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Building a mobile app opens up worlds of possibilities for your business. But, before basking in the joy of the payoffs, you have to wrestle with numerous challenges associated with the app development process. One of them is the battle of choosing between iOS and Android. No doubt, you may plan to release your mobile application on both platforms, but still, you’ll have to decide for which operating system you will build a mobile app first. This is because working simultaneously on two mobile apps is expensive as well as taxing.
So, there is no alternative but to make the perplexing choice. As each platform has a dedicated segment of users, the wrong decision can take you far from your target audience and lead to counterproductive results. In order to avoid that, it is crucial for you to make a measured choice.
Here, we’ll discuss the major factors that distinguish both platforms and help you make an informed decision.
1. Target audience
Android and iOS enjoy the stature of being the two most admired operating systems worldwide. However, a major factor that distinguishes both platforms is the user segment. According to research, Android operating systems have a market share of 72% worldwide in 2023. This implies that Android is the most popular operating system across the globe even today. Whereas, iOS has a market share of around 28% in 2023.
In light of these revelations, it is clear that Android enjoys supremacy when it comes to the number of users worldwide. Given that, if you aspire to reach a wider target audience, building an Android app is unarguably the best choice for you.
Further, it is imperative to note that a study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research highlighted that 70% of iOS users fall in the high-income segment. Apple App Store’s customer spending also validates this finding. In 2021, customers spent $85.1 billion on the App Store. Seems incredible, doesn’t it?
From these revelations, we can conclude that if you are targeting an audience who wouldn’t hesitate to spend on your mobile application, you should go for building an iOS app. So, can you see things clearly to some extent? The following points will give you further clarity and aid you in making the best choice.
2. Cost of app development
Building an iOS app is cheaper than creating an Android app. This is primarily because iOS apps are built on Swift - Apple’s programming language. Codes in Swift are simple, concise, and consume less time. Consequently, the cost of developing an iOS app is lower.
Besides, Automatic Reference Counting (ARC) takes charge of tracking and managing the app’s memory. As developers don’t have to expend their time and effort on the process, naturally you have to pay less. So, overall, if you have a lower budget and target a young and high-income segment, building an iOS app will be the best choice for you.
When it comes to Android apps, they are built on Java. This programming language involves writing longer codes which in turn increases the number of hours developers have to devote to coding. As a result, Android apps are costlier to build.
Additionally, Android developers have to undertake the taxing process of creating different versions of the same application to accommodate different operating systems and devices. A lot of time and effort is expended at this stage which leads to a proportional increase in the app development costs.
Given that, to build an Android app and access a wider customer base, you’ll require a higher budget.
3. App publishing requirements
Google Play Store and Apple App Store have their own individual requirements for approving and publishing a mobile app. It is easier to get your app published on the Play Store as compared to the App Store. Apple follows a stringent process which makes the publishing procedure a trying experience for most app developers.
They have to meet enormous mountains of expectations before they can finally rejoice in success. Apple’s app review team thoroughly reviews a mobile application and the process can take several days. In some cases, developers can remain stuck for months or so.
As it can be excruciating to suffer the back and forth involved in the review process, it is crucial to introspect and determine if you have the required perseverance. You should also ponder over if you can patiently wait for a considerable duration of time in case your mobile app takes longer to get published.
If the answer to these questions is a big no, it is better to build a mobile app for Android as it is easier to publish applications on Google Play Store. All you require to do is upload the binary (.apk) file and follow the further steps to initiate the review process. As the Play Store has a simple review process, sometimes, it is possible to get your mobile app published within a few hours.
Once your app is live and running on the Play Store, you can slowly begin the process to build a mobile app for iOS.
Cyber security is a major concern for businesses as well as customers today. Since its inception, Apple is known for top-notch security when it comes to digital devices as well as mobile applications. If you envision building a mobile app with phenomenal security, iOS can suit you well.
Apple has a closed ecosystem which implies that it has absolute control over the devices, their operating system, and applications that can be installed. Given that, trying to breach Apple’s security is like breaking yourself against a mountain.
Besides, the stringent app review process doesn’t render approval to an application unless it reflects cutting-edge security features. However, an associated drawback is the availability of limited features due to security concerns.
Now, talking about Android, it is less secure as it is open-source. But, Google consistently works to render security to Android users. It is imperative to note that despite lagging behind iOS in terms of security, a majority of entrepreneurs prefer Android apps because the open source code enables enormous customization.
You can embed any features you like in a hassle-free manner. Given that, if customization comes before security in your list of preferences, you can go for creating an Android app.
5. Sources of monetization
Now, let’s come down to the sources of revenue you’ll gain access to after building an iOS or Android app. Talking about iOS first, a number of apps available on the App Store are paid. This implies that if you envision charging for downloads, it is time to build a mobile app for iOS. As Apple users already see a plethora of paid apps, they wouldn’t be surprised to see yours.
On top of it, being habitual in purchasing applications, they wouldn’t hesitate to buy yours if they find it intriguing and meaningful. But, remember that with pay-per-download comes higher customer acquisition cost as Apple charges a 30% commission from paid apps.
Coming to Android, users are more inclined toward free apps. If you release a paid application, they’ll try to find a free alternative to it with similar features. However, by releasing your mobile application on Android, you can enjoy an abundance of downloads.
You can leverage it as a strategy to earn revenue through in-app purchases and advertisements. As 75% of mobile users have Android phones, you can earn well from in-app purchases and advertisements. You can also charge users for app upgrades and premium services.
6. Time required
The time required for the mobile app development process is another arena where iOS and Android apps differ. Building an iOS app is less time-consuming as compared to building an Android app. This is because as mentioned earlier, iOS apps are built on Swift coding which is simple, concise, and easier.
Besides, these applications do not involve as much customization as Android apps. Hence, developers can finish the app development process quickly. Given that, if you aspire to release your mobile app as soon as possible, it is better to build it for iOS.
Speaking about Android apps, as mentioned earlier, they are based on Java programming which requires developers to write more lines of code. This makes creating an Android app a time-consuming affair. As Android applications can be customized to a great degree, the number of unique features you aspire to integrate into your app also affects the time frame.
That said, if you can wait a little longer for your app to be released, you can opt for building an Android app.
Let’s Wrap Up
Deciding between an Android app and an iOS app is perplexing. It can keep you mentally going round in endless circles. However, if you know in detail what factors differentiate the two types of apps, you can unarguably make the right decision.
Target audience, cost of development, and sources of monetization are some parameters where iOS and Android exhibit stark differences. The information mentioned above endeavors to help you examine these differences minutely and conclude which platform you should first build your mobile app for.
If you still find it challenging to choose one of them or find yourself stuck at some point, LN Webworks can help you sail through. We have a proficient team of app developers who can beacon you to make the right decision. So, without any second thoughts, contact us today.
Manpreet SinghDrupal Expert
Manpreet is a detail-oriented website and web application developer with 6+ of experience delivering solutions, ranging from small microsites to big portals, including corporate intranets. He has been building Drupal-powered sites since version 7.