As my journey continues exploring Android & iOS – I’ve come across some interesting apps
There is a way out
Apple’s ecosystem – we’ve all heard about it and many of us find ourselves trapped by it too.
It doesn’t so much grab you by the throat rather it sneaks up on you like a hungry cat behind a mouse – it’s a drip-drip affair. Month by month you add more & more apps and subscriptions to your Apple ID and then one day you realise that it has a grip on you.
There is no turning back. Or is there?
A period of learning
My eyes have been opened recently to another OS other than Apple’s iOS.
No OS is ever going to be perfect but Apple has made a pretty good fist of it. I’ve said before that I almost feel for the software development team at Apple. The pressure of trying to continually come up with something new and exciting year after year must be tough.
We’re only a few weeks away from this year’s full release of iOS 17 and public beta testers are already running and using it. There are some highlights such as Contact Posters, Live Voicemail, NameDrop and StandBy to look forward to.
That release will herald the obvious and predictable war of words between die-hard Apple users and Android lovers. Many column inches will be filled and videos posted as they are pitted against one another.
Part of the hidden art of Apple’s ecosystem is that it makes you believe there is no other way. It also makes you complacent in not looking at other options.
Imagine for a moment that you were tempted to try something on Android but denied yourself the opportunity because of that grip that Apple has on you. It’s real enough, and it’s a feeling I know all too well.
Let me reiterate that I am happy, very happy with Apple and iOS. I can say that now with some clarity as I’ve used Android & iOS side-by-side for the last 4 or 5 weeks. And that has been the beauty of the experience – I can now make comparison-led content because I’ve had my hands on them both.
Whilst I am in no desperate hurry to change over as I love the totality of what Apple offers and the way my iPhone is central to it all, I can tell you there are options out there.
These two features are hardly ever mentioned these days – we take them for granted but they truly are unsung heroes. I use both of these features or apps every day – multiple times per day and I can honestly say they are both central to my workflow.
But there are ways that you can replicate these using Android.
When I started playing with the Pixel 7 Pro the lack of AirDrop became a problem – quickly. I transfer files back and forth from iPhone to Mac and Mac to iPhone and just take it as a given that AirDrop is there at the click of a mouse.
When I searched on the Pixel help page as to what they suggested the answer they gave was to install Android App Manager. All I can say is don’t! It’s awful!
Slow, ponderous and unreliable. Every time I launched the app it gave me the message ‘this device cannot be found’. It was painful. And even when it did work it was flaky.
There are however better options out there.
One of those is Snapdrop and it’s the easiest to use. On the Mac it’s web-based and the first time through you’ll need to pair the phone & Mac. Your Macs will be given a catchy name – mine for example are Coffee Earwig and Orange Piranha! Transferring files is then as simple as looking for that Mac name in the app find the file you want to transfer and you’re done.
It takes a little getting used to the order of things, but once you’ve been through it a few times it’s as easy, reliable & quick to use as AirDrop.
For this workaround, there’s an app called Clipt that I came across. It works and is the best option out there for copying text from Mac/iOS to Android.
You’ll need Chrome on your Mac as you’ll have to install an extension. Once done it’s kind of like the Universal Clipboard but it is more fiddly that the genuine Apple option. On the phone, find the text you want to copy and you’ll see Clipt come up as one of the options to share it to.
I’ve found that if you think you’ll be moving text around between devices then leave the extension open on your Chrome tab. It then becomes more intuitive and seamless. It picks up the moment you copy any text.
There are some other options out there, but I’ve not yet had a chance to try them out.
Air Droid looks simple enough although I don’t like that you have to give card details etc to create the free account – I’m never a fan of that. The two other options that I’ve not yet played with are Soduto & KDE Connect but both come pretty well recommended by users. Have you tried either of those?
If I was going to make the switch full-time from iOS to Android I’d spend some more time looking into these other options, but for the time being and as I am just flirting with Android, Clipt & Snapdragon will do for me. They at least give the Apple-like functionality of AirDrop & the Universal Clipboard.
Apple has shown its hand with these two features and we should really applaud them. Of course, the ‘weakness’ is it keeps you firmly in the ecosystem – but for those two features alone, I am almost happy to stay iOS.
One thing that is not up for change is my working on a Mac – that is set in stone. But if you, like me are dallying with the thoughts of wanting to check out Android, if only for curiosity’s sake, then you may find these apps handy. Also, I’d love it if you’d let me know if there are any other apps that you think I should try and mention.
But now, I need to AirDrop the image from my iPhone to this MacBook to pop at the top of this story.
AirDrop here I come!
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