The perfect smart phone doesn’t exist. Every phone makes compromises, there are always trade-offs that need to be made.
In the spirit of full transparency, I own an iPhone, Macbook Pro, Apple Watch, AirPods, and an iPad. I’ve been an Apple product user for almost over a decade now.
So it goes without saying that there are a lot of things I love about Apple, and more specifically, the iPhone.
That said, after all these years of using the iPhone, I’ve kept tabs on everything about it that frankly, flat out sucks.
Top 15 Reasons the iPhone Sucks
1) Phone cost
Apple’s brand and reputation have allowed them to charge extremely high prices for their phones for a long time.
In fact, Apple has the largest profit margins in the whole smart phone industry. Even their “budget phones” are pretty expensive. So expensive in fact that they’re cost prohibitive for most of the world.
Take India, for example.
There are over 500 million smartphone users in India, yet just 2% have iPhones. There’s a reason for that.
Companies that make phones that price out the majority of people on the planet kinda suck, right?
I get it, we live in a capitalist society. And don’t get me wrong, I love capitalism. But Apple can’t offer a truly affordable iPhone option? Really?
I don’t buy it.
They’re protecting their brand and image, and a “cheap” phone would tarnish that image (in their eyes).
2) The walled garden
If you work in technology, you’ve probably heard the phrase “walled garden” once or twice. It simply refers to a closed ecosystem of products.
The iPhone, and more broadly Apple, is definitely a walled garden – there are many ways in, but only a few, painful ways out.
Your journey into the Apple walled garden always starts with a piece of hardware. Maybe you started with just an iPhone but then you bought an Apple Watch and AirPods, because they work so well together.
Later, for work, you get a MacBook Pro. And now your trapped in Apple’s walled garden.
But the key piece to Apple’s ability to keep you trapped isn’t their hardware, it’s their software – iOS, MacOS, iPadOS and so on.
They all have Apple only features, that tie them together and allow them all to work seamlessly together. Apple products simply don’t work well, or at all, with non-Apple products.
Here are just a few examples of Apple only features:
- Apple App Store
But they call it a walled GARDEN for a reason, because gardens are pretty. And who knows, maybe you’re happy to be stuck inside – many of the Apple faithful are.
Adoption of the USB-C standard has been picking up steam for years now.
And having a standard interface on your devices is amazing because, in theory, nearly every device in your home could be charged using the same cable!
The USB-C standard is taking off, yet the iPhone still uses a Lightning connector.
Don’t get me wrong, in the past the Lighting connector was superior to USB mico-B. It’s reversible and can handle more power.
But USB-C has closed the gap, and even surpassed Lighting with more features and higher data transfer speeds.
It is bizarre, and honestly embarrassing at this point that iPhones don’t use USB-C chargers. If you have a Macbook Pro, you can’t even plug your iPhone into it out of the box. That’s silly.
For the first time in history, all of Apple’s products could use one, single charger. But no.
And don’t even get me started on all the other dongles and attachments that Apple makes you buy. It’s amazing that I haven’t lost them all yet.
4) Headphone jack
Actually, you know what, now that we’re on the topic of dongles, I hate that the iPhone got rid of the headphone jack.
Look, I get that headphones are going wireless/Bluetooth and that a lot of other phones got rid of this feature too.
But I don’t know, maybe I’m old fashioned – I liked having the option of using an old pair of headphones with my iPhone.
There are plenty of times where my AirPods are charging and I want to use regular headphones. But to do that I need the iPhone Lighting dongle adapter.
And the worst part? You can’t listen to music and charge your iPhone at the same time when you’re using the Lighting dongle.
That is of course, unless you buy another type of adaptor. What a joke.
Bloatware comes in different forms but on the iPhone it comes in the form of countless, useless, pre-installed apps.
And if you’re one of those people who think the Android preinstalled app situation is worse, then what say you about this iPhone app list? Game Center
- App Store
- Voice Memos
I admit, I use many of these, but I’d say over half of them I either delete, or stuff into a TRASH folder on my home screen.
Apple loves to create their own version of just about everything and then enforce their version as the system wide default.
It’s annoying, and sort of sucks.
RAM (random access memory) is just how much memory your phone has.
Apple iPhones simply don’t offer as much memory space as many of their competitors.
A fair counter-argument you could make here is that iPhones simply don’t need much RAM since all the apps and tools are optimized for iOS.
Because the App store is the only place you can get your iPhone apps from, Apple can ensure that all apps are fully optimized for your phone.
Contrast that with Android, and the countless apps you have access to. You can see why an Android phone would need more memory.
But this gets back to the closed ecosystem, the walled garden that Apple has created. If they brought those walls down a bit and the iPhone had the memory required to support apps from other sources, your phone could do so much more.
It’s a bit like the chicken or the egg here. The walls are up, so the iPhone doesn’t need RAM but if the iPhone had more RAM the walls could start to come down.
7) Repair costs
When you pay a lot for a phone, it goes without saying that it will cost a lot to fix it when things start to break or stop working.
So it’s no surprise then that the iPhone can be pretty pricey when/if you need repairs.
Apple does offer AppleCare and AppleCare+ for their products, but it can be hard to determine whether or not this extra monthly cost is worth it.
If you’re the type of person who regularly cracks your screen or loses your phone, then it most definitely is.
But for the rest of us responsible folk, AppleCare is yet another bill for Apple to collect.
The iPhone has always been behind when it comes to customization. I mean, it took until 2020 (iOS 14) for the iPhone just to start improving in this area!
Before then, you couldn’t even pick a default email client or web browser. Apple used to set Safari as the default browser, and there was nothing you could do about it.
The 2020 iOS 14 update also introduced the concept of widgets, and with it the ability to create custom widgets and widget artwork. You used to be stuck with whatever look and feel the iPhone offered.
So, on the one hand, it’s great that you can do some of these basic customizations without having to jailbreak your iPhone anymore. But on the other hand, the iPhone still has a ways to go.
For instance, iPhone apps remain limited to a grid layout. Android, on the other hand, allows you to place apps into patterns, or where-ever you’d like.
And then there’s Android launchers. These apps let you change how you interact with the home screen. They let you customize almost every single aspect of how your phone looks and behaves.
The iPhone doesn’t offer anything remotely close to that.
9) User interface
I freely admit that this one is a bit of a stretch. Personally, I am a big fan of MOST of the UI that the iPhone offers.
But that said, I do have a few bones to pick.
Have you ever been on a call on your iPhone and a second call comes in? This is the screen you’re presented with:
I mean, that’s a nightmare, right? Even I am intimidated by that screen. There is a lot going on, and while I eventually figured it out my Grandma-in-law hasn’t. And I don’t blame her. It’s confusing.
Another example of frustrating UI is when you go to take a picture but the storage on your phone is full. This is the message you’re greeted with:
This message gives you ZERO idea of how many photos need to be deleted or exactly how much data needs to be freed up in order for you to take the picture.
And also, what happens when you hit “Done”? That word “Done” is pretty confusing here.
These are pretty easy things to fix but for some reason Apple has been satisfied with them as they are.
This might just be a me issue, but I’ve always felt like the iPhone could make changing settings a lot easier.
Having to search for and find the Settings app every time I want to change my Bluetooth settings, for example, is annoying.
On an Android all you have to do is swipe down on the home screen, click Bluetooth, and you’re brought right to the Bluetooth settings.
On the iPhone you can only turn Bluetooth On or Off this way. If you want to get into the Bluetooth settings you have to find the Settings app then head over to Bluetooth and dig in from there.
The same goes for WiFi settings.
Not a deal breaker by any means, but it just seems like another easy change Apple could make that requires fewer steps to be taken by the end-user.
11) Desktop interaction
When you plug an Android into a PC, it acts like pretty much any other USB device or flash-drive.
You can even use a simple drag and drop interface to access its onboard memory AND an external storage device (such as a micro SD card).
By contrast, the iPhone MUST interact with the desktop using intermediary software (mainly iTunes).
Admittedly, you could get away with using an iPhone for years without having to use iTunes.
But, if you do need to connect your iPhone to your computer for any reason (like moving music from your computer to your phone) then iTunes is going to be a pain in the butt.
One exception is copying photos from your iPhone to your computer.
That’s because the computer sees the iPhone as a “read only” camera. But that means you can’t copy photos from your computer to your iPhone.
The point here is that the iPhone just makes simple tasks more complicated.
12) Slowing down older phones
Around 2016-2017 iPhone users started complaining that their phones were noticeably slower on Reddit and other forums.
The slow downs were so significant that many phones became useless and would need to be replaced with new iPhones.
The complaints got so loud that Apple eventually responded. They completely denied it. They acted like they had no idea what was happening, but said they would look into it.
After a lot more public pressure, Apple eventually admitted that they were in fact slowing down older phones. Their reasoning? “Slowing down processors makes it easier for old batteries to perform after they’ve begun to lose capacity.”
Well the public didn’t buy that either and a massive consumer lawsuit was filed. In 2020 Apple settled the case for 500 million dollars. They still admitted to no wrongdoing.
In the end, Apple did make some improvements based on this multi-year incident. Beginning in 2018, iPhone users have been able to better control battery life and check on the health of the battery, along with allowing users to turn off iPhone battery throttling.
But it’s these types of stories that make many question Apple’s intentions and whether or not they really have the best interests of the consumer in mind.
This opinion isn’t unique to me. Apple is no longer innovative.
Apple has built an incredibly steady consumer appetite for all new iterations of their existing products, so much so that they’ve stopped creating or trying new ones.
Every year it’s all about the next version of the iPhone or the iWatch. But many times the new features or add-ons aren’t always worthy of a new product launch.
In my opinion, Apple has become a victim of its own success.
14) Storage limits
It seems no matter how much storage your iPhone comes with, you always find a way to hit its limit!
It’s insane to me that the iPhone still does not support storage expansion. Just take a look at Android phones – over 350 different models were launched with expandable storage!
Ultimately, this wouldn’t even be a big deal if Apple made it more convenient to transfer photos and media off of your iPhone and onto your computer. But as I already complained about above, they make it overly complex!
For some reason Apple LOVES to use many different ways to go back to the previous screen.
Here are all the different ways you can go “back” on an iPhone today:
- Selecting Back in the upper-left corner
- Selecting Back in the lower-left corner (Safari, Chrome)
- Swiping right from the edge of the screen
- Swiping right from the lower part of the screen (using browsers)
- Swiping down (Photos)
The worst part is that often the gestures used above to go back, can also be used to do different things – depending on the app you’re using at the time.
Why can’t Apple just get it together and use a single, uniform back button that can be found in the same location every time?!
The iPhone has been a massive success for a reason – the hardware and software creates an overall experience that’s won over the hearts of millions.
But every piece of technology has its tradeoffs, and the iPhone is no different.
After using the phone for over ten years and counting now, there are 15 things that I think truly suck about the iPhone:
- High phone cost
- Apple’s walled garden
- So many useless cables
- Lack of headphone jack
- Bloatware apps
- Low RAM
- High repair costs
- Lack of customization
- Poor user interface
- Hard to access settings
- Poor desktop interaction
- Slowing down older phones
- Lack of innovation
- Storage limits
- Back button inconsistencies
In the end though, the jokes on me. I am, and plan to remain, an iPhone user for the indefinite future.
At this point I have so many Apple products that I am truly stuck within their walled garden, and to leave it would be too costly.
What do you think sucks most about the iPhone? Leave me a comment down below.