10 Major Differences Between iOS and Android App Development

By James Tredwell on December 30, 2020

To be iOS or not to be iOS.

To be Android or not to be Android. 

To be iOS or Android.

Of late, businesses have been questioning the relevance of the two platforms for app development, and what goes in sync with their business strategy. This is an important decision to make as apps have become the nerve centres of many businesses. As both iOS and Android platforms are advancing with regular upgrades and new features, it will be a tough call for businesses to choose the right platform for app development. 

The starting point for app development is an in-depth study of both iOS and Android platforms and how they will benefit customers and businesses. Set your priorities and fix your goals by evaluating your app requirement. Chalk out a mission statement for the app with probable milestones in the future. Do a Cost vs Time analysis and understand your target users. These clarifications go a long way in helping you choose the right platform for your app development. 

The Key Differences

Businesses bank on apps to generate more profits and gain popularity. Here are the differentiators between iOS and Android. Both business and technical differences are discussed below so that you will get a clear direction to choose one that suits your requirement. 

Business Differences

1) Audience and Geography

Knowing the target audience is the key to app development. The reach of the app can be increased with more downloads and sign-ups. User personas impact the choice of iOS or Android for app development. 

For instance, many iOS users are spread across North America and Western Europe. These areas hold a big concentration of iOS users who prefer lifestyle, business, and e-commerce apps than any other type of software. They spend close to 3 times more than Android users on in-app purchases. 

On the other side, the target audience for Android apps is mostly concentrated in South America, parts of Europe, and Asia. They are mostly interested in communication and entertainment. So, you have to choose the development platform wisely and if you are aiming for a global audience, then Android might be the right option. 

2) Market Share

80 percent of the global market is dominated by Android and iOS takes the remaining pie. If you want to bring more users to your app ecosystem, then Android is a viable option. Invest more in Android app development as it’s expected to grow by a large percentage every year. 

3) Revenue

This aspect can put businesses in a real dilemma. Though Android apps have more market share than iOS, they are less profitable. Most stats say that the revenue growth of iOS is around two-third from the previous year whereas Android stays at one-third. As Android users are constantly increasing, businesses can foresee revenue growth there.   

4) Distribution

Ask a question – What matters the most- Speed or Safety? 

It might take several days or weeks to make your app live on iOS. The guidelines are stringent, and Apple verifies and double checks the app for any inappropriate content. This approach is beneficial for businesses as it mitigates the risk of posting buggy applications. But increases the launch time of the app.  

On the contrary, it takes only a few hours to post an Android solution. There are no strict guidelines, only a few verification methods. This approach might look quick and easy but can pose risks for the end-users. 

So, think twice before you choose a platform, go for iOS if safety is your concern, or pick Android if you admire speed. 

5) Monetization

While Android apps are free to download, iOS app downloads are chargeable. 

To monetize Android apps, you can place ads inside applications, go for in-app purchases, and venture into e-commerce. 

For iOS, in-app features and bonuses work a big way. Alongside reaching the monetization goals, you can improve the UX and add more features. You can also display ads of other services or versions. These paid ads serve as a good method for monetization. 

There are other methods of monetization like affiliate marketing, subscriptions, sponsorships, and more, which are suitable for content-driven apps. Based on the nature of your app, you must choose the correct monetization method. 

Technical Differences

Technical aspects are the heart of your app development. Therefore, it is necessary to have a good understanding of the technicalities. They allow you to predict any issues and select the best development options available. Here are the key differences between Android and iOS app creation. 

1) Complex Nature

The major challenge in app development is to adjust the app to screen sizes and aspect ratios of various devices. On this note, iOS app creation is fairly easier than Android app development. iOS apps run on iPhone, iPad, and a few other devices and operating systems, so they are easier to build. It’s quite a challenge for programmers to adjust Android apps to devices considering their wide usage. 

2) Time 

Every app development comprises three stages – design, development, and testing. The costs are dependent on the time taken to build the app and its transition through these stages. The first two stages take nearly the same time in both Android and iOS, however, the testing of Android apps takes a whale of a time compared to iOS apps. That being said, iOS apps have to pass different stages of approvals before distribution. So, factor in the time before finalizing the release date.

3) Design Differences

Few notable design differences between iOS and Android applications are that the former focuses on a soft and clean design that’s inclined towards superior UX. Whereas Android focuses more on the hardware part. The aesthetics in Android take a second seat. The Return button is always present in Android apps but is not present in iOS apps. As both follow minimalistic design concepts, users can enjoy an enhanced visual experience.  

4) Programming language

Developers should possess an original Apple device to create an iOS app, and this can pose some limitations for app developers. In the case of an Android app, there is no such hindrance while developing. For coding, iOS requires Objective-C or Swift language, and Android needs proficiency with Java for app development. Be it Android or iOS app development, you should hire experienced app developers to create great applications. 

5) Development Cost

Here comes the crucial factor that impacts your business. As mentioned earlier, iOS app development needs an original device, and Android app development can be expensive as it has to be compatible with a large number of devices. Notably, the costs of an Android app development project are based on the time spent and the payment model. So, choose the one that best fits your requirement. 

All in all, you have to consider the business and technical requirements to choose iOS or Android platforms for mobile app development. If you are still confused as to what to choose and how to move ahead with your app development process, you can always reach out to an expert. 

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