The ‘Battle’ of Android and iOS
“I think right now it’s a battle for the mindshare of developers and the mindshare of customers, and right now iPhone and Android are winning that battle.” – Steve Jobs
Nowadays, Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS are the two peas in a pod of the world’s OS market share constituting both 99.5%, as Statcounter suggests. Here, Android is the leading OS making up 73% of this number alone and leaving 26.5% to iOS. And there’s a reason why Android is more popular than iOS: it’s functional, runs on an abundance of devices to choose from, and the price is fair enough. But Android and iOS platform apps are also being parallelly built using React Native or Flutter to enhance businesses’ potential. What contributes to this process? Why deploying an app for one platform is not cost-effective? How can you make cross-platform work? Let’s put everything aside and delve into research!
Android, His Majesty!
Android is a mobile operating system based on a modified version of the Linux kernel. Apps for Android work on Java and Kotlin. It is an open-source platform with a Linux core that applies to an abundance of devices present on the market. For instance, digital cameras, notebooks and computers, media players, and smartphones. Android is convenient in every aspect, no wonder users admire Android more than the rest of the operating systems. And the secret of this admiration is simple. Android resembles a PC with its user-friendly interfaces and customizable features.
According to Statista, Google Play has about 2.87 million apps for Android-supported devices available on its terrains. This is a great power-move for Google, and, thus, Android is a great platform to gain crowds of end-users to your new and seamless app. Hence, all you need is to guess the right product for everyone to love to hit the bullseye! But what if your app becomes so popular that iOS users will strive for an Apple-supported corresponding one? What’s then?
iOS at Your Service!
iOS is the mobile operating system that is written in Objective-C, C, C++, and Swift programming languages. It resides in every device offered by the Apple industry. iOS is outstandingly popular these days due to the brilliant marketing campaigns and promotions of Apple devices. However, the only drawback is that iOS works only on devices manufactured by Apple Inc. Hence, there are 1.96 million iOS apps available in the Apple Store. Although this number is growing, Android still takes the lead. And, among the Apple-users, some potential consumers would like to have similar apps on iOS that the ones present for Android users, and vice versa. So, with the growing demand, step-by-step we approach the main question – how to convert an Android app to iOS? What stands behind the word ‘convert’?
Android & iOS Apps: Porting Key-Factors To Consider
The word convert means to change something in the form, character, and the way it functions. Transferring an Android app into iOS doesn’t exactly mean to push some kind of a button or a specific tool that will migrate the data from one platform to the other. No! The only possible way to convert an Android app to iOS is to make it from scratch on the iOS platform with a team of developers and testers. So, let’s define the major factors to consider.
Android and iOS belong to different operating systems and their core functions differ as well. To start the process of converting from Android to iOS, it is necessary to clarify the differences between these platforms. An app must function appropriately on Android and iPhone devices to meet the full potential of a program by preserving business input within the coding output. These points should be well-thought to convert:
- requirements and functionality of an app
- design adjustment of an app to the iOS requirements
- architecture and the coding language of an app should be tailored for iOS
- multiple-time testing of an app should precede the store launch
And when there is a need to make your Android app for an iOS audience, the process becomes complex as you cannot just copy-paste the code. Hence, there are many characteristics of iOS and Android that should be taken into account.
As it is known, the most used Android programming languages are Java and Kotlin and iOS programming languages are Objective-C and Swift, respectively. Here, Kotlin and Swift are pretty new languages. Kotlin is used by more than 60% of programmers as it adds to productivity, developers like it, and Kotlin has a safe code. Swift, in its turn, is more of an intuitive programming language. Swift code is interactive with concise syntax and modern features. The Swift code makes its software superfast. The idea of using Swift for porting lies in the fact that the latter and Kotlin have a lot in common. Thus, some parts of the Kotlin source-code can be reused with minimum corrections in Swift. If your app is written in Java, you can use Swift, C, C++ for the same reasons.
Cross-platform software development
Usually, mobile OS obtains a software development kit called SDK. This SDK has programming languages it uses the most (Java/Kotlin and Objective-C/Swift). To build a native app from scratch programmers use both the languages and SDKs. There is a possibility to create a cross-platform app using just one codebase. How? With the help of a cross-platform framework! For example, React Native, offered by Facebook. First, you write a large amount of code in JS and then substitute it with Android’s Java counterpart or iOS Swift. Thus, this way you can reuse your code up to 80%. But everything depends on the app you’re deploying!
You know that every OS has small and major updates from time to time. Some of these updates belong to OS enhancement. Hence, to port an app from Android to iOS or convert an iOS app to Android you need to target the OS version of your potential consumers. In June 2020, iOS 13 was installed on 81% of worldwide Apple devices, iOS 12 had only 13% of users all around the world and some 6% of the world’s Apple users used unspecified earlier versions, as Statista reports. Hence, this data shows you that only two iOS versions are popular among its consumers. Thus, it is clear that you should focus on porting your app to these operating system versions carrying out all the requirements. There also might be features in one operating system that are not supported in the other, and this knowledge should be kept in mind while making an iOS app for the end-users.
Porting your app from Android to iOS and vice versa, converting the iOS app to Android also triggers design issues. And these issues appear to be huge! For example, to navigate through the system the main Android screen has three buttons: Back, Home, Multitasking. On the contrary, iOS has only one button that does not support the option to go back and several other features iPhones don’t have. Here, it is vital for interface development.
f to talk about the placement of objects in design, it also has significant differences. Android works on Material design – a Google-created high-quality system building digital features for Android, iOS, Flutter, and the web. And, iOS works on Flat design – an interface design style with minimalist elements, fonts, and flat colors.
Icon sizes, screen resolution, and fonts are also of great importance. For instance, Android uses dp as a measuring point, while iOS uses points. Both of the measuring units are quite similar. So the app should be perfectly adjusted to the screen sizes. Android has over 20 available screens, while Apple phones have 4-5 screens. Android has square icons but allows icon changes, but iOS icons are round and Apple-designed that cannot be changed. Android uses Google Roboto font and iOS uses San Francisco font. What’s more, apple users tend to have an eye for details and, this way, it’s a matter of prestige to have a seamless design.
Successfully released apps are being thoroughly tested before launch. Therefore, the quality assurance team takes on this role and tries to spot bugs, errors, malfunctions, design distortions, and other nuances before the apps go straight to the app store and meet their end-users. The longevity of this process may take up to 30% requiring navigation and UI testing, and code functionality check. For example, here’s a check-list for QAs to consider:
- app functioning
- app accessibility and safety
- app maintenance testing
- app load testing
- app performance testing
- app usability testing
- app validity testing
- user acceptance testing
Use this list wisely and catch all the bugs. Nowadays seamless app functionality is of high value among the end-users.
Why Convert Android App to iOS?
Usually, the conversion of the app from one platform to the other begins with several distinctive reasons. Here, you may probably spot only 8, but these are the most important ones. For example,
- the app has an excellent download rate: if there are high numbers of app downloads and lots of active users, the app is successful and needs to be delivered to the non-Android audience, too
- the app is strongly demanded on the market: if your app is desirable on iOS platforms, then the best choice would be to give people what they ask for! However, investigate your key audience appropriately to make sure there is a significant number of iOS-users. For if your consumers tend to be mostly Android-users, investing in application development will be unwise as a matter of fact!
- the app adds to user acquisition opportunities: gaining new users is the top priority for a business promoting an app. If you base in Google App Store and are pretty successful there, shift to an Apple Store and feel the growing pool of newcomers. Besides, as 26.5% of users are iOS-lovers, you will surely conquer new horizons. This number isn’t as small as it looks!
- the app can be marketed all around the world: central and eastern European, Asian, South American, and African markets are considered to use Android OS more than the other operating systems. However, in Japan, Saudi Arabia, North America, Norway, and Oceania (and many more), iOS takes the leading position. So, converting from Android to iOS will also promise a worldwide acknowledgment with a pleasant bonus – an increase in your app usage.
- the app will bring you more profits: having an app on Android is already profitable because your app is rewarding. Why not have two apps on two different platforms that bring twice as much money? Sounds exciting! What’s more, Apple Store users tend to pay more for the app features and subscriptions, while Android users have a higher number of downloads, where you can place ads and also earn your fortune!
- two apps are better for your business: imagine you already have two apps on two platforms, what’s happening? Your app revenue is doubled, you have two marketing channels, the number of active users and app downloads doubles making high retention rates, profits also double, and so on. As everything doubles, the opportunities to grow double as well!
- the app is more competitive on the market: if you produced an app similar to one of your competitors but made it cross-platform – here’s your advantage. Most of the competitors may have a one-platform preference or weren’t that fast as you are, so having an app on both Android and iOS platforms can be a card up your sleeve!
- the app on two platforms has lots of data to analyze: the app’s success depends much on its performance analytics. Thus, gathering twice as much data may add to the analytics processing and guessing the consumer demand in the future. Understanding end-user demand is crucial as when your app meets this goal – you excel, when it doesn’t meet – you disappear.
Thus, the points for converting to iOS have hard evidence and future perspectives. Android phones and iPhones will always be popular. Choosing both platforms for your business will only give you a chance to get more tech-savvy users. Here, consumers’ choice of a platform is rather mindshare of their daily communication circles. So, make an iOS app to make Apple users happy.
One More Point to Think About
Making an iOS counterpart of the Android app is the same as creating an app from scratch. Thus, the costs of such a transition are pretty much the same as the ones spent on Android app deployment. Depending on the app, its features, design, and process flow, this cost may vary.
To sum up, converting the Android app into iOS is not exactly the 5-minute process and it requires not only the development of the same app from scratch, this time built on iOS but also many considerations and platform differences to overcome. Here, the app architecture, the programming language, the design of interfaces, navigation, user experience, even the store to launch your app differ greatly. And these differences appear to be crucial in app development as your app already functions on Android and you wouldn’t want to create a less classy app on iOS. So, porting should be carried out starting from careful planning and proceeding with the sophisticated implementation of these plans.