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.
Table of Contents
- Outdated Information about the Other Platform:
- Lack of Proper Understanding of the Nature of Each Operating System:
- Illogical Expectations:
- Personal Preference:
- The Fanboy/Girl Style:
- Misconceptions and Thoughts Based on Others’ Opinions:
- Closed Circles:
- Misleading Switch Failure Announcements and Articles:
- Final Thoughts:
Outdated Information about the Other Platform: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A clear problem in some iOS vs. Android discussions is that many opinions are based on outdated information.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.
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.
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.
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.
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?