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Finest Android VPN for 2021



Your cell units retailer a few of your most delicate info, which is why you would possibly wish to think about using a VPN in your Android cellphone or pill. And I’ve excellent news for Android customers: VPNs are now not the unique area of cumbersome desktop purchasers and bloated software program. Now you can discover numerous VPNs which can be light-weight, straightforward to make use of and optimized for cell.

As you would possibly anticipate, meaning the obtain price of cell VPN apps has been quickly rising. Based on a report from research firm Top10VPN, greater than 480 million cell VPN apps have been downloaded around the globe in 2019, or 54% greater than the yr prior. Roughly 75% of these downloads have been by way of an Android phone or different Android device

Whereas free companies accounted for 84% of all cell VPN downloads, we recommend avoiding free VPN apps and going with a paid VPN every time attainable. Which means getting your cash’s value out of a glitch-free, safe VPN app for Android. We recurrently take a look at and evaluation our featured VPN apps, so make sure to verify again right here sooner or later as we replace our listing. 

Whereas our directory of the best VPN services ranks these apps and others by how effectively they held up throughout our testing and evaluation course of, this listing focuses particularly on the cell choices of every VPN supplier. Every Android VPN app listed right here has a price — there is not a free VPN service included. That simply means you are going to be paying for connection pace and a safe digital personal community, which is crucial on an Android cellphone, Android tablet or different cell machine. Listed below are the very best Android VPN choices we have examined to this point this yr.


  • Intuitive app interface, with loads of energy below the hood
  • Variety of servers: 3,200-plus
  • Variety of VPN server areas: 65
  • Nation/jurisdiction: British Virgin Islands

Regardless of its customizability and highly effective efficiency as a VPN, Surfshark’s app for Android affords an interface that is surprisingly intuitive for first-time customers. Its four-tab design elegantly conceals a bunch of privateness instruments and connection choices, highlighting a single-click connection button on the app’s touchdown display screen. 

Shortly entry one among Surfshark’s multihop connection choices — one among its most promising options, which jumps your connection via a number of international locations to cover your path — via its foremost location-selection display screen, without having to rummage via the app’s settings. Surfshark additionally will get bonus factors for making its buyer assist choices for the devoted Android app available, together with its assist ticket characteristic and consumer information library.

Learn extraSurfshark VPN review: A feature-rich service with blazing speeds and a security focus

Whereas Surfshark’s community is smaller than some, the VPN service makes up for it in options. Let’s begin off with the largest win it affords: limitless machine assist. If you wish to run your total dwelling or workplace on Surfshark’s VPN, you do not have to fret about what number of units you’ve on or linked. It additionally affords anti-malware, ad-blocking and tracker-blocking as a part of its software program.

Surfshark obtained usually excessive marks when its Chrome and Firefox extensions have been audited for privacy by German safety agency Treatment 53 (PDF link of full report) — although that audit was commissioned by Surfshark. Its encryption is commonplace AES-256-GCM, and it helps Good Ahead Secrecy, which implies it regularly modifications encryption keys to keep away from safety compromises.

The corporate has a stable vary of app assist, working on Mac, Home windows, iOS, Android, Hearth TV and routers. Further units akin to game consoles may be configured for Surfshark by way of DNS settings. We notably just like the characteristic that permits you to whitelist sure apps and web sites to mechanically bypass the VPN. For some enterprise makes use of, this may be critically vital. 

Together with multihop, Surfshark additionally affords two extra particular modes designed for many who wish to get round restrictions and extra rigorously cover their on-line footsteps. Camouflage Mode masks your VPN exercise so your ISP does not know you are utilizing a VPN. And NoBorders Mode “permits [you] to efficiently use Surfshark in restrictive areas.” 

Simply watch out. Doing any of these three issues may very well be unlawful in your nation and will end in extreme penalties. Throughout our testing, we noticed no DNS or IP tackle leaks, and had no hassle accessing Netflix. 

In contrast to most of the different VPN suppliers, Surfshark does not provide a one-year plan. Its greatest provide is $2.49 a month, for its two-year plan (you pay about $60 up entrance). A six-month plan is $6.49 a month (about $39 up entrance), and month-by-month plans are $12.95 a month. Positively make the most of its beneficiant 30-day trial to determine when you like this service (and when you select the two-year plan, perhaps set a reminder in 23 months to see when you can discuss it right into a continued low cost price).


  • Easy, quick, efficient app
  • Variety of servers: 3,000-plus
  • Variety of VPN server areas: 160
  • Nation/jurisdiction: British Virgin Islands

Simply as ExpressVPN persistently tops the listing because the quickest VPN in the marketplace, its app for Android is designed with a streamlined strategy geared toward connecting quick with no fuss. A single button on its touchdown display screen directs an Android consumer to attach rapidly, with the one accompanying choice a drop-down location selector along with your quickest close by metropolis chosen by default. 

ExpressVPN’s different choices — its safety and privateness instruments, account and settings choices, and assist web page — are all stored neatly tucked away below a backyard selection three-bar icon within the display screen’s prime left nook. And so they’re value checking into. ExpressVPN has included an on-board IP tackle checker, together with two leak testers and a password generator.

Learn extraExpressVPN review: A VPN speed leader with a secure reputation

The corporate tells us its community is powered by TrustedServer know-how, which ExpressVPN constructed to make sure that there are by no means any logs of customers’ on-line actions. Within the privateness world, ExpressVPN has a robust monitor report, having skilled a VPN server seizure by authorities which proved their zero-log coverage true on the time. We additionally like the standard of the VPN’s setup guides, and the detailed info in its FAQ. 

Like the remainder of the top five VPN services we have reviewed, ExpressVPN affords a helpful kill change characteristic, which prevents community information from leaking outdoors of its safe VPN tunnel within the occasion the VPN connection fails. In contrast to the others, although, ExpressVPN gained factors from us for its assist of bitcoin as a cost technique — one thing not all of our favorites provide, however which provides an extra layer of privateness throughout checkout.

The corporate has been in enterprise since 2009, and ExpressVPN has a considerable community of quick VPN servers unfold throughout 94 international locations. Its best plan is priced at less than $7 a month for an annual package deal, which incorporates three months free. 


  • A straightforward to make use of, dependable app
  • Variety of servers: 5,200-plus servers
  • Variety of VPN server areas: 62
  • Nation/jurisdiction: Panama

NordVPN is without doubt one of the most acknowledged manufacturers within the VPN discipline. A part of that model recognition relies on the user-friendliness of its design. Nord’s app for Android is simply as straightforward to work together with as its desktop VPN shopper, with an identical design. It poses no studying curve for a first-time consumer seeking to transfer from desktop to cell.  

Simply because the desktop shopper does, Nord’s app opens to a well-known blue-scale touchdown display screen map the place customers can decide to both choose a rustic or hook up with the quickest server mechanically. Nord will get bonus factors for its split-tunneling characteristic, which lets you choose different apps that you do not wish to run via your encrypted VPN connection.

Learn extraNordVPN review: Still the best value for security and speed

Nord affords a beneficiant simultaneous connection rely, with six connections allowed via its community — practically all different suppliers provide 5 or fewer. NordVPN additionally affords a devoted IP choice, for these on the lookout for a unique degree of VPN connection. NordVPN affords a kill change characteristic, and the flexibility to VPN into Tor. We detected no privateness leaks throughout our checks, and located its speeds to be reliably quick. 

The corporate’s one-year subscription plan costs $7 a month ($84 billed at once). Whereas that yearly value is decrease than most different contenders, the month-to-month value of $12 is on the excessive finish of the spectrum. As of September 2019, the corporate’s different pricing tiers have crept up a bit: It is now $3.49 a month for a three-year plan (or $125.64 complete), up from $3/$107.55. And the two-year plan is now $5 a month ($119.76), up from $4/$95.75. And sure, it additionally has a full 30-day refund coverage. 

Whereas NordVPN has lived on our prime VPNs listing for a very long time, we moved it to the penalty field in October 2019 to re-evaluate our advice after a report emerged that one among its rented servers was accessed without authorization in 2018. Nord’s actions following the invention included — finally — a number of safety audits, a bug bounty program and heavier investments in server safety. 

Whereas we would have most well-liked that Nord self-disclosed the problem a lot earlier, the truth that the breach was limited in nature and involved no user-identifying information served to additional confirm that NordVPN retains no logs of consumer exercise. In consequence, Nord stays on our listing as a really useful vendor. 


  • Most customizable VPN app 
  • Variety of servers: 1,600-plus
  • Variety of server areas: 75-plus
  • Nation/jurisdiction: US

A giant win for IPVanish is its enjoyable, configurable interface, which makes it a great shopper for many who are eager about studying learn how to perceive what a VPN does below the hood. With its app for Android, IPVanish manages to pack the identical in depth suite of digital knobs and dials right into a smaller display screen to spectacular impact. 

In case you’re on the lookout for the flexibility to do some precision-tuning to your VPN connection, IPVanish is a stable guess. From producing visible graphs of your web exercise to a bevy of switches controlling cut up tunnelling, LAN connection allowance and extra — IPVanish is an app for the methodical tech tweaker who enjoys having actual management over their cell site visitors. 

Learn extraIPVanish review: Get under the hood with this zippy VPN

Its multiplatform flexibility can also be preferrred for individuals targeted on discovering a Netflix-friendly VPN. 

A singular characteristic of IPVanish, and one we’re intrigued by, is the VPN’s assist of Kodi, the open-source media streaming app that was as soon as often called XBMC. Any severe media fan has used or constructed Kodi or XBMC right into a media participant, and the built-in IPVanish Kodi plugin supplies entry to media worldwide.

At $10 a month or $80 a year, IPVanish is clearly making an attempt to maneuver you in direction of its yearly program. We’re a bit of disillusioned that it solely permits a seven-day trial, fairly than a full 30 days, however it does provide a full money-back assure. That stated, the corporate will get kudos for its latest improve from 10 to now limitless simultaneous connections. We additionally favored its connection kill change characteristic, a should for anybody severe about remaining nameless whereas browsing. 

What’s the very best Android VPN proper now?

Because of its spectacular efficiency and limitless machine assist, Surfshark is our present prime decide for the very best Android VPN. ExpressVPN is an in depth second amongst our Android VPN picks and affords a easy and efficient app. It is not the most cost effective, however it’s among the many quickest of all of the VPN choices. NordVPN, our third alternative, is a die-hard heavy-hitter. It prices greater than Surfshark however lower than Categorical, has an unlimited community that is always getting sooner and safer, and is definitely probably the most dependable service we have examined. Rounding out the group, IPVanish is a stable alternative for novices.

What’s a cell VPN?

Use a mobile-friendly VPN to keep away from slower speeds and guarantee higher information privateness on your complete machine. Cellular VPNs usually have a smaller reminiscence footprint, and require much less processing energy than desktop VPNs, in order that they run sooner and save extra battery. Our prime three VPNs listed above all have glorious, easy-to-use cell app choices for his or her companies. Some VPNs will solely work with one kind of platform — like Apple or Android — and a few are universally suitable. To seek out the proper cell VPN for you, try our different mobile-specific VPN guides under. We routinely replace them with our retesting info, so verify again typically. 

What’s the very best free VPN?

None of them. Seriously. Whereas there are many glorious free safety and privateness apps on-line, VPNs aren’t amongst them. Secure VPNs price corporations some huge cash to function and maintain safe, and free ones are virtually all the time malware-laden information snoops. However there’s excellent news: The burgeoning VPN market is hypercompetitive proper now, so costs for even the very best VPNs recurrently drop to lower than $5 a month. In truth, the least costly VPN we have seen to this point ranks in our prime three VPNs general for safety and pace. Take a look at our quick list of budget-savvy VPNs to search out one in your value vary.

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Android Update

Xiaomi’s Redmi Word 10 Professional evaluate: A high-end expertise at a low worth




Sareena Dayaram/CNET

Xiaomi’s Redmi Word 10 Professional, unveiled in March, is without doubt one of the finest funds Android telephones, if not one of the best, thus far this yr so long as you possibly can reside with out 5G. Beginning at $229 (roughly £160 or AU$290), you get a cell expertise that is in some ways just like flagships that value 3 times as a lot. A few of the specs are on par too.  

The Redmi Word 10 Professional has a 6.7-inch AMOLED display screen, a Snapdragon 732G chipset, stereo audio system, 4 rear cameras, a long-lasting battery, and a quick charger contained in the field. Plus it has a zippy 120Hz show, which is identical refresh charge seen in top-of-the-line fashions such because the Galaxy S21 Extremely.

However once more it is a funds cellphone, so Xiaomi has made some wise sacrifices.

The largest factor lacking from the Redmi Word 10 Professional is 5G, which you will need your subsequent cellphone to have if you happen to’re planning on preserving it for just a few years. If 5G is vital to you, you possibly can contemplate the pricier 5G variant within the Redmi Word 10 lineup. A telephoto lens is absent from the Redmi Word 10 Professional too. Nevertheless it’s a good omission, in my view, contemplating the worth. And even with these compromises, the Redmi Word 10 Professional makes up for it with its different options. 

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There are three variants, starting at $229 for the 6GB + 64GB model, $249 for 6GB + 128GB or $279 for the 8GB +128GB variant. (These are recommended prices provided by Xiaomi, and actual pricing depending on the market is likely to vary.) Xiaomi says it has no current plans to bring the Mi 11 stateside, and that’s unlikely to change any time soon considering its ongoing legal tussle with the US government. Still, you should be able to buy this phone in the United States eventually, through online retailers such as Amazon and eBay.

The importance of the Redmi Note series to Xiaomi can’t be overstated as this is the phone that put Xiaomi on the map. The Chinese company’s budget-friendly champions have at times outsold Apple and Samsung, globally. 


The Redmi Note 10 Pro comes in three color options. This one is called onyx grey.

Sareena Dayaram/CNET

What Xiaomi changed in the Redmi Note 10 Pro

Unlike Xiaomi’s flagship Mi series, the Redmi Note is known for packing fancy features into an affordable package. Last year’s Redmi Note 9 Pro also had an expansive screen and a huge battery, but here’s what Redmi changed in the Note 10 Pro. 

  • Upgraded display: The Redmi Note 10 Pro relies on an AMOLED panel with a 120Hz refresh rate, upgraded from an LCD panel with a 60 Hz display.
  • More megapixels: The Redmi Note 10 Pro has a 108-megapixel wide-angle camera, while the Note 9 Pro had a 64-megapixel wide-angle lens.
  • Incremental processor upgrade.

The Redmi Note 10 Pro has a dynamo of a display

Apart from the camera, Xiaomi focused on upgrading the display, which featured heavily in the series’ marketing. The 6.7-inch Redmi Note 10 Pro features a crisp AMOLED panel with a peak brightness of 1,200 nits, making the screen easy to read even in the sunniest of lighting conditions.

One of the headline features of the Redmi Note 10 Pro is the quick refresh rate of 120Hz. That’s the same speed seen across Samsung’s latest Galaxy S21 lineup, including the $1,200 (£1,149, AU$1,849) Galaxy S21 Ultra, as well as Xiaomi’s own flagship smartphone, the Mi 11. Most phones have refresh rates of 60Hz, which means the screen refreshes 60 times in a second. 120Hz displays look a lot smoother when scrolling through apps, photos and webpages.

Classic design with ports aplenty

The Redmi Note 10 Pro is squarely in the budget phone category, but it manages to swing a premium look and feel, thanks in part to its Gorilla Glass back (though plastic sides run around the device) and a redesigned camera bump. The Galaxy S20 Fan Edition, which costs several hundred dollars more, has a plastic back.

Xiaomi also relocated the camera bump, moving it to the upper left side of the device from the center of the phone. It houses four cameras, a flashlight and an IR blaster.  

There’s also a fingerprint reader located on the right side of the phone, and on the top you’ll find a headphone jack — a rarity on phones nowadays. Flip the phone around, and there’s an in-display notch smack on the top-center of the display, which houses the selfie camera. 

Just like the international version of Mi 11, the Redmi Note 10 Pro comes with a bunch of accessories including a 33-watt wired charger, a USB-C adapter and one plastic case.  


There’s a 3.5mm headphone pack on the upper left side of the Redmi Note 10 Pro.

Sareena Dayaram/CNET

The Redmi Note 10 Pro’s 4 rear cameras

Xiaomi drew attention to the device’s camera in its media paraphernalia for the Redmi Note 10 lineup. For the 10 Pro at least,  the resolution of the main shooter has been bumped up to a 108-megapixel wide-angle lens, accompanied by three others: a 8-megapixel ultra-wide, 5-megapixel telemacro, 2-megapixel depth. Xiaomi says its “telemacro” lens lets you to get up to 2x closer than the average macro camera at a same distance.

During my hands-on time, the camera was able to capture crisp and vibrants photos, especially in environments with ample light. Images taken in dim environments were impressive too, considering this is a budget phone. Those images were enhanced by the use of nine-in-one pixel-binning technology, which means the information from nine pixels in the 108-megapixel sensor is used to make one pixel in the final photo. Samsung’s top-of-the-line Galaxy S21 Ultra relies on the same technology to enhance its photos.

Keep in mind, however, that it doesn’t have a telephoto camera, which means all zoom is digital as opposed to optical. As such, you can’t count on this phone for capturing detailed images of faraway subjects. In fact, pictures taken beyond 2.5x zoom already begin to show signs of graininess. Here’s a look at the cameras in action. 


The Redmi Note 10 Pro’s ultrawide lens has a 118-degree field of view.

Sareena Dayaram/CNET


Taken on default settings on a cloudy morning.

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5x zoom example.

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10x zoom example.

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Taken using SuperMacro mode in a well-lit room.

Sareena Dayaram/CNET


Example of low-light image.

Battery and processor

The Redmi Note 10 Pro runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 732G processor, which is a cut above the 730G chipset found in Google’s Pixel 4A. Although it isn’t the newest or most cutting-edge chipset from Qualcomm’s stable — you’ll have to shell out for a Samsung Galaxy S21 or Xiaomi’s Mi 11 for that — it’s more than sufficient for my needs, letting me sail through everyday tasks without a hitch. 

Battery life was solid too, lasting me about a day and half with what I’d describe as mild use. That means I made a few short phone calls, watched TikTok videos, wrote emails, read news, watched some more TikTok videos and took photographs

Redmi Note 10 5G vs. Redmi Note 10 Pro

Redmi Note 10 5G Redmi Note 10 Pro 
Display size, resolution 6.5-inch AMOLED; 2,400×1,080 pixels (FHD Plus) 6.7-inch AMOLED, 2,400×1,080 pixels (FHD Plus)
Dimensions (Millimeters) 161.81×75.34×8.92mm 164×76.5×8.1mm
Weight ( Grams) 190 g 193 g
Mobile software Android 11 Android 11
Camera 48-megapixel (wide angle), 6-megapixel (standard), 2-megapixel (macro) 2-megapixel (depth) 108-megapixel (wide angle), 8-megapixel (ultra-wide), 5-megapixel (telemacro), 2-megapixel (depth)
Front-facing camera 8-megapixel 16-megapixel
Video capture 4K 4K
Processor MediaTek Dimensity 700 Snapdragon 732G
RAM+Storage 4GB+64GB, 4GB+128GB, 6GB+128GB* 6GB+64GB, 6GB+128GB, 8GB+128GB*
Expandable storage Up to 512GB Up to 512GB
Battery 5,000 mAh 5,020 mAh
Fingerprint sensor Side Side
Connector USB-C USB-C
Headphone jack Yes Yes
Special features 5G, Stereo Speakers, IP53, 90Hz display, 18W fast-charging, IP 53 rating (splash proof) Speakers, 33W bundled charger, 120 Hz display, IP 53 rating (splash proof)

*availability depends on market

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Android Update

Greatest Android telephones to purchase for 2021



Telephone expertise strikes quick and at the moment’s prime cellphone producers are pushing out improvements faster than ever earlier than. Options comparable to Tremendous AMOLED shows and tremendous quick 5G connectivity are commonplace, with extra futuristic tech like foldable shows accessible for many who need cutting-edge telephones (and who’ve the deep pockets to pay for them). Samsung’s Galaxy line dominates the Android class and that is doubtless not going to finish anytime quickly. However different corporations are gunning for the distinction of being the very best Android cellphone — and also you, the potential buyer, profit from all this competitors.

Quite a lot of implausible Android smartphone choices can be found at quite a lot of costs, starting from budget Android phones to high-end flagship telephones. We took a have a look at the very best Android choices and rounded up our favorites, which we replace periodically. These telephones have usually nice battery life, cameras, screens or the entire above. We additionally took into consideration options comparable to wi-fi charging, fingerprint sensor and expandable storage. Learn on to see our prime picks for the very best Android phones and take a look at our tips about how to buy a new phone, too.

Learn extraBest phones of 2021

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As Samsung’s elite flagship phone for 2021, the Galaxy S21 Ultra features a brilliant 6.8-inch AMOLED display with an ultrasmooth 120Hz refresh rate that also supports Samsung’s S-Pen stylus, an awesome rear camera with incredible zoom skills and 5G connectivity for super speedy data. This is the best in mobile technology that Samsung has to offer, and it’s the Android phone to go for if you’re keen to put cutting-edge tech in your pocket.

Read our Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G review.


If you want a 5G phone that doesn’t cost too much, the Pixel 4A 5G is one of our top Android mobile phone picks. The handset has a solid battery life, fantastic dual rear cameras and robust software support from Google. There’s also the Pixel 5, which has a great 90Hz display, but it costs more at $699 (£599, AU$999).

Read our Google Pixel 4A 5G review.


Angela Lang/CNET

Pixel phones have a loyal following and with good reason. Without considering its price, Google’s Pixel 4A Android phone has top-notch camera performance that takes brilliant photos. But this Android device is an even better deal as the budget smartphone costs $349 (£349, AU$599). The 5.81-inch handset also features a headphone jack, 128GB of storage out of the box and better battery life than the previous year’s Pixel 4.

Read our Google Pixel 4A review.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

While OnePlus isn’t as well-known as Apple or Samsung, the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro offer a premium experience at a relatively more affordable budget phone price than rivals. Both phones are 5G-enabled, run the most powerful Qualcomm processor and have multilens cameras. The OnePlus 9 is our favorite of the two, with all of the features we love from the series but at the more affordable price and with better battery life. It’s a solid option if the lofty prices of the Galaxy S21 Ultra are out of your reach.

Juan Garzon/CNET

Samsung’s Galaxy S20 FE packs much of what we’ve come to expect from its premium S range of phones, including multiple rear cameras, great performance and 5G connectivity, but wrapped it in cheaper materials and brought the price down to a more affordable phone. This Android phone won a coveted CNET Editors’ Choice award, and it’s the phone to go for if you want a great Samsung phone but don’t want to empty your bank account to get it.

Read our Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition review.


Angela Lang/CNET

Foldable phones have yet to hit the mainstream, remaining instead only in the reach of those willing to spend top dollar on the latest in mobile innovation. Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 2 is the best folding phone around, offering top-notch performance, a great camera setup and a variety of tweaks to its folding technology that make this Android handset more durable than its predecessor.

Read our Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 review.


Sarah Tew/CNET

The Motorola Edge Plus has pretty much everything you’d hope for in a premium 5G phone: A Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset, a giant battery, an OLED screen with a high refresh rate, and multiple rear cameras with heavy-duty specs. Motorola took features found on other top-of-the-line Android phones, put its own Moto spin on them and built them all into one of our favorite Android phones of the year.

Read our Motorola Edge Plus review.


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Android Update

Android vs. iPhone: 7 issues Apple cellphone house owners want they might do




Android telephones have some options that make iPhone house owners jealous.

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The argument between iPhone and Android house owners is as previous as each platforms, and one I can not see coming to an finish anytime quickly. With every announcement and launch of main updates, each side wish to level out copied options or updates that the opposite working system lacks. In a variety of methods, the talk feels much like politics, each side simply cannot discover frequent floor. 

For instance, Google not too long ago introduced the Android 12 developer beta. It is accessible for under the very courageous to try out right now, and whereas there’s not a variety of consumer-facing options activated in it fairly but, we do know that Google is borrowing the iPhone’s microphone and camera use indicators to reinforce privateness. And extra not too long ago, Google introduced it’ll begin requiring Android app builders to record all of the different types of personal data an app collects about customers in its Play Retailer itemizing, similar to Apple added in iOS 14.

Conversely, when Apple launched iOS 14 the iPhone gained new home screen widgets and the option to create custom app icons. Yea, Android customers had enjoyable with that oldie however goody.

Though Apple retains including Android-like options to iOS, Android customers nonetheless have loads of bragging rights over iPhone customers. From with the ability to use two apps on the similar time to Google Assistant and extra customization choices are, for now not less than, among the options Android house owners can declare as their very own. Under are seven issues Android nonetheless does higher than the iPhone. Details.

 Don’t fret, although. I’ve given Android the identical therapy by highlighting what the iPhone does better. Additionally info.

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Use the apps you want, not the apps Google wants you to 

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Apple added the ability to set your default app for email or web browsing in iOS 14, but that’s it. 

Google has always given Android users the ability to set their default apps for a number of different tasks. Want to use a different app for text messaging than what came preinstalled? Do it. In fact, you should use Google Messages as your default app for its sweet chat features that are getting closer to being an iMessage equivalent. 


Finding the setting for default apps can take a little digging, but at least it’s there. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

It isn’t hard to see which apps have been labeled as default on your Android device: Open the Settings app and go to Apps & notifications > Default apps. To change the defaults, select the app category, such as Phone app or Browser app and choose from the options.

Google Assistant is always ready for you. 

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Google Assistant for the all the wins

iPhone users have Siri, but Android gives you Google Assistant. Google Assistant is a much more sophisticated tool than Apple’s Siri for a slew of reasons, but the most important one is that it makes use of Google’s impressive database. 

Google Assistant can understand common requests for businesses and names, plus it gets requests right more often than wrong. It also returns high-quality responses, drawing from Google Search, a tool that Siri doesn’t have access to.

Google Assistant also tightly integrates with the phone’s other functions, to tell you when it’s time to leave for your next meeting and warn you that traffic will be heavy on the way home. If you have any Google Home or Nest Home smart speakers or other compatible devices, you can also use Assistant on your phone to control smart devices around your house like lights, outlets or your thermostat — even from afar.


Split Screen is easy to use on an Android phone and increases the versatility of a phone. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

And it’s built right into your Android device. “OK, Google” and “Hey, Google” are the two wake phrases. If you need help knowing what to ask, you can ask Google Assistant for a list of commands: “OK, Google, What can you do?” iPhone owners can also install the Google app to use Assistant, but it’s not built in and it’s not the default personal assistant. 

Split-screen mode gives you two apps at the same time

Even though iPadOS supports using multiple apps at the same time, iOS 14 and the iPhone do not. Android users, however, have had split-screen apps since 2016 with the release of Android 7.0 Nougat.

Using two apps is helpful if you’re trying to look up a contact’s phone number to send to someone on Facebook Messenger, or if you need to reference information in a document when composing an email. It’s unclear why Apple hasn’t added this feature to the iPhone yet, but perhaps it has something to do with the size of the app windows on the iPhone’s display as compared with the larger iPad. 


Move icons around to arrange them, or delete them and only use the app drawer. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

The easiest way to use split-screen mode is to open the multitasking view and tap on the app’s icon at the top of its multitasking card — it’s the same icon you use to launch the app from your home screen. Select Split screen from the list of options, then select the second app you want to have open at the same time. (These steps might vary depending on which Android phone you use. For example, Samsung phones have their own version of the interface.)

You can adjust the size of each app by dragging the small handle between the two apps to expand or decrease how much space each app takes up.


Support at the OS-level for a stylus is a killer feature. 

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The stylus is mightier than an Apple Pencil 

Not every Android device supports a stylus, but Android owners at least have the option to buy a phone like the Galaxy Note 20, Galaxy S21 Ultra or even Motorola’s Moto G Stylus

Having built-in stylus support means you can write notes, create sketches and edit photos with precision. It’s a tool that many users like, and on Android, it’s definitely an option. With Samsung expanding its S Pen to more devices like the S21 Ultra, one has to assume other Android-makers will follow. Samsung has led the way for years on bringing new features to Android, often beating out Google. Either way, Android fans already have some worthy options if they want a stylus. 

Rumors have circulated for years that Apple would bring Apple Pencil Support to the iPhone, but we’ve yet to see it happen.

Customize your home screen just how you like it

Apple’s approach to the home screen is still locked to placing all installed apps in a rigid grid, although you can now add widgets to the home screen and use custom app icons to mix up the overall look. However, the home screen on Android devices don’t follow a grid layout, allowing you to place apps anywhere you’d like. Both platforms let you make folders containing groups of apps.

The benefit of Android’s approach is that you can customize the home screen by arranging app icons in any pattern of your choosing. 


The way your Android phone’s home screen looks is because of its launcher. But you’re not stuck with what comes preinstalled. 

Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET

Use launchers to fully customize your phone

Launchers are the epitome of Android customization. These apps let you completely change how you interact with the home screen, the app drawer and even the app icons on your phone. Using a launcher on your Android phone allows you to customize almost every aspect of how your phone looks and behaves, making your phone even more personal than it already is. 

Launchers like Nova Launcher, Microsoft’s Launcher, Apex Launcher and Action Launcher all add their own twists and features to your Android phone. For example, another popular Android launcher, Evie, emphasizes using a search bar to quickly find and open apps, or anything else on your Android phone for that matter. It’s minimalism at its finest. 

I recommend taking some time to research the various launchers, trying a couple of them and really customizing the look and feel of your phone. Just be forewarned: The deeper you dive into the world of launchers, the more time and energy you’re going to spend on tweaking your setup.

It’s hard to imagine a world where Apple ever lets something like this happen for the iPhone, although it appears it is loosening its grip on how much iPhone users can change the look of their home screen


The Wallpapers app is a must for any Android user. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Never get bored with automatically changing wallpapers

If taking the time to find and customize a launcher feels like a lot of work, there’s another way to make your Android phone constantly feel fresh and it’s yet another thing your iPhone friends can’t do — use Google’s Wallpapers app

The Wallpapers app refreshes the wallpaper on your home screen and lock screen daily, without you having to do a thing. 

There are several different categories of wallpaper styles to choose from. Pick your favorite and let the app take care of the rest. Personally, I like to use the geometric shapes category. The wallpapers are unique and colorful. 

Granted, the iPhone now has wallpapers you can pick from that change based on whether or not dark mode is activated, and if you take the time to find or build a Shortcut, you can automate changing your wallpaper on a schedule — but it’s not as easy to use as the Wallpapers app. 

If you’re ready to switch to Android, or are looking to get more from the Android phone you already own, check out our list of the best Android phones of 2021. If you’re new to Android, make sure to change these Android settings right away. Then after that, we have some helpful tips for using Android 11

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