Is it Better to Build an App on Android or iOS First?

January 9, 2018 | Rob LaPointe

That moment after you come up with your brilliant app idea you must ask yourself – should I build on iOS, Android, or both. More often than not people lean towards developing for both platforms. Although that seems like the best choice because you are allowing everyone with any device to use the app, it’s not that simple.


Let’s take a moment to review ios apps and their users. First, iOS is 1 operating system which means that when you build an app for iOS it will pretty much work and look the same for most because they are all Apple products running on the same system. Most will have the latest update and some may be on a previous version but for the most part, your app will provide a higher quality user experience for the majority of users.

Second, there is more pay to download apps because more Apple users tend to pay for apps than Android users do. That could be because iOS users tend to have a higher income than Android users. This is just an average and does not mean that high-income individuals don’t use Android because they definitely do.

The last thing to keep in mind is about Apple having stricter rules for app development. This can be a little tricky as the app has to follow their guidelines otherwise they will not approve it. Their list of rules is long and can seem overwhelming. So you have to be more conscious of this when creating your app.


Now, we come to Android who dominates the global marketplace with about 2 billion devices where iOS is at about 1.3 billion. However, in the US they are a little more even. Developing an app for Android definitely gives you a bigger user base. Android also has fewer restrictions giving you more freedom to create what you want. The users of Android devices tend to prefer free apps as they don’t pay for apps as much as iOS users do. However, Android apps have more in-app banner ads for owners to earn revenue from.

Although Android has more users and less rules the biggest issue is the number of different devices and operating systems out there. There are over 1,300 different Android brands making thousands of different devices using different operating systems in the marketplace. When developing an app for Android it is much more difficult as it is almost impossible to create an app to cater to every device out there. That 2 billion shrinks quite a bit because the app will not work well or at all on some Android devices.

The user experience on these devices tends to be lower quality because each device is different. Android app developers tend to build for 1-3 of the top devices in the marketplace to give you the visibility in as many devices as possible. On these devices, the user experience is just as good as Apple. Most people do not build for more than a couple Android devices because it ends up being very expensive.

Both Platforms

To reach as many people as possible launching on both is obviously the way to go. Many don’t choose this route as it can be quite expensive. Both platforms tend to cost relatively the same to develop on. Of course, each app development company is different so it fluctuates slightly and some even offer discounts if you choose to develop on both rather than just one. Either way, it’s still not the most economical in the beginning stages.

Picking your Platform

Depending on your demographic or the type of app you want to create it is up to you which device you want to launch on first or if you want to do both. A good app development company like SDI can help with your decision and guide you on this. However, in general, the better platform to start with would be ios.

Why iOS? The reason is that iOS even with all their rules are easier to build on and a lot easier to determine issues. Trying to figure out issues on multiple devices on Android is much more difficult. Your app can easily be tested on a few devices but users have some many different types they will face issues due to various reasons such as brand, os, & screen size. For the most part, users are on the most recent operating system for Apple making it a lot easier to evaluate and fix bugs.

Beyond that, as mentioned there are higher income users with iOS and that includes influencers which can help gain your app traction. Unless you are building an app that is specific to Android only, such as being able to customize things in the OS, then build for Apple first.

Do let the strict Apple rules deter you because a good app development company knows them and will make sure your app gets approved.

If you are ready to get your app developed and need to talk to experts about the entire process you can contact SDI at 408.805.0495 or 408.621.8481

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