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Heavy Contemplation: Ditch my iPhone for Android?

When Apple first released the iPhone, I was so there. I was so excited. I waited in line for ages. And my iPhone has been my constant companion ever since.

I’m not sure it will be for much longer, though. Last week I switched mobile carriers so Greg and I could link our accounts and I could have far better roaming when I travel to the U.S. The clerk helping us was friendly and chatty, and really knew her stuff. And as we were doing the paperwork and Owen was hiding in the furniture playing cars and Greg was half participating in our conversation and half making sure that “playing with cars” didn’t end up meaning “destroying property,” the clerk remarked that she’s a little surprised, because after talking with me for a while I seem to have the soul of an Android user.

I’d been telling her that I’ve felt increasingly frustrated with iOS, the operating system iPhones run on, and how Apple is doing with it what it’s done with its computer operating system over the years: they’ve made it so user-friendly it’s impossible to manage myself. (Except that I’ve figured out how to manage my computer how I want to; not so much the phone.)

I’m no dummy about these things. I’m not a coder, but I’m a fairly independent user of the tech I choose. I understand the cloud and how it works, I understand how my apps do and do not interact, and I can usually troubleshoot without calling in professional help.

But since Apple went all-in with iCloud, and wrangled its photo and music apps to integrate with it, instead of enjoying the new seamless blah blah blah, I’ve felt like I’ve lost control over my stuff, and I’ve felt frustrated because I can’t figure out how to get that control back. Sadly, I’ve come to a point where I no longer believe I can get it back.

So when the clerk said I have the soul of an Android user, I realized she’s totally right. I want control, dammit. I want control and functionality. I use my phone all the time. It’s an integral part of my business, and obviously also of my personal life. So it’s important that I see my phone as a useful tool rather than a thing I need to work around.

No longer does my enormous pile of iPhone apps, amassed over so many years, seem like a reason to stick with my iPhone. No longer does the convenience of an Apple Music family plan seem worth sticking with my iPhone. No longer do AirPlay and AirDrop seem worth sticking with my iPhone.

Don’t get me wrong – there’s no chance in hell I’ll ditch my MacBook Air. No chance. Nor will I ditch my iPad Mini.

The only kicker is that I got an Apple Watch for my birthday last month, and I think it’s pretty swell. I do not appreciate the terrible timing of my Android realization in relation to my acquisition of this watch.

Regardless, I started to read up about Android and Android cell phones. The woman walking me through initialing my new cellular contract specifically recommended the LG 4G phone, based on my mumbles and gripes. So I started there. And again, she nailed it. The phone is big, but not too big. It’s got a great camera. Consumer Reports rates it amongst the best smartphones (significantly higher than the iPhone 6, actually). And it’s less expensive than an iPhone.

Did you know that there are Android smart watches, too? Of course I didn’t know that, being such an Apple fanatic. But I know it now. And they do what I use my Apple Watch for. And, like Android phones, they’re significantly less expensive.

Because I only just switched carriers, and I brought my own phone with me, there’s a 30-day probationary-like period during which I can’t upgrade my phone. I see it like a cooling off period. If, by mid-September, I’m still hooked on this whole idea, I’m going to figure out the best thing to do with my shiny watch, and I’m going to take a deep breath and probably have a drink, and I’m going to switch to an Android phone.

Have you done such a thing?

 

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Doug Philips

Ugh, please be careful. I started my smart phone journey with the ‘droid 2 based on seeing a friend with the original droid. This was Verizon. You don’t say which carrier you are dealing with. While the droid 2 was a nice phone, it was crappy buggy as hell. It was full of Verizon apps that you couldn’t delete. After a few months (and despite reboots), I would get stuck on phone calls where the screen went blank. I couldn’t mute/unmute/hangup/etc. I would have to open the phone and pull the battery. I’d be driving down the highway, clear open sky and the GPS would lose contact with satellites. I’d have to reboot the phone to fix it.

If you have a 30-day ‘cooling off’ period, then use the phone like hell and make sure it’s stable, that you can remove stuff you don’t like, etc.

Android might be an “open” system, but all that means is that the carriers are free to put on whatever uninstallable crap they want. Lots of folks said: “Oh, just root your phone and …”.
I wanted a mobile computing platform that just frickin’ worked, I did not want a phone kit that I would have to root and build myself.

Your mileage may vary, and the carrier will make or break your experience. I’ve been super happy with my iPhones (4-6+) and would be very leery of going back. Having phone calls (infrequent, but critical) and text messages and GPS always working is a must-have, but if you just want a portable computer that’s a different set of criteria.

Cheryl Larson

Kim, DON’T DO IT! Okay, maybe that all caps business is overkill, but I speak from experience. I too wanted to have control and an intuitive operating system so I switched to Android (Galaxy Note) and I have trudged through the months and months of my agreement with this phone in agony. My main gripe is that there is really no comparison to the iPhone photo capabilities. If you don’t care much about photos and videos of that cute kiddo, then switch. If, however, you would be frustrated by out of focus photos (even with care and precision in trying to take the photo), or under or over exposed images, then it would be important to test the photo capabilities of the camera on the phone before committing. My twenty cents on the topic.

Cheryl Larson

Thanks for the tip on an alternate Android. My phone had good ratings but failed to live up to my expectations. So frustrating. I’m curious to find out if you make the leap. :)

Shalagh Hogan

I’m out here using my gigantic Android and I have no problems with it. A few app hiccups with the recent update but par to the course that. The camera is amazing and that was primary as I’m a blogger and take photos constantly. I have no complaints over the camera. When it’s dark, it’s pixely.Oh right. From my personal experience, it’s a good thing you are doing.
Love,
Shalagh

Donna Jaggard Fox

I have no advice re: switching because I’m way too invested in Apple to consider it, but: If you do end up switching and want to sell your Apple Watch… lemme know. :)

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