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Top 5 Key Considerations for Converting iOS Apps to Android

DZone's Guide to

Top 5 Key Considerations for Converting iOS Apps to Android

Converting mobile apps from one platform to another is a complex process. These tips will get you on the right path.

· Mobile Zone ·
Free Resource

Porting iOS apps to Android may seem easy to a layman, but when we get into the details, the opposite is true with traditional iOS-to-Android porting platforms. Launching applications on iOS and Android simultaneously is not financially and/or strategically feasible for enterprises or individuals. Given the higher revenue potential of iOS, the general tendency in the industry is to prefer Apple’s mobile OS (iOS) to Google’s (Android).

However, which of the two is prioritized over the other also depends upon the target-market and user demographics. Also, with a consistent market share of above 80% since 2014, Android has always asserted dominance in terms of reach. As a result, applications built for iOS are soon ported to its competitor for wider market coverage and more revenue opportunities. Refer to this article for the best ways to convert iOS apps to Android and vice versa.

That being said, iOS apps cannot simply be replicated on Android. The two operating systems have strikingly different mechanisms for hosting applications (for which they have elaborate guidelines and recommendations as well). From the user-interface to how an application interacts with the hardware, what’s recommended for iOS is actually the other way around in case of Android. So, if you are going to convert iOS app to Android, take the following considerations into account to deliver streamlined user-experience:

Device Type

Unlike iOS, which is exclusive to iPhones and iPads, Android is open-source with more 24,000 distinct devices running on it as of 2015. Hence, selecting a set of Android devices is necessary for testing your app post the conversion. But this selection is more difficult than it initially seems. Let’s look at some figures:

  • Samsung, HTC, and Motorola lead the Android device market with over 39%, 26%, and 11% respectively.

  • In North America, Apple leads with 34% of the mobile device market share.

  • While Samsung Galaxy J3 Pop occupies only 2.8% of mobile device market-share in the US, it comprises 90% of the brand’s global usage.

The intention is for statistics to tell the story but to highlight how fragmented the Android device market is. Therefore, identifying 5-10 of the most popular Android devices in your target market is a crucial step to convert iOS app to Android.

Android Versions

Android upgrades are not as evenly spread globally as iOS’ are, primarily because of the different upgrade policy of different manufacturers. So, determining which versions of the operating system to target is as important as the preceding point.

While 28.5% of all Android devices run on Nougat globally, Marshmallow dominates in the USA with over 60% market-share. Lollipop is still the leading version in Russia, India and a few other countries. The inconsistency in the popularity of various Android versions across markets makes it imperative for you to find out which version of the OS is prevalent in your target market.

Coding

iOS applications are built on Xcode using Objective-C or Swift while Android Native Development Kit (NDK) and Java or Kotlin used for Android applications. Obviously, the entire coding has to be done using appropriate programming languages and development tools that Android supports or recommends. Here is when seasoned developers enter the picture.

Fortunately, both iOS and Android support C, which allows certain sections of the code to be directly ported. However, that is all the leeway to get to port iOS app to Android.

Design

Both iOS and Android have completely different design schemes. For instances, iOS has rounded buttons while sharp-cornered buttons are for Android. Similarly, lists on Android are on the left while iOS makes do with buttons on the right. Also, iOS applications offer tabs on the top of the application interface while the same lies at the bottom in an Android application.

In this regard, you have to be careful in using the design tools. Most of them have templates only for iOS, making Android-specific designing impossible. In fact, software like Photoshop and Visio are perfect for the task.

While aligning the design elements in accordance with the Android scheme, it is critical to making sure that the core functionalities remain the same even after you convert iOS app to Android. Inconsistency in user-experience (UX) across operating systems will negatively impact your branding.

Security

The significance of security for mobile apps need not be highlighted amid the increasing reports of data breaches. Since Java-coded Android applications can be decompiled to access the original code, obfuscation of the program is necessary as you convert iOS app to Android. Also, though it is a common practice, sensitive information should not be used in coding in order to prevent privacy breaches.

There are several major and minor factors that deserve attention when you convert iOS app to Android. The five considerations mentioned above are fundamental to getting a true Android app on the market.

Topics:
mobile ,ios ,android

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