This post is more than three years old so may contain incorrect information, or opinions I no longer hold.

The Apple Walled Garden

30 Sep 2020 | ~3 minute read

I recently posted about my new Apple Watch on Fosstodon. I assumed I'd get some feedback about the Apple walled garden, so I wanted to take some time to elaborate on my thoughts about the walled garden.

As expected, I received a few responses exclaiming that I'm getting sucked into Apple's wall garden. To be honest, I can kinda see where they're coming from.

When I was an Android user, I loved nothing more than telling Apple users that they're stuck in a wall garden, using a device they can do nothing with.

Wallpapers...WALLPAPERS?! Pfft...we've had those for years!

Me, circa 2010

But the fact of the matter was, I had never used iOS, so I had absolutely no idea what I was talking about. I eventually got sick of Android and I decided to give Apple a try in 2018.

What walled garden?

After getting my first iPhone, it quickly became apparent to me that there was no walled garden, only tight integration into the Apple ecosystem. You know...just like Android and its Google services.

Before switching I honestly had the impression that I would have to use Apple's official apps and nothing else - I would be stuck in their lovely walled garden forever.

That's complete bullshit.

I was surprised to learn that I can actually remove more apps from my iPhone than I ever could on Android.

I now have an iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. Not because I'm some kind of Apple shill, but because I like their hardware and their software. Plus, you know, they send a lot less data home.

I don't actually use many of their apps and I'm not stuck on their platform. For music I use Spotify, for email and calendar I use Zoho Mail and their app, for note taking I use my Synology and their DS Notes app. I use Firefox as my browser, Bitwarden to manage my passwords and goodness knows how many other apps that allow me to be vendor agnostic.

But the Apple Watch...

Yeah, I have an Apple Watch now. It integrates really well with my other iDevices and I get a lot of use from it. But I'm not forced to use an Apple Watch - In fact, I used a Garmin smartwatch prior to getting the Apple Watch.

The walls of the Apple walled garden are collapsing all around me and I don't get why people are of this opinion still. What am I missing here?

But they're so expensive!

Apple hardware is super expensive, I totally agree. But I think it's well made, and I'd much rather have my devices come from a company that makes money from expensive hardware, than harvesting user data.

Also, the price of iDevices is inline with the cost of flagship devices from competitors like Samsung. For example, the iPhone XS is around £1,100 here in the UK. The Samsung Galaxy S20 is also around £1,100.


Overall, I'm very happy with Apple and iOS. I really can't see myself moving off their platform anytime soon.

If you're a happy Android user, great! More power to you. I'm really glad that Android works for you - it's good that we have these choices.

But if you're one of those people who loves nothing more than to quote how bad Apple is because of their walled garden, please do some fact checking as, to me at least, it doesn't exist.

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