Moto Droid to iPhone 4S: Seven Features I Miss from the Switch (And possible workarounds)

After about a year and a half with a Motorola Droid that has recently been on the verge of failing completely, I decided to make a switch to the iPhone 4S. I made this switch partly because of the Droid’s depleting life, my frustrations with the Android OS, and because of my enthusiasm for my understanding of the iOS workflow.
Lo’ and behold, I am now sitting here with my iPhone 4S trying out different apps in the app store, pouring over Google searches for better alternatives, and getting frustrated over the whole process. Feel free to leave a comment if you have a workaround or app that you think would solve an issue below.

1. No Camera Button on the Side

Let us get the most minor change out of the way. For Droid users switching to the iPhone, you have to understand that your beloved golden snapshot button is nowhere to be found. Instead it has been replaced by the volume up/down buttons on the sides of the iPhone. Which one? It is not intuitive. I have to start pressing buttons to figure out which ones takes a shot. That sucks. Whatever happened to “don’t make me think”?
Solution: None.

2. There is no Notification Light on the device/No Notifications Bar

Picture this: on my new iPhone, I get a vibration (I do not like ringtones), turn on the phone, but now have to thumb around looking for where the notification came from. This becomes a particular nuisance when I want to just quickly look at my phone to see what the notification was. No, I have to look for it. On top of that, there is not a very intuitive notifications bar that centralizes all the notifications that I have into one location. Very inconvenient.
On my Droid, whenever I got a vibration, an icon would appear on my notifications bar corresponding to whatever the notification was: an email icon, a text icon, or a Google Talk icon. That was very convenient, and a brilliant feature because it made me work less. Unfortunately, iPhone makes me work more for the same content in this regard. Bad usability design.

3. Native Google Talk is Gone

There is no native Google Talk client. This really sucks for productivity.
Workaround: get a Google Talk client in the App Store.

4. Calendar app: No Week View?

The Calendar app on the iPhone does not have a week view.

Workaround: suggestions?

5. There is no Native Turn-by-turn Navigation

Android has a great turn-by-turn navigation interface built into the phone. Sadly, this is a pogram that is missing on the iPhone.

Workaround: Download Waze. It is awesome, is a great replacement for the native Droid Navigation app, and above all, has nifty crowdsourcing features to notify users of traffic jams and construction zones.

6. No Widgets on the Home Screen

I really enjoyed the user experience on the Android OS. Everything was quick, easy to get to in the least amount of steps, and worked around my life and the way I wanted to work. Unfortunately, the iPhone experience feels like I have to conform to the OS, and not the other way around.

Widgets are a great example of how the Android OS was able to implement quick functions in a small number of steps. Needed to turn off wifi or GPS quickly? No problem. Needed to look up what your next calendar appointment was? No problem either. Want to customize your user experience? You got it.

Workarounds: none. I think this is something innately embedded in the OS itself.

7. Gmail on Android Rocks (a.k.a the iPhone Mail App sucks)

iPhone’s native Mail app is horrible for Gmail. In the Android client, I enjoyed such visual and usability pleasures such as being able to see the label attached to the email, being able to star the email, seeing the thread of the conversation, and basically having the desktop Gmail experience all on my phone. I do not get that on the iPhone.


Workaround: use the Gmail web app by going to in Safari.