7 Major Differences between iOS and Android Development

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The rivalry between iOS and Android has continued since the time they both began to exist. The topic does not seem to grow old for a discussion. Instead, new aspects and analyses emerge after the release of any new feature on either side.


On one hand, smartphone users and reviewers on either side are head-to-head with each other on figuring out the better of Apple and Android. On the other hand, developers and companies are concerned about which platform has more potential to achieve their objectives and what opportunities and costs are they looking at on either side.


Let’s have a look and compare the opportunities and operating frameworks that we can expect on both sides.


I. Programming Language

The first point of concern for a developer is the programming language. Language is the means for two minds to communicate with each other or as in our case, a human and an electronic mind to communicate with each other.


The human mind passes instructions in a particular language and the computer acts accordingly. In the world of Apple, Swift is the primary programming language used for development. It is fairly easy to understand and is precise enough to reduce a significant quantum of workload on the developer. Additionally, Swift is common across all Apple products so you do not separate to develop the app from scratch for an iPad or Mac along with the iPhone


The Android world speaks Java and Kotlin. While Java was seriously criticized for its lengthy instructions and extensive effort in the app development, another language Kotlin was introduced as a sidekick to Java. Soon enough, Kotlin became more and more popular thanks to the convenience it offers. Today, the majority of app development in the Android universe is done with Kotlin.


Kotlin not only improves the app development process and thus, reduces the time needed for development, it also offers the connectivity and compatibility it inherits from Java. So, if you are looking forward to an app and a website, Kotlin and Java can make a good combo.


II. Integrated Development environment

An Integrated Development Environment or IDE is the second most important thing for a developer. A better IDE makes a huge difference when it comes to identifying and fixing bugs or testing features for possible improvements.


Xcode by Apple has been the longstanding IDE in the world of iOS. The latest version being Xcode 12 is optimized to run on Mac OS and makes sure that an app developed for an iPhone is equally compatible with a Mac as well. Xcode helps the developer keep track of multiple aspects at the same time and aids in better management but everything is not that bright.


Xcode needs a Mac to run on and just any person with a laptop can not become an Apple developer. While Apple has worked on easing app development on their platform, the apps still need an Xcode environment within the Mac OS.


The counterparty, Android aka Google has the convenience and diversity that is typical of it. A few years back, app development for Android took place using Eclipse. However, Google released an improved alternative called Android Studio. It is built on JetBrains’ IntelliJ IDEA and takes in consideration all aspects that a developer might be concerned about.


Android Studio handles everything from code structure to UI very efficiently and makes the developer feel at home with the interface in no time.  Flexibility is the greatest plus for android Studio because it can be installed and used with any OS; Windows, Linus, or Mac. Skipping the cost for a hefty machine makes Android development a lot easier than iOS.


III. The design ideology

The design of an app is a feature that all, the developer, the company, and the user, are concerned about. Both Android and iOS ecosystems have improved a lot when it comes to design and gesture implementations, though Apple has been lagging a bit than the Android space.


The Google ecosystem is filled with gestures, widgets, and design features that the developers can use in their app. However, the availability of such vast features becomes useless when it is practically impossible to implement them.


Why? The reason is that a new Android phone is released every week and introduces a new and unique set of features that make the phone special. Imagine at least 52 phones released during the year and the app has to be optimized according to each one’s requirements, aspect ratios, and design features. That is nuts.


On the other hand, Apple has been very consistent with its lineup and releases 3-4 new models each year, again those too are not mind-blowingly different from the previous ones. Updating the app and optimizing it to one or two new phones, a couple of design improvements is practicable and companies are mindful of the changes every September.


The recent inclusion of the much-demanded widgets in the design was an exciting time for both developers and users and they all were very eager to make use of the possibilities.The Android world is still largely based on a one size fits all strategy. Here’s a deep dive into the difference between Apple and Google design strategies: Google’s Material Design vs Apple’s Flat Design: Which is better? 




Top Differences between Android and iOS Development



IV. Audience demographics

Knowing your audience and customers is very important in the digital world because people now have a variety of options, all available on their couch. Targeting the perfect user and getting him to do what you want him to do at the lowest price possible is very important. This is the pivotal point around which the entire industry revolves.


The same is the case with app development. The audience on the two platforms is different in a number of aspects. Depending upon your product and its appropriate audience, it might help if you decide in favor of either of the two.


Here are some key aspects of comparable audience demographics of iOS and Android:


a.) iPhone users are 18% more likely to be females.

b.) Android users are 29% more likely to be money savvy.

c.) Android users can often be late adopters while iPhone users are 50% more probable to adopt a newly released model earlier.

d.) iPhone users are diverse in their experiences, you might have a majority of them traveling over more than 5 countries. On the other hand, Android users are diverse in their usage and consumption. They make good use of the freedom that Google offers them. This diversity includes trying new apps, viewing different modes of content on YouTube or any other media application as well.


Deep knowledge of these demographics is vital to an app’s success on any platform. This can impact how the company uses its developing space and the user’s screen aspects to eve if its app should be on a particular platform or not.


V. Quality checks and updates

Just like Apple chooses to include or drop a hardware feature after long deliberations of 2-3 years at times, you just can not throw an app on the App Store whenever you want. iOS has a lengthy 7-day process of an app review when they check each and every bit in your app to ensure that the user gets the perfect experience. This is exactly what they are paying for, right?


The app is checked for any glitches as well as the working of its features by professionals who then provide their verdict if the app is good to go for the market. The same is the case for updates, you can not release a new update every other day. This makes the developers more conscious of any bugs and the app is more refined before it reaches the final user even for the very first time.


Meanwhile, Google Play Store uses an automated system to access the app when it is submitted for review. Typically, the review is completed within 2 days and the developer is informed if it is ready to go. The agile here provides developers the opportunity to stay on track with the user more actively and utilize the update opportunities well to keep making improvements.


VI. Earning strategy

Remember when we discussed the spending propensity of a user on Android and his counterpart on iOS in user demographics. Well, the same thing happens when it comes to ‘how do you earn from your app’. If you want to earn from your user, you have to be of use to them and give them what they are looking for. And you have to remember there is a stark difference between android and iPhone users.


Starting with the Android part, the users are savvy with relatively low income, consume a diversity of content, and are less likely to spend money on software in their smartphone. What should you do?

Probably the best option would be to develop an app that has great features and is free to download. However, you can restrict the features after a 15-day trial for an in-app purchase. Also, referred to as the ‘freemium’ model. Now your customer has a taste of your app and knows that your app can provide the value he needs. He/she is more likely to spend on the app. Those who do not pay for the app keep getting ads every now and then and you can make up for your costs.


The Apple garden is different. People generally are high-income earners and are in search of a premium experience that gets the job done well and without any glitches. Ads might not the best strategy to go for. While introducing a paid is likely to work, a freemium again can be the optimal way to hit the sweet spot.


VII. Time of development

The actual development of an app for iOS takes less time than the Android, the reason being the swiftness of Swift. Android has improved in this section, thanks to Kotlin but still, there is room for improvement.


The initial lead is somehow made up for when It comes to the 1-week long review by App Store experts. Apple has strict guidelines and they verify many things while reviewing iPhone apps for App Store. The Android app gets reviewed in just 48 hours on average.


While both projects may take a comparable period of time, it translates into massive differences in the development strategy.


The ultimate takeaway

Apps on Android and iOS, both seem to serve the same purpose for the user and there is no doubt that both are doing a pretty good job at it.


Things as a company that wants to develop an app and as a developer are different. Being mindful of all major and minor differences is the only way to achieve the best results. Be compassionate about the user, consider the timeline differences in advance and there is no way you can miss your chance of hitting the jackpot on both platforms.

Ready to Take the Next Step?


Rahul Singh

Sr. App Developer

Rahul has been associated with the apps industry for more than 9 years now. He has seen the apps economy grow from its nascent days to a full fledged industry with its complete ecosystem as of today. His interest lies in pursuing and getting to know the best app development technologies, processes and platforms. He is truly an app enthusiast. In his free time he loves playing console games and reading history.

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