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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 mobile operating systems were introduced in 2007 and 2008, respectively, it took just three years for them to become the most popular operating systems in the world.

And now, in 2020, it is safe to say that Android and iOS combined constitute the entire mobile OS market share. Surprisingly, when considering iPhone 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 vs Android Users: How Are They Different? 1

Percentage of iPhone vs Android Users 2020

iPhone 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 vs Android Users: How Are They Different? 3iPhone 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.

If you want to know more interesting things about iPhone vs Android and more about their market share in different continents, check out our article on Android vs iOS market share.

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 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 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 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.

iPhone users are also more satisfied with their current jobs as compared to Android users. And iPhone users were 27% more likely to be happier with their life than their Android counterparts.

iOS vs Android Users: Difference in Approach Towards Tech

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 or Android User: Who’s More Loyal?

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 vs Android Users: How Are They Different? 6Push notification opt-in prompt 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 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 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.

iPhone versus Android: The Ultimate Showdown

1. Customization

The ability to customize your device is one of the most significant differences between the iPhone and Android smartphones. Android OS allows you to change everything from themes to launchers, to icon packs and more. 

Apps like Nova Launcher lets you tweak all aspects of your Android device UI with ease. But iPhones are a bit primitive when it comes to customization. Users won’t be able to change the launchers or icons and will be stuck with the same interface the entire time.

Android wins this round.

2. Ease of Use

The iOS operating system is relatively simple and straightforward as compared to Android. It has no app drawer that may hide apps and just has home pages that let you arrange apps in rows and columns.

The user experience across all iOS devices are the same. This means if you shift from iPhone 6S to iPhone X, you wouldn’t feel much difference. Although the same is true for smartphones running on stock Android, the majority of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) modify the OS and deliver varying experiences.

Also, the Android settings may be intuitive for the hardcore users, for the first-timers it can be overwhelming due to choice overload. Apple keeps everything straightforward, especially the settings.

iPhones win this round.

3. Google Assistant vs Siri

Although Siri (our humble encounter of artificial intelligence in mobile) was released almost five years before the Google Assistant, Google’s voice assistant is far superior. Although Siri has exceptional capabilities to respond to questions, it is still far away from being a complete voice assistant.

Siri doesn’t work offline – Google Assistant works with limitations. Google Assistant also has numerous advanced features such as the ability to display traffic on locked devices, creating customized routines, accepting multiple commands at a time and can even remember things like password or notes (when explicitly told to).

Android wins this round.

4. Affordability

The most affordable iPhone (the iPhone SE) starts at US$399 and the iPhone 12 Pro Max will cost you US$1,399. In short, if you want to buy an unused iPhone, you will need at least 400 US dollars.

The entry point of Android devices is nominal when compared to iPhones. You can get an Android smartphone for as low as US$100 (or even less). A high-end Android phone like the Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G costs US$2,000.

There’s an Android device for all, but not an iPhone.

Android wins this round.

5. Alternative App Stores

It is common knowledge that Android has numerous alternative app stores that let you download APKs. Of course, there are many alternative stores for iOS as well but installing apps may require you to jailbreak your device.

With Android, all you have to do is allow apps from unknown sources. But that again may make your device vulnerable to malware. In short, if you want to install third-party apps, available outside the official app stores then Android is the better option.

Android wins this round.

6. Battery Life

Android is better than iPhone when it comes to power and system resource optimization. Google introduced an AI-powered feature called Adaptive Battery that monitors the user behaviour and preferences and optimizes how the system will allocate battery and other resources to apps.

Android devices generally have a larger battery as compared to iPhones. Also, only recently did Apple adopt features like fast charging and wireless charging – which were introduced years ago in Android devices.

If you cherish larger battery life and want fast chargers included in the box (Apple sells fast chargers separately) then Android is a better choice.

Android wins this round.

7. Timely Updates

This is one area iPhones will straightaway beat Android smartphones. Whenever an update is released (iOS 14 is the latest version) all devices, which are still supported, will get the update.

But in the case of Android, there is no guarantee that you will receive an OS version update. In most cases, you’ll be at the mercy of the OEM and in the best-case scenario, you may get up to three version updates. 

Even in the case of security patches, nearly 75% of Android devices never get a security update.

iOS wins this round.

8. Camera

iPhones are globally praised for the superior camera quality they offer. The camera comparison between iPhones and Android devices can be considered as a grey area as the quality of Android smartphones greatly varies depending on the manufacturer.

Although Google Pixel does a great job in capturing stunning images with not so appreciable hardware (thanks to machine learning) they are still considered inferior by many. The high-end devices of Samsung too deliver mesmerizing images, but still, many prefer the colour tone of Apple devices.

iOS wins this round.

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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