Android is better suited for notifications.
Notifications in Android 11 are now grouped into three categories: conversation, notification and silent. Separate conversations such as WhatsApp, Messenger, text, direct mail, etc. from the rest, putting the most important content in the front center.
But that’s not the best part of Android 11’s notification update. Google has also created new ways to interact with friends and family, so you no longer have to hunt or scour yourself to get back to the conversation you just had when your friends text you. Chat balloons are Android’s new way to make conversations more fluid.
Instead of moving the conversation notification to the top of the screen and hiding it in the notification bar, Android overlays the screen with a small balloon with a photo of a friend. You’ll see your friend’s notification text in a balloon, and you can tap to expand or reply to the conversation. But conveniently, it doesn’t quit the app you’re currently using, so you can still watch the water skiing squirrel’s YouTube video without interruption.
This adds to all the other notification features Android has already provided. You can pause notifications that you want to see later, but you can’t receive right now. You can control how the app catches bugs by pressing and holding the notification. You can even get “silent” notifications that you can only see when you slide the notification window down.
That is, a lot of customizations that can get complicated very quickly. There is an appeal to the iPhone’s “on” or “off” for notifications (and of course on Android too).
However, notifications are the main way many people interact with their phones. News notifications, text messages, Instagram photos of friends, TikTok videos, YouTube subscriptions… all of this gets in the way of our day and can get in the way if not properly managed.
You might think you don’t need to see CNN alerts right away (and JK of course does). Alternatively, you can choose to silence your Facebook notifications to catch up. But if you want your phone to buzz whenever your mom forwards an email from a Mahjong group… Android will let you know that.
Most annoyingly, iPhone owners have to swipe and then tap to dismiss individual notifications (you can’t swipe like on Android). And this week, the obvious benefits of Android have improved even further. If you close notifications too quickly, Android has developed a notification history setting so you can check all the notifications your phone has received.