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Opinion: Why Are Android vs. iOS Debates Often Counterproductive?

What does it take to transform a calm Android group into a highly active one? Share an article about a failed switch to Android from a reputable iOS website within the group.

What’s the magical sentence that can transform a lazy iPhone group into a state of full awakeness? How about, “I am escaping this boring jail to the interesting free land of Android.”

The Android vs. iOS debate is not a new topic. It has been the subject of heated discussions and battles for years. The blind community has always been active in that debate, where the fight can become even more intense, as accessibility is a weapon used during the war.
Every now and then, we come across a post discussing the failed attempt to use one of the platforms, and we observe the noise that follows.

After watching many episodes of the Android vs. iOS series and participating in some of them, I am sharing some of the reasons that, in my opinion, are the cause of the often unsuccessful platform switches and the typically unfruitful messy iOS against Android discussions.

Outdated Information about the Other Platform:

Android and iOS are two operating systems that continuously evolve with each new version. This means that something that held true some years ago may not hold true today.
A clear problem in some iOS vs. Android discussions is that many opinions are based on outdated information.

Lack of Proper Understanding of the Nature of Each Operating System:

Despite borrowing features from each other each year, Android and iOS remain distinct operating systems. While Apple controls every aspect of iOS and the devices that run it, Android is a more flexible operating system that is not entirely controlled by Google. Furthermore, Android is available on numerous devices, with each manufacturer implementing its own user interface (UI) and set of features and settings.
When someone wishes to test either of these two operating systems, they should base their assessment on the real nature of the respective system. They shouldn’t expect the same level of customization on iOS or the seamless syncing and unified UI found on Android devices.
Liking the operating system and choosing to continue using it is a separate matter, of course.

Illogical Expectations:

If you switch from one operating system to another, expecting the same experience and methods to perform tasks, your transition will inevitably fail. Many people don’t recognize the differences as an integral part of adopting a new system they are not accustomed to. They should adapt or at least take some time to try adjusting to the new ways of doing things and the changes in how information is displayed and features are accessed. This leads to these individuals investing time in something that will ultimately fail, rendering their attempt to justify it under the guise of objectivity nothing more than another failure.

Personal Preference:

Whether the preference is developed through long-term familiarity with one of the operating systems, a strong liking for its core features, or a combination of both, attempting a subjective comparison between iOS and Android or justifying a failed switching attempt can be nonsensical. For instance, if I were to state that I will spend a week using iOS and then discuss my experience, the outcome is already predictable. As someone who strongly prefers Android and is not a fan of the Apple style, those who know me well will already perceive this as a sarcastic post rather than a serious attempt.

The Fanboy/Girl Style:

The inclination to defend what we use and like is a part of human nature. We often try to persuade others to join us, sometimes going to extremes.
In the Android vs. iOS debate, this human behavior becomes particularly evident, giving rise to the so-called “fanboys” and “fangirls.” These individuals have one purpose: to champion their chosen operating system while criticizing the other. They are willing to engage violently in such discussions to the point where they can turn a simple conversation into a personal attack.
The tactics employed by these fans are usually the same. They tend to disregard facts, and if they do consider them, they only choose facts that align with their views. Additionally, they often repeat the same arguments, even if the stated points are general, outdated, or unrelated to the specific discussion.

It’s relatively easy to provoke a fanboy or fangirl, and they are easily identifiable. Unfortunately, this style of behavior can play a role in frustrating newcomers and driving them away instead of assisting them in making informed decisions.

Misconceptions and Thoughts Based on Others’ Opinions:

Many objections to this operating system or that are not based on firsthand experience or research. They are often echoes of others’ sentiments. If you happen to follow someone who consistently praises Android, you may develop a positive bias toward the system. Likewise, if you are part of an organization, especially one related to the visually impaired, that prioritizes iPhone, you may come to believe that iOS is the only accessible operating system.
The real issue is that many people consider opinions as reality, becoming convinced without questioning or fact-checking. In some cases, these individuals themselves become spreaders of fake information and fall into the category of the fanboys and fangirls discussed above.

Closed Circles:

Many iOS users obtain their information about Android from the iOS groups they are a part of. The same holds true for Android users. Within these groups, it’s quite likely that the information is either incorrect or outdated. Encouraging members to explore another operating system is often met with discouraging comments, especially when these groups have a substantial number of fanboys and fangirls.
Participating in these closed circles can make the prospect of switching less appealing to you, even if, under different circumstances, the switch might align well with your needs.

Misleading Switch Failure Announcements and Articles:

It’s not uncommon to come across posts on Android or iOS-related pages where people share their unpleasant experiences when testing a device from the other operating system. These posts often contain mistakes, whether intentional or accidental, stemming from some of the causes mentioned earlier.
These posts always bring joy to one camp and frustration to the other, initiating new battles that last for some time before a temporary truce is reached, only to resume when the next similar post appears.
Such posts usually reinforce existing biases and judgments within these closed circles, further widening the gap between the two sides.

Final Thoughts:

People tend to forget that stances and opinions differ, and what works for someone may not necessarily work for another. They also often fail to acknowledge that choice is valuable. As they engage in heated arguments and insults, Google and Apple closely monitor each other’s progress, learning from mistakes and adopting appealing features.

It’s perfectly acceptable to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each operating system and express personal preferences. However, it is not normal to trash others’ choices or attempt to convince them that your preference is superior.

Moreover, you shouldn’t rush to publish a detailed comparison post or an article about your failed switch to the other platform if you lack the necessary level of experience. Also, avoid labeling your opinions and assumptions as objective facts. Objectivity is hard to achieve in a topic where personal thoughts and preferences are essential, as people vary in their likes, dislikes, and their degree of acceptance regarding different methods of navigation or features.

We should all accept that selecting one platform over the other or even using them both is influenced by many factors related to personal preference, budget, willingness to learn, lifestyle, and more.

There is one final important thing for us, blind users: Both platforms should be accessible to ensure free choice. We should not make assumptions about accessibility unless they are proven or based on correct information. We should advocate for the accessibility of both platforms and openly acknowledge their bugs and weaknesses, pushing for them to be fixed.

Are we, as a community, going to be more mature to keep discussions alive in a fruitful and civilized way? Are we ready to accept others’ differences and ideas without imposing our judgments? Can we refrain from using blogs and pages to mislead others or seek attention and views, and instead focus on emphasizing the importance of having two equally accessible platforms that everyone can utilize?

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About Author

Kareen Kiwan

Since her introduction to Android in late 2012, Kareen Kiwan has been a fan of the operating system, devoting some of her time to clear misconceptions about Android among blind people. She wrote articles about its accessibility and features on the Arabic website, of which she was a member of its team. Kareen's experience was gained through her following of the Android-related communities and fueled by her love for technology and her desire to test new innovations. She enjoys writing Android-related articles and believes in the role of proper communication with both the blind screen reader Android users and app developers in building a more accessible and inclusive Android. Kareen is a member of the Blind Android Users podcast team and Accessible Android editorial staff.

Published in Articles

One Comment

  1. Mike Mike

    Many thanks for this post. Having read this I totally agree. While I can confidently say I am 99 percent certain I haven’t bashed Android on a public forum being an iOS user for most of the time, I have however taken part in the pros and cons verbally. I have to say though partly due to my job where I have become exposed more to Android, getting to no how it works from someone who was a user and may one day switch back, plus this fantastic resource and podcast; that I adopt a different view now.
    I have recently said to people who ask about my view on this, that Android is perfectly usable now. I would even go so far as to say that I would be pretty happy using an Android phone now. That’s because of my job plus the fact that i am a geek, that I understand it more and frankly have an open mind that this is possible. Each platform will have its plus or minus points, but in my view the reasons for one over another are becoming less clear cut. I still have my reasons currently but don’t want to get into that here. I now believe though my difficulties are likely due to a knowledge gap which is decreasing as I learn more about the OS, plus having a device which won’t take updates past Android 10. Given that it’s not my device I can’t really do much about that unless I encounter issues from my employer which is another story. So the big question now I guess is will. My next device be an Android? I will have to wait as I recently upgraded my main iOS device, but am looking to maybe get a Pixel while I wait. Then I can customise it without worrying about work related stuff. I never say never though.
    Having recently listened to loads of the podcast and given this website a serious look, I will just add that I am really happy it’s here. Credit for all involved and now it’s really just about choice? No one can argue with that. Take care all.

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