Choosing the Right Mobile App Platform for Business Success

March 21, 2024 - 33 minutes read

After reading this article, you’ll:

  • Understand the key differences between iOS and Android platforms, including user demographics, market share, development processes, and monetization strategies.
  • Be able to evaluate and prioritize the factors that impact platform selection, such as target audience, app functionality, development costs, and app store policies, to make an informed decision for your app.
  • Gain insights into the advantages and considerations of developing for both platforms, including the importance of conducting market research, consulting with experienced developers, evaluating budget and resources, and creating a comprehensive development roadmap.

Choosing the Right Platform for your Mobile App

Mobile apps have become an integral part of our lives, revolutionizing the way we communicate, work, and entertain ourselves. As a mobile app developer, one of the most crucial decisions you’ll face is choosing the right platform for your app. 

The choice between iOS and Android can significantly impact your app’s success, user adoption, and overall profitability. It’s essential to carefully consider various factors such as target audience, app functionality, development costs, and monetization strategies to ensure that your app reaches its full potential and meets the needs of your intended users.

iOS and Android are the two dominant mobile operating systems in the market, each with its own unique characteristics, strengths, and limitations. iOS, developed by Apple, is known for its sleek design, intuitive user interface, and tight integration with Apple’s ecosystem. It caters to a more affluent and loyal user base, with a focus on premium apps and services. 

On the other hand, Android, backed by Google, offers a more open and customizable platform, with a wider range of devices and price points. It has a larger global market share and provides developers with more flexibility in terms of app development and distribution. Understanding the key differences between these two platforms is crucial in making an informed decision that aligns with your app’s goals and target audience.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Platform

Target audience


Understanding your target audience’s age, gender, income, and other demographic factors is crucial when choosing a platform. iOS users tend to have higher income levels and are more likely to engage with premium apps and services, while Android has a more diverse user base with varying income levels and preferences.

Geographic Location

iOS and Android have different market shares in various regions worldwide. iOS has a stronger presence in North America and Western Europe, while Android dominates in emerging markets such as Asia, Africa, and South America. Consider your app’s intended geographic reach when selecting a platform.

User Behavior and Preferences

Analyze your target audience’s mobile usage patterns, app preferences, and expectations. iOS users tend to be more engaged and loyal, while Android users are more likely to try new apps and have a higher tolerance for ads.

App Functionality and Features

Platform-specific Capabilities

Each platform offers unique features and capabilities that can enhance your app’s functionality. For example, iOS provides seamless integration with Apple’s ecosystem, such as Siri, iMessage, and Apple Pay, while Android offers a more customizable user interface and integration with Google services like Google Maps and Google Assistant.

Hardware and Software Requirements

Consider the hardware and software requirements of your app, such as camera, sensors, or specific software libraries. iOS offers a more standardized hardware ecosystem, while Android has a wider range of devices with varying specifications, which can impact app performance and compatibility.

Development Costs and Resources

Development Time and Complexity

The development time and complexity can vary between iOS and Android. iOS has a more streamlined development process with a single programming language (Swift) and a limited range of devices to support, while Android development can be more complex due to the variety of devices, screen sizes, and software fragmentation.

Developer Expertise and Availability

Consider the availability and cost of skilled developers for each platform. iOS developers may be more expensive due to the higher demand and specific skill set required, while Android developers are more widely available but may have varying levels of expertise.

Licensing and Fees

Both platforms have different licensing and fee structures for app developers. iOS requires an annual developer membership fee, while Android has a one-time registration fee. Additionally, consider the costs associated with third-party tools, libraries, and services that your app may require.

Monetization strategies

In-app Purchases

In-app purchases are a popular monetization strategy for both iOS and Android apps. However, iOS users have shown a higher willingness to spend money on in-app purchases compared to Android users.


Advertising is another common monetization approach, particularly for free apps. Android has a larger user base, which can lead to more ad impressions and revenue, but iOS users are generally more receptive to high-quality, relevant ads.

Paid apps and Subscriptions

Paid apps and subscription-based models can be effective on both platforms, but iOS users are more likely to pay for premium apps and services due to their higher spending power and perceived value of iOS apps.

App Store Policies and Guidelines

App Approval Process 

Both iOS and Android have app review processes to ensure the quality and safety of apps in their respective app stores. iOS has a more stringent and time-consuming review process, focusing on user experience, security, and adherence to guidelines, while Android’s review process is generally faster and more lenient.

Update and Maintenance Requirements

Consider the update and maintenance requirements for each platform. iOS users tend to adopt new versions of the operating system more quickly, requiring developers to keep their apps updated and compatible. Android’s fragmentation can make it challenging to support a wide range of devices and software versions, requiring more extensive testing and maintenance efforts.

Advantages of iOS Platform

User Demographics and Spending Habits

iOS users typically have higher disposable incomes and are more willing to spend money on apps and in-app purchases compared to Android users. This demographic tends to be more affluent, educated, and engaged with their devices, making them an attractive target for premium and paid apps. iOS users are known for their loyalty to the platform and are more likely to make recurring in-app purchases or subscribe to premium services.

The higher spending habits of iOS users can lead to better monetization opportunities for app developers. If your app relies on a paid or subscription-based model, or if you plan to generate revenue through in-app purchases, targeting iOS users can potentially result in higher revenue per user compared to Android.

Consistent User Experience Across Devices

One of the key advantages of developing for the iOS platform is the consistent user experience across devices. Apple maintains strict control over the hardware and software ecosystem, ensuring that all iOS devices, from iPhones to iPads, offer a seamless and cohesive user experience. This consistency allows developers to create apps that look and function similarly across different iOS devices, reducing the need for extensive device-specific optimization.

The consistent user experience on iOS also means that users are more familiar with the platform’s navigation patterns, gestures, and design language. This familiarity can lead to better user engagement and retention, as users can quickly adapt to new apps that follow iOS design guidelines and best practices.

Streamlined Development Process

Developing apps for the iOS platform is often considered more streamlined and efficient compared to Android development. Apple provides a comprehensive set of developer tools, such as Xcode and Swift programming language, which are designed to work seamlessly together. These tools offer a unified development environment, making it easier for developers to code, debug, and test their apps.

Moreover, the iOS platform has a smaller number of devices and screen sizes compared to Android, which has a fragmented device ecosystem. This reduced fragmentation simplifies the development process, as developers need to target fewer device configurations and can focus on optimizing their apps for a limited set of hardware specifications. As a result, iOS app development can often be completed faster and with fewer compatibility issues compared to Android.

Higher App Revenue Potential

iOS apps have a track record of generating higher revenue compared to their Android counterparts. This can be attributed to several factors, including the higher spending habits of iOS users, the premium positioning of the iOS app ecosystem, and the streamlined in-app purchase process on the App Store.

iOS users are more accustomed to paying for apps and are willing to spend more on in-app purchases, resulting in higher average revenue per user (ARPU) for iOS apps. Additionally, the App Store’s curated approach and stringent review process create a perception of higher-quality apps, which can justify premium pricing and encourage user spending.

While the Android platform has a larger global market share, iOS apps often generate more revenue in key markets such as the United States, Canada, and Western Europe. If your monetization strategy relies on app purchases, in-app purchases, or subscriptions, targeting the iOS platform can potentially lead to higher revenue potential.

Strong Brand Recognition and Loyalty

Apple has a strong brand reputation and loyal user base, which can benefit app developers targeting the iOS platform. The Apple brand is associated with quality, innovation, and user experience, and this perception extends to the apps available on the App Store. iOS users tend to have high expectations for app quality and are more likely to engage with apps that meet Apple’s design and performance standards.

The loyalty of iOS users can also lead to higher app retention rates and long-term engagement. Once an iOS user finds an app they like, they are more likely to stick with it and continue using it over time. This loyalty can translate into a stable and profitable user base for app developers.

The strong brand recognition of iOS can help app developers gain visibility and credibility in the market. Having an app featured on the App Store or being associated with the iOS ecosystem can lend legitimacy to your app and attract more users who trust Apple’s platform and curation process.

Developing for the iOS platform offers several advantages, including access to a highly engaged and affluent user base, a consistent user experience across devices, a streamlined development process, higher app revenue potential, and the benefits of strong brand recognition and user loyalty. However, it’s essential to consider your specific app requirements, target audience, and business goals when deciding whether to prioritize iOS development over Android or pursue a multi-platform approach.

Advantages of Android Platform

Larger Global Market Share

One of the most significant advantages of the Android platform is its larger global market share compared to iOS. Android devices account for over 70% of the worldwide smartphone market, with a strong presence in emerging markets such as Asia, Africa, and South America. This vast user base presents a massive opportunity for app developers to reach a wider audience and potentially generate more downloads and revenue.

The larger market share also means that Android apps have the potential to impact a more diverse range of users, spanning different demographics, geographies, and socioeconomic backgrounds. This can be particularly advantageous for apps targeting specific regions or user segments that may have a higher concentration of Android users.

Greater Device Diversity and Flexibility

Android offers a greater diversity of devices and form factors compared to iOS. The Android ecosystem includes a wide range of smartphones, tablets, and wearables from various manufacturers, each with its own unique hardware specifications and features. This diversity allows developers to create apps that cater to specific device capabilities or user preferences.

Moreover, Android’s flexibility extends to software customization. Device manufacturers can customize the Android operating system to differentiate their products and add unique features. This flexibility enables developers to take advantage of device-specific APIs and create tailored experiences for different Android devices.

Lower Entry Barriers for Developers

Android has lower entry barriers for developers compared to iOS. To start developing Android apps, developers need to create a Google Play Developer account, which has a one-time registration fee of $25. This is significantly lower than the annual fee of $99 required for the Apple Developer Program.

Additionally, Android development can be done on a wider range of operating systems, including Windows, macOS, and Linux. This flexibility allows developers to use their existing hardware and software setup without investing in platform-specific tools. Android Studio, the official IDE for Android development, is also available for free, further reducing the cost of entry for developers.

More Customization Options

Android offers more customization options for both users and developers compared to iOS. Users can customize their device’s home screen, widgets, app icons, and system settings to suit their preferences. This level of customization allows developers to create apps that seamlessly integrate with the user’s personalized device setup.

For developers, Android provides more control over the app’s appearance and behavior. Developers can create custom UI components, modify system-level features, and integrate with third-party apps and services more easily. This flexibility enables developers to create unique and innovative app experiences that may not be possible on the more restricted iOS platform.

Open-source Advantages and Community Support

Android is built on an open-source platform, which offers several advantages for developers. The Android Open Source Project (AOSP) provides access to the Android source code, allowing developers to examine, modify, and contribute to the platform. This transparency can lead to a better understanding of the Android system and enable developers to create more efficient and optimized apps.

The open-source nature of Android also fosters a large and active developer community. Developers can collaborate, share knowledge, and leverage community-created resources such as libraries, frameworks, and tools. This community support can accelerate development, solve common issues, and provide guidance for best practices and emerging trends in Android development.

The Android developer community contributes to the creation of alternative app distribution channels, such as the Amazon Appstore and F-Droid. These alternative app stores provide developers with additional opportunities to reach users and monetize their apps, especially in regions where the Google Play Store may have limited access or restrictions.

Considerations for Developing on Both Platforms

Increased Development Costs and Time

Developing apps for both iOS and Android platforms simultaneously can lead to increased development costs and time compared to focusing on a single platform. When targeting both platforms, you’ll need to allocate resources for platform-specific development, testing, and maintenance.

Developing for iOS and Android requires different skill sets, programming languages, and tools. iOS apps are typically developed using Swift or Objective-C, while Android apps are developed using Java or Kotlin. This means you’ll need to either hire separate development teams for each platform or invest in training your existing team to be proficient in both ecosystems.

Each platform has its own design guidelines, UI components, and user experience conventions. Designing and implementing a consistent user interface across both platforms while adhering to their respective guidelines can be time-consuming and require additional design resources.

Testing and quality assurance also become more complex when targeting both platforms. You’ll need to test your app on a wide range of devices, screen sizes, and software versions to ensure compatibility and optimal performance. This increased testing effort can prolong the development cycle and require more extensive bug fixing and optimization.

Maintaining Consistent User Experience

When developing for both iOS and Android, it’s crucial to maintain a consistent user experience across platforms while still respecting the unique design patterns and user expectations of each platform. Users should be able to easily navigate and interact with your app, regardless of whether they are using an iOS or Android device.

To achieve a consistent user experience, consider the following:

  • Design a unified visual language: Establish a consistent visual style, color scheme, and typography that reflects your brand and app’s personality. While the specific UI components may differ between platforms, the overall look and feel should be cohesive.
  • Adapt to platform-specific conventions: Respect the design guidelines and user interface patterns of each platform. iOS users expect certain gestures, navigation styles, and UI elements, while Android users have their own set of expectations. Strike a balance between consistency and platform-specific best practices.
  • Provide similar core functionality: Ensure that the core features and functionality of your app are available and work seamlessly on both platforms. Users should be able to perform the same key tasks and access the same content, regardless of their device.
  • Optimize performance: Ensure that your app performs well on both platforms, considering factors such as app size, loading times, and responsiveness. Optimize your app’s performance to provide a smooth and reliable user experience across different devices and network conditions.

Leveraging Cross-Platform Development Tools

To streamline the development process and reduce the effort required to maintain separate codebases for iOS and Android, consider leveraging cross-platform development tools. These tools allow you to write a single codebase that can be compiled and deployed to both platforms, saving time and resources.

Some popular cross-platform development tools include:

  • React Native: Developed by Facebook, React Native allows you to build native mobile apps using JavaScript and React. It provides a rich set of UI components and APIs that map to their native counterparts, resulting in near-native performance.
  • Flutter: Created by Google, Flutter is an open-source UI software development kit that enables building natively compiled apps for mobile, web, and desktop platforms from a single codebase. It offers a wide range of customizable widgets and tools for fast and expressive app development.
  • Xamarin: Xamarin is a Microsoft-owned platform that allows developers to build native Android, iOS, and Windows apps using C# and .NET. It provides a shared codebase for business logic and platform-specific UI layers.

When choosing a cross-platform development tool, consider factors such as performance, developer productivity, community support, and access to native platform features. While cross-platform tools can significantly reduce development time and costs, they may have limitations compared to native platform-specific development.

Next Steps

Conducting Market Research and User Surveys

Before diving into mobile app development, it’s crucial to conduct thorough market research and user surveys to validate your app idea and gather insights about your target audience. Market research helps you understand the competitive landscape, identify potential opportunities, and assess the viability of your app concept.

Start by analyzing existing apps in your niche, their features, user reviews, and ratings. Look for gaps in the market that your app can fill and identify unique selling points that set your app apart from competitors. Conduct user surveys and focus groups to gather feedback on your app idea, features, and user preferences. This valuable data will help you refine your app concept and ensure that it meets the needs and expectations of your target users.

Consulting with Experienced Mobile App Developers

Developing a successful mobile app requires technical expertise and knowledge of best practices. Consulting with experienced mobile app developers can provide valuable insights and guidance throughout the development process. These experts can help you make informed decisions about platform selection, technology stack, architecture, and user experience design.

When consulting with mobile app developers, discuss your app idea, target audience, and business goals. Seek their advice on the feasibility of your app, potential challenges, and recommended approaches. Experienced developers can also provide estimates for development time, costs, and resources required, helping you plan and budget accordingly.

Consider partnering with a reputable mobile app development company, such as Dogtown Media, or hiring freelance developers with proven track records in your niche. Look for developers who have experience in building apps similar to yours and can provide references and a portfolio of their work.

Evaluating Budget and Resource Constraints

Developing a mobile app can be a significant investment, and it’s essential to evaluate your budget and resource constraints before embarking on the development journey. Determine the available financial resources you can allocate to app development, including design, development, testing, and marketing expenses.

Consider the different development options available, such as native app development, cross-platform development, or hybrid app development. Each approach has its own cost implications and trade-offs in terms of performance, user experience, and time-to-market. Assess which approach aligns best with your budget and resource constraints while still delivering the desired app quality and functionality.

In addition to financial resources, consider the human resources required for app development. Determine whether you have the necessary skills and expertise in-house or if you need to hire external developers, designers, and quality assurance professionals. Factor in the time and effort required for project management, communication, and collaboration among team members.

Creating a Development Roadmap and Timeline

Once you have conducted market research, consulted with experienced developers, and evaluated your budget and resources, it’s time to create a development roadmap and timeline. A well-defined roadmap outlines the key milestones, deliverables, and dependencies involved in the app development process.

Break down the development process into manageable phases, such as:

  • Planning and requirements gathering
  • UI/UX design
  • Development and coding
  • Testing and quality assurance
  • App store submission and launch
  • Post-launch maintenance and updates

Assign realistic timelines to each phase, taking into account the complexity of your app, available resources, and potential risks and contingencies. Regularly review and update your roadmap based on progress, feedback, and any changes in requirements or priorities.

Effective project management is crucial to ensure that your app development stays on track and within budget. Use project management tools and methodologies, such as Agile or Scrum, to facilitate collaboration, track progress, and address any issues or delays promptly.

By following these next steps–conducting market research, consulting with experienced developers, evaluating budget and resources, and creating a development roadmap – you’ll be well-prepared to embark on your mobile app development journey and bring your app idea to life.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Choosing the Right Mobile App Platform

How do I determine which platform, iOS or Android, is best suited for my app?

To determine the best platform for your app, consider factors such as your target audience demographics, app functionality requirements, development costs, and monetization strategies. Conduct market research and analyze your target users’ preferences and behavior to make an informed decision. If your app caters to a premium, design-focused audience, iOS may be the better choice. If you’re targeting a broader, more diverse user base or require greater flexibility in customization, Android might be more suitable.

Can I develop my app for both iOS and Android platforms simultaneously? 

Yes, it is possible to develop your app for both iOS and Android platforms simultaneously. However, this approach requires more resources, time, and effort compared to developing for a single platform. You’ll need to consider the increased development costs, the need for platform-specific expertise, and the challenge of maintaining a consistent user experience across both platforms. Cross-platform development tools like React Native, Flutter, or Xamarin can help streamline the development process, but they may have limitations compared to native platform-specific development.

How much does it cost to develop a mobile app for iOS or Android? 

The cost of developing a mobile app for iOS or Android varies depending on factors such as app complexity, features, development approach, and the hourly rates of the development team. On average, a simple app can cost between $10,000 to $50,000, while more complex apps can range from $50,000 to $500,000 or more. It’s essential to evaluate your budget and resource constraints and prioritize features accordingly. Consider the development costs and the ongoing expenses for app maintenance, updates, and marketing.

How long does it take to develop a mobile app for iOS or Android?

The development timeline for a mobile app depends on various factors, including the app’s complexity, features, the size and experience of the development team, and the development approach. A simple app with basic features can take around 2-4 months to develop, while a more complex app with advanced functionality can take 6-12 months or longer. Creating a detailed development roadmap and timeline, breaking down the process into manageable phases, and regularly reviewing progress can help keep the development on track.

How do I ensure the success of my mobile app on iOS or Android? 

To ensure the success of your mobile app on iOS or Android, start by conducting thorough market research and user surveys to validate your app idea and gather insights about your target audience. Consult with experienced mobile app developers to get guidance on technical feasibility, best practices, and development approaches. Evaluate your budget and resource constraints realistically, and prioritize features and functionality accordingly. Create a comprehensive development roadmap and timeline, and regularly review and adapt based on feedback and market conditions. After launch, continue to gather user feedback, analyze app performance metrics, and provide regular updates and improvements to keep users engaged and satisfied.

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