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15 iOS 9 Features Apple Borrowed from Android



This week the highly anticipated update to iOS 9 for iPhone and iPad owners finally arrived after being unveiled back in June. Now that it’s finally here, millions of iPhone owners will be getting tons of new features, ones that have been available on Android smartphones and tablets for years.

Yes, everyone steals from everyone these days. Or “borrows” features from one platform to another. Apple does it, Android manufacturers and Google do it, and same goes for Windows. There’s nothing wrong with this in my eyes, as it pushes boundaries and stirs innovation, which in the end benefits all consumers across the board.

Read: iOS 9 Problems: 5 Things You Need to Know

That being said, today we want to share a few details about 15 brand new iOS 9 features that Apple has borrowed from Android. Whether that be Android manufacturers like HTC or Samsung, or right from Google’s OS. No, this isn’t a flame piece, and again everyone does it, but these are just a few of many signs that Apple is no longer leading, but playing catch up. Just like they had to “catch up” and change tune completely be announcing bigger iPhones. Read on to see 15 fancy new iOS 9 features Android owners have enjoyed for quite some time.


We saw most of these features back in June when iOS 9 made its initial debut, and many users have been enjoying the beta for quite some time. This week its finally here, and downloads have been running non-stop as users rush to get the latest software. Then, during the iPhone and iPad Pro event a few more appeared that had Android users feeling a little déjà vu.

With that all said, lets get started by showing owners some of Apple’s new features in iOS 9, all features we’ve seen before on multiple Android devices. We’ll start with a few of the big features revealed last week, then move on to some of the others that debuted back in June.

Apple Pencil

During the iPhone 6s and iPad Pro announcement Apple unveiled something that Steve Jobs said they’d never offer, a stylus. It’s called the Apple Pencil, and has tons of sensors to detect angle, pressure, and more to create the best writing experience on a screen, ever. It’s actually a neat little gadget, but something we’ve seen on Android for years and years.


Everything from the Galaxy Note lineup, to even Samsung’s popular Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy Note 12 tablet lineup. The only difference, is the Samsung options have a slot to keep the stylus (S-Pen) inside the tablet, for safe keeping, rather than it being a loose item that can easily be lost. It’s a nice addition that we can’t wait to play with, but it’s nothing new to those on Android.

Live Photos

One thing that Apple was very proud about during the iPhone announcement last week was a revolutionary new way to enjoy photos like never before. It’s called Live Photos, and is essentially a GIF that plays like a very short video. Capturing a few moments before and after the photo. Then users can long-press the photo to play it back and enjoy the full experience of that photo.


Apple talked aobut this plenty on stage, talked about how amazing it is, and they think users will really love it. However, the HTC One M7 debuted something very similar way back in 2013, not to mention a host of other HTC Zoe features.

Even the Samsung Galaxy S5 and S6 had something similar, where users could capture live photos that were short GIFs 1-3 seconds long. Giving those who are viewing it more than just a picture. It’s nice, we love it, but we’ve seen it before. One benefit though, is each photo is instantly a “Live Photo” which will take up more space. On Android devices this was an option for select photos, not everything you capture.

Siri Reminders, Search, Proactive Assistant & More

In iOS 9 Siri is really smart, and very fast. Apple states it is 40% faster and 40% more accurate. Users will be able to tell Siri to remind them about something, and it will instantly make a calendar entry, alarm, or other reminders. Then, using the new Proactive feature, Siri will see a calendar entry and remind users about them. Being proactive and telling you to leave for the Airport early because of traffic, to even giving you information based on location.


Google Search, and more importantly Google Now, is extremely powerful and lets you do all of this. Everything from turning on the flashlight or WiFi, setting an alarm, putting a note in your calendar and more. Not to mention searching for anything and everything.

Google Now is one of the best aspects of Android, and it’s about to be more powerful with Google Now on Tap with Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

Siri Proactive Assistant looks to do some pretty neat things, but it’s hardly new for anyone coming from or using Android. One big benefit of Siri Proactive is that it’s completely anonymous and doesn’t track the user, it isn’t linked to other devices or your Apple ID, and doesn’t invade your privacy. With Google Now you have to opt in, and even give Google access to your location and entire Gmail account to let it work to the fullest.

Split Screen & Multi-tasking

With iOS 9 Apple finally announced a highly anticipated feature users have been asking about forever, and something that has been rumored for months. That being split screen view, or running two apps simultaneously. This will be very handy on the iPad Pro.

iPad two apps

With this users will be able to have two apps open at the same time, on the same screen. Essentially being able to browse iTunes while reading an email or browsing the web, or watch Netflix while shopping online. This is only available on the iPad Air 2 and Pro.

Read: How to Use Two Apps at the Same Time on the LG G4

This is an excellent feature that users have been enjoying on Android for more than a few years. Devices like the Galaxy S6, Galaxy Note 3, LG G3, LG G4 as detailed above and multiple tablets. With some Samsung Galaxy Tablets you can even have four windows open at once.

G4 Dual Window-L

iOS 9 also has an improved multitasking system that makes it easier than ever to multitask on iOS. Similar to Android a large card-style UI will show you running apps, and you can easily switch between them. One nice thing is with “Slide Over” a swipe from the left edge will let iOS owners open a recent app on the screen and keep the current app open at the same time, which we mentioned above. Sadly not all iOS 9 devices will be able to enjoy this feature.

Security & Passcode

Another small change in iOS 9 is the security for the lockscreen and passcode (pin) users need to unlock an iPhone. Before this was limited simply to four digits, but with iOS 9 users can enter up to six. This makes it more secure, and has been a request for a long time.


With Android we have a pattern, pin that can be much longer than 4-6 digits, passwords, fingerprints (like TouchID) and much more. Again, nothing major here, but just one more small change that’s worth noting.

Battery Widget

Widgets are nothing new on Android, but they’re somewhat new to iPhone owners. Then, with iOS 9 users will now see a brand new Battery Widget in the notification center that will show remaining battery life for the iPhone, and even connected devices like the Apple Watch.

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 11.31.50 AM

This is a nice new treat for iPhone owners, and if you’re a previous Android owner that loved seeing a percentage, you can now add this to the Notification center on iOS 9. It’s a nice touch. Android has enjoyed this in the notification bar, the pulldown bar, by 3rd party apps, and right on actual homescreens for years with regular widgets.

Search in Settings

Another feature Apple failed to mention during any announcements is search in settings. As iOS 9 gets smarter and more powerful, more options are added to the settings menu.


Rather than fumble around through all of them, there’s now an easy search button to find exactly which setting you’re looking for. That includes heading into settings > battery > to see what app is using the most juice, and for how long. Something Android has enjoyed for quite some time.

iOS Notes

Similar to Google Keep, Evernote and many other note-taking apps, with iOS 9 the Apple Notes app will let you take down notes, make a note with your voice using Siri, or even snap a photo (like of a recipe) and save it to the Notes app. Basically access your camera from the Notes app.

Photo Credit: CNET

The Notes app will be more powerful and feature-rich than ever before, but all of this has been available from third party apps on both Android and iOS, as well as Google’s own Android apps for years. While we’re talking about notes, or a recipe for that matter, with iOS 9 when you’re viewing a recipe iOS will instantly let you open a recipe right inside of a cooking app to help you make the perfect meal. Essentially letting you choose what app a link uses.

Keyboard Shortcuts

The Quicktype keyboard in iOS is about to get more powerful too. They’ve announced a new shortcut bar with tools to instantly add photos or files to apps, messages, emails and more all right from the keyboard. Taking a photo, copying text and more is all right at the top.


Instantly taking a photo, adding one from your gallery, or inserting a file or document on Android has been available for a long, long time. Whether this be the stock keyboard, manufacturer keyboards, or third party keyboards like SwiftKey, Swype, and more. Not to mention in text messaging applications. This makes using iOS easier, but again is another feature borrowed right from Android and its OEM’s or app developers.

Upper and Lowercase Keyboard

We’ve all been there on an iPhone. You make a mistake while typing and hit backspace, then the “smart” operating system instantly capitolizes the next letter, making users have to switch things up and fix it yet again. The keyboard always showed all letters in full capslock. It was very frustrating, but is finally a thing of the past.


With iOS 9 the keyboard will have a shift key. Yes, this has been missing in iOS for years and years, which blows my mind. Being able to know when you’re writing uppercase or lower, just makes sense. Another thing every Android keyboard has offered since as long as I can remember.

Apple Maps

Forget about all the problems with Apple Maps last year, with iOS 9 Apple Maps is better than ever before. They’ve integrated tons of features that 3rd party apps use. Borrowing features from Nokia HERE maps, Google Maps, and many more.


With iOS 9 that’s rolling out as of yesterday, Apple Maps will let users get directions for public transportation like buses, subways, and more. It will even find nearby restaurants, bars, shops, and activities, not to mention places that accept Apple Pay. That’s all pretty nice.


Google Maps has been finding nearby places for quite some time, offers more transit information that anyone would ever need, integrates Google reviews, Yelp review and more to give you as much information as possible in a matter of seconds. In fact, Google added transit directions and times way back in 2011.

There are hundreds of changes coming for iPhone and iPad users with iOS 9, and here we detailed 35 features users will love. Many of them are great additions to the entire Apple ecosystem, but a vast majority have been available from Microsoft, or on Android for years and years.

Read: iOS 9 vs iOS 8: What’s New

News App

Apple’s new “News” app will find news from sponsors and contributors, as well as around the web. Similar to Flipboard, which comes pre-installed on all Samsung devices, or like HTC Blinkfeed, but not nearly as powerful. Flipboard has been around forever, even on iOS, and Blinkfeed was introduced with the original HTC One back in 2013.


With iOS 9 Apple is essentially cutting out a lot of app developers and integrating features right into its own core apps as we’ve seen from many of the features or apps in this list. The News app will deliver tons of news content curated from your own personal preferences, and others, all in one place.


Everyone that has been using the iOS 9 beta are very familiar with Spotlight search, and if not, you’ll love it. This is one of the best changes, aside from 3D Touch. Spotlight will suggest recently used contacts, apps, or even places you may be interested in, before you even go to do it. If you’ve recently called someone, their contact information will be in Spotlight. Along with locations you frequent, or apps you use often.

Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 3.05.34 PM

This is extremely useful, and something millions of iOS 9 owners will absolutely love. However, Google Now has been suggesting frequent places for over two years, along with directions to those places, and even how long it will take to get there.

Popular 3rd party apps like Textra will show Android users their most often used contacts and make them easy to access to send a message, or star as a favorite. And in Android 6.0 Marshmallow the top of the application tray will show the most recently opened apps too. Apple has added a lot of nice features to Spotlight, so check it out and get familiar with all the changes.

Low-power Mode

A big issue with all smartphones is battery life, and Apple’s finally added something we’ve had on Android for at least 2-3 years. Low-power or battery-saver mode. This puts the iPhone into a low-power state, preserving the last 10-20% of battery for things owners really need. The basics like making calls or sending texts.


With low-power mode Apple promises another 3-4 hours of battery life out of iPhone’s running on iOS 9. Of course you won’t be able to use all the “smart” features of the device, as it puts everything into a low power state. This is available on Android devices from Samsung, HTC, LG, Motorola, Google and many more.


In fact, back in February of 2014 Samsung announced a similar feature called Ultra Low-Power mode, which does everything Apple’s new option does, but extends battery by more than a few hours by turning off colors, and using black and white only.


Last but absolutely not least is a feature that I use far less than I should, and something everyone is familiar with from TV’s for over a decade. It’s called picture-in-picture, and Samsung’s offered it for years. Again, this isn’t stock Android, but on millions of Android devices. With this new iOS 9 feature you can minimize and watch video while doing something else at the same time.


Above is a Galaxy S6 playing a video while browsing the web at the same time. In fact, this feature was available with the Galaxy S3 some years ago. With Samsung and other Android manufacturers you can resize the video in seconds, or tap and go back to fullscreen instantly. It’s a wonderful feature that those who just updated to iOS 9 should try right away.

Final Thoughts

iOS 9 is pretty awesome, but so is Android. They each have tons of pros, and loads of cons. In the end, they all borrow or “steal” from eachother. Apple takes a lot of features from Android and its manufacturers, but Android does the same. A lot of Samsung’s stuff in the early days came right from the iPhone, and we all know how that ended.

On the flipside, Android 6.0 Marshmallow borrowed a few features from iOS as well. As we said at the beginning, everyone does it. It makes each operating system better, competition fierce, and pushes every side of the isle to continue innovating and improving. This benefits everyone. And don’t worry, I’m sure the Samsung Galaxy S7 will have some sort of 3D Touch like feature similar to the iPhone 6s, it’s only a matter of time.

iOS 9 is avaialble right now for millions of Apple users. Give it a try, enjoy all it has to offer, and check out our iOS 9 Portal for everything you need to know.



  1. Cliffacampbell

    09/20/2015 at 10:15 am

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  2. Mike

    09/22/2015 at 4:52 pm

    I agree with you in principle that companies borrowing ideas from each other should stir innovation. UI tweaks, software features, themes, and look and feel should not be patent-able. I have a big problem however with Apple suing companies like Samsung & HTC over patents and trademark infringement. Samsung is an innovative company, they try new things like dual-SIM phones, Galaxy Edge, Galaxy Note, etc. Apple sued them for $1B claiming they invented black rectangles and having a menu glow when you scroll to the end. Now at the same time apple rips off features like split-screen apps, pull down notifications, widgets, etc. It’s complete hypocrisy and shouldn’t be allowed. IMO if apple wants to keep ripping off android features they need to drop the lawsuits start sharing innovation rather than stifling it.

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