You Love iPhone. Your Partner Loves Android. How to Make It Work.
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You Love iPhone. Your Partner Loves Android. How to Make It Work.

The pros and cons of Apple and Google’s mobile operating systems—and how people can find neutral apps that work with both.

By Nicole Nguyen
Tue, Aug 30, 2022 9:51amGrey Clock 4 min

I’m on iOS. My husband, Will, is on Android. He says he’ll never switch.

When we met, Will had a Samsung Galaxy S3. He has stuck with Android phones since, except for a brief stint with the iPhone 6S Plus. When he ditched that phone, many of his texts got lost because they were still trying to get to him via iMessage. That quick taste of Apple’s lock-in only deepened his resolve. (Apple has since addressed the problem.)

There are several reasons for my iPhone preference. The main one is that I can’t seem to give up my iMessage group chats.

Generally, people aren’t prone to switching from Android to iOS or vice versa. But we’re in the throes of Smartphone Season, the time of year when Samsung, Apple and Google unveil their latest models, so maybe it’s worth the consideration. Also, there are ways to coexist harmoniously in an iOS-Android household, which I’ll discuss below.

The Never-iPhoners

I wanted to explore this iOS-Android divide, so I asked Will and other Android loyalists: What do you love about your platform?

I took Will’s Pixel 6a and started a voice recording. As we talked, the app transcribed our conversation in real time with near perfect precision. It’s one of the Android artificial intelligence features that I’m most jealous of. The second is Hold for Me, a tool that does just that when you’re waiting for a customer-service representative.

Will said he likes the swipe-style keyboard, which Android had long before iPhones did, and access to the file system, which allows him to sync data between his computer and phone over Wi-Fi. “Those are things that I’ve enjoyed for a long time,” Will, who works as an engineer at a medical software company, said. “It’s hard to break habits.”

Will isn’t bothered by those green-bubble text messages his Android phone triggers on iPhones. For one, he doesn’t see it—it all shows up the same on the Pixel. His family is mostly based in Europe, and they use Signal and other apps that look the same across platforms.

Google has tried to shame Apple into adopting the next-generation texting standard, called Rich Communication Services, to make all texts more like iMessage. For Apple, implementing it could take away a reason for people to stick with iPhones.

William Edmiston, a Samsung Galaxy S9 user, chose Android because of Google’s innovation and Apple’s tight control and closed system. “I too am a ‘never iPhone’ person,” said the Raleigh, N.C., resident, who works at an orthodontics technology company. “Android felt a bit more leading-edge, embraced by true tech enthusiasts.”

Mr. Edmiston also liked being able to treat the phone like a PC, and install different operating systems and apps. He admitted he’s now entrenched in Google’s own apps.

Both Android and Apple offer helpful guides for those who want to make the jump to the rival platform. But swapping systems is more than just transferring contacts and photos. It’s learning an entirely new language of gestures and menus, which can be frustrating.

“I frankly don’t think one operating system is better than the other, but I do think that changing operating systems is a massive pain in the butt,” my husband said.

iOS vs. Android

In the U.S., 55% of Americans use an iOS device. There are more Android users globally, where Google’s platform has 71% market share, according to analytics firm Statcounter.

Apple develops iOS exclusively for iPhones and iPads (with the iPadOS variation). Google develops Android but provides it freely as open-source software. That means Android can be used by any hardware maker. The most popular include Samsung, Xiaomi and OnePlus. Google makes its own Pixel-branded phones, and even Microsoft has dabbled in Android.

And while the two are constantly copying each other’s features, they differ in key ways:

• Hardware: iOS devices are only made by Apple, and you can choose from three or four new phones each year.

There are far more Android phones and designs to choose from, from the cheapest to the most extreme. On the low end, you can get a budget model for under $240. (At $719, the iPhone SE is Apple’s budget offering.) On the high end, Samsung sells Android phones with flexible screens that can flip and fold.

• Ecosystem: Apple designs both its hardware and software, a position the company touts as a benefit, as its devices “just work” together. AirPods that automatically connect to your Mac. A lost Apple Watch you can ping from your iPad.

Android devices aren’t integrated as seamlessly, though Google is doing more now. Last year, the company launched features so Android users could locate their phones or send texts from Chromebooks. A feature similar to Universal Clipboard—Apple’s cross-device copy-and-paste functionality—is coming to Android phones and tablets.

Samsung has its own gadget universe. Samsung Galaxy phones can beam videos to Samsung smart TVs, while Galaxy Watches can remotely control the camera shutter of Galaxy phones, for example.

• Updates: iPhones and iPads get a big feature-rich software update every fall, available to all eligible models. Apple supports phones for about five years.

Because the Android universe is fragmented, each phone maker has a different system-update timeline and policy. Typically, Google’s Pixel phones are first, as with Android 13, which launched earlier this month. Newer Pixel phones get five years of support, while older models get three. Samsung devices get three to four years of system updates, plus an additional year of security patches.

• Customisation: Historically, iPhones have been less customizable than Android devices. But the upcoming iOS 16 update allows users to style the lockscreen fonts and add little interactive widgets, something Android users have long been able to do.

Android is a better platform for techie tinkers. For example, you can set a third-party messaging app as the default. You can also sideload apps on Android—downloading them from outside of the Google Play store—though you do so at your own risk.

Google has increased efforts to keep bad apps out of its Play store. Still, the platform is more open, like a traditional PC, so users who aren’t careful can make their devices susceptible to malware and data leaks.

So Happy Together

Yes, iOS and Android feel different, and there will always be things one can do better than the other. But if you pick the right apps, they can dwell together happily.

Google is actually great at this: Will and I rely on Google Maps for location sharing, Google Photos for photo storage and Google Assistant to control smart-home products. These Google services all have iPhone apps, though the experience is more integrated on Android. is a task list that works with Siri and Google Assistant, and has great widgets for both platforms. We also like the app Notion for things such as trip planning and household stuff.

For home entertainment, we’ve found Roku streaming devices, many of which support both Google Cast and Apple’s AirPlay, work well. So do Sonos speakers, which can be configured with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, and work with AirPlay.

Will and I won’t be on the same platforms anytime soon, but we make it work. At least until I need a great voice transcription and steal his phone. Again.


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At the World Plogging Championship, contestants have lugged in tires, TVs and at least one Neapolitan coffee maker

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GENOA, Italy—Renato Zanelli crossed the finish line with a rusty iron hanging from his neck while pulling 140 pounds of trash on an improvised sled fashioned from a slab of plastic waste.

Zanelli, a retired IT specialist, flashed a tired smile, but he suspected his garbage haul wouldn’t be enough to defend his title as world champion of plogging—a sport that combines running with trash collecting.

A rival had just finished the race with a chair around his neck and dragging three tires, a television and four sacks of trash. Another crossed the line with muscles bulging, towing a large refrigerator. But the strongest challenger was Manuel Jesus Ortega Garcia, a Spanish plumber who arrived at the finish pulling a fridge, a dishwasher, a propane gas tank, a fire extinguisher and a host of other odds and ends.

“The competition is intense this year,” said Zanelli. Now 71, he used his fitness and knack for finding trash to compete against athletes half his age. “I’m here to help the environment, but I also want to win.”

Italy, a land of beauty, is also a land of uncollected trash. The country struggles with chronic littering, inefficient garbage collection in many cities, and illegal dumping in the countryside of everything from washing machines to construction waste. Rome has become an emblem of Italy’s inability to fix its trash problem.

So it was fitting that at the recent World Plogging Championship more than 70 athletes from 16 countries tested their talents in this northern Italian city. During the six hours of the race, contestants collect points by racking up miles and vertical distance, and by carrying as much trash across the finish line as they can. Trash gets scored based on its weight and environmental impact. Batteries and electronic equipment earn the most points.

A mobile app ensures runners stay within the race’s permitted area, approximately 12 square miles. Athletes have to pass through checkpoints in the rugged, hilly park. They are issued gloves and four plastic bags to fill with garbage, and are also allowed to carry up to three bulky finds, such as tires or TVs.

Genoa, a gritty industrial port city in the country’s mountainous northwest, has a trash problem that gets worse the further one gets away from its relatively clean historic core. The park that hosted the plogging championship has long been plagued by garbage big and small.

“It’s ironic to have the World Plogging Championship in a country that’s not always as clean as it could be. But maybe it will help bring awareness and things will improve,” said Francesco Carcioffo, chief executive of Acea Pinerolese Industriale, an energy and recycling company that’s been involved in sponsoring and organizing the race since its first edition in 2021. All three world championships so far have been held in Italy.

Events that combine running and trash-collecting go back to at least 2010. The sport gained traction about seven years ago when a Swede, Erik Ahlström, coined the name plogging, a mashup of plocka upp, Swedish for “pick up,” and jogging.

“If you don’t have a catchy name you might as well not exist,” said Roberto Cavallo, an Italian environmental consultant and longtime plogger, who is on the world championship organizing committee together with Ahlström.

Saturday’s event brought together a mix of wiry trail runners and environmental activists, some of whom looked less like elite athletes.

“We like plogging because it makes us feel a little less guilty about the way things are going with the environment,” said Elena Canuto, 29, as she warmed up before the start. She came in first in the women’s ranking two years ago. “This year I’m taking it a bit easier because I’m three months pregnant.”

Around two-thirds of the contestants were Italians. The rest came from other European countries, as well as Japan, Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, Algeria, Ghana and Senegal.

“I hope to win so people in Senegal get enthusiastic about plogging,” said Issa Ba, a 30-year-old Senegalese-born factory worker who has lived in Italy for eight years.

“Three, two, one, go,” Cavallo shouted over a loudspeaker, and the athletes sprinted off in different directions. Some stopped 20 yards from the starting line to collect their first trash. Others took off to be the first to exploit richer pickings on wooded hilltops, where batteries and home appliances lay waiting.

As the hours went by, the athletes crisscrossed trails and roads, their bags became heavier. They tagged their bulky items and left them at roadsides for later collection. Contestants gathered at refreshment points, discussing what they had found as they fueled up on cookies and juice. Some contestants had brought their own reusable cups.

With 30 minutes left in the race, athletes were gathering so much trash that the organisers decided to tweak the rules: in addition to their four plastic bags, contestants could carry six bulky objects over the finish line rather than three.

“I know it’s like changing the rules halfway through a game of Monopoly, but I know I can rely on your comprehension,” Cavallo announced over the PA as the athletes braced for their final push to the finish line.

The rule change meant some contestants could almost double the weight of their trash, but others smelled a rat.

“That’s fantastic that people found so much stuff, but it’s not really fair to change the rules at the last minute,” said Paul Waye, a Dutch plogging evangelist who had passed up on some bulky trash because of the three-item rule.

Senegal will have to wait at least a year to have a plogging champion. Two hours after the end of Saturday’s race, Ba still hadn’t arrived at the finish line.

“My phone ran out of battery and I got lost,” Ba said later at the awards ceremony. “I’ll be back next year, but with a better phone.”

The race went better for Canuto. She used an abandoned shopping cart to wheel in her loot. It included a baby stroller, which the mother-to-be took as a good omen. Her total haul weighed a relatively modest 100 pounds, but was heavy on electronic equipment, which was enough for her to score her second triumph.

“I don’t know if I’ll be back next year to defend my title. The baby will be six or seven months old,” she said.

In the men’s ranking, Ortega, the Spanish plumber, brought in 310 pounds of waste, racked up more than 16 miles and climbed 7,300 feet to run away with the title.

Zanelli, the defending champion, didn’t make it onto the podium. He said he would take solace from the nearly new Neapolitan coffee maker he found during the first championship two years ago. “I’ll always have my victory and the coffee maker, which I polished and now display in my home,” he said.

Contestants collected more than 6,600 pounds of trash. The haul included fridges, bikes, dozens of tires, baby seats, mattresses, lead pipes, stoves, chairs, TVs, 1980s-era boomboxes with cassettes still inside, motorcycle helmets, electric fans, traffic cones, air rifles, a toilet and a soccer goal.

“This park hasn’t been this clean since the 15 century,” said Genoa’s ambassador for sport, Roberto Giordano.


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