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7 things your Android phone can do that make iPhone users jealous



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Android phones can do a lot that iPhones cannot.


Sarah Tew / CNET

The never-ending debate between Android and iOS owners about which platform is better feels like it will never really be settled. Both parties have their share of valid talking points, ranging from security and encryption for iPhone users to customization and Google Assistant capability on the Android side.

At this point, I would like to highlight some of the strengths of Android that iOS cannot yet do, from the fact that you can set default apps and use more than one app at a time to enhance the look of your phone.

Here are my favorite things Android users can do that people with iPhones can only dream of.

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Use the apps you want, not the apps Google wants you to use

The option to set Gmail as the default email app on an iPhone is something iOS users asked Apple to add for years. While Apple has added the option to remove its own apps from iOS, you still can't set a default app. It is really tragic.

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It may take a while to find the default apps setting, but at least it's there.


Screenshots from Jason Cipriani / CNET

On Android, on the other hand, you can set Firefox or Opera as your default browser instead of Google Chrome, or set the Google Messages app as your favorite text messaging app to take advantage of RCS, Google's recently released chat feature which is very similar to Apple & # 39; s iMessage .

It's easy to see which apps are labeled as default on your Android device: Open the app Settings and go to Apps & Notifications > Default Apps . To change the default settings, select the app category, such as Phone app or Browser app and choose from the options.

Google Assistant is always there for you.


Jason Cipriani / CNET

Google Assistant for Victory

iPhone users have Siri, but Android gives you Google Assistant. Google Assistant is a much more advanced tool than Apple & # 39; s Siri for many reasons, but the most important is that it uses Google's impressive database.

Google Assistant can understand common requests for companies and names, and it gets requests right more than wrong. It also returns high-quality replies from Google Search, a tool Siri cannot access.

Google Assistant also integrates closely with the other features of the phone to tell you when it's time to leave for your next meeting and to alert you that traffic on the way home will be busy. If you have Google Home or Nest Home smart speakers or other compatible devices, you can also use the Assistant on your phone to control smart devices in your home, such as lights, outlets or your thermostat, even from afar.

And it is built directly into your Android device. & # 39; OK, Google & # 39; and & # 39; Hey, Google & # 39; are the two watch phrases. If you need help knowing what to ask for, you can ask the Google Assistant for a list of commands: & # 39; OK, Google, what can you do? & # 39; iPhone owners can also install the Google app to use Assistant, but it is not built-in and it is not the default personal assistant.

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Split screen is easy to use on an Android phone and increases the versatility of a phone.


Jason Cipriani / CNET

Use two apps simultaneously using split screen mode

Although iPadOS 13 supports using multiple apps simultaneously, iOS 13 and iPhone do not. However, Android users have had split screen apps since 2016 with the release of Android 7.0 Nougat.

Using two apps is useful if you are trying to look up a contact's phone number to send to someone on Facebook Messenger, or if you need to reference information in a document when composing an email. It's unclear why Apple hasn't yet added this feature to the iPhone, but it may have something to do with the size of windows on the iPhone's screen compared to the larger iPad ($ 340 on eBay) .

The easiest way to use split screen mode is to open the multitasking view and tap the app icon at the top of the multitasking card – it's the same icon you use to access the app from your start homescreen. Select Split Screen from the list of options, then select the second app you want to open at the same time. (These steps may vary depending on the Android phone you're using. For example, Samsung phones have their own version of the interface.)

You can adjust the size of each app by dragging the small handle between the two apps to expand or decrease how much space each app takes up.

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Move or arrange icons to organize them and use only the app drawer.


Sarah Tew / CNET

Customize Your Home Screen the Way You Want It

Apple's approach to the home screen is to place all installed apps in a tight grid across multiple pages. Most Android devices take a two-pronged approach by giving you a home screen and an app drawer. The home screen does not follow a grid layout, allowing you to place apps wherever you want. You can create folders with groups of apps on both platforms.

The advantage of Android's approach is that you can customize the home screen by placing app icons in any pattern and Android supports widgets of different sizes. Right now, Apple's Today view is the only place where you can find a widget.

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The appearance of your android phone's home screen is because of the launcher. But you are not tied to what is pre-installed.


Oscar Gutierrez / CNET

You can use launchers to fully customize your phone

Launchers are the embodiment of Android customization. These apps allow you to completely change the interaction with the home screen, app drawer and even the app icons on your phone. By using a launcher on your Android phone, you can customize almost every aspect of how your phone looks and behaves, making your phone even more personal than it already is.

Launchers such as Nova Launcher, Microsoft & # 39; s Launcher, Apex Launcher and Action Launcher all add their own twists and functions to your Android phone. For example, another popular Android launcher, Evie, emphasizes using a search bar to quickly find and open apps, or whatever on your Android phone. It's minimalism at its best.

I recommend taking the time to research the different launchers, try a few of them and really customize the look and feel of your phone. Be warned: the deeper you dive into the world of launchers, the more time and energy you will spend adjusting your setup.

It's hard to imagine Apple ever making something like that happen for the iPhone.

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The Wallpapers app is a must for every Android user.


Jason Cipriani / CNET

Never get bored with auto-changing wallpapers

If taking the time to find and customize a launcher is a lot of work, there's another way to keep your Android phone feeling fresh all the time, and it's something else your iPhone friends can't do – use Google's Wallpapers app.

The Wallpapers app refreshes the background on your home screen and lock screen every day, without you having to do anything.

You can choose from different categories of wallpaper styles. Choose your favorite and let the app do the rest. I personally like to use the geometric shapes category. The wallpapers are unique and colorful.

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Watch a video and browse Twitter at the same time? Go on, I'm listening.


Jason Cipriani / CNET

Watch a video and text at the same time

If you have recently started navigating Google Maps and only leave the app to reply to a text message, you have probably seen a small Google Maps window that remains visible in a corner of the screen. With the release of Android Oreo in 2017, Android has a system-wide picture-in-picture mode for more than just video apps.

In addition to Google Maps and video apps, you can also use picture-in-picture for video calls with supported apps. My favorite use of picture-in-picture is to start streaming a YouTube video and then exit the app to browse Reddit or reply to a text message or email while the YouTube video continues to play in one corner of the screen. If I want to go back to watching the video in full screen, I tap the thumbnail to maximize it.

iPhones do not have any picture-in-picture mode. What you see on the screen is what you get.

If you're ready to switch to Android or want to get more out of the Android phone you already have, check out our list of the best Android phones of 2020 . If you are new to the operating system, make sure to change these Android settings immediately . Then we have some useful tips to get you on your way with Android 10 .


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