8 Great Android Features That iPhone Needs To Steal

1. Gesture typing for the stock keypad

 Sure, iOS has allowed third-party keyboards with swipe-to-type capabilities for a few years now, but I’m continually frustrated how non-Apple keypads tend to grow sluggish, fail to appear or even crash altogether on my iPhone.

All too often, I find myself giving up and going back to the stock iOS keyboard—and I could live with that, except for the fact that I’m a dedicated gesture typist now, and the standard iPhone and iPad keyboard stubbornly demands tapping rather than swiping.

The stock Android keyboard, on the other hand, has long supported gesture typing

2. Number and symbol shortcut visible on every key

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Speaking of the Android keypad, here’s another smart feature that, once you turn on, you’ll never turn off: the ability to display number and symbol “hints” on every key (Settings > Language & input > Virtual keyboard > Google Keyboard > Preferences > Long press for symbols)

3. Auto battery-saver mode

One of the smarter Android features in the past few years is its Battery saver setting (Settings > Battery > Battery saver), which turns off background app activity, automatic email fetching, and other battery-draining activities, perfect for conserving battery power when your device is about to run out of juice. Apple wisely followed suit with its low-power mode, which made its debut with iOS 9.

Unfortunately, the iOS version of battery-saver mode is missing a crucial component of its Android counterpart: a setting that turns on low-power mode automatically once your battery meter falls below a certain level.

4. Install apps from the web

Apple’s App Store changed the game when it arrived on the scene back in the early days of the iPhone, but in many ways, it seems to be standing still. My biggest frustration with the App Store: It’s best browsed from an iOS device rather than the web.

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The Google Play app store, on the other hand, works quite nicely in a desktop web browser—and best of all, you can install apps remotely over the internet.

5. Turn on ‘Do not disturb’ for just an hour

I loved Do not disturb mode when it landed on my iPhone with the iOS 6 update, but it’s in dire need of a revamp. Not only does Android offer multiple quiet periods through its DND mode (versus just one for iOS), it also boasts a handy feature for those of us who want some immediate but temporary quiet time.

6. Clear all app caches

It’s amazing how quickly some apps can become storage hogs. The “cached” data used by your social apps alone can quickly gobble up hundreds of megabytes or even a few gigs if you’re not careful, leaving you tight on storage space when you need it the most.

7. Clear all app windows

Whenever I see all the open app windows in the multitasking screen on my iPhone or iPad, I have an overpowering urge to start closing them, despite the fact that iOS does a decent job of reclaiming device memory whenever it needs to.

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Still, it would be nice to have the option of cleaning out all your open iOS app windows at once, given that anyone who uses their iPhone or iPad on a regular basis will end up with dozens and dozens of app windows cluttering the multitasking screen.

That’s why I love the new Clear all button in Nougat, the latest version of Android. Just tap Clear all at the top of the multitasking screen, and all your open Android app windows will be whisked away.

8. Quickly switch between your two last used apps

One of Nougat’s flashiest new features is its ability to show two apps on the screen at once. It’s a nifty trick, no question, but it turns out there’s another Nougat multitasking feature I use more, and I wish my iPhone could do it too.

When you double-tap the Android multitasking button, Nougat lets you quickly switch to the app you were using before that; double-tap the button again, and you’re back where you started.

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