The 5 best features Android should steal from iOS

ios features android
Credit: Derek Walter

I love Android, but still dabble from time to time with iOS. Doing so usually makes me thankful at how Android works, with its deep Google integration, smart sharing features, and Material Design flourishes in Lollipop.

But Android isn’t perfect, and there are a few features in iOS that are better. So Google should do what any good tech company does: steal them. There has already been plenty of that on both sides of the mobile war; iOS clearly was inspired by Android with its notification shade, and Android isn’t multitouch on accident. So here’s my list of some Apple-y ideas that should make their way to Android.

One touch to the top of the screen

Since the early days of iOS there has been this clever trick to get back to the top of the page: just touch the top of the screen and you’ll zip right there. It’s great for browsing, social apps, or any other situation where you would rather not have to swipe endlessly, as you do on Android.

chrome ios scroll to top

One touch gets you back to the top in Chrome, or any other app, when using iOS.

I’ve seen this type of functionality poke up in apps like Falcon Pro 3, where if you touch the top bar you’ll scroll to the most recent tweet. However, it needs to be a standard expected action across the whole operating system.

Display the battery percentage

Seriously, it’s ridiculous this still hasn’t happened. There’s a simple setting in iOS that lets you display the battery percentage at all times. Some manufacturers do this in their own skinned versions of Android, but it still isn’t there in the standard OS. This comes even after Android revamped the lock screen for Lollipop, eliminating widgets and cleaning things up visually. 

lock screen lollipop

The Android Lollipop lock screen looks great, but it coud REALLY use the battery percentage.

Yes, there are third-party apps like Battery Widget Reborn that put a battery percent as a persistent notification. And there are even some Android watch faces that display it on your watch. In Android Lollipop, if you double-swipe down to show the quick settings, you’ll see the battery percentage, but who wants to do that all the time? The OS should have a standard option to always display the battery percentage.

Clone AirDrop

AirDrop is the simplest method for sending files back and forth to people near you—only among Apple devices, of course. Google could really break some ground here if there was some kind of similar service it could deploy.

airdrop ios

AirDrop makes it super simple to share a file to your computer or other iOS users.

One thought is connecting this to Google Drive—this would make it instantly cross-platform given that there’s desktop software for both OS X and Windows. Yes, you can upload anything to Drive already, but it would be great if Google could go a few extra steps and make it as quick and simple as Apple’s solution.

Create a quick reply

Yes, some third-party texting apps create a popup window for you to respond to a message without diving back into the app, but it would be great if Android could have this type of quick reply natively. Especially since it makes two messaging apps: Hangouts and Messenger.  

ios quick reply Caitlin McGarry

The iOS 8 quick reply menu lets you respond to a text without opening the Messaging app.

On an iPhone it’s so much faster to reply to someone this way. Those nanoseconds can really save some time when you’re interrupted with a text and want to respond quickly and get back to what you were doing.

Add a drop of ‘Control Center’ to the Notification Shade

Apple may have straight up copied Android’s original notification shade, so it’s time to return the favor with the Control Center. In iOS, swipe up from the bottom to get access to volume controls, the flashlight, calculator, or to use AirDrop or AirPlay.

control center ios

Control Center puts some useful commands one swipe away.

Some of those features are already in the Lollipop drop down menu, such as the ability to toggle Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. But there’s plenty of gray space there to fill up with more features, eliminating the need to keep a calculator icon on the home screen or set a timer.

Time to start hoping for new features in Android ‘M’

Google previewed what would eventually become Lollipop several months in advance of its release at the I/O developer conference. Perhaps it will do the same this time around and we will hear about the next treat to grace Android. (muffin, marmalade, marzipan, M&Ms?)

If you’re listening Google, any of these would make Android an even slicker operating system. It’s still the best, but it takes continual improvement to stay there.

Is there an iOS feature you would like to see in Android? If so let us know about it in the comments.

View Comments
Join the discussion
Be the first to comment on this article. Our Commenting Policies