6 important benefits of iOS app development over Android

10 min read
March 16, 2023

Android is currently the most popular mobile operating system in the world, with nearly three-fourths of the world using it over iOS.

Does it mean that Apple is down and out?

Not quite!

Market share isn’t everything. Look closer, and you’ll see that iOS has several benefits over Android, which makes it a great choice for certain app projects.

We discuss six of those important benefits in this article.

Less device fragmentation

One of the advantages of iOS app development is that there’s less device fragmentation than in Android.

Device fragmentation happens when there are many variations in screen size, resolution, operating system, and hardware specifications—thus making app development much more difficult.

Damith C. Rajapakse, professor of Software Engineering at the National University of Singapore, describes fragmentation as “the inability to write once and run anywhere”.

Android is notorious for fragmentation. Because it’s open-source, any manufacturer can adapt the Android OS to their products.

Unfortunately, this creates thousands of device variations in the market.

For instance, just look at the variation in screen sizes between Android and iOS.

Android vs iOS screen size fragmentation

Source: Excellent Webworld

Fragmentation can lead to many problems. The biggest is that it’s more difficult to maintain a consistent user experience across all devices.

For example, your UI might break when loaded into smaller screens if it’s not mobile responsive.

At worst, the app could crash, slow down, or not work at all when run on an incompatible device. This could reflect negatively on the developer.

To avoid these issues, an app must be tested and emulated on every device your target market uses.

This takes a lot of time and money to pull off—and it’s complicated by the fact that new devices keep entering the market.

Sometimes, you might even need to water down your app to work on the most number of devices.

For example, if you have a processor-intensive mobile game, you might need to simplify the visuals so it will work on older devices.

But iOS developers don’t need to worry as much about fragmentation.

Thanks to the closed ecosystem of iOS, there are far fewer device variations that developers should worry about.

Apple only releases one iPhone yearly, with only two or three resolution variants.

And looking at the differences in screen sizes, you’ll notice they’re minor enough to make UI design much easier.

iPhone screen sizes

Source: AppMySite

Apple also has a much more efficient updating process than Android since everything is tightly controlled.

As a result, nearly 81% of iOS devices already use the latest version (iOS 16) as of February 2023.

Because of this, it’s much easier to introduce the latest iOS features and capabilities into your app, knowing that most of your users will be able to use it.

iOS versions by year

Source: Statista

Ultimately, the lower device fragmentation of iOS means app development in the platform is easier, faster, and less expensive overall.

Faster development time

iOS apps generally have a faster development time than Android. There are a couple of reasons for this.

We already talked about one—iOS isn’t as susceptible to device fragmentation as Android. This leads to lesser complexity and extensive testing, which speeds up development.

Another reason is the programming language used in iOS development—Swift.

Swift is considered by many as one of the easiest languages to learn and master.

This is thanks to its concise and simple syntax closely resembling human language, making it much easier to read and comprehend.

Swift syntax

Source: Altexsoft

Swift’s readability can make coding faster because developers can focus on what the code is saying rather than trying to understand it.

As the American engineer Robert Martin writes in his book Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship:

The ratio of time spent reading versus writing is well over 10 to 1. We are constantly reading old code as part of the effort to write new code.

On the more technical side, Swift has better speed, performance, and memory-handling features.

It’s 2.6 times faster than Objective-C and up to 8.4 times faster than Python, another language it’s often compared to.

Swift also uses the LLVM compiler, a flexible and powerful tool that rapidly converts Swift code into assembly code.

It has automatic code optimization built-in, making the resulting executable perform even faster.

LLVM compiler in Swift

Source: Realm

Swift is also one of the safer languages, with a strong typing system and error-handling mechanisms.

This allows you to spot and fix bugs instantly rather than waiting for the code to compile.

Ultimately, Swift leads to a faster development time while creating a high-quality, stable app.

This is especially beneficial if you have senior iOS developers on your team (like DECODE has), as they can leverage Swift’s strengths.

Apple also provides powerful development tools like XCode IDE and native UI kits.

These well-integrated resources allow developers to build apps rapidly with a streamlined environment and existing UI components.

Greater user experience

Apple is well known for its amazing user experience, from the sleek look of its devices to the stunning visuals of its apps. As an iOS developer, you’ll have to conform to this standard.

Let’s start with Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines (HIG), a set of principles for designing iOS apps that are intuitive, engaging, and easy to use.

The guide is pretty extensive—covering topics like layout, typography, branding, colors, icon, and animation.

Apple Human Interface Guidelines

Source: Apple

HIG is a way for Apple to ensure that iOS apps are consistent with design philosophy—simplicity, clarity, and elegance.

And it isn’t merely a suggestion. Apple strongly recommends it, and deviating from it too much can result in rejection during the App Store review process.

However, you shouldn’t feel stifled with HIG. Rather, you should embrace it as an advantage.

HIG takes the guesswork off designing your apps with easy-to-follow guidelines that allow you to deliver incredible user experiences. This can inevitably improve your engagement rate.

HIG outline view

Source: Apple

iOS apps are also optimized to run on Apple’s devices, thus giving your app optimal performance that will contribute to a great user experience.

Again, this is due to iOS’s closed ecosystem. Apple has full control over its device hardware, thus ensuring compatibility with the software running on it.

The limited hardware variations also allow developers to optimize their code for better performance.

iOS developers can also use app thinning to optimize apps further by reducing their file size.

As you know, iOS apps can work on any Apple device. But some files are only used in certain devices (such as higher-resolution graphics on an iPad), yet are still included in the app.

App thinning selects only the relevant app assets based on the target device. The App Store does this automatically, ensuring your app’s file size is optimized.

iOS app thinning

Source: Appcoda

The bottom line is that many users and developers might shun Apple’s strict and closed approach. But you can’t deny that it leads to a much better user experience for iOS apps.

Stronger data security

iOS is well-known for its data security, which helps make your apps much more stable and safe from cyberattacks.

iOS generally has fewer vulnerabilities and security flaws in its system, which makes it highly resistant to common cyber threats.

For instance, Android apps are four times safer against malware.

Android vs iOS security

Source: Soft XML

This all goes back to Apple’s closed ecosystem, which is more difficult for attackers to penetrate. Android, in contrast, is open source.

Thus, most of its code is available for review, allowing hackers to find vulnerabilities they can exploit.

Apple is also able to update most of its devices faster and easier. Thus, iOS users are always protected against the latest security flaws.

In contrast, Android’s highly fragmented nature makes it impossible to roll out updates and secure every device in its ecosystem.

iOS also uses Data Protection technology (as part of the APFS or Apple File System) that encrypts everything stored in Apple devices, including data used by third-party apps.

And Apple will extend this protection into cloud data when it introduces Advanced Data Protection in 2023.

Apple Advanced Data Protection

Source: Apple

Even the Apple App Store contributes to the overall security of iOS. It does this through stringent policies that weed out apps with poor security practices, vulnerabilities, or malicious code.

Ultimately, these factors combine to make iOS apps more secure than Android.

Android vs iOS security pros and cons

Source: NordVPN

Of course, this doesn’t make your iOS app automatically hack-proof. You must still implement security best practices to create an app that protects your users’ data.

Access to Apple’s customer base

Developing iOS apps gives you access to Apple’s customer base, which is already a benefit in itself.

Apple users are known for their loyalty. In fact, a Statista study showed that 92% of iPhone users in the US say it’s unlikely they’ll switch brands.

smartphone brand loyalty

Source: Digital Information World

iPhone users are also known to be more affluent, tech-savvy, and open to innovation. This might have something to do with their demographic.

According to a report by John Dudovskiy, people who own iPhones and iPads are usually between the ages of 18 and 45, and highly educated.

They also belong to the middle and upper classes and have jobs in high-paying roles like managers, professionals, and executives.

That’s a great market for iOS developers because such users will be highly engaged and sophisticated.

This is especially true for advanced apps like fintech, which require an educated user base.

Of course, the drawback is that iOS users will be much more critical of your app since they’re used to the Apple standard.

Thus, your user experience, UI design, and proposition must be on point to win them over.

However, once you do, you’ll benefit from the incredible loyalty and retention of Apple users.

Higher return on investment

If a high return on investment is at the top of your list of priorities, your best bet would be to go with iOS apps.

At first glance, this might not seem the case. If you look at the global market share of iOS, it’s only around 27.58%. It pales in comparison to Android’s, which is dominating at 70.62%.

Android vs iOS global market share by year

Source: Statista

However, you’ll find that iOS apps earn higher revenue than Android in general. How’s that so?

The simple reason, which we touched upon in the previous section, is that iPhone users tend to spend more. In 2020 alone, the average spending on iOS was 3.6 times higher than on Android.

Again, this goes back to Apple’s demographic. We mentioned that they tend to have more spending power for paid downloads and in-app purchases.

Moreover, while Android has global dominance, iOS actually takes the market share in developed countries like Japan and North America.

People in these regions tend to have more discretionary income, which leads to more app revenue.

iOS vs Android usage by country

Source: Statista

Furthermore, Apple streamlines app monetization via payment integration with the Apple App Store.

For example, users can easily pay for in-app purchases using Apple Pay instead of manually entering their credit card details.

This seamless method removes any friction, encouraging users to buy.

Ready to reap the benefits?

We hope this article has encouraged you to try iOS app development and excited you for the benefits.

However, a caveat—you can only reap them if you approach iOS app development correctly.

This can be tricky. While creating apps is simpler in iOS, there are still some nuances and obstacles you need to consider to achieve truly great results.

That’s where a development team like DECODE comes in.

With our decades-long experience in iOS development and the successful apps we have under our belt, the DECODE team can help you navigate the complex world of iOS development!

Interested? Contact us today and schedule a FREE consultation.

Written by

Toni Vujevic

React Native Team Lead

Skilled in React Native, iOS and backend, Toni has a demonstrated knowledge of the information technology and services industry, with plenty of hands-on experience to back it up. He’s also an experienced Cloud engineer in Amazon Web Services (AWS), passionate about leveraging cloud technologies to improve the agility and efficiency of businesses. One of Toni’s most special traits is his talent for online shopping. In fact, our delivery guy is convinced that ‘Toni Vujević’ is a pseudonym for all DECODErs.

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