Marshmallow versus iOS 9
System UI Tuner
Once enabled, System UI Tuner will appear in the settings menu at the very bottom. It provides a few simple UI tweaks, including adding a battery percentage indicator to your battery icon, a customizable Quick Settings area, where toggles can be rearranged or removed and new ones added, and a menu for displaying which icons are displayed in your status bar. You’ll never have to suffer a cluttered status bar with NFC, Bluetooth and Alarm icons again.
Dark theme and rotation support
For unknown reasons, both the system-wide dark theme and support for a rotating home screen were removed from the final version of Marshmallow, despite appearing in versions of the developer preview. We may yet see these make a return in future updates to Marshmallow – they are frequently-requested features, after all – but for now they are not a part of the Android 6.0 release.
Update: Some eager code-sifters have uncovered evidence of a dark mode in the source code for Android Marshmallow, indicating that Google may still have plans to include it in a future version. The source code mentions Night Mode, which, as you may remember, sounds a lot like the automatic theme changing capabilities (based on the time of day) we saw in the Android M preview builds.
Apps and Ecosystem
Both Apple and Google offer a strong set of native apps to get you up and running, though of course Google’s are all available on iOS, whereas Apple snubs Android completely. In Hangouts Google has an overarching messaging service that works almost anywhere, though iMessage and FaceTime are arguably more polished.
Stability, Security, Performance
Touch ID is a big win for iOS and has hugely improved the experience of unlocking a phone or verifying a purchase. The various flavors of Android are trying to catch up, without much success—Samsung is the only manufacturer to have brought fingerprint-sensing technology to Android devices on a regular and consistent basis so far.
Beyond the Mobile OS
There are so many extras to pick from: Apple Health vs Google Fit, Apple Pay vs Google Wallet, Android Auto vs CarPlay. For the sake of finishing this feature before iOS 9 and Android 6 appear, we’ll have to limit ourselves somewhat.
As Google and Apple borrow features from each other, and both these mobile OSes get better and more mature, choosing between them has become less about comparing a checklist of features and more about everything that’s beyond iOS and Android—in 2015 it involves choosing an ecosystem, choosing who to trust with your data, and choosing how you want to live your digital life across smartphones, computers and the web.
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