How To

How to Convert Android to iOS App and Vice Versa: 5 Things to Consider

27 Apr 2017
9 min

Nowadays, both developers and users understand that there are only two competitive operating systems that rule the mobile world - Android and iOS. Accordingly, the majority of digital solutions are oriented exactly for these two platforms. However, it is not always affordable or reasonable for entrepreneurs to offer their projects for both systems at once, so they do not start thinking about the transfer to iOS or Android platform until later.

For example, it took 14 months for Airbnb to make the iOS to Android transfer. After you have all the financial difficulties behind you, every project holder wonders how to convert Android to iOS app.

In this article, we will consider the most widespread app porting model - from iOS to Android that is not actually much different from Android to iOS converting process. Also, we will give you a piece of practical advice concerning your successful start on a new platform.

How to Convert iOS to Android and Vice Versa?

iOS to Android migration opens up new horizons

Customers are willing to choose the platform they are comfortable with, while you have no choice but give them an opportunity to use your app wherever it is convenient for them. If you cannot, you are losing customers' loyalty as well as an opportunity to gain new users and increase your earnings.

Porting means new opportunities

Many people associate the word 'Android' not only with a green robot but a huge army of users as well. Nowadays, this operating system is officially recognized as the world's most popular. Accordingly, without switching from iOS to Android you are losing a big piece of the pie.

Costing an average of $200-300, Android smartphones dominate the amount of worldwide shipped devices over iPhones with a medium price of $600. So that means there are about 1.6 billion Android devices and 395 million iOS devices globally.

iOS to Android app: mobile OS market share

Android users' graph in comparison with other platforms (Source: NetMarketShare


It is difficult to omit the fact that iOS is simply more profitable for developers because Apple's users tend to spend more money per app. In order not to overload you with various statistics, we can say that according to different research, the App Store earns at least twice as much than Google Play. Then what are the reasons for iOS to Android migration?

Android also takes the leading position when it comes to number of downloads. So, having chosen the right marketing approach, you may use the platform's drawback in your favor.

iOS to Android app transfer: OS comparison

Downloads and revenue comparison (Source: App Annie

Actually, the reasons for Android transfer are clear. You just cannot ignore over 1 billion active platform users. There is a huge amount of potential customers who are able to bring you a pretty penny if the right approach is chosen. However, before joining the green robot's side, you have to review your monetization model.


Do you consider the monetization variants? Read our article to learn How to Monetize Your App

Taking into account Android's domination in downloads and big competition within every app niche, it is reasonable to introduce a free monetization model. It allows analyzing your target audience within a new platform and helps in making a decision concerning further monetization. Also, this approach gives users an opportunity to take a closer look at a new product without seeing annoying advertisements or purchasing something. So, you are not only getting vital information but gaining a loyal user base as well.

Through time, try to introduce the same monetization model that was introduced on the initial platform. Then, keep an eye on users' reactions towards the monetization model after converting from iOS to Android.

It is worth mentioning that the majority of companies use freemium strategies or in-app purchases that guarantee constant profit, unlike one-time purchases.

Advantages of being ported to Android

It is also worth mentioning that transfer iOS apps to Android extends further porting opportunities. I mean that if someday the desire to port your product to one more platform appears - it is easier to do it with Android. That's because it is written in Java and that makes it much more friendly to other platforms. So, Android-based solutions can be easily ported to Ubuntu and Chrome OS. Besides, Microsoft has announced its method to port Android apps to Windows 10 without undue efforts.

Moreover, Android is more flexible than iOS. This way, you may add some features aimed at customization to provide your users with the possibility to adjust the app to their needs. Extended functionality is able to increase your chances for success on Google Play and makes users spend their money on your app.

Play Store is also a big plus in Google's ecosystem. After the iOS to Android app conversion is completed - you do not have to wait for several weeks to get an approval of publishing because it's been on App Store but just a few hours. The same thing with bug fixes since Apple has quite a long verification process for every single update.

iOS to Android app porting: reasons to port

Why you need to convert to Android 

How to convert iOS app to Android

You have to understand that there are no services able to convert iOS app to Android online or something like that. To a good quality final product, you need to find an entire team of mobile app developers, designers, and testers who are able to convert iOS app to Android properly because of their experience in this sphere.

Android fragmentation

Fragmentation is a phenomenon when some mobile users are running older OS versions. Developers have to deal with lots of app's versions on Android to make sure the app works correctly regardless of the installed OS version. That fact should be taken into account while switching to Android from iOS.

One more difficulty is that the latest Android SDK version supports about 20 resolutions and that is not enough, taking into account the variety of Android-based devices.

Thus, with Android to iOS transfer, developers have to deal not only with multiple OS versions but optimization to different screen resolutions as well.

iOS to Android app porting: OS fragmentation comparison

The comparison of OS versions usage (Source: Statista)  

How to convert iOS code to Android

It may appear that if platforms use different programming languages, coders need to just 'translate' one into another. However, that's not correct. A switch to Android demands a separate development process.

Imagine a LEGO that you used to assemble before and now want to reassemble it again. The same thing with porting, developers are going to reconstruct code piece by piece so that it will take some time.


Be aware of the latest news, read about 5 Hot Android App Development Trends For 2017

What's more, developers have to take into account the performance of a Java coding language that is lower in comparison with Objective-C. This way, an app has to be optimized in order for users to interact with it conveniently.

The developers working on an iPhone to Android transfer will also take some time to adjust to interaction with a server. That's because the majority of Android-based solutions use XML technology for data sharing while iOS prefers using JSON.

App porting seems to be a simple process, however, it is not quick. The time to complete it depends on the complexity of a project that you want to convert to Android as well as on a variety of supporting devices.

Design: the way from iOS to Android app

These two operating systems differ in design. If Apple uses a flat design, then Google uses material design. Both platforms have their own patterns everyone should follow. Thus, you have to make a redesign of your Android app to iOS using the services of a professional design team.


Do you want to be aware of design languages? Read our article dedicated to flat and material design comparison

The design transfer from Android to iPhone must differ. You cannot simply take a flat design and put it into Google's environment. Just because users will be deprived of basic functions and the app will not fit into the general platform's style.

Let's consider a simple example. Android users are got used to certain navigation as well as UI patterns. The majority of apps follow this patterns to provide their users with habitual and comprehensible navigation. iOS uses bottom tab bar for navigating and that is inconsistent with material patterns and may frustrate users. Not to mention the different approaches to the design of buttons, lists, tabs, dates etc.

Google understands the importance of good-looking apps as well as the influence of algorithms' changes on UI. That is why the company has provided developers and designers with an opportunity to keep an equal look regardless of the device's 'age'. They have created a compatibility library that allows you to run the latest UI elements on both new and old devices. This way, making the iOS transfer to Android, you can be sure that your product will get the latest UI elements without any external intervention.

Probably the biggest advantage of app converting from iOS to Android is the fact that design changes take 50-80% less time in comparison with designing an app from scratch.

Testing: the final step to migrate from iOS to Android

QA and testing play an important role in top-notch product creation. In order to migrate from iOS to Android without critical bugs and issues, your testers have to think through the strategy of testing including UX testing, code testing etc.

You need to understand that the variety of Android devices, screen resolutions, and OS versions may lead to longer testing time when compared to iOS.

So, app porting involves a lot of difficulties that you and your team have to overcome. It is not a fast process and you will barely get a ported app in a few weeks. 

Convert iOS app to Android: approximate time

Where 100h is your iOS app development time

In case you are looking for a reliable company to help you in porting - contact us to get your free consultation.

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