The Difference Between Android and iOS

The Difference Between Android and iOS
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Written by Shuvhojit DebNovember 19, 2021
29 min read
Android
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Techiio-author
Shuvhojit Deb

Full Stack Developer

In this blog, we will discuss the difference between Android and iOS.

What is Android?

Android is by far the world’s most popular operating system. It is a mobile operating system that has been around for nearly 15 years. You’ll primarily find it as the base operating system of phones and tablets around the world. Additionally, other operating systems natively support Android applications, including Chrome OS and Windows 11.

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What is iOS?

iOS is the operating system for iPhone, iPad, and other Apple mobile devices. Based on Mac OS, the operating system which runs Apple’s line of Mac desktop and laptop computers, Apple iOS is designed for easy, seamless networking between a range of Apple products. It is the second-most popular mobile operating system.

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Difference between Android and iOS

After reading articles on the internet, I have drawn up some differences between Android and iOS.

Features of Android

Developer

Various, mostly Google and Open Handset Alliance.

Initial release

September 23, 2008

Latest stable release and updates

Android 11

Customizability

A lot. Can change almost anything.

Source model

Open-source.

File transfer

Easier than iOS. Using USB port and Android File Transfer desktop app. Photos can be transferred via USB without apps.

Widgets

Yes, except on the lock screen.

Internet browsing

Google Chrome (other browsers are available). Any browser app can be set as default. Adblocking is supported with Firefox.

Web mapping service

Google Maps.

Available language(s)

100+ languages.

Video chat

Google Meet and other 3rd party apps.

Virtual assistant

Google Assistant.

Available on

Many phones and tablets. Major manufacturers such as Samsung, Oppo, OnePlus, Vivo, Honor, and Xiaomi. Android One devices are pure
Android. Pixel line of devices is made by Google using an almost pure version of Android.

Calls and Messaging

Google Messages. 3rd party apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Google Duo, Discord, and Skype all work on Android and fish.

App store, Affordability, and interface

Google Play Store – 2,000,000+ apps. Other app stores like Amazon and Aptoide also distribute Android apps. (".APKs"). Apps containing
virus rare, but existing.

Alternative app stores and side loading

Several alternative app stores are other than the official Google Play Store. (e.g. Aptoide, Galaxy Apps)

Battery life and management

Many but not all Android phone manufacturers equip their devices with large batteries with longer life.

Open-source

Kernel (Based on Linux), UI, and some standard apps.

File manager

Yes. (Stock Android File Manager included on devices running Android 7.1.1)

Photos & Videos backup

Apps are available for an automatic backup of photos and videos. Google Photos allows unlimited backup of photos at a compressed quality.
OneDrive, Amazon Photos, and Dropbox are other alternatives.

Security

Monthly security updates. Android software patches are available soonest to Pixel device users. Manufacturers tend to L pushing out these updates. Sort any given time a vast majority of
Android devices are running outdated OS software.

Rooting, bootloaders, and jailbreaking

Access and complete control over your devices are available and you can unlock the bootloader.

Cloud services

Native integration with Google Drive storage. 15GB free, $2/month for 100GB, 1TB for $10. Apps available for Amazon Photos, OneDrive and
Dropbox.

Interface

Touch Screen.

Biometric Authentication

Fingerprint and/or Face Authentication. Availability depends on the manufacturer's hardware.

OS family

Linux.

Headphone Jack

Some current Android smartphones and many don't.

Features of iOS

Developer

Apple Inc.

Initial release

July 29, 2007

Latest stable release and Updates

iOS 14.1 and iPad OS 14.1

Customizability

Limited unless jailbroken.

Source model

Closed, with open source components.

File transfer

More difficult. Media files can be transferred using the iTunes desktop app. Photos can be transferred out via USB without apps.

Widgets

Yes, except on lock-screen.

Internet browsing

Safari. Any browser app can be set as default but they all use the same rendering engine (Safari/Webkit) behind the scenes. Adblocking is supported via content blockers like Firefox Focus.

Web mapping service

Apple Maps (default). Google Maps is also available via a separate app download, but not as default.

Available language(s)

40 languages.

Video chat

FaceTime (Apple devices only) and other 3rd party apps.

Virtual assistant

Siri.

Available on

iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV (2nd and 3rd generation).

Calls and messaging

iMessage, FaceTime (with other Apple devices only). 3rd party apps like Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Google Duo, Discord, and Skype all work on Android and iOS.

App store, Affordability, and interface

Apple App Store – 1,000,000+ apps. Apps containing viruses are very rare or nonexistent.

Alternative app stores and side loading

Apple blocks 3rd party app stores. The phone needs to be jailbroken if you want to download apps from other stores.

Battery life and management

Apple batteries are generally not as big as the largest Android batteries. However, Apple can squeeze decent battery life via hardware/software optimizations.

Open-source

The iOS kernel is not open source but is based on the open-source Darwin OS.

File manager

Files app, limited and less useful (iOS 12).

Photos & Videos backup

Up to 5 GB of photos and videos can be automatically backed up with iCloud, more paid iCloud storage is available via subscription. All other vendors like Google, Amazon, Dropbox, Flickr, and
Microsoft have auto-backup apps for both iOS and
Android.

Security

Occasional security updates. Security threats are rare because iOS is locked and downloading apps out of the App Store is complicated.

Rooting, bootloaders, and jailbreaking

Complete control over your device is not available.

Cloud services

Native integration with iCloud. 5GB free, 50GB for $1/month, 200GB for $3/month, 1TB for $10/mo. Apps are available for Google Drive and Google Photos, Amazon Photos, OneDrive, and
Dropbox.

Interface

Touch Screen.

Biometric Authentication

Fingerprint or Face Authentication. Touch ID available on iPhone (5s and later) and iPad (Air 2 and later) but not on iPhone X or later. Face ID available on iPhone X and later, replacing Touch ID.

OS family

OS X, UNIX.

Headphone Jack

None on iPhone 7 and later, lighting to 3.5mm no longer comes with the phone after iPhone XS.

Exclusive features(Android)

  • Customizing the Home screen: Android offers a lot of flexibility for adding widgets and customizing the layout of the home screen. It also supports other apps taking over the management of the home screen.

  • File management: Android allows users to choose a file manager, and also provides access to the file system. Plugging an Android device into a PC exposes the phone's file system as just another drive, allowing drag and drop access for moving files between the phone and the PC.

  • Expandable Storage: Most Android phones come with expandable storage. While the phone may only have 32 or 64GB of storage, you can add a microSD card to expand it by up to 1TB more.

  • Multiple Users and Guest accounts: While iOS is a single-user operating system, Android has added support for multiple users, and even a guest account. This is especially useful for sharing your phone with kids or with a friend who may need it temporarily.

  • Split screen: iOS only supports split-screen for iPads. Android supports this feature for phones as well.

Exclusive features(iOS)

  • iMessage: Perhaps the most popular iOS app, iMessage handles both SMS messages (when the other party is on a non-Apple platform) as well as Apple-supported chat (when all participants use iMessage). Its integration with Apple Pay makes sending and receiving money via iMessage extremely easy.

  • AirDrop: AirDrop uses Bluetooth to share files, pictures, videos, and links from the iPhone to any Apple device. It is very easy to use.

  • Share WiFi passwords: Sharing WiFi passwords between two iOS devices is a breeze. Simply hold them close together and a pop-up will appear asking if you'd like to share your password.

  • App offloading: iOS automatically identifies apps that you do not use and removes them from the device. Data from the apps are retained and they get reinstalled when you want to use them.

  • Breezy setup of new devices: Apple makes it very easy to switch from an old iPhone to a new iPhone. When setting up a new iPhone, importing apps, data, passwords, and settings is a breeze.

Apps Available on iOS vs. Android

Android gets apps from Google Play, which currently has 600,000 apps available, most of which will run on tablets. However, some Android devices, such as the Kindle Fire, use separate app stores that have a smaller selection of apps available. Many originally iOS-only apps are now available for Android, including Instagram and Pinterest, and Google’s more open app-store means other exclusive apps are also available, including Adobe Flash Player and BitTorrent. Android also offers access to Google-based apps, such as Youtube and Google Docs.

The Apple app store currently offers over 1 million apps, about 30% of which are available for the iPad. Most developers prefer to develop games for iOS before they develop for Android.

The bottom line when comparing Google and Apple's app stores is that the most popular apps are available for both platforms. But for tablets, there are more apps designed specifically for the iPad while Android tablet apps are often scaled-up versions of Android smartphone apps. Developers at startups often focus on one platform (usually iOS) when they first launch their smartphone app because they do not have the resources to serve multiple platforms from the get-go. For example, Instagram started with iOS and their Android app came much later.

Building and Publishing Apps for iOS vs. Android

Android apps are programmed using C, C++, and Java. It is an open platform; anyone can download the Android source code and Android SDK for free. Anyone can create and distribute Android apps for free; users are free to download apps from outside of the official Google Play store. There is, however, a one-time $25 registration fee for developers who want to publish their apps (whether free or paid apps) on the official Google Play store. Apps published on Google Play undergo a review by Google. The Android SDK is available for all platforms - Mac, PC, and Linux.

iOS apps are programmed using Objective-C. Developers must pay $99 every year for access to the iOS SDK and the right to publish in Apple's app store. The iOS SDK is only available for the Mac platform.

Some app development platforms - such as Titanium Appcelerator and PhoneGap - offer a way to code once (say in Javascript and/or HTML) and have the platform convert it into native code for both Android and iOS platforms.

Pros and Cons of Android

Massive hardware selection:

A large number of Android devices are available at various price points, with varying hardware capabilities, screen sizes, and features.

Highly customizable user experience:

The home screen can be customized with not only just app icons but also widgets that allow the user to stay connected or informed. Other examples include SwiftKey, which modifies your Android smartphone’s keyboard, and apps that emulate older gaming consoles. Google has fewer restrictions than Apple on what kinds of apps it allows in its Play store. Moreover, you can choose to install Android apps from places other than the Google Play store.

Pros and Cons of iOS

Massive app ecosystem:

A distinct advantage for tablet apps while on smartphones popular apps are usually available for both platforms.

Deeper integration with Facebook and Twitter:

It is easier to post updates and share on social networks using iOS than Android because of how deeply integrated these platforms are with iOS.

iOS-only apps:

Passbook, FaceTime, and Mobile Payments app Square (available on iOS 3GS,4,4S,5 and up, nut only for limited Android phones).

The interface is locked down:

Limited customization options for the home screens; only rows of app icons are allowed. No third-party apps are pre-installed by the wireless carrier. Users can only install apps from the App Store.

Software upgrades:

Apple offers software upgrades to all devices that have the hardware capable of handling the new software. This means devices stay current with software features for at least two to three years.

Better privacy controls:

iOS offers better control over the access apps have to users' private information such as contacts and location.

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