iOS 14 vs. Android 11: Which Is the Ultimate Smartphone OS?
Updated: May 13,2022
The unveiling of the newest generation of smartphones hasn’t done much to settle the long-running debate about which device is better - an iPhone or an Android? The war between the iOS and Android crowd has been raging since the very founding of these two mobile operating systems.
While both sides of the aisle are constantly trying to get their counterparts to join their ranks, longtime users are weighing the pros and cons of upgrading their devices and the mobile OS. This year is all about the iOS 14 vs Android 11 showdown. And the two sides are a lot more neck and neck than the diehard fans are willing to admit.
Today’s smartphones don’t just look the same, but the OS manufacturers work hard to copy each other’s features. That’s why our thorough comparison of the main features will help you pick an ideal OS for your needs. But first, let’s meet the contenders.
iOS 14: A Touch of Cocoa
It’s an Apple tradition to launch a brand new version of iOS alongside the new iPhone generation. But in 2020, the iOS versus Android race caused by the global pandemic prompted Apple to release iOS 14 on September 16, a whole month before the iPhone 12 series arrived in stores. The OS was available for iPhone 6S and newer Apple smartphones, as well as the 7th generation of iPod Touch devices.
Thanks to the Cocoa Touch technology developed by Apple, the brand new iOS brought a lot of neat improvements to the table, mainly in the performance department. The camera app saw the biggest performance upgrade, snapping photos up to 90% faster than with the previous iOS version.
Aside from the new iOS 14 features, the update brought some long-awaited UI changes. Mainly, the screen real estate used by some apps has been freed up, allowing for better multitasking and navigation. Multimedia apps can now work in picture-in-picture mode, a feature that’s been available on Android since Android 8 Oreo.
Android 11: Turning up the Dial
As you may already be aware, Google lost its sweet tooth after Android 9 Pie. The names of newer versions are just a number, which takes away some of the charm of older OS generations.
But Google turned the dial up to eleven on September 8, gaining a slight edge over its archrival. The first phones with Android 11 features were Google Pixel and OnePlus 8T, while the European launch of the OS was with Vivo’s X51 5G smartphone. Soon after, manufacturers Xiaomi, Oppo, and Realme launched their own devices featuring the brand new Android OS. Google has also launched a lighter version of the OS, titled Android 11 Go, aimed at the older and low-end smartphones and tablets with 2 GB of RAM.
The changes from Android 10 to 11 aren’t so drastic compared to Apple's updates in its latest OS. The main Android 11 feature in this generation is 5G. As the world gradually moves towards this new communication standard, all conspiracy theories aside, Google needed to update its platform for better detection of the signal. A brand new API is now in place, designed not just for detecting the signal but keeping it more stable and thus improving overall network performance.
Since the foldable and curved-screen smartphones are all the rage right now, the Android 11 operating system is packed with software code that ensures better handling of the unorthodox screen sizes and shapes.
iOS 14 vs Android 11: New Features
A brand new mobile OS has to include more than a few additions to the feature list. It’s not enough to just slightly tweak the UI, update the color scheme, add a few ringtones, and call it a day. The smartphone ecosystem is constantly developing, and the users expect an updated OS to follow certain trends. A smartphone is something we wake up to and carry everywhere we go. It’s part of our daily life. It’s natural that we expect our phones to get more and more features with every update.
When it comes to features, Android 11 vs iOS 14 is an interesting comparison. With the latest iOS, Apple is focusing on NFC technology with the introduction of App Clips, a sort of temporary app that you get by scanning the tags in the wild. If you have a compatible car, like a BMW 5 series, NFC enables you to use your iPhone instead of your car keys even if the phone is shut down. Apple also introduced more transparency to app permissions, so you’ll know exactly what each of your apps has permissions for.
Privacy is another strong iOS 14 feature. You’ll know whether an app is using your mic, camera, or clipboard, and advertisers now have a harder time tracking the online habits of iPhone users. In addition, there is a MAC randomization for all Wi-Fi connections. Finally, the Safari browser is now able to conduct online searches to determine if your passwords have been leaked in data breaches, and it can also generate reports about any trackers on websites.
Android 11 comes with its own improvements under the hood. The support for non-standard screen sizes has been expanded, and the OS is capable of monitoring the device’s temperature and optimizing the performance of apps on the fly to cool down the phone.
One overlapping feature in the iOS 14 versus Android 11 comparison relates to Google’s extensive efforts to improve user privacy. Apps can now access only the part of external storage where they created files during installation, while everything else requires permission. There’s also a new type of permission called “one-time” for the camera, location, and microphone. This allows users to grant temporary permissions to apps trying to access the aforementioned features instead of permanently unlocking them. It’s a great way to enable geotagging for specific photos, rather than having all your snaps tagged with every location you’ve ever visited.
iOS 14 vs Android 11: User Experience
The most obvious changes with any OS update are on the UI. It’s the first thing users encounter when booting the phone after an update and, obviously, the main factor in the overall experience. Both Apple and Google have introduced certain improvements to the user experience in the latest OS versions, although in a different fashion.
Apple has made a huge leap with iOS 14, finally catching up to Android in terms of features that make the smartphone easier to use. Users can finally add widgets, which makes the iPhone home screen a lot livelier. The absence of widgets in the past was often used as an argument to explain why Android is better. You can finally choose a new default app for mail and web browsing instead of having to open them manually. The aforementioned picture-in-picture mode, which allows you to play multimedia like YouTube and Twitch over other apps, is another long-awaited addition. Again, Apple played catch up with Google, and it’s finally paying off for iPhone users.
But the Google team isn't sitting on their hands. Even though Android 11 doesn’t bring such drastic changes to the user experience and UI, there are some neat, albeit small additions. One difference between iOS and Android was “chat bubbles.” These are notifications that pop out when someone sends you a message. Facebook’s Messenger introduced this feature, but now it’s included with the default messaging app on Android.
If you own any smart home devices, you can control them all via a quick menu on your smartphone by holding the power button. Android finally got a built-in screen record, so there’s no need for third-party apps anymore. Lastly, if you use a lot of voice commands, Google has vastly improved its voice recognition software.
It’s difficult to pick a winner in the Android 11 versus iOS 14 comparison, and the debate over which is better will likely continue until the manufacturers release the next generation of their mobile operating systems. Both of these operating systems have their own upsides and quirks, but it’s evident that we’re nearing the moment where these systems will start looking like a carbon copy of each other. With iOS 14, it’s evident that Apple has been trying to catch up with Android, especially on the multitasking side of things. Android, on the other hand, hasn’t changed much in its 11th iteration, making some users wonder whether they should upgrade at all.
In the end, deciding between iPhone vs Android still boils down to personal preferences and habits. The smartphone market is in better shape than it’s ever been, and manufacturers are increasingly focused on users’ privacy. Ultimately, it’s the consumers that benefit from all the new features.
Frequently Asked Questions
Both iOS and Android improve the overall user experience on smartphones with their latest iterations and introduce a set of neat features. There’s currently no clear winner in this fight, especially since the latest UI updates for iOS drastically reduce the difference between Android and iOS on the usage side of things. Even if you’re switching, it won’t take you too long to get accustomed to another OS.
No, the latest iOS doesn’t slow down iPhone 11. In fact, the tests have shown that the new OS speeds up certain features, like taking pictures and organizing conversations. As such, it’s highly recommended to update your phone to iOS 14 as soon as possible.
Google is done naming its products after cakes and sweets. Some regarded this as a neat difference between Android and iPhone. But the newest release is simply called Android 11.
No, Samsung manufactures Android phones exclusively, and so far, it isn’t possible to install iOS on any Android device. That being said, you can use some third-party apps to emulate the look and feel of iOS on your phone if you don’t mind tinkering with settings.
The iOS 14 vs Android 11 comparison will likely lead you to the conclusion that the two are equals in many ways. The operating systems are reaching feature parity, especially with the UI that’s starting to look a bit too similar. If you have a newer phone, the performance is pretty much the same. It really boils down to brands and what you’re already used to.
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With a degree in humanities and a knack for the history of tech, Jovan was always interested in how technology shapes both us as human beings and our social landscapes. When he isn't binging on news and trying to predict the latest tech fads, you may find him trapped within the covers of a generic 80s cyberpunk thriller.