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Why Android notifications are better than the iPhone’s

Why Android notifications are better than the iPhone’s


– [Dieter] So here’s a question. Why are notifications still
such a pain to deal with? I mean, if you’ve been paying
attention, there’ve been lots of stories about how
phones are hacking our brains and distracting us and–
(phone notification) (bright elevator music) Keeping us from focusing on
what we’re supposed to be doing. Without getting too deep into it, I think bad notifications are the result of bad economic incentives that have been created
by bad software design, where they pop up on your lock screen, they make your phone make noise, they literally cover
what you’re looking at, when they come in, when
you’re using your phone. All of that stuff demands your attention, and all of that attention equals real money for app makers who don’t necessarily have
your best interests at heart. And so, while I think we can fix how we all set our notifications, I also think we have to push companies, like Apple and Google, to
fix their software design. (soft techno music) But before we can make
demands of those companies, we should actually try to identify what’s wrong with that software design. I wanna start with Apple. You might know all of this stuff already, but take a look at how
these notifications work, with a different eye. Look at them and think, “Do any of these notification
options actually help you?” If you scroll through this thing, it’s just a giant, unsorted list, reverse chronological, all of your notifications
with no sense of, what’s more important
than the other thing. Then if you get beyond that, what do you do when one of
these notifications pop up? Do you swipe a little bit?
Well that does one thing. If you swipe too hard, it
jumps to a whole other screen. Or you could force press it and that pops up with other option. You can tap it, and that might open it, or maybe not, who knows. So it’s all just super confusing you why, and it’s not intuitive at all what you’re supposed to do with it. Okay, so let’s take a look at some of these notifications here. So, the first one is
just allow notifications. You could turn that off. That’s like the nuclear option and I actually recommend
you use that a bunch. But, say you need notifications, then you’ve got sounds, badge app icon, show on lock screen, show in history, and then shows banners, and that’s a lot of options. In fact, how many options is that? We should do some math here. Okay, math time. On the screen, right here, you can turn notifications on or off, so that’s two, and then these are also on or off, so there’s two more options
here, here, here, and here. So that’s one, two, three, four of those, and then this one, it’s actually three, ’cause you can choose between these
different things here. So I thought this was
gonna be a factorial thing, but since the order doesn’t matter, it’s actually just a
multiplication problem. So this is two times
two times two times two. That’s two to the 4th times three. Two to the 4th is 16, times three, it’s 48. Let’s not forget about this guy up here, ’cause it toggles on everything else. Add that down, plus two. You end up with 50. There are 50 different ways
to set up notifications, for any given app, on your iPhone. Last but not least, on top of all of that, there’s this other whole
mode called, Do Not Disturb, which turns everything off,
but not quite everything, so you gotta figure that out too. I call all this confusion, The Mystery of the Check-boxes. I mean, the joke isn’t that funny, can we just turn the lights back on and go back to the video. I mean, it is a mystery, but it’s not that
– [Camera Man] Alright. big of mystery, I guess
is what I’m saying. Anyway. Apple’s philosophy is, “You should just let
notifications flow by. Don’t try and read every one
and don’t try and organize your entire phone life through them.” But, I think that’s kinda dumb. Some notifications are super important. So, then the question is, does anybody do it better? So this is the part
where I’m supposed to go really deep into the
history of smart phones and show you how Symbian phones, Palm phones, and BlackBerry’s, and web OS phones, and Windows phones, all handled notifications differently and where each innovation came from and I would love to do that, but we don’t have the time, and also, all of those phones are dead. R.I.P. all those phones. Instead, we could just focus
on how Android does things, and I’m not gonna go through all of it and as much detail as
I did with the iPhone. I just wanna point out a few places where Android is smarter. And I do have a caveat, because this is Android
and Android manufacturers are God awful at sending
out updates to their phones and being on the most recent version. So, we’re just gonna use
the Pixel 2 as an example. Got it? Cool. Let’s start with the notification shade. The first thing you’re gonna notice is that it’s ordered by priority. So, music’s at the top, and then there’s messages, and then there’s all the other garbage. So you know what’s important right away. The next thing is grouping and this is the most important thing that I love in Android is, if I have 50 notifications from Twitter, they all get stacked up into this tiny, little, one line thing and then I can expand
it if I wanna see it, or dismiss all of it,
altogether, all at once. Another thing that I love is
if you’re using the phone, some notifications instead
of putting a shade down and covering the top of your screen, they could just be non-interruptive. They just pop a little icon
in the notification screen, you can deal with it
later, which is great. And there’s this new
thing called Channels, which is a really complicated thing where all of an apps notification settings get put into a single screen where you can choose different notification options from all the different
kinds of notification the app wants to send to you. So you can choose whether
it’s high priority and it makes your phone make noise, or low priority and it’s silent, where it doesn’t get notifications at all. And you can do that, not
just for the whole app, but for all the little things
that an app wants to tell you. I call these channel settings
the Android version of The Mystery of the Check-boxes. No, we’re not? No, yes,
where we’re doin’ it? Okay, we’re doin’ it. Great. (Dieter sighs) The check-boxes are
just as bad on Android. In fact, they’re worse. There’s so many more
check-boxes on Android than there are on iOS. So, it’s weird for me to praise it. The difference is that the end states, of those check-boxes for notifications, are actually way more humane, they’re more in my control
and they’re less annoying than what happens to you on the iPhone. The other reason I’m less annoyed
with Android notifications is that you can get to
all those check-boxes directly from the notification itself. I’m not saying that Android
notifications are perfect. They do need work also. In fact, I would love to see some of that fancy machine learning that
Google’s always talking about, applied more to the problem notifications. Look, here’s the truth. Notifications, they’re the new email. They’re just as important. But, email has all these tools for managing these messages. It’s got folders for sorting, and stars, and archiving, and snoozing, and all kinds of other crap. We need to be empowered to
manage our notifications, just like we’re empowered
to manage our email. Or we need a whole different approach to solving this problem
entirely, I don’t know. Earlier this year, there
were a lot of stories about how everyone’s real
mad at notifications. They were in the New York
Times, so Farhad Manjoo said Apple should design a
less addictive phone. Nellie Bowles did a
really interesting story on people gray screening their phones, so that all the color doesn’t
hack their lizard brains. Although, lizards maybe don’t
see color, I don’t know. Look that up later. Anyway, a bunch of this stuff comes from this movement called Time Well Spent, that started with a guy
named Tristan Harris, who was a design ethicist at Google, and I don’t disagree with any of it. It is possible, for your phone, to put you in a permanent
state of distraction. The metaphor everybody uses is that it’s like a slot machine. You pull down on the notification shade, just like you pull on a
lever on a slot machine. I don’t really like that metaphor, because I think it takes
away too much power from you. The person who, I don’t know, owns the slot machine, the phone. You should only give them that power if they deliver something
really valuable to you and too often they don’t. But Apple, I’m sorry, you
need to help us out here. There’s only so much
that we as users can do, given all of the options you’ve given us. Because notifications,
they’re not going away and just treating them
as little puffy clouds, floating by on our lock screens, that isn’t gonna work. I got a few people I need
to thank for this video. I wanna thank Vlad Savov for
coming up with the metaphor of iPhone notifications being puffy clouds floating away. Patrick Lupotto, thank
you for fixing my math. I had it super wrong and you saved me. Also thanks to former Verge
reporter Jeff Blagdon who, in a completely different
context came up with the phrase, The Mystery of the Check-boxes, which I just deeply love. And of course, thank you for watching.

100 thoughts on “Why Android notifications are better than the iPhone’s”

  1. How are you living life pinching to zoom to expand Android notifications? 😂 One swipe down will do the trick. Also, you said Android has a long way to go but then never said what's wrong with it? Then said Android phone manufactures are notoriously bad at updating their phones, then said nothing about why that's not the case in the Pixel, which gets updates right away… So much wrong with this video, I can see why there's already almost 1k dislikes, though I still dropped a like, because at least you were right about Apple's notifications being awful, and the title was right. But Android? They got it right, and have been doing it right forever as far as I know. I didn't realize how disgusting Apple's system was until now. Sheesh!

  2. Apple definitely needs work; that’s part of he reason I have an Apple Watch. I can make the non-priority stuff never reach my wrist.

  3. Yes Apple notifications just suck. Using Android has just too many compromises involved. Wish there was just something better all around.

  4. I don’t get it, you can allow each and every app to send you notifications or not. Using that you should stop ‘unimportant’ notifications from popping up. Also, having more options is way better for customizing controls to personal use. How is that a bad thing?

  5. It's been a while since I've watched a video about Android and iPhone but I'm surprised we still have this Stock vs OEM interface thing going on. For the years I've used stock Android devices which I've had 3 and OEM devices like Samsung, LG and HTC my least problem with the phones have been whether they've been on the latest software. The fact is that being on the latest software on an Android phone is not nearly as important or as noticeable as being on the latest software on an iPhone. I consider myself a hardcore user but I really see no difference in performance. You have your "micro lags" which I've always been skeptical of but hey, if enough people can see it by all means. I think it's just more of a matter of principle that frustrates most people. I have had more issues on my Nexus 7 than I have on any Android tablet or phone and they were all due to faulty updates. I find Google tends to treat their customers like beta testers while OEMs just want to make sure people buy and keep buying their hardware. Often that means keeping their experience stable for at least 2 years. Whether it's the latest or not is hardly important as long as it works well. Of course from a reviewers standpoint I see the frustration. There are a lot of phones to review and many of them are not extremely different. In their eyes it's easy to see all of Android phones as just "droids" and the iPhone and THE iPhone and for good reason. It's simple to compare one Android phone to the iPhone, and since Google owns Android, it appears to be the equivalent if you are looking at it from the perspective of unilateral control. At the end of the day Android is unique, special BECAUSE of its adaptability. There really isn't an equivalent comparison. It's more of a choice of lowest common denominator (finding an Android phone most like the iPhone from a philosophical level). Anyway, interesting video.

  6. On one hand you talk about that we should have a more distraction free phone experience. But on the other you want to take on the role of the master controller for your notifications.
    Notifications need to be more ephemeral in my view. Maybe the lack of tooling on the Apple side is because they don’t really want people to start managing them like they were email because… who needs more things to be like email.

    Having said that I wish there were more tools like the notifications disapearing automatically when I’ve seen them. I really dislike having to clear them.

  7. You complain about tons of settings, is it that’s apple giving you more customization? You can dismiss your notifications on iphone all at once by using 3d touch then it will ask if you want to clear all.

  8. Well with Android I have my phone on silent (not sure if it's possible on iPhone. I know it had the switch but it always buzzed for me) never see them unless I'm on my phone

  9. iOS notifocations are garbage because of the missing grouping. They removed grouping since iOS 9 or something. One app spams your notifications and you can‘t quickly check your notifications while swiftly deleting the useless once from certain apps all at once, its so cluttered. I found myself going into settings to disable notifications from apps that spammed me and reenable them after I cleared my others so I can delete them all.

  10. Let me do math on paper for a minute to show you that there TOO many options. Because the iPhone already need LESS options. Yup.

  11. They're notifications, Apple and Android are both similar when it comes down to it. You can set them to about anything with either device. The notification light though would be awesome to see on iPhone I guess.

  12. How the f did he come to the conclusion there 50 different ways to do notification for any given app?! What the….

    50 for an app?!?!?! 😮

  13. Why people think notifications are important? What’s that fuzz about? I think this video should be exactly 5 seconds long and it should say only this: “just turn your notifications off!”

  14. This is my biggest complaint on IOS, why don't they group notifications by app like on Android? It's just ridiculous the way it is and 2 or 3 years ago, they used to group notifications by app.

  15. What Android users fail to understand is the power of the lock screen notifications, which in my opinion is where it's at. Android lock screen notifications suuuuuuuuuuuuuuck so bad. Whereas iOS is so vastly superior. I agree, for Apple the actual notifications list is bad, but I never use it so I don't care. My lock screen is how I interact with all notifications, and I can control which app shows up on my lock screen, and I'm done! The LED light is pointless, because I can just lift up my phone or turn on my screen and see all my notifications much more clearly, instead of constantly having a blinking light where I have no idea what could be causing it. And the stacks are still soooooo poorly implemented and confusing. If I accidentally swipe in the wrong spot I lose all notifications for that app, which I have done so many times, and end up missing really important notifications allllllll the time.

  16. good attempt but the moment I see you are pinching out to expand the notification group, I know for sure you are indeed an iPhone user. It is just like me always search for back button when I use my friend's iPhone. 2 different UI.

  17. I like how he says that Android notifications aren't perfect and then doesn't mention a single thing he doesn't like about them.

  18. Of course does Android have way more "checkboxes" than Android. Android is/was all about individualization.

  19. Well you could have a Sony device or maybe NOkia?`They arent awful, they always have the latest software…. In a sense.

  20. I own a Android phone, but i had some experiences with the iPhone notification center, and I can say that Android does it much better, I would even say that notifications on iOS are absolutely unecessary, I never see my iPhone users friends looking at it, it's like it doesn't even exist. But personally, i hate notification sounds, vibrations etc, my phone is always on silent mode.

  21. I have a Note 8 with Oreo and the features of notifications are amazing. You even get to choose a time for them to reappear. Yeah Samsung experience sucks and reminds me if Touch wiz back in 2014 which sucked. So i use Nova launcher and made it look like the Pixel 2 in a way. Why i prefer Android over iOS, customization.

  22. yeah i just turned everything off except text messages. I'm becoming more and more minimalist and more averse to tech. I check email & instagram when I'm good and ready, not when my phone tells me to. I deleted facebook and all other messaging apps off my phone, got a bullet journal that removed the need for calendar apps, I removed myself from group chats and generally detatched myself as much as possible from my phone.. Streamlining your apps and processes and assessing what you actually need and use on your phone also seems to go a long way towards getting a lot less notifications 😁 Watching this because I need to learn how to use an android. I'm tired of being beholden to apple and am making the switch to android after a decade of servitude to apple. Only really getting a phone because after a week of being phoneless I realised I really like having text messages, google maps, citymapper and a camera with me at all times that isn't an enormous dslr. It does feel really good to just step way from technology for a while though and figure out what things on it are actually important..

  23. my mothe just got her first smartphone it's oppo f7 and i think it's ui/ux sucks it just lacks a lot of options which would make it easier for anyone to use

  24. Here's the real question: Is this Dieter's apartment, and if so, why is living futon life? Do we need to ask @reckless to start paying this guy better? Great video. Also, shoes on the couch is babaric.

  25. iOS used to let you choose to group notification by time or by apps (a long long time ago), but yes in any case you have to be a tech savvy person and spend a lot of time to customize each apps' notification settings… I miss the notifications on Blackberry OS 10, it was still the best notifications I have seen…

  26. I loved windows phone notifications. on the lock screen it showed icons and no other info so it does not push it into you and on the home screen, the live tiles display what you missed without being an eye sore.

  27. I recently received an iPhone 8 Plus as a gift after using a Google Pixel 2 XL since release that now has Android P
    Completely agree with your analysis.
    I had initially moved across to Android for the Nexus 4. The screen was larger than an iPhone and I was impressed with the Google home screen that could gather alerts from email, suggest the best time to go to work or head home. There was some short comings in the software but I thought I would give it a go and I never went back, or tried to until now.
    I can only describe the Apple OS as a clunky mess that needs a serious make over.
    In the meantime I’ll be on-gifting the iPhone.

  28. I love Android!

    Except for one thing: when I open up the keyboard it shows a notification that my keyboard is on. Anyone else? (I use a Samsung device on Android Oreo.)

  29. You asked for it and you got it. Android 9 detects when you swipe a notification away a lot and offers to stop showing it to you. But yeah, notifications is the one thing where Android has iOS beat hands down

  30. Why the hell did you use multiplication? I don’t see how you came to the decision to multiplication and not addition.

  31. iPhone was made for people of easy to use stuff. Android tho has more options and freedom. In anywau, Apple gets behind once again. Even tho in their latest firmware they made their notifications stacked like android…. After many years . Apple is slow at many things and mostly that's because of two things. First because they have to figure out (their genius devs) to implement a new feature to their so called "closed system" and second because in vast majority they have to "patent" any of these features to claim it's theirs and not stolen. People must be serious nowadays before purchasing from Apple .

  32. The really cool thing about Android now is that if the OS notices you are deleting a certain type of notification more often, it will ask you if you want to block that style of notification.

  33. my older galaxy s6 edge is handles notifications better just like how he described. although with a couple of fewer options than the newer android ones. (just because its stuck on 7.0 thanks samsung)

  34. Hi I need some help… I love how on iphone you can turn off notification previews and just have a notifications dot. I.e. I don't like messages popping up on my screen and interrupting me but would like to know they are there so I check them at a good time. How can I do this on Android?

  35. Does this sound like a first world problem? I know software can be continuously improved. But notifications don't seem like such an important part of my life, at least not as important as he makes them seem.

  36. That machine learning thing you said is on android now, if it notices you slide away a message often it will ask if you want to keep receiving it.

  37. I have an Android and an I phone in my life. Android notifications are way better I think. Thanks for another great video Dieter.

  38. I was wanting to know if Android screen lights up when you receive a message. With iOS I can read the message right away, even when the phone is just on my desk and I’m busy with something else, because the screen lights up and shows you the message. But, guess this is the wrong video.

  39. Then there's flip to mute, airplane mode and delete all. Oh let's not forget app permissions where you can deny /turn off notifications.

  40. Actually iPhone notifications are better, as you can dismiss them and still see that there's a notification badge on the app icon

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