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The two most popular mobile operating systems in the world are Android and iOS. They’re also locked in a never-ending battle for user adoption, market share, app store downloads, and developer support.

As an app developer or marketer, it’s essential to understand the nuances between these two platforms so you can make educated choices about your apps and marketing strategy.

If you’ve used Android and iOS devices extensively, you might think it’s as simple as Apple users like their iPhones more than Google users like their Androids. However, this only covers some of what you need to know about these two operating systems.

There are many differences between them on multiple levels – from the user experience to security practices – that have implications for developers and users of mobile apps alike.

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What Is Android?

what is android
Android phone display

Android is a mobile operating system (OS) created by Google that is installed on smartphones, tablets, and other devices. These devices then have access to the Android app ecosystem. Android devices can run a wide variety of apps, including apps written with languages and tools other than Java.

Apps written with Java but compiled to run on a non-Java virtual machine (such as the ART VM) and apps written specifically for Android using the Android application programming interface (API). Let’s cover a few key points about the history and current state of Android app development.

In 2008, the first Android phone was made available when the iPhone OS was already three years old. In terms of popularity and overall market share, Android has always trailed Apple. When the iPhone X was released in 2017, Android had a few operating systems that were more than two years old.

Google attempted to keep up with Apple’s annual re-designs, but many people choose to stay with the OS they already have — especially if they are still paying a hefty monthly phone bill.

How Are Android and iOS Different?

Android and iOS theme display

Even though the two have a lot in common. They also have significant differences impacting their users, developers, and the apps they create. Here’s a breakdown of the crucial distinctions you must understand when deciding which platform to focus on or which app store to publish.

The experience of using each platform: Android and iOS have radically different interfaces and user experiences. Android is based on a “home screen” design, while iOS is based on a “desktop” model with apps that have been “miniaturized” to run on a handheld device.

The number of apps available in each app store: Both are massive, but Apple’s App Store still has around 50% more apps than Google Play.

The potential number of users of each platform: If you’re looking for the largest possible audience of people who will download and use your app, Android has a clear advantage.

Where to Install Apps?

app store
App store/Play store for android and iOS

Android users can install apps from the Google Play store, while iPhone users can only install apps from the Apple App Store. That is one of the key differences between the two platforms, and it significantly impacts developers. Installing apps on each platform is also very different, so keep these differences in mind when developing your mobile app.

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