The Android vs iOS battle rages on, even after years of both operating systems going mainstream. When it comes to personal use, it will always be individual preference based on usability, functionality, and compatibility partiality. But when it comes to pursuing a mobile app development project, there are other factors at play. Not only are you concerned with creating the best product on the best platform, but you’ve also got to be conscious about your budgeting when deciding which operating system to build for. So, should you build both an Android and iOS version of your app? If not, what are the consequences? If so, which should you build first and how much will it cost? You’re not going to like this, but the answer to all these questions is: it depends. Let’s unpack the Android vs iOS battle.

Difference Between Android and iOS

There are many difference between the Android operating system and iOS as well as the devices that support them. Because of its world-wide adoptability, Android is the largest operating system in the world. It runs on devices by Samsung, LG, Google, Huawei, Nokia, and more technology hardware companies. It is mainly written in Java, C, and C++. On the other hand, iOS is designed exclusively for Apple devices like iPhone, iPad, and MacBook. It is the world’s second most used mobile operating system after Android. It was developed mostly using Swift.

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Android vs iOS: Which is better?

Objectively, there is no better platform when it comes to Android vs iOS. Each present their own unique set of benefits compared to the other. On the other hand, they each have their downfalls. Let’s compare pros and cons of both Android and iOS.

Android Pros

  • Dominant in global market
  • More flexibility to customize app
  • Diverse phone options
  • Can side-load apps from outside the Play Store

Android Cons

  • Takes longer to develop
  • Users are slower to adopt new operating systems
  • Users are less likely to purchase apps
  • More susceptible to malware
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iOS Pros

  • Faster, easier, cheaper to develop
  • Apple users more likely to purchase apps
  • Tight security
  • Apple users more likely to update OS

iOS Cons

  • Less popular outside western Europe and North America
  • Less flexibility to customize
  • Apps take longer to be approved in App Store
  • Fewer device options for users
android vs ios

Which Platform to Build Your App on

Now that we’ve compared and contrasted Android vs iOS, it’s time to start unpacking which platform is best suited for your app. This process involves thinking critically about four main concepts: budget, timeline, target audience, monetization strategy. All four of these factors will play a major role in deciding to build for Android or iOS.

Android vs iOS: Budget

Unfortunately, mobile app development companies aren’t going to build you an Android and iOS version of your app for one low price. Rather, there is a price associated with both and Android version of your app and iOS. This is because the app code has to be written twice—once for iOS and once for Android. Of the two, iOS is often the cheaper option for two main reasons:

1. Apple apps are written in Swift which requires less code than Android programming languages

2. iOS has fewer devices (remember the list from above?), components, and software fragmentations to account for compared to Android

The gap between Android cost and iOS cost continues to grow beyond deployment as support and maintenance plans are more rigorous and time-consuming for Android apps. What’s more, Android developers also have to be concerned with fixes bugs for users running older operating systems since Android users are less likely to update their phones—a problem Apple users don’t have to worry much about.

Android vs iOS: Timeline

In addition to generally being more affordable, iOS app development is faster than Android app developmentsome estimates put development time at 30–40% longer for Android. Like mentioned above, less code, fewer device screens to make compatible, and less work after deployment are what save software engineers time during iOS development compared to Android.

android vs ios

Android vs iOS: Target Audience

Keeping the user at the center of your app experience is the most important thing during your app development journey. And so, it is imperative to look at your target audience and consider their geographic and demographic characteristics. If you’re targeting a global audience, Android may be your best bet. But, if your audience is in Western Europe or North America, Apple may be a better choice.

iOS Demographic Fast Facts

-iOS Apple users are more likely to have more education and hold managerial positions
-iOS users tend to be younger, with a greater share of the 18–24-year-old market
Women are more likely to use iPhones than Android

Android Demographic Fast Facts

-Android is dominant in global up-and-coming markets, including in Asia, Africa, and Latin America
-Android users are more likely to work in technical jobs
-Slightly more men prefer Android than iOS

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Source: App Annie

Monetization Strategy

Developing a monetization strategy for your app development project should be one of the first items on your to-do list. Some people opt for the investor route, others prefer a subscription program for a solid ROI. Charging users per download is another option you may consider. If you select this monetization strategy, building an iOS app will likely bring you more success over Android. Here’s why:

-iPad & iPhone users earn 40% more than the average Android user
-Apple users tend to spend more on apps
-Android users tend to be less willing to pay for apps than iOS users

Building your Android and/or iOS app

Deciding between building an Android app or an iOS app is not easy. You must consider your budget, timeline, target audience, and monetization strategy before making your decision. Ultimately, there will be tradeoffs if you decide to build either an Android or iOS app. In order to reap the benefits of both operating system, many folks opt to build them both. This is a sure-fire way to make your app available to all users!

Sunflower Lab is an iOS app development company and Android app development company with over 10 years experience. We were early adopters of both operating systems because we knew it would have a great impact on the way we live, work, and play. Our customers come from all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds to discover the power of mobile app development. To start your journey, contact our mobile app specialists today.