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What are the Major Differences between App Development on iOS and Android

by Naveen Agarwal
Major Differences between App Development on iOS and Android

When it comes to mobile application development, the two most popular platforms are iOS and Android. All top mobile applications have both versions, but when it comes to choosing the right platform for your business apps, most decision-makers get puzzles. Even though both iOS and Android have similarities in their architecture, there are many significant differences in terms of the development approach on these platforms and the maintenance of apps.

iOS and Android are fundamentally different from one another. The differences are not just in terms of the development language but also terms of app design and marketing. So, in this article, we will discuss some major noticeable differences between these app development platforms. We may evaluate it from a decision-making standpoint by analyzing the risks and benefits of choosing each. With your project requirements in mind, you may get a better insight into appropriate decision making by going through this article.

iOS vs. Android – Differences in App Development

The significant dissimilarities in Android vs. iOS development are technology-based. Both these platforms have unique programming languages, and the testing approaches are also different. The developers working on these platforms need to have uniquely different skillsets to make applications even with the same requirements. Let us discuss it in more detail.

  • Programming Language

Android and iOS use different programming stacks. While Android is built on Java and an alternative to Kotlin, iOS is mostly a proprietary development language of Swift. The old-school iOS application developers also rely largely on Objective-C as their development platforms. On a fine comparison, many mobile application developers think that iOS app building is much easier than Android. Swift coding only requires lesser time compared to Java-based Android.

  • Development Environment

The next major difference between Android and iOS is in the development environment. Android features Eclipse as the development environment, which is a third-party utility based on IBM codebase. In 2013, it was Google which brought in an Android Studio, a proprietary tool with many features. It also offers cross-platform support with high readability and a lot of development and debugging tools. iOS relies on XCode as the development environment, which is a proprietary tool.

Comparing Android Studio to XCode as their development environment, many mobile application developers have chosen Android studio as their favorite. The major challenges developers raised about XCode are:

  • Being unstable.
  • Refactoring is much time-consuming.
  • Unable to run many simulators simultaneously.
  • XCode also has some gaps in documentation.

Overall, we can see that the Android studio is much stable and less time consuming than XCode in application development. However, in terms of layout building, XCode is much superior with a wide range of features.

If you are doubtful about developing your mobile app and which platform to choose, it is ideal for getting the assistance of reliable consultants like Flosum, who can provide you with better guidance in terms of enterprise mobile app development.

iOS vs. Android – Design Differences (System-Specific)


As we know, both iOS and Android are for mobile application development, and they follow the same fundamental principles of design. As touch or stylus do not possess full 100% precision on clicking, the smallest clickable areas on both are:

  • iOS: 44px
  • Android: 48px

The notable differences between Android and iOS design philosophies are about architecture and navigation.

  • Android Partition-Based Development – The coding team will have to break the entire apps down into activities and fragments. An activity means one app screen. In the case of multiple screens, the developers have to deal with many activities. Each activity is split into fragments, which are UI parts of navigating between various activities.
  • View Controller-Based iOS Architecture – There are different types of architectures used for iOS app development. Some of them are tab, page view, split view controllers, etc. View controllers can be used to control the whole screen or in parts. There are different ways of managing controllers. iOS developers can write those into the code and organize the storyboard images to store them as XML. This will help enhance the speed of development and reduce risks.

Overall, iOS architecture is better manageable and less prone to errors. So, in terms of system-specific design, iOS is much easier than Android.

iOS vs. Android – Complexity of Development

In terms of complexity in app development, iOS again has a significant advantage. Android needs to deal with device fragmentation, whereas Apple releases only a very limited range of devices.  The screen dimensions in the case of iOS are also limited, whereas, in Android, there are various screen sizes based on the density and OS version, etc.

Android developers need to use various devices or simulators to test the application to ensure that it is getting displayed properly on various views. They also need to adjust the graphics and alignments for a wide range of devices to properly render the app. So, development and testing on Android are significantly more time-consuming and resource-intensive than on iOS.

Cross-Platform Development

As of late, to take advantage of releasing apps on both Android and iOS platforms alike, the developers use some smart ways to create a single cross-platform app than spending time on developing two different apps. Cross-platform development, however, has both advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of Cross-Platform Apps

  • Will reduce cost and time of development.
  • Increased speed
  • Code reusability
  • Unique interface for both Android and iOS
  • Better reach to a wider audience.

Disadvantages of Cross-Platform Apps

  • Limitations in UX.
  • Complex code architecture
  • Longer time to market.
  • Challenges in-app maintenance

Enterprise app developers should consider standalone app development for Android and iOS or any of these based on their target audience preferences. The majority of the consumers in countries like the US may be using Apple devices, so priority needs to be given to iOS development. In contrast, if you want to reach a global reach for your mobile apps, both Android and iOS versions are necessary to reach all users.‍

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