Beyond Apple-specific services like iMessage, having intuitive navigation gestures is certainly one of the features that makes the iPhone so hard to quit. Thanks to Android 10 and One UI 2, however, devices like the Samsung Galaxy S10 have caught up and now provide you with a less clunkier way of getting around, and one more reason to give the Google-based platform a try.
Up until Android 5.0 Lollipop, the actual text of incoming notifications would scroll by in your status bar. These ticker style alerts didn't pop on screen or interfere with what you were currently working on, but you could still read the message. They were replaced by the new "heads up" alerts, but you can still bring them back.
The biggest new feature in Android 10 is the system-wide dark mode. Both Samsung and Google phones have it, so third-party support is everywhere. The only problem is OnePlus forgot to include a way to quickly toggle dark mode on and off.
In older Android versions, you could flood your status bar with a wall of notification icons. But starting with Android 9, Google made it to where you can only see four icons by default, and it was mostly done to accommodate phones with notches. But Google's only notched phone is the Pixel 3 XL, so what if you have literally any other Pixel?
Pixels and other near-stock Android phones have the Google Feed baked into their home screen, but sadly, the default OnePlus Launcher doesn't. Even more disappointing is the fact that the OnePlus Launcher actually has the Google Feed code built into it, but it's not activated. Let's change that.
One of the Pixel 4's coolest features is a new voice recording app that instantly transcribes speech into text so you can easily search for it later. This is currently a Pixel exclusive, but we're here to present it to you on a silver platter.
The Galaxy Note 10+ is the pinnacle of Android hardware. You won't find many phones with a better combination of specs and design. But you may not love the software. Even with One UI on board, some users still want a more "stock" feel.
XDA recently reported on a leaked version of the upcoming Pixel 4's camera app. By testing the app, they were able to find upcoming Pixel 4 features like a new Night Sight mode that can photograph stars. Well that leaked version has leaked itself, so now you can install it on your own Pixel phone.
In the pursuit of large displays with thinner bezels, Samsung has sacrificed some components. While the loss of the headphone jack gets all the attention, there are other victims — namely, the notification LED.
Several popular custom ROMs and root mods let you double tap the status bar at the top of your screen to put the phone to sleep. It pairs perfectly with the double tap to wake gesture you'll find on pretty much any Android phone. But if you're not rooted, you'll be glad to know you can finally do this by installing a simple app.
LineageOS is great and all, but custom ROMs were at their peak when CyanogenMod reigned supreme. It had all sorts of innovative features that have since been copied by Google and Samsung and the like. But one thing that still hasn't been adopted into stock Android or One UI is CM13's easy way to adjust screen brightness.
If you have an Android device that Netflix does not support, you can check the Play Store and it simply won't be there. But just because you're unable to download it through official means doesn't mean you have to live without Netflix since there's a way you can sideload it manually.
Despite Android's flexibility in regards to customization, the options available in stock Android are pretty barebones. It is only with the help of third-party apps that we can entirely transform sections of the UI to our liking. And thanks to a new app, we can modify another part of the OS, the status bar.
Some of the Pixel 3's coolest features are software related, which means you can get many of them on non-Pixel devices. "Flip to Shhh" is a perfect example of this. It lets you quickly put your phone into do not disturb mode by placing it face down, and this can be replicated on other Android phones with the help of a simple app.
The Pixel is the phone to beat when it comes to cameras, and it's largely due to software. While its hardware is solid, Google's machine learning prowess and general coding wizardry are the biggest reasons the Pixel is so good with taking photos and recording video. What this means is that if you can get the Pixel's camera software, you can replicate the Pixel camera experience on other phones.
While the Galaxy S10 is a beautiful phone, its software isn't for everyone. One UI makes huge strides toward undoing the mess known as TouchWiz, but for purists, it's still not quite on par with stock Android. Fortunately, the beauty of Android is you can change this with a few apps.
Samsung Experience isn't for everyone. While it's a far cry from the TouchWiz days, it is still too heavy of a skin for Android purists. But you shouldn't let that dissuade you from a powerful device that checks nearly all other boxes — there are ways to make the Galaxy Note 9's software look and feel almost exactly like stock.
Unless you own an Exynos model, there won't be much development on the custom ROM front for the Galaxy S9. But that doesn't mean you have to put up with all of the UI quirks from Samsung Experience (née TouchWiz). With a little work, you can give your S9 a stock Android makeover, even without root.
Google just released Android 9.0 Pie, but the Android community is already working its magic. Developer Quinny899 quickly ported the updated Pixel Launcher from the new build, so you can try it out on other phones right now.
Samsung's Galaxy S9 was recently announced with features like AR Emoji and Dual Aperture, but great functionality lives underneath them — such as the ability to have your home screen auto-rotate to landscape mode. It's a nice feature, but with a little work, you can already do this on any Android phone.