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iOS 14 vs Android 11: Features and Head-to-Head Comparison

In this post, the two most popular mobile operating systems – Apple iOS 14 and  Google Android 11 go head-to-head.

Since they aren’t official out, there would be no victories or losses in our iOS 14 vs Android 11 face-off.

This is more like a friendly match. Where we see what both have to offer.

Later this year, we will see the launch of both operating systems. Before then, what should we expect from Google or Apple?

Let’s find out. 

But before then, you can read more about the Apple OS 14 Update here

iOS 14 vs Android 14 – What are the differences, and the Best OS?

  • iOS 14 vs Android 11: Widgets

Widgets have been around both OS for some time now. But how widgets get to work is different on both.

Widgets, before now, could be accessed by swiping left on the home screen. Starting with iOS 14, users can now place widgets on the home screen along with other apps.

Since this is the first implementation, it’s not as flexible as some users will prefer: you cannot place them anywhere you like; you have to fill up the top section before moving to other areas.

According to Apple, you can resize home screen widgets. That’s not entirely true as most widgets take up the horizontal space. They could be resized, but only with surrounding apps or widgets.

On Android phones, however, you can scale widgets to any reasonable size, and could be placed anywhere on the home screen as well. As far as customizing widgets go, Android gives you a lot of options and lots of supported apps.

But they both function basically in the same way: giving you information at a glance, without having to open the app to view important updates.

Android takes this a bit further by allowing you to interact with parts of an app without opening the app. In most music players, for instance, you can listen to your playlist without opening the app.

While this is a cool feature to have, it takes a toll on your phone’s battery; the app with widget support keeps running in the background.

On iOS 14, however, the implementation is more battery efficient. You get information at a glance, but to interact with it, you have to open the app.

  • iOS 14 vs Android 11: App Library vs. App Drawer

The app drawer or library is a way to keep your home screen tidy. Just as you keep your room tidy by placing your shoes on the rack and clothes in the wardrobe.

The App Library will make its debut on iOS 14. Apps were scattered all over the place on older versions of iOS.

Swiping right of the home screen on any iOS-14-powered iPhone will take you to the app library. Here, all apps are automatically organized into different folders. This makes things a lot easier for users, but the geeks would probably look elsewhere.

On the flip side, Android 11 gives you lots of features. There are a ton of launchers that makes it easier to organize your applications. You can choose whichever suits your taste in terms of customization.

Finally, there’s the new “Suggested Apps” feature on both OS. This consists of a list of four apps you use the most.

Both are pretty smart in suggesting apps; Android 11 especially suggests apps that you use according to the time of the day.

If you use the Gmail app to reply to emails during the early hours of the day, the AI after some days will start suggesting it as one of the four apps during the morning hours. For now, this will only be on the default launcher.

  • iOS 14 vs Android 11: Messaging

The exclusive iMessage app will be seeing a lot of new features. The popular messaging application from Apple now allows you to pin conversations to the top.

Going forward, users can now mention contacts and do inline replies within chats. This may serve as a direct message in group conversations. These features will be especially useful for people who find themselves in many groups.

Although Android doesn’t have its default messaging app, most of the new features on iOS 14’s iMessage is present on apps like WhatsApp.

What’s new? Chat bubbles! All messaging apps starting from the latest Android OS will support chat bubbles. This is a nice feature to have especially for multitasking.

  • Apple Siri vs. Google Assistant

The virtual assistant has grown from being just a basic function to an AI that integrates with every facet of our lives. Siri will now have a new design overhaul which should make it stand strong against its rival. 

Voicing out the command will trigger a little animation that indicates Siri is listening; you can ask questions, give commands, or get directions while still in another app. This is better than what we had before, where calling upon Siri will take you out of your current app. 

Apple also says its digital assistant is much smarter and gives much more correct answers, unlike the vague responses we had in the past. 

On the flip side, there isn’t much to expect from the Assistant this year; just some bug fixes and minor improvements here and there.

The Google Assistant has grown over the years is one of the best virtual assistants you can get on mobile phones, so we do not expect much from Google this year other than a few under-the-hood improvements.

A thing that keeps the Google Assistant high above the pecking order is its integration with Google search engine. It is more accurate and by far the best Assistant you can get on a smartphone. 

  • iOS 14 vs Android 11: Notifications

This year’s update will see a few nifty features added to the already good notification system.

Taking a look at Android 11, notifications are now grouped into three categories. 

Conversations: These are notifications from messaging, email, and social media apps. They have a higher level of importance, hence, you’ll see them at the top.

Alerting: These are relevant notifications that need attention, but this time, from non-email and messaging apps. They include alerts from games and all other applications.

Just below that are Silent Notifications. As the name goes, they are silent, hence, less important. They will be at the bottom due to their level of relevance.

On iOS 14, widgets can now be added to the notification center. They are customizable in the same way you would on the home screen. This is a time-saving feature that, if well implemented, will make a huge difference.

In summary, Google’s approach focuses on showing you what’s important to you. Apple does the same with the widgets on the notification center, which saves you the time you would spend going to the home screen.

  • iOS 14 vs Android 11: Compact UI & Picture-in-Picture

One already has both, the other had just one. Enough of the fairy tale, let’s get to the meat of the matter.

I wouldn’t say much about Android here since they already have both features. I’ll focus more on iOS. 

Why? Compact UI (incoming call notification) is a long-overdue feature. I wonder why it took so long for Apple to finally make this available for its devices. Anyways, it’s now available on iOS 14.

Picture-in-Picture isn’t prominent with most smartphone owners. I use it occasionally, which is the case with most smartphone users. 

Nevertheless, Apple iOS 14 has made it a system-wide feature. Essentially, it’ll be supported by the native video player and FaceTime, at least for now.

Compact UI & Picture-in-Picture has been a thing on Android for some years now. The latter is only supported by certain video players and YouTube. Maybe Android needs to borrow a leaf from Apple here.

  • iOS 14 vs Android 11: Privacy

Managing user privacy has been a major concern for most tech brands, and it’s not going away soon. Google has been in the news in recent times for some wrong reasons.

The company is starting to clamp down on the freedom it gave its users and developers. Last year’s version saw some significant improvements in terms of privacy. This year, we will get even more.

One of such is the Granular Control feature. 

How it works: you can control the duration in which an app can use permissions. Taking the Facebook app as an example, if it requests for location permission, you can decide to allow it “Just Once,” or “Always”.

If you choose Always, permissions for such apps will be automatically revoked if you don’t use the app after a long time (no duration). Android 11 comes with other cool privacy features but this is the most relevant of the rest.

Apple is doing a better job than Google in this aspect. But they are not relenting.

iOS 14 comes with some privacy control features as well. The first is the App Privacy section which is available on the App Store. This shows you all permissions for your installed apps, so it’s left for you to keep, or remove any app if it infringes on your privacy.

When the camera runs in the background, a green dot will pop up at the top of your screen. Similarly, an orange dot in the same place means an app is using the microphone.

Another important feature worthy of note is the ability to decide which apps can track you. Truth is, for most popular apps to perform at their best, they have to track you. Anyways, we see how it goes in the coming months.

Overall, I do like what we’ve seen from both brands in this subject; they’ll go a long way in increasing user privacy.

So there you have it. Our Android 11 vs. iOS 14 comparison.

We’ve sized up each other in terms of privacy, messaging, customizations, and more.

Which feature are you excited about? Is it the App Library on the iOS 14, or segmented notifications on Android 11? Let’s hear from you.

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