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Benefits of iOS: what do Android users miss most?

There are a whole bunch of reasons we think iPhones and iPads are better than competing devices. Privacy, security, ease of use, durability, app quality, performance, environmental responsibility – we could go on. But it’s easy for us to talk up Apple devices when we use them every day. Sometimes, it’s more interesting to take an outsider viewpoint.

So, what does somebody who generally prefers Android miss most about the days they used to rock an iPhone?

That’s the question Android fan Mike Tanasychuk asked himself in a piece written for iMore, and the answer may surprise you. He doesn’t miss the App Store or iCloud. He doesn’t wish his Samsung had Portrait Lighting or Apple Pay. He doesn’t long for Face ID, Animoji, or the iPhone X’s notch. Apple’s greatest strength, he argues, is its ability to efficiently deliver iOS updates.

You see, we iPhone and iPad users take for granted the fact that Apple supports all its devices with frequent updates for so long. In a recent study, it was shown that Apple’s tendency to keep its devices running the latest software for five years after release (aside from the iPhone 5C, which got just four) puts it well ahead of rival devices in terms of update support.

That not only means that almost its entire user base gets access to new features each year, but it means all those devices get the latest security updates to help protect against attack. Apple typically releases security updates within a few days of a vulnerability being discovered. By comparison, many Android users are stuck waiting weeks or even months to receive security updates.

Case in point: Tanasychuk has a Galaxy S8, an expensive flagship smartphone released less than a year ago by Samsung. And yet it’s still not received an update to the latest version of Android (“Oreo”) despite that version being released on other devices last August. That means Galaxy S8 users are missing out on key features and key security updates despite having pretty new devices.

There is a whole sea of reasons why this kind of thing happens with Android, and it’s not entirely Samsung’s fault – but it’s worth remembering that this kind of thing would never happen to an iPhone or iPad. Easy access to frequent security updates is an often overlooked, almost invisible perk of being in the Apple ecosystem.