Android and iOS are two of the most widely used mobile operating systems. Android, the brainchild of Google is an open-source platform that is highly customizable, with a vast app ecosystem and compatibility with a wide range of devices. In contrast, iOS is developed by Apple and is a closed-source platform that is renowned for its user-friendly interface, security features, and seamless integration with Apple's hardware and software ecosystem. While Android is known for its flexibility, iOS is known for its reliability and performance. Both operating systems have their unique features, strengths, and weaknesses, and you can choose which one suits your development needs and preferences best.
There's no denying that these mobile operating systems have revolutionized the way we use our smartphones and tablets. But, When it comes to developing an app, how do you choose between Android and iOS? On the face of it, with Google’s Android holding around 88% of the market share as per Statista from the second quarter of 2018, it might seem like the better choice, but can you ignore the high monetization prospects that Apple’s iOS platform offers? Of course, the simple solution would be to develop both android and iPhone app development platforms simultaneously, but not every company has a budget for that.
Therefore, which platform should you choose? - Android or iPhone app development? It’s a common question many of our clients ask us when they approach us for developing an app. The fact is that both platforms have their fair share of pros and cons and being aware of these makes it easier to decide which one is better suited to your requirements. In this article, we outline the key differences between Android vs iOS to help you get a clear idea about which one to choose.
Android vs iOS - Market Data
Market share of units sold: In terms of market share, Android programming has been the leading platform worldwide since 2016. In 2018, 217.72 million iOS smartphones were sold by Apple. In comparison, as per Gartner statistics, Android sold 1.3 billion units in 2017.
Market share of apps: Google Play Store had 2.6 million apps available for download as per Statista figures of December 2018, whereas the Apple App Store held the second position with around 2 million apps.
App downloads: In 2018, as per App Annie, the total number of downloads on the iOS and Google Play stores were 28.4 billion. Google Play downloads accounted for over 20 billion downloads during this period.
Average app revenues: When it comes to app revenue, the difference between Android and iOS is the larger reach of the former versus the more lucrative earnings from the latter. In the 3rd quarter of 2019, Apple’s iOS apps generated $14.2 billion, whereas Android apps earned $7.7 billion through the Google Play Store.
As per data published by Marketing Charts in 2018, although the average mobile app revenue on iOS and Android differ slightly depending on the type of app, iOS apps earned more per user across app categories. For gaming apps, the average mobile app revenue per user was $1.99 for iOS vs $1.56 for Android. When it came to shopping apps, iOS earned $19.64 per user compared to $11.49 by Android, and for travel apps, iOS was a clear winner with $32.29 per user versus $20.47 for Android.
iOS vs Android - Technical aspects
Development complexity: Apple App development is less complex compared to Android, mainly because Apple has a fewer number of devices – iPhone, iPad, and iPod. One of the main issues with Android app development is that of fragmentation as there are many types of devices, smartphones, and tablets, besides differences in screen sizes, aspect ratios, and operating systems, android app maker need to ensure the app works for a wide range of smartphones and tablets.
Development Time: The complexity involved in Android app development makes the process more time-consuming than that of an iOS app. On average, Android app development is 30-40 percent slower than iOS.
Development Cost: The difference in cost is not easy to estimate since one needs to consider not only the time that is taken to develop the app but also the hardware used for the process. While Android apps might have a higher cost due to the longer development time, the Android programming Studio application that is used for app development can be installed on a standard PC. So if you wish to create an android app, you must be familiar with the android app development suite.
iOS apps are developed using Xcode, which works only on the Mac. Therefore, the investment in buying a Mac as well as an iPhone or iPad can significantly add to the cost of development.
Programming languages used: Both platforms require completely different skill sets in terms of the programming languages used. iOS app development requires Objective C or Swift for Native development, whereas Android programming uses Java and Kotlin. For companies looking at developing for both platforms, this means incurring additional costs towards hiring specialists in these languages.
Publishing process: Although iOS app development is quick to design, Apple has a lengthy and strict approval process before an app can be published to the store. Android app makers can upload the apps relatively easily on the Google Play Store by paying a one-time fee of $25. Updates and modifications to the app store take longer on iOS as every change needs to go through the long and stringent approval process. On Android, once published, the app is available on the store within a few hours, and one can perform beta testing or update the app easily and quickly.
Android vs iOS - Difference and Comparison
|Source||Open-source||Closed, with open source components|
|Initial Release||September 23, 2008||July 29, 2007|
|Customizability||Easy to customize. It’s possible to change almost anything.||Limited customizability, unless it is jailbroken|
|Developer||Google, Open Handset Alliance||Apple Inc.|
|Available Languages||100+ Languages||34 Languages|
|Call Messaging||Primary: Google Hangouts.
Third-party apps such as Google Duo, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Skype work on both Android and iOS.
|Primary: iMessage, FaceTime (can be used only with other Apple devices).
Third-party apps such as Google Duo, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Skype work on both Android and iOS.
|Voice Commands||Google Now, Google Assistant||Siri|
|Latest Update||Android Pie||iOS 12|
|Security||Android software patches are available earliest to Nexus users. Other manufacturers tend to lag in pushing out updates. As a result, most Android devices don’t run on updated or fully-patched software at any given point in time.||Most users don’t encounter a problem with malware because they don’t go outside the App Store for buying apps. Apple's software updates are also available for older iOS devices.|
|User Experience||While Android devices are not on par with Apple devices in terms of enhanced user experience, it is ahead on certain aspects such as AR and VR.||Apple wins in terms of ease of use and design. However, it has been slow in AR.|
|Speed||Android leads in terms of faster mean download speed.||iOS devices are much faster than Android ones.|
Pros and Cons - Android vs iOS
|App Ecosystem||There are a huge number of android phones available in the market from companies like SAMSUNG, HTC, MICROMAX and many more. This offers users more choice in terms of devices.||Apple has a distinct advantage for tablet apps, whereas on smartphones popular apps are usually available for both platforms.|
|Social Media Integration||Posting updates and sharing on social networks is not as easy on Android as it is on iOS.||It is easy to post updates and share on social networks using iOS.|
|Data Privacy & Security||Data Privacy and security is an issue on Android devices as the controls on app access to user’s data is not as strict as on iOS.||Undeniably, iOS is the most secure platform and the one that best protects user privacy. It offers better control over the access apps have to users' private information such as contacts and location.|
|Customization||Since it is based on the Linux kernel, which works on open source, you can get millions of free apps on Android. It is easy to customize. One can even access the boot loader. The greater number of apps increases the choices for users, and this is one of the top draws of Android.||Customization in Apple app development is difficult on iOS. It is not easy to make changes compared to Android.|
|Chance of Malware||Android phones allow the installation of third-party apps which can harm data and increase the chances of malware.||Apple OS decreases the chances of malware.|
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What should I choose – Android vs iOS?
Choosing the right development platform between Android app builder and iOS is crucial for the success of your mobile app. It can impact your target audience, functionality, and overall user experience. Don't settle for a one-size-fits-all solution because choosing the right platform for your app can help your business grow. Following are some of the factors that you need to consider when choosing between the Android app builder vs the iOS for your development needs.
- If you want the app to reach a wider audience – Android
- If you want a higher revenue per user – iOS, iPhone development
- If you have regular PCs and don’t want to incur additional investment in hardware – Android
- If you already have iOS hardware (Mac, iPhone, iPad) – Build an iOS app
- If you prefer a less complex development process – iOS
- If you prefer a smaller wait time to get the app to the Store – Android
- If you like to customize the app – Android
- If you want to reduce the risk of malware – iOS
- If the privacy and security of user data is a priority – iOS
- If you want an app with better user experience – iOS
- If you want better integration with social media – iOS
The choice between an Android app builder vs iOS depends on your business goals, required features and functionalities, target audience, and budget. It's important to work with an experienced app development firm, such as TechAhead, that can guide you through the decision-making process and help you develop a high-quality app that meets your specific needs and requirements.
In the end, choosing the right platform depends on a variety of factors such as time to market, budget and the scope of the app. Should you opt for Android app development that gives you access to a wider audience but at a lower average revenue per user or and iOS app that has greater prospects for earning revenue? Will iOS app development give you the advantage of a reduced time to market compared to an Android app? While the details in this article will help to answer these questions, there’s no definite response as to which one is better.
How Can TechAhead Help You?
TechAhead is a leading app development company specializing in custom applications for iOS and Android platforms. With years of experience and expertise, TechAhead has successfully developed hundreds of apps catering to various industries and domains.
Our team of experienced tech consultants works closely with clients to understand their project objectives, scope, and budget and provides tailored solutions that meet their unique requirements. We help clients navigate the decision-making process between Android vs. iOS, ensuring that the chosen platform aligns with the app's goals and target audience. Our development process is transparent, collaborative, and agile, ensuring that the client is involved every step of the way. We use cutting-edge technologies and tools to develop high-quality apps that are scalable, reliable, and secure.
TechAhead is the best partner for businesses looking to develop custom-made mobile apps for iOS and Android platforms. We aid our clients in achieving their goals and objectives by delivering exceptional app development services customized to meet their needs.