I have not heard anything that suggests Android phones work less than iPhones. That's certainly not been my experience, anyway. I've been using Android phones for 10 years now and they've always worked just fine. And I can sideload things, which I still do, and wouldn't want to give up.
> Not letting you side load is a feature.
I absolutely do not see it that way.
> > Not letting you side load is a feature.
> I absolutely do not see it that way.
This is the key. Not having this option frees me from having to worry about the whole issue which is liberating. Either it's in the AppStore or it's not and I move on. With Android I spent days/weeks following whispers/rumors of such an app and trying different alternatives, rooting, etc.
It depends on how much patience and control you want. I had time for that years ago, but not now. iPhone gives you a lot less customization and control, but I spend a lot less time managing the phone and one-off issues, weird needs-fixing cases, phone-vendor specific things.
Not trying to sell you on iPhone, just saying I thought the same as you, but understand both sides of it now.
Obviously I'm being facetious, but only to illustrate that there of course is a balance between features and mind liberating. There's nothing inherent to the device, or removing functionality that liberates you. You can do that regardless of device.
I like the app store model of having a 3rd party do quality control. I just want the option to select the 3rd party which is best aligned with my interests. Google and Apple do not have my best interests in mind.