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Android vs iOS app development: Which operating system is better for your mobile app development goals?

iOS vs. Android App Development: What’s the Difference?

The two most popular smartphone operating systems are Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. When making mobile apps, you must first choose whether to develop for iPhones or Android devices.

Apps made for the Apple App Store differ in various ways from apps made for the Google Play Store:

  • Developers use different programming languages when developing for iOS versus developing for Android.
  • iOS apps and Android apps require different budgets and maintenance tasks.
  • Different mobile operating systems are popular depending on the country one wants to target.
  • Android is more customizable than iOS, but not necessarily more popular in every country.

Creating cross-platform apps is a challenge. Trying to publish an app for both iOS and Android at the same time leads to technical issues, expensive costs, and many more challenges. So it is important to choose.

Before choosing, you might wonder: 

  • Is iOS easier to develop than Android? 
  • What is the main difference between iOS and Android? 
  • Is one platform better than the other? 
  • Do iOS or Android apps earn more revenue? 

Keep reading to learn more.

Are iOS apps easier to develop than Android apps? 

For both new and experienced programmers, iOS is generally easier to develop for. iOS apps generally require less development time and are cheaper to build and maintain than Android apps.

iOS developers use Swift, Apple’s native programming language, whereas Android developers typically use Java and/or Kotlin. When it comes to native mobile app development, Swift is generally more convenient and requires less coding work. Less coding means cutting costs in terms of time and money for developing an app for iOS products like the iPhone or the iPad.

Which device is better to learn: iOS or Android? 

If you want to target Apple product users, learn iOS development; if you want to target different consumer bases, then consider learning Android.

You need to know Swift to develop for iOS. Swift is a modern programming language designed specifically for Apple products. The code is relatively straightforward and easy-to-read for beginner programmers. However, Swift is unique to Apple products and generally not commonly used outside of iOS app development.

Android products rely on Java and Kotlin. While Kotlin is largely confined to just Android app development, Java is a popular programming language that has been around since 1995. The Java programming language has many use-cases outside of Android products; if you are a programmer who is interested in mobile app development but want to keep your options open, then learning Android app development would be helpful for you.

What is the main difference between developing iOS and Android?

There are some crucial differences between iOS and Android app development:

  • iOS app developers use Swift, whereas Android app developers use Java or Kotlin.
  • With Apple devices, there are standardized screen sizes for iPhones and iPads. With Android devices, there is a large variety of screen sizes—meaning you need to work more on interface design and case-by-case programming to ensure compatibility and functionality across devices.
  • Android apps take longer to develop because of device fragmentation—the fact that there are so many different Android OS versions on the market. Different devices get important security updates at different times, and this makes maintaining and developing Android apps more challenging.
  • iOS and Android apps have different user demographics—age, income, hours spent on apps, locations, and so on. Apple users tend to be younger and more affluent than Android users.

When developing apps, consider these differences, analyze your target audience, and ask yourself whether you want to minimize the amount you spend on development time and maintenance. 

Do iOS or Android apps make more money? 

Mobile apps are a great way to generate revenue. Both iOS and Android apps make a lot of money:

  • The Android market has a broad global reach and has a lot of earning potential. 
  • The Apple App Store has an arguably larger market with more profit. 

As of 2019, the Apple App Store had earned $155 billion in revenue for its app developers since the store launched in 2008. By comparison, in 2019, Android developers have only earned $80 billion since launch.

Mobile app development with edX

Learn mobile app development with edX!

There are many differences between iOS and Android app development. When developing mobile software, consider these key takeaways when deciding which platform to start on:

  • Coding knowledge
  • Timeline
  • Budget
  • Target audience
  • Revenue goals

If you are considering a career in mobile app development, edX has programming courses for you. edX offers programming bootcamps, courses in mobile app language such as Swift, Java, and more.