Android vs. iOS: What’s the difference?

When it comes to mobile devices, there are currently two operating systems that reign supreme: Android and iOS. Android, which was developed by Google, currently holds about 52% of the market share of mobile devices, while Apple’s iOS holds about 37%.

For many people, though, the question isn’t really Which one should I buy? but rather What are the differences between Android and iOS? In this article, we’ll explore the top four differences between these two operating systems to help you decide which one is right for you.

Main Difference

While both Android and iOS are mobile operating systems, they have a few key differences. For starters, Android is an open-source platform while iOS is not. This means that anyone can access the Android code and make changes, while iOS is tightly controlled by Apple.

Another difference is that Android updates are released at different times depending on the phone carrier, while iOS updates are released simultaneously for all devices. Finally, Android allows for more customization than iOS does. Users can download different launchers and icon packs to change the look of their device, while iOS users are limited to the pre-installed options.

What is Android?

Android is an operating system developed by Google Inc. It was first released in 2008. It is based on the Linux kernel and uses the Java programming language. Android devices run apps, which are programs designed to perform specific tasks. They can range from simple calculators to complex word processors. Apps can be downloaded from app stores or directly from developers’ websites.

What is iOS?

iOS is a mobile operating system created and developed by Apple Inc. It is the successor to iPhone OS. iOS is based on Mac OS X, with key features such as multitasking, folders, notifications, etc. being ported from Mac OS X to iOS.

iOS has been commercially successful, with over 1 billion active devices as of January 2017. In contrast, Android – the leading competitor to iOS – has about 2 billion active devices as of July 2017. This disparity is often attributed to the greater flexibility and customizability of Android, as well as Google’s free business model (in contrast to Apple’s paid model).

1. iOS is a mobile operating system created and developed by Apple Inc.
2. It is exclusive to Apple devices, such as the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
3. It is known for its user-friendly interface and sleek design.
4. iOS is considered more secure than Android because it is less susceptible to malware and viruses.
5. Updates are released regularly for iOS, which keeps your device up-to-date with the latest security features.

Difference Between Android and iOS?

There are a few key differences between Android and iOS that are worth mentioning.

  • First, Android is an open-source operating system, while iOS is a closed source. This means that anyone can create apps for Android, but only Apple can create apps for iOS
  • Second, Android devices are typically cheaper than iOS devices.
  • Third, Android has a larger selection of devices to choose from than iOS.
  • Fourth, Android offers more customization options than iOS.
  • Finally, Android is developed by Google, while iOS is developed by Apple.

The Bigger Picture: Android vs. iOS

When it comes to deciding which mobile operating system is best for you, it boils down to personal preference. However, there are some key differences between Android and iOS that may sway your decision.

Performance and Storage: Android vs. iOS

When it comes to performance, Android and iOS devices are pretty evenly matched. However, where Android devices shine is in their storage capacity. Many Android devices come with expandable storage, meaning you can add an SD card to increase your available space. This is great for those who like to keep a lot of music or photos on their device.

Battery Life: Android vs. iOS

One of the most noticeable differences between Android and iOS devices is battery life. iPhones typically have better battery life than Android phones. Androids may have better battery life than iPhones when comparing devices with similar specs, but this isn’t always the case.

Another factor to consider is how you use your device. If you’re constantly using apps, playing games, and streaming video, your battery will drain faster no matter what kind of phone you have.

Security: Android vs. iOS

When it comes to security, Android and iOS devices are both fairly secure. However, Android devices are slightly more vulnerable to malware and other attacks. This is because Android is a more open platform, which allows third-party apps to be installed from unknown sources.

iOS devices are only able to install apps from the App Store, which helps to keep them more secure. In terms of data security, both Android and iOS devices encrypt data in transit, so your information should be safe no matter which platform you use.

Updates: Android vs. iOS

When it comes to software updates, Android and iOS operate a little differently. With Android, you typically have to wait for your carrier to push the update to your phone. With iOS, you can usually update your phone as soon as Apple releases the update.

Features: Android vs. iOS

The two operating systems have different features and functionalities. Android is more customizable and open, while iOS is more closed off and restricted. Android also has a better app selection, while iOS has better quality control. One thing they have in common is that they’re both mobile operating systems.

UI and UX: Android vs. iOS

The Android interface is based on direct manipulation, using touch gestures that loosely correspond to real-world actions, like swiping, tapping, and pinching, to manipulate on-screen objects. IOS, on the other hand, uses a multi-touch interface that relies on precise finger movements to control on-screen content.

In terms of UX design, Android gives users more control over their environment and the customizability of their device than iOS does. However, iOS provides a more consistent and streamlined user experience across all devices.


Developer Various, mostly Google and Open Handset Alliance Apple Inc.
Initial release September 23, 2008 July 29, 2007
Latest stable release and Updates Android 12 iOS 15.3.1 and iPadOS 15.3.1
Customizability Can change almost anything. Limited unless jailbroken
Source model Open source Closed, with open source components.
File transfer Easier than iOS. Using USB port and Android File Transfer desktop app. Photos can be transferred via USB without apps. More difficult. Media files can be transferred using the iTunes (Windows and macOS pre-Catalina) desktop app (via Finder in a newer version of macOS). Photos can be transferred out via USB without apps.
Widgets Yes Yes
Internet browsing Google Chrome (other browsers are available). Any browser app can be set as default. Ad blocking is supported with Firefox. Safari. Any browser app can be set as default but they all use the same rendering engine (Safari/Webkit) behind the scenes. Ad blocking is supported via content blockers like Firefox Focus, or by jailbreaking.
Web mapping service Google Maps Apple Maps (default). Google Maps is also available via a separate app download, but not as default.
Available language(s) 100+ languages 40 languages
Video chat Google Meet and other 3rd party apps FaceTime (Apple devices only) and other 3rd party apps
Virtual assistant Google Assistant Siri
Available on Many phones and tablets. iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV (2nd and 3rd generation)
Calls and messaging Google Messages. 3rd party apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Google Duo, Discord, and Skype all work on Android and iOS. 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 Google Play Store – 2,500,000+ apps. Other app stores like Amazon and Aptoide also distribute Android apps. (“.APKs”). Apps containing viruses are occasionally too rare but exist. Apple App Store – 1,800,000+ apps. Apps containing viruses are very rare or nonexistent.
Alternative app stores and side loading Several alternative app stores are other than the official Google Play Store. (e.g. Aptoide, Galaxy Apps) 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 Many but not all Android phone manufacturers equip their devices with large batteries with longer life. Apple batteries are generally not as big as the largest Android batteries.
Open source Kernel (Based on Linux), UI, and some standard apps The iOS kernel is not open source but is based on the open-source Darwin OS.
File manager Yes. (Stock Android File Manager included on devices running Android 7.1.1) Files app, limited and less useful (iOS 12).
Photos & Videos backup Apps are available for an automatic backup of photos and videos. Google Photos,  OneDrive, Amazon Photos, and Dropbox are other alternatives. Up to 5 GB of photos and videos can be automatically backed up with iCloud, and 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 Monthly security updates. Android software patches are available soonest to Pixel device users. Manufacturers tend to lag behind in pushing out these updates. So at any given time, a vast majority of Android devices are running outdated OS software. 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 Access and complete control over your device are available and you can unlock the bootloader. Complete control over your device is not available.
Cloud services Native integration with Google Drive storage. 15GB free, $2/mo for 100GB, 1TB for $10. Apps are available for Amazon Photos, OneDrive, and Dropbox. Native integration with iCloud. 5GB free, 50GB for $1/mo, 200GB for $3/mo, 1TB for $10/mo. Apps are available for Google Drive and Google Photos, Amazon Photos, OneDrive, and Dropbox.
Interface Touch Screen Touch Screen
Biometric Authentication Fingerprint and/or Face Authentication. Availability depends on the manufacturer’s hardware. Fingerprint or Face Authentication. Touch ID is 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 Linux OS X, UNIX
Headphone Jack Some current Android smartphones and many don’t. None on iPhone 7 and later, lighting to 3.5mm no longer comes with the phone after iPhone XS


In conclusion, Android and iOS are two very different operating systems. Android is open source and customizable, while iOS is closed off and more restrictive. Android also has a larger app store, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better. It depends on what you’re looking for in a smartphone operating system.