Android vs iOS Development: Which Platform is Better?

Published: February 20, 2017

10 min read

Last updated: May 2, 2022

Choosing the right platform to build your first app is a half of success. Do you know that every 4th user (about 23%) abandons an app after a single use? You don’t want to have such an experience, right?

You can lower risks by clearly defining your aims, audience and resources. But it is also important to know basic differences of Android and iOS platforms. Do you want to get the latest information on this topic? Follow us!

🤔 iOS vs Android development: which one to choose?

By the beginning of 2017, iOS and Android share an unbelievable piece of the mobile market – 96%, leaving all other operating systems far behind. Nevertheless, you have to choose out of this 2 variants anyway.

Interesting fact: Instagram, first launched on iOS in 2010, became available for Android users only 4 years later, in 2014.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” as the Chinese philosopher Lao said. Of course, it seems better to build an app for the both platforms at the same time, but there are also some reasons not to do so:

  • It can be expensive. You will require a different equipment and different developers, which will cost you a tidy sum of money.
  • It’s risky. You never know whether your users are going to like your app or not, so it’s better to test it in one of the markets at first.

“Ok,” you may reply, “so which one should I choose?”. We hope, our Android vs iOS comparison is the best answer for this question! Let’s take a complex look at the both platforms and find out their strong and weak points.

💰 Business aspects of iOS vs Android development: don’t miss your piece of pie!

What do you want your app to be like? You want it to be profitable and popular, sure. And believe it or not, it also depends on the platform you have chosen. How? Let’s have a closer look!

1. Market share and number of users

5 years back, in 2012, Android with its 21.5% share of the world’s mobile market would seem a looser comparing to iOS 61%. Now, over just a half of a decade, the situation has dramatically changed. In 2017 Android owes 64% of the world’s mobile market, which is twice higher than iOS does (32%). Numbers speak for themselves.

Nowadays Android has far more users than iOS

Of course, you should also consider other demographical stats, but have 2 potential users instead of 1, isn’t it great? So in the first round of Android vs iOS development one point goes to Android.

Android vs iOS comparison 1:0

2. Average revenue

You want your app to be not only popular but also profitable? Everyone wants! You may think, if Android has a bigger piece of the pie, it also has a larger revenue. And that’s where you are wrong.

With the 82% growth in net revenue during 2016, Android still stays behind iOS (which has grown by 60% during the last year). The difference is quite evident: having a half as many users, Apple App Store brought in almost 64% more revenue.

The revenue of Android's Google Play and Apple's App Store

The revenue of Android's Google Play and Apple's App Store

Numbers speak. Again. One point goes to iOS.

iOS vs Android development 1:1


It may seem obvious that Android has more app downloads than iOS. “What does it say to me?” you may ask. Maybe Android vs iOS apps revenue comparison looks more attractive for you, but the point is that Android apps raise more money from ads. More downloads mean more users. More users mean more profit from ads. It’s as simple as that!

Android vs iOS 2017 2:1

⚙️ Technical aspects: how to avoid difficulties?

When choosing the platform for a mobile app, you should also consider technical factors. They will help you to understand which way is cheaper, easier and faster.

1. Development complexity

When it comes to the development complexity of an Android app vs iOS app, Android loses. And we may not even consider differences in the programming languages. The main difficulty lies in the fragmentation.

Apple has the limited number of devices running on iOS: iPhone, iPod and iPad. Moreover, the most recent statistics shows, that over 50% of users updated their operating systems to the latest version (iOS 11) during the first 3 weeks after the release. Now this number is as high as 80%.

iOS developers have to build an app only for the newest operation system versions

iOS developers have to build an app only for the newest operation system versions

It makes lives of iOS developers easier. A development process flows faster because you have to build your app for a narrow range of devices and operating systems.

But if we talk about Android, it’s just a mess. There are dozens of smartphones and tablets on Android with different screen sizes and aspect ratios. It means your app should be suitable for all of them. Or at least for the biggest part.

The same thing is about operating systems. Here you can’t find any, which is used by more than 50% of Android device owners. And it means that you again have to consider this difference while building your app.

Android developers have more troubles

Android developers have more troubles

So the winner in this Android vs iOS duel is the last one.

Android vs iOS development 2:2

2. Development time

After reading the previous passage, it may be easy to guess what platform you will spend more time on building your app. Yes, it’s Android. And, yes again, because of its fragmentation. So when comparing an Android developer vs iOS developer, the last one has less work to do.

Android Studio is a usual "workplace" for Android developers

Android Studio is a usual "workplace" for Android developers

Some say it takes 30-40% longer for Android developers to create a mobile app even despite not very difficult programming language (for Android developers use Java or Kotlin, for iOS – Objective-C/Swift). And we're trying to save our time and resources, right?

iOS development platform gets one more point

3. Development costs

This is the important question for every developer, but it has no clear answer. And that’s why:

  • On the one hand, building an Android app is more costly due to a bigger number of operating systems and devices you’ll need to design for. But Android Studio (application for Android apps development) can be installed on any modern PC.
  • On the other hand, Xcode, which is required for designing iOS apps, is available only for Mac, so you will have to buy one along with iPhone or iPad. And it will cost you a pretty penny.

So, it looks like here we got a draw.

iOS vs Android development 4:3

4. Publishing

Till now it seemed that iOS apps are easier, faster and a bit cheaper to design. But even when your app is finished and ready to conquer users all over the world, there is one important step left – publishing to the app store.

Google Play Store lets you upload your app for a one-off $25 payment and without a long and strict approval process. In fact, your mobile app will be available within a few hours. You can also easily and freely run a live beta test or update it. That’s all!

But even when your app is finished and ready to conquer users all over the world, there is one important step left – publishing to the app store.

However, if you are looking for a long and exciting “adventure”, you should definitely choose iOS. But think twice. Every app and even update in App Store goes through a strict approval process by humans. And it may end not in your favor, which will make your efforts wasted. The only way out is to try again and again (of course, taking into account the checkers’ comments) until your app is approved.

Anyway, you will have to wait a couple of days before you get an answer. Be patient: sometimes it takes longer than a week.

And one more thing: instead of one-off $25 payment in Google Play, Apple App Store set up $100 annual fee.

In this Android vs iOS development duel Android is the evident winner.

Android vs iOS comparison 4:4

But in fact, no one is the winner. Each platform has its own advantages and disadvantages, and their importance may vary according to your needs.

However, there is another thing which can help you. It’s always important to know your target audience and to design a mobile app according to its preferences, interests and other characteristics. So here is a general portrait of iOS and Android users.

👩‍💻 Who are average iOS users?

Some users prefer iOS-based apps

If your users…

  • mostly live in North America and Western Europe;
  • prefer creative or entrepreneurial professions;
  • tend to spend more money on the internet and in mobile apps;
  • pay more attention to apps from Business, Education and Lifestyle categories;
  • more inclined to make in-app purchases…

… you should think about app development on iOS platform.

Read Also

Guide: How to Find and Hire Expert Remote iOS Developers for Your App?

👨‍💼 Who are average Android users?

While others prefer Android-based apps

But if your users…

  • mainly live in South America, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe;
  • prefer technical professions;
  • highly appreciate price-quality ratio;
  • pay more attention to apps from Tools, Entertainment and Communication categories;
  • more loyal to in-app ads…

… you may benefit more from app development on Android platform.

🗃️ Case study

We also decided to give you some hints, which will help you to choose the right variant between iOS vs Android development specifically for your project. So here are the most popular questions and answers for them.

Question 1. Which platform should I choose to build an eCommerce app or create a food delivery app?

Answer: iOS, because its users have a higher income on average and spend more money in mobile apps.

Question 2. Which platform should I choose, if I want to make money from in-app purchases?

Answer: iOS again, due to the reasons mentioned above.

Question 3. Which platform is better to create a minimum viable product?

Answer: most developers advise using iOS platform because it allows building your MVP faster and cheaper. On the other hand, you will have to buy Mac and iPhone/iPad, if you don’t have one.

Question 4. Which platform should I choose, if I want to make revenue from in-app ads?

Answer: definitely Android, because it has twice as many users, who are more inclined to watch ads.

Question 5. Which platform is better for designing mobile games?

Answer: Games are the most popular category in both app stores, but on Android it accounts for 90% of all revenue for apps, while on iOS for 75%. It means that Android is more preferable.

💡 Conclusion

The wrestle Android vs iOS seems to become even tougher. No doubt, that each platform has its pros and cons. Moreover, if the one was perfect, why would we need the second?

Read Also

React Native vs Native (iOS/Android) App Development Comparison

So as to sum up let's take a final look at the strong and weak points of these two platforms.

Advantages of Android app development:

  • Bigger market;
  • More app downloads;
  • Faster and less restrictive publication process;
  • Higher revenue from in-app ads.

Disadvantages of Android development:

  • Longer and harder to design apps due to fragmentation;
  • More expensive;
  • Android apps get less revenue on the average;
  • More potential bugs.

What about iOS?

Advantages of iOS app development:

  • Easier, faster and cheaper building process;
  • Solid market share in the USA and Europe;
  • Brings more revenue on the average;
  • Apps have fewer bugs.

Disadvantages of iOS app development:

  • iOS has twice fewer users;
  • More difficult to publish an app;
  • You will have to buy Mac and iPhone or iPad;
  • Apps bring less revenue from in-app ads.

So as you can see there is no universal solution for any case. You should think through all aspects before making the final choice. We are sure that you won’t fail. And we hope that this article brought you one step closer to your success.

Take your chance and good luck!

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