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Apple App Store Vs. Google Play Store: What App Publishers Need to Know

Staff Writer

iOS vs. Android... the eternal battle.

It's a question that developers have grappled with for years as they try to determine where to place the focus of their next project.

Of course, ideally an app is available for all platforms, but if you had to choose one, which one is better — and why?

This article will explore a few of the differences and highlight the disadvantages and advantages of each operating system for mobile devices.

Market Share Of Mobile Device Operating Systems

If your greatest concern is the sheer number of users, then it's important to realize that Android holds 72.6% of the market as users, with iOS holding on to only 26.72%.

That said, more doesn't always equal better.

There is a general perception that apps hosted in the App Store are typically of higher quality. This is because the process for getting approved in the App Store is significantly more stringent than the Google Play Store.

While it might be more appealing for developers to release a project faster and easier through the Google Play Store, their process also permits for a greater number of fake or malicious apps, which ultimately hurts user trust.

In a recent study, it was estimated that there are over 2,000 fake apps available for download in the Google Play Store.

Of course, the App Store is not impervious to malicious apps, but what's important to understand here as a developer is that if your goal is to position your app as a safe and high-quality application, then releasing it on iOS may help build your brand perception.

Growth and Revenue Potential

From a pure competition perspective, your app will be just a drop in the bucket compared to the millions of apps available in both the Google Play Store and the App Store.

In the first quarter of 2020, there were 2.56 million apps available in the Google Play Store and another 1.84 million apps available in the App Store. No matter which platform you choose, there's going to be competition for users.

From a growth perspective, there is a fairly even march in the growth of revenue and availability of apps between the two app platforms, but where do users spend the most money?

This is a huge difference between the two platforms and a key statistic for developers to understand.

In 2019, Google Play Store generated approximately $29.3 billion in revenue.

The App Store nearly doubled this with almost $54.2 billion in revenue.

This may be related to the fact that iPhone users typically have a higher income than Android users and they also typically spend more time using apps on their mobile devices.

So Which Platform Is The Right One?

At first glance, following the money makes the most sense for developers who want to build something that is profitable.

However, it's not a golden rule. The app market is estimated to grow to $6.3 trillion in 2021, so there is plenty of pie for everyone regardless of where your app is released.

What's most important to understand is where do your users live? What makes them tick? What's their preferred device? The answers to these questions will determine where to focus your efforts from a development and marketing perspective.

There are plenty of statistical differences between iOS and Android users, and the success of an app will ultimately depend on how well you understand your target audience and how well you match your product and your messaging to their needs.