Differences Between iOS And Android Apps Development

Differences Between iOS And Android Apps Development

Every mobile app developer at the beginning of their career asks themselves a simple question that later shapes their career path — iPhone or Android? Similarly, businesses looking to build a mobile app ask the same question to determine which platform can help them achieve their unique business goals. Whether you’re a mobile app developer or a business owner looking to build a mobile app, you should know the differences between iOS and Android app development. 

5 key differences between iOS and Android apps development

Programming language 

iOS and Android use different programming languages. iOS apps are written in Apple proprietary programming languages, Swift and Objective-C, while Android apps are written in Java and Kotlin. Mobile app developers learn different stacks to code for either platform, so businesses must know what they want before hiring a mobile app developer. 

Although Apple is gradually phasing out Objective-C and replacing it with Swift, both programming languages have an easier learning curve than Kotlin and Java. Swift is easier to learn because it has high readability compared to Java. However, Kotlin addresses the complexities of using Java for Android development, and Kotlin might become as readable and intuitive as Swift in the coming years. 

Developer toolkits 

Android is a thriving open-source environment with a robust support system and abundant developer resources. Android app developers use Google's proprietary integrated development environment (IDE), Android Studio, with other Google resources such as Android SDK and Jetpack. On the other hand, iOS developers use Apple’s proprietary IDE, XCode. 

Android Studio is a cross-platform tool compatible with Chrome OS, MacOS, Windows, Linux, and Microsoft. Android developers enjoy a variety of proprietary and third-party resources and tools, making their development journey seamless. But iOS developers must have a Mac to build iOS apps because, for one, XCode is only compatible with MacOS. 

iOS developers must rely only on Apple’s proprietary developer tools and perhaps a few authorized third-party resources. However, iOS developers probably don’t need third-party tools because of the intuitiveness of MacOS and its tools. For example, Mac Task Manager is a tool for monitoring and eliminating errors in the development process. 

Development complexity

While Android is open-source, making the Android code public, iOS is closed-source — iOS uses proprietary code, which is unavailable to the public. This is a good thing for Android developers because it gives them customization flexibility. Additionally, Android phone manufacturers can modify the operating system (OS) code.

Now, it gets tricky because Android phone manufacturers modify the OS to create brand customizations, which creates more fragmentation between Android devices. As a result, this increases the complexity level of Android app development compared to iOS development which has less fragmentation. For example, we can see the difference between Samsung and Nokia phones even though they both run on Android. 

One of the reasons Apple products are enjoyable is the cohesiveness across different Apple products, which also makes iOS app development simpler than Android. Android app developers deal with a wide variety of screens, display sizes, resolutions, and other user interface differences. Besides building for different UI customizations, Android app developers must also test and iterate multiple times to ensure the app is functional across different Android devices.  

Publishing and distribution 

Apple has strict rules and regulations guiding the publishing of apps on the App Store, and Apple takes time to approve iOS apps before publishing. Although Apple says it reviews 90% of the apps awaiting publishing approval within 24 hours, approval can take days. The good thing about the rigid approval process is that the approved apps are generally bug-free, but we can’t say the same for Android apps.

If your goal is to build a mobile app and launch fast, the Android platform is the best option. Publishing on Google Play Store is significantly easier and faster than it is for App Store. The onus lies on you to launch a bug-free app or risk getting poor ratings from users on the Google Play Store. 

The Android platform is also better for distribution because it has third-party platforms where users can find Android apps. For example, you can publish Android apps on Amazon App Store. While iOS apps are exclusive to the App Store, you can enjoy an enterprise distribution model, which allows you to distribute your app under a private license to a selected group of users. 

Budget and return

As we discussed above, Android app development requires more fragmentation, making it more complex than iOS development, which means Android app development costs more. However, Google charges a one-time fee of $25 for publishing, while Apple charges an annual fee of $99. Regarding gadgets cost, Android development is budget-friendly because you can get brand new high-quality PCs for under $1000, but the cheapest MacBook is above $1000. 

It’s nice that both platforms charge a standard 15% commission on developer revenue. 

Regarding revenue, Android users are used to enjoying free apps, but you can make some profit from showing ads on your app — the Android community is used to ads. On the other hand, iOS users spend more than Android users –– iPhone users spend $101 per month, and Android users spend $51. But the Android community is larger than the iOS community, with a global market share of 71.45%, while iOS controls 27.83%. 

Can you build for iOS and Android at the same time? 

Yes, you can, and many mobile apps have iOS and Android versions. The question to ask is, should you build a native app for iOS and Android or develop a cross-channel mobile app using a cross-channel programming language? Building a mobile app for cross-platform channels requires learning different programming languages such as React Native, Flutter, Xamarin, and Cordova. 


Whether you’re a developer or a business owner, think about why you want to build a mobile app before answering the question “iOS or Android.” Then make a choice considering the differences between iOS and Android app development, your target user or customer base, budget, and long-term (business) goals.

agencies365 8 months ago
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