Birchtree
By Matt Birchler
I've been writing here since 2010! Back when personal blogs were all the rage. Kids, ask your parents.

The Cost of Switching

I'm pretty solidly in the Apple camp across my phone, tablet, watch, and desktop, and Apple's ecosystem famously makes that experience better the more you go all in on their products. There's nothing wrong with this, and it's a big reason for their success, as consumers reap the benefits of this much of the time.

However, I do have a Pixel 6 as well, and I use it for testing stuff, as well as basically the world't fanciest iPod (don't ask), so I wanted to do a quick through experiment: what would I have to change if I kept all my Apple products the same, but used an Android phone instead of an iPhone?

Apple's Services

I pay for Apple One Premier for me and my wife, so that means I get access to every Apple service they offer. Apple Music and TV+ would survive just fine, but suddenly Fitness+, News+, iCloud, and Arcade would become worthless to me. And since I can't take those away from my wife, I'd need to keep paying up, all while starting to pay for Google Drive storage for my files and photo library.

On the free end, I prefer Apple Maps to Google Maps, so I'd have to switch there.

CarPlay would be replaced with Android Auto or whatever it's called these days.

I've also got years of notes saved in Apple Notes which would suddenly be effectively inaccessible on my phone.

iMessage would of course be a massive loss.

AirDrop is something I use like 5-50 times per day, and it's one of the best features added to the Apple ecosystem…ever. I'd miss it terribly on Android.

Oh, and while I would be perfectly happy with Google Photos, unless I got my wife to change to Android as well, it would become a pain to have our libraries incompatible and need to somehow share photos in a more inconvenient way.

Third Party Apps

This is where I'd feel more pain. Apple like 1Password, Spark, YouTube, Lightroom, Audible, and Notion would be fine, but a bunch of other apps would need to go away. And then there's Fantastical, which I would no longer be able to use on my phone, but would continue to run like normal on my Mac and iPad. Reeder is in the same boat for RSS, as it too uses a back end service with Reeder as a front end, so I'd just have to get a new reader app (which would probably be the official Inoreader app because no Android RSS app has impressed me since Press many years ago).

But other apps don't make sense anymore if I can't run them on my phone. Things would no longer make sense as my task manager and I'd switch to Todoist. Podcasts would go to Pocket Casts rather than Overcast. Safari would be replaced with Edge or Vivaldi. Drafts doesn't have a real equivalent on Android so that would just get cut, sadly. Matter would no longer work for reading later, which would really suck for me. Parcel wouldn't be able to be my package tracker anymore.

There are surely a few more things I'm not thinking about, but I could do this if I really wanted. I think the notable thing here is that as an iPhone user, I'm currently selecting what I think is the best app in all cases, whereas on Android I would often being using an app I think is worse, but is the best option available. After all, basically every app I would be switching to on Android is also available on iOS and I don't use it because it's not the best. That's a lot of settling that I wouldn't be excited about.

Hardware

I'd obviously have to get rid of my Apple Watch, which is a shame because I've used Google options recently and they are far, far worse in my opinion.

I'd also have to swap out the 4 HomePods (2 big, 2 mini) in the house for Google Assistant devices. Again, my wife would be upset because she could no longer AirPlay to our speakers, but if she was okay with that then this wouldn't be that big of a deal. I already have a number of Google speakers in storage, and I could get 1-2 new Nest Audios to make up the difference, which I really think are fantastic speakers in the sub-$100 market (sounds way better than the HomePod Mini to my ears).

For smart home products like lights and fans, that would be completely seamless, as everything I own already works with Google Assistant. Hell, I use a Nest Doorbell and a TV that runs Android TV, so these couple products would actually become more seamlessly integrated into the rest of the home.

Would I Do It?

Currently, no. I technically could if I had to, but my life is both easier and better today by using an iPhone. While the list above has a bunch of side-effects, I think the more painful ones would be:

  1. Inconveniencing my wife
  2. iMessage is core to my communication and would be a tough change
  3. AirDrop helps me be more productive between my devices, and losing it would reduce my efficiency quite a bit
  4. Double-paying for services to Apple and Google

I have no intention of changing anytime soon, but I think it's good sometimes to think about what it would look like if you suddenly had to change platforms.

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Hey there, I'm Matt!

I'm a UI/UX designer at NMI and I make videos over on A Better Computer, which I think you'll love.

Hey there, I'm Matt!

I'm a UI/UX designer at NMI and I make videos over on A Better Computer, which I think you'll love. You can also check out my side projects, Quick Reviews and Quick BIN Lookup.