Is Android or iOS more popular?
Short answer, Android.
Long answer, it depends.
Although the global Android vs iOS market share statistics name Android as the most popular mobile operating system (OS), individuals living in different continents, or let alone countries, will have a different say.
It is interesting to note that the Symbian OS owned by Nokia, which was the most popular mobile operating system until 2010, is nowhere to be seen now. When Android was released in 2007, Nokia even made a statement that “we don’t see this as a threat”.
The wide adoption of Android devices was the first reason for Symbian operating system’s downfall. Secondly, a device running on Symbian took 22 months to develop – which was incredibly slow for a manufacturer, especially when considering the competition aspect of the smartphone industry.
Fast forward a few years, Android and iOS combined represent the majority of the global mobile OS market. However, the Android vs iOS market share is highly dynamic across the globe. Here are some exciting facts and stats about iOS and Android device market share that will blow your mind.
Interesting Facts About Android vs iOS Market Share
- Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS combined represent 99% of the global mobile OS market.
- In 2024, 1.492 billion units of smartphones will be sold globally, which would comprise only Android and iOS devices.
- iPhone users are wealthier than their Android counterparts – meaning, the former is more likely to make an in-app purchase.
- The Android vs iOS market share in the US is dominated by iOS.
- Almost every age group prefers Android devices over the iPhone.
- iPhone buyers are more loyal than their Android counterparts.
- The iOS vs Android market share in Japan is dominated by iOS, constituting 62.69%.
- Google’s Play Store has more apps (2.56 million) than Apple’s App Store (1.85 million).
- Android has more alternative app stores than iOS.
- Native English speakers prefer iOS over Android.
- The Android vs iOS market share in the UK is almost a 50-50 scenario.
- Asia’s iOS vs Android market share shows a substantial gap between the two, with Android’s usage steadily increasing.
Android Version Market Share
Here’s a table that shows the Android version market share from 2016 to 2020.
iOS Version Market Share
Here’s a table that shows the iOS version market share from 2016 to 2020.
Android vs iOS Market Share Worldwide by Continent
Android is the most favoured mobile operating system in the world’s most populous continent and accounts for 83.53% of smartphones. iOS represents just 15.85% – a minority in this scale.
Africa, the world’s second-most populous continent is dominated by Android devices, accounting for 87.22% of the mobile OS market. iOS is again a minority here and accounts for 10.16% of the market.
3. North America
iOS leads the North American mobile OS market, comprising 53.55% of smartphones, followed by Android at 46.24%.
4. South America
88.37% of smartphones in South America run on Android, followed by iOS at 11.36%.
72.87% of smartphones in Europe have Android as their operating system. Nearly 27% of smartphones run on iOS – which also means the same percentage of devices are iPhones.
iOS vs Android Market Share by Country
1. United Kingdom
In the United Kingdom, 46.6% of smartphones run on iOS and 53.15% on Android.
Android is the leading OS of the German mobile OS market, accounting for 70.34% of all smartphones, followed by iOS at 29.01%.
3. United States
The United States is one of the few countries with iOS leading the mobile OS market game. 59.71% of smartphones utilise iOS and 40.09% run on Android.
In Canada too, iOS wins the race by accounting for 50.9% of the Android vs iOS market share. On the other hand, 48.74% of smartphones run on Android and experts predict that within a few years, Android will take over this country’s market.
Japan is another country in which iOS leads the mobile OS market share, accounting for 62.79% of smartphones. 37.07% of smartphones run on Android.
6. South Africa
The Android vs iOS market share of South Africa is dominated by Android at 84.66%. Only 14.84% of smartphones run on iOS.
Are Androids Better Than iPhone?
To be precise, this question has little to no meaning. It is almost impossible to answer this because it’s not the right question to ask. It’s like asking to decide between a bike and car, or a dog and a cat.
It’s not quantifiable like “Who has the biggest market share, Android or Apple?”. The right question is which one is better for you.
If you’re a tech geek, like customization, and have a small budget, you’ll probably want to go for an Android device.
If you are concerned about your device’s aesthetics, like simplicity, and have a significant budget to spend, then you will probably want to go for an iPhone.
You’ll have a lot of hardware options when it comes to Android. Since multiple OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) use Android, you can go for something as low as US$100 or something above US$1000. The cheapest iPhone (iPhone SE) starts at US$399.
The battle between Android and iOS is a fight between a widely adopted open-source mobile OS and an A-lister, capable of delivering flawless user experience across all of its devices. Both were introduced in the gap of a year, and it took just three years for them to dominate the market.
Both have a different mobile app design philosophy – for example, iOS tries to avoid navigational icons such as the hamburger menu as the placement of the back button coincides with it; whereas Android apps extensively use the hamburger.
Even the target audience of both the operating systems are diverse. Such differences mean that app marketing strategies used for either platform will be different. Even the average mobile app developer salary of iOS developers are higher than their Android counterparts.
Take a look at how both the operating systems came to prominence.
Android: The Story
Released in November of 2007 by Google, Android OS, a Linux-based software system, was initially developed to become a digital camera platform. The HTC Dream (or T Mobile G1 in some countries) was the first smartphone to run on Android, and the OS is now a globally dominant force.
Contrary to popular belief, Android isn’t Google’s brainchild, and the OS was instead bought from its creators. Interestingly, Samsung had the opportunity to buy Android, but they failed to see its potential and passed the opportunity.
Even though Windows phones are out of the scene, Microsoft receives nearly US$2 billion from Android, every year, in the form of patent royalties. So it’s safe to say that Microsoft makes more money out of Android phones than Windows phones.
The first two versions of Android weren’t named, although there are many rumours it was called Astro and Bender. As you know, until Android 9.0 the versions were named after desserts in alphabetical order. Here’s a list of them.
- Android 1.5 – Cupcake
- Android 1.6 – Donut
- Android 2.0 – 2.1 – Eclair
- Android 2.2 – 2.2.3 – Froyo
- Android 2.3 – 2.3.7 – Gingerbread
- Android 3.0 – 3.26 – Honeycomb
- Android 4.0 – 4.0.4 – Ice Cream Sandwich
- Android 4.1 – 4.3.1 – Jelly Bean
- Android 4.4 – 4.4.4 – KitKat
- Android 5.0 – 5.1.1 – Lollipop
- Android 6.0 – 6.0.1 – Marshmallow
- Android 7.0 – 7.1 – Nougat
- Android 8.0 – 8.1 – Oreo
- Android 9.0 – Pie
Sadly, from Android version 10, it is called just Android 10, Android will be going on a diet and won’t name any of the versions after desserts or sweets. Google believes that instead of using dessert names, numbers will be more relatable and understandable.
Suppose you’re a freelance app developer (or an aspirant trying to learn how to become a mobile app developer). In that case, you’re more likely to earn from Android than iOS apps by employing app monetization strategies such as in-app ads.
iOS: The Story
In 2007, the iPhone was awarded the title of “Invention of the Year”. Also, Apple’s App Store played a crucial role in bringing the term “app” to the public and defining what is a native app. The App Store is also the first online space where one could legally download apps.
Just like Android, iOS also has an interesting origin story. It initially started as a Tablet Project, and later Steve Jobs felt the technology could be applied to mobile phones – hence, the iPhone. Jobs wanted the iPhone project to be top secret and called it “Project Purple”.
Only the engineers already employed by Apple could work on the iPhone project. Also, to maintain its secrecy, none of the engineers was given the full details of the project – instead, they were told that it would require extra work at night and on weekends.
Apple wasn’t the first company to name their smartphone the iPhone. Cisco had already registered the name “iPhone” for its VoIP phone and therefore sued Apple. Both the companies negotiated for two years and then settled to work together on some future projects.
Apple holds around 200 patents for the iPhone. If you’ve got a unique, mind-blowing idea, we recommend you to patent it as well. Check out our guide on how to patent an app for that matter.
Apple still hasn’t granted permission to a third-party manufacturer to use the iOS and probably never will. Having an exclusive operating system for its devices makes it easier for the organisation to develop and optimize the hardware and software to complement each other.
And once you enter the realm of Apple, only a few make it out. Apple’s integration across multiple devices, namely iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and MacBooks is so seamless that a user will have minimal to no reason to move out from their ecosystem.
In 2019, Apple also introduced a separate operating system for its iPads called the iPadOS. It’s the successor to iOS 12 on iPad and on release, had all the new features of iOS 13, along with an updated home screen, Apple Pencil features, improved multitasking functionality, and even support for external drives.
For Apple, the iPhone is a gold mine. Even though they sell innovative products such as the MacBook, iPad, and iMac, iPhones remain their most popular and profitable product – accounting for 70% of all revenue.
Even though Apple and Samsung appear to be direct rivals – still, the processors that power the iPhones are manufactured by Samsung. And here’s a fun fact – the most expensive component of an iPhone is its retina display. Following the display, the second most costly component is the wireless chip from Qualcomm.
Do you know which country has most iPhone users?
It’s China. But iPhones aren’t the most used smartphones there. Instead, it’s Huawei. With a population of more than 1.4 billion people, it’s not really surprising that a country can have the highest number of iPhone and Huawei users.
Apple devices offer a seamless user experience across all of its devices. Since multiple OEMs such as Samsung, Huawei, and Motorola produce Android devices, there are notable differences among each. Even the UI design of a low-spec Samsung device will differ when compared to an expensive model of the same manufacturer.
With the iOS 14 expected to release this fall, app advertisers will have a hard time utilising techniques like location-based advertising as users can choose not to share their precise locations and also stop tracking to avoid personalised ads.
If you’re excited to know more about the differences between iPhone users and Android users, check out our comprehensive article that discusses all aspects in detail.
Interesting Facts About Mobile OS (For the Tech Geek in You)
- The sales of smartphones rocketed from 122.32 million in 2007 to 1.57 billion in 2020.
- Although the last line of devices running the Blackberry OS was manufactured in 2015, millions still use it.
- Tizen OS, Samsung’s prodigy, is used by the majority of Smart TVs.
- Android is the most famous OS, adopted by 40% of all types of devices.
- Android devices are more vulnerable to malware attacks.
- One in three smartphones sold in China in the second quarter of 2020 was 5G enabled.
- By 2025, there will be nearly 1 billion 5G smartphones.
There’s an industry joke that although Google is a part of Alphabet, in the US, “A” always stands for “Apple”. It is fascinating to see how Apple, which is the only manufacturer that uses iOS, stands rigid in the US and Japan, even with hundreds of manufacturers using Android.
Just like how cars and bikes are uniquely essential for different owners, people choose between an Android or iOS device, based on the desired features. By 2023, it is estimated that only Android and iOS devices will be sold worldwide.
But the technology industry always has a habit of introducing something new when you least expect it. Maybe, in a few years, something better than Android or iOS would have conquered our devices and hearts – we really can’t be sure.