Mobility

9 Android-inspired features in the iPhone

Apple has brought unique features to its mobile platform, and some of those ideas appear to be inspired by Android. Check out this list of nine of these features.

Happy 10 year anniversary, iPhone! Apple did a masterful job of inventing something the world had no idea how badly it needed, and then the company evolved it into something much, much bigger and much more necessary.

The smartphone.

And the world did rejoice the iPhone's creation. The praises were legitimately sung across the world for untethering users from the landline. Bravo, indeed.

SEE: The revolution in your pocket: How the iPhone changed everything (TechRepublic)

Then...along came the competition: Android. Eventually the underdog would wind up becoming the most widely used global mobile platform, so it should come as no surprise that the OS for the true original in the market seems to have borrowed a feature here and there—after all, Android brought to life really important bits of technology.

Here's a list of some examples of iOS features that Android offered first.

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Image: Jack Wallen

1: Card-like lock screen information

The iOS 10 lock screen probably reminds you a bit of Android KitKat. With this feature, you can swipe from the left edge to open the camera and from the right to access widgets. That same iOS lock screen brings your information to you in the form of a very Android Card-like interface (which was introduced in 2014, along with Material Design).

This also came with the clear all notifications button—something that has been available with Android for quite some time. Specifically, this feature was in Android, vanishes, and then reappeared in Android 5 in 2014.

2: Raise to wake

Android users have enjoyed the raise to wake feature since 2013. With raise to wake, all you had to do was lift your device to wake it up and view the information on your lock screen. No buttons required. My old Motorola Moto X had this option, and it worked like a charm. Google then brought raise to wake to the Nexus and Pixel devices—before Apple rolled this feature into iOS 10.

3: Familiarity in Maps

Even back in 2016, Google had evolved its Maps app to include a traffic widget, which gave the user a shortcut for quick access to traffic information. It wasn't until iOS 10 (released September 13, 2016) that Apple Maps began to integrate traffic information.

Apple Maps also now has third-party integration, which is something Google Maps has had for some time.

4: Control Center

Way back in iOS 7 a new feature was rolled out called Control Center. This handy feature gave the user quick access to things like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi settings, as well as Airplane Mode and music app controls. Sound familiar? It should, as it is similar to what the Android Notification Shade had done for years.

5: Multitasking preview

Apple's platform brought multitasking previews to iOS 7 (released September 18, 2013), which was very similar to Android's Overview button. Both features pop up recently used apps so you can quickly switch between them; the biggest difference is that iOS scrolls those apps horizontally, whereas Android scrolls them vertically. On the Android platform, this feature dates back to 2012.

SEE: Online Course—Mobile UI and UX Design (TechRepublic Academy)

6: Auto updating apps

In 2012, Android was given the ability to automatically update installed applications on a device; that feature did not appear in iOS until a year later with iOS 7. For both platforms, this has become a crucial feature in keeping apps constantly updated with the newest features and, more importantly, vulnerability patches.

7: Chrome/Safari tabs

In iOS 7, there was a Safari tab layout similar to Chrome. At this point, both browsers displayed tabs in a stacking layout, with Android using a more three-dimensional take. Safari introduced the swipe to delete a tab feature—this feature was available in Android prior to iOS 7.

8: Uninstalling default apps

Outside of carrier bloatware, Android users have enjoyed the ability to uninstall the default Google apps from their devices for some time. This feature came out with iOS 10, with one difference: If a user uninstalls the default Apple applications, her only recourse (in case she needs the functionality of that app) is to reinstall the removed app. With Android, in many cases users could find a third-party app to take the place of the uninstalled apps.

9: Split-screen view

When iOS 9 was released, it introduced a feature that was available only for the Apple tablets: split-screen view. Although this feature wouldn't be baked into the official Android platform until later, Samsung users have been using this feature since the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy Note 3, and LG users could starting with the G3.

SEE: Apple's first employee: The remarkable odyssey of Bill Fernandez (TechRepublic)

iOS as inspiration for Android

The mobile OS Borrow Street is not one way: There are plenty of features Android borrowed from iOS. Imagine if the two came together to create one very powerful mobile platform. The sky would be, as they say, the limit.

Also see

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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