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App development: Android or iOS?

android vs ios

One fundamental consideration before starting the development of an application is which platform it should be developed for. Let us tell you from the beginning: there is no universal answer to this question. Both systems offer their advantages and disadvantages.

Developing an app for both iOS and Android (if the budget allows it) is the ideal case, as you can obtain the maximum spread in the app market. If, on the other hand, this exceeds your budget and you need to make a choice, this article will help you by showing you the main differences between Android and iOS.


The main differences between Android and iOS

First off, while comparing Android and iOS development, we are talking exclusively about native applications. Instead, web or hybrid applications are usually developed directly for both systems but present the disadvantage of non-native performance. A third way are apps developed for both systems but with a single framework allowing native compilation for both Android and iOS, such as Flutter and React -Native.


The programming language

The main difference between Android and iOS native apps lies in the programming language used. Android offers developers a little bit more freedom. The most commonly used programming language for Android apps is Java. Also, C++ or Ruby are often used. To develop an Android application, you need the Android Software Development Kit, which is supplied with the "Android Studio" development environment, but it can also be downloaded separately.

For iOS app development, the main programming language is Swift. Apple introduced Swift in 2014 as a modern, strong, and easy-to-learn programming language. Before Swift, Objective-C was the predominant language for iOS app development and in some cases, it is still used today.

Android is available on a large number of devices. More different and modified versions of Android are in circulation than iOS. However, creating an Android app involves more effort than developing an iOS app, due to the diversity of devices and versions.


Publication of applications

Another difference lies in the publication of Android and iOS apps. The App Store and Play Store platforms have their own specific guidelines, but in general it is fair to mention that while publication on the Google Play Store is relatively quick and easy, the Apple team is a bit stricter in the publication process.

For Android, the app is uploaded to the Google Developer Console, all relevant data such as the description, icon and categorisation of the app are provided, and the app is published within a day.

Publication on Apple's App Store, on the other hand, can take up to a week. During this period, Apple's review team checks the quality and functionality of the submitted app and asks the submitter to improve it in case of errors before the app can be published.

Participation in Apple's App Store and the Google Play Store is also different: in the Google Play Store, developers have to pay a one-off fee of $25, while Apple asks the account holder to pay $99 per ye


Development costs

Development costs for iOS and Android differ. In general, they are slightly higher for Android development and this is due to the diversity of devices and versions. While iOS is a more stable system, there are countless modified Android versions that need to be covered. Apple's mandatory updates guarantee that most iOS devices function properly with the actual versions. Android producers often distribute new versions of Android more slowly, which means that many devices still work with older Android versions.

This makes the development effort and especially the maintenance of the app more expensive than in iOS.

Another important factor is the great number of displays with different dimensions and resolutions. While iOS devices have manageable discrepancies, Android has an abundance of different resolutions and display dimensions, making the design development of an app much more complex than for iOS.

It should also be mentioned that development with Flutter and React Native costs less because it is actually developed once while remaining a native app, and the latest operating system versions for both Android and iOS are generally defined.


A bit of data for the third quarter of 2022

Google Play Store:

  • Gross app sales in the Google Play store were approximately USD 10.4 billion worldwide

  • In the third quarter of 2022, gross app sales in the Google Play store were approximately USD 10.4 billion worldwide

  • More than 3.55 million mobile apps were available on the Google Play Store. Between the beginning of 2019 and the end of 2021, the number of mobile apps available to Android users via the Google Play Store increased steadily, reaching 4.67 million apps in the last quarter of 2021.


App Store di Apple:

  • Apple's App Store generated $21.2 billion in consumer spending on in-app purchases, subscriptions and premium apps in the last quarter surveyed

  • Apple's App Store generated $21.2 billion in consumer spending on in-app purchases, subscriptions and premium apps in the last quarter surveyed

  • In the third quarter of 2022, approximately 1.64 million mobile apps were available in Apple's App Store. Between 2015 and 2022, the number of mobile apps fluctuated, peaking at 2.22 million iOS apps in the first quarter of 2021.


Which system should I choose?

Although it's true that Android has a large user base and therefore an Android app addresses a higher number of buyers, it's clear that you can obtain significantly higher revenues from an iOS app thanks to in-app purchases. This is due to the fact that the purchasing willingness of an iOS user is much higher than that of an Android user.

As a consequence, we can say that the answer lies in the app's nature. During a first conversation with a developer team, it's possible to quickly identify the operating system to choose. For most apps, a parallel release in both stores is a good idea to reach the widest possible target group. In some cases, one should target iOS first, in others Android. From this point of view, choosing development with Flutter and React Native results in a native product for both systems.


Do you have an app development in mind and don't know which direction to take? Schedule a non-binding call with us and we will guide you through the entire process, from conception to implementation and beyond.

Remember that with DevInterface, you have access to a wide range of expertise in mobile app development. We specialise in creating intuitive user experiences, engaging interfaces and advanced functionality, ensuring that your app stands out in the market and meets the needs of users. Take a look at our technology stack.