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The age-old debate — Android versus Apple — has seemingly become less of a debate in recent years particularly among younger generations, who have been found to prefer the signature Apple products over their Android competitors. Putting this to the test, the University of Michigan community weighs in on the impact of both phones among college students.

Mobile phones have become an essential part of modern life, with 85% of Americans owning some kind of smartphone. Known for the iPhone and Android phones, Apple and Samsung are two of the biggest technology companies in the United States. Since the iPhone and Android models have been released, the public has compared the functionality, interface and overall appearance of both phones. 

LSA sophomore Adele Lowitz has always owned an iPhone, but temporarily switched to an Android as part of a market research study last year. 

“I had a lot of time to think about ways that it was different from my other phone,” Lowitz said. “I thought a lot of the operating systems were really useful and I liked some of the basic features. The ways you can move apps around were actually really intuitive.” 

After the study concluded, Lowitz returned to her iPhone. She said she missed some of the iPhone’s features and looked forward to being within the same technology network as her friends.

“Something that came with having the Android was that all my texts turned green on Apple devices and I couldn’t FaceTime,” Lowitz said.“I couldn’t text on my Mac computer because of the continuity within all the Apple devices. Also, because so many of my friends at Michigan specifically have iPhones, I was eager to get back to being within that network.”

Lowitz said she noticed the social life around campus seemed to weigh more on Apple phones rather than Samsung. However, she said on-campus groups were more inclusive of all types of phones. 

“At Michigan, at least socially, there’s a lot of iPhone usage and a lot of Apple usage with computers as well. So the ability to do FaceTime, Find My Friends and AirDrop is only within the Apple ecosystem,” Lowitz said. “I think Michigan is actually really welcoming of all phones. A lot of clubs and groups on campus use apps like GroupMe or Slack, which go beyond what type of phone you have.”

Engineering sophomore Emma Shedden has always owned an Android phone. She said even though most of her friends have iPhones, she has found other platforms to communicate with them that do not depend on the type of phone.

“Most of my friends have iPhones, we (couldn’t) FaceTime until they released a new update that permits it,” Shedden said.“But there’s lots of other options. There’s Zoom, WeChat and WhatsApp to name a few.”

Music, Theatre & Dance sophomore Abigail Labbe said she has always been loyal to her iPhone, especially since it’s what her family has always used.

“Because most people have Apple phones, I was more inclined to look at those products,” Labbe said. “My family has always had (all) Apple phones, so I kind of always was looking for those types of phones because they had that.”

Labbe said she really values having a smartphone and is unlikely to switch to another brand because she enjoys the features in Apple products.

“It’s been easier having a smartphone. It’s really helpful for academics because I can be on the bus and go into my phone and start typing up a paper if I need to,” Labbe said. “Socially, with FaceTime on the iPhone, it originally wouldn’t work with Android, (and) that’s a big way that I communicate with other people.”

Communications professor Scott Campbell said he has used both types of phones but currently has an iPhone. He has always been curious about different types of phones and bought an iPhone to experience what it was like. Campbell — who has conducted research on social media and everyday communication — described global smartphone trends and how they apply on the University campus.

“Apple is sort of around 20% of the market share and Android is about 80%, but that’s the global marketplace. Those trends don’t necessarily hold up when you look at everywhere,” Campbell said. “If you look around the University of Michigan campus, you’re going to see more iPhones. iPhones are more hip, they’re more trendy, they’re more expensive. They’re more exclusive in some ways, but not everybody has the same level of access to them.”

Campbell also said research has shown that consumers tend to decide on a device based on their personality and generally remain loyal to the brand.

“The research that I’ve seen does show that people who use iPhones tend to be younger, more female oriented, and maybe a little more sensitive to fashion compared to Android users,” Campbell said. “When people are messaging each other within iPhone platforms, I think (it) creates a sense of us v. them, inside v. outside the interface. You get the blue texting and you can see the little bubbles if they’re waiting for you to respond with an iPhone. But when I’m texting with people who have Android, I don’t get to see all that and I get the green. It’s less responsive.”

Campbell said he believes there will be a heightened focus on life outside of phones in the future.

“It’s hard to imagine how much attention we’re paying to this one thing in our hands now compared to what I think we’ll be doing in 10 years from now when things are going to be less centralized into this device.”

Ultimately, Campbell said he predicts that the significance of smartphone brands will diminish as technology progresses.

“If we believe any of the advertising I’m studying right now about 5G technologies, in a decade from now it won’t be as important if you use an Android or an iPhone,” Campbell said. “I think it’ll be more important how you’re interacting with your environment and systems.”

Daily Staff Reporter Carly Brechner can be reached at