Mobile App Development: Android vs. iOS

Creating apps for Android and iOS may seem very similar to the untrained eye. But the truth is that each of these two operating systems has its own peculiarities. There are many differences between Android vs. iOS, both in the technical basics of app development and in the process of creating an application itself.

Not only at the technological level of Android and iOS development, but also in terms of design and marketing strategies for applications.

Android vs. iOS App Development

Let’s take a look at some of the differences that developers usually notice in iOS or Android app development.

Programming language

Android and iOS operating systems are designed in various programming languages. This is actually the biggest difference: iOS apps run on Objective-C/Swift, while Android apps run on Java.


The QA testing phase is an elementary part of the mobile application development process. The same applies to games and other types of software. You have to make sure that the application he developed works perfectly. For Example, The iOS simulator, and the Android emulator.

The main difference is that the iOS simulator is much faster than its Android counterpart. On the other hand, however, the Android emulator has the advantage that it is an effective virtual machine including a CPU, which makes it more realistic than its iOS counterpart. In fact, the iOS simulator is often unable to provide accurate and realistic representations of Apple devices.

For this reason, it is important to perform multiple tests on real mobile devices to see the interaction flow of the app and to detect possible errors.


This is where we come across the visual differences between developing an app for an Android or iOS end-user. At the technical level, the developer will create XML files on Android interfaces. These are somewhat similar to iOS XIB files.

The quality of iOS animations is better than android. Google has tried to fix this by previewing Android L and establishing an app design trend known as material design.

In the meantime, Apple has always focused on lightweight, complex, and powerful animations by carefully looking after the aesthetics and user experience. Google, on the other hand, decided to focus on hardware rather than these aspects.

“Going back”

Android Back button doesn’t exist in IOS. So every app development process must be carried out with this in mind.

We use the back button for navigation in Android. The absence of this button in iOS means that the app developer should indicate on the screen how to go back. Or if there is another way to stop this action with a different interaction flow.

Other Differences Between Android and iOS Apps

  • Delegate vs. Adapter: iOS uses the “delegate” principle, while Android uses an “adapter” for it. Despite different platforms and terms, these features are very similar.
  • UIViewController vs. Activity: On Android, we use Activity to display a certain screen. For iOS, the UIViewController does the same job. We use it to manage the lifecycles of events, subviews, and so on. So they play the same role, even if they are not the same.
  • Unlock: Android devices are unlocked by swipes from the bottom up across the screen. With iOS, you swipe from left to right.
  • Settings and permissions: These are better organized in iOS devices, where they can all be found in a specific category in the General Settings section of the device. In Android, they are still scattered, and you need to search the device a little more to find the settings. Sorting on iOS is better and more logical. With Android, a lot needs to be done together in this regard.
  • Maps: we can use either Apple’s Maps or Google Maps when we develop apps for iOS. However, we usually use Google Maps when we create apps for Android. Also, the use of geofencing and beacons in combination with it is becoming more and more popular.

Additional aspects to consider

When it comes to creating apps, differences between operating systems are not only recognized at the technical level. They also have a significant influence on design and marketing on a very basic level. Let’s look at how to deal with these differences.


In fact, the iOS development process is slightly more expensive because the demand for iOS apps is lower than for Android apps. Also, the requirements for introducing an application into iOS are much higher.


The design of an app is closely linked to its development process. That’s why the design of an app is visually different, depending on whether it’s designed for Android or iOS.

Each of these operating systems has its own interaction and style, which is heavily influenced by the two large companies that have developed them. It is advisable to have experts in the design of apps in one or both operating systems who advise us on our project. Only then we can create really good native applications.

App Store Optimization

App Store Optimization (ASO) is not completely the same in the two Android and iOS apps app stores. We will have to take this fact into account when optimizing the app to position it well in the stores. We will have to pay particular attention to the differences in title and description; all other variables are more or less the same in both cases.

Monetization & ROI

The return on investment (ROI) of an Android app is generally not the same as that of an iOS app. If we focus on the revenue source, we can see that the iOS app is more likely to charge users for downloading and buying in-apps. Android apps are usually free to download and are monetized by ads embedded in them.

Current market share

It might be interesting to know the current market situation of smartphones before deciding which operating system to develop your new application.

The number of two dominant operating systems speaks to the penetration of the market for smartphones. Android and Apple are currently the two exclusive and major providers of operating systems for smartphones.

In December 2019, Android led the way with a market share of 74%. The leading operating system Google Android and Apple iOS together own 99% of the global market share.

Google Play Store vs. Apple App Store

The number of applications is constantly increasing and growing faster and faster. Nearly 2.6 million apps are now available in the Google Play Store and 1.8 million apps are available in the Apple App Store.

Unlike the Google Play Store, the biggest difference between the two stores is that all applications are checked by Apple without exception. The application must meet certain requirements and policies for Apple apps. Developers should therefore consider them when developing an app for iOS. The process of reviewing the application takes about 3-4 weeks.

Android, on the other hand, doesn’t have such stringent verification procedures. Unfortunately, fake apps appear daily in the Google Play Store, and scammers attempt to take advantage of major trends by making fake apps for these popular users. In many cases, however, fake apps become visible due to poor reviews of fraudulent apps.

Conclusion: What is the difference between Android and iOS?

If you plan to create a viral app, consider creating it for Android. Depending on your audience and goals, you may want to include iOS. In this way, you cover most of the world’s potential users.


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