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How to Port an iOS App to Android?

What do Instagram, Zombies and Plants 2 and Periscope have in common?

All of them were launched as an iOS-only app.

Allow me to explain why…

First, Android device range is huge and account approximately 12, 000 specimens. Samsung accounts for 47.5% of those devices btw.

Android users do not always update to the latest OS, meaning you need to support older versions and add an additional line in the development budgets.

iOS apps generate 85% more revenue and iPhone users spend $35 on average per year for in-app purchases.

Now you are thinking…

Are Android apps even worth of my startup’s time and budgets?

Absolutely, yes.

Sure there are certain drawbacks. But let’s not forget that Android still has a much larger user base around the globe with over 14 million active devices:

Priority-platform-by-country

If your company’s goal is to tap into a larger audience segment, porting your app from iOS to Android may be your best bet.

In this guide, we offer a detailed walkthrough of how to port an iOS app to Android without screwing up the designs, your deadlines or budgets.

Let’s dive in.

Porting to Android: 6 Essentials to Know

The good news about porting is that you already have a clear product vision aka you can skip the market research part. Instead, focus on code porting and making things right with your shiny custom iOS app design.

However, you still watch out for the next common mistakes.

The “Just Make it Look Same” Attitude

When you port iOS app to Android you cannot just scrape the design and code and paste it into a new shell.

First of all, your app will feel “alien” and “confusing”.

Android users won’t be able to find the familiar elements in navigation and controllers for instance. As a result, they will rate your service badly and leave a ton of negative reviews. Your ported UI will not comply with the future OS updates, meaning more user frustration. A slow and glitchy app makes an additional big line in your budget to fix that mess.

To convert iOS app to Android, you need to redesign the UI first. It should comply with the respective platform design guidelines. In case with Android, that is material design.

Here are the key tips to help you adapt your product better:

Understand The Different Media Resource Assets

Due to the high variety of devices, porting your media assets correctly from one device to another is highly important.

Here are the appropriate resources grids:

Android Resources Grid

alt-ps-blog-illustrations_ios-android-2

iOS Resources Grid

alt-ps-blog-illustrations_ios-android-1-1

Optimize The Tabs

alt-ps-blog-illustrations_ios-android-3

At Apple devices tabs are positioned only at the bottom edge of the screen. They are usually used to organize information on the app level more efficiently and display related content/functionality.

Android tabs are usually positioned at the top edge of the screen, just below the action bar. They enable users to quickly switch between different views your solution offers.

Mind the Fonts

Roboto is the go-to font for Android. Apple devices use San Francisco fonts since iOS 9, before that they’ve had Helvetica.

129038-md-b2wiga8cuaa2_4a

Pay Attention To The Icon Design

When it comes to icon design, Android and Apple have slightly different preferences. Android icons usually pop more, feature brighter gradients and have more intense filling.

NB: Android has a number of standard templates for certain app actions. For instance, share or current position. Don’t forget to use those.

material-icons-google-design

Mind The Menu Styles

iOS apps usually have the popover and action sheet elements, while Android apps have a similar element called bottom sheets for displaying additional information:

bottom-sheets-components-material-design-guidelines

Use The Lists

alt-ps-blog-illustrations_ios-android-4

Android and iOS take different approaches to performing actions with lists:

Bottom line: To successfully port iOS to Android app, pay attention to the platform design guidelines and which specific elements they highlight.

You can learn more about the key design principles at our Android app development page as well.

Porting the Code

You can’t simply take the iOS app Objective-C/Swift listing and recompile it for Android when it comes to the server-side code. You’ll have to rewrite the entire app code from scratch for the new Android app.

NB: Java’s performance is a bit lower compared to Objective-C. Take that into account when you port “time-sensitive” elements of your product.

Test, Test, Test

The larger range of Android you plan to support – the more testing you need.

To simplify and automate the process, try Genymotion – a superb Android simulator, which features all sorts of screen and memory sizes different API levels and manufacturers. Find and fix the bugs early on, as the post-release costs will be higher.

Want to know more about porting iOS app to Android? Get in touch with the Alty team to receive a price quote and a more detailed walkthrough of all the stages involved!

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