Why I Still Use An Android

There’s only one compelling reason that I keep using my Android.

I switched to Android last year, after using an iPhone since the early days. It was a big switch, but you’ll pry my headphone wires out of my cold dead hands!

The iPhone 6S and SE are still available and still have headphone holes, so there’s no need to switch yet. I wanted to get ahead of it though and do an experiment to see what would be more painful to give up, iOS or wired headphones.

The result: I found one use of Android’s customizability that is now hard to live without. Let me show you.

Here’s my home screen a year ago and last week:

Over the last year I’ve adjusted the UI size and launcher grid settings after upgrading to Android 7. Both pics are of the same phone, an Xperia Z5.

The home screen has changed over time, but two things haven’t: the widgets.

My weather widget shows the weather now and the forecast for each 4 hour interval for the next day. Handy. But I don’t find weather apps as accurate in Canada so I added a quick-link to the government’s more accurate forecast web page for Montreal. (That’s the icon on the right of the weather widget in the newer screenshot.)

The weather widget is nice, but it’s the calendar widget that I miss when using an iPhone.

The calendar widget shows the current week, with dots for each calendar item, colour-coded by calendar. For example, in the screenshot above: on the left I had two work meetings on Tuesday (red) and one personal event on Friday (blue). You can click on any date to get a quick popup view of what the events are for that day without going into the calendar app.

I also have it integrated with Trello and Todoist due dates.

Now that’s useful.

Passive Information

The reason these widgets are so powerful is that they provide you with information passively. Every time I unlock my phone, there they are and I digest them a little without even realizing. So I see how many dots I have tomorrow, and how many I have the following day. I see roughly what the weather is like.

This doesn’t sound all that different from calendar or weather apps but trust me, it is. Passive information is insanely powerful. I’m always aware of what my schedule / the weather is like without thinking about it. The information is simply in my head at all times without me having to worry about it.

I went back to iOS for a short while this summer just to see the difference, and I was shocked at how ignorant I became to my schedule and the weather. I missed a couple events in as many weeks. It was like I was missing a sense. I switched back and all was right with the world.

The best way I can put it: imagine if your phone didn’t have a battery level on the screen all the time. If, every time you wanted to check it, you had to open an app. You’d be lost and your phone would run out of battery a lot more often because it’s not always just there.

You can swipe left to see similar widgets in iOS but until you can add them to your home screen next to the app icons, it’s not the same. Not for me, at least.

There are tons of other great Android features that are useful but that I can certainly do without. And there are lots of great iOS things that I wish Android had. But right now there’s only one thing keeping me on Android besides the headphone lady-port: brainwashing myself with passive information.