Why do I still have an Android phone when I live in a Apple ecosystem?

By | September 15, 2017

I own a MacBook Pro, a Mac Mini and an iPad Air 2. I love the design of these devices and the simplicity of their operation. I can start work on a project on my iPad and finish it up on my MacBook. iCloud does such a fantastic job in facilitating interoperability between Apple devices in such a transparent manner that it’s easy to take it for granted. So, then, why do I still use an Android phone?

Back in the day, I was a huge fan of Blackberry mobile devices. I owned quite a few until Android came along. As a techie, I was immediately drawn to Android like a moth to a flame. Android’s Open Source heritage allowed me to tweak my mobile devices and make almost any change that I wanted. Even now, my Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge is setup with Nova Launcher which allows me to customize my mobile desktop to suit my specific needs. SwiftKey allows me to setup my keyboard to match my exact preferences. I use LightFlow and Tasker and a host of other utilities to create a mobile experience that is unique and suited to my specific tastes. I love my phone. I know where everything is and it does everything that I need a mobile device to do except…interact with my Apple devices.

Apple devices are not perfect. Far from it. There are things that bug me. The iOS keyboard really annoys me. Is it too much to have a row of numbers at the top of the keyboard? Why do I have to keep switching between keyboard sets just to get the additional characters? Interoperability is great thanks to iCloud but now I have to buy the additional iCloud storage to facilitate this convenience. Why not allow us to use Dropbox or Google Drive? Gmail does not work with Apple Mail at all. At least, Android and Windows gives me choices. I understand the technical and security reasons why the Apple ecosystem is closed and well controlled but these issues still bug me.

So, what exactly is my problem then? Well, I work (and play) extensively on my Mac’s and iPad for my writing, music creation, software development, etc. I can work on my projects at any time from anywhere on any device except my mobile phone. I cannot access Notes (the Apple Notes app), I cannot continue to read websites that I had open in Safari, I have photos in both Apple Photos and Google Photos. You get the idea. I love my Android phone but it is no longer fitting into my workflow. I know that there are (or may be) apps that can bridge the gaps in my workflow. For example, I probably can use an alternative note taking app, I can standardize on Google Photos and I’m sure there is probably a way to access files stored in iCloud from my phone. But it becomes cumbersome to manage and the process is contrary to the core reason that I prefer the Apple ecosystem. Everything just works seamlessly and transparently.

I have decided that I will give up my trusty Galaxy S6 for an iPhone S8 plus. Technically, I’m downgrading. The S6 has a superior screen, is customizable and probably has better battery life. I will be giving up my preferred Google Maps on Android Auto for Apple Maps on Apple CarPlay (yikes!).  I can always load Google Maps for iOS but it won’t be available on CarPlay. I will also have to come to terms with having my mobile desktop look like a million other mobile phones. Where is the uniqueness in that? On the plus side, my workflow will be improved as I will now be fully immersed into the Apple ecosystem. I am heading over to the dark side (Star Wars pun intended). Hey, if it doesn’t work out…I have my trusty Galaxy S6 as a backup 🙂

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