I’m not trying to be a contrarian. I’m not trying to be unique, or special, or cause anyone heartburn. I switched back to an Android phone about a month ago, and despite the phone setup itself being quite painless, I have been chastized on a near daily basis since then for making that decision.
I’m tired of trying to defend my choice. And I’m tired of feeling bad about making the right decision for me because it inconveniences others (thanks to artificial barriers put in place by Apple to make the decision cost of switching to a different platform so high).
To put it plainly, I am not an Android fanboy, nor a Google fanboy, nor do I want to go against the grain. The truth is that there are things provided by the Android platform that simply aren’t possible or aren’t available elsewhere.
Here are some reasons why I choose to use Android:
- My entire music library is offline and stored as FLAC files, which Android can play and organize natively. Additionally, there are dozens of apps I can choose from to play the music.
- It supports using the LDAC codec via Bluetooth, which provides great sounding audio support (compared to the other, more lossy codecs).
- It uses USB-C, and therefore the same charger I use for my laptop, iPad, Nintendo Switch, Kindle, and every other gizmo and gadget is equally compatible here. When I’m on a trip or even just out in town, I don’t have to lug multiple cords or bricks with me.
- I can receive, read, and reply to Signal conversations while using the car mode.
- I can receive, read, and reply to text messages from the browser on my Linux laptop (my daily driver).
- I have the ability to use alternative app stores; in particular, I can use F-Droid to find really great free and open source applications, and install them directly from their developers. It also allows me to manually install any application I choose.
- I am able to access the filesystem directly (useful for copying photos and exporting entire data sets, like past text message histories). It also provides faster USB 3.0 speeds compared to the lightning port on iPhones.
- I have support for sending and receiving RCS messages, which is an open standard widely used by pretty much all other phone carries in the world. The iPhone artifically locks users into its proprietary iMessage ecosystem, and as a result refuses to interoperate with the open standard.
- I want to use an open source web browser that is able to sync with the browsers on other platforms. Right now, all web browsers on iOS are essentially skins on top of the WebKit rending engine backend that Safari uses. Other rending engines, like Gecko and Blink, are not permitted.
- It supports apps I use that aren’t on iOS yet, like StreetComplete and PixelDroid.
- I can have better access to the onboard RFID chip.
- It supports alternate codecs I use, such as AV1, natively.
That’s not to say this is an easy choice. There are things I like about the Apple Ecosystem, like:
- Apple Maps
- The “Find My” app, which consolodates not only people, but device and item tracking
- Apple Cash as a way to effortlessly send money between people
The transition also involves replacing other gadgets that are only compatible with iPhone:
- Apple Watch
All that is to say, I’m not trying to be special, and I’m not trying to break everyone else’s experience. I’m sorry that sending videos in a group chat makes them all super low quality now. I’m sorry that reactions don’t work right. I’m sorry that the experience for others is less enjoyable. But I’m tired of being chained to a less-useful tool just because the company that makes it wants to use an anticompetitive flywheel to compel folks to stay within its ecosystem. Take your frustrations out on Apple, not me.