Apple's iOS 17 May Be An Upgrade, But Android Had Some Features Years Ago

Apple iOS 17 Beta download

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Apple's (AAPL) latest iOS operating system (OS), iOS 17, is a definite upgrade for Apple users but it touts some features that are similar to ones that Google's (GOOGL) Android has had for a few years.

Android dominates the market for mobile operating systems, and is the default OS for more than four-fifths of smartphones sold worldwide while the iOS is more popular in the U.S.

Key Takeaways

  • Apple on Monday released iOS 17, the latest version of its iOS operating system, which comes just ahead of Google's latest Android update.
  • iOS 17 comes with improved AirDrop and autocorrect, and introduces live voicemail—a feature Android devices have had since 2015.
  • Google's Android dominates the market for mobile operating systems, and is the default OS for more than four-fifths of smartphones sold worldwide.

The iOS 17 release comes ahead of Google's Android 14 that is expected to go live by the end of the year. While tech specifications of the features it touts may be beyond the scope of this article, the fact that Android had some similar features years ago begs the question—did Apple truly wow with its latest OS release?

File Sharing

Apple's AirDrop and Android's Nearby Share work similarly as file-sharing programs, allowing users to exchange photos, videos, and documents wirelessly between devices. iOS 17 improves upon previous AirDrop versions by connecting devices further away, and allowing you to exchange files by touching two iPhones together. With the latest AirDrop, you can also share files between your iPhone and Apple Watch. Android's Nearby Share works similarly, allowing you to transfer files between your Android device and nearby PCs.

Live Voicemail

Apple's iOS 17 introduces live voicemail, featuring a transcription of someone's message when they send you a voicemail. This feature has been available on Android devices as early as 2015, when Google released its Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

Apple's latest upgrade also allows users to leave audio and video messages via FaceTime, if the person they are calling is not available.


iOS 17 seeks to improve upon autocorrect using a new machine learning model to predict what users want to type, making it more effective at completing sentences and fixing grammatical mistakes.

iOS autocorrect is a feature Apple users have long complained about, alleging it often generates the wrong words and changes words after a message is sent. This contrasts with Android's autocorrect, which users say is more effective.

How Do the Two Systems Compare Globally?

Google's Android, the operating system installed on popular devices including the Samsung Galaxy and Google Pixel, is the dominant mobile operating system worldwide. As of the second quarter, 81% of global smartphone sales featured those with Android operating systems, compared to just 17% for Apple's iOS.

Android dominates the smartphone market in China with a 72% share and India, with 95%. On the other hand, Apple iOS is more competitive in the U.S., where 52% of smartphones sold use the operating system, compared to 48% which use Android, according to Counterpoint Research.

Google released the Beta 5.3 version of Android 14 on Sept. 6, with the live version expected to be released by the end of 2023.

Shares of Apple and Google parent Alphabet were relatively flat in morning trading Tuesday. They've risen 37% and 56% so far this year, respectively.

Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOGL) YTD Return


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Article Sources
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  1. Apple | Newsroom. "iOS 17 makes iPhone more personal and intuitive."

  2. Android. "Nearby Share for Windows."

  3. Android. "Visual Voicemail."

  4. Counterpoint Research. "Global Smartphone Sales Share by Operating System."

  5. Counterpoint Research. "Global Smartphone Sales Share by Operating System."

  6. Android for Developers. "Android 14: Release Notes."

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