The iPhone 13 won't make me switch from Android — here’s why

The iPhone 13 may be set to offer a lot but it doesn't solve any of the issues that keep me with Google.

The iPhone 13 won't make me switch from Android — here’s why

The iPhone 13 won't make me switch from Android — here’s why

By Tom Pritchard

Even the iPhone 13 doesn't have enough to draw me away from Google

(Image credit: EverythingApplePro)

I’ve been an Android user for over ten years at this point, having swapped to Google’s mobile OS from the now-ancient iPhone 3GS. I’m no stranger to iPhones or iOS in general, since my job pretty much demands it.

But am I likely to buy an iPhone of my own? The answer is still no. And despite all the flaws Android has, it still suits me much better than Apple’s smartphone will. Not even the iPhone 13 is going to change that.

The main thing I like about Android, as an operating system, is its inherent ability to customise your experience. Android itself has the option to have whatever you darn well like on the home screen, and has done for over a decade.

The main thing I like about this is that I get to pick and choose what apps to have on my homescreen, and how they’re presented. The rest all live in the app drawer, waiting for me to flick it open and find whatever it is I’m looking for.

Granted, the iPhone has had its own dedicated app library since iOS 14 , and you don’t necessarily have to keep all your apps on the home screen. But iOS still doesn’t give you complete control over their positioning either, since you can’t leave any empty space between icons.

Even with Apple’s revamped home screen widgets, which are now more like Android’s than whatever the heck Apple thought it was doing before, can’t make up for that fact. At least not to me.

Sure, things have improved a lot over the past year or so, but for now Android still has the edge. Given the multitude of customizable launchers out there, that are invaluable tools when you do end up with a device with a design that isn’t quite to your liking.

I’m also no huge fan of the fact Apple has tossed Touch ID to the wayside. And per the recent Apple Event , it won't be making a return with iPhone 13. While I very much preferred the classic physical fingerprint scanner over the new under-display options, I find them a lot nicer to use than Face ID.

Frankly, having to look at my phone to unlock it, especially when verifying a payment in Apple Pay, was such a chore that I found it baffling Apple picked it over something as easy as tapping a finger over a button.

I get where Apple is coming from with Face ID being more secure than a mere fingerprint scanner, but it would be nice to have an option. Especially since under-display fingerprint scanners are pretty well established at this point.

The same goes for USB-C, which Apple has been pretty slow to adopt in its mobile devices. While MacBooks switched to the standard back in 2015, with iPad Pros joining them in 2018 and iPad mini including the port this year. And yet, Lightning has still lingered, despite now being ancient by tech standards.

There is the argument that Lighting is absolutely fine, and doesn’t need changing — barring a few exceptions where USB-C’s enhanced connectivity is needed. But there are also rumors that Apple is trying to wait it out, and only ditch Lightning when it can release a reliable portless iPhone .

Personally, if I’m buying a new phone, it would be nice to keep using all the various chargers I’ve accumulated over the years — even if they don’t offer the very best charging speeds. Any other phone and I wouldn’t have that problem, but Apple still insists on being the outlier.

Apple does get some of the important stuff right

That said, there are things that appeal to me about iOS. Apple’s focus on privacy and security is great, and something more phone makers (Google especially) should be focusing on. Likewise, the fact that iPhones all get software updates around the same time, rather than waiting for an OEM or carrier to start rolling them out, is pretty great.

Though, Google does that with the Pixel range as well. But Google doesn’t support its phones for nearly as long as it could. Apple still supports the iPhone 6S , and other phones released back in 2015.

Meanwhile, Google only supports Pixels for a few years, meaning the oldest one still getting regular Android updates is 2018’s Pixel 3 — but that support expires at the end of next month. It’s a problem all Android phones have, and something that end of the market really need to steal from Cupertino.

Then again, none of those things really make up for the fact an iPhone costs so much. Plenty of flagship Android phones do as well, which is why I stay clear of them, but at the very least there are plenty of lower cost options to pick up the slack. Options that are, frankly, not that much worse than a flagship.

With iPhones “cheaper” always means smaller, and don’t want to go back to the postage-stamp feeling screens of something like the iPhone SE or iPhone 12 mini . Sure the $349 iPhone SE has everything an iPhone 13 does where software is concerned, but its hardware is absolutely not my thing.

Bottom Line

Existing familiarity with Android may play some role in my decision, but at the same the fact every phone maker seems to have their own flavor of Android means there are always new interfaces to get used to.

I’m aware that these are all very minor criticisms, but they do add up. And they add up to the point where, especially if you take price into consideration, that I genuinely do not want to make the jump from Android back to the iPhone. And unless Apple is going to make some pretty sweeping changes with its next handset, then it isn’t going to happen anytime soon — iPhone 13 or not.

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Tom Pritchard

Tom is the Tom's Guide's Automotive Editor, which means he can usually be found knee deep in stats the latest and best electric cars, or checking out some sort of driving gadget. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining that Ikea won’t let him buy the stuff he really needs online.

Topics Smartphones