially from iOS to Android. For transition from Android to iOS you can use the official application Move to iOS. For transition from iOS to Android you can use Google Drive. You upload all your data to a cloud application from Google, which then syncs with your new Android.

Which operating system offers better device support?

Here, the iOS is leading the way. This is because there are so many different Android phones on the market and it's difficult for the manufacturers to keep the systems up-to-date for all phones - from the latest flagship models to the old budget phones. Therefore, Android devices usually receive system updates for about 2 years after the release, and security patches for up to 3 years. However, this does not apply to cheap models, which stay on the same version of the system for their whole lifespan and only receive security updates.

Apple supports its devices for longer. Since 2020, it has been sending its software updates even to 6-year-old iPhones. For example, the latest iOS 14 also works on the original iPhone SE from 2016 and even on the iPhone 6S from 2015.

Can I install apps from other sources than Google Play or the App Store?

WARNING: be very careful when installing apps from other sources. No one can guarantee that they are safe.

If you have an Android phone, installing external apps is very easy. Just download an .apk format file and it will immediately start installing the app. The option to install apps from unverified sources is disabled by default, but you can easily enable it in the settings.

Apple phones, on the other hand, place emphasis on maximum security. Apps from external sources cannot be installed by default. But of course people have found some workarounds—through a jailbreak. Using a special program, you can get to the lowest layers of the iOS system and thus bypass fundamental security features. The jailbreak is legal and often very useful. However, in case of any software failures, your claim may not be accepted.

Is pure Android better than a third-party Android?

Both have their pros and cons. Devices with pure Android mostly work smoother. You will feel this especially with budget smartphones. In addition, phones with Android One receive priority updates, so when there is a new Android update, you know you'll be among the first ones to receive it.

On the other hand, third-party Androids often expand the functionality of the phone, they give its interface a new look and are perfectly tuned for the phones of the particular brand. The problem comes with update releases. The manufacturer can start working on the update only after the release of a new version of Android, so you might need to wait for several months.

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