Why The iPhone Is Impossible For Me To Use

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I was recently given an iPhone for use as my work phone and you know, I actually quite looked forward to seeing how the other half lived and worked. I went into it trying to keep an open mind, and not let my thoughts of ios judge how I was about to use it. I think coming from android might have spoiled me slightly, I probably expect too much from a phone now. If I had come from a dumbphone, my view of the iPhone would probably be quite different, as it is, the following key things stood out at me..

Shortcuts

There is no quick way to disable/enable things like WiFi or Bluetooth. Each of these takes multiple clicks. It should be easy. It isn't, it's frustrating, especially if you do it lots like I do.

Android lets you add quick toggles to your notification bar, a much more user-friendly way.

Background Processes

Possibly the most disappointing aspect of ios. The scope of background processes is extremely poor. Two big examples are that Dropbox cannot upload your camera uploads unless you open the app. That is one of the main reasons Dropbox included this feature! So you don't have to worry about doing it. The other? Spotify will stop syncing your playlists after a few minutes once you leave the app. Needless to say, it won't even attempt to sync them unless you open the app to begin with.

Things like this happen on android automatically. Apps can have separate background threads designed to do things like sync playlists, and upload photos without eating up your battery.

Folders

Apple won't let you move certain apps inside a folder, so if you don't read magazines or newspapers on your 3.5" screen, you're stuck looking at an empty bookshelf forever. Literally, you can't remove it unless you jailbreak. I know, I thought the same too, you actually have to jailbreak your device in order to move an app icon into a folder (or totally from view).

It feels a bit silly to even mention android folders in the same paragraph, the functionality is miles apart.

App Interaction

Apps do not speak to each other at all. You can only share to apps that the app you're in says you can. This leads to some strange situations:

  • You can't share a photo to Instagram from the camera. You have to actually close the gallery and then go into Instagram, then locate the image inside the gallery. Way too many clicks than should be necessary.
  • You are presented the option to share to apps you don't even have installed! Talk about confusing!

If you've ever used android, you'll understand just how sophisticated app interaction can be, and how pathetic Apple's version is.

Settings

The settings to configure an app are not accessible from the app in question. Using an app and want to change how it works? You have to leave the app, go to the settings icon, scroll all the way down what could be a pretty huge list (you have to scroll past all the Apple-owned apps first, even if you never use these), then enter the settings option for that app. Then you have to go back and reopen the app again. It's a long, drawn out process, that makes little sense to me.

Unlimited Data

You can't download an app that is larger than 50mb unless you are on WiFi, or unless you connect your phone to iTunes. You know that unlimited data you pay a lot to your network for? Apple doesn't care.

Notifications

The notification pulldown is quite poor. It shows every notification for each app, rather than grouping them. This means the list can get pretty large, and the only way to clear an item is to clear all items.

  • You also have to do two things to clear a list of items. 1: Click the cross, then 2: click clear. One action should suffice here.
  • You get told of a new notification, but after the initial message you have no idea if you have any. You have to manually swipe down to see if there are any there. Ruins the point of a notification panel.

Keyboard

iPhone owners say the keyboard is fantastic, the only conclusion I can reach is they have never used something like SwiftKey on android. Because the ios keyboard falls dead on its arse once you've used android. Little things like:

  • The keys always show uppercase letters. sure you can tell if you're actually about to type in upper-case as the shift key is highlighted, but come on, it feels so archaic when you're using it.
  • You have to click the more button to type anything other than a letter. Writing anything with a comma, question mark or number in takes twice as long as you have to switch back and forth over and over.
  • When you tap on a letter, the pop-up showing you what you clicked is enormous! Its ridiculous  it's so big it actually stops you from seeing the character you want to type next.

Screen

There is no point having a good camera when you can barely see anything you take as the screen is so small. This isn't just holding back the camera either. You need great eye-sight to use an iPhone, everything is tiny.

Sure you can zoom in on the browser, but then you can't see much of anything else.

  • Most apps don't let you zoom.
  • This is a big issue during general navigation too. The amount of times I've had to keep jabbing at a small cross, or mini back button because it doesn't register my touch. It's just annoying.

Default Apps

So I use Chrome on every device, why? So all my stuff syncs wherever I am, whatever I'm using. Apple tries its hardest to make your life difficult. I installed Chrome on the iPhone, but I rarely ever got a chance to use it. Apple defaults to Safari for everything. This is the same for the majority of apps that Apple bundle with the phone. Keyboard, dialler, email client, you name it, you probably can't change it!

UI

The UI is really beginning to show its age. This is essentially a 6 year old design, and it shows. When others are actually pushing design forward (see Windows Phone, Android), Apple are really stuck in a rut here. If you disagree and own an iPhone, then simply take a look at any google app on your device. You'll understand what I mean.

A couple of years ago I'd get laughed at for saying this, but right now Apple is trailing far behind android on looks.

Scrolling

The scrolling! Have you ever tried scrolling on an iPhone? It's like you purposely stuck your phone in a big tin of Golden Syrup, then put glue on your thumb, then attempted to scroll down a web page.

Downloads

Fancy downloading an attachment from your email? Tough luck. You can open it, you can share it to about 4 places (the places Apple allow you to), but download it? No chance.

Conclusion

That is just a list of things that annoy me about the iPhone, there are plenty more things that android does a lot better, but quite frankly I ran out of time.

The single biggest annoyance though? Apple makes it clear when you use the iPhone that it knows best. They know better than you what apps you want to use, how you want to interact, how you set your phone up. But throughout my use of the iPhone I've come to one major conclusion. Apple knows nothing about me.

But wait, it's not all bad. Apple does have some good stuff going for it (if you forget about the cost), I mean it's all about the apps right..? Right? (NB: This argument doesn't work when your biggest competitor also has hundreds of thousands of great apps).

But truthfully, there are some things that Google can learn from Apple. I'll discuss these in an upcoming post!

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