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For some reason I still strongly prefer the look and feel of Android over iOS, but at this point my next phone will be an iPhone.

Why? Because Google recently stepped up its notification spam in their official apps. They're using a mechanism that's supposed to exist to notify me of things _I_ want/need to know about urgently instead to advertise products and services to me that I have no interest in.

It's tedious to track down all the places these are coming from and disable them. And I shouldn't have to. I paid a premium for a high-end flagship Google phone. As a phone user, I have to give the vendor power to do all kinds of things on my behalf and to me — in this case, the power to pull my focus, or even wake me up in the middle of the night. As a phone user, my bare minimum expectation is that this power will be respected. And yet Google has chosen to use this focus-pulling notification mechanism to serve me ads.

Google does not respect even their paying users. It feels like somewhere deep in their corporate culture, their users barely even exist to them. I'm just a sub-pixel blip on a request rate dashboard, and if they can temporarily increase my "engagement" by slapping me in the face, then a slap in the face it is.

> I paid a premium for a high-end flagship Google phone

Unfortunately it seems paying a premium isn't enough to get any respect from manufacturers these days. Just look at Samsung and LG TVs, you can pay thousands for a high-end model and still have to set up PiHole to avoid being shown ads in the menus.

I get ads in German public broadcasting for which I am (effectively) paying a tax. I get ads in "premium" streaming services which I directly pay (!) for.

Fuck everything about this.

This absolutely infuriated me. I bought a very expensive new TV a year ago. Then last summer it suddenly started showing ads in the menu. I was planning to return the TV to the store and getting my money back but it would probably just be a headache inducing hassle. Now I pi-holed my entire network.

This is why I use an AppleTV, and don't give my TV the wifi password.

This is my next step. I don't current have any 4K/HDR devices, so the built-in apps do actually have some benefit to me. As soon as I pick up a compatible streaming device, I'll be factory resetting the TV and setting it back up without ever connecting it to the network.

This is what I do and it works well. Once or twice a year I’ll update the tv firmware via usb

I plugged another device into my TV and use that for media streaming. I’ve never connected my TV to my network and haven’t had any issue

I ended up disconnecting my samsung tvs from the network for this issue. funny enough i just recently noticed one of my higher end samsungs has started broadcasting a bluetooth connection. i’m sure this wasn’t there before i disconnected it

Just a heads up: Apple in their guidelines tell developers not to do that, and yet they do send some notifications advertising their products and/or services sometimes (recently for Apple TV+). They also do not police developers' notifications, so some developers abuse it. Just an example: I love Slopes and its lone developer deserves all the praise, and yet a week ago I've received an unwarranted ad for the paid subscription disguised as a notification... Not cool.

Hi, developer of Slopes here. Wait, what!? I do not use push for marketing (I hardly have a working push server). I haven't ever sent out any push notification for any reason (the recording reminders are local notifications, not server-side ones).

I do have a little in-app banner at the top of the logbook screen for messaging like prompting to create an account, or upselling premium, or other things. It has grey background, but its buttons are blue and it has a red dot on it so it doesn't look to clone the appearance of a system notification perfectly or anything (it isn't even pinned to the top of the screen or anything, where notifications come from). Maybe you thought it was a notification? But it can only occur in-app, on one screen, and is in no way a violation of Apple's ToS.

Edit: Screenshot of the in-app banner to aid discussion: https://www.dropbox.com/s/i3ib5pbfg5eid51/Screen%20Shot%2020...

Edit 2: The banner used to be all blue, which looked even less like a system notification, but I was worried it was too distracting from users' content so this season I opted for a grey background to help it blend in more.


Sorry for the kerfuffle, I mean no harm to you, your reputation & your app. I wish I had screenshotted that. I remember almost reaching out to you on Twitter about it, but thought "hey it's the first one I'll let it slide". I vaguely remember it about the premium subscription, which I found odd. I was not pissed, just surprised. Was it push or local notification? I can't say if I can accurately tell them apart, in my opinion a notification is a notification. It was definitely not in-app as unfortunately I won't get to ride this season so I haven't opened the app in a year :( It was around Christmas or New Year IIRC

Also, I used Slopes as an example because it's the most recent one but frankly it's far from the egregious stuff others pull, especially Apple and the few other developers mentioned in this thread.

No worries, if I was a bad actor you'd be doing the right thing, and as many have already pointed out more often than not it is a bad actor. It's tough (trying to be) of the good guys not abusing the system chasing revenue at all costs, no worries.

I don't use local push notifications for advertising, either. I use them for A) location-based recording reminders created by users and B) notifications when a recording from the Watch is synced to your phone and ready to view, since that can take a minute or so if you're off wifi.

I remember one person reaching out shortly after the iOS 13 launch that I trigged the "Slopes has been using your location in the background" notification when I wasn't recording, which was an error on my side and I fixed that right away.

I did have an email or two go out around Christmas for a giveaway, so I certainly had some email marketing in play then. Maybe Slopes appeared in a notification from your mail client? But Slopes itself did not trigger any notification, push or local, for that campaign.

You can report it to Apple that the app is abusing notifications and give them a screenshot and they will action it. Before that, you can probably try reaching out to the developer with an email and an app review though.

Sadly the developer will play dumb and Apple will do nothing about it. Seen that, been there, nothing has changed ever. The only recourse is to disable notifications for that particular app.

I have emailed a developer in the past and they apologized and as far as I remember, I haven't had that issue since then. So I think it depends upon each developer.

For small apps it is possible I guess. Problem is that many large companies use this practice. I've tried to reason with The Fork and the French rail company to no avail for example. They know they don't risk anything by violating this rule and Apple has no high ground as they violate this same rule themselves.

That's fair. The one I emailed was a solo developer I believe. I think if enough people make noise about it (make a post on such apps abusing the system on /r/apple) and then send it to Apple, they will take action.

Apple is not allowing notifications in Safari browser iOS. Maybe For UX (they say) or differentiation for native apps (their P&L sheet says)

- Happy iOS user and web entrepreneur.

True! I'm glad too they decided not to implement web notifications, and keep to their word about it.

IMO the only way those notifications should be allowed to even be prompted for is after pinning a site to your home screen.

I’m not sure if iOS does this for any other permissions, but it would be natural to allow additional prompts for access to APIs that are otherwise banned - based on if the web app is pined / “installed”.

> I love Slopes and its lone developer deserves all the praise, and yet a week ago I've received an unwarranted ad for the paid subscription disguised as a notification... Not cool.

You just need to notify Apple that a particular App in the store violates their ToS.

I've done this before, and in a matter of a few days, the App is removed from the store, and the other apps of that dev are scanned for ToS violations. Then all other apps of those devs are removed from the store, and then the dev is banned from the store. If the dev wants to regain anything back, then they will have to go through a very expensive multi-month long process to achieve that.

Apple does not mess around, so I would reach to the dev of an App you like and use personally first, because the moment you notify Apple it will rain Hellfire.

I do not wish that upon any developer, especially small indie shops. So I'd probably do as you suggest.

However, I would also very much like Apple to lead by example and stop spamming its paying customers (anyone that bought an iOS or Mac product) with marketing notifications...

I'm really hoping Apple keeps a log of pushes, because they'll happily be able to tell you that the only pushes I send with Slopes are silent content-available notification for sync engine stuff. I have never sent any user-visible notification, and you're likely mistaking an in-app call-to-action as a push notification.

Apps that use push for marketing deserve hellfire, even if they are little indie shops. Being indie is no excuse for abusing things like push. We have to be scrappy, but we can do so without being spammy.

Apple should not have that kind of power, though. They have been wrong before.

Instead, the scrutiny and investigations should be public so that the developer can defend themselves.

> Apple should not have that kind of power, though.

Oh, but I’m happy they do

Also, notifications go via apple’s servers, you can’t really force them to deliver everybody’s notifications for free and without any discretion

Theses marketplaces require transparency, accountability, right to appeal, adjudicators, and so forth.

In other words, the rule of law and a fair impartial court system.

More details on that example of Apple breaking their own guidelines:


Especially with the last two versions of iOS, Apple has made it easy to turn off and change the notification types when you get a notification from an app. Almost all of my notifications are silent on my phone.

Yep, notification ads are forbidden in Apple. I am sure that there are some bad apples but overall the notifications are about stuff happening, not stuff that someone wants to sell me.

I keep hearing that iOS should catch up with Android notifications, that Apple is so far behind but when I look at an Android phone it just feels overwhelming. I literally have better things to do than studying the information and action options in the notifications.

Notifications should be treated as an extremely premium attention grab. I like Apple's way of doing it much, much better than Android and I feel unease when I think about someone in Apple, hears the Android-like notifications and thinks it's a good idea.

I haven't noticed more notification spam in Google apps, but what I have noticed is the way better notification management in recent years.

I can long press on notifications and directly block it forever or finely tune the App sending it what it is allowed to send etc.

Last time I used an iPhone I still had to double swipe to even dismiss a notification, which is super annoying because most are probably spam.

If Notifications on iOS were as good as on Android I would instantly switch.

>* I can long press on notifications and directly block it forever or finely tune the App sending it what it is allowed to send etc.*

Apple improved that on iOS, see the screenshots here: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201925

Also, I just aggressively remove apps that try to show spam notifications.

On ios every app has to ask permission before the first notification, so you will not get the spammy ones in the first place.

I agree with your point that android is making management much easier though.

But apps request permission to do functionality-related things and then spam you. Grab, a ride-hailing app I used in SE Asia, was terrible for this.

On iOS 12 and above apps can post provisional notifications without consent: https://developer.apple.com/documentation/usernotifications/...

They can, but I’ve literally never seen this used in practice as an iOS dev that is regularly trying out all the latest apps.

These notifications go straight into Notification Center, which means if you never swipe down to look at notifications, you’ll never even see them (They don’t show a banner, or even on the lock screen.) That limits their value to the marketing people looking to juice their engagement numbers with spam push notifications.

iOS 12 and 13 improved notifications on the iPhone - you can now do the same thing (Swipe -> Manage and you can either turn off notifications for the app, or have them only show in Notification Center and not as a banner.)

And a partial swipe brings up the three notification options, a full swipe dismisses it.

I've recently switched from Android to iOS after a long time praising Android as the holy grail, for the exact same reasons mentioned by you and in this thread. It is an absolute delight to use and I couldn't be happier.

I use Lineage OS + microg with no Google apps on a compatible phone and I experience zero Google. Else, I seem to be able to enjoy Android to its fullest, using the Aurora app store.

Lineage OS might be a viable alternative for people who prefer Android but disdain Google.

This is great for technical people but it’s easy to forget most people have no ability to achieve what you describe by themselves.

I'm doing something similar on my Pixel 2.

In the end I have very few apps that send personal data to ad companies (I've blocked as many ad and tracker networks as I could), and I've prevented most apps from showing me notifications unless I really want them.

You'd be surprised how much battery you save with all those things disabled.

Battery was my biggest surprise. WiFi is off when screen is off and I get two days out of a charge on an old S7.

Yup, searched for this comment, doing the same thing on my Mi A3. Besides on Android you can just set up Blokada, its dead simple and resolves all the ADS, operating system and others...

I had no idea about microg. That's very useful.

> Google recently stepped up its notification spam in their official apps

Really? Which ones? I have a pixel 2 and haven't experienced this. I have the Assistant turned off - could that be why?

> I paid a premium for a high-end flagship Google phone.

This is surprising to me. All the messaging from the phone companies makes it seem like they are essentially giving them away.

I'm not a fan of overdone notifications either. If it helps in the short term, long-pressing on a notification should give you easy access to the ability to disable it.

I think it was android 9 that added the ability to do this. Swipe the notification > settings wheel > disable notifications for that app (or you can just disable specific types of notifications if there's still things you want to see).

It got easier again with android 10 with the options available directly from the notification itself (after a swipe).

I like lots of things about Apple software, but feel a lot less respected than with Google's.

While the price you pay with Google is annoyances through ads, the price you pay for Apple (besides the hardware being 3x as expensive as comparable Android hardware) is just not being able to do things. You can't side load apps without some people with years of experience putting all of their time and energy into breaking the software! I can't make a computer I own actually run the programs I want!

Add to that a complete lack of choice. Their hardware is admittedly quite good in many regards, but I'd like to charge using a normal connector [USB-C] since I don't want to carry another set of cables or adapters for the oh so special Apple, and retain the ability to play music through a damn cable without needing another expensive, flimsy and not-on-me-when-i-need-it adapter. Oh, they're absolutely hostile against repair.

I could probably go on, but you might get the point. That's peak disrespect to me, so I'll despise them for that and not buy an Apple device in the foreseeable future, even though I like many aspects about them. Oh, the ecosystem lock-in and the absolute unfair promotion of their own, inferior services. Anyway.

I understand what you're saying, but at least for me it's not so bad.

I started using Android from the G1, and was a massive fun of customising my phone with custom ROMS, etc. I eventually switched to iPhone and whilst I have jailbroken my phone before, I reverted it when I realised I didn't have much reason to need a jailbreak on my phone. I would still love the ability to sideload, but if that's my tradeoff for not using Google I'll take it.

Carrying a cable has never personally been a problem for me but again, it depends on a few factors (most of my company uses Macs, with cables required for the keyboard and mouse so there's always one laying around).

I personally use an iPod Video for music, as I prefer to either download my music from Bandcamp or buy and rip CDs. I find it a much nicer experience. I do carry the dongle around in my backpack on the rare occasion I need it, but my headphones are bluetooth (although I really only use the 35mm jack).

Repairability is not an issue at all, as far as I'm concerned. I've replaced personally the screen, charging port and battery and it probably took all of an hour to do. Buying the parts was easy and quite cheap, and fitting was a breeze thanks for iFixit.

Also, you're only locked in if you choose to me. The only things I have synced to iCloud are my contacts (also backed up via CalDav to my email provider) and Photos (backed up on my home network). Admittedly I'd have to buy apps again if I moved to a new platform, but that's the case with Android too.

How do you backup your photos to your home network? Been wanting to do this for ages!

Using the iCloud Windows app. It syncs folders to a drive you choose. That drive gets backed up with Backblaze.

I also have photo syncing turned on for OneDrive and Google Photos.

An app called PhotoSync is fantastic - can backup to cloud services, WebDAV, SMB and others. They recently introduced auto backup when charging.

The app has really positive reviews...

Lightning cables are more popular than USB-C cables at this point. If I'm at a party or something usually someone has an iPhone cable, USB-C, not so much.

To be honest with an iPhone there's not much reason to want to sideload anything. Sideloading on Android is dodgy enough with dodgy APKs. Who knows what they're doing in the background? At least with the App Store (and Play Store for that matter) being a walled garden, for both it's positives and negatives, you know an app has been vetted and is safe from malware.

> Lightning cables are more popular than USB-C cables at this point. If I'm at a party or something usually someone has an iPhone cable, USB-C, not so much.

Of all the people in the local LGBT center, zero had a lightning cable available, one had a microUSB cable (with USB-C adapter), and everyone else (> 2 dozen) only had USB-C cables, when a person with iPhone asked if anyone had a charging cable.

So maybe in the US, where due to higher wages (even if the percentage of income that's disposable is the same) people have higher disposable income, people buy iPhones. But from what I've seen in Germany, almost everyone has Android.

I'm Dutch, I definitely see more iPhones in business settings. But generally it's a healthy mix of Android and iPhones when I'm at a party or somesuch.

Owning an iPhone is almost an universal value signal.

> Sideloading on Android is dodgy enough with dodgy APKs.

Sideloading is what allows to use third party app stores like F-Droid and to run apps Google banned like Blokada (system-wide ad-blocker).

Funny, it's the exact opposite for me.

What happens now? Do our anecdata cancel each other out, or?

> Lightning cables are more popular than USB-C cables at this point.

But in 2 years at most will be the other way round (especially outside the US)

Funnily enough, when I need a USB-C cable to charge my phone, I'm usually able to borrow one from a friend who uses USB-C to charge their Macbook...

Good job signaling that both you and your social circles have a certain degree of affluence.

I live in the SFBA, hang out with people at all income levels, and I'd say over 70% use Android. Among richer people it's more 50-50.

It's pretty easy to get USB-C chargers among my friends.

Almost anyone can afford an iPhone. All four major carriers and Apple offer no interest payment plans. Spread over 24 months, the difference between an iPhone and an Android phone is negligible.

If having an iPhone is a symbol of “affluence”, half of the US is affluent.

Your anecdotal evidence doesn’t jibe with broader statistics.

Edit: For complete transparency, I am seeing ranges from 42% - 50% market share in the US depending on the site.


> If having an iPhone is a symbol of “affluence”, half of the US is affluent.

I mean, it's probably the richer half that owns iPhones, so it's consistent with what you said.

Correct, the US is the richest country on earth. In the rest of the world Androids are more popular.

I guarantee you that if most of your friends have iPhones, your friends' incomes are probably on the higher end, statistically.

Don't those payment plans require good credit, anyway? A lot of my friends don't have that.

Not “good credit” just “not horrible credit”.

But, after you have been a customer for awhile for a carrier, they take your on time bill payments with them into account - at least with T-mobile.


Many of my less well-off friends have horrible credit, unfortunately.

Good for T-Mobile.

Just to add to what you said, in 2020 you still can't set a systemwide browser on iOS, something you've been able to do on every other platform since the mid 1990s.

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