How will Android react to Apple’s new iOS 16 customizations?

iPhone 13 Pro with apps visible and display on
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Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

If you want personalization, get an Android. This was my number one argument to my friends and family for Google’s operating system. You can place apps where you want, add widgets as you like, and then Material You opened the door to a rainbow of possibilities – literally. Android still has all those freedoms, but iOS is catching up now. Apple introduced a bunch of new customization options as part of iOS 16, and I’m glad it finally gives Android something to worry about.

Need a summary? Here’s everything Apple showed at WWDC 2022

love for lock screen

iPhone 13 Pro in hand showing iOS 16 lock screen

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Apple’s biggest fame with iOS 16 is its lock screen customization. After years of looking like the lock screen above, with a simple clock and quick access to the camera and flashlight, you now have plenty of power in the palm of your hand. For starters, Apple finally lets you change the color and style of the clock. Not really revolutionary, but it’s a step towards the appropriation of iOS.

Part of customizing your clock includes controlling a multi-layer photo effect. You can set the subject of your lock screen photo to appear in front of your clock instead of letting time block their face. iOS 16 even includes a lock screen gallery with preset options that adapt to your subject in different colors and styles.

iOS 16 shows customizable lock screen love in a way we’ve never seen before.

More importantly, iOS 16 marks the debut of lock screen widgets on iOS. They’re not the most in-depth (yet), but lock screen widgets are new fame that Android no longer matches. Currently, Apple’s widgets include weather, calendar access, upcoming alarms, your activity rings, and a few others. The first versions of lock screen widgets supported by Android, and you can still get them in some skins, such as Samsung’s unique user interfacebut it is not a default android feature.

Hardware You introduced a lot of customizations for Android, but it seems to ignore the lock screen. You can color coordinate your clock, but that’s about it. iOS 16, on the other hand, lets you cycle through lock screens to match different times of your day. You can set up a lock screen for work, one for the gym, and one for home if needed. If that’s not enough, you can also access dynamic lock screens that reflect the weather outside or check the phases of the moon in real time.

Learn more: Here are the Android 13 features you need to know

Google still controls the home screen

Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max screen showing apps and widgets

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Despite Apple’s progress on the lock screen, Google still has an advantage when you unlock your phone. Android supported widgets for years before iOS brought them back, and there’s still a lot more freedom when it comes to Material You. You can reshape and resize some Android widgets – Google Photos is a great example – while Apple is all-in on the rectangle. Rectangles are great, but any Tetris player will tell you that there are only so many ways to put together four-sided shapes.

Apple’s rectangles are great, but any Tetris player will tell you that there are only so many ways to put together four-sided shapes.

While Apple may have consistent shapes, Android’s Material You options feel like a party with a well-executed theme. Optional color palettes take Google’s proprietary apps and widgets and make sure they’re all dressed in the same color. We can’t ignore the fact that there’s no color matching from third-party widgets, but it’s much easier to achieve a clean, simplistic look in recent versions of Android.

See also: The best Material You apps to try on your Android phone

It almost seems wrong to compare iOS to Pennywise the Clown, but it still fits in some ways. Apps are always floating at the top of your iOS home screen, and there’s almost nothing you can do to remove them. The power of friendship doesn’t help, nor does overcoming your fears. Instead, you should weight your apps down with widgets. There is no other way around this. Depending on your screen size, this might require a trio of double-height widgets to put your apps within easy reach.

Pay no attention to the iPad in the corner

iPad Mini iPadOS 15 home screen showing iOS 16 apps

Nick Fernandez/Android Authority

For all the credit we’re willing to give iOS 16, it comes with one glaring tablet-sized omission. All of the customization features we mentioned will be coming to iOS and only to iOS. Of course, iOS and iPadOS are supposed to be two separate operating systems at this point. Still, it looks like larger screens would be a golden opportunity to take even better advantage of Apple’s personalization developments.

Android has its differences between smartphones and tablets, but Material You is a common presence. It should become even more ubiquitous by the time the Pixel tablet is released next year. There is also Android 12L to think about – a tablet-sized version of Android optimized to run smoothly on larger screens. It scales everything from the lock screen to the home screen and even the notification shade, all with a healthy seasoning of Material You on top.

Apple’s iOS 16 updates have a big hole the size of an iPad.

As for iPadOS, it finally gets a proper weather widget. For those of you keeping track at home, it took 15 years after the introduction of the iPad to get proper weather support. It’s still a drop in the bucket when you consider what the iPad lacks. Its larger screen practically begs for lock screen widgets, and it needs to go further to keep up with Apple’s iOS innovations.

So how does Android react?

Google Pixel 6 Pro front lock screen showing the clock

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

No one likes being walked on, but that’s exactly what Apple does to Google. Now, the only way for Google to protect its so-called toes is to take a few steps forward. It has to match Apple’s love of the lock screen or go even further.

Fortunately, there’s no shortage of rumors to suggest what Google’s next customization options might look like. We heard about customizable lock screen clocks as part of Android 13, although it appears to be a simple toggle between a one-line and two-line clock. Yes, you can already change your clock as much as you want with some devices, like Samsung’s, but the feature is missing from Google’s own Pixel line.

Google is not for everyone: Material Your one-color themes are doomed

There’s no reason for Google to stop on the clock either. He already likes to build albums in Google Photos, especially based on the faces of your family and friends. Why not embed these albums into wallpapers so you can get a new color-coordinated photo of your selected album whenever you want? You may need to make sure there’s nothing too sassy if you let Google handle the mix.

If Google wants to upgrade its lock screen, make the At A Glance popup a reality.

Another idea if Google wants to take Apple head-on is to resurrect the popup lock screen concept. We saw what the superpowered At A Glance widget would look like back in February, and it gives lock screen widgets a run for their money. Essentially, it was monitoring your location and other factors to intelligently suggest the maps you might need. If you were at the station, it would open popular routes or subway maps. If you just plugged in a pair of headphones, At A Glance has some of your most popular playlists. It might not be a color changing lock screen, but it would definitely be more powerful.

Android remains the king of customizable freedom. It still puts the power in your hands on a multitude of smartphones and tablets. However, it’s hard to argue that Google holds an advantage for the lock screen. Apple is doing its best to make iOS 16 feel like the most personal release yet, and that might push the bear. Now we’re waiting to see what kind of bite Google can respond with.

#Android #react #Apples #iOS #customizations

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