My Experience with iOS and Why I Switched to Android

Other Apple Chat

Hi, guys.
Let me start off by saying that I am not here to offend anyone or tell you which platform I think is better, or which one I think you should use. That is entirely up to you. I'm just here to talk about my experience as a long time iOS user and my reasons for switching to Android.
Now, I like iOS. I've been using it for six years. I love how iPhones and iPads are accessible right out of the box, and let's be honest, Apple has the best customer service. I've owned three iPhones, my current one being an iPhone 6s plus. However, for the past year or so, I've been noticing that, and this is just my opinion, it seems that when Apple comes out with new smartphones, the upgrades seem to be minimal in terms of design. A good example of this is if you had an iPhone 6 and you wanted to upgrade to an iPhone 6s. I could be wrong, but isn't the main difference between the 6 and 6s the 3-d touch feature? Not much in terms of an upgrade, in my opinion. I just wanted something different. So I recently bought my first Android device. I love that I have the freedom to customize my device, and I love how I'm not stuck with one manufacturer and only a few different screen sizes.
But what do you guys think? Are you guys okay with the upgrades to Apple's iPhones over the years? Or do you wish Apple would do more in terms of design, like, say, Samsung? Do you wish iOS was more customizable, or are you happy with it? I think this would make a good discussion.

Remember, what I have written are just my opinions. I am not here to offend anyone.



Submitted by jcdjmac (not verified) on Monday, January 2, 2017

He's correct, be careful. this post could get end up takin' down. that's just my opinion. anyways, I love iOS. I've had my iphone 5s for about 3 years, and it still works with the latest version of iOS, version 10.2. it's amazing that apple has finally provided new voices. I'm still with at&t, although I may end up switching to t-Mobile, but keep the same number.

Submitted by molly on Monday, January 2, 2017

Is there a way to delete the post?
I don't mean to offend people, but I probably shouldn't have posted this topic in the first place.

Submitted by JeffB on Monday, January 2, 2017

This topic shouldn't be an issue as it expresses ideas and opinions. This topic is also in general chat which means in no way does it have to be tied to anything pacific. It's not in IOS discussion, or anything else like that so why should anyone have an issue with it? Competition is also good for companies as it pushes them to think outside the box and do better. Yes I do wish I had more of a choice in terms of screen size and sound scheme on my phone. I like my 6S but it can be a little big at times. I wish I could just plug my phone into my computer and fix all the music that ITunes is incapable of sorting and really didn't need to sort since I had it all organized in the first place. There are things that Apple could improve on, and there are things that Droid can improve on as well. If Droid was accessible out of the box that would have been nice to have that choice but I went with Apple because of it’s out of the box accessibility. Had I been familiar with touch screens perhaps I would have tried Droid. One thing I don't like is how things like I Messages don't work across the board. Like it is kind of silly that it has to be an I Message and not just like a text. I think fireworks and balloons and so on should work on droids as well. I heard that Droid even has different emoji’s it's just a bit ridiculous. You raised some good questions and I am interested in how a Droid performs in terms of accessibility.

Submitted by Raul on Monday, January 2, 2017

Of course I'm not offended by your post. It's just that I've seen posts like this one being closed simply because someone doesn't want the word android to appear on applevis.
One think I like from android is the separate volume sliders for almost every sound. This includes alarms, notifications, ringtones and multimedia. Also the Do Not Disturbe has more features.

Submitted by molly on Monday, January 2, 2017

Certain Android devices are accessible out of the box. I still like iOS, and I can't help that these are my opinions. I just think Apple needs to come out with a product that will amaze us all. Which I'm sure they will.

Submitted by Jeff on Monday, January 2, 2017

What Android device did you get (make and model) and what about it do you like better than your iPhone? You mentioned that you felt Apple should be making bigger design improvements, so what would you like to see improved? Does your Android device incorporate these improvements?

I almost get the impression you were just in the mood for a change more than having any specific idea of improvements, but if I'm wrong, please elaborate. I'm not being snarky -- I really want to know if I'm missing out on something I might appreciate knowing about.

Submitted by molly on Tuesday, January 3, 2017

At first, I was just looking for something new.
I got a Samsung galaxy s 7 edge. If you want an accessible Android device, you need to get the devices that are the most popular, like the Samsung galaxy s series, or galaxy note series. Those devices run the latest version of Android. Plus, Samsung adds their own accessibility features. Some features that my Android has that I wish Apple had is the ability to answer a phone call with the home button or end a phone call by pressing the power button. I wish that, on iOS, you could install a different screen reader, or a different text to speech engine. I use Samsung's version of talkback, which has similar gestures to VoiceOver. On iPhone, I'd like the ability to install different home screens, such as google now launcher, or nova launcher. I'd like the ability to install third party apps, like keyboards, or web browsers, and have thee the ability to select them as the default browser or keyboard. In terms of design, here are some features that my Android has, that I wish the iPhone had:
Fast cable charging: This technology allows your charger to supply more voltage to your battery, allowing you to charge your battery more quickly.
The ability to connect bluetooth accessories when you turn on bluetooth from the control center, so you don't have to go to your bluetooth settings. On the iPhone, I'd like to see a curved screen, and if they could make the phone less wide, that would be cool. My iPhone and Samsung have the same screen size, but because of the curved display, the Samsung is not as wide. I kind of wish that iOS could be open source, too. Like, what if Apple let other hardware manufacturers put iOS on their phones? Then Apple could make a rule or guideline or something that will tell the manufacturers that they must not modify the software. That accessibility would not be affected. There are mor features that my Android has that I wish IOS had, but I can't think of anymore right now. All of the features that I listed so far are on my Android. Maybe they'll come to iPhone soon.

Submitted by Hadi on Tuesday, January 3, 2017

There is 0 reason that this topic should be taken down. we're just speaking our opinion here and If Applevis decides to take the topic down just because 'They "don't like the Android OS", It'd be absolutely terrible.

Anyway, your post is a little vague. It's pretty much clear that Android allows more customizations compared to iOS. but Can you point out the things you've done on your device that you've enjoyed doing? I've tried an Android device before and so far I did not find any new functions or applications that I would love to have on my iPhone.

And as for your other complaint about iPhone 6 and 6s, It's just a marketing strategy to drain money out of consumers as much as they can. Every other company does this; however, It's more obvious when Apple does it because They're a huge leading tech company.
Regardless, Apple's iPhone 6 had huge hardware improvements over the iPhone 5, and They're among the most top phones in terms of performance and various other specifications.
The arguement of "Apple does not bring anything new with their phones" is slightly valid, But It's worth to mention that they're releasing a flagship every year, alongside other devices, They do not reveal their entire high end researched technology into a device Because that will put a huge impact in marketing and income, and finally, Apple does not have any room for putting experimental features in their flagships. It's part of their strategy. Everything needs to be working rock solid.
as a consumer I don't buy a new phone every year, so I'm pretty sure iPhone 9 would have something for me to enjoy :) or maybe not, We'll see!

edit: I just saw you answered my question in the above post.! You probably posted when i was writing it!

Submitted by molly on Tuesday, January 3, 2017

i haven't found anything different in terms of functionality. android just has more features. i mainly like it for the customization. i often install different home screens on it to make it look cool.

Submitted by molly on Tuesday, January 3, 2017

in terms accessibility, i've found talkback works as good as VoiceOver. accept when it comes to games. not to many games work with talkback.

Submitted by Andy B. on Tuesday, January 3, 2017

I want to give my comparison of the Galaxy S7 Edge and the iPhone 7. Some features will target consumers and others will target developers. Of course, this comparison is my own opinion and nothing more. With that aside, here we go.
1. Operating system: iPhone uses IOS, a closed-source, commercial platform. Android uses an open-source platform. The two different business models directly influence the cost of the phone. More on cost later.
Although most people would trust closed-source commercial software more than open-source software, more features are added to the open-source platform more than the commercial-source platform in a shorter period of time. It is the nature of open-source software to have a shorter lifecycle.
2. Applications from the app store/play store: Although most apps are available on both stores, some are not. For example, Dice world is in both stores. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and alternatives, and much more are in both stores. However, I can't find 4down, piramyd 13, RS games client, and kid-friendly games on the play store. Each store is completely accessible, lending itself to easy access and usability.
From my experience, apps in the play store have been more accessible as of late. For instance, the Bible app (youversion) has problems on IOS devices when you try to read someone elses public notes. On an Android device, the same notes are completely readable. LinkedIn is another example. On an IOS device, the app is frustrating to use at best, and needs some TLC in the accessibility department. On an Android device, LinkedIn works like a dream. The only flaw in the Android version of LinkedIn is the forum posts in groups. They aren't read by talkback, which is the least of my worries. Getting access to critical profile information is more important.
3. Hardware: A Galaxy S7 Edge and iPhone 7+ have similar shapes and sizes. Already mentioned in other replies, the Edge and iPhone 7+ still have 5.1 inch screens. However, the Edge design on the Galaxy makes the phone feel somewhat narrower. In fact, my Edge doesn't feel any wider than the iPhone 7 4.7 inch screen. On the other hand, the Edge feels significantly taller than the iPhone 7.
In terms of built-in hardware, IOS devices are a closed system. You can't add or remove hardware. The Edge is the same. However, it comes in much smaller form factors than the IOS devices. For example, the Edge comes in 8, 16, or 32GB models. The current iPhone 7 line comes in 32, 128, and 256GB models. The difference is the Edge. You can insert a micro SD card, expanding the size limit to 128GB+ the phone's internal storage capacity. In my case, 32GB internal + 128GB external = 160GB of total storage space. Most of the internal hardware is the same: quad-core processor, 2GB of ram (the Edge has 4GB of ram), HD display, 3.5mm slot for headphones, charging slot, physical home button, water resistant, and front/back camera. The sound system in the Edge sounds fuller and projects itself through a larger space in a room. I had my volume turned to 20% on the Edge while listening to Star Trek and was able to hear it through the entire apartment.
4. Usability: Although the iPhone is designed for single-handed use, the Edge offers more in terms of features. The notification center has LED lights to show which features are turned on. Some examples include Bluetooth, do not disturb, wifi, wifi calling, auto brightness, and others. The notifications are displayed in a list with the date received next to the alert. IOS devices have headings that allow the user to navigate by specific days of the week. However, this is cumbersome at best. If I need a list of alerts, that is what I want, not a sorted list by day, then by app type. The home screen is much the same on both devices: multiple pages of icons contained in a grid. The Edge has an app launcher. Think of it as the Windows 10 start menu. This gives a list of every app installed on the phone, where as the home screen is reserved for your favorite apps.
You can customize just about anything from colors, to look and feel, to app sounds, email clients, and default apps. If you can customize it in Windows 10, chances are there is a similar feature in Android.
5. Developers: Android makes use of Android Studio for the official IDE. The programming language used is pure Java. On IOS devices, one must venture into the realm of the unknown by using xCode, Apple's IDE and Swift as the programming language. If you are a Java developer, most tasks are familiar. However, you must learn a new IDE and programming language with IOS devices. Neither one should pose much of a problem. However, if you are used to traditional programming workflows, developing apps for Android is much faster. Further, Google charges a one time fee of $25USD to become a developer on the play store. On the other hand, Apple charges $99 a year for access to the iTunes/app store.
6. Cost: There isn't much to say about cost. IOS devices are more expensive than Android devices. For example, my iPhone 7 256GB cost $960. My Edge 32GB with an optional 128GB SD card cost me about $700.
Both devices perform the same tasks. In fact, both devices have similar look and feel features. At this point, Android is more stable in its feature set. Further, it is somewhat more accessible than IOS devices. From what I understand, Android 7.1.1 will improve upon its accessibility and feature set. One device is not any better than the other in terms of features. However, Apple's lack of attention on certain problems with xCode and IOS leaves a user leaning over to pick up an Android phone. The largest contributing factor that will help someone determine which phone works best is look and feel. If you are used to the way Windows 8.1/10 does things, Android might be the best option. On the other hand, if you are naturally used to how Apple's workflow works, then an IOS device might work best for you. Either way, you have a choice. The Edge comes with a modified version of talkback included, so you can get started as soon as you open the box to your new phone. Personally, I don't like the Samsung talkback screen reader, so I installed Google's version of talkback. Now I am happy. The reason why I am considering switching primary phones to Android is a few: The OS is more stable, I can get my work done faster because of Java, and the screen size is larger. In the past few months, I discovered that I have better grip and control over a larger phone, especially when it is cold outside. Lastly, the sound system on the Edge is better in terms of volume and signal power. This helps me when in noisy environments because I have just enough hearing loss to degrade the quality of the sound in IOS devices to make it difficult to hear sometimes.

Submitted by molly on Tuesday, January 3, 2017

i have to say you're much better at comparisoms than me. i think my iPhone still has the better sounding speaker than the s 7 edge.

There are a few nice aspects to Android over iOS for me. First, I can just dump musc or whatever I want in to an Android device without having to use a specific piece of software. Also, I don't need a cable to charge my device that only works with that brand of product. Micro USB is what many electronics use. Also, being able to use Eloquince, a TTS I personally prefer, is HUGE.
But as a braille user, I can't, for example, compose this message in contracted braille as I'm doing now. There is no native support for braille displays at all, and the support for BrailleBack depends largely on what model of display you have. There simply isn't the amount of support offered on Android for braille user doesn't even come close to what iOS has to offer. Android To read email, for example, you have to install a 3rd party app on Android to read email in braille, but the native iOS app supports it. The worst part about the braille access is that when When I approached the people at Google Accessibility with my concerns, they responded without any commitment. Basically, it's been stated that since BrailleBack is open source, someone else can fix it. If Android were to pick up braille support, I'd certainly give it another look. for now, braille support on iOS, with all of its quirks, still is far supperior to Android. Until that changes, I'm sticking with iOS and will not support Android.

Submitted by Andy B. on Tuesday, January 3, 2017

In reply to by Scott Davert

I thought it was going to get a facelift in 7.1.1. Talkback is opensource and they still keep it up to date.

If you have the iPhone 7+, the sound will be much different than the iPhone 7. Remember, I am comparing the Edge against an iPhone 7. The Edge will naturally have a better sound system. Partly because the phone is slightly larger, but partly because Samsung made it. They are one of the leading sound output manufacturers for consumer devices (aside from Sony).

Submitted by IceQueen1 on Tuesday, January 3, 2017

I used to have an android phone. But now I just have an android tablet. The main thing I wish Apple had is an SD card slot so that we could extend our memory like android can.

Submitted by Chris on Tuesday, January 3, 2017

It comes down to customization and openness. The suggestions you have for Apple will never happen. If they ever do, I will be extremely surprised. As I've said before, Apple does things their own way. If you don't like it, you can take a hike as far as they're concerned. I think the iPhone is good for those people who just want a phone that works out of the box. It's perfect for those who don't care about tinkering with the device and just want things to work. Since Apple is so closed and proprietary, it also means that it will be a lot harder for the average person to accidentally brick the device by deleting important system files or something stupid like that.

I'd like to talk about one major benefit Android offers over iOS. That is custom roms. A custom rom is a completely new operating system for your device. This has several benefits. You can gain additional features and customizations that were not possible on your stock firmware. You can also upgrade to a newer version of the operating system. This is the main reason I use custom roms. For example, I have a Google Nexus 7 from 2013. Google ended support for that device when Android 7.0 Nougat came out. It is officially stuck on Android 6.1 Marshmallow. After I installed a custom rom, the device is running the latest version of Android. You can't do that with an iOS device. When Apple drops support for your device, you're screwed! Custom roms are far more powerful than a jailbreak could ever be.

I agree with Scott about braille support. The Google accessibility team has been neglecting Brailleback in favor of Talkback. Brailleback should receive a major overhaul and be fully integrated into the operating system along with TalkBack. I'd also like to see it either run independently of TalkBack or provide an option to mute speech.

Submitted by Marconius on Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Having used both systems, I honestly just can't fathom why anyone would choose android over iOS apart from the cost. My iPhone 5s lasted for quite a while and I only just recently purchased a brand-new iPhone SE. I don't feel the need to constantly update my phone when the new ones come out, although I do hope that Apple starts making more significant upgrades and keeping the SE body style with upgraded chips in the future.

As for talkback, I haven't found a phone yet that comes anywhere close to the overall speed of access when using voice over on a native iOS device. Talkback always feels much slower than voiceover, the voice synthesis is terrible compared to the iOS voices, and it absolutely feels like something that has been engineered rather than designed with user experience in mind. For app development, it is pretty awful as well considering that there are so many devices with so many different versions of talk back and it extremely low adoption rate of new android OS releases it makes testing every user case impossible. I do not see the reason to switch to an inferior accessibility service when there is one already out there that works right out of the box, is extremely intuitive, easy to learn, is almost always readily supported by third-party developers when using standard controls in their applications, and has standard software and hardware that doesn't change the experience at all from device to device. Yes, Apple hardware could definitely be a lot cheaper, and there seems to be a bit of a running trend of form over function, but with enough user feedback and pushback they can get back on the right track again, but what is already out there works perfectly fine.

I mean, even down to simple things such as flicking the talkback cursor from item to item on the screen is much different from voiceover, where VoiceOver seems to be a lot more receptive to smaller motion while I feel like I'm going to get RSI every time I use talk back due to the different gestures and how wide and precise the need to be for any semblance of accuracy.

Submitted by TheBSPress on Tuesday, January 3, 2017

People like to claim that VoiceOver and Talkback are comparable, but I think such claims are a bit generous. I could switch to Android full-time with a Pixel with the latest version of Talkback and probably be generally happy. And I genuinely appreciate the work that the Talkback team is putting into their product, especially in the past year or two. But when objectively evaluating the features of both screen readers and the overall user experience, VoiceOver on iOS comes out on top for me.

Here are several areas (in no particular order) where the overall user experience with VO objectively comes out on top for me:

1. Granularity: I think the rotor is a better design on iOS than flicking up/down to change navigation unit with Android. On iOS, flicking left/right moves to the next element. On Android, you may have to reset your granularity to “default.” This adds an avoidable, extra step.

2. The rotor offers greater customization than Talkback’s granularity settings. You can set volume, speech rate, punctuation, and other settings in the rotor. You can only adjust text navigation (characters, words, paragraphs, default, ETC) with Talkback. Talkback does have local and global context menus with more settings, but they are still not as feature-rich or intuitive to use.

3. There are many three and four-finger gestures with VoiceOver that cannot be found with Talkback.

4. For all its apparent customization, Talkback volume is tied to the media volume. VoiceOver volume is more customizable and audio ducking works much better. I can comfortably listen to VoiceOver while reading a book and stream music with Tunein; Talkback’s focus speech audio settings are simply not as smooth.

5. You can type in Braille with iOS from the rotor. Talkback’s Braille support is poor. Android users recommend the Braille Soft Keyboard, but this requires you to first suspend Talkback. IMO, suspending the screen reader seems ridiculous.

6. You can “direct touch type”—which is the equivalent of typing like a sighted person, without VoiceOver—while using VoiceOver. Talkback does not have a direct touch typing feature. In fact, the only input method with the Google keyboard is touch and lift, which is what VoiceOver users call touch typing. You can install other keyboards on Android, but none of them allow for direct touch typing unless you first suspend Talkback.

7. When you’re working up a sweat in the gym, you can leave focus on the time in the status bar and VoiceOver will automatically announce as the minutes change. Talkback did not announce the time changes on my Pixel, which makes time tracking during interval training unnecessarily difficult. You might be able to accomplish this (admittedly minor feature) with a third-party app on Android, but ... why bother?

8. Apple Maps is accessible down to the core. You can toggle tracking on with headings and hear information about cross streets and POIs. While getting turn by turn directions, you can flick to hear your current location. You can even virtually explore streets and "walk" the map with your finger. Google Maps on Android has none of these features. And speaking of Google Maps, ...

9. Directions with Google Maps on Android are not fully accessible to Talkback while in turn-by-turn navigation mode. Talkback only reads part of the upcoming direction when you explore the screen. As a result, your options with Android are to make sure that voice announcements are turned on, or to tap on the list of steps and preview the route. This is terrible design. Meanwhile, Google Maps works fine with VoiceOver on iOS. Oh, Google...

10. I couldn't really find a good setting to have Talkback read from my current position. There are options to do this, but none of them seem efficient. With VoiceOver, simply do a two-finger flick down.

11. App developers tend to concentrate their resources on making apps more accessible with VoiceOver than Talkback. This is a controversial point, but it’s important. If Sarah the developer has time to only focus on Talkback or VoiceOver, she’s probably going to choose VoiceOver because more blind people statistically use VoiceOver than Talkback. And many time and cash-strapped developers will focus more of their resources on one over the other. As a result, many third-party applications are more accessible on iOS than on Android.

Submitted by David Goodwin👨‍🦯 on Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

I need to correct some claims that were made early in this thread.

Statements such as “Admins don't like Android topics so be careful” and “It's just that I've seen posts like this one being closed simply because someone doesn't want the word android to appear on applevis” are quite simply wrong.

No post has ever been removed from AppleVis or a thread closed for simply containing the word ‘Android”. Not only is any claim to the contrary false, but I personally (as one of the site admins) find it quite an offensive suggestion.

That’s not to say that we have never removed an Android-related post from the site or asked for a discussion to be brought back within the scope of AppleVis. If you want advice on using Android or which Android handset to buy, AppleVis is quite simply the wrong place to be asking (hint: look at the first part of the site’s name and its mission statement - “Empowering blind and low-vision users of Apple products”). In these cases, Android isn’t being treated any differently to anything else which is ‘off-topic’ for the site.

In the case of Molly’s post here, a comparison of experience of iOS and Android is both on-topic and likely to be of interest to many … myself included.

Submitted by Alan on Tuesday, January 3, 2017


It's an interesting topic. Let me write some lines about my Android experience using the latest Samsung tablet runing Android 6 and talkback.

It's all about how and what do you use your device for, but, the short answer in my case is: Ios makes me much more productive. My reasons:
1. The integrated braille keyboard allows me to write as fast as any sighted user. Android three party alternatives are unstable, less precise and forces you to turn talkback off.
2. Ios quick actions are just amazing. (I've set my device's language in spanish, so excuse me if that's not the exact name...). Select an e-mail and flick up or down to choose an option : move, delete...; the same for messages, podcast episodes, books, videos, songs, even each app on the main screen has its own context menu. Now, Android is not offering anything simmilar.
3. Gestures: switching between apps, reading text, etc, is much easier on Ios, not only because all gestures feel (to me) more intuitive, but because talkback forces you to be very acurate, and sometimes gestures doesn't work, who knows why.
4. The magic tab to the resque: in Ios, you can pause and resume audio from almost any app from any screen. I think there is nothing like that in Android. And it allows you to play or pause videos, answer calls etc.
5. Unlocking the device is much slower (perhaps it's a Samsung problem, not an android problem). My girlfriend uses a Galaxy S7 Edge, and she often has problems unlocking the device with her finger, so she must drow her patern to unlock.
6. For some reason, talkback react very slow. It's not android but talkback, cause you could see the screen before you can actually explore it under talkback. Anyways, the fact is that changing between screens, going back and forward, exiting an app and opening another, is much slower, in my experience.
7. Customization? Ok, I can use three party keyboards, safary addons, widgets... I really don't feel Android is offering anything interesting to me under customization: visual appearance, perhaps? Some fun behavior for buttons? Nothing I need right now.
8. Let's be serious, has anyone tried to explore the web, read information, copy text from what you have found, open new tabs, continue searching under Android? In my experience is almost trhee times slower than using Ios and Safary, and sometimes near to impossible.

I'd love to see more innovation from Apple, but at this point, in my experience, I cannot be productive with an Android device. And the more I try to use talkback again, the more I love what Apple made with Voiceover.

It's only my opinion, based on my everyday's use of a mobile device. I'm sure it could not apply to others who use their devices in another way or for other purposes.

Oh, and excuse my english. Topics like that are a great way of sharing, comparing, and perhaps help the developers improve their works!

Submitted by Andy B. on Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Have you tried the Samsung modified version of talkback? It includes the magic key, allows you to change pitch, speed, and volume without causing problems, and is generally faster than Google talkback.

Submitted by Andy B. on Tuesday, January 3, 2017

For the person that claims apps are generally inaccessible, developers tend to focus attention on VO rather than talkback, and that productivity doesn't exist.

1. Support your claim that developers focus more time on VO than they do on talkback. This is what you might feel is going on. However, this might not be going on in reality. Provide the statistics in this thread with your citation. Then we can put the developer problem to rest.
2. I browse the web with Crome, use favorites, open new tabs, use Microsoft Office, and generally seem productive on an Android device.
3. People with dexterity or hand-motor problems will find the flick left/right with two fingers, then up/down with one finger a relief. I don't have these problems, but I do mess up the rotor gesture on IOS quite a bit.

Submitted by molly on Tuesday, January 3, 2017

i use samsung's version of talkback. i like it better than google's. to the person who said that statistically more blind people use VoiceOver... i don't know if that's true. but when i was at at a school for the blind this summer, in terms of mobile devices, they mostly taught students how to use iOS. so when they saw my samsung, some were not happy, telling me an iPhone is what i need... what do they know?

Submitted by Joe on Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Club AppleVis Member

You talk about how Apple doesn't make a lot of design changes from phone to phone but what is so different from the galaxy 6 to the galaxy 7? For example Android has some things like eye scanners and such, but there gimicky at best. A phone is a phone for a while we were playing who will have the best processor or memory but now there vary powerfull so year to year we will not see huge upgrades. A lot of this cycle is back when phone contracts would be every 2 years as well which has changed a lot here in the states I don't think you'll see people change as offen now that they have to subsidise there device. Did you buy a new labtop every year?

Submitted by John W. hess on Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Good day to all. First, Thanks dave for chiming in as an admin. This has been a great thread for all. I am an iOS user and as an A.T specialist need to be familiar with the accessibility of both platforms. Unfortunately, it's been hard to get a sincerely good comparison between iOS and Android accessibility. Like some on this list I also have purchased an android phone, LG g5 a horrible battery guzzler in the hopes of answering the accessibility question. Playing with an android phone has given me a greater understanding of what tasks may be more accessible on each. One of the big things in my opinion iOS is much better on is productivity. I can go in to Google docs, write and read a document and more importantly select a portion of a document and format it cut or copy it or delete it. Apple has introduce some amazing tools for selecting text. I was not able to do this effectively on Android. The rotor is an amazing thing. Not wanting to go in to lots of detail I'll just say the blind community no longer has to look to one place for mobile accessibility. WE have options and that's a wonderful place to be.

Submitted by a woman on Tuesday, January 3, 2017

What about support for braille displays? Can anyone elaborate?
Are there Android devices that support braille displays - properly? For example, can you download the driver for, say, the Refreshabraille 18 (or are drivers for some displays already pre-installed), or something, and then have elements displayed on the braille display, and so on? Can you, say, read books with the Kindle app?

So, at this time, you can only use braille and speech, not just braille without speech? Ouch. :) And you need some 'special software' to read emails in braille? Why? That doesn't sound good... :(
Could you perhaps elaborate on your experience?
If I got an Android tablet to play around with, could I connect , say, the Refreshabraille 18 and explore things?

As far as I'm concerned, braille support (or the lack thereof) would definitely be 'the largest contributing factor' for deciding to switch.

Like so many, I hate the way Apple forces us to use iTunes/iCloud, that we cannot simply plug our iPhones into our PCs and move files around, or use a micro SD card. But if devices like the Galaxy S7 Edge don't support braille displays... What would I do without braille, only using speech to write or to proofread? Impossible.

If and when Brailleback gets updated, and we have acceptable braille support, I'll say 'goodbye' to Apple for sure :) .

A discussion that's long overdue, indeed.

Submitted by molly on Tuesday, January 3, 2017

you can use a braille display with an android device, but the braille support isn't as good on android as it is on iOS. for some reason, Google hasn't updated brailleback in over a year. your experience will depend on what you use your android device for. if you want to use braille with android right now I recommend you use iOS. I don't know much about braille displays with android because I don't use braille with it. if I do any editing on my device I use Bluetooth keyboard. besides the braille my android device is fully accessible. you're android device will be accessible depending on what you use it for. Some things work better on iOS and some things work better on android.

Submitted by jcdjmac (not verified) on Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Compared to the mono microphone on iOS devices, does android have stereo microphones? if yes, what android tablits offer stereo microphone support? Thanks.

Submitted by rdfreak on Wednesday, January 4, 2017

I guess I'm just biased and don't think I'd ever own an Android phone. The fact that Apple have had accessibility out of the box has always had me feeling loyal to them, though of course the prices of IOS devices are a lot grater than some Android devices.

And yes, I did try an Android tablet with talkback some years ago, just for a weekend mind you and though I felt like throwing it out the window for the first few hours I was trying to use it, I was eventually figuring some stuff out, I think. I realise talkback would have improved since then.

Submitted by Megan on Wednesday, January 4, 2017

I'm with TheBSPress in several areas, especially regarding Braille, the TalkBack volume, Google Maps support, and most importantly, direct Touch typing. The lack of direct touch typing is, in fact, the primary reason I don't try switching to my Pixel as my primary device for awhile. There are several things I like better on Android, not the least of which is its customizability.

Submitted by Chris on Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The main problems I've observed with braille on Android are:
  1. You must download Brailleback from the Play Store. It is not part of the operating system like Talkback.
  2. You cannot enter contracted braille. You can only read it. This is the same as NVDA braille support. This is a major problem that should have been addressed long ago.
  3. You cannot mute speeech while using braille. The workaround is to mute your device, but this is not desirable in some situations.
  4. Words are cut off at the end of the display. You must pan to the next display to read the rest of the word.
I am not a heavy user of braille myself, but these are serious issues that need immediate attention. I suspect braille support isn't a high priority for Google Accessibility since most people cannot gain access to braille due to the prohibitive cost. I don't like it, but I have a suspicion that is the main reason. I don't know how many displays are supported. There is a list in the Play Store description and on the suppport page for the program. It is a lot smaller than Apple's list. While I'm talking about braille support, does Brailleback work with Samsung's version of TalkBack? I wouldn't be surprised if the answer was no.

Submitted by Simone Dal Maso on Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Android has the "back button" on every screen, this is one of the most confortable thing I have seen.
I have Android 6.0 in a Motorola Moto G, but I must say that Voiceover is more responsive on ios.
Ideally, I'd like to use Android, but for now I think it is too early

Submitted by Andy B. on Wednesday, January 4, 2017

When Android 7.1.1 comes out for most devices, revisit this thread for a comparison of IOS 10 and Android 7.1.1. The new version sounds like it will improve a lot of items on the lists above.

Submitted by Krister Ekstrom on Wednesday, January 4, 2017

There were a couple things in a comment that i have to correct, seeing as i too have a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. Firstly, the S7 Edge does not come with the latest Android version, unless things have changed during the last weeks. Mine runs on Android 6.01 and no update to 7.0 has of yet reached the cold Swedish parts of the wood.
2, i hear that the fast charging is coming to the iPhone if it hasn't already landed in the 7 or 7+.
3 The DND (do not disturb) option has more features on certain phones, not so on my Galaxy S7 Edge. In iOs you can specifically choose what users or groups are allowed to come through when Do not disturb is activated, on my Samsung however, i can only use everybody, contacts only, favorites only or none, no specific users or groups. The only thing that's different there and also very good is that you can actually tell the phone what day you want to have it kick in the DND feature. Some claim that you can set times individually per day for this, and it would be wonderful if this was the case on my phone but it isn't.
Lastly, i don't think we should expect revolutionary designs each and every time Apple comes out with a model of its iPhone. You can only do so much when it comes to renewal and design inovations. I think both platforms have their strengths and weaknesses and at this stage it depends entirely what you want to be able to do with your phone what you will choose. If you want to tinker and configure and geek around then Droid is for you, but if you couldn't care less about perfecting your phone experience but just want something that works out of the box and works really well then go with the iPhone.

Submitted by Piotr Machacz on Wednesday, January 4, 2017

A few years ago I wrote a really dumb post on Applevis called why I won't get an iPhone. Fast forward to now and I have used 3 android phones, an Xperia Pro, a Galaxy S4 and S5, plus thanks to friends I experienced a Galaxy S6 and a couple of Nexuses. Last year I switched to an iPhone 6. Both platforms have their issues and IMO it's a matter of what's more important to you, a better operating system or better accessibility. I think that for the most part, Android is a more power user friendly operating system. If there's something you don't like about your phone, chances are you can replace it. Messaging client, phone app, home screen or TTS Voice. The last one especially I miss, because as awesome as Alex is I miss being able to use Eloquence. I also really miss having nearly full and unrestricted access to the file system. I think iOS is terrible at media consumption, with the exception of books and the voice dream app which is amazing. If you're perfectly happy with the music app and Apple Music, more power to you. Myself I organize my library in folders that tend to be playlists of various tracks from different albums, and the tag-based organisation that Apple prefers doesn't work very well for this which is why I have a separate device for listening to music which also happens to play more than just MP3 and M4A. There's a few other smaller things as well, more API's for developers IE to toggle wi-fi or Bluetooth, phones that can record in stereo, being able to long-press the quick settings toggles to go to that section of settings or a more stable Bluetooth audio experience with less lag and skipping.

iOS on the other hand does a few things better, audio being one. Forgetting the fact Android phones can record better audio with built-in hardware, on iOS apple just ported CoreAudio which was already extremely good and mature on Mac oS. So support for midi and external audio hardware is better, there's less latency and you can now also use audio unit plugins. All that results in a lot of very good and useful apps for creating, editing or processing sound or music. There's also a handful of features not currently available on Android like 3D touch or CallKit. And finally, the big dinosaur in the room of Accessibility. While I have never had a problem with the multipart gestures of Android or the circular talkback menus that everyone begged Google to get rid of, it would be nice to have more gestures that use more than 1 finger. I have heard the reason Google hasn't done this is that Apple has a few patents for multitouch gestures for accessibility. My big problems with Android accessibility is that it's not as good with handling multiple languages, so you need to stop what you're doing and globally change your default language and voice to change it. For a very long time, any app that used web views was very problematic and would usually slow the phone down to a crawl though from what I have heard this has now improved considerably. There's fewer accessibility API's on Android for developers. Only recently Google has added VoiceOver style custom action features, though this is a very new feature and is berried under a submenu in Talkback so it's nowhere near as much of a productivity booster as it is in VoiceOver. There's also no equivalent to Direct Touch, so even though there are braille keyboards on Android they require you to suspend talkback to type on them and if some text or a notification pops up while you type you could accidentally do something you don't want. And the API's that are there are poorly documented which is why you don't see as many specialist apps as you do on iOS or why sometimes things may not feel as polished. Lastly, Braille support is seriously lacking. Even though Talkback is now receiving a lot of updates, Brailleback is not. It doesn't support all of the new facilities or web views, there's no grade 2 input which is a dealbreaker for many English braille users, and you can't run your device without Speech without muting it completely as Brailleback requires Talkback to be on and it has no "turn off speech" option.

As for me, while I could do most of what I needed on my android phone, I can do those things on iOS a bit faster or with more confidence. For example, reading and replying to Email was something I usually put off until I could sit down in front of my Mac or PC, as Talkback would often freeze inside the Gmail/K9/Samsung email app web view and over all was more laggy than VoiceOver which was very noticeable when touch typing on an on-screen keyboard. on iOS, as long as it's not a long essay I'm more likely to reply from the phone and even if I'm not VoiceOver actions make it incredibly fast to quickly sort through large amounts of unread Email from many mailing lists.

All that being said, I know a lot of people who are perfectly happy with their Android phones and, who knows, maybe I wouldn't have quite as many of these small frustrations with a newer version of the operating system. For now, my iPhone 6 works great, but I don't know if my next phone will be something Apple or even Google. I'm definitely keeping a close eye on Windows 10 developments. I have used Narrator with a touch screen and it feels more polished than Talkback, with more enhancements coming soon (braille support is the big one IMO). With rumors of an X86 phone in the works that could run any apps, and the fact Windows is a more liberal OS than iOS even in its cut down mobile counterparts if it gets more apps it could very well be my next option.

Submitted by jcdjmac (not verified) on Wednesday, January 4, 2017

I would like to share with you my experience with an android phone. I cannot remember which mottle of android phone I had, but it was through t-Mobile, which at the time didn't cell iphones as of yet. only at&t. I played around with Mobile accessibility, but the biggest problem was answering/ending phone calls. I finally gave up android and switched over to the iPhone. First it was the 3gs, the first phone that introduced accessibility options such as VoiceOver, Zoom, etc. Now, I have a 5s, and I couldn't be mor happy. I love it, not only because it's accessible, but it's super fast with it's 64 bit processer. I even have a battery charging case, along with a screen protector, to go along with my phone, and it works well. Sure, each platform is different, but what you get is what you get.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Well someone already stated. what ever makes yu happy be iPhone or the other brand. I used iPhone since 4 and now I have 7. Yes, there are some issues with bugs but no software is perfect or will be perfect because they are created by people. Those who have the other brand well enjoy and those of us who have the iPhone may the apple be with you.

Submitted by Trenton Matthews on Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Hi all! Before I begin the following post, any source links to any of the below paragraphs may be deleted if necessary. In addition, I have owned an iPod Touch 6 Gen, since the 1st of November 2016. Ok, with all that of the way.... There's "one" Braille on-screen keyboard on Android, which does not need Talkback to be turned off. That keyboard being called "Swift Braille." BRLTTy, is your best bet if you are wanting "full" support for Braille Displays on Android. It was last updated in June of 2016. Although BRLTTY is more advanced than BrailleBack, many droid users do not wish to use it, as it isn't in the playstore, thus side-loading is required. Lastly for you gamers out there, you can visit the "Games" section of a web site called "Inclusive Android." Games such as "Audio Game Hub," Dice World, and "A Blind Legend," can be found on both platforms. Thanks everyone for reading, have a great day/night! PS. The phone I currently own, is a Samsung Galaxy J7 2016 though will be "jumping" to a Galaxy S7 later on this year.

Submitted by Megan on Wednesday, January 4, 2017

I knew BrlTTY was available on Linux, but didn't know there was an Android variant. I am going to check that out immediately. Thank you thank you thank you!

Submitted by Megan on Wednesday, January 4, 2017

OK, this clearly isn't the forum for this, so please feel free to private message me off the thread. But I tried several times to get SwiftBraille to work, and the instructions, both on the site and in the app, made no sense. It just doesn't work like any of the other Braille keyboards I've ever used on touch screens and I can make no sense of it.

Submitted by molly on Wednesday, January 4, 2017

some of the braille apps on android require you to suspend talk back. you do that by holding down the volume keys but since I'm using Samsung's version of talkback that wouldn't work for me. so if I needed to use braille with a mobile device I would definitely use iOS.

Submitted by jcdjmac (not verified) on Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Here's another thing about android. At the time I was testing it with talkback, the gestures were very hard to navigate, it was very confusing. I couldn't flick left/right like you could with iOS. that's one of the reasons as to why I switched. With iOS, the gestures are easy, and with the flick up/down gesture, you can pick an action, such as delete, reply, activate which is the default, etc.

Hi Molly , you said that Apple has so few models out compared to the Android Eco-system. But that is one good thing about iOS and Apple Hardware: coming out of one hand. So you can have hardware which may not have the fastest processor , the biggest RAM and nevertheless has a great performance . Just because the iOS is tailored to just this hardware . Android is like Windows : running on so different hardware it cant be fittet to get the most out of one configuration . So flexibility is bigger , performance on a given hardware level less improved on Android related to iOS. So Apple can upgrade their phones in the inner specs without the need of changing style , housing or look with every new model. iPhones are not only Smartphones , but Smart Phones - using synergies of hardware and firmware in a way Android cant do.
Greeting Andi

Submitted by a woman on Thursday, January 5, 2017

What an interesting, lively discussion! Long overdue, indeed.

Thanks so much for the responses! I find this really helpful.

I checked, and yes: It seems the Refreshabraille is supported by BrailleBack and also by BRLTTY, and Samsung devices seem to support BrailleBack.
Thanks for pointing this out.

I will, of course, use my 6s Plus for some more years. And things will likely have become even better until then. So – allow me to say this here :) - my next phone will almost certainly be an Android/Samsung phone. There are so many things I don't like about Apple: iTunes, unnecessary restrictions, lack of customisability, forcing people to use so-called 'services' like iCloud or DropBox (when they could easily make it so that people could just plug their iPhone into their PC or use a micro SD card), ... But I wanted to be sure I could work somewhat productively with my phone, and – yes, I admit it – wasn't corageous enough to try Android/Samsung. But now I see it really can be done.

And as for 'words are cut off at the end of the braille display': May I say that, to me, this seems perfectly normal behaviour. And I have always hated the way there are always empty cells on the braille display, because, under iOS, only entire words are displayed. I find it particularly annoying when reading longer texts. As far as I'm concerned, there should at least be an option to change this. What a 'waste of space', especially on smaller braille displays. But that's just my opinion.

The creator of this interesting thread complained of minor, rather than major, design changes between models of iPhones. As a reminder, you don't have to always have the latest phone model. These devices are built well enough, and they support the newest operating system upgrades for some time to come. I plan to use my iPhone 7 plus for several years before upgrading again. This is why I bought a 256 gig phone.

Submitted by Chuck Winstead on Thursday, January 5, 2017

My thoughts with the iOS and iPhone thing is that apple has made good products. Really about up until the iPhone7 and 7Plus and the new Mac Book Pro.
For one the devices apple have made just work. Simply speaking they just work. My issues with it are the removal of the headphone port of the iPhone7. i use VoiceOver on my iPhone and I also use my phone for more than just calling and texting. Sometimes i am using it for some personal reasons like banking, or reading emails. With the lack of a headphone port I am now left with wireless headphones or a lightning pair of headphones. Which is doable, but if my phone is charging I am out of luck. My thing is that i don't need people hearing what VoiceOver says. Granted yes voiceOver Can talk fast, and some people May not hear it, but again Key words in context Can and May. You are also able to argue and say that there are wireless headphones and yes there are and they are nice, but at least in my experience they have a lagging issue with Voiceover. i have had a few speakers, and a few pairs of wireless headphones. They both have some lag to them. That and sometimes using dictation i have noticed that it with speak it out on the phones speaker. again not exactly an issue here because if you are speaking you message out loud. than it shouldn't be an issue, but this is something to point out.
I just think the removal of a headphone port is very dumb of apple, and very pointless. I also think it makes apple more of a Monopoly.
think that android is a good program. I have used a few Android platforms. i have learned that usually if the device has a physical button. Generally you are fine. I tried using a device with out a physic home button, and that made things more of an issue. As the Talk Back speech did not mention the virtual button. My issue with the Mac book pro 2016 is that the OLED Touch bar, and the USB type C ports. for one the OLED touch bar is how you turn on and off VoiceOver. So how do i turn it on now if I am blind? The fact it is a Mac Book Pro and just USB C ports really drops the Pro name in my opinion. I mean it doesn't need every last port in the world. but having the USB A ports, Ethernet, SD, and other ports it did have is what made it pro.
I think that Android has done pretty good. There are some good android devices out there.