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Comparing Mobile App Development For Android And Ios

Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android dominate the smartphone operating systems market. But these are two distinct systems with their own unique features, interfaces, and underlying tech. As mobile app developers, it’s vital the apps we make can be used by their intended audiences on their devices. Otherwise, we simply haven’t done our job right.

James Nesbitt
James Nesbitt Updated 5 minutes read

So, what’s the difference between the two? Can you develop mobile apps for Android and iOS? This is our take on mobile app development for the two most popular operating systems.

A Look At Android and iOS

The primary android mobile app development software is Java and/or Kotlin. While Java is more complex to learn and use, it is also one of the oldest and most popular development languages, not just for mobile apps but web apps too. Thanks to the popularity of Java, it’s hard not to find a developer who knows how to develop a mobile app for android.

Swift, the native programming language of iOS is generally considered to be a more comprehensive language and requires less actual coding work. This not only opens up mobile app programming to developers of more skill levels but also means less labour-intensive projects and lower costs.

Generally, it might be slightly easier to find an iOS mobile app development company than one for Android where the development tools and software used are more widely used and iOS is a more prominent operating system.

From 2018, Apple and Android began to dominate the market over other operating systems like Windows and Nokia’s Series 40. Android has always had the majority of the market share, but this looks set to change as Apple’s market share has increased by over 5% in just the last year.

If you need a native mobile app, it’s worth researching your market to determine which operating system your app should be built for or whether you should invest in two native apps for both systems. Factors like age, geographic location, and lifestyle can all impact whether your demographic favours Android or iOS more.

But where Android owns more of the market in terms of volume, iOS turns over more revenue. In fact, iOS was responsible for 63% of all app revenue in 2021. One of the main reasons for this is that higher earners tend to own Apple products, so you may want to think about the importance of getting your app onto the devices of people with more spending power.

Mobile App Development: iOS and Android

Here are some more things to consider about operating systems' differences.

Android

iOS

Java and Kotlin are the native programming languages.

Swift is the native programming language.

Android currently holds the majority share of smartphone operating systems.

Apple holds a lower share of smartphone operating systems, but it is growing.

Thought of as more customisable to offer better bespoke results.

Thought of as having more comprehensive tools and frameworks.

A wide range of device screen sizes and resolutions that need to be considered.

Apple devices offer more standardised selection of screen sizes and resolutions.

Although there are differences that need to be navigated, mobile app development for iOS and Android together will always be our preferred approach. Cross-platform mobile app development means we can make an app deployable to both operating systems simultaneously, with the same budget. With the right mobile app tech stack, it’s a cost-effective way to get your app in front of a wider audience and prevent obstacles that stop people from downloading your app.

React Native is an excellent framework for creating hybrid apps, allowing developers to use a single codebase for functionality across both operating systems. It works by accessing native SKD abilities via a 'bridge' that allows it to render components using the device's native UI library.

This means apps built with React Native are faster to develop and perform almost as well as the feel of a native app. React Native is also easier for developers to use. It offers pre-built components and tools to create your own, so there's little limitation on what can be achieved creatively.

Find out about React Native in more detail in our article Why Use React Native Mobile App Development? Or take a look at some hybrid apps we’ve created.

The value in creating a native mobile app

We usually recommend hybrid mobile app development for both Android and iOS as standard, essentially creating two apps for both operating systems for the price of one. But there are benefits to creating a native mobile app too.

  • Native apps offer optimal performance as there are no limitations associated with catering to two different systems. The app is optimised for one platform and built using core languages and APIs. A native app can take full advantage of all the benefits and features of the operating system in question.

  • A native app is stored on the device and uses its processing speed to load elements and information. This means there are fewer load times associated with using the app.

  • Relying on a native operating system and building a mobile app to its underlying technologies means you can create an even more secure app.

  • Native apps can also be optimised for user experience, taking advantage of all the device’s features. They also inherit the operating system's interface to feel and look more integrated.

If you want an app for your brand but are unsure how to get started, take a look at our resources. We’re mobile app development specialists, and we want to help businesses and developers learn more about mobile apps.

Or just give us a ring and find out how we can help you make your app a reality.

James Nesbitt
James Nesbitt