Apple is offering some interesting updates in terms of messaging, maps and privacy, but how does iOS 14 compare to Google’s new Android 11?
Apple has made the latest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 14, available as of today. The operating system offers a number of updates, from simple user interface changes to major updates to its messaging and map apps to further improved privacy controls. But how do these updated features compare to Android 11, which Google released last week?
Apple lovers have been waiting with baited breath for yesterday’s live stream. Fans were treated to a bunch of new products and services, including two new smartwatches, new iPad models, and a new fitness tracking service. While many might have been a little disappointed by the lack of a new iPhone announcement, the underlying operating system update can breath new life into an existing iPhone.
Apple’s iOS 14 comes with a slew of new updates, including a newly designed home screen, which can be customized with time-sensitive widgets, as well as a new App Library to keep apps organized. However, one of the biggest developments can be seen with Apple’s messaging app. In addition to updated Memoji options and customization for group chats, the messaging app now allows users to pin up to nine conversations. This is a great way for people to keep track of their more important messages, both professional and personal, especially if they leave and then return to the SMS app.
Messaging, Maps & Privacy
Google’s Android 11 includes its own changes to messaging. The latest version of Android creates a new Conversations space, where all the user’s one-on-one and group chats can be found — and the more important ones can be marked as a priority. Android 11 also unveiled a new Bubbles feature that allows chats to appear as floating circles on the home screen. Unlike, say, Facebook Messenger’s Chat Heads feature, where every conversation is its own intrusive circle, Bubbles groups all the active conversations together. By hovering over the Bubble, the user can see the text thread, with each conversation appearing in a clickable bubble at the top of the screen. Google has opened up the API so other developers can include the feature in their own messaging apps.
Apple’s Maps app also got an upgrade to its navigation options in iOS 14. In an attempt to offer a greener way to get around it now offers cycling and electric vehicle options when searching for directions. While Google Maps has provided cycling directions for years, the Maps app also takes into account the inclination of the streets when providing them. Meanwhile, the EV routes include the location of charging stations along the way. The Maps app also comes with new curated Guides that offer interesting attractions, restaurants, and so on, in a given city. They’re decent improvements, though not as big or scary, as Android 11’s map-related upgrade that lets you stalk your friends via Street View.
iOS 14 also comes with some improved privacy controls, the biggest of which involving geolocation. When an app seeks location access, Apple users can now choose to provide the phone’s approximate (instead of precise) location if they don’t feel comfortable about a developer knowing exactly where they are. iOS 14 also offers more transparency in an app’s use of the microphone and camera. In contrast, Now, with Android, users can easily view and edit the permissions settings of any app installed on the device so that’s nothing new, but the approximate location feature is a nice addition. Android 11 offers its own privacy updates, including the ability to grant one-time permissions for location, microphone and camera, increased controls of background location access, and a permissions auto-reset button. In the end, both operating systems have some good updates and are now placing a greater focus on user data protection and privacy, benefiting both iOS and Android users.
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