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While Android is doing just fine in the current mobile market, being preferred by the vast majority of smartphone users worldwide, the iOS side of the bargain can still be too tempting, with its chunk of dedicated community. This is what ultimately makes many Android-based software providers consider a timely transition to the iOS platform for a bunch of reasons. Wondering which reasons are the most important and how to convert an Android app to iOS as a whole? Let’s find out.

Reasons to Convert an Android App to iOS

How to Convert an Android App to iOS

Essentially, all reasons to port an Android app to iOS come down to seizing an opportunity to expand into yet uncharted, profitable horizons for further growth in the scope of the global mobile software market.

Expanding Your Customer Base and Developing New Markets

You might be missing out on Apple’s “flip side” of the market for no reason at all. Even if you are an exclusively Android-focused provider — why not cover both essential market segments? New unexplored market horizons mean new market shares, and more users. As much as Android is a hugely popular buyer’s choice worldwide, Apple’s devices still cover 54% of the market in the USA, 53% in Canada, and 53% in Oceania. In most other parts of the world, the total iOS market share can vary 20-40%;

If you are targeting such geography or wish to successfully expand over them in the best-case scenario, you cannot ignore the opportunity to start operating in them right after converting an Android app to iOS.

Harnessing New Software Capabilities

Converting an Android app into an iOS piece of software, you get to add entirely new features to your product in the process, expanding it in line with the capabilities provided by Apple. Because the whole porting an Android app to iOS process involves reworking the app practically from scratch, you get a great opportunity to add or remove any features and capabilities you see fit. You may also analyze the results you get with a fully overhauled product and implement them for the Android counterpart.

Boosting Profits in the New Market Environment

Reasons to Convert an Android App to iOS

Despite covering a smaller part of the global market, iOS software has users that are much more keen spenders as opposed to Android users. Even beyond that, covering the global market with two apps for the essential mobile platforms instead of one should help you generate more profits. You ultimately double your marketing opportunities along with all the benefits the unexplored market segments bring.

Entering an Exclusive Brand Ecosystem

Apple has formed a unique, exclusive market and user ecosystem that Android doesn’t have a counterpart. And its main advantage is that it covers multiple areas of use across various user segments and demographics. Common iOS users are a different breed that must be treated appropriately. And elaborating a proper focused approach pays off significantly in the long run. So an Android app ported to iOS is just a first step of comprehensive product creation that covers the entire Apple product line, given that Macbook and iPad rapidly move to the Apple M1 chip.

Top 3 Things to Consider Before Porting an Android App to iOS

There are several preliminary measures that are best handled beforehand for the smoothest, error-free process of porting Android to iOS.

Pick a Programming Language

As the essential Android development language, Kotlin is recommended by Google for the smoothest, simplest, and fastest rework of Android elements due to its full backward compatibility with Java. At the same time, you have to eventually also work with Swift, a programming language developed by Apple, to finalize your iOS-converted app. Objective-C and Objective-C++ can also be used alternatively, but the chance of their utilization for iOS apps development is minimal.

Another efficient way to go is to use Kotlin’s multiplatform programming capabilities. You will need a Mac with macOS installed on it respectively in order to create assets for a new app. But in the context of Android to iOS porting, the multiplatform opportunities presented by Kotlin are quite flexible, and can become a valid option. However, the final choice of technology highly depends on requirements to end-product functionality.

Prepare for a Redesign Project

While a certain part of the design can be reused and left unchanged or only slightly reworked, many minor and major design elements must be revised, including all the icons, buttons, fonts, ratios, etc. We dive into more detail on this further in the article, but you should initially outline and consider the differences between Material design and Flat design guidelines.

Set the OS Versions in Line

In contrast to the variety of Android operating systems, all iPhone devices use a single iOS that iteratively updates along with the new iPhone. Moreover, as soon as a new version is released, all devices compatible with it are updated simultaneously worldwide. So, the best option is to pick the last stable iOS version to transit to tackle the required user audience segment. More than 75% of iPhone owners already use the latest versions of iOS 14, according to Statista.

How to Port an Android App to iOS

How to Port an Android App to iOS

Step #1 — Analyze Technical and Business Requirements

This implies an in-depth analysis of the app’s business logic, compatibility specifics with the iOS platform and third-party modules and libraries involved by the Android app, and space for expansion and optimization. It should be noted that Android and iOS applications share a general backend side, which means the code performing the business logic layer remains unchanged.

All of that should be put in order according to the nuances of the iOS platform. It’s best to have experienced software specialists by your side to help you collect all the proper info. At this stage, you usually have to figure out:

  • app design specifics
  • functional specification
  • business logic structure
  • source code nuances

Here, you should ultimately view the whole project from the point of view of both technical and business specifics. The most proper elements to carry out essential functions in both areas can be most adequately laid out by a Software architect and a Business analyst, respectively.

Other important milestones here include a thorough market analysis, project mind-map, code and design review, workflow structure organization, functional specification.

Step #2 — Implement a Design Overhaul

Numerous essential design elements of the existing Android application will have to be revised and changed following the Flat Design guidelines. The important aspects include the Android-native UI mirroring feature and prior design segmentation into assets. The design for app porting should concern a separate patch of project workflow.

When it comes to the UI mirroring, which helps properly display left-to-right (LTR) and (RTL) right-to-left languages, you should know that less common RTL interfaces are default and automated in systems since Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and iOS 9, respectively. And you will have to implement the automated text flipping for custom elements yourself.

The Flat Design-driven overhaul will mostly include moving object placements and making visuals more 3D-esque. The other essential thing is adjusting font types; Android uses Roboto as the basic system font type while iOS is built on San Francisco.

Step #3 — Rewrite the Underlying Code and Optimize Software Architecture Throughout

Because the Android app code cannot be simply recompiled to fit the iOS architecture specifics, you will need to almost completely recode most of the software piece. The most important thing here is to keep in line all the compatibilities and sync every step of the process with new platform requirements. The main workload here goes for technical specialists (software engineers and designers). There is specific software that converts Android code (Java, Kotlin) to iOS (Swift). However, these automatization solutions generate code with a quality that is far from ideal and requires complete revision and optimization by iOS developers.

A bunch of necessary third-party integrations you will have to fit into your solution include:

  • a payment gateway (multiple ones, like Stripe and PayPal, would be best);
  • social integrations with the most popular platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.);
  • data analytics modules (including Google Analytics, Mixpanel, and others);
  • order delivery integrations.

All the rest of the code porting routine is about revising and implementing assets step by step, making sure that the workflow is flexible enough to tackle all the essential project stages along with extra work factors that may appear along the way. 

Step #4 — Testing and QA

The utterly important finalization stages after you convert an app from Android to iOS are where you need to thoroughly test all the functional UI/UX features and other operational capabilities of the converted app. On top of that, some extra Quality assurance effort that will grant the quality of the field use of the app is a must.

In the long run, your testing and QA efforts should include:

  • performance load testing
  • functional testing
  • UX/UI testing
  • security testing
  • unit testing

A well-tried-and-tested practice is to combine manual and automated testing techniques to organize the most thorough testing process.

Step #5 — Maintenance and Updates

The final product resulting from the Android to iOS app conversion process, of course, must be properly maintained in its specific area of operation. This concerns patching up errors and flaws that can only be detected only during the active software operation as well as keeping all convenient product updates timely and subsequent.

Buyer's Guide

How Much Does it Cost to Port an Android App to iOS?

The ultimate expense range of the whole process is formed by an entire scope of processes and technical/business specifics. But the final price is something around the price of creating an app from scratch. The full conversion will take as much time, while all the design and code overhaul procedures must be carried out by full-on designers and developers in a similar way to building a new software architecture.

Ultimately, the final cost to port an Android to iOS will be formed by:

  • Complexity of the architecture to redesign and the number of involved assets
  • UI/UX design specifics and a number of third-party integrations
  • Location and rates of a preferred software vendor
  • The extent of adding completely new features
  • All the project management, support, and maintenance fuss

However, it is tough to point out even approximate pricing without knowing some underlying project specifics.

Our experts can calculate and provide a thorough estimate for you individually based on the underlying nuances of your app to be converted completely free.

Consider NIX United Your Trusted Partner

NIX United is a seasoned software development and design services provider with a firm grasp of the major market trends and in-depth software conversion techniques. In particular, we offer over 27 years of experience and expertise in the market, high-performing, agile mobile app development teams with the choice from over 2,000 professional software engineers, 3,000+ projects under our belt.

Turning to NIX specialists, you get mature workflows, passionate experts, and access to the latest, most trendiest technologies and approaches. We cover a wide scope of end product areas and industries, from eCommerce, telecommunications, and manufacturing to healthcare and biopharmaceutics, insurance, and information management.

We can help you convert an Android app to iOS within the most reasonable pricing ratio based on the latest approaches, no matter the purpose and complexity of your project.

To cut it short, we believe that our case studies should speak for themselves.

A Healthcare App

Healthcare software is one of the most advanced corners of the software development market right now, for which essentially unique approaches and efforts are required. Our project of optimizing and improving the patient retention enhancement HIPAA-compliant app involved three different technologies, a whole bunch of programming languages and tools (Swift 3.0, Objective-C 2.0, Java, Kotlin, Fastlane, JavaScript, Gradle, JQuery, RoR, Ruby, Sinatra, etc.), and a big 20+ person team of seasoned specialists.

We eventually managed to overhaul the application in line with the relevant HIPAA requirements. This included optimizing the existing code, revising business rules for improved UX, and adjusting to all HIPAA security recommendations.

The project helped the client gain more than 14,000 new users across 7 hospitals implementing the app for patient retention management.

A Property Management Platform

Yet another utterly relevant at all times field is real estate, where companies and entrepreneurs are still seeking and creating new, more convenient management approaches and ways to boost realty business profits. This was exactly the purpose of building a customized mobile property management solution for landlords. We used the extensive powers of React Native bunched with Golang in order to achieve an all-around high-performance, stable, convenient realty management app.

We created a fully custom platform from scratch; a six-fold team of specialists implemented various real estate-focused modules that make the life of landlords ultimately easier.

This included adding an intuitive chatting system, a voting system, calendars and event integration, a residential expense planning dashboard, electronic signature, parking management, and a heavy dose of automation across most of the mentioned features.

Final Thoughts

Android to iOS app conversion is a responsible effort that requires a full-on software overhaul, improvement, and optimization project to tackle the previously unexplored market grounds. This somewhat complex undertaking, however, definitely pays off in the long run as you get to accumulate a new paying user audience in the most exclusive market segment today.


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