Ever since the 1st generation iPhone was released in 2007, I have been an Apple die-hard for the best part of my entire life.

I’ve burned through at least six different iterations of the humble iPhone after cracking my screen on night’s out, dropping it in toilets and even having it stolen once at a restaurant.

But, without fail, I’ve stayed blindly loyal to Apple.

Until I started here at ChannelNews, I never once thought about making the switch to Android.

Besides, I was living and breathing the entire Apple ecosystem with an iPhone, Macbook, Airpods and Apple TV.

There’s almost this unwritten mantra among users that once you’re in Apple, you’re there forever.

The most fitting shift from Apple would be to its direct competitor Samsung to get your first taste of Android, but I made the switch to an LG Velvet smartphone.

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My first impression was how much sleeker and thinner the model was compared to the iPhone 10X I was previously using. After picking up and using the Velvet for five minutes, my iPhone already started to feel too clunky and heavy in comparison.

Interacting with the home screen took some getting used to. After years of staring at the Apple-designed apps like Messages and Photos, Android’s versions seemed strange and unfamiliar.

Apple’s interface has always been extremely user-friendly but after a few days of using Android I was happily interacting with the home screen as if I’d been an Android user for years.

But as I perused the settings on Android, I found it was much more customisable than any Apple iPhone I’ve had before. In particular, I’ve enjoyed being able to place apps wherever I’d like on the home screen and it has a much simpler way of reorganising folders and customising colour was a fun way to personalise my phone.

I quickly started to miss the Face ID on my iPhone, but the fingerprint sensor on the Velvet was seamless and easy to use.

After putting my SIM card into the Velvet, I also started to think about a reason I stayed with the Apple stable for so long: iMessage.

Messaging friends and family, it took mere minutes for people to start asking why I had the green bubble, instead of the standard blue iMessage bubble.

Sure, it didn’t make much of a difference when messaging a single person. But I realised messages in group text chats used by Apple users weren’t reaching me in the Android operating system.

Far from being a significant problem, I simply switched the group chat to WhatsApp instead.

Aesthetic-wise, I’ve found the LG screen far more beautiful with curved edges and less bulky borders like the iPhones often have. While I’m sure the iPhone 12 will have a sleeker, better designed screen than any of its predecessors, I was certainly impressed by my new Android screen.

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When it came to operating my most used apps, I found typing on Messages, WhatsApp, Messenger and Gmail to be quite awkward without the same keyboard and autocorrect function as in Apple’s iOS.

I also worried I wouldn’t get the same apps I’ve grown to know and love from the Google Play store – but there hasn’t seemed to be any app unavailable which I’ve desperately wanted.

One thing Android and Apple have in common is how easy it is to accidentally press the Google Assistant/Siri wake up button. This is simply a user error and I can’t fault them for my own awkward hand movements.

But on that note, I’ve now noticed Google Assistant is a far superior AI than Siri. Google Assistant makes using apps such as calendar and maps a much nicer experience.

I’ve always had major issues with Apple Maps – but Android’s Google Maps is more user-friendly and with less GPS problems. The interface, like anything, takes some getting used to but it seems to have less lags and is easier to follow.

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Google News is also a pleasant difference between Apple and Android. Just a quick slide to the left and I can see relevant news articles that I’d have to dig for in Apple News.

I also especially love the seamless syncing of my Google passwords across apps, making it exceptionally less stressful to sign into platforms when setting up a new device.

A lot of Apple users will cite the company’s tight approach to security as to why they prefer the iPhone. Google apparently has a more lax approach to what apps they allow in the Google Play store, but I am yet to experience any security issues or data hacks with my Android.

I’ve also noticed a lot of retailers prefer to stock Apple products and accessories, making it difficult to find cases for my lesser-known LG Velvet Android smartphone.

All in all, making the switch to Android has been a pleasant and enjoyable adjustment. I don’t miss many of Apple’s iOS features and am discovering more Android easter eggs on my phone every day which makes me utter out loud: “How did I go so long without this?”

The flexibility and freedom of an Android interface makes returning to the iPhone seem like being trapped in an Apple-walled prison.

Even though iPhones get better with every generation, I can happily say I am now a die-hard Android user and I will not be going back.

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