How to Port an iOS App to Android
If you are reading this, chances are you already have a mobile application for iOS as well as simple landing page or a website, and you are probably thinking to port iOS app to Android. It is a rule of thumb for companies to release an app to the Apple Store initially. So why bother to spend extra resources on porting your existing nice looking and functional app for Iphone/Ipad from iOS to Android?
The Reasons are significant:
1. An immense market with lots of new customers for your company
Just look at the table below, numbers are clear. 80% of the global market for mobile devices is occupied by Android gadgets! They come with an affordable price tag so many of your potential customers have a device running on Android. Many people are waiting your app become available at Google Play.
Source: Gartner (February 2016)
2. Unique features and opportunities for your application
The Android system has flexibility unlike Apple iOS so users can custom apps to their needs more easily. For example, you can set an application as default if you find it useful. Although the main purpose of porting app from iOS to Android is to create the same user experience, ported app can have benefits for difficulties that may occur in the original version.
With a right approach, even some Android features that appear to be disadvantageв at a first glance can be used to get revenue. Some functions of iOS apps are hard to implement on Android, for example, applications for video processing.
Cameras of most Android devices have no technical abilities for advanced video recording; therefore, video processing apps available at Google Play Store are limited. Although there are not so many Android libraries for advanced video editing, taking extra efforts of developing may allow you to create a truly innovative product with an affordable cost.
Although Android users are rarely willing to pay for downloads, cool features can make them spend some money.
3. More profit to you. Efficiency for your investor
So, an Android porting is done and it is time to make a release. Android Market is open to all in contrast to the App Store.
Google Terms and Conditions allow developers to operate quickly and effectively. No need for waiting weeks to be approved by deliberate experts of Apple company. You can start sales and raise money faster thus increasing potential profits. Also, you can provide as many application updates as necessary.
In addition, you can apply different marketing strategies, for example, publish the app at your company website and allow direct download.
App Annie’s 2015 retrospective research clearly states that last year App Store brought to Apple around 75% more income than Google Play Store to its owner, despite the difference in downloads count. Development of iOS mobile applications still is more profitable. And we are absolutely agree with App Annie, because requests for iOS - Android porting fill our Inbox every day.
Read also: Social Media App Development
However, Android system becomes increasingly popular in the world, for example in Asian markets, and the amount and quality of Android devices is constantly increasing, consequently promising growth of sales. That’s one of the main reasons why startup may consider to hire the code porting service providers.
Key points to consider when you decide to port iOS to Android
We have an extensive experience of Android and iOS development and know for sure how to port iOS app to Android, for instance. It’s time to share with you some tips of the wisdom we earned challenging the dragons, so to say. What should be taken in consideration, while planning the port?
Porting to Android requires significant design adaptation
You cannot just pick up and move design elements with no changes.
Do not use design tools intended for iOS.
Many of common tools provide iOS templates by default and you may think they fit Android platform too. Any attempts to port IPhone app to Android with their help lead to a conflict between ported app interface and design of Android device. Make sure you take this into account when porting iOs app to Android.
Android system has a number of contradicting design features in comparison to iOS, such as:
• Buttons (square on Android vs. round on iOS)
• Lists (left pointing arrows vs. right)
• Tabs (at the bottom of the screen vs. top)
• Date/time selectors
• Navigation (physical button for back navigation vs. top back button for back)
Read also: How Much Does it Cost to Design an App?
Use your favorite drawing tool. Photoshop, Visio, Balsamiq, OmniGraffle and even a simple pen, stencil and your own hands can be used.
The advantages of porting app from iOS to Android include lesser time spent iterating the design. Usability and user interface has already being developed, passed different stages of testing and require 50-80% less time as from our experience.
The so-called fragmentation, derived from a variety of device screen resolutions
You have to take into account how app’s data and graphics will be displayed on both large and small screens of devices that runs on Android, considering also vertical and horizontal layouts. The latest version of Android SDK supports about 20 screen resolutions and you may think this is quite challenging when decide to porting to Android. Practically in active usage are only about 10 screen resolutions and you can just ignore some of the older versions.
Most popular versions of Android system
• Android 2.x and Ice-Cream Sandwich (version 4.0.3-4.0.4) - only 3 % of devices.
You can easily ignore them
• Jelly Bean (version 4.1.- 4.3.)
Perform some market research before offer support to this version in order to make sure it will pay off.
• KitKat (version 4.4.) - runs on 36 % of devices
• Lollipop (version 5.0-5.1) - runs on 33 % of devices
Make sure you offer support for it.
• Marshmallow - only 0.7 % of devices use it (Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P).
You should support Marshmallow because people that own expensive gadgets tend to spend money on mobile applications.
If your app implements the server-side code for an app already existing and there is no need to build it from scratch, simply taking the apps Objective-C/Swift listing and recompiling it for Android is not among viable solutions.
Android apps are written with Java most of all, and if your iOS application uses normal C code it can be reused while porting. Dependent C libraries also have to be ported in most cases.
Java’s performance is lower in comparison to compiled Objective-C, therefore it is necessary to consider which characteristics of your product are time-sensitive and use appropriate programming tricks.
How we do it
We are proud to say that there are not many developers as compulsory to littlest development details as we are. Through experience we devised the template for application porting and abide it strictly, which often brings an amazing results:
• Source app UI/UX design analysis;
• Adaptation plan formulation;
• Definition of necessary changes, tools and frameworks;
• UX testing;
• Source app business logic analysis;
• Definition of necessary changes, tools, frameworks and speedhacks;
Implementation and testing stages are iterative and repeated in succession until we are sure that our next piece of art for business is polished to excellence.
In this article, we strived to explain how to port an iOS app to Android and point out some of the critical points of iOS to Android app porting. The move to port apps is starting to grow, not to mention recent news that Apple is considering the probability to make some of their services available at Android.
Well? What are you waiting for, partner? Hop in and let’s make some noise!
Get a 17 min consultation for free with our CTO via Skype maximgor or hangouts firstname.lastname@example.org or reach him via mobile +1 (805) 364-5433