3 features I wish Apple's new iPhone 12 had that Android phones have had for years

Lisa Eadicicco
Apple iPhone 12 Event October
iPhone 12 Apple
  • Apple's iPhone 12 comes with several upgrades like 5G support, a refreshed design, and a camera that's better at taking photos in the dark.

  • But there are several useful features found on Android phones that the iPhone still lacks.

  • These include a fingerprint sensor and an always-on display. 

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Apple's iPhone 12, which is available for pre-order starting Friday, brings a number of changes that differentiate it from last year's iPhone 11. These include an updated design, 5G support, improved cameras, and new size options.

Plus, the iPhone 12 lineup will be compatible with a new line of accessories Apple is launching called MagSafe, which as its name implies uses magnets to quickly and securely attach to the iPhone.

The addition of 5G and a wider range of sizes and price points certainly gives Apple more leverage to compete with products from Android rivals like Samsung and Google. But there are still a few small but useful features found on Android phones that I had hoped to see on the iPhone 12 lineup.

Here's a closer look at the top Android features missing from Apple's latest smartphones. 

A fingerprint sensor for quickly unlocking your phone

in display fingerprint sensor
Samsung's Galaxy S lines have had fingerprint sensors built into their screens since last year. Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

When Apple introduced its new iPad Air, which has Touch ID built into the top button, I was hopeful that the company would bring its fingerprint-scanning tech back to the iPhone, too.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the case with the iPhone 12. Like every modern iPhone with a borderless, edge-to-edge screen, the iPhone 12 lineup only supports Face ID when it comes to biometric authentication.

At a time when I find myself typing in my passcode more than ever because I'm wearing a mask, it would have been nice to see Apple re-introduce Touch ID to the iPhone.

Some Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy S20, Galaxy Note 20, and OnePlus 8 Pro offer both fingerprint detection and face unlock. Google's new Pixel 5 also has a fingerprint sensor, although it lacks facial recognition.

 

An always-on display so that you can see the time without picking up your phone

TCL 10 Pro Always On Display
Lisa Eadicicco/Business Insider

The Apple Watch has had an always-on display since the Series 5 model debuted last year, but we have yet to see this feature on the iPhone.

Android phones like the Galaxy S20, Galaxy Note 20, and Google Pixel 5 have displays that can show information like the time, date, battery level, and unread notifications even when the display is turned off. That can make it easier to see information at a glance without having to reach for your phone.

In my experience, having an always-on display has made it easier to check the time or see which app a notification came from without falling down the rabbit hole of scrolling through Instagram or my overflowing email inbox.

The iPhone 12 may not have an always-on display, but Apple did improve the iPhone's screen in a couple of other ways, such as by making OLED screens standard across all models and improving their durability with a new ceramic shield coating. 

A higher refresh rate for smoother scrolling

ipad pro
AP Images

A number of Android phones such as those from Samsung, Google, and OnePlus also have screens that are capable of reaching a higher refresh rate for smoother scrolling. 

Phones like the Galaxy S20 lineup, Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, and OnePlus 8 Pro can increase their screens' refresh rates up to 120Hz, compared to the 60Hz refresh rate that's considered average on smartphones. 

The ability to crank up the refresh rate can make navigating the phone's software feel faster, more responsive, and more fluid,  although that can also mean compromising when it comes to resolution.  

This feature isn't available on the iPhone, but Apple does offer it elsewhere: on the iPad Pro. Apple's high-end tablet has a feature called ProMotion, which boosts the screen's refresh rate up to 120Hz, a capability that Apple has touted as being ideal for use with the Apple Pencil.  

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