We look at design, security, compatibility and more to see which OS best fits your business
Everyone knows someone who’s unfailingly loyal to their smartphone operating system. If you don’t have the same system as they, do, they’ll be sure to tell you what you’re missing out on.
You might think that your phone has a great camera, but theirs has a much better retina display. You might like your phone’s battery life, but their phone has so much more storage. Whatever your phone can do, theirs can do better.
Every operating system has a seemingly endless list of pros and cons. So, who’s right? If you’re looking to purchase smartphones for your business and/or employees, there are a plethora of variables you need to consider before committing to an operating system.
The mobile OS is dominated by two players: iOS and Android. Each platform has a wide array of features that make them worth buying - so much so that deciding between one or the other can be overwhelming. In order to make the right decision, you have to know what you’re looking for.
Perhaps you’re drawn to Apple’s sleek design. Maybe Google's smartphone platform is so customisable that it’s hard for you to resist. Either way, your personal interests may or may not align with what’s best for your business.
Security, app support and compatibility, ease of use and hardware are all factors you need to consider before making the switch to a brand-new platform. To help you decide, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide that will help you figure out which operating system suits your needs the most.
Android vs iOS: Hardware choice
Our comparison between iOS and Android will mostly focus on the software aspects of both operating systems, but a key consideration about which to choose is the availability of the hardware and whether the features packed into a smartphone is right for you.
Although iOS only comes in one flavour - the iPhone - there are lots of different types of iPhone to choose from, including the top of the range iPhone XS Max, the middle of the road iPhone XS, and the budget iPhone XR. If you’re not interested in the newest iPhone, you can also choose one of Apple’s older models - the iPhone X, the iPhone 8, 8 Plus or even the 7 series.
The iPhone is the most popular phone in circulation around the world and that’s for good reason. They’re premium devices, fast, with a beautiful design and fantastic cameras in pretty much every model. But they’re expensive and although Apple is always innovating, they lack real cutting-edge features and are a little bit “samey”.
There’s so much more choice if you go for an Android phone. Whether you want one of Samsung’s Note series of phablets, Huawei’s camera tech, Google’s super-speedy options or something perhaps a little more budget like the OnePlus range, you’re covered.
Android vs iOS: Design
Although the latest version of Google's OS is a far cry from the days of clunky Android KitKat, Oreo simply can't match the slick and gorgeous experience offered by iOS. Apple's OS is simply better looking and more intuitive than anything Google can offer.
With iOS, Apple has created an OS that's perfectly suited for the everyday user. It's a highly accessible platform and is incredibly easy to use and navigate, regardless of your experience with technology. Google's operating systems, however, have always suffered from being a little confusing, with many features and settings hidden behind opaque menus.
The problem with simplicity in software is that functionality invariably suffers as a result. Side by side, Android is a far more feature-rich platform, offering greater customisation options and a bunch of settings, albeit hidden, for adjusting a device to fit your tastes and needs. There are even some limited options to set up automated sequences for certain tasks.
Yet within the smartphone market, usability is king. Apple's iOS is easily the best-looking operating system around, and it allows the majority of its users to do everything they would need to do on a daily basis quickly and easily.
While iOS on iPhones looks great, it really shines on tablets where the software can take advantage of powerful multitasking features supported by superb Apple processors. The laptop-style experience you can create on an iOS tablet is simply far superior to anything an Android tablet can offer.
Android vs iOS: Compatibility
The iPhone is the most popular device in the world, so it's absolutely no surprise that software makers and accessory manufacturers generally choose to prioritise it over Android. This means that if you've got an Apple device, you can all but guarantee whatever app, platform, plugin or attachment you want to use with it will be supported.
Android, by contrast, is much more of a gamble. Samsung is pretty much the only major manufacturer whose devices are routinely supported as a matter of course, but even that's restricted to the flagship S-series handsets.
Another potential issue for some users will be the fact that Apple has chosen to remove the headphone jack on later devices. This isn't a major problem, given that there's a Lightning to 3.5mm jack adapter supplied in the box and Bluetooth headphones are widely available, but if you're dead-set on having a headphone port, an Android device may be a better choice.
Android vs iOS: Security
Mobile security is too often overlooked by businesses, but if you're issuing devices to your employees, you should make certain that they're as secure as humanly possible. The list of vulnerabilities, exploits and other security flaws that have been discovered in the Android OS is long and extensive, as is the list of malware-riddled apps found on the Google Play Store.
iOS benefits from a better reputation, but it's far from unhackable. Recent notable flaws including the HomeKit bug and the Meltdown/Spectre debacle. instances of major exploits in Apple's devices are much, much fewer than on Android, however, and it benefits from faster software rollouts, too. Apple can push updates to all of its handsets directly, whereas Android users must wait until their phone maker has implemented a version of Google's update that works with its own Android skin.
Android vs iOS: Verdict
Android has millions of fans around the world, and with good reason; it's matured into a powerful and versatile operating system, with heaps of functionality. However, for business devices, the fact is that Apple's software remains king of the hill.
iOS is slick, easy to use, good-looking and with absolutely stellar security. While it's not without its flaws, the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages, and for corporate devices, iOS should still be your first port of call.