Share this Story

iOS 7 vs. Android – A Quick Feature Comparison After the WWDC Keynote

iOS7 vs Android

Tim Cook and crew are now off stage at WWDC, so as is typical around these parts when Apple announces something “revolutionary” (yes, they used the term again), we like to react. And even though Google has moved away from the series of cheap jabs during their own keynotes, Apple still does them in the bitterest and childish of fashions. If we didn’t toss out some thoughts in support, we wouldn’t be proper Android fans. Because after all, we are still Android fans.

So here we go, these are some initial thoughts to Apple’s big announcement of iOS 7 as compared to the current version of Android (4.2, Jelly Bean). In general, iOS 7 is a newly skinned version of iOS that finally matches up to current mobile design trends. Gone are the leather notebooks and green felt gaming tables – in is a minimal flat aesthetic. And to be perfectly honest, it does look beautiful. Jony Ive and his team did a fantastic job at skinning iOS and turning it into a modern looking mobile UI. 

Screen Shot 2013-06-10 at 11.25.09 AM

But every time Apple does this song and dance, we seem to sit throughout the keynote going, “Whoa, that’s been on Android forever.” Or even, “Umm, that looks just like how Android works.” Today was no different. While iOS 7 looks nice from the outside, many of the new goodies remind us a lot of our favorite mobile OS.

And not that we should need to remind you, but don’t take this too seriously. We’re just having some fun and pointing out things that gave us a chuckle. We are happy to see iOS evolve, just like we will be happy to see every other mobile OS evolve. Companies pushing boundaries and taking features to new levels is what we love about this industry.

(iOS 7 on the left, Android screenshot attached on the right.)

Quick Toggles (Command Center)

a vs i1

Apple is adding in a gesture for accessing Command Center from anywhere on an iOS device. A quick swipe up from the bottom of the screen and you are graced with a panel filled with toggles for Airplane mode, WiFi, Bluetooth, brightness settings, music controls, camera shortcut, and even a flashlight. As you all know, Android devices have had access to similar information for a while thanks to 3rd party skins from manufacturers. But in Android 4.2, Google introduced a panel as well that can be accessed with a two-finger swipe down from the notification bar. Music controls have been in the notification bar for some time, so that’s not necessarily new.

Lock Screen Notifications

a vs i7

I found this out today, but apparently iOS did not let you access their notification center from the lock screen. Android has been on this trend for at least two versions, but Apple is just now introducing it with iOS 7. Once released, iOS users will be able to swipe down their notification bar without unlocking their device.

The new notification center has done away with that terrible looking felt background and is more transparent. There are tabs for “Today,” “All,” and “Missed.” I like the idea of panels, though Android seems to have been able to handle all of this information without needing extra panels. Thanks to actionable and collapsable notifications on Android, you only need one area for all of this.

Safari vs. Chrome

a vs i2

Safari is Safari – most people can’t stand it and prefer browsers like Chrome for their browsing needs. But one thing we thought was interesting in the new UI of Safari, was the tab view that shows all open tabs. They bragged about the 3D appearance, scrolling, and quick access to other tabs yet we have had this in Chrome for Android since it was first released over a year ago.


a vs i8

Multi-tasking! iOS 7 has a new style of multi-tasking that only runs in the background when it thinks you want access to frequently used apps. It essentially learns from your patterns to help extend your battery life. That’s kind of cool, assuming it can learn properly, which we won’t know anything about until people can spend some time with it. But in general, we like the idea of phones learning our patterns to better optimize our lives with them.

But in terms of a UI, Apple created something semi-unique. It’s not an exact copy of Android, since it scrolls horizontally and features full-screen previews of currently running apps. It does look a lot like what HTC did back with Sense 4, though HTC abandoned the look after hearing pretty terrible reviews of the change.

iTunes Radio vs. Google Music

a vs i6

Apple did in fact announce a Pandora competitor this morning called iTunes Radio. It’s really not all that game-changing or innovative. You can create your own radio playlists based off of songs, or you can use recommended stations that Apple has ready to go. There are massive “BUY” buttons all over the place, along with ads, unless you are an iTunes Match customer. But you can’t save full albums or tracks to your library like you can with Google’s new All Access service, nor can you pick and choose specific songs to create playlists. It’s just like Pandora in that it brings up songs that it thinks match what you are looking for and then allows you to downvote them or favorite them, so that they’ll play more often. It’s a nice add-on to iTunes, but nothing new.

In terms of looks, the new Google Music and new Music apps look a lot a like. We’re seeing white menus and similar UI with big, bold album art.

Also, we should point out that Google Music All Access gives you unlimited access to albums and songs because it comes with a monthly fee.


a vs i5

While I don’t know how many people actually use the stock Mail app in iOS, it’s easy to see that they have stolen features from the popular iOS app called Mailbox. Apple added in swiping gestures, for deleting, archiving, and “More” options. It’s a complete copy of what Mailbox already made popular, and I can’t believe people aren’t throwing massive fits over this. But then again, this is what Apple does time and time again to its developer community.

Oh, and Gmail has had swipe-to-delete/archive for longer than I can recall.


a vs i3

The new iOS Calendar app doesn’t look all that much like that of Android, but the similarities are still there. We’re looking at an ultra-minimal design, with flat rectangles, pastel-ish colors, and a white background rather than the round appearance of the current iOS Calendar app. And in fact, the newest Calendar app from Google has similar design in the circular color picker and date chooser to what we are seeing in iOS, only it came out a couple of weeks ago.

Navigation Drawers

a vs i9

Apple added a bunch of slideout navigation drawers to apps like Mail and iMessage. We have seen these in Google apps for over a year now (even the ones on iOS), but they made a point of the addition today as if it were something “new” to app development. No, Apple, it’s not new.

Lock Screens

iso vs android

We already covered this here.

Al Gore

Screen Shot 2013-06-10 at 11.31.19 AM

Actually, Al Gore has nothing to do with Android that I know of, but he was there. So, here is a picture of him looking flat.

Other Notes

  • Semi-live Wallpapers:   Apple showed off a new wallpaper that moved the background as you tilted your device from side to side. It’s almost like a live wallpaper on Android, but even more so like 3D Image Live Wallpaper that has been on Google Play for a while. Yes, you can get down with Apple’s fancy new wallpaper feature today, on Android.
  • Auto-app Updates:  I didn’t realize that Apple hadn’t introduced auto-app updates yet on iOS, but in iOS 7, users will finally have the option to update automatically. They joked about seeing the “Update” count climbing throughout the day and that iOS users would no longer have to worry about that. Add that to the list of things we take for granted on Android, already.
  • Bing (hah!):  The new iOS in the Car feature introduced today uses Bing for search. Yes, Bing. Edit: Apparently it’s Siri that has Bing, making Siri even less of an important piece of the Apple pie, which I didn’t think was possible.
  • Notification Sync:  They touched on this ever-so-briefly, but I believe Apple mentioned that with iOS 7, devices will be able to sync notifications across devices. Google just started doing this with Hangouts on Android, but made a point of it coming to other apps in the future during their I/O keynote.
  • Send-to-Phone:  Apple showed off a send-to-phone feature from Calendar and Maps Mac apps today. Say you have a calendar item set up with a location or are looking at something in Apple’s newly announced Mac Maps app, you can send it quickly to your phone and have it readily available. Nice idea, but Google knows your searches thanks to Google Now and makes them automatically available to you on your other devices – you don’t need to send a thing.
  • Maps for Mac:  Speaking of Maps for Mac, hah. Google.com/maps is all I have to say.
  • AirDrop:  One of the more interesting features that Apple showed off today was called AirDrop. It allows you to quickly send information (photos as an example) to your friends’ iOS devices without the need to bump them together. Yes, they poked fun at NFC and the ridiculous tapping we have to do as Android users, in order to share things. Thing is, Samsung devices do this already with a little thing called WiFi Direct. Nice idea that is baked into iOS devices, though. Keep in mind that this feature won’t be available on all iOS devices – it’s limited to the new guys.

I’m sure there were other things we could list, since the keynote was lengthy, but these were the new features or ideas that stood out the most. As you can see, iOS 7 is actually a pretty major change from iOS6, bringing it steps closer to the power of Android. It’s not going to kill Android or give Apple some immediate leg up on the world’s most popular mobile operating system, but it does make at least the design of their UI a hell of a lot more appealing. In the end, Android users saw a lot of what they are already accustomed to, which they have already grown accustomed to.

Other thoughts?

  • ʎuoʇ

    “Keep in mind that this feature won’t be available on all iOS devices – it’s limited to the new guys.” Did you see the adoption rate of iOS 6? We can expect the same for iOS 7.

  • chunkz
  • CapeCodTidings

    Wow! After reading this I think Google must have invented virtually every feature and function known to modern smart phones. How did Apple get so far? Stunning!

  • cheesus_c

    Who reads this and says ‘there’s some compelling journalism’? For example the weak claims of ‘copying’ every second sentence. How can anyone buy this when the whole Android OS is itself a rip off?

  • hey

    If i was a android user i would be pissed to ios 7 has made android look old and ugly LOL

  • lh

    “Gmail has had swipe-to-delete/archive for longer than I can recall.”

    Yeah, so has iOS – since the very first iPhone, so what’s the point here? I don’t know who invented this, but it definitely wasn’t Android or Mailbox. The only new thing here, aside from the aesthetic changes, is the “more” button. Plenty of iOS (and I assume Android) apps did that long before Mailbox.

  • mikee60369

    Apple never used felt for the Notifications background. I think it’s referred to as “linen”
    Apple’s stock mail has had swipe to delete since day 1. Support for gmail “archive” has also been present for a while.

  • dude

    There is absolutely nothing worth reading here. Everything has been done before. Way before your almighty Google. Google hasn’t done anything first. Do your research.

  • Swipe to delete/archive Mail has been there since day one. Apple invented the gesture back on iPhone 1 so suck it.

    Viewing which tabs are open has been available since tabs have been available.
    And btw: Safari is a kick ass browser on the Mac and WHATEVER if you really care which webkit based browser is running in your pocket.

    As for the rest, just remind yourself that all of Android is basically a riff on iPhone. They were making a Blackberry Android before they made an iPhone Android.

    It just does not matter.

  • lh

    “Safari is Safari – most people can’t stand it and prefer browsers like Chrome for their browsing needs.”

    Huh? According to NetMarketShare, Safari has 60% of mobile market share as of last month. Chrome is just over 3%, so I really have no idea what the author is thinking here. I suppose 60% of mobile browser users hate their browser, but are too lazy to try an alternative?

  • Shivram

    I think bumping the phone was not necessarily a dig at Android. I think it was about the iOS app ‘Bump’ which required you to bump two devices with Bump running on them to share certain types of data. At least, that’s what I thought.

  • stevesup

    No real innovation exists beyond the iPhone itself, a multitouch OS on a phone. And even for that, credit Nokia and Microsoft to some degree. Everything else is What shape will the H bomb be? Hint: Not an H.

  • WebOSMAN

    I like how this site is comparing android to iOS, saying that they copied all of the from android. You could say the same about android. They Just took it from webOS. All it is just calling the kettle black. Google hired Matias Duarte The one who made The look and feel of webOS. You can say that apple copied android but you also have to say that android copied the same from webOS.

  • phil

    holy cow – design ignorance at its best… bottom line is: ios6 was ugly, android is ugly, ios7 shows good taste.

  • rustyjaw

    This article displays a basic ignorance of OSes other than iOS and Android. Web OS had a few of these features before either of the others. Also, iOS for iPad had several of these features when iPad first shipped (for example side-opening drawers). And slide to archive/delete emails? That was demoed by Steve Jobs for the original iPhone.

  • baerjamin

    Not to be argumentative over the whole “who invented what?” and “who stole what?” and “who was first” bs but don’t forget to consider this:


  • bryhudso

    Apple does stuff when they believe its ready for the best user experience. Android rolls out everything, all the time, whether good or crappy for geeks and folks who like sparkly silly things (wave hand over screen?…please!). Bought a HTC One. Beautiful phone (!!!), but full of crappy stuff you have to wade through. With iOS, you don’t have to wade through crap to find the good stuff. Returned the HTC. Those of us who jailbroke iOS had all the best features for years…long before Android got it right. Nice for Apple to follow the lead of jailbreak community with many iOS features…not Android.

    • AJITHA

      How true .
      If I want it or not…
      whether its reaedy r not, its out there in Androie.
      If its stable r not,
      If its tested r not,
      But Apple sends out only after through testing

      Cheers Bryhudso

  • Bacong

    My favorite thing about articles like these is that it teases Apple for being late innovating new features, all the while ignoring that Apple basically invented the foundation upon which every Android phone is built.

    Focusing on this stuff is silly. Who cares that Apple is so late to the party? Sure, they may not be innovating as much as they used to, but it’s a different world now. No company is singlehandedly innovating anymore.

    We should be focusing on the advancement of mobile phones on the whole. This bickering between Apple users and Android users is silly. Neither side is perfect, and now that iOS can champion a lot of the features Android has, maybe articles like these are born from just a little bit of fear.

  • Zamba

    the fact that you guys spent that much time talking / writing / bloging about it means it wasn’t that bad

  • Notanandroidhater

    Like it or not fandroids, android OS copied IOS. They will not be having any touch screen phones if they didnt get the insipiration from apple. There are maybe some flaws in IOS but android is adding some useless or less functional stuffs…

  • Ted_kazynski

    Dear Apple,
    Please stop style biting me.

    Ps. I’ve been sleeping with someone else.

  • cozybop

    I find it hilarious that I see two types of people arguing about cell phones. Seriously guys, all of you get a life and actually be a fan of some real things instead of inanimate objects.

  • angermeans

    To be fair if you want to call out Apple for ripping off Android then let’s talk about all the things Google and their partners have ripped off of iOS and the iPhone (and iPad). If it wasn’t for Apple (as much as we all hate to admit it) I doubt even multitouch would be somewhat the same as it is and in this new world we live in it is the basis of all modern day smartphones. What about Siri? I know it is grasping at straws but Siri was out before Google Now and since we are comparing lock screens and quick toggles. What about smaller things like iTunes for example. Isn’t Google Music a slight rip on that (again grasping, but this entire article is doing much the same and since you are comparing both the barely a month old Google Radio and Apple’s new iTunes radio). How about slide to unlock? Yes, very silly, but still a smart feature that was “stolen” many times over before Apple ever was accused of stealing from android. I’m not going to even try to write off a mobile webkit browser as Apple invented tech, but again couldn’t you say that every mobile OS since iPhone OS 1 has at least borrowed this idea? Yes, Google could have come up with it and I’m sure it wouldnt have been hard since Chrome uses it, but much of what this article states is just plain out there as well.

    We could go on and on in both ways of what each company has borrowed from one another, but calling Apple as some sly creature and not admitting that Google did the same (hell, wasn’t Eric Schmidt accused of stealing many of Apple’s secrets before Android was even a wet dream back when he was on Apple’s board?) isn’t pure craziness. The point I’m trying to make is that obviously this mobile war will never see a true winner. I just don’t see the reason in all the Apple bashing on this website. Enjoy the innovation, choose the platform that best fits your needs, and know for a fact that when Apple, Google, Samsung, HTC, etc comes up with a great idea I promise that the others will borrow, cheat, and steal to make their own copy albeit with a different name and one up function.

  • Stew

    Few more things:

    Lock Screens: It’s funny how much the iOS 7 lock screen looks like Android’s

    The Bing for Siri thing was ridiculous. There taking this Google-hating thing far, aren’t they?

    Calendars- this section seems pretty nitpick-y. A calendar is a calendar- there isn’t much design spin you can put on a Calendar app besides choosing between skeuomorphism (I butchered that) or no skeuomorphism. Apple couldn’t possibly have decided to copy the look and feel of Google’s Calendar app from its month-ago I/O. Pastel colors have long been there- iOS and Mac- even back to the days of iCal.

    AirDrop was originally an OS X Lion feature in 2011.

    Lastly, your article refers frequently to how Apple gets its “new” ideas from its developer community, Android, and Android developers. Just to level the playing field, Android isn’t innocent in this respect, either. Prime example, one that you brought up: Android Quick Toggles; originally a thing in skins and ROMs, eventually made into a stock feature.

    Overall, I think you can find many things in every mobile OS that, if you squint at and tilt your head 45 degrees, looks like a similar feature from another OS/app/skin, etc.

  • al

    This is clearly written from the perspective of someone who isn’t familiar with iOS and thus should never have been written.
    Swipe to delete is an old Mail feature, the only thing that’s different is the styling changes they’re showing off.
    I have yet to figure out how to access the notification center on my Nexus from the lock screen with stock Android 4.2. And with iOS you see new notifications as part of the lock screen below the time, I’ve not noticed that on stock Android.
    The style for multitasking Apple’s using is basically a knock off of cards from webOS, not sure why you think it’s unique.
    Why are you saying Android has 3D tab scrolling, it’s 2D, not like it matters.
    Now talk about the features Android DOESN’T have, like theft prevention.

  • Stew

    Great read.

    One thing I’d like to point out, as an Android and iOS user about Mail. iOS users have always been able to swipe for a Delete button. The new thing is the more button.

    But overall, iOS 7 looks like a good blend of some rival UIs with a cool Jony Ive spin.

  • David

    Awesome. Now I can use Android without the lag 😉

  • “Edit: Apparently it’s Siri that has Bing, making Siri even less of an important piece of the Apple pie, which I didn’t think was possible.” This made me laugh!

  • RTR2011

    And a pic of that pathetic ultra liberal nutjob, Al Gore, to top it all off! Good grief, Apple sucks!

  • BruceWonder

    Who cares who did it 1st or last. iOS is so much better looking then andriod. I just bought an HTC one. Sure the hardware is nice and has the awe factor now but the andriod software OS is so ugly with all the different sized icons, etc. Why would we have to root to make it look better? Cuz the stock OS is freaking ugly and fragmented all across platforms. Only if apple made a hugh screen phone…i’ll be back. I move to where the best product is, unlike the many fanboys on both sides of the spectrum.

    • superg05

      you don’t have to root anything to change the appearance of the icons and system thats ios in playstore there are tons of launchers and themes no rooting necessary

  • Sean Jones

    Why don’t you at least learn a bit more about Apple products before you write about them? The very first iPhone had swipe to delete in the mail app, as well as a lot more apps. Just because the delete button that appears has changed in looks doesn’t mean its new. Do your research first next time.

    • Justin

      Wow, bit of an overreaction don’t you think? And what about the other FIFTEEN things on this list? The swipe to delete seems a little insignificant compared to everything else.



    Scroll down to the bottom of that page and you’ll see the words:

    iOS 7 Coming this fall.

  • Javier Sosa

    FYI: Mail has had the swipe to delete/archive since at least the second gen iPhone. They are just adding more options to the swipe gesture.

  • Vegard

    You are not very good at writing articles, ever heard of being objective?

    • nax

      this site is called Droidlife, so its an android fan site, so they don’t have to be objective

  • joejoe5709

    I’m just going to come out and say it – CONGRATS to Apple and iPhone users. This is beautiful and I wish you a warm welcome to the world of clean modern styling. I’m very happy to see you’re ditching the nearly Gingerbread-esque styling. If there was a reason to pick up an iPhone5, this is it. No negativity here. iOS7 is all good. It’s good for Apple and it’s good for Google/Android and the market in general. iOS7 makes Windows Phones look childish and that’s an accomplishment in itself. Again, Congrats to our fruity friends. 😉

    Buuut then I say – Apple, you’re at least two years late to the game to use words like innovative and revolutionary so don’t even try. If this dropped with the iPhone5, it would have rocked everyone’s world. And unfortunately you’re still (generally) at least one year late because by the time this rolls out and gets popular, the clean JellyBean/GoogleNow/Holo/Roboto styling will be showing its age. Within a year, the mobile market will probably move onto something different. Key Lime Pie is coming. Perhaps sooner and perhaps later, but it’s happening. I doubt it’s going to blow our minds like ICS did but you better believe that Google is going to want to distance its styling away from anything Apple is doing.

  • Aleksander Hoff

    Uhm.. Airdrop is not a new feature. Sure, it is new on iOS, but it has been on Mac OSX for a while, it was just a matter of time before they implemented it.

  • Brandon Golway

    What’s funny is a guy I work with is a HUGE Apple fanboy (he even bought the $63 screwdriver to take apart the iPhone 5!) and he said “iOS7 was released yesterday…” and I cut him off and said “It looks just like Android” and he response was “I know I don’t like it. Once they lost Steve Jobs they lost their innovation.” If anything, these past few months definitely spell the end of days for Apple’s Mobile Division.

  • boynextdoor

    Apple doesn’t realize tha their so called “new tech” is years behind. Or maybe they will realize in a better time..

  • Itsstillaphone

    Do you know if they changed the Phone at all? The biggest thing I miss about Android is dialing a number and suggested contacts popping up as you dial.

    • Ummm… both my BIONIC and my work GSII do this.

      • superg05

        he has an iphone i think he’s saying

  • Gadgetyuga

    Wow..!!! Nice Comparison

  • frozendarkness

    The only one that looks remotely similar is the tab system. you guys are delusional. Ya Apple finally added tabs for quick access, that’s not an “android idea.” I’ll give it to you for catching up to android on functionality, but to think that apple did it exactly the same is “flat” out retarded.

    • Justin

      It may not be an Android idea, but it’s an EXACT COPY of Palm’s WebOS Card View feature! This is definitely not Apple being “Innovative” or “Revolutionary” as they like to think they are.


  • call in the lawyers!

  • Brian_2112

    A nice thing to see Apple move forward with iOS after the last few versions offered very little in the way of change…but they did “borrow” several aspects of their design/capabilities from Android. Perhaps they are getting wise as to why they’re losing market share.

    As for calling this commentary “childish” and “uninformed” as some users have claimed, I can easily say it’s no worse than Apple’s WWDC keynote. For a company that prides itself on being “revolutionary” they sure like to resort to misleading statistics and thinly-veiled cheap shots at the competition. Many companies do it…but Apple is the most self-satisfied about it.

  • Lilly Dew

    Wow! I thought the rumors of androidcans was too hard, but this site proves me wrong… Is there a max age of 16 too write here ? So embarrassing…

  • Idon’t Know

    This was really uninformed and at some times childish commentary.

  • marsh

    You all can knock apple all you want! I believe this is a great step forward for Apple. I’m a proud owner of a samsung galaxy note 2, but with these features Apple has Finally listened to consumers and the complaints of those who switched to Android. I love Android but with these features paired with smooth OS or is very tempting to give it a try. Before this Android was a no Brainer.

  • Tony Byatt

    I believe the main issue for everyone is that Apple continues to brands themselves as “innovators” in every obnoxious way and yet they clearly have become followers of current smartphone OS trends…

    • Jarred Sutherland

      I agree with you, if it isn’t innovation stop pretending that it is.

      However I do enjoy that when they do release something, it is mature and has had most of the bugs worked out. Being an early adopter is great for some things, others not so much.

  • I’ve got one really nice pic for iShit fans, have a 4.2. Android Jelly bean , it’s the new ios 7. iSHIT SUCKS FOREVER.

    • tomas

      Sorry, wont work on my 18 months old LG… No Jelly Bean for me :((

      (oh, and the “iShit sucks forever” comment was really….stupid).

      • Jarred Sutherland

        Forrest Gump once said .. stupid is, as stupid does. People need to innovate more with their insults.

  • Ryan

    I gotta say, I don’t know if true iOS fans are going to go for the new UI. To me a good amount of it screams Android, and that obviously isn’t what they (think) they want. iOS looked like it did for a reason. Now it basically looks like MiUi. Which, if I were them, I’d be pissed as hell right now.

    • Ian

      However, now that apple is giving it to them, they can claim that its what they’ve been hoping for all along and its the best thing since sliced bread… or at least that’s how iSheep have behaved in the past.

      • Ryan

        hahaha It’s so sad that that is completely true. And then when you show them that it’s Android, they’ll somehow still insist it was something iOS thought up.

    • ukjb

      true iOS fans (think) they want whatever Apple gives them… they will eat this stuff up and claim Android stole it when they start seeing these comparison articles.

  • vorange

    clarification: Apple has made poor marketing decisions. Has built a very clean and impressive UI. Compartively, IOS 7 has class and very well designed where Android 4.2 is ugly and messy. Period. What a shame the OS on Androids is so ugly compared to iOS7.

    • Steve Benson

      Thank you for your clarification. It’s now clear to me that you’re an ignorant iOS fanboy. Period.