Android vs. iOS: Which Mobile Platform is Best for App Development?

28 April 2021 10 min Read

As per the latest data from GSMA Intelligence, there are over 5.20 billion unique mobile users in today’s digital world. Over a year, the total number of unique mobile phone users across the globe increased by 102 million. If you have decided to build a mobile application, the biggest challenge is choosing between Android vs. iOS.

Well, it’s not so easy to decide between the two operating systems for amateurs as iOS and Android app users behave in a different way. So, if you choose the wrong platform, you might be losing out on your primary target audience. Therefore, you need to understand who your target audience is and what platform will be the best fit for your application.

Although iOS and Android are familiar terms for us, creating mobile applications for these platforms requires strong expertise, dedication, time, and money. Both Android and iOS come with their own sets of pros and cons, but how many of us know the differences between both platforms in mobile app development? Whether it is the app development process or tech ecosystem, there are several other differences that an amateur eye can even think of.

This blog intends to guide you on everything about mobile app development and how iOS and Android differ from each other.

How Do You Decide Whether to Create an Android App or iOS App?

Each platform comes with its own peculiarities, but ultimately, the decision of investing in an iOS or Android app development company narrows down to the following five factors:

  • Target Audience
  • Development Time
  • Desired App Features
  • App Maintenance
  • Monetization and Revenue Goals

All these factors will be discussed further! Let’s first learn about the tech ecosystems as well as the pros and cons of each platform.

Android vs. iOS App Development – Tech Stack

Android App Development

Android app developers use Java, C++, and Kotlin to develop Android applications. Some of the advanced Google development tools that Android developers use include:

  • Android Jetpack – It consists of various pre-built Android components
  • Firebase – It is a complete mobile application development platform
  • Android SDK – It is an integrated development environment (IDE) that comes with Android Studio.

iOS App Development

In comparison to Android, iOS has a closed system, meaning that iOS applications work on Apple devices only. To create iOS apps, developers might use Objective-C or Swift. Here are some of the iOS app development tools that developers use:

  • iOS SDK – It comes with the Cocoa Touch UI development framework that provides various graphical features, user interface controls, etc.
  • XCode – It is the official IDE for iOS application development.
  • Swift Playgrounds – It is an extensive development environment for Swift.
  • TestFlight – It is an online service that installs and tests the app over the air. Using this online service, developers can test your iOS apps and obtain valuable feedback before the app is published.

Android vs. iOS App Development – Pros and Cons

Pros of Android App Development

  • Open Ecosystem – Android has open-source code. Therefore, Android app developers enjoy more features than iOS app developers.
  • UI Design – Developers implement extensive Google design guidelines to create an intuitive user interface.

Read: 4 Things to Consider for a Good UX on Android

  • Launch – Unlike iOS, Android apps are much easier to publish on Google Play Store. The whole app publishing process may take only a few hours.
  • Fragmentation – Even though fragmentation may be considered a drawback, you can develop apps for a variety of devices including TVs, wearables, in-car systems, and many others.

Cons of Android App Development

  • Testing – Since there is a diverse range of Android devices and versions, QA specialists may take more time to test Android apps.
  • Fragmentation – As discussed earlier, fragmentation may also be considered a disadvantage. Because of the fact that Android devices come in various app screen sizes, resolutions, etc., Android developers may take a long to make app features compatible with particular devices.
  • Expensive – The longer it takes to develop and test the apps, the higher will be the cost of your Android app. Besides, the development cost also depends on the features, design, and complexity of your app.

Pros of iOS App Development

Revenue – It’s no more a surprise that Apple users tend to spend more money on app purchases than Android users. So, you have higher chances of boosting your revenue.

  • Limited Number of Devices – Since iOS powers only Apple devices, your app will perfectly fit the limited number of app screens, resolutions, and devices.
  • UI Design – iOS app developers use a comprehensive style guide for creating the app’s UI. So, they can develop iOS apps in a short time, thereby making iOS app development more affordable.

Cons of iOS App Development

App Release – The App Store is very strict when it comes to the quality and security of iOS apps and thus, has very stringent app review guidelines. So, there are chances that the App Store may not give approval to your app due to a lack of valuable content, security issues, or poor app performance. Other than this, the iOS developer needs to submit the app for real-life testing, which takes another couple of days.

Flexibility – It’s quite difficult to customize iOS apps because the platform comes with several restrictions.

Android vs. iOS App Development – Key Comparison Factors

1. Target Audience

Android currently dominates the global platform share. This market share involves many developing countries and lower-income regions. Apple, on the other hand, dominates the App Store for customer spending.

So, before you hire Android or iOS app developers, make sure you know your target audience. If you’re planning to target a broad global audience, then you should hire Android app developers. If you’re targeting affluent countries like Western Europe or North America and if you’re planning to build an eCommerce or enterprise-level app, then

  • Apple can be your best bet.
  • Android is an Ideal Choice for Audience in Developing Markets
  • Android holds a lion’s share in global developing markets, including in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
  • Android users usually work in technical jobs.
  • More men prefer Android over iOS devices.
    iOS is the Best Option for Affluent, Young Audience in North America, Western Europe, Australia.
  • Apple users are usually from affluent backgrounds. They earn 40% more than the average Android user.
  • iOS users are younger, mostly within the age group of 18–24 years.
  • Apple users tend to spend more time and money on apps.
  • iOS users tend to shop online and make purchases more using their mobile devices.
  • Apple users generally hold managerial and other professional jobs.
  • iOS is best known for its high-end security and hence, will very soon enter the enterprise market.
  • Slightly more women prefer to use iPhones than Android.
  • Apple users are more likely to go for higher education degrees.
  • iOS covers a major market share in Australia, Western Europe, and North America.

2. Development Time

iOS app development is faster, easier, and affordable. Some estimates tend to increase the development time by 30-40% for Android. One reason that makes iOS app development easier is the code. Android applications are built using Java language that involves writing more lines of code as compared to Swift, Apple’s official coding language.

Android is an open-source platform. A lack of standardization means more devices, more components, more software fragmentation, more ambiguity, less consistent quality, and less reliability. That’s why Android app development takes more time than iOS app development. On the contrary, Apple has a closed ecosystem which means you need to develop apps for only a few standardized devices and platforms.

Hence, Apple’s App Store has stricter regulations and quality expectations. The whole review process is longer, so it may take more time to get your app approved. Apple may even reject your app if it doesn’t meet its standards.

3. Desired App Features

Android app development allows greater flexibility with app features. Android is open source, so you get more flexibility to customize your app exactly the way you and your target audience want. As Android is an open environment, it is more vulnerable to pirate apps, and malicious software.
Apple, on the other hand, is more secure because of its closed system. This is the biggest reason why iOS has a larger audience in the enterprise market.

4. App Maintenance

Android app development involves spending more time ensuring that the final product is compatible with the platform, and eliminating bugs and app crashes for users relying on older operating systems.

Android users are slowcoaches in adopting new operating systems. According to a study, more than 50% of Android users were using an operating system that is 2+ years old.

Apple users tend to update their operating systems more frequently to keep their devices secure.

5. Monetization and Revenue Goals

App monetization depends on the possibility of making purchases on Android or iOS. If you wish to monetize your app, then there are certain points of difference between the two platforms that you need to consider:

  • Android users are less likely to pay for apps than iOS users. So, free mobile apps with in-app ads are widely in use.
  • The Apple App Store, on the other hand, generates double revenue than Google Play, despite having more than half of app downloads.

If you are looking for an effective app monetization strategy, you may approach an iOS or Android app development company for professional consultation.

Some other important app monetization differences include:

Here are some more key differences that will help you decide whether you should hire Android app developers or iOS app developers for your business app:

  • iOS users tend to make more in-app purchases and spend more frequently on them.
  • iOS users can pay for apps, except in utility apps. Android beats iOS when it comes to paying for utility apps.
  • The audience in Asia spends 40% more on in-app purchases, and China is the greatest source of iOS revenue.
  • Ecommerce apps generate the most revenue, especially in affluent countries like North America leads in sales.
  • Apple and Google, both are encouraging subscription-based apps and offering app developers a larger percentage of cut for subscription services in the app stores.

If you want to monetize your mobile app without ads via subscriptions, in-app purchases, or freemium models, then building apps for Apple devices are the best choice. This also applies to eCommerce applications.

However, revenue generated through Android apps is also increasing. Although Apple is expected to continue to be the dominant App Store, Google’s Play Store along with third-party Android stores are expected to leave the App Store behind in terms of revenue.

Android vs. iOS – Key Differences at a Glance

So, these are the 5 primary factors that can help you decide whether you should invest in an iOS or an Android app development company. To know more about the key differences between the two powerful platforms, have a quick look at the Android vs iOS comparison table below:

Key Parameters Android iOS

Key ParametersAndroidiOS
Development languageJava, KotlinXCode
Integrated Development EnvironmentAndroid StudioAffluent Users, More Valuable
App Design Specific RequirementsFlexibility
App Development TimeDepends on the Design, Complexity, and Features of the App. Depends on the Design, Complexity, and Features of the App.
Complexity Level of App Development High Moderate
App Approval/ Deployment Time Short App Review ProcessLong App Review Process (nearly 7 days or more)
The Target AudienceLower-income Users, Less ValuableAffluent Users, More Valuable

Android vs. iOS – Which Mobile Platform is Better?

Based on where your target audience lives, what features they want, and the development cost and time, you can decide whether you need to hire Android app developers or iOS developers for your business app.
If you are looking to build an MVP quickly and within a low budget, then iOS app development is the right solution for you. Moreover, if you want to generate more revenue with your app or create an eCommerce application, then iOS is the best choice.

However, if you want to capture broad global or up-and-coming markets, especially in Latin America and Asia, or if your application has features that are not compatible with Apple, then you should invest in an Android app development company.

No matter what platform you choose to build your first business app, once you have done your homework and studied your target audience thoroughly, you can turn your business app idea into a sensational hit. Moreover, if you come to know that users on other platforms are looking for a version of your app, then it’s time that you should consider building your app for the other platform as well.

The Author

James Walker is a senior Android app developer at a leading Android development company, Android Developer. He has rich experience in creating intuitive Android applications and is passionate about the latest Android development technology and trends. He loves sharing his experience and knowledge through his writings to guide startups and enterprises on how they can make the best of their business applications.