Flosum Experts Compare the Major Differences between Android and iOS App Development

People used to get confused about decision-making between iOS and Android to build business apps. Even though having similarities architecturally, both systems have significant differences in terms of when selecting among Android or iOS development; engineers often get puzzled. Both systems, in spite of having architectural likeness, have varied development approaches and maintenance needs. In the case of business apps, these two systems even have differences in marketing strategies.


This article will discuss the major differences between Android and iOS by evaluating the development cost, markets, design, and monetization models of each and what to expect in terms of ROI. We will also evaluate the risks involving in choosing either of these OS. By going through these points, you will also know which OS can be ideally chosen for your business app development project.


Differences between iOS and Android in development


The major dissimilarities between iOS and Android development are related to the technical aspects. These two are two different programming languages with fairly unique developmental and testing approaches. Here are some major differences between these two.


  • Programming language


The technology stack used for iOS vs. Android development is different. Android largely relies on Java with Kotlin being an alternative, whereas iOS relies on a proprietary language specifically for app development known as Swift. The old-generation iOS app developers also tend to use Objective-C as Swift is not there in practice for long now. So, the technical skillset needed for Android vs. iOS development is fundamentally different.


Considering these two, the mobile developers find learning the iOS development stack much easier and faster. So, iOS apps are quicker and easier to build compared to Android. Swift coding demands only lesser effort than learning and using Java, and Swift also has high readability. However, as Kotlin is advancing significantly, in the future, these equations may turn over again. It is very simple, intuitive, and modern, making Android development a breeze in the future.


  • Development environment


Coming next, the major difference in choosing between Android and iOS is in the integrated development environment. Eclipse is the utility used by Android developers, a third-party platform derived from IBM codebase, and offers native Android development tools. Back in 2013, it was Google who released an integrated Android Studio, which is a proprietary tool and is constantly expanding with many development tools and features made available. This IDE also supports cross-platform development with ease of use, commendable support, and high readability. You can find an impressive range of features for development and debug out there.


However, iOS developers largely rely on XCode, which is a proprietary tool. This Apple-backed development solution offers a wide range of tools for development and bug fixing. XCode supports the entire iOS device range and also easy to learn and use.


Comparing the Google Android Studio with XCode, it is noted that the majority of the developers tend to favor Android compared to the latter. The major challenges reported by software engineers in the case of XCode are refactoring, taking much time, instability, incompetence of simultaneously running multiple simulators, etc. The integrated development environment of iOS has some deficiencies in terms of proper documentation also. It would help if you went through the whole web and forums to learn how to use many of the features available. Considering these factors, you can say that Android is more stable with robust documentation. However, in layout building, FLOSUM finds XCode is much better and fun to use.


  • Differences in design specifications


Both these IDEs are designed with the need for mobile application development in mind. In this aspect, both Android and iOS share the same foundational principles of design. As both touch and stylus may not offer 100% precision using clicking, the minimal clickable areas are set as 44px in iOS and 48px in Android.  A significant difference to note between Android and iOS is in the navigation philosophies and related to the architectural organization.


Android app development follows the principle of partitioning. In this, a coding team may break the app further into activities and fragments. One app screen is referred to as an activity. In an app development project with multiple screens, there may be many dozens of activities the developers need to work on. Each of these activities is further fragmented as the UI parts are used for navigation between various activities.


On the other hand, iOS architecture largely relied on the concept of view controllers. Various view controls are used for iOS app development like page view, spit view, tab view, etc. The view controller can control the entire screen as a whole or any of the parts under it. There are different ways to manage the controllers on iOS. Developers may write codes to custom organize the images on a storyboard and save it as XML. Using this approach, the speed of development increases, and the risks may reduce. Compared to Android, iOS development architecture seems to be easier to manage and less error-prone. Overall, in the case of system design, iOS seems to be easier than Android.


  • Complexity/Ease of development


In terms of development complexity, we can see that Android loses to iOS in big numbers. There is a lot to handle with device fragmentation on Android, while the Apple releases only on a handful of devices. So, there is only a limited range of screen dimensions to be handled by the developers. For Android, there are dozens of possible screen sizes and styles with various versions of the operating systems and density changes.


Along with the need to adjust for dozens of device fragmentations, Android developers also need to use many device simulators for testing compliance on the various devices. It takes a lot of time and effort for an Android developer to ensure that their app is displayed for all users. With this need, both the development and testing may demand multiple reviews and countless iterations to ensure the performance. So, in terms of complexity in development, iOS is much easy to handle.


Developing a mobile app for your business is always challenging. So, to understand your actual requirements and build an application that exactly meets your objective, it is advisable to support a professional development team.

Anindya Chowdury
Anindya Chowdury
MERN-Stack Web Developer trying to C Rust. Also writing articles sometimes.

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