Back on an iPhone.
And I'm not thrilled about it.
I have never been more conflicted to say, “I am back on an iPhone.” I feel ashamed. Like a digital failure. Like a technological refugee.
Last October I was fed up.1 When Apple unveiled its new iPhone 14 lineup without a small phone and with all indications it was ditching touch ID for good, I was crestfallen. I had an iPhone SE 2020 (which was really the iPhone 6, just with new innards). I had long warned Tim Cook that if he didn’t give us a smaller, upgraded, thoughtful and innnovative phone with touch ID, that I’d be gone. And I’d use my influence to bring millions with me.
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It was my Jerry Maguire moment.
No one came.
But I did my research and bought “one of the best small phones ever”2 - the ASUS Zenfone 9. It had a side touch ID button and was a bit smaller than Apple’s iPhone 14. Even if none came with me, I was going to trailblaze.
Soon thereafter, I was booed and mocked by family members, church members, friends and others. So this is what it feels like to be an Android user, I realized. I became a green bubble.
I found new friends in those I formerly ridiculed. They were ecstatic that I had gotten an Android. But the more I talked with them and hung out with them, I realized that it was extremely rare to find a former iPhone user among Android users. To be honest, hanging out with them felt like more of a support group than people who were excited and enthused by their phones. To them, their devices were just.. phones/cameras. They were tools. Their Pixels/Samsungs/LGs weren’t fun and enjoyable or an experience. They were just used. It felt so… sterile.
Some bright spots
And yet, I found some enjoyment in my ASUS. The Android could do everything the iPhone could. Some things were easier.3 Many things were a bit more convoluted. I wrote about my experience a month in.4 (I surprised myself by making it a month with an Android).
While the Android could do most everything equally well, there were some areas in which my ASUS stumbled. Its pictures couldn’t compare to even my old iPhone SE’s picture quality. There was a constant, baffling frustration over missing texts and phone calls from iPhone users.5
So what happened?
I made it three months with an Android.
The entire time, I was scouring the web for rumors and hints about whether Apple might release a newer iPhone - small, with touch ID. For a while, the future was bright. There were claims that a new model was coming in 2023, and it would be the body style of the iPhone XR. No mention was made of touch ID.
Then came a lot of consensus that Apple had canceled the SE line completely.6 That we shouldn’t expect anything in ‘23 or even ‘24. Ugh.
I began to wonder… what if Apple doesn’t make a small phone again? What would be the last great small iPhone that Apple made? What am I willing to sacrifice? Touch ID or small phone?
I was so conflicted.
I missed the Apple ecosystem. I couldn't Airdrop files with my Android. I had problems getting photo from Google Photos back onto my phone (I know it should be simple, but it’s not.) I just… missed the experience.
And I quietly slunk back into the iPhone community.
My answer was an iPhone 13 Mini. I found a refurbed one on BackMarket, and I snatched it up. It is the last and latest small iPhone. I sacrificed touch ID, but I had a small phone in the Apple universe again.
For a week or so, I went back and forth. It wasn’t as easy giving up the Android’s touch ID as I thought it would be. I was able to configure the iPhone Mini to only ask for my passcode after an hour of not using it (I refuse to use face ID), so while I don’t have touch ID, I don’t have to tap in a passcode every time to open my phone.
I slunk back into the iPhone world sheepishly. Some noticed immediately when their texts to me turned blue again.
I enjoyed messing with them by quickly inserting my SIM card back in the ASUS and texting them back from it (and turning green again).
But this is my “coming back” announcement. I’m not proud of myself for caving. Tim Cook didn’t listen. My Jerry Maguire moment failed. And so I’m back on the iPhone.
You can read about my reasons for my fed-up-ness at Why I ditched iPhones after 15 years for an Asus Zenfone 9.
I absolutely loved that the Android allows you to quit all your apps at once. With iPhones, you have to quit/swipe apps one at a time to clear them all.
If I had been in a group message with iPhone users prior to getting my ASUS, I would not get texts sent to that group on my ASUS. Even though it was my phone number in the old group message, any texts sent to that group would not be delivered to me. I found that to be the case across the board in every group message I had on the iPhone. I had to re-create all the groups on the Android before I could get text messages from that group.
Kuo: Apple No Longer Planning to Launch iPhone SE 4 Next Year, January 6, 2023