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Natalya Brinza Project Manager

How to Port iOS App to Android App?

In case if you came up with an idea, that your iOS app is ought to be transferred to Android, I believe, that this article might be pretty interesting for you. Here we’re going to discuss and examine each aspect of this process and we would like to clearly answer the question on “how to port ios apps to android?” and “which operations have to be committed for a good result?”

For sure, the best situation could be achieved in case if your app has been developed on cross-platforming tool, which allows a simultaneous development of an application for several platforms. There are a lot of such softwares and fundamental extension, that may help you in achieving of such goals, for example Unity, where you can do any operations for any type of UI (User Interface) and level of complexity. The code for iOS and Android app is pretty much the same (the difference contains in 2 to 5 percents of the code), so you can write only one time and use it for any platform - iOS, Android, Windows, Mac OS, Linux or etc.

But that is an utopia, so let’s concern more realistic situations in porting iOS app to Android.

How to port apps from iOS to Android

When you have a source code, written on Objective C to port ios app to android.

This is more optimistic situation, because lots of reasons. The first of them is that Objective C - the language of iOS development as well as Java - Android development are object-oriented languages, so they follow single programming paradigm. Eight times out of ten the code can be easily rewritten. When the programmer knows one language (preferably Java), the task to write the app following the example of Objective C to port ios to android isn’t inexecutable.

The other reason why porting ios to android won’t be as difficult as it may seem - is memory management models. There is an automatic garbage collection in Java and Objective C, but the thing that need to be mention is the way the system works with random-access memory. If in iOS there is a need to be highly careful with memory usage, because the system is able to simply kill the processes of your app, but in Android the memory consuming isn’t determined at all, so the developer need to understand, that with his app there may be lots of others applications so you worth taking to account.

Read alsoBest Programming Language for Mobile App Development

There is also a list of things that should be observed while porting app from ios to android:

  • interaction with the file system in OS (iOS or Android);

  • interaction with peripheral modules (like Wi-Fi, microphone, speaker system, Bluetooth etc.);

  • User Interface;

  • processes that apply to work with the system, like Push-messages-sending and user’s permissions (on using the wallet, the camera or etc.);

  • interaction with the app stores: Apple store and Play market. They have different Privacy Policies as well as different mechanisms of in-app purchases. So some kind of features of iOS will needed to be turned off (for example, the “Restore purchase” function).

Port iOS App to Android App

When you only have .ipa file of the app

It is really sad and unpromising option, but we need to advice at least one way for you to try port iphone app to android. There so-called disassemblers, the purpose of which is to reconstruct the source code by .ipa file. To be noted, the attempts of this kind of tool can often be useless, because the code turns out to be imprecise and hard-to-be-developed further, so it takes much more efforts with unsure results.

If after this long list of ported apps pros and cons you feel a little uncertain about the overall necessity of building another app for different system we arranged a special list for you.

5 Reasons to port iOS app to android

1 Win the markets

Android is less popular than iOS in key of Western markets including the North America (37% of iOS users and 29% of Android users) and Europe (35% and 34% accordingly). Most entrepreneurs start their app development strictly from iOS platform because in most cases they have targeting markets dominated by App Store. But it all make sense to not only decide to port iOS to Android, but to consider it as a good start be oriented with such countries, like Mexico and Brazil (in South America the percentage is 22% to 35%), China and India (in Asia the percentage is 46% to 28%) or even South Africa (absolute winner on Android market with 47% of users using it, and only 9% using iOS) where Android dominates as an app development platform and experience considerable growth.

Read also: What Is an App Marketing Strategy About?

2 Android fragmentation isn't a nightmare

Fragmentation is considered to be a huge pain to any developer. But as a matter of fact, it is no more a problem. Google has solved this problem and provided Android developers with tools that allow them to handle pixel density elegantly and specify different UI layouts for different screen resolutions. So, keep calm and port iPhone apps to Android

3 Reduced expenses

There is no concerns about easier complexity and lower cost of native Android app development if you have information on all the devices (tablets and phones) your target audience owns. Also, you should know about the quick speed and easiness of getting an Android app on the Google Play Store.

4 Make money with Google Play

The Google app store is not ideal, especially when it comes to user feedback and the quality of the applications themselves. However, there are pluses. To make your application available in the Google store, you only need to pay $ 25 each time, while Apple will have to pay $ 99 each year, which is a big blow to the pocket of little-known developers.

In addition, only a few hours will pass since the application is sent to Google for approval, until it becomes available to the masses. In the case of the App Store, it will take weeks. The same applies to updates: to update the application in the App Store, you need to wait a week. Google Play, in turn, will allow you to update the application in stages, that is, initially only a certain percentage of users will receive the update, you will be able to evaluate the reviews, which will determine the future plans for updating the application.

Owing to the newest option to create promotions, available on Google Play, you can give your users an in-app product or a paid app for free if they possess a promo code. This is an extremely good way of attracting people to the unique functions of your app.

Read alsoHow Do You Make Money from an App?

Port iOS to Android

5 Specific features provided by Android

Android really offers some specific features, while iOS doesn't.

  • Push notifications (expanded and more private).

  • Android OS intents.

  • The physical back button (navigation through the history of menus, apps and pages).

  • Widgets on the home screen.

  • An option to set an app as default.

  • Affordable Android wear.

So, what about porting an iOS app to Android?

To sum it up we need to say, that it is of course up to you whether consider porting your app on other platform or not and how to implement it. We can revise the article by dividing the work, that need to be done into 2 parts. The first one is easier part - consists of rewriting generic app logic, where there is almost no difference between languages except of theirs syntax and structure features. And the second one is harder - it is complete rewriting of the code for platform adapting.

A small piece of advice: for potential expansion on even other platforms, like Windows Phone or even Linux, Mac OS and Windows, it is better to use MVC (Model-Viewer-Controller) architectural template, because it has smart division of developing parts, so there is no extra work.

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author Melanie Kanevtseva Melanie Kanevtseva
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Natalya Brinza project manager
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