Are you ready to delve into the exciting additions that both iOS and Android have graced us with this year?! I’m going to count down some of the seriously cool features that have made their debut. Now, keep in mind, these rankings are purely subjective, so feel free to check out the latest updates and discover what tickles your tech-savvy fancy!
The criteria for judging that I will be using are:
#1: how fun it is
#2: the usefulness of the new feature
(If you don’t agree with my ranking, shout us a holla and we can have the great OS update debate)
10. The hidden easter egg (Android)
What came first, the Taylor Swift easter egg, or OS?!
As ever in software development, someone always thinks it’s funny to add an easter egg to their platform. And it is. Thank you, Google for keeping up this long-standing tradition. This year’s edition means you can drive an arcade game-style rocket ship, it’s good for a few otherwise boring minutes. Don’t let your boss see! You can see it here.
This only comes in tenth because, although it’s fun, it has no practical utility.
9. Facetime comes to Apple TV (iOS)
One of the more horrifying updates (for people who don’t like video calling) coming to iOS 17 is that Facetime is now supported by Apple TV, using your phone as the camera. You can now relax in the knowledge that you’re on the big TV on someone’s wall, rather than just on their phone screen. How many people can see you? Who knows?! Isn’t this just great!
Jokes aside, this is a god send for people who use technology to enhance the lives of the less technologically literate. For instance, this would be great for people who live abroad and the only contact they have with elderly relatives is a Facetime call with assistance from a more tech-savvy relative.
This feature scores well for practical utility even if it is terrifying to think of myself on the big screen.
8. Swipe right to reply (iOS)
This has been a long time coming. Gone are the days that you have to long-press on a message to select “reply” from a cumbersome menu. On Apple devices, you now get the opportunity to swipe right on a message and it will allow you to reply in a thread, Brilliant! If that hadn’t already been around for years on other apps, I would be impressed.
This feature again scores highly on practical utility but isn’t “fun” or “cool”. Eighth place.
7. App pairing (Android)
A genuine innovation from Google comes in the form of app pairing, which is where the device can be running two different apps at the same time. One at the bottom of the screen, and one at the top. As phones are getting bigger and bigger, the screen size shouldn’t be an issue. What caught my attention is that Google are confident that Android 17 devices will have the processing power to simultaneously run two apps. This would signify an increase in processing power on the phone’s part, and an overhaul of background processing on the OS’s part.
Very cool to see a genuinely new feature at play, especially when it’s backed by such an overhaul in the phone’s hardware and software. However, I don’t see any practical use for this, unless you want to scroll TikTok as you trade NFTs. Seventh.
6. Facetime voicemail (iOS)
The most annoying thing is when my girlfriend never picks up when I Facetime. I only want to ask which brand of yoghurt she wants. Now, however, when she doesn’t pick up I can record a short video of what I would have said and she can get back to me about the yoghurt (hopefully before I’ve made it the whole way around Aldi).
This is a handy tag-along feature for Facetime and comes with a raft of voicemail improvements (more on that later), but is not that cool. Sixth place.
5. Customisable backgrounds (Android)
With the new Android version (14), they have made it possible for you to create a background from scratch. I’m not a creative person, I’m not artistic and I don’t possess any skill in UI or UX, so I’m excited to see what other people do with this, but I’m sticking with a picture of a Mark 1 Austin Healey (Frog Eye) Sprite as my background.
I think this has some utility, and is a good form of creative expression for those who will use it. A well-deserved fifth place.