Android vs iOS: Which platform to build for first?

Having decided that the project would benefit by having both a mobile responsive web site and an app I wanted to look into app platforms and the app development process .  While the discovery phase and actual design process will be very similar to mobile and web there are specific platforms used to build apps and although this is a conceptual project I wanted to get a feel for how the app would be built and for which platform.

As most people tend to choose either an Android phone or an iPhone these are the two platforms I have compared.

Android

To submit apps directly to Google Play you will need a Google Play Developer account which costs a one-time fee of $25. Submitting apps to Google Play is a far less rigorous activity than for the App Store; once submitted, it should be available in a few hours.

You first need to do is download Android Studio.  While there are other IDEs out there, Studio is the official Android one and is available for download on Windows, Mac and Linux.  The Java programming language is used to develop Android Apps however it is not the only language that Android apps are built in, but it’s the fundamental one. Android Studio allows you to develop, test, and monetize your app. Once you have developed and tested your app, it can then be published using the Google Play Develop Console.

Advantages

  • Open source, easily customised
  • Expandable storage on many phones
  • Wider choice of phones

Disadvantages

  • Higher chance of malware
  • Interface not the same on all phones
  • Patchy support

iOS

Apple iOS users have shown that they are believed to be more willing to spend money on apps, the cost of the iPhone is itself expensive and there iOS users could be thought to have more displayable income.

The primary language iOS apps are written in is Objective-C programming language.  Apple have since introduced the Swift programming language to use alongside Objective-C and also XCode.  Apple also offers an additional suite of tools that will help you test, distribute, and monetize your app.

After the app is developed and tested, it must be them submitted for review to Apple before it is included in the App Store. Apple’s official stance is that “review times can vary for each app.” If your app is rejected for any reason, you can submit an appeal to the “App Review Board.”

Advantages

  • Hardware and software both controlled and optimised by Apple
  • Curated app store, fewer worries of malware
  • Generally good support

Disadvantages

  • No expandable storage
  • Walled-garden ecosystem
  • Limited customisation

Security and privacy

Apple is well known for its stance of privacy and security.

Google, it has been suggested is after your data to make money and therefore the iPhone is probably the better choice.

With Apple data is encrypted and with some of the changes introduced since iOS 8, thieves are more likely to think twice about stealing an iPhone which is unusable without that same passcode.

Android phones can also be secure. As of version 6.0 Marshmallow, full-disk encryption was made mandatory, but phones which shipped with earlier versions may not support this.

Android is also more vulnerable to malware. Not only does Android have a much larger market share than iOS which makes it more attractive to cybercriminals, but it’s much easier to get that malware onto an Android phone because it isn’t locked down like an iPhone.

While Android malware and viruses do exist you can protect an Android phone by only installing apps from the Google Play store and by running an antivirus app.

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