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Android vs iOS? Which platform should I develop on first?

Ideally, developing on both platforms is optimal, allowing you to capture the broadest market. However, budget and time constraints often force businesses to choose between the two for initial roll-out and then develop on the remaining platform at a later date. We’ve listed some key factors which should help you decide whether to start developing on Android or iOS. 

1. Do you know your audience? 

Arguably, the most important factor in deciphering whether to build on iOS or Android first is considering and understanding your audience as there are major differences in the users Android and iOS attract. It is important to understand the geographic and demographic factors that define your audience in order to understand which platform would suit them best. 

“Android devices have the greatest global market share.” – Medium

Start with Android if …

  • You’re targeting a broad global market
  • You’re targeting audiences in up-and-coming markets including Latin America, Africa and Asia
  • You’re targeting users working in technical jobs as according to recent statistics users in the tech industry are more likely to use Android
  • Your market is predominantly male as recent stats reveal that on average men prefer Android to iOS

Android phone

Start with iOS if … 

  • You’re targeting a Western audience, focusing more on Western Europe, Australia and North America
  • You’re targeting a younger audience as Apple has a greater share of the 18-24-year-old market
  • You’re targeting a predominantly female audience as women are likely to favour iPhones over Android devices
  • You’re targeting a wealthy/middle-class audience as statistically iPhone users tend to earn 40% more than Android users
  • You’re targeting users who are in/or have undertaken higher education or are currently in professional or managerial jobs
  • You’re looking to disrupt the enterprise app market as iOS’ premium security processes make it favorable to users within this market
  • You’re marketing an app with a download or subscription fee or in-app purchases as Apple users tend to be more engaged with their devices and spend more money on apps
  • You’re developing an e-commerce/retail app as Apple users are more likely to make purchases using their mobile devices


2. Want more flexibility? 

As Android is open-source, it offers more flexibility enabling you to customise your app by incorporating features that your audience would like to see or benefit from. 

3. Security Concerns? 

With that said, when it comes to security, iOS is far superior. Android’s open environment is more susceptible to pirate apps and malware, whereas iOS’ closed ecosystem and strict regulations ensure it is far more secure, thus is preferred by businesses looking to disrupt  the enterprise app market, the fintech sector or the mhealth market. 

So, when choosing which platform to develop on first it is important to consider what you value more; flexibility or security? Often, this will depend on the market or industry sector you are trying to penetrate. 

mobile payments

4. Monetising your app? 

Android users are far less likely to purchase apps from the Google Play Store as opposed to Apple users who frequent purchasing apps on Apple’s App Store. Consequently, free apps with in-app ads tend to perform better on Android. If you want to monetise your app, through subscriptions, freemium models, or in-app purchases, then sticking to Apple is clearly your best option. 

“Statistics reveal that the Apple App Store generates twice as much revenue as the Google Play Store, despite only having half as many downloads.” – Medium 

Although revenue from Android apps is growing,  Apple is expected to remain the dominant App Store even if Google Play Store eventually overtakes the App Store in revenue. 

5. Let’s review based on industry and market …

The conclusions we draw from app store purchase data varies depending on the type of apps users are purchasing and the industry/market they fall under. 

  • Utility apps: Apple users are more likely to pay for apps, except for utility apps in which Android outperforms. 
  • E-commerce/M-commerce: Retail apps generate the most revenue compared to competitor markets, with North America dominating in sales. Therefore, if you’re trying to penetrate the retail sector developing on iOS is your best option as Apple dominates the market in North America. As well as this, it’s important to remember that Apple users tend to earn 40% more than the average Android user and are more likely to make purchases on their mobile devices. 
  • Fintech/Mhealth: iOS’ closed ecosystem and strict regulations ensure it is far more secure and is thus optimal for financial/banking apps and healthcare apps containing sensitive user data that must remain secure. 
  • Enterprise market: Again, iOS’ premium security processes ensure that the platform remains favorable amongst users within this market. 

iPhone vs Android