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3 small features the next iPhone needs to steal from the Pixel 2

by Brandon Russell | April 13, 2018April 13, 2018 10:00 am PDT

The iPhone X is one of the best smartphones you can buy, thanks to its wonderful navigation gestures and beautiful hardware. But it can be better. In particular, Apple can greatly improve the experience by borrowing features from Google’s Pixel 2, which is arguably the most complete Android phone on the market.

As Apple plans for the inevitable sequel to the iPhone X, adding these Pixel 2 features will help elevate iOS and take advantage of the device’s best attributes, namely the display. Although iOS 12 isn’t expected to usher in dramatic changes, these small changes could dramatically alter how people use the iPhone.

Below are three features the next iPhone X needs to steal from the Pixel 2.

The song that’s playing is…

With Shazam now under the Apple umbrella, Apple needs to integrate the service’s capabilities into iOS, post haste. Apple should look no further than the Pixel 2’s “Now Playing feature,” which always listens for music playing around you. When a song is recognized, it’ll be displayed on the always-on display. All of this happens without any interaction by the user. It’s one of those features you don’t think you need until you use it.

Take as many photos as you want

We take more photos than ever, which can easily jam up your phone’s storage. That’s why Google Photos is one of the industry’s best and most important services. By signing up, you get unlimited photo and video backup for free. Apple needs to offer iPhone users a similar option.

Photos and the service’s underlying technology has evolved considerably over the past few years. But Apple charges for cloud storage. Having an unlimited free option would be a great way for Photos to get more usage and pry users away from Google’s service in the process.

Luckily, Google Photos is available as an app on both iOS and Android, so it isn’t necessarily exclusive to the Pixel 2. Owners of Google’s device do get high quality storage for free, however, which is a very nice perk.

Always-on display technology

Now that Apple is adopting OLED technology, it’s time for the company to start exploring the world of Always-On Display (AOD). Popularized by Samsung and other top manufacturers, the feature displays information (calendar, time, notifications) on the display at all times, allowing users to quickly glance at information without turning their device on.

The technology is incredibly convenient—even something as small as checking the time is a joy. To check the time on an iPhone X, I have to tap on the display, which isn’t a particularly big deal, but I can just look at the Pixel 2 without having to reach for the device at all.

When a feature can improve the user experience, there’s no reason not to do it. AOD technology has a negligible impact on battery life, so that wouldn’t be an issue. And I’m sure Apple can come up with its own spin on what information is shown to users at any given time, such as what song is playing in the background.


None of these requests are unreasonable. Shazam integration seems like a no-brainer and introducing AOD technology would greatly improve the daily experience. I’ll admit, however, that’s it’s very unlikely Apple would ever offer iPhone users unlimited photo and video storage for free.

People often look at Android phones and consider what they might borrow from Apple’s iPhone. But it goes both ways. I don’t expect iOS to ever look like Google’s Pixel launcher. But that doesn’t mean Apple can’t cherrypick a few features as it looks to improve its mobile software.

Rumor has it this year’s iOS 12 will be a relatively low key update. Still, we’re hopeful Apple will look at some of its competitors before the software is unveiled at WWDC this summer.


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...

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