Android and iOS fans have long fought over which operating system is best.
While Android users will argue that their OS is more customisable, and more flexible, iPhone users might say that iOS is faster, and that Apple provides better long-term security updates.
But for the average user, which OS is more intuitive? Which is easier to pick up and begin using, for the average person?
Android vs iOS usability study
To find out whether Android or iOS is easier to use, we decided to look into which tasks or functions users were having issues with, based on Google searches made by Android and iOS users in the United States.
We analysed whether Android or iOS users more frequently searched for queries such as “how to screen record”, “how to share my location”, and “how to take a screenshot”.
As the average monthly search volume for a term decreases, this suggests that fewer users need help to complete these tasks, indicating that the operating system is more intuitive.
|Average monthly searches - Android||Average monthly searches - iOS||Percentage difference|
|How to take a screenshot||88,000||30,000||-66%|
|How to take a screen recording||24,000||84,000||250%|
|How to block a number||13,600||33,000||143%|
|How to factory reset||8,400||61,000||626%|
|How to record a phone call||12,200||28,000||130%|
|How to set up voicemail||14,400||23,000||60%|
|How to share location||8,000||21,000||163%|
|How to scan a QR code||28,000||19,000||-32%|
|How to delete an app||14,400||19,000||32%|
|How to transfer photos to a computer||6,400||15,000||134%|
|How to perform a device update||3,000||13,000||333%|
|How to perform a device backup||5,600||12,000||114%|
We found that Android is 58% easier to use than Apple’s operating system.
We found that fewer people search for instructions to perform common tasks on Android, such as creating a screen recording, setting up voicemail, deleting apps, blocking numbers, and performing a factory reset.
Android performed better than iOS in ten out of the twelve tasks assessed. Apple’s operating system is more intuitive when it comes to taking screenshots and scanning QR codes.
Overall, approximately 226,000 monthly searches are made by users looking to perform basic to intermediate-level tasks on Android, compared to approximately 358,000 on iOS – a 58.41% difference. This is despite the fact that the total number of iPhone users has only just slightly eclipsed the number of Android users in the US.
- For each task assessed, we analysed Google search volume in the United States. We used the average monthly search volume for the previous 12 months for our analysis.
- We used different search keyword formats for different tasks, but used the same format of the term for both Android and Apple devices. For example, we used “how to screenshot on Android” and “how to screenshot on iPhone” to compare how often users of each operating system look for help taking a screenshot.
- To account for the fact that Android users may be searching for help for their specific type of device, rather than using the word “Android”, we manually increased the Android-related figures in order to account for this. We arrived at this adjustment amount by assessing search volume for other keywords such as “how to screenshot on Samsung phones” and “how to screenshot on Google Pixel“.