Android vs iOS: Which Platform to Build Your App for First?

Wondering which platform to develop your app for?

One of the first decisions you need to make when developing an app is which platform you should develop that app on first. There are 3 main factors that come into play when deciding this, your audience, project timeline and revenue goal.

Audience

Each platform have their own respective audiences and if you are targeting a global market with your app then you definitely need to consider them.

Graphic of which platform is most popular in which areas

Source App Annie

IOS

  • iPhone users tend to work in more creative jobs and tend to be more affluent, earning 40% more than the average Android user.
  • iOS users tend to be younger, with a greater share of the 18–24-year-old market.
  • Apple users are more likely to have higher education degrees.
  • Apple users tend to be in professional and managerial jobs.
  • Better for eCommerce and enterprise apps.
  • Better for audiences in Western Europe or North America.

Android

  • Android users tend to work more technical jobs.
  • Slightly more men prefer Android devices than woman do.
  • Better for audiences in up-and-coming markets like Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Project Timeline

It’s faster, easier, and cheaper to develop for iOS as much as 30–40% longer for Android.

One reason why iOS is easier to develop for is the code. Android apps are generally written in Java, a language that involves writing more code than Swift which is used for IOS development.

Another reason is that Android is an open-source platform. A lack of standardization means more devices, components, and software fragmentation to account for which increases development time dramatically as you will have to ensure that your app works on all varients.

Apple’s closed ecosystem means you’re developing for a few standardized devices and operating systems.

That said, the Apple App Store has stricter rules and quality expectations and therefore a longer review process.

Revenue Goal

If app monetization is one of your goals (which, lets be honest it probably is), there are some key platform differences to be aware of.

Android users tend to be less willing to pay for apps than iOS users, so free apps with in-app ads are more common and probably more profitable.

In fact, the Apple App Store generates twice as much revenue as Google Play, despite having half as many downloads.

iOS App Development

The Pros

  • Apple users usually spend more on app purchases than Android users. Potentially meaning your revenue will be greater.
  • The iOS operating system only functions with Apple devices hence, your app only needs to cater to a limited number of screens and devices.
  • Large amounts of documentation mean that producing apps for IOS are easier.

 The Cons

  • Apple’s App Store has some strict review guidelines and this can make your app release process a little tiring.
  • It is often hard to customize your iOS apps because the platform lacks flexibility and have many restrictions. 
  • Becoming a developer costs more than on Android at £76.99 per year.

Android App Development

The Pros

  • With an open-source system, you can get access to a larger range of features that may be restricted in iOS. Which allows you to build a seamless, intuitive user interface.
  • One of the most significant advantages of building an Android app is the massive user base. You can create an app for a wide range of platforms like TVs, wearables, mobile phones, in-car system and more.
  • In comparison to iOS app development, getting your Android app live on Google Play is easy. You may be able to pull it off in a few hours. 
  • Becoming a developer for Android is cheaper with a one off payment of £25.

The Cons

  • Android devices come in a large variety of screen sizes and resolutions. This means your development will take more time to customize the user experience for different devices.
  • This also means that more time is needed to test your app on different versions and devices of Android.
  • Both of these mean that development time is longer and therefore so will the costs as you will have to pay your development team for working longer.

In Conclusion

Where your audience lives, who they are, the features they want, and your development timeline and budget determine whether you should build a business app for Android or iOS first.

If you need to build a minimum viable product quickly and cheaply, then iOS may be the way to go.

Similarly, if you have want to make money with your app or build an e-commerce app, look to iOS.

However, if you’re targeting global or emerging markets, especially in Asia and Latin America, or if your app involves features that Apple doesn’t support, then Android is your best bet.

Want to know how to increase your App or Google play store conversions? An app explainer video can help, find out more here.

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