In 2021, more than six billion users use mobiles worldwide. And it is expected to grow by hundreds of millions in the coming years. Out of which, Google's Android and Apple's iOS together have 99 percent of the market share globally. Seeing this trend, mobile users have become the priority of businesses. And those who aren't prioritizing mobile users are losing customers every second.
Even though Android and iOS are ruling the smartphone market, there is always a question stuck in mind when developing an app: Which platform to build first: Android or iOS? Is it a good move to target both at the initial stage?
Both platforms have their own strengths and weaknesses, so it is essential to know about them before prioritizing an operating system. It depends on many factors before starting the development process. So, in this article, we will try our best to simplify and make it easier for you to decide which OS to prioritize first.
So, let's get started.
Factors to consider
First, you have to be clear about who you are building the app for and which operating system has more users. Android and iOS platforms have their own sets of audiences.
- Android has over 2.8 billion active users worldwide.
- Android is mostly used in countries, like Asia and Africa.
- 900 million active users use iPhones.
- iOS users are mostly from North America and Europe.
Since Android is less expensive than iPhones, more people prefer the former. This is why Android popularity is increasing rapidly every year.
Looking at these numbers, it is wise to say that Android is way ahead in terms of usage. So, this can be one of the reasons for choosing Android first.
Since there are more Android users than iOS, it is evident that Android has more market share. Although they consist of 99 percent of the market share worldwide, Android has 72.83%, and iOS has 26.35% as stated by StatCounter. Android surpasses iOS in terms of market penetration.
So, if you want to cover a broader market, then you might want to choose Android.
However, it also depends on where your users are located. If you are targeting users from North America and Europe, then it is best to choose iOS. Otherwise, Android should be your priority.
In 2020, Apple's App Store generated $72.3 billion, whereas Google Play Store generated $38.6 billion. Despite having fewer users, iOS has more revenue than Android. Still, the Google Play Store growth rate is higher than iOS: 19.6% to 13.2% every year.
From this, you need to understand that iOS users are more willing to spend and make in-app purchases than Android, which shows iOS has better revenue.
So, if you are focusing on revenue generation, then iOS is your platform.
When developing an app for iOS devices, you will be only building the app for iPhone, Mac, and iPad. However, Android isn't limited to one or two devices. There are devices with different screen sizes and pixel densities. So, you have to make your app flexible and compatible with all of these devices.
Now, let's compare both platforms based on development time, programming languages, and testing. As stated earlier, since there are many Android devices with different screen sizes and pixel densities, it will take more time to develop an app on Android. Not only this, but the testing time will also increase. On the other hand, because of limited devices, it takes less time to create an app on iOS.
Moreover, the iOS app primarily uses programming languages like Swift and Objective-C. However, to make an Android app, you have Java, Python, C, Kotlin, etc. There are various languages to go for. In addition, they have their own advantages and disadvantages, increasing the time to decide which one to use. Still, some developers are experienced and skilled in both Android and iOS.
Considering all these, the complexity of developing an app on Android is vast because of the number of devices, making iOS development easier than Android.
Even though the cost depends on the features and complexities of the app, since Android has many devices of different sizes, Android development will be costlier than iOS. Moreover, this makes the maintenance and future updates more time-consuming and expensive for Android.
However, Apple has strict rules and standards. Until and unless your app fits the guidelines, it will not be published on App Store. In such a case, you have to rebuild your app, increasing the development time and cost. Besides this, iOS development is more budget-friendly than Android.
Talking about brand loyalty, iOS users are clearly the winner here. In a SellCell survey in 2019, it was found that 92% of users were loyal to Apple, whereas it dropped to 74% from 85.7% for Samsung. Only 8.1% of iOS users were ready to switch, whereas 26% of Samsung users were ready to jump ship to other brands. The study shows that iOS users are 18% more loyal to their brand, unlike Android.
So, if you are looking for loyal customers, then iOS should be your obvious choice.
As stated earlier, iOS has strict guidelines and rules for publishing the app on the App Store. It is possible that your app might not pass the iOS standards and be published.
However, for Android, it is easier to publish the app. If looking from a different perspective, Apple is more secure than Android because of strict rules and guidelines.
Which platform to choose?
Considering all the factors mentioned above, let's see which platform is best.
Go for iOS, if you want
- to generate more revenue
- to have loyal users
- to focus on the security of the users
- to develop the app faster
- to spend less budget
Go for Android, if you want
- to reach more audience
- to publish faster
- to earn a stable revenue
Why not both platforms?
It is best to build for both platforms. You will have users from both operating systems who will be using your app. And if everything goes as expected, it won’t be long before you bag success.
Moreover, the technologies have become so advanced recently that you can develop apps for both Android and iOS. Frameworks like React Native, Flutter, NativeScript, etc., help in building cross-platform apps. Amazingly, they have several benefits, like
- Faster development
- Less time on writing code
- Quick setup
- Less time to test and fix bugs
However, building on both platforms also depends on many factors such as
- Well established business
- No budget problem
- Have resources, like developers to build the app or investors
It can be challenging for a startup to target both platforms since there might be a problem with funds at an initial stage. But for successful businesses, it might not be an issue.
Moreover, it depends on the users, whether they will be using your app or not. If the app fulfills their needs and the demand is high, you can release it on both platforms. For this, first, you need to validate your ideas and build an MVP. This way, it will be easier for you to know the feasibility of making the app on both operating systems.
Which platform are you choosing for your app? Looking at the above factors, some favor iOS whereas some Android.
However, if you ask us, our answer would be both because we can’t ignore one platform’s user for another.
If you are planning to develop an app, please feel free to contact us. We would be more than happy to help you make your dream app. We also provide a free consultation service. So, don't hesitate to send us a message or call us.
References: Benjamin Davis-LinkedIn, Savvy