If you’re a millennial, you probably will remember the days when the Symbian operating system (OS) ruled the mobile world. But when iOS and Android were introduced in 2007 and 2008, respectively, it took just three years for them to become the most popular mobile OS in the world.

And now, in 2020, it is safe to say that Android and iOS combined constitute the entire mobile OS market. Surprisingly, when considering iPhone users vs Android users, there are several key differences that distinguish them from one another.

In a layman’s perspective, the iOS vs Android war may seem like any other friendly fan fight. But for a marketer, these two operating systems offer different sets of user personas. We’ll get to that in detail shortly. Before that, let’s look at the iPhone vs Android user percentage on a global scale.

iPhone Users vs Android Users: How Are They Different? 1

Percentage of iPhone Users vs Android Users 2020

iPhone Users vs Android Users: How Are They Different? 2Global market share of leading mobile operating systems. Image Credit: statista.com

In 2020, 87% of smartphones in the world use the Android OS. Whereas, the percentage of iPhone users in the world is currently 13%. The significant difference between the two is mainly due to the enormous price gap between the two devices.

An entry-level iPhone will cost at least five times more than a low-spec Android smartphone. As a result, a majority of the citizens in developing and low-income countries prefer Android over iOS.

Differences in Android vs iPhone Demographics

iPhone Users vs Android Users: How Are They Different? 3iPhone users vs Android users on a global scale. Image Credit: deviceatlas.com

Marketers heavily rely on demographics such as age, gender, location, and income to shape their campaigns. When examining the demographics of iPhone and Android users, here are some critical points to consider.

And here’s a fun fact – Android users are more likely to consume hard liquor than iPhone users. Also, iPhone users are seen to be more attractive than their Android counterparts.

Apple vs Android OS-Level Differences

Being the creator of iOS and the manufacturer of iPhones, Apple has the upper hand when it comes to imposing restrictions on their devices. In the case of Android, only Google Pixels, Motorola and some other manufacturers under the label Android One offer the Android stock experience.

The rest of the Android devices are customised by the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). As a result, Samsung and Motorola devices will offer different user experiences, even though both run the same operating system.

iPhone Users vs Android Users: How Are They Different? 4Image Credit: theverge.com

The mobile app design philosophy of Android and Apple devices are entirely different. Since the placement of the back buttons coincides with that of hamburger menus, iOS apps are least likely to use them. Whereas, Android apps extensively use hamburger menus.

The iOS 14, which is anticipated to release this fall, can be a bummer to app advertisers. With the new version, iPhone users can choose to share approximate location, rather than precise location, which will be bad news for apps and retail stores that rely on location-based advertising.

iPhone Users vs Android Users: How Are They Different? 5From iOS 14, Apple allows users to choose whether they want to be tracked or not. Image Credit: techcrunch.com

In 2019, Apple introduced strict restrictions on third-party ads and trackers in kids’ apps, forcing developers to either remove ads or face rejection from the App Store. With iOS 14, users can choose whether they want to be tracked by an app or not. 

This can be a significant setback for advertisers, considering that they use browsing history to serve personalized ads. Although this is a notable milestone in preserving user privacy, developers may have a hard time monetizing their creation.

iPhone Users vs Android Users Personality Differences

The social, economic and political differences between iPhone and Android users shape their purchasing power and spending habits. While the average Android user is 29% more likely to save money, an iPhone user is 26% more likely to spend it.

Since most iPhone users belong to the affluent class, they are more likely to pay for premium apps compared to Android users. So if app creators were to use in-app ads as an app monetization strategy, they are likely to earn more through ad revenue from Android users than iPhone users, who will be willing to pay to remove the ads.

In terms of mobile commerce, iPhone users are more likely to make purchases using their smartphones than Android users – a key takeaway for retail app developers. And iOS users are inclined to spend twice as much as Android users while buying tech gadgets.

Statistically, iPhone users are early adopters of technology and are 100% more likely to own a Mac as compared to Android users. And a majority of the iPhone users are more likely to have used the internet, way before 1992; whereas Android geeks were late and got the taste of the internet in or after 2000.

Although iPhone users are early adopters of technology, they invest less time and thoughts before making a purchase decision, as compared to Android users, who are keen to buy devices that offer the maximum number of features.

And did you know that an Android user is more likely to be a sci-fi fan than iPhone users? And not just that, Android users are more likely to choose features over design, whereas their iOS counterparts prefer the other way around.

iPhone users are more loyal as they think very highly of their devices. And when considering the levels of customer satisfaction iOS vs Android, nearly 62% of iPhone users are highly satisfied, as compared to the 48% Android users.

Additionally, iPhone users view their devices as a status symbol and are more concerned with how the device would shape their public presence. iPhone users are also known to show lower levels of humility and honesty.

Android users love customisation more than their iOS counterparts. That can be one of the reasons why the former experiments with devices from multiple manufacturers, whereas the latter remains loyal to Apple.

Differences in Response to Push Notifications

By default, Android allows app developers to send push notifications unless a user disables it in the settings. In the case of iPhones, soon after installing an app, a push notification opt-in prompt will be displayed to users. 

iPhone Users vs Android Users: How Are They Different? 6Push notification opt-in prompts on an iPhone. Image Credit: leanplum.com

As a result, the push notification opt-in rates are lower on iPhones as compared to Android devices. Once a user opts out, you lose them forever, unless you succeed in winning back their hearts with a re-permission campaign.

iPhone Users vs Android Users: How Are They Different? 7Push notifications on an iPhone. Image Credit: techrepublic.com

Although iPhone users spend most of their time on smartphones than Android users, the push notification click-through rate (CTR) of Android is 10.7%, whereas, for iOS, it is 4.9%. And on average, an iPhone user will take only 7 minutes to open a notification; on the other hand, an Android user takes a staggering 48 minutes.

If you are keen to know more about why and when to send push notifications, have a look at our detailed article.

Differences in Acquisition, Engagement, and Retention

iPhone Users vs Android Users: How Are They Different? 8The average user acquisition costs w.r.t the operating system and preferred actions. Image Credit: statista.com

Although Android users prefer to stay indoors than iPhone users, the latter spends approximately an hour more with the device. Even though Android has a more extensive global user base, iOS wins when it comes to user engagement.

According to Statista, the cost to acquire a user dramatically varies, depending on the intended user action and the operating system in question. On average, the cost per install across both iOS and Android is US$1.75. 

And if you wanted to acquire a user who is willing to make in-app purchases, you would have to spend US$86.72 for iOS users and US$77.45 for Android users. But if you want a user to subscribe to your app, then the cost of acquisition for Android users is higher than the iOS users.

If you’d like to know the best hacks to successfully acquire users, read our guide on app user acquisition.

It’s Apple vs the World

The US and Japan are under the charms of the iPhone. On the other hand, the most populous Asian countries prefer Android, primarily because they are cheap and also because it is adopted by multiple manufacturers – making it the “Apple Inc vs the rest of the manufacturers” scenario.

It’s no secret that the Apple products are priced for the luxury category. And it is fascinating to see the loyal tribe willing to wait outside the stores for hours. On the other hand, being open-source, Android makes it possible for anyone to possess a smartphone without having to spend a fortune.

In the foreseeable future, both the iOS and Android operating systems will be ruling the smartphone world – giving marketers and developers the comfort of knowing the two diverse user groups they have to cater to. 

If the majority of your target audience represents iPhone users, relying on monetization techniques such as the premium model or in-app purchases will be ideal. If you’re predominantly targeting Android users, go for in-app ads instead.

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