Apple vs Google: Differences Between Platforms

For mobile developers looking to build an app, deciding between which platform to develop for is the hardest part.

While both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store are booming, in recent years, Android has been dominating the global market share. iOS devices, however, are more prevalent in the U.S. and increase in shares year-over- year across major countries.

Ultimately, there are major differences to consider when developing an apple for the App Store and for the Google Play Store. Regardless of which platform developers choose to develop their app for, they will need to utilize App Store Optimization (ASO) to ensure that their app is easily discoverable on both stores.

Looking at the Mobile Industry

The question for all developers to consider is which platform will be more profitable?

If developers take a look at total smartphone subscribers per platform (iOS and Android), they will see that 53.3% of individuals have an Android phone while 44.9% of individuals have an iOS phone.

This clearly proves that Android and Apple dominate the smartphone market, in turn meaning that each app store is just as profitable as the other. Having this knowledge makes the decision only that more difficult for developers. While the looming decision can be overbearing, there are some pros and cons for each platform that developers must keep in mind.

Android Pros

Developers have the ability to update their app whenever they want on the Play Store, unlike the rigid rules of the App Store. On the Play Store, developers can also release an app as alpha and/or beta to provide small groups of users access to their app. This allows develop see what users are saying about their app to fine tune the final product before its’ release.

Many developers have contended that the App Store is where developers will earn the most money while others have expressed that the Google Play Store is more profitable. In 2016, the Google Play Store saw 90% of its revenue come from games.

Android Cons

Wide Variety of Devices: While developing an app for Android has many pros, the biggest con would be the number of available Android devices. This means that there is a wide range of operating systems, meaning that the users’ experience will be different depending on what device a user is operating.

Since there is such a wide variety of devices, developers will need to make sure their app is optimized for multiple screen sizes and operating systems. This can significantly increase development costs and lead to multiple tests per device. If developers have to test their app more often, there is also the possibility of more bugs, which can seriously put a developer’s funnel behind schedule.

iOS Pros

Currently there are over 2 million apps available on the App Store. Apple is constantly making improvements to their App Store to encourage developers to make updates to their apps and stay relevant in the App Store.

While the Google Play Store saw 90% of revenue come from games, the App Store has also seen significant growth in recent years. In 2016, the App Store saw 45% increase in consumer spending compared to Google’s 40%.

iOS Cons

While first time developers may enjoy being able to only use Apple’s platform to develop their app, many find this too restrictive. Due to Apple having more restriction within the guidelines, it also means that developers cannot update their app and instantly see the new build app on the App Store.

When developers submit a new build of their app, they must want 4–5 days for their app to be approved, meaning if the app is already live, users are accessing an outdated version of the app. If the app hasn’t launched yet, that means the developer is losing out on potential users discovering their app.

Where Does ASO Tie into the Decision?

Before developers decide outright which platform is better for developing, they also need to make sure that their app’s metadata is completely prepared for their launch. Without having optimized metadata, an app can fail to be discovered, meaning the developer is losing out on profit and recognition.

To ensure that an app is easily discoverable, developers must consider what type of ASO strategy they will need to implement. Thankfully, ASO is applicable for both platforms, meaning developers won’t miss out on making important changes that help their app become more discoverable.

ASO for Android

For developers on the Android side, the Google Play Store has not seen any recent changes other than a slight bump in the maximum character count for the app name. Developers should also be wary of the short description (170 characters max) and long description (4,000 characters max) as these two text fields will need to incorporate targeted keywords to help the app stand out against competitors in the Play Store.

ASO for iOS

With the recent redesign of the App Store due to iOS 11, developers will need to take extra time crafting a subtitle and promotional text, in addition to creating three preview videos. Developers must make sure that all metadata fields (keywords, app name, subtitle, promotional text, description and creatives) are optimized for their app to be discovered in the App Store.

Developers must also make sure that each piece of their metadata incorporates their targeted keywords. These keywords are integrated throughout the metadata to help the app become more discoverable by users in the App Store.

Which Store Should Developers Launch on?

There is no right or wrong answer as to which app store developers should launch their app on first. iOS and Android are both the dominate presences in the app and mobile market, meaning that developers will see profits regardless of which store they choose.

Developers should consider what they prefer during the development process in truly identify which store they want to launch on. Regardless of whether a developer chooses the App Store
or the Google Play Store, they will always be able to utilize ASO to help their app become more discoverable to boost their profit margin.

Text by our friends from Gummicube — leader in providing App Store Optimization and App Store Intelligence