Here’s Why iPhone Takes Higher Quality Snaps Than Android Devices

Here’s Why iPhone Takes Higher Quality Snaps Than Android Devices Credit: Business Insider
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Have you ever noticed that Snapchat snaps taken and sent from an Android phone look worse than snaps from an iPhone?

It’s not just your imagination. In many cases, Android snaps are objectively worse.

There’s a reason for that, and it has nothing to do with camera quality or hardware specifications. Android cameras have been neck-in-neck with iPhones for years. In fact, the problem doesn’t stem from hardware or even necessarily Android itself — it’s actually an app development issue. In other words, you can blame Snapchat itself.

Android vs iOS

To understand the issue, you’ll have to look at the difference between iOS and Android.

Apple makes both the software and hardware for its stable of products, and Cupertino has only produced about 17 different models of iPhone since 2008. Because of that, there are only a few devices that iOS app developers have to account for. That makes it a lot easier to ensure that an app works across the various devices in an ecosystem.

Android, on the other hand, is a much more fragmented ecosystem. There are tons of manufacturers producing hundreds of different models of Android devices. And they all sport different hardware, screen sizes and are typically running different versions of Android — often with non-stock modifications made to the OS.

Why Snaps on Android Look Worse

The reason that snaps on Android look worse basically boils down to this: unlike on iOS, which actually uses the camera hardware to take full-resolution, Snapchat for Android just takes a screen capture of your camera’s view.

By using the viewfinder-screenshot method, Snapchat’s developers don’t have to take each unique Android device into account. It’s a one-size-fits-all solution, but it is the easy way out for the company — and it results in objectively worse picture quality on the app.

Of course, some Android smartphones — like the new, first-party Google Pixel 2 — actually use the camera for Snapchat pictures and videos. This obviously results in a vastly improved image quality comparable to iOS snaps. But for the vast majority of Android devices, users have to settle for a subpar experience.

A Solution?

Since the blame lies with Snapchat, it’s up to the social media company to fix the issue. And it might mean putting a ton of effort into optimizing the Android Snapchat app for each and every device.

There is a silver lining, though. Snapchat suggested in a recent Q3 earnings call that they’d make some vast improvements to the way the app functions, even if it means putting effort into rebuilding the app’s processes from the ground up.

“Given the sheer volume of different Android handsets used to access Snapchat, we have had to establish new processes to ensure that our quality efforts can be maintained. This will be an ongoing investment,” Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel said.

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