If you are buying a mobile phone nowadays, you are most likely buying a smartphone; and if you are buying a smartphone nowadays, you are most likely buying one of the two most famous operating systems for mobile devices. There are two competitors that rule the mobile market when it comes to operating systems (OS): Android and iOS.
iOS is an OS X, UNIX based operating system that was developed by Apple Inc. was released along with the first iPhone in 2007. The first release of the iOS was iPhone OS 1.0. The first iteration on iOS operating system happened with the release of iPhone OS 2. It was announced during the iPhone software roadmap in 2008. This release made the iPhone Operating System compatible with every device released at that time. Along with the release of the iPhone 3GS, came the iPhone OS 3.
It was released to users in 2009. It came with cool copy/paste functionality, push notifications for 3rd party applications, and Spotlight, a selection based search system for finding apps, documents, and other files. iOS 4 was the first of the line to officially drop “Phone” from it’s name and becoming the iconic “iOS” we know and love today. This software now ran on iPods. The important features that came with this release is FaceTime, to make video and audio calls from their device, and MultiTasking, which allowed users to use two apps at the same time.
Subsequently, iOS 5, was released introducing three new features: Notification Center, which easily showed users their notifications; iMessage, an instant message service created by Apple; and Siri, a built in virtual assistant. Following iOS 5, was iOS 6 which came with Apple’s very own mapping system and stopped bundling the YouTube application into its operating system. This release really made it clear that there was a clear division between Apple and Google devices.
iOS 7 came with parallax scrolling, where the background for the home page moves slower than the foreground; Control Center, giving users direct access to important functionalities of the phone such as brightness and the flashlight, and AirDrop, which allows for file transfer between Macintosh computers and mobile devices. iOS 8 introduced more access to third party developers. This allowed third party keyboards, widgets, and the ability to transfer files.
iOS 9 came out with three focused features: a smarter Siri, Apple Music, and three-dimensional touch. iOS 10 is the current and the most updated release of the operating system. It brought with it a new software development kit to allow users to interact with Siri, Maps, and iMessage. It also gave a few design updates to the lock screen, as well as the News and Music apps.
Android is a Linux based operating system that is partly open source. It was initially created by Android Inc., a California based company that originally worked on operating systems for mobiles and cameras. Wanting to get into the mobile market, Google and Open Hand Alliance further developed Android and released it to the consumer market on September 23rd, 2008. Its first release was Android 1.0, Alpha. After it’s initial release, Android iterated on it’s operating system and created another version — Android 1.6, also known as Donut.
This release helped with screen diversity, as more and more distributors used the operating system for their hardware; app distribution, by launching Android Market that easily exposed third-party applications; and quick search boxes that helped with the searching on the web as well as on the device. Following Donut, was Eclair, Android 2.1. With this version, Google Maps navigation was born, users were able to customize their screens, and the development of voice-to-text was released. Android 2.2, Froyo, took the voice capabilities a little farther by bringing voice actions. It also introduced a portable hotspot for sharing Wi-Fi on the go, and making huge performance improvements.
Subsequently, Gingerbread, Android 2.3, made the experience simpler and faster for users. It also introduced Game API’s that helped developers to make games, Near Field Communication, or NFC, for transmission of information between devices that are in close proximity, and battery management that helped you understand how your device uses power. Honeycomb, Android 3.0, came with Tablet-friendly design, on-screen navigation instead of the physical hardware navigation, and quick settings to easily access time, date, battery life and the connection status of the device.
Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich, came with user customizability. Now users are able to organize their apps with folders and favorite trays, have data usage control, and transfer data from two phones instantly by touching them through NFC. After Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, Android 4.1, released Google Now, the pioneer of having a phone assistant, having actionable notifications, and the ability to have multiple users on one device. The next version, Android 4.4, KitKat, continued on the voice commands, and allowed users to get tasks done through “Ok Google”. KitKat also had a more immersive design and had a smart dialer.
Lollipop, Android 5.0, gave Android a whole new feel with Material Design, having MultiScreen for users to seamlessly move between devices that use the operating system, like the phone, tablet, watch, Android TV, and car optimization, and being able to see your notifications on a locked screen. Marshmallow, Android 6.0, came with permissions to choose what apps are accessible to and having a optimized battery life. Android 7.0, Nougat, introduced Multi-view apps, quick switch between apps, VR mode, for experiencing virtual reality, and notification direct reply. Android is currently on Android 8.0 Oreo, which helped optimize how much battery background apps use through background limits and auto-fill and smart text selection.
When it comes to availability, the Android operating system comes on a plethora of devices – many manufacturers of phones and tablets use Android. Some examples of these manufacturers are Samsung, HTC, and Nexus. On the other hand, iOS have been strictly been manufactured by Apple Inc. Both iOS and Android operating systems are cross platform and are available on phones, tablets, TV’s, and watches.
When it comes to file transfer between Android and iOS operating systems differ. For the Android operating system, you only need to use a USB port and an Android File Transfer application that can be downloaded to your desktop to transfer files. When it comes to photos, it becomes even easier, you can transfer photos from your phone to your desktop without the Android File Transfer application.On the other hand, it is a little more difficult to transfer files from an iOS operating system to your desktop. Like Android photos can easily be transferred via USB connection. However, for all other media files, you will have to download the iTunes desktop application.
When it comes to the battery life and management of Android devices, many are equipped by the manufacturer with larger batteries that provide them with a long battery life. iOS devices don’t have as big as an Android batteries, but their hardware and software optimization allows you to get a decent battery life.