Categories: Mobile Apps

You’re looking at building a native app, and you’re weighing up iOS vs Android for your first build.

Why one or the other instead of both? iOS and Android apps are built on different platforms. To sell in both the Google Play Store and the App Store you’ll have to build a separate native app for each. Unless you have deep pockets, you’ll probably want to pick one for your first roll-out, then build for the other platform later.

iOS vs Android: what’s the difference?

iOS apps are apps built for Apple’s mobile devices. Android apps are built for devices running Google’s Android platform. And there are plenty of them: the Google Pixel, the Samsung Galaxy and phones by LC and Motorola are just a few.

It’s not just the phones that are different. There are also considerable demographic differences between iOS and Android users. Apple devices tend to be costlier than their Android equivalent, and this can be correlated with user backgrounds and price sensitivity.

For example, iOS users spend twice as much on apps as Android users. They’re much more likely to buy paid apps, and to make in-app purchases. Android, on the other hand, has a larger market reach.

These are factors you should take into consideration when developing the business model for your app. A game targeted at young users monetized by ads may be a solid Android play. A subscription-based app priced at $39.99 a month will gain more traction in the App Store.

iOS and Android apps are built with different languages, with different UI design patterns, and for different hardware. Let’s take a look at some of the differences between the two platforms.

iOS vs Android: Android for market reach

Android has its perks!

Android has its perks!

Android devices now account for 54.4% of all mobile devices. This means that an Android app has the potential to reach a larger audience.

This is especially true if your app is targeting an audience beyond the US, where Android has an even larger share of the market. It’s also easier to push an app to the Google Play store, which has less stringent requirements than the App Store. Additionally, you can “stagger” your updates, ensuring that things are working as they should be before proceeding with a full deployment.

But Android does have its challenges. While iOS runs only on Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices, Android runs on a huge multitude of different devices. That makes building an app that functions perfectly and predictably on every device a challenge. This is especially the case when the vast majority of users aren’t using the most up-to-date version of the OS.

The result can impact your overall UX – which can affect conversions and retention.

iOS vs Android: iOS for UX and monetization

iOS vs Android: sometimes it's an easy choice.

iOS vs Android: sometimes it’s an easy choice.

When you build for iOS, you’re building for a limited number of devices. Plus, while only 0.5% of Android devices are running the latest version, 90% of Apple devices are. That means it’s easier to launch (and update) a product that will work seamlessly for the majority of users.

iOS users are also less price conscious and more brand loyal. They also spend more time on their phone than Android users overall. This means that they’re more likely to pay for an app. And they’re more likely to keep supporting it even when they upgrade their phone.

Another benefit of iOS apps is that they’re faster to build. iOS apps are programmed using Swift, a streamlined language that incorporates an advanced error checking system. Developers also need to test across fewer devices, making iOS development 2-3x faster than Android development.

That said, pushing an app to the App Store is more of a challenge than pushing one to Google Play. If you opt for an iOS app, you’ll probably end up with a slightly slower update frequency.

iOS vs Android: summing it up

Each platform has its pros and cons. Whether iOS or Android is right for your app depends on your user demographics, monetization strategy, time to market and update roadmap. Most of the apps we build for clients are first launched as iOS apps – but for others Android is the right choice.

Tossing up between iOS vs Android and need some advice? Get in touch!

Touchtap is a digital agency specializing in mobile-first development.We can build your mobile app for you.

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