iPhone SE review: the small alternative


Apple iPhone SE software

What is the iPhone SE software experience like? Well, it comes running iOS 9.3 which is a good start. After unpacking the phone, you’ll immediately find an update to iOS 9.3.1 (or higher if you read this review further down the update line). The software might seem a little sluggish when you’re accustomed to Android. But elements such as the integration and performance of the fingerprint sensor, data backup functionality and anti-theft protection are considerably better than we find in Android.

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In iOS you do not navigate via buttons. / © ANDROIDPIT

The usual rules of navigation in and between Android apps do not apply to the iPhone. After a short time, however, I adjusted to the rules. The reason is that Apple has watertight design specifications for apps they allow into the App Store. This produces uniform designs, so that the top-left is a back button inside apps. In many apps you also normally swipe from the left of the screen to the center. This gesture is to move backwards, making a back button redundant as we know in Android smartphones.

The second Android button that is ‘missing’ from the iPhone is that for recently-used apps. This functionality can be opened in the iPhone by double-pressing the home button. If an app crashes, you just swipe the preview away upwardly. Then it is closed and you can restart it from the Home screen.

What bothered me about iOS: I often had to return to the home screen. And there I was not happy with how I could sort the app launcher. The animation speed was too low and often I accidentally entered the multitasking menu.

ios home button screen
An app folder on the left. / © ANDROIDPIT

In Android it’s possible to shorten animation times. If that’s not enough, you can replace the launcher and use a new system with it to order your apps. iOS is inflexible here. This includes the search function, which you can bring up by down down on the home screen.

Thieves have no chance, plus that formidable backup function

Theft protection and a complete backup feature are two points of iOS that would make it, for many people, the more attractive system over Android. For quite some time iPhones have been completely encrypted and useless to thieves. In addition, you can, thanks to Find My iPhone, locate iPhones from any computer if you know your Apple ID.

For some time now Android has offered similar functionality. A found or stolen device which has security features enabled can not be reset and this makes them unattractive for sale on the black market. Thanks to device encryption and reactivation lock, this is fortunately becoming the case for more and more Android smartphones.

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iCloud backup is literally perfect. / © ANDROIDPIT

If you even have to replace your iPhone, it can be fully restored onto a new iPhone, thanks to backup in iCloud. The call log, SMS messages, WhatsApp chat and login history, apps and their settings or even the wallpaper – everything returns to its place again and you can go on with the new device where you left off with the old. This form of backup can be implemented only with some Android devices. In addition, backup execution is more complicated than it is with iCloud backup in iOS. But in Android, this condition is improving.

Certainly like a prison

Apple provides timely security updates for devices built during the past four years. These updates are not published in a monthly interval, but distributed as needed, unlike Android. If a serious vulnerability is known, one that has been exploited by hackers, within a few days an update will be distributed. In Android, this happens often only for a small percentage of devices and can lead to a delay of several weeks or months.

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