Although Apple takes its time adding new features to the iPhone compared to Android devices, it has also omitted several critical features from its phones, compelling Android flagship manufacturers to follow suit. The most recent feature omission is the lack of a physical SIM option in some iPhone 14 variants (only in select markets), leaving users to depend solely on eSIM.
While Apple has removed several features deemed essential to smartphone users over the years, it has also introduced innovative ones. For example, Apple introduced the iconic mute switch with the original iPhone and the popular iMessage platform with the iPhone 4. It also introduced the Siri voice assistant with the iPhone 4S, and Face ID with infrared imaging with the iPhone X. The most recent additions are Emergency SOS via Satellite and Crash Detection with iPhone 14.
5 Physical Home Button
The original iPhone from 2007 came with the iconic circular physical Home button, helping users navigate the interface easily. However, with the iPhone 7, the Home button was replaced by a capacitive circular button that uses haptic feedback to simulate a physical button. Starting with the iPhone X in 2017, the Home button was permanently discontinued from flagship iPhones. In an effort to create an all-screen display, the button was replaced with on-screen gestures for navigation.
The inclusion of a physical Home button has also been phased out in favor of full-screen displays on Android devices. Most Android phones, from flagships to mid-range phones, don’t feature a home button. Instead, users can navigate using gestures or onscreen navigation controls.
4 SD Card Slot
Image credit: iFixit
Apple has never included an SD card slot on the iPhone. Instead, the company offers users a choice of storage sizes that best suit their needs. If users want more storage, they can buy cloud storage on iCloud for a monthly fee. Support for microSD card slots has set Android devices apart from iPhones for a very long time. However, the trend has changed, and the majority of flagship Android devices on the market do not feature an SD card slot. The story is very different for budget and mid-range Android devices, though, with SD cards much more common on these affordable smartphones.
3 Capacitive Fingerprint Scanner
Apple introduced Touch ID with the iPhone 5s in 2013. The fast and accurate capacitive fingerprint reader allowed users to unlock their iPhones safely. Additionally, the fingerprint sensor at the bottom of the iPhone served as a Home button, a sign-in button for third-party apps, an additional layer of security for payment authorization, and a shutter button for the camera. However, Apple replaced Touch ID with Face ID on the iPhone X in 2017 in an effort to provide a more secure unlock method and a full-screen display.
Fingerprint sensors are still widely available on Android devices, but many have replaced the capacitive fingerprint scanner with a less intrusive in-display fingerprint reader in order to provide users with a full-screen experience. While a secure face unlock method isn’t standard on Android phones, most feature a basic face unlock option.
2 Charger In The Box
Apple removed the in-box charger, starting with the iPhone 12. The company continued to do the same with subsequent iPhones, including the recent iPhone 14, which only comes with a USB-C to the Lightning cable inside the box, forcing users who don’t have a suitable power adapter to purchase a separate USB-C wall charger.
While phone makers like Samsung initially mocked Apple for not including a charger in the box, Android brands soon followed suit. These days, most flagship Android phones, including the Samsung Galaxy S series and Pixel series, don’t come with a charger in the box. In fact, many mid-range phones are also excluding chargers. The only exception at the moment is OnePlus, which continues to offer a high-power charger with all its smartphones.
1 Headphone Jack
In 2016, Apple discontinued the headphone jack on the iPhone 7, causing outrage among users. While Apple initially offered a Lightning to 3.5mm adapter in the box, it has since discontinued this practice, pushing buyers to pick up wireless earbuds like its AirPods instead. Apple still sells the 3.5mm adapter on its website for $9, which users can buy if they want to connect wired headphones to their iPhone.
Initially, most Android manufacturers mocked Apple for removing the headphone jack from the iPhone. However, most Android flagships (and increasingly, mid-range phones) followed in the iPhones footsteps and don’t come with a headphone jack anymore, as a result of which users are forced to buy wireless earphones or use USB-C for a wired connection.