iOS vs. Android as a cognitive prosthetic

Apple vs. Android

At the time of this writing, there are two hugely popular brands of smart devices: Apple (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) and Android (phones, tablets). A frequent question that comes up is which type of device is better for those with cognitive impairments. I have to be honest; I have a definite preference. That’s not to say I won’t change my mind at some point in the future (it has certainly happened before). But for now, I believe the Apple iOS devices are the best fit for those living with cognitive challenges, as well as for those who are involved in training individuals to use the devices as cognitive prosthetics.

Apple and Android phone

Let me be clear: both Apple and Android have excellent devices. In fact, they share many common features and apps, such as the Internet, Bluetooth, Calendar, Contacts, Maps, Clocks, etc. Each of these features can significantly help an individual with issues regarding memory, organization, etc. Users of each type of device are very dedicated to their device type. I’m not trying to take away any loyalty you might have to your device; rather, my intent is to share one of the primary reasons I recommend Apple devices at this time.

Why Apple?

Consistency in the user interface (UI), or the way the user interacts with the device, is the primary reason I recommend Apple iOS devices. The consistency of the UI is extremely important for those living with brain injury or other cognitive issues. The iOS operating system is the same across devices (i.e., iPhone, iPad) and across wireless companies. For instance, once an individual learns to use an iPhone, she can use an iPad. Apple has been pretty consistent in the way a user interacts across devices from one version of the iOS operating system to the next. If a person has an iOS device and then upgrades, the learning curve is small to non-existent because the devices look and act the same.

iPhone with apps

In contrast, there are a wide variety of Android devices available from a number of manufacturers and wireless companies. Each Android device is slightly different. For instance, the physical buttons vary from phone to phone. The opening screen typically looks different from device to device and from service provider to service provider. What many perceive as an advantage (the variety and flexibility of Android devices) can actually be a disadvantage for the brain injury community or others with memory or other cognitive issues.

You will decide for yourself whether you prefer Apple iOS or Android devices. I hope this article gives you pause before you decide which new phone or tablet to purchase. Think about what you need and how your new device can serve as a cognitive prosthetic.