Why I switched to Android, and why I'm switching back

Two months ago I was looking confusingly at the home screen on my iPhone 5 thinking to myself that among all the clutter of icons, forced weird patterns of colour between different icons, and the over-use of white backgrounds by app developers, I was feeling sick and tired of the iOS home screen. Forced to look at every single icon on the screen I felt a bit like I had tunnel vision when I looked at my phone.

The UX/UI just wasn't working for me, and a recent Android Kit-Kat article had peeked my interest enough to start looking around for a Nexus 5. It started out great, I planned out all the apps I could use cross-platform and the ones I could find alternatives to in order to keep most of my workflows intact. When I finally got the N5, I immediately fell in love with the gorgeous display and the idea of having an "app drawer" where I could stow away apps I didn't want to see necessarily all of the time.

It went well for a couple of months, until I ran into a simple, yet frustrating issue. I just couldn't fit all my most-used apps onto the home-screen without relying on multiple folders. I went from having 3 home-screens of icons, to 5 home-screens with glance-able widgets, to just two home-screens with folders, some icons, and some tiny widgets. It was time-consuming. If I really wanted, I could spend an hour just organizing my home-screens. I had to come to terms with the fact that even though iOS could feel claustrophobic at times, Android felt like a mess to me, and it had ruined the entire experience for me.

Thinking back, the way iOS worked for me was something that I hadn't appreciated as much as I could have, and with the advent of the new fitness, continuity, keyboards, and sharing features this fall, iOS has never been more perfect for me. So yeah, I'm running back to iOS and finding a good deal on an iPhone 5S (Canada). The experience wasn't a total waste, I'll definitely give the Nexus 5 to a family member with a crummy old phone, but the effort of switching makes me wish I had never switched in the first place to something I'd come to like even less.


The way I wrote this sounds like the home screen is my only qualms with both operating systems and has upset a few users who think I'm being unfair to both iOS and Android. Just to be clear, because usability is so close on each OS, I made a switch thinking my workflow would be optimized on Android leading to my discovery that it was not. Yes, Android can be customized almost every way (I tried out the Google Now Launcher, Aviate, and Nova launcher as well as some other third-party ones), but instead of investing into anything like that I was pulled back to iOS after seeing the recent keynote and discovering all the new features of the Apple ecosystem. Yes, I'm considering the camera, finger-print sensor, and design of the 5S in my decision. Just wanted to make this a bit more clear.