iPhone apps are even more polished than Android apps and I hate that

Android app design has come a long way from the gaudy days of Holo, the look introduced in 2011 with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Google deserves credit for taking design seriously across its mobile platform and many third party app developers have come in to build on what Google offers with Material Design and Material You. best phones, there is still a lot to do, particularly in the animation department.


Personally, I’ve always thought that Android has the edge over iOS when it comes to app design. Whether it’s the bad old #holoyolo days of Android 4 or the wonderful new world of Material Design we got with Android 5, Android apps have always seemed to me more accessible and less complicated than Apple’s skeuomorphism or the super simplified look of the company refinement since the controversial iOS 7 changes.

But there’s one area I’ve always envied the experience of those firmly enmeshed in the Apple ecosystem: app animations and transitions. For years now, premium apps have not only come first to iOS, but many of them have also been developed as iOS-first products. The most infuriating part of this is that I’m even jealous of Google’s apps, many of which feel smoother on iOS, with more thoughtful animations and transitions than you can find on Android.

The only reason I like to pick up my iPhone from time to time

As much as I prefer Android as my operating system, there’s a reason I keep coming back to my iPhone, making it my everyday carry-on phone from time to time – well, other than my desire to stay informed of what’s going on. on the other major mobile operating system besides Android. Using an iPhone feels like a smoother and more complete experience than even a Google Pixel, which arguably offers Google’s grand vision of how Android Should appearance and behavior, including its proprietary Google apps.


To a significant extent, the reason for this is the animations and overall polish of the apps. This has been the case for years, and there’s no shortage of examples that show just how great things look and feel on an iPhone. But the app that really made this difference between platforms clear to me recently is Netflix. The service redesigned its iOS app a while back, giving it one of the smoothest and smoothest in-app navigation systems it’s ever seen. Using Netflix on my iPhone is an absolute joy, with smooth animations between each screen doing the dreaded “what should we watch?” almost funny experience. The app reacts naturally to your input as you scroll through carousels and ignore individual titles.

With that heightened sense for animations, it doesn’t take long to start noticing how many other apps are sprinkled with similarly delightful navigation animations. One of my banking apps gleefully reveals a full view of a debit card when you swipe up. Google Maps builds its routes on the fly, giving you a sense of movement. WhatsApp offers smooth transitions when you open the keyboard or swipe back to all chats. And YouTube offers a rich, long-lasting animation when you move your phone to landscape mode.


It’s not that animations don’t exist on Android apps at all. In fact, even Android apps are full of all kinds of transitions and animations. What matters is how well these animations are integrated with the actual finger movements on the screen. When you move from screen to screen and section to section on iOS, there is a sense of physically interacting with the interface and inner workings of the phone, whereas on Android there is always a semblance of disconnection.

You might dismiss these animations as tacky, and yes, they’re a bit over the top at times. But they all contribute to the slightly more pleasant experience of touching a cold glass screen without haptic feedback, creating a deeper connection between the actions you take and the reactions of the elements you see on the screen. It’s no wonder people like to stick with their iPhones when all they ever experienced on Android was a low-powered phone from 2012 that lacked the oomph to deliver delightful experiences like the iPhone already was capable of. do at that time.

Where does this gap come from?

This gap between iOS and Android has been around almost since the beginning and there are a few reasons for it. iOS has been around longer than Android, and while it may have a smaller user base than Android on an international scale, iPhones are THE smartphones to be had in many cultures and elicit a more premium vibe than android phones. This means that many developers are paying more attention to their apps on iOS, as they need to be more refined to match the rest of the premium experience.

The reason is also rooted in the different approaches that Android and iOS have to system navigation. On iOS, gesture navigation has been the only default option since the iPhone X, so gestures and smooth animations are already part of the normal iOS experience, and developers need to acknowledge this. Due to the lack of a universal back gesture, app developers must also use gestures and animations to guide users through their interfaces. This also gives developers full control over how their app behaves when someone navigates through it, while Android always offers multiple ways to go back, whether it’s via a back button, a back gesture, or a custom implementation from a developer. devices. This uncertainty makes it harder for developers to predict how their apps should react to certain user inputs.


Imagine a world where Android would be limited to Pixel phones and how many better apps could be optimized for specific hardware

Also, Apple generally makes it easier for developers to add animations. The OS is only designed for a few different screen sizes, form factors, and processors, making it much easier to predict how well apps will perform on devices and how well they can handle animations. In contrast, Android runs on hundreds, if not thousands, of different devices, form factors, screen sizes, and OS versions, making it harder for developers to rely on more modern libraries that might make it easier to animate app, at least as long as they want to ensure backwards compatibility.

That’s not to say Apple’s approach is necessarily better — particularly when you like your apps to update reliably in the background or a simple, intuitive way to roll back — but it does offer advantages in the app design department.

Android 14 could save the day, but there’s still a long way to go

Android 14 could offer a radical improvement in the animation department, and that’s thanks to Android’s reliable, system-wide rear navigation system. Instead of leaving the work to individual app developers and their animation and design skills, Google will allow apps to enable predictive backward navigation. This will let you take a peek at the screen you’re about to go back to, and you can already see it in action on some apps in Android 14 Beta 2. You need to enable the backward predictive gesture flag in developer options, though.

If app developers choose, they will also be able to add their own custom back navigation animations. Depending on which transitions make the most sense, this could create a more unified, yet still individual experience between different Android apps. The only problem with this system is that it only works on an opt-in basis, so it could be a long time before all Android apps support it.

Gestures back iOS (Left); Android’s new predictive back gestures (Right)

Other parts of Android have already moved in this direction, particularly on Pixel phones. This starts with small and long-standing parts of the UX. like when you swipe down to reveal the notification shade, the gestures you use to return to the home screen, and the Pixel Launcher’s sweet swipe-up animation to reveal both the app drawer and keyboard. The gesture-free Android system UI is almost on par with what Apple offers. The disconnect exists mostly within apps and especially when using backward gestures.

I look forward to the future, once all or even many apps become part of Google’s redesigned back gestures. While most developers rely only on the default transition provided by the OS, this should already lead to a much smoother and more consistent experience.

#iPhone #apps #polished #Android #apps #hate

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