How to port an iOS app to android

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Table of Contents

  1. iOS and Android – Similar as Chalk and Cheese
  2. What are the pros of porting iOS apps to Android?
  3. Things to consider when porting iOS to Android
  4. Steps to port an iOS app to android
  5. How to submit the ported app at play store?
  6. Conclusion

Do you own an iOS app and want to port it to android? If yes, you have come to the right place.

Though your iOS app is doing well in the App Store, you might want to organise a port to Android too. Now, you might be wondering where to start from. The good news is that it is a straightforward process and one can do it with much ease.

The first thing you need to think about when porting an iOS app to android is whether to retain the iOS look or have a separate Android UI. This matters a lot,as you can reduce the extra work and efforts of creating an app from scratch. The next thing to consider is the devices, which you wish to support. Do you want the iOS app to support Android tablets also? If yes, you should port the app accordingly.

In this article, we are going to address a few issues that mobile developers face while porting an iOS app to android. You need to decide on how to redesign the app.

 iOS and Android – Similar as Chalk and Cheese

iOS and Android represent distinct mobile operating systems, each with unique characteristics. iOS, exclusive to Apple’s iPhones and iPads, boasts seamless device integration, stringent app quality control, and a closed ecosystem. Apple prioritises a clean, intuitive user interface, enforcing strict adherence to design guidelines.

Conversely, Android, Google’s open-source platform used by various manufacturers, offers extensive customization options. The Google Play Store’s more lenient app submission process results in a broader range of applications. Android’s diverse hardware landscape stems from its availability across various manufacturers and device types.

When considering the need to port an iOS app to Android, differences in development become evident. iOS app development primarily involves using Swift or Objective-C, adhering to Apple’s guidelines. Android developers, using Java or Kotlin, benefit from a more flexible development environment. Despite these distinctions, contemporary cross-platform development tools have emerged, allowing developers to create apps that seamlessly run on both iOS and Android, minimising disparities in user experience.

What are the pros of porting iOS apps to Android?

Porting an iOS app to Android can unlock a myriad of advantages, broadening the app’s reach and tapping into the extensive Android user base. This strategic move facilitates increased market penetration and user acquisition, potentially boosting overall revenue and brand recognition. The key benefit of porting an iOS app to Android lies in the expanded user demographic. Android dominates the global smartphone market, and adapting an app to this platform ensures accessibility to a broader audience. This move caters to users who prefer Android devices, enhancing the app’s market share and potentially outpacing competitors confined to a single operating system.

Furthermore, an iPhone to Android app conversion addresses the diversity in user preferences and device choices. Android’s open ecosystem allows for more customization, enabling developers to tailor the app to different screen sizes, resolutions, and functionalities. This adaptability contributes to an enhanced user experience on a variety of Android devices. In addition, porting Android apps to iOS can create a reciprocal advantage. By optimising the app for both major platforms, developers maximise their potential user base and streamline maintenance efforts. This cross-platform approach promotes consistency in user experience and feature availability, fostering user loyalty and positive reviews.

Overall, the strategic decision to port an iOS app to Android extends beyond simple platform adaptation. It opens doors to new audiences, diversified revenue streams, and positions the app for sustained success in the dynamic mobile landscape.

challenges during porting an ios app to android

Things to consider when porting iOS to Android

You need significant adaption when porting an iOS app to android. We recommend you not to use design tools that are intended for iOS. Most of the common app design tools provide iOS templates and you may think that they fit the android platform as well. However, one should know that porting an iOS app to android will lead to conflicts between the ported app interface and design of the android device. There are many contradicting features between iOS and Android, such as – buttons, lists, tabs, date/time, widgets, navigation etc.

The next thing to consider is fragmentation that is derived from different screen resolutions. You should consider the app’s data and graphics to be displayed both on small and large screens, considering vertical as well as horizontal layouts. Though you can ignore some of the older versions, you should consider 10% of screen resolution. Some of the popular versions of the android system are – Ice-cream sandwich and android 2.X, KitKat, Jelly Bean, Lollipop and Marshmallow.

Android design

Now, once you have decided to port an iOS app to android, you should consider thinking of android design. The problem is that there are many iOS tools that have iOS templates and designers use them to design android apps. However, the designs conflict with the feel and look of the app. It will take a lot of effort and time to implement. Moreover, there are problem areas such as round buttons, tabs at the bottom, lists with right pointing arrows and so on.

To avoid these problems, the first thing you need to do is avoid using iOS design tools. Just use drawing tools such as Photoshop, Visio, Balamiq next etc. If you want to get a quick overview of android UI, you can check the official website of Android. Google also has created a page describing how to design a pure android app.

Should you adapt a new UI?

With the changing algorithm of Google, it changes the way apps can be architected internally for smartphone and tablet layouts. Google provided a compatibility library that allows the latest UI elements to run on new and old android devices without changing the look and feel of the app. When redesigning the app for android, you should focus on how the data and graphics will be displayed on screens of different sizes.

Google strongly recommends following the UI language known as “Material Design”. This will help the android audience get familiarised with common UI. Material design has a few common UI elements that have better support for developers.

How to export graphics?

Android has a different graphic asset and you need to adapt your app’s graphic assets for android. This means, you need to resize, export and name new files. It can be a bit easier than exporting assets for iOS. For instance, if you are exporting .png images, you should consider grouping the assets in different sizes 1X, 2X, 3X and 568h@2X. It would be a big headache to create precisely sized assets for each android device. Hence, the best solution is to scale assets to the correct size for the relevant device screen. This could be one of the reasons why graphic images on android are not as crisp and beautiful as they do in iOS.

Code porting

The next thing to consider is the code porting, Check if it is possible to take objective-C or Swift code or recompile it for android. The android apps use Kotlin or Java. Some mobile app developers make the mistake of sharing embedded UI designs into the app. Sometimes, the specifications include UIs that gather information to be sent to social networking apps. There is no need for such sharing for android apps. Instead, mobile app developers should consider using actionsend intended for other social networking apps.  This means users should be able to share to other apps and there is no need to write a separate code against server-side sharing APIs.

In short, it is essential to consider which characteristics of your product are time-sensitive and use the programming tactics accordingly.

How long does it take to port?

The time required to port an iOS app to Android varies widely, typically ranging from a few weeks to several months. Factors such as app complexity, development team expertise, and the extent of platform-specific features influence the duration. Simple apps may be completed more quickly, while complex ones with intricate functionalities and design elements can extend the timeline. Thorough testing on different Android devices adds to the overall process, ensuring a seamless user experience. Ultimately, a well-planned and executed porting process strikes a balance between efficiency and the need for comprehensive adaptation to the Android ecosystem.

Steps to port an iOS app to android

iPhone to android app conversion is a meticulous process that involves careful planning and execution to ensure a seamless transition while optimising for the unique characteristics of each platform. Here’s a comprehensive guide in point format to navigate the steps involved:

 1.) Assessment of iOS App Structure:

  • Examine the existing iOS app’s architecture, features, and functionality.
  • Identify components that may require modification or adaptation for Android compatibility.

 2.) Market Research and Target Audience Analysis:

  • Conduct market research specific to Android users.
  • Analyse the target audience on the Android platform, considering demographics, preferences, and behaviour.

 3.) Adaptation of User Interface (UI):

  • Redesign the UI to comply with Android’s Material Design guidelines.
  • Adjust layout, navigation patterns, and visual elements for a cohesive Android user experience.

 4.)  Codebase Migration:

  • Evaluate the programming languages used in the iOS app (Swift or Objective-C) and convert or rewrite code into Java or Kotlin for Android.
  • Address any platform-specific APIs, libraries, or frameworks used in the iOS version.

 5.) Testing and Debugging:

  • Implement rigorous testing on various Android devices to identify and resolve compatibility issues.
  • Utilise emulators and physical devices to simulate different screen sizes, resolutions, and hardware configurations.

 6.) Optimization for Performance:

  • Optimise the app’s performance for Android devices, considering variations in processing power and memory.
  • Enhance resource management to ensure efficient operation on a diverse range of Android hardware.

 7.) Handling Device Fragmentation:

  • Account for the diverse ecosystem of Android devices, addressing differences in screen sizes, resolutions, and aspect ratios.
  • Implement responsive design principles to accommodate the variety of Android smartphones and tablets.

 8.) Integration of Platform-Specific Features:

  • Leverage Android-specific features and capabilities, such as widgets, intents, and notifications.
  • Enhance the app with platform-specific functionalities to provide a tailored experience for Android users.

 9.) Localization and Internationalisation:

  • Adapt the app for different languages and cultural nuances, ensuring seamless integration with Android’s localization features.
  • Implement support for diverse date formats, currencies, and other regional preferences.

 10.) Security Considerations:

  • Evaluate and adjust security measures to align with Android’s security protocols.
  • Address potential vulnerabilities and implement Android-specific security features.

 11.) Compliance with Google Play Store Guidelines:

  • Familiarise yourself with Google Play Store submission guidelines.
  • Ensure compliance with policies related to app content, metadata, and user privacy.

 12.) User Feedback and Beta Testing:

  • Conduct beta testing with a select group of Android users to gather feedback.
  • Use feedback to make final adjustments and enhancements before the official release.

 13.) Launch and Marketing Strategy:

  • Plan a strategic launch on the Google Play Store, considering optimal release times and marketing initiatives.
  • Leverage the app’s presence on other platforms to enhance visibility and attract a wider audience.

By systematically addressing each of these steps, developers can successfully port an iOS app to Android, offering users on both platforms a consistent and optimised experience.

How to submit the ported app at play store?

After successful acceptance by Google play store you can say that your iPhone to android app conversion is completed. Once the app is ported successfully to Android, it should be submitted to Play Store in the similar way it is submitted to iTunes. You need to provide screenshots, regions, ratings and other details about the app to the developer. Go through the guidelines of submitting the app to the Play Store. Google will review your app and approve or reject it on the same day.


There are many mobile app developers who have huge experience of porting android apps to iOS or vice versa. To bring amazing results, the template for app porting should have – adaptation plan formula, UX testing, source app business logic analysis, proper coding & testing, etc.

We have ported several apps from iOS to android and have huge experience in android and iOS development. The porting process can be a smooth sailing, if you understand how to prepare the assets for Android before you start!


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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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