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Android vs IOS

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by Ruchitha Geebu
Last modified: April 22nd 2021

In this article, you will learn about Android vs iOS, Google's Android is a commonly used operating system by many different mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. On the other hand, you can only use Apple's iOS on Apple devices, such as the iPhone and the iPad.

Both operating systems have existed for more than a decade. They have their own set of features, strengths, and weaknesses.

There are many arguments over which one is better - Android or iOS? Both systems have many things in common, but there are several significant differences to consider.

This article explains the differences between Google's Android and Apple's iOS development in several categories.

But first, let's look at the similarities.

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Android vs iOS - Which is the Best OS for Mobile?

Android vs iOS - Similarities 

There are two main similarities between the two operating systems: widgets and interface. On both Android and iOS, you can add widgets except on the lock screen. Also, both are touch-enabled operating systems.

While these two are the only recognized similarities, there are several differences between the two. Let's look at the comparison table.

[ Related Article: What is Android? ]

Android vs iOS - Differences 

Key Difference 
Android 
iOS 
Developer 
Google 
Apple Inc. 
Initial Release 
September 23, 2008 
July 29, 2007 
Latest releases and updates 
Android 11 
iOS 14.1 and iPadOS 14.1 
Customization 
Many customization options. 
Limited customization options until you jailbreak the system. 
Software 
Open-sourced 
Closed software with a few open-sourced components 
Transfer of files 
File transfer through a USB port and Android File Transfer desktop app. 
File transfer is more complicated than Android. You can transfer media such as photos and videos with the iTunes desktop app only. 
Default browser
While other browsers are available for Android, Google Chrome is the default one. However, you can set any browser as a default browser. Firefox supports adblocking in Android. 
Safari is the default browser for iOS. Similar to Android, the user can set any browser app as default. Content blockers such as Firefox Focus supports adblocking. 
Maps 
Android uses Google Maps. 
Apple Maps is the default navigation app for iOS users. However, Google Maps is available separately as a download option. 
Language compatibility 
Android supports more than a hundred languages. 
iOS supports up to 40 languages. 
Virtual Assistant 
Android uses Google Assistant. 
iOS uses Siri as its virtual assistant. 
Availability 
Android is available on several mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Some of the top manufacturers include Samsung, Vivo, and OnePlus. Google’s Pixel devices use a pure version of Android.  
iOS is available on devices such as iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. 
Calls and Messaging 
Android users can either use Google messages or other third-party apps like WhatsApp, Google Duo, and Skype. 
iOS users use iMessage and FaceTime to communicate with other Apple users. However, they can also use third-party apps like Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, and Skype. 
App downloads 
Android users download apps from the Google Play Store, which contains more than 2 million apps. 
iOS users download apps from the Apple App Store, which contains more than 1 million apps. 
Media backup 
You can automatically back up photos and videos with apps. For example, Google Photos offers unlimited backup of photos at a compressed quality. Other options include OneDrive, Dropbox, etc. 
iCloud offers automatic backup of up to 5 GB of media. However, users can get more storage with a paid subscription. Other alternatives include Amazon, Dropbox, Flickr, etc. 
Security 
Android offers monthly security updates. 
iOS offers security updates occasionally. 

Now that we have seen a basic overview of the top differences between Android vs. iOS, let's further understand them in depth.

Development language 

Engineers write Android applications on Java. On the other hand, the newly designed Swift is used to develop iOS apps.

Developers can code faster on Swift compared to Java that requires a lot of code. Therefore, the time taken to build iOS apps is lesser, as they do not require a lot of code.

A possible alternative to building Android apps with Java is using the Kotlin language. It is now considered to be the primary language to develop an Android-enabled application.

[ Related Article: Best Android Development Tools ]

Integrated Development Environment (IDE) 

Earlier, engineers used the Eclipse tools to develop Google-backed applications. Then, Studio got released that included useful features like smart packaging, high functionality options, excellent debugging options, and cross-platform features.

On the other hand, developers use XCode to develop Apple-backed iOS applications. Another helpful feature of XCode is that it can identify syntax and logic errors and offer the possibility to fix the code.

User-friendly 

Users generally say that the iOS interface is straightforward to use. However, both operating systems have made it easier for the user in terms of many features. 

[ Related Article: Android Interview Questions for Freshers ]

Speed and cost of development 

The creation time of apps for Android-based platforms is more than iOS. For example, an engineer might take a 30 percent longer time to build an Android mobile application than an iOS app.

When it comes to the cost of development, it depends on the time taken to build the application. The longer it takes for the development, the higher the entire process costs.

Deployment speed 

The creation time of apps for Android-based platforms is more than iOS. For example, an engineer might take a 30 percent longer time to build an Android mobile application than an iOS app.

When it comes to the cost of development, it depends on the time taken to build the application. The longer it takes for the development, the higher the entire process costs.

Closed vs. Open Systems 

Android is more open-sourced and accepts alternative applications. On the other hand, iOS doesn't. For example, if an iPhone user wants to watch a movie on the Google Play Movies platform, then they cannot do that on their device. 

[ Related Article: Services in Android ]

Interface 

When it comes to the interface, both iOS and Android have a lot in common. Both are touch-enabled, and the user can perform functions such as swiping on the screen, tapping, and pinching, and zooming.

Android and iOS both have a status bar that displays the battery life, WiFi, or cell signal strength. In Android, the bar also shows notifications such as new emails, text messages, or reminders.

In summary, Android offers more menus, multiple home screens, and different interfaces specific to the device you use. On the other hand, in iOS, the settings are not that highly customizable, providing a consistent user experience.

With the latest iOS 12, users can customize their screen with various widgets, and the new App Library organizes the app icons.

Pre-installed apps

Both Google and Apple provide users with plenty of pre-installed apps for email, browsers, audio and media, documents, etc. The user cannot uninstall many of these apps. 

The messaging app is one of the default pre-installed apps. Apple's iMessage app has features like Memoji, Animoji, payments, etc. Users can also use the iMessage to place a video call or a regular call. On the other hand, Android’s messaging app also has emoji buttons and payments.

Users can also use it on web browsers with the help of a QR code. However, iPhone users who want to send messages with their desktop systems or laptops must only stick to the Apple devices.

Integration

When it comes to integration with desktop computers, laptops, and other devices, iOS has a pretty fair advantage. Its Continuity features are fantastic. However, Windows 10 has a Phone app that allows Android users to connect their phones with their PC.

Apple users can also connect their phones with Apple TVs, Apple Watches, and any iPads.

[ Related Article: Android Installation ]

Software upgrades 

Generally, iOS upgrades are available to all iOS devices. The fall release of iOS 14 in 2020 was also open to the old iPhone devices.

Whereas Android users sometimes complain that they do not receive their software upgrades. But this is the phone manufacturer's fault as they need to decide whether they want to offer software upgrades in their product.

Also, the latest Android versions are released months after the manufacturer gives the upgrade.

Accessibility

Both operating systems have features that help people with disabilities use devices with ease. For example, Android's Live Transcribe feature makes it easy for people who are deaf to read what the other person is saying.

Similarly, Apple also has several accessibility features, such as VoiceOver screen reader, Magnifier, Pointer Control, etc. The iOS 14 includes the Back Tap that enables the user to tap the phone’s back that triggers it to act.

Apps 

Google Play has over 600,000 apps available that users can download. Other Android devices, such as the Amazon Kindle, have a separate app store to download books. Earlier, few apps were only available for iOS like Pinterest and Instagram but are now available for Android's app store.

Many popular apps are available for Android and iOS platforms, but exclusive ones are developed only for their specific platforms. Many startups aim to build apps for only one platform and then make them available for multiple platforms. One such example is Instagram, which was first available only for iOS and then became ready for Android.

[ Related Article: Menus in Android ]

Call features, messaging, and video chats 

Both the systems offer features for the users to reply to phone calls with text messages instead of answering the call. Both systems also have a Do Not Disturb mode that does not receive notifications.

Apple users can send text messages using iMessage or use other apps like GTalk. At the same time, Android users can use GTalk to send instant messages to other users.

iOS offers Facetime, a popular video call app that can only call other Apple users. For Android, the user can make video chats through Google Hangouts. However, for both these platforms, WhatsApp offers video chats.

Voice Assistant

While iOS uses the popular voice-based virtual assistant called Siri, Android uses a similar Google Now assistant.

Siri has many features like dictating text messages, email, and scheduling calendar events. Similarly, Google Assistant can also keep track of calendar events on top of other features.

[ Related Article: Android Lifecycle ]

Cloud integration

Many users tend to use cloud storage extensively.

Android is integrated with Google's services, and therefore, users use Google Apps extensively. On the other hand, iPhone users complain of Apple's iCloud as difficult access across multiple devices.

So, users prefer Android's cloud services.

Maps and Navigation

Both Android and iOS have similar apps available for maps, such as Google Maps.

Web Browsing

While iOS uses Safari as its default browser, Android uses Google Chrome. Google Chrome is available for both platforms, but Safari is only open for Android.

Security

One disadvantage of Android's security system is that the device asks the user for unnecessary permissions. Generally, the apps are isolated from the rest of the system until the user grants it access to other features. Another malware problem on Android is text messages sent to numbers without permission from the user. So, it makes the device more susceptible to dangerous attacks.

On the other hand, Apple has a tight security policy to review apps and other app publishers’ identities.

However, Android and iOS devices are equally vulnerable to bugs such as crashing the phone when they play a video.

Privacy

Both systems are susceptible to privacy leaks. For example, an app installed on a platform can access a list of apps installed by the user on the same device. For instance, Twitter announced in 2014 that they are tracking the apps that the users install on their devices.

However, iOS is the most trusted between the two when protecting the user's confidential information. It is proven with the example of the Pandora mobile app. When an Android user installs the app on his device, it requests permission for the user's Google profile, contacts list, calendar, photos, media, files, and call information.

Android vs. iOS - Advantages and disadvantages 

Let us look at the advantages and disadvantages of both systems. 

Android

  • User experience: The Android user experience is highly customizable, with app icons on the home screen and useful widgets for easier access. Google has a more open play store and has a diverse selection of apps than Apple, which has many restrictions. Also, for Android, you can download apps outside of the Google Play Store.

  • Wide selection: Many Android devices are available at different prices, sizes, features, and hardware options.

iOS

  • Privacy: When it comes to user's private information, iOS offers better features. The user has reasonable control over their high-risk data such as location and contacts from external apps.

  • Software upgrades: Apple's software upgrades are available to devices that can be upgraded to new software.

  • Limited interface options: Home screens are not highly customizable. Third-party apps are not installed, and the users can only install apps from the App Store. 

Wrapping up

Over the years, both platforms have been developing similar features and improving their interfaces. Both have their strengths and weaknesses.

Let's look at the key takeaways from this article, highlighting the differences between Android vs iOS app development. 

Key feature  Android  iOS 
Development Language Java, Kotlin Swift
Integrated Development Environment(IDE) Android Studio Xcode
Complexity of Development High Complexity Medium Complexity
Development Time Depends on the complexity of the  app Depends on the complexity of the app
Development Cost The more complex the app is to develop, the higher the price.  The cost to develop an iOS app is affordable.
Speed of Development Android has a short app review process, as most of the testing is automated.  iOS has a long app review (average of 7 days) as every app is given personal expert attention. 
Market Android has a healthy market share.  iOS also has a high market share. 

In conclusion, both Android and iOS have features that are useful for their specific uses. Many people have shifted from Android to iOS and vice versa in search of a component that meets their requirements. For example, users prefer Android’s cloud storage services over Apple’s cloud storage. 

About Author

author
NameRuchitha Geebu
Author Bio

I am Ruchitha, working as a content writer for MindMajix technologies. My writings focus on the latest technical software, tutorials, and innovations. I am also into research about AI and Neuromarketing. I am a media post-graduate from BCU – Birmingham, UK. Before, my writings focused on business articles on digital marketing and social media. You can connect with me on LinkedIn.