Have you ever used an Android device and iPhone side by side? If you compare the same app that’s been ported to both platforms, you should notice some differences.

There are plenty of cross-platform apps that now exist on the Android OS and iOS. Larger brands now offer their apps on multiple mobile operating systems, but the user experience usually ranges for the same app from platform to platform.

Android Gripes has posted a brief comparison of some popular iOS and Android apps

Take a look at the Meebo IM clients for the Android and the iPhone:

It’s pretty obvious that there are some stark differences between the design and user experience in both versions of the Meebo app. Android Gripes favors the iPhone version,

“The one on Android pretty much looks like a programming class project. The contact items are too narrow and thus hard to click. They also look bad. The conversation interface is like a geeky IRC client. Those smiley icons are disproportionately small. On the other hand, the interface on iPhone looks much much more polished.”

While it’s true that the Android app lacks the polish of its iOS counterpart, that’s not to say that the Android app is not credible. It’s interesting to see how extremely different the two apps are in color and design. Android apps usually seem to have harsher edges, while iOS apps normally have curved interface designs.

The official Facebook app is a primary example of how Android and iOS user interface differs:

Again, Android Gripes takes the iPhone’s side,

“The same thing here. In the Android interface, icons are not properly aligned. The extra space makes the view look very awkward.”

Android Gripes also compares the Speedtest app on Android and iOS. It’s clear that the iPhone version looks much prettier, and the layout of the Android app seems a little odd.

These few comparisons are not to say that there are not fantastically well done apps on the Android Market, but it’s interesting to notice the difference in design and interface quality when generally comparing the iOS and Android versions of popular apps.

How do you think Android and iOS apps stack up against each other? Have you tried the same app on both platforms? If so, what did you notice? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

[Android Gripes via TiPB]

  • Paul Zammit

    I loved my nexus one, but the inconsistency between one app and another, as well as many poorly designed apps, the whole user experience felt odd. Sold my nexus, iPod touch and went back on the iPhone when the 4th was released.

    The unified experience in iOS makes it a pleasent reason just to be on iOS IMO.

  • DebTym

    yeah..that was my project I pass to my professor.

  • Manuel

    Android has always been a great phone, but with so much potential, you would think the apps look better than that.

    Compared to iso, I feel a lot of the apps on android were just put together by 5 year olds. Since its open source, many apps are done crappy in my opinion. The app store has a lot of crap too, but at least they is a lot of work put into iOS apps then android.

  • you are publishing old versions of Andoid apps vs the last version on Iphone. That is cheating. You do that for your convenience.

    • Steve Taylor

      Android is still rubbish anyway. Most people always go back to iOS.

      • Jon Garrett

        Android is rubbish? then why does it outsell iOS by almost 2 to 1 and growing?

      • dogmax pro

        iOS is in two devices only! [ 3GS & iPhone 4] but android is in a million different model this’ the only reason it outsell iOS

      • Steve Taylor

        Because there are hundreds of phone manufacturers using chuggy slow android whereas iOS is only on the iPhone which outsells android phones 20 fold! Why is that then?? iOS/iPhone is by far the best & everyone knows it. 150 million+ iPhones in consumers hands & counting!!

      • Polemicist

        @Steve Taylor – Ummm … HUH??? There are more Android phones in user hands than there are iOS phones???

      • Marty

        It’s true…
        Android OS = more devices
        iOS = Only iPhone, iPod and iPad
        You can’t really compare the numbers…
        iOS gives you the best experience you can get, Android is nice but buggy and there’s many problems because of all of those devices that have… Android is like better Windows Mobile…

      • For me, iOS gave me the worst experiences. I had to install Android OS on Apple products in order to use hardware. Forget iOS.

      • Some people never go back to iOS because the restriction. I love freedom. Android is the best.

  • Chris12923

    If I’m not mistaken he is grabbing that info including screen caps from android gripes website. One can assume that when android gripes put it on their site both versions were current at the time. Maybe the android apps look better than above in the current version today but at time of writing maybe not… Maybe Alex will shed light on it for us.

  • Thnok

    One of the main reasons those apps look ugly is because they are designed for one screen resolution but there are various android devices with different different screen sizes. While the iOS has only iPad and the iPhone. The developers don’t have to go through that much of hardship.

  • Perhaps not the best header for an article covering the apps designs ?

    iOS: Easy, clean, do what apple gives you the rights to do (Closed Source)
    Android: Quick learning curve, Widgets and Usercustomization, Open Source.

    Out of the box:

    “Person 1” iphone: Look at my layout, i put apps in folders and name the folder by ….
    “Person 2” iphone: Ah, where did you get that wallpaper ? 😛 everything else is exacly the same

    “Person 1” android: Since all my emails and work contacts are important to me i have them arranged with widgets on the 3 panels on the left of the home screen, the 3 panels on the right are reserved for private life..
    “Person 2” android: Organized my games on one side and apps on the other, weather widget to check forecast for the coming day(s) and quick settings panel to turn on and off things.

    It’s not possible to compare the two, to different platforms, two different tactics, closed vs open, easy and simple. both are extremly good and i have both myself, love my Android devices the most since i’m an advanced user, tho the iOS is better when it comes to music and games (apps are becoming more and more the same)

    Hope to see something in the future with cloud apps, no matter what email account you use it saves the apps, contact, ect ect and if your on iOS, WP7, Android, BB the apps work for each and every device..

    Thumbs up for Android as a phone, portable work-station
    Thumbs up for iOS as it plays my music on my way to work, entertains me on the train, bus ect.

  • James Wolfe

    The Android experience is very much like Linux for the desktop. Every year it makes great strides at improving performance and appearance but every year it is still two or three years behind what is already available in Windows or OSX. There are just too many platforms and too many versions of each app. There is no standard look and feel. No unifying experience. From my recent experience with my first android device I quickly came to the conclusion that the most mediocre iOS app looks better and performs better than the best android equivalent. When the author in the first paragraph of his product description in the android store begs you not to buy it before trying the free version that pretty much sums it up. When you have to download five versions of a video player just to find one that works and even then you have to qualify your definition of “works” to mean doesn’t crash much and has a horrible frame rate and the audio is way out of sync it’s not hard to say you prefer the iOS experience.

  • Irha

    Am I the only one here who switched from ios to android and still happy? Well my switch was due to practical reasons (unlimited data for less than $25 month), but I am more than comfortable now, in fact find some things much better. The way control transfers from one app to another and returns back with back button, and as every one knows, the notification system is so much better and makes the phone so much useful. Also using google services is very pleasant. And there is swype, hotspot and so many others that you would discover to be better. I use timeriffic setup with rules to turn bluetooth and data on by the time I get into the car, and put it silent by the time I reach office and wifi on when I am back to home, among other rules. And I love the fact that the phone comes with replaceable battery, so I don’t have to worry about optimizing the battery usage and have it recharged as often as I can. If there is one thing I miss most, it is the copy and paste. It is not only inconsistent, it is inferior to that of ios. Also, though I use phone with inferior hardware compared to iphone 4 (lg optimus) it feels almost as snappy. Ios definitely looks more polishes, but I prefer functionality over looks, and I would prefer android over ios. Also the stock OS lets you do so much that most people don’t have to jailbreak (root). My wife now carries my unlocked iphone 4 and is happy to get an upgrade from the original 2g.

    • Your not alone everything you said there is spot on

      • Shadow

        Definitely not alone. Most people I know who give both real a shot prefer android. I know only 1 who prefers iphone after giving android a real chance, but he still has his droid 2 (maybe he’ll get the next iphone in 2 years).

      • Polemicist

        Definitely not alone…

  • Kevin

    I had a htc, but now an iPhone, it is Mutch more friendly UI, the android just didn’t feel good, the iOS is the first, android just copied it, apple has the most experience with it and the best UI, android is just a bad copycat

  • HTC Evo and HTC Thunderbolt leave the iPhone in the Dust.

    • Steve Taylor

      In what way exactly? The battery’s will go flat on those android phones before anyone will ever work that out!

      • LOL! no they don’t, and the screenshot on this post are outdated. those android screenshots are not new.

  • it is definitely pretty clear when you use the devices side by side that iOS is much smoother and more refined.. Android seems clunky and suffered from scrolling lag, usability issues and bloatware :/ just my $.02.. thanks for sharing!

  • Danny

    As soon as a manufacture builds a quality mobile device for Android superior to iPhone then Apple will begin to worry. Until that day arrives all Android phones are just trying to dethrone the king.

    • Polemicist

      Once upon a time Apple used to make it’s own hardware for it’s computers. Now it just grabs the latest tech shoves it in a pretty box and sticks OSX onto it. Same applies to iPhone (pity they had a minor fail design wise regarding scratch resistance and antenna issues).

      So your saying phones like the Motorola Defy are not well built? Lets see you stick your iPhone in a glass of water or run it under the tap? 🙂

  • Ios used it for 2 years then went to androide and I ain’t going BK 🙂

  • XepptizZ

    Changing the battery of the iphone 4 isn’t that difficult anymore from what i’ve seen. Three screws and you’re there. As for most other things the android has over stock ios, jailbreak and does whatever your heart desires.
    Those time based rules for bluetooth, wifi and such for the android did sound pretty nice. Though I think one based on location would be even better.

    • Irha

      There are two apps called Locale and Tasker that support not only more actions than Timeriffic, but also support non-time specific conditions (such as gps coordinates, wifi SSID’s). They also have extensive 3rd party support via plugins. However, I didn’t try either because I didn’t think my low end phone would be able to handle their added demands.

  • Tzl

    There’s a gps based app for these tasks. Changes profiles, turns on and off wifi, bluetooth, syncing etc-etc. Based on location, time as you wish.

  • NK

    I played with an android phone yesterday. I have iPhone 4. I think I am pretty open minded but I have to say the Android phones UI isnt very pretty, with ugly graphics and boxy icons. I also thought the apps were pretty poor quality. I did like the level of customisation like widgets etc but it didnt make up for low quality apps. there seemed to be generations of difference. also the android is messy. the menus etc are not at all intuitive. I think it suffers from too much choice. I know thats a sin for some people but its very convoluted. I guess some people will prefer a house full of cheap junk and others will prefer a sparse but quality filled space. When I complained about how messy the UI was all the owner could retort with was “well my phone came with this installed you had to buy your apps” This argument didnt make sense to me. yes I bought the app but its great quality and is updated regularly. he tried to sell me on moving wallpapers but i just thought it was a gimmick that would be interesting for 5 minutes. that summed up his phone for me. lots of cheaply constructed gimmicks.

    • Irha

      You definitely need more than 1 day to see all the benefits of the OS and the benefit physical buttons offer, and if you simply “play” with it by going hear and there on the OS and decide that it is not for you, then you are a fool. There is really no reason to think millions of people who prefer Android over iOS and a lot more who don’t mind using it, whether they have a preference over iOS (whether they ever tried both or not) are all fools.

      BTW, I think the same applies to iOS as well, that is, you need to really use iOS for a few days in real life scenarios to see how you like it, but the fact that the UI is “prettier” helps change the attitude during this eval period and less people might turn away.

  • NK

    Also i have to say he has had the phone for a few months now and still didnt know how to use it properly. even a small task sent him off for a couple of minutes tapping away trying to work out how to do it. that seems like a failure of design to me. My dads a absolute tech retard but he has his iPhone pegged. he can do everything like he uses it to control and stream music through his apple tv and iMac, plays movies through a projector for his students, uses i.m and facetime etc etc

    • Polemicist

      Ummm… I’d hate to say this but your Dad is not a tech retard as I’ve had to teach countless people the features you just mentioned there. But the owner of the Android phone above is definitely a tech retard as my kids can work out Android without issue…

      Messy? Beg to differ. It is intuitive but not in the same way Apple did it.

  • Polemicist

    Looks like Alex is trying to start a debate… 🙂 Nice one… 🙂

  • In the end, iOS is not for everyone. Android is not for everyone. Android has the market share because of its availability on multiple handset makers and all the major (and minor) carriers while iOS has been only available on AT&T for the bulk of the last four years (+Verizon since February). Market share is not necessarily an indication of actual popularity. Remember when Symbian OS ruled the smartphone market? A lot of people bought Nokia phones and many didn’t even know they had a phone with the Symbian OS. You can’t really “accidentally” buy an iPhone.

    Google had a great strategy to get to ads on as many phones as possible. Android is more open. Its open-source credibility has taken a hit recently after they pulled back the tablet version of Honeycomb. I don’t like the fact that the Android experience differs between the different mobile phone manufacturers and the different carriers.

    For those who don’t want an iPhone, Android is pretty much the only way to go. WP7 is still a work in progress. And the Palm/HP OS app store is a mess. Most people have just abandoned BB.

    Plus, if you just count iOS on iPod Touches, then Apple wins the mobile OS market share. But, who’s counting? I’m not afraid to say that Android is the king of the mobile smartphone market. Because it is.

    • NK

      I have always puzzled why when talking about market share people only talk about America. Do people really believe that the rest of the world are using Motorola RAZR? android based phones have a higher global market share. in most other countries iPhones and Android phones are sold buy all the major carriers and iPhones can be bought unlocked directly from Apple. So it nothing to do with availability. Its that Android based phones are cheap. Its certainly not because they are better. 90% of people will agree that the iPhone 4 is certainly the sexiest phone on the market and the iPhone has a vastly superior app selection. as for the best OS that comes down to preference. tinkerers like android but most people arent tinkerers. i think its more about price. and as the debate is which is that best OS not which is the cheapest. iOS is clearly the more polished product. but its a premium product.

  • Tzl

    I don’t know ‘ bout other apps but the facebook app is perfect, it’s not about not aligned icons and extra space. The grey stripe is actually a photo strip with all the photos being published to your wall. It is quite biased to show it empty and then suggest that it’s bad design and waste of space.

    • Irha

      Yep, seems like Android users are more honest than iOS users are in (not) twisting facts 😉

  • Tzl

    Here’s a snapshot of it:

  • Matt

    Switching on wifi on my iPad takes a total of 4 operations.

    1. Tap settings icon
    2. Tap wifi settings
    3. Swipe on/off switch
    4. Hit button to return to icon screen

    A ridiculous sequence.

    Switching on wifi on my HTC Desire Android phone takes 1 tap…

    iOS is a clumsy, out dated interface that only a fan boy would love. The most simple things require way too many steps. Apple approach their products with a “We know best” attitude, google does so with “How do we make important things fast and simple”. They were quick to realize that tablets require specific user functionality, Apple thought the iOS was sufficient. They are so wrong, and after the other tablet manufacturers are able to produce comparable hardware and the app developers figure out that Android will offer them better returns on their sales the iPad will suffer. Unless Apple changes their attitude.

    • Irha

      Not sure where you tap on your HTC Desire, but here is what I think is a fair comparison, of the wort case scenario (you are in an App when you realize you needed to turn on the wifi), which is not all that uncommon. This is with stock OS, customized with apps installed from official app stores (which unfortunately means none for iOS).

      1. Hit Home button and wait while iOS exits app and returns to springboard
      2. Hit Home again and wait while iOS scrolls with animation to the first page
      3. Tap settings icon (which might take a moment)
      4. Tap wifi settings
      5. Swipe on/off switch
      6. Hit Home button twice to open the app switcher and select the previous app you are in.
      (7. If the app doesn’t support backgrounding, wait for it to start and get back to the place where you were).

      On Android (with Quick Settings installed):
      1. Swipe down from status bar
      2. Tap Quick Settings
      3. Tap wifi
      4. Hit back button to get back to where you were

      On Android (forgot the app name that can do this):
      1. Swipe down from tatus bar
      2. Tap wifi
      3. Hit back button to get back to where you were

      • Tzl

        If you have the stock android power widget on your home screen:

        1. Tap home button
        2. Tap wifi icon
        3. Long tap home button
        4. Tap the app that has been backgrounded

      • meanwhile on a jailbroken iOS (with SBSettings installed):

        1. swipe status bar (left/right)
        2. tap wifi icon

  • stano

    i’m sorry but saying that iOS is better than Android because it has nicer facebook app and bigger smileys in meebo app is just…:D irrelevant i’d say…it’s like saying that android is better because i like the robot they have in their logo more than an apple…and because google changes image in the browser on special occasions:)…i’d say that how the app looks like is the matter of developer, not the platform and if you don’t like it, you’re totally free to develop one on your own;)…i’m sorry but i haven’t found a single relevant word in this article…

  • abraham

    Finally !!
    IOS is awesome in every way..

    • marcus


  • marcus

    It’s a fact that android is an awesome os. Unfortunate it was supported by lousy hardware provider. Made all the consumers thinking that andoird equal to laggy and stupid slow os. Unlike iOS, it works like the phone know your next step. All are just simple guided.

    Plus, iPad take 4 steps to open wifi function but less than 2 seconds. Unfortunately lousy and laggy android hardware take less than 3 steps but more than 3 seconds to complete it. Please, thats y iPad’s price usually double than other android tablet. they are not cheating consumers’ hard earned money but providing advanced using experience. There is no point spend less money but get a laggy tablet to slow down your living step.

    • Acolz

      iOS is more user friendly than Android. Mainly the UI is so awesome.
      Also when I used Android doing simple tasks like turning on/off data/wifi took more steps than on iOS and was stupidly made like on Symbian. Everything there is so complicated without a reason