Why iOS Isn’t For Everyone (But It Might Be For You)

by Sandra Henshaw - , Last Updated on September 4, 2014, Buying Guides

Choosing a new mobile is bad enough, without the headache of deciding on an operating system as well. Apple’s iOS gets a lot of flack from techies, and the truth is that it’s not the system for everyone, and it’s definitely got its drawbacks. Does that mean that it’s not for you? Not necessarily. We’re taking a closer look at iOS, and who will like it and who might be better off with something else…

Problem One: iOS is Inflexible

Probably the number one complaint that most people (especially the more tech minded phone users) have with Apple’s iOS is that it’s inflexible. What exactly does that mean? Well, this is both a plus and a minus. Basically, Apple designed iOS to be intuitive, which means that pretty much anyone can use it with little to no learning curve. For both older and younger users, as well as the less technically apt, this is a good thing. However, it does mean that iOS is lacking in the sort of customisation options we see with other operating systems. Being able to design your own widgets (icons), set wallpapers or download apps that aren’t sold through iTunes are all pretty much no go with iOS. Well, they are unless you want to jailbreak your iPhone, which is complicated and voids your warranty.

Is this going to be a problem for you? That depends. If you’re used to an Android system where as long as you know what you’re doing you can do pretty much anything to customise your phone, then yes, it might be. Or if you think you might want these options. For customers that just want a phone to use that’s simple, and don’t really care about more advanced features, then no, iOS’s inflexibility probably won’t bother you much.

Problem Two: iOS Comes With an iPhone

This sounds like a bit of a facetious problem, but given that iOS is proprietary software, it only comes with Apple products, which for mobile users means getting an iPhone. Even if you love the intuitiveness and, let’s face it, the sleek and sexy design of iOS you’re going to need to get one of the iPhone incarnations. Why is this a problem? Because, for a high end (and expensive) flagship phone, the iPhone is sadly lacking in high end specs. Yep, the design is awesome, but when it comes to things like processing power, screen size, camera resolution and all those important tech specs, the iPhone doesn’t even come close to competitors like the Samsung Galaxy S5 or the HTC One M8.

For shoppers who are looking for value for money, this could be a problem, particularly if you’re a high end customer who wants speed and responsiveness. However, if you’re willing to admit that you’re spending hundreds of pounds on a phone purely for its design credentials (and there’s nothing wrong with that, the iPhone is a cool looking piece of tech) and a few special features, then who cares? Just be warned that the iPhone won’t be the fastest mobile around, and it doesn’t take the best pictures either.

Problem Three: You’re Locked Into iTunes

Here’s a bit of a sticky problem, though it’s becoming less important as Apple moves more towards the Cloud. If you’ve got an iPhone you’re going to need iTunes. Yes, you can just access iTunes through your phone itself (you don’t necessarily need to download it onto your PC), but even so, you might not want to.

There are a few problems with iTunes. The first is that you will need to register an account, even if you don’t want to spend money and only want to download freebies. Some people don’t like giving out personal information like this. Second, Apple have been notoriously fickle about what they allow to be sold on iTunes. They have been known to refuse apps that are similar to ones made by the company’s developers, meaning that there’s little competition and therefore app prices can be high (not to mention videos and music). Third, if you should choose to run iTunes on your home computer you can be assured that it’s going to slow your comp down a little. iTunes is famous for running heavy, meaning it takes a lot of power, and that means a lagging home PC.

Whether or not this is going to be a problem for you really depends on whether you’re a fan of iTunes. If you’re already using it for most of your music needs, this probably won’t be an issue. But for some, that inability to comparison shop and running the lazy software on a home computer really rule it out.

The Bottom Line

There’s no denying that iOS is a pretty stellar operating system in its own way. It’s well designed, easy to use and light on power as well. But that doesn’t mean that it’s the right OS for everyone, since there are disadvantages. So who is the kind of user that needs iOS?

In basic terms, and with no intention of being insulting, iOS is designed for those that don’t really know what they’re doing. If you never customise your phone, iOS isn’t going to be a problem. And if you have a hard time programming the clock on the microwave, then iOS is probably going to be a good choice. It’s also a fair choice for the design oriented, as well as for those that already own Mac products and are really looking for compatibility. And to be fair, the iPhone has some awesome scheduling software, so if you’re big into using your mobile as a planner, then iOS might appeal.

Who is iOS not for? The more advanced user. If you know what you’re doing with a phone, and you want to customise, then you’re not going to be happy with iOS. And if you’re a power user, looking to run heavy software, high end games or take great pictures and then use photo editing software, then iOS probably isn’t for you either. Finally, if you (as a lot of people do) consider iTunes to be your mortal enemy, then you should definitely skip the iPhone.

When it comes down to it an operating system is very much about personal choice, it’s simply what you feel comfortable with. And one of the huge selling points of iOS is that so many people are comfortable with it. iOS is the least intimidating of mobile operating systems, pick up a demo model iPhone and you can be using it proficiently in seconds. However, just because something is cool, popular and easy to use doesn’t mean that it’s a perfect fit for all. Consider that iPhone purchase carefully, because iOS isn’t advanced user territory.