It is that time of the year again when we get a peek at what changes are coming to the phones in our hands. No, I am not talking about the new phones that happen around the fall, but I am talking about the operating systems in that phone of yours. So, every summer, Google and Apple hold a developer conference to talk about the new software improvements and showcase the new iteration of their mobile OS
Apple announced the next version of its operating system for iPhones – the iOS 16, which will be coming to iPhones (iPhone 8 and above) likely in September. Similarly, earlier this year (March, to be precise), Google also announced the Android 13, the next iteration of Android, an operating system running on most non-Apple smartphones.
Both iOS 16 and Android 13 bring new features and changes to make your smartphones smarter and more convenient.
With iOS 16, Apple revamped how your lock screen looks, enabling users to give it a completely personal look and added an ability to edit or undo a message in the Messages app. Apple iOS 16 finally brings contactless payments to iPhones. Also, sharing photos with your family and friends would get much easier. And there is a whole new wallpaper gallery with dozens of new wallpapers. The SharePlay will also work on the Message app.
Moreover, Live Text comes to videos meaning you can select and copy the text from a video. Apple aims to replace your passwords with a passkey with the iOS 16. Also, you can fluently type on your iPhone hands-free with the new and improved dictation on iOS 16.
Meanwhile, Android 13 focuses more on functionality since Android 12 was a major overhaul with the Material You. But there are some visual changes as now third-party app icons will also support the new design language. And, just like Apple’s Messages, Google also added some new features to its messaging app. It now supports photos and videos. You can message over WiFi without needing a mobile internet connection. Thanks to RCS, there are typing indicators now, and end-to-end encrypted group conversations are also coming. And like iOS, apps on Android will have to get your permission to send you notifications. And there is a new security app to check your privacy and security settings, among many other additions and improvements.
Well, they are very similar to each other yet very different. Some features have already existed on Android for a long time, but they are making it to iOS now. There are things which iOS does better than Android. So, let us have a detailed look at what’s better in iOS 16 and where iOS 16 stands out from Android.
Widgets on the lock screen or Material You?
Apple iOS had never been known for being customisable. Until a few years ago, you could only change the wallpaper, but Apple then brought in widgets, which became a huge part of our now home screens. Well, Android had widgets for years, but Apple did it better. However, Google also gave a makeover to the widgets in Android 12.
Now, cut to 2022, Apple has changed the lock screen look. You can customise the way it looks and even add widgets, allowing you to know more things without unlocking your iPhone. And, notifications now roll in from the down, making them more reachable than it is on Android. Android has “At a glance,” in place of widgets, which also works quite well. But listen, Android, we need you to get the notifications in order.
It is wrong to say that iOS looks great or Android has better looks because it is a personal preference. Some people love iOS for its simplicity, and some hate that it does not have customisation options like Android or a theming engine. At the same time, not everyone likes the Material You. So, it is up to you what design or look suits you better.
Android copies Apple Wallet
Wallet apps are not that huge in India, whether Apple Wallet or Google Pay (not the Google Pay we have in India). But, they are becoming an essential part of life in the west, where users can save their payment cards, travel cards, health records or identification cards.
Well, iOS has had a Wallet app for five years now. But, after severely failing with Google Pay, the company reintroduced “Google Pay” as “Google Wallet” last month. And now, it is somewhat catching up with the Apple Wallet to enable those features on Android.
The Messages app gets better on Android and iOS, But Apple is not adopting RCS (at least anytime soon)
With Android 13, Google also updated its RCS, the next messaging standard (only if Apple adopts it). Now, you will get a typing indicator, and you can also create groups. Also, with Android 13, users will be able to send high-resolution photos. And the chats will be end-to-end encrypted. Yes, these are no new features, and most of them already existed on Apple’s Messages app. Google is progressing with messaging, but it has a green bubble on the iPhone.
Meanwhile, Apple, which is yet to get on the RCS train, has introduced some new features in the Messages app. In iOS 16, users can edit a message or delete one until 15 minutes. You can also retract a message up to 30 days after deleting it. Also, SharePlay is coming to the Messages, so you can text while watching a video simultaneously or listen to the same music and text your friend the bit you liked the most.
It is great to see both iOS and Android get these new messaging features that improve how we can connect and maybe reduce our reliance on WhatsApp. But, we hope Apple jumps on the RCS wagon one day and ends this blue bubble and green bubble divide one day.
Who cares about your privacy more?
In an ideal world, every big tech corporation is working towards ensuring your privacy and safety on the internet. Well, Apple had been one of those ideal tech corporations, but Google and Android, too, are making an earnest attempt.
In iOS 14, Apple introduced the App Tracking Transparency, a feature allowing users to revoke an app’s tracking capabilities. There is a camera and microphone which shows a little bubble on the top of the screen if your camera or microphone is in use. Now with iOS 16, Apple has introduced Safety Check, a feature that will let you revoke access to data to protect it from abusers.
Meanwhile, Android, which doesn’t have any features like the App Tracking Transparency, does have privacy indicators. At the recent I/O keynote, Google said it would give users more control over data sharing with third-party apps in the Android 13. Also, in Android 13, users will be able to give apps permission to specific photos instead of giving them access to the entire library. So, Android is catching up with iOS when it comes to privacy features.
To many, neither iOS 16 nor Android 13 may appear to bring any groundbreaking features. But there are additions to both the OS that promise to change the way you use your phones. These include some common features that potentially add that little extra value to your lives.