Why Do So Many Developers Launch Their Apps on iOS Before Android?
Picture this: you’re an app developer and you’re given a choice. You can either pick an app store that has a higher number of users, but everyone has a different device, or you can pick an app store with a limited number of users, but everyone uses roughly the same model. What would you choose?
This is the problem all app developers face when creating mobile apps, especially mobile games. And as you may have guessed, the second option is often more popular. The Apple App Store and the Google Play Store perform the same function, but the former repeatedly outdoes the latter. Why is that?
Why Do Developers Prefer iOS to Android?
Making a good mobile app takes a lot of time, money, and effort. There’s a lot at stake and the risk of your app not succeeding is already too high due to the raging competition. To counter this risk, app developers need to be sure that making an app will be worth their while and yield good returns on their investment. In short, they need reliability.
While the Android ecosystem is more diverse, it’s also messier and harder to work with. iOS on the other hand is more controlled, tightly-knit, and standardized, which makes it easier for developers to know what to expect and optimize their app experiences accordingly.
That’s why social media apps like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok work really well on iPhones and other Apple devices, but not so much on Android ones. The same is true for mobile games.
In the iOS ecosystem, developers have a good idea of how the end-user will see and interact with their app. But in the Android ecosystem—given the number of different Android phone makers—it’s basically impossible to replicate that effect.
Plus, almost every Android phone maker puts a custom skin on their device (like OxygenOS, OneUI, ColorOS, etc.) which makes things even more complicated.
Simply put, if you’re developing an Android app, you have two choices: either create a so-so app that works well enough on all Android phones or invest more time and money to make sure your app works brilliantly on at least some Android phones. It seems the former always gets the upper hand in boardroom meetings.
But Android Has More Users, So Can’t Developers Make Up for the Extra Costs?
They can, but that rarely ever happens. Most times, new developers struggle to simply get noticed, let alone become popular. And even if you do get popular and have enough resources, you can only optimize to so many Android devices. After a point, the return on investment starts falling dramatically—assuming that you were making returns in the first place.
Say you’re optimizing your app for Samsung phones. To do so, you don’t just need to optimize your app for Android, but also for OneUI. This means writing additional lines of code and spending more time in quality assurance. All this extra effort combined pushes the launch date of your app (or an update) further back, but Apple users can enjoy your app earlier.
Optimizing Apps for Android Is Risky
At the end of the day, businesses care about making profits. If the Android ecosystem is not profitable enough with respect to its risk, iOS is happy to be a very good alternative—as it has repeatedly proven to be. It’s more reliable, standardized, less confusing, and most importantly, less risky.
So naturally, developers prioritize the Apple App Store over the Google Play Store.
If Android phone makers want apps to run as smoothly as they do on iPhones, they must work together with app developers and assist them—both financially and technically—to make better apps. Without some sort of support, app developers have no real incentive to bear those risks all by themselves.
How do you know what specs to look for when buying a new Android phone? Don’t worry! Follow this guide and you’ll be good to go.
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