Have you ever wonder how much both Android and iOS covers the entire app market? The values are staggering, around 99% which is absolutely overwhelming. If you have been asking yourself, why no develop apps for both of the platforms and gather all 99% of the market, will the answer is quite straightforward actually, which is targeted towards cost restraints. It is obvious for businesses to spend by their allocated means, which comprises of cost and time-related resources. So developers are usually asked to develop an app for a single platform in the initial stages.

Certainly, there are different approaches to tackle the coverage for both the platform with minimum expenses, such as cross-platform, web app, responsive, hybrid app etc. Out of this solution, the one we are going to talk about is porting one app into another. If developers pick a platform to develop the app, there are various methods which we can adapt to make our app port successful. Let’s understand more about the advantages for porting or converting our mobile apps from Android to iOS or vice-versa.

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Advantages for porting a mobile app 

People who have been developing mobile apps for either Android or iOs may have wondered once at least about the possibility for porting Android app into iOS or vice versa and whether is it a viable option to save additional development cost and time. The short answer is a big yes, and its worth of implementing. Here are some of the benefits for porting to another platform if you want some more push.

Larger Audience pool

Mobile apps success mainly depends on only one thing, which is the higher number of downloads. The more the users are available to readily download the app, the better the chance to have your app a successful one. Of course, there are many ways to increase the prospect for a maximum number of download within your prescribed budget, among all those possibilities, the biggest solution to have an increasing number of users is to provide an app for 2 biggest platforms: namely Android and iOS. Android has the most number of active users by capacity which is tremendously famous on Asian and East European countries, while iOS is used extensively in North American countries and Australia. Through app porting, you can have the best of both worlds in term of higher number of active users, available to become your potential customers in numbers.

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Expand profits

Supporting the above point in a more natural manner, as to the result which is being extracted when a higher number of people are accessing your mobile app, obviously, you will strengthen your income and increase profits. The importance of increasing revenue in the relationship with a number of users is directly proportional, but in most cases, businesses usually developed a platform depended on an application which best suited on a particular OS, rather than becomes dual oriented. In either case, what we try to comprehend is that it’s better to cover both platforms no matter you are trying to focus on a single OS. The greater the number of users is, better the chances of increased revenues.

Competitive prowess

If you are developing an app with strict one-on-one competition for any platform oriented mobile app, there is always a good opportunity to be arising when both of the OS are covered. In terms of greater market share and increased in brand awareness, it’s always a good idea to distribute app to more users, because according to many sources, it has been observed that users in their lifetime purchase iOS and Android both, and if your customers using iOS are pretty loyal with your produced app, then migrating to Android would’ve certainly adds a reactive element to your loyal customer if their handy app is not available in the other OS. Retaining your old customers and gain a new one, with a pinch of competitive ability will definitely improve your overall approach.

Greater information extracted from the user

Increase market provides a business with better revenue and greater downloads for your mobile app, along with one more benefit which is important for that business who are looking to improve and iterate their approach using analytic data from the user. The app user provide valuable insight into the customer’s likes and dislikes, also what does it thinks about the app included features and the features they are looking to see on future apps. It’s a rule of thumb for every analytics expert, that more the data available, the better the result. This concept also applies to the mobile app world as well. The user from Android and iOS blend in to contribute a solid analytics report for stakeholders to improve their position and get a better footing against their competition.

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Necessary factors to understand for porting an app

If a developer is asked to port an Android to iOS or vice versa, he will have to learn iOS from scratch and learn similarities in terms technology, elements, logic, and design, and app flow. This takes time at the least and the idea about porting is all about saving it. Here through our experience, we will share and provide key properties when considering a port from either one of the popular mobile OS. This highly valuable guide will save you time and spare the all those startup with annoying errors and blunders through all those trial and error schemes.

Architectural dissimilarity

This is a hard pill to swallow, anyways here it goes: both the OS has a different architecture in their core, which will be a standard problem to tackle when going for a port. To talk about user display elements, the components such as menu, navigation, file handling, app flow, push notification, etc. are different for different OS, and only way to do it is to learn its documentation and go through all the boot camp procedure which is same for every develop at the first step. So it’s important to get ready for the tough time for developers in particular when opting for porting the app.

Design elements

Mobile app development is all about UI/UX, which brings out color and aesthetics to all the boring text and numbers and makes it an interesting piece of software. When porting from one OS to another, the design structure is different. For example, iOS uses a flat design system while Android is based on Material design structure. The difference in design between iOS and Android has been greatly debated by many experts and developers which brings down to the conclusion that bot OS is a separate universe when UI elements are a concern.

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Coding and Business logic

Once the front end has taken care of, let’s go the place where actual magic is happening, the code. For starters, it goes without saying that iOS uses Objective-C/swift while Android uses Java. There is absolutely no resembles syntax wise among the two. So what must be done? Simple, develop from scratch. For porting the app, developing the back-end and front-end all together takes up a lot of time in the entire mobile app development life cycle. Even more than developing the app for a clean slate, and then porting it. The reason for this high amount of time required is due to decoding the programming block one by one and re-wrote it in a new language for different OS.

Device Support

iPhone and Android share different devices all around the world. Especially for Android, there are incomprehensible builds for Android OS variation being deployed in the market, which makes impossible for a developer to target each and every device that runs Android OS. Being said, there is a simple solution for that, which can help you get around 99% of the market definitely. Just list down top 10 most popular Android-powered devices in the market and develop, and run the app on these devices exclusively.

Testing and debug

Never consider testing and product assurance as an optional activity. This time spends in testing and correcting the app is time well spent, as the success is depended on it. A buggy app is as good as no app at all because the users out the day are merciless. For both the OS, building test cases on their specific programming languages, based on the similar structure and targeted test cases.

Opportunity for optimization

Porting an existing app to another OS demands a clean and optimized coding for the current system, because when migrating all the features through porting, if there are any errors or unclean code inside the primary OS, the secondary OS will eventually get the unprecedented errors in the newer OS well, hence it is advised to diligently apply code optimization and further refinement. In other note, porting an app is a brilliant chance for adding any enhanced optimization-oriented features on the secondary OS such as increase battery time, increase processing speed etc.

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How to port iOS to Android (or vice versa)

After learning some tips on why porting an app has benefits more than its drawbacks, it’s time to learn the basic tips on how to port from one OS into other. From here onwards, your developer will be the only person responsible to handle the porting, all you need to learn as an entrepreneur is to know what does it cost in terms of technology, time, cost, and human resource.

Once you have made up your mind for porting an existing app into a newer OS, it’s fair to provide you some ease on your mind. Porting an App requires lesser cost than creating the newer one for the first time, up to 30% lesser cost. All this decrease in cost is directed towards the back-end of your app, since you may have previously developed for your main OS, porting won’t require re-designing the entire back-end component for porting the mobile app into a secondary OS. Besides the back-end cost deduction, you will also save some nitty gritty costing on your app specifications, which is the initial documentation such as wireframing, app flow, and user input specifics will be saved. Though it’s a small portion, still writing it for the first time requires a lot of work, brainstorming and not to mention the element of frustration which enters whenever a storyboard has to formulated from scratch.

Design

Let’s start from designing area for your OS. Remember this rule on the thumb as a technical tip, Android and iOS is differently build as per corporate level, meaning from design to code, you can never copy paste the content from one OS to another in the impression of porting. To clarify this concept further, let’s take the design structure. Apple and all of its products use ‘Flat’ design, which means all the design elements are displayed in a flat orientation, without any border shadow or other depth based styling for its core elements, whereas Android is based on the format which is generally called as Material design. What it implies that every element is separately considered, when combined to form a page, is formulated as a 2.5D layout that helps the user to identify each element as a separate identity. To examine some of the popular element from both the OS let’s learn how design is different for different

android and ios design

-Lists: Android has a simple list separated by equal padding and divider, while for iOS, the list has an arrow at the far right position.

– Date pickers: Android has separate picks for year day and month, while iOS has compacted pickers all integrated together

– Icons: Both Android and iOS support different icons group as per their OS specifications.

– Object positioning: There are few components that display differently on a different platform, i.e card component in Android takes up an entire row, while for iOS, the default card component row occupied by 50%.

There is much other design difference as per explained in the official documentation for both the OS. But before going further, it’s important to understand the Google Play’s guidelines and Apple’s Store guidelines. When a developer is looking to publish an app to, let’s say, Apple’s Store, the guidelines has to be fully complied before submitting the source code. This is same for Android through its play store guidelines. But if you are looking for a port, you have possibility submitted your app to any one of the OS, so if you are thinking that guidelines are similar for both the OS, you need to re-evaluate your strategy again. Both the publishing guidelines are different and don’t resemble at all, but it’s not a hard and fast rule to publish an app in either one of them. The guidelines are very clear to follow and require a few of the important points which need to be duly acknowledged.

Development

As explained earlier, copy paste one OS into another for the sake of port is out of the question, so like designing part, the development must also be handwritten and starts from scratch. The time required is similar as the app has written for the first time, but in many cases, it may increase due to the different platform debugging issues based on the supported elements from Android to iOS and vice versa. The swift or Objective C written code to java uses completely unrelated syntax, which adds up more complexity to decode one programming language into the other.

ios and android app development

Testing

During your development stage for porting your existing app into another OS, most of the time will be spent on fixing runtime errors and other ad-hoc bugs, so it’s safe to say that 30% of the time will be spent on testing the app. The unit testing is an important part of any application, which is known as a success assurance type of the deal. The quality and success hugely depend on the testing time invested during, and after the app development, so it’s also a time investing work.

Conclusion

Porting an app from Android to iOS or vice versa needs an expert’s eye to do the heavy lifting for re-structuring, re-designing, re-coding based on the preferred OS. The Porting has a major advantage to increase user base, decrease the cost for back-end and learn from a new market for your future products. It is to remember in the technology business that the main power always lies with the user. Your product or app should always echo slogan for ‘user first’. If you think your app will benefit in a different OS platform and there are customer who is anticipating your app’s arrival, then opting to go for port in your best bet to save some bucks along the way, without compromising any design and interface changes, just make sure you hire an expert who knows a thing or two about the technology of mobile app development.

SleekDigital is a Mobile App Development Agency in Singapore that helps businesses transform digitally. We also offer digital transformation consultation and general digital consultation for companies who are looking for suggestions of different systems to be integrated. This is more of companies who lack a digital consultant to propose technologies. Arrange a digital consultation with us today!