If you are going to develop an app, then the most important question would be which platform to build on? This is a decision you will need to make when you are planning the technical requirements to build your mobile app. According to Statista, in 2021 Google Play had 3.48 apps and the App Store had about 2.22 million apps. The number fluctuates as both Apple and Google remove low quality content from their app stores.
Both stores have a huge number of apps and choosing between both can be a challenge. Businesses may want their app to be on both iOS and Android platforms, however this can be difficult due to various issues like budget, time, and other resources. The best way to launch an app on one platform first and then build it for the second platform. Both platforms have their own pros and cons. You will need to research about each platform to understand which will be more effective for your mobile app.
In this article we will discuss some key aspects of iOS and Android to help you decide which platform to build for first.
iOS and Android
Which platform to build for first will depend on 5 factors:
The first factor to consider before choosing between the two operating systems is your target audiences. Both iOS and Android have different audience bases. Android and Apple devices together make up 97% of the OS global market. These two operating systems have the highest percentage of smartphones sold across the globe. When it comes to users, both cater to different demographics and preferences.
Android has the largest global market share compared to iOS, as it caters to users with lower income and developing countries. Whereas iOS caters to more affluent and high-income users, who are willing to spend more on apps. This does not mean that high income individuals don’t own Android or will only use iOS devices. Many users have both iOS and Android devices to cater to their needs and preferences.
Along with demographics you should also investigate audience behaviour on each platform. For example, push notification statistics determine that Android opt-in rates are much higher than iOS. Moreover, Android has a CTR of 4.6% while iOS has 3.6%.
While there are many differences in behaviour and personality in Android and iOS users, when it comes to making a platform decision for your app, income and location should be considered first.
The monetization strategy determines how you will make revenue from your app. Hence, this is another important factor to consider before deciding on a platform. There are various strategies like in-app purchases, paid ads, paid applications and more that you can leverage. It is important to note that iOS apps have proven to have a higher return on investments compared to Android. Even though the App store has less users and downloads compared to Google Play Store, it brings in more revenue.
Before choosing a platform look at the insights related to monetization strategies for both platforms. Although from a monetization perspective iOS seems like a better option, Android apps can also generate significant revenue from ad-based monetization strategy.
Differences in Development
It is important to consider the technological differences between iOS and Android development. From a technical perspective there are many differences in development for both platforms. The programming language for both platforms are different. Swift is the programming language used to develop iOS apps. Whereas Android uses mostly Java or Kotlin. There are cross-development tools that can enable you to create a single program for both operating systems.
Another difference is app design. The appearance and feel of apps are based on framework systems. Each operating system has various guidelines when it comes to user interface. For developing an Android app, you will have to refer to Material Design which is a guide for designing your user interface. Whereas iOS developers will adhere to Human Interface Guidelines.
There are other technological complexities you will have to consider before you choose a platform. You can talk to the developer about the technical requirements and compare each platform before making your decision.
Timeline is an important factor in determining which platform to build for first. Android apps can take longer to develop compared to iOS due to device fragmentation and release cycles. Since Android apps need to be developed for multiple Android devices it can take more time.
In addition, the coding language Swift used by iOS is more convenient to use for iOS developers. Developers take less time to develop on Swift as it has a shorter learning curve compared to Java. Developing on iOS is less time-consuming.
Building on iOS can be quicker, but the App Store can take longer to approve your app due to its strict requirements for product quality. Whereas Android apps only need a couple of days to get approval. Consider your timeline and when you wish to launch your app before deciding. You will need to assess how long your app will take to develop and be launched on each platform.
Planning your budget is essential for any project. If you want to build an app you need to decide on how much you will need to spend. This cost of developing depends on the complexity of your project. For example, if you want to create an app for many devices or include complex features, then that app will cost more to develop. The cost of your app will not depend on which platform you choose to develop on. Sometimes depending on your project, the cost for iOS and Android development will be the same.
Assess the complexity of your project with the help of your developer to determine the budget for each platform.
These are some of the important factors you will need to research on to help you decide. In the end, which platform to build for first depends on your business needs and project. Consider your target users first before you start with your app development. Your target users are at the centre of your project. To create a successful app, you will need to know your audiences first. For example, if you are catering to users with lower income from developing countries then Android is a better choice for you.
Consulting an app developer before making this decision is needed. A developer will be able to assess your project and guide you regarding the technical aspects of building an app. Moreover, they will also be able to determine how long it will take to build an app and the related costs. Research about these five factors mentioned above to make a decision on which platform is better for your app.