Android used to unleash my creativity in ways iOS doesn’t

According to XDA Developers, while the iPhone offers a stable, reliable experience, Android OS used to make the author think outside the box in ways iOS simply doesn’t. The author acknowledges that Apple products can actually limit the imagination of their users. Despite Apple boasting in its keynotes about how these devices help customers unleash their creativity, the author’s personal experience has been the complete opposite.

The author’s first smartphone was a Samsung Galaxy Mini over a decade ago, and they feel like they’ve learned more from it than they have with their new iPhone, the iPhone 14 Pro. That device ran Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and had less than half a gigabyte of RAM, meaning it was way before we reached the smartphone performance stability we take for granted today. The author also couldn’t afford to upgrade their hardware enough to keep up with the latest features deployed via newer Android versions. They had to find creative ways to bring these features to their existing Android phone.

The author came across XDA Forums for the very first time and learned about rooting, Xposed modules, and flashing ROMs. They admit that they lost count of the times they bricked their Galaxy Mini attempting to install CyanogenMod without using a computer. But it was all part of the learning process. They were also a part of several Google+ (RIP) communities that made this experience more fun.

Eventually, the author came across an app that supported decompiling and recompiling APK files on the device. So not only could they investigate app files and monitor hidden changes preparing for future additions with every newly-released update, but they could also make tweaks and re-install them on their phone to see the changes. They even dabbled with third-party modders that would let them have an infinite amount of coins in a game, for example.

On Android, the author was still decompiling and recompiling apps to learn more about them even after they stopped modding the system. Even in the device’s natural state, they could get creative with app inspection, trying different launchers, and more. Meanwhile, they can’t even sideload an app on iOS, let alone decompile and rebuild it. While you can build and install apps from scratch on iPadOS through Swift Playgrounds, that’s not of interest to the author. They’re not a developer seeking to code their own application. They’re just curious about how things work and sometimes like tweaking existing projects.

Today, the author uses Apple products because they need their devices to operate as they’d expect them to, with minimal bugs and hiccups. The hardware quality and software support across all operating systems are two key elements they can’t sacrifice at this point. They’ve been sucked in, they’re stuck here, and they recognize that these devices control how you control them, not the other way around.


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