Apple publishes iOS fragmentation chart on its website, target’s Google’s Android

by: Chris SmithJune 21, 2013
iOS 6 vs Android Jelly Bean

iOS (left) vs Android (right) fragmentation – data collected for both charts during a 14-day period ending June 3, 2013

Following its WWDC 2013 event, Apple has published on its website (the section dedicated to developers) a pie chart that shows the iOS fragmentation state in a similar manner to how Google’s displays its own Android fragmentation chart.

Thus, Apple is indirectly attacking Google’s mobile OS by showing potential and existing developers that iOS doesn’t suffer from the same fragmentation issue as Android.

According to the chart, 93% of iOS users are running iOS 6, the latest version of the operating system, 6% are on iOS 5 while just 1% are on al older iOS version. We’re looking at data gathered “during a 14-day period ending June 3, 2013.”

Comparatively, data gathered by Google during the same period – unlikely a coincidence – shows that the latest Android version is now on 33% of devices (Jelly Bean) while Ice Cream Sandwich is at 25.6% and Gingerbread is at 36.4%. Older Android versions still power nearly 5% of Android versions. It’s worth noting that a few months ago Google changed the way it counts Android versions, not including those devices that aren’t used to contact the Play Store. From the looks of it, Apple is also measuring iOS adoption rate with help of the App Store.

As you can see, Jelly Bean adoption is rising, but Gingerbread is still an important presence in the Android ecosystem.

Since we’re comparing Apples to Androids, we’re also going to add that over 900 million devices running Android have been activated so far, according to what Google said at its I/O 2013 developers conference, while Apple has activated 600 million iOS devices to date. The App Store has passed over 50 billion downloads to date, while the Google Play Store is at over 48 billion, but projected to pass the App Store this fall when it comes to the total number of downloads.

The chart shown on Apple’s site was also presented to the audience during Apple’s WWDC 2013 keynote. On stage, Tim Cook directly addressed the fragmentation issue that affects Google’s OS and it looks like Apple is taking the comparison to the next level by showing developers interested in creating iOS apps the state of the iOS ecosystem right on its own developer pages.

In the video above, which shows the WWDC 2013 keynote in its entirety, Cook talks about iOS vs Android, starting at about the 1:10 minute, with Android fragmentation vs iOS fragmentation being one of the points he makes.

[quote qtext=”[…] if you do the math you would find that iOS 6 is the world’s most popular mobile operating system and in second place is a version of Android which was released in 2010.” qperson=”Tim Cook at WWDC 2013″ qsource=”” qposition=”center”]

On its part, Google would not publicly admit to a fragmentation problem – and this particular term is likely to cause a fierce debate between the users of the two platforms – but the company is definitely taking various measures to ensure that fragmentation is less of an issue for users and developers.

At Google I/O, the company focused on improving its services across the board including Maps, Chrome, Google+ and Search in order to offer users and developers a better overall experience no matter what platform they’re on and without requiring them to update to a newer OS version.

Furthermore, Google is rumored to have postponed the launch of a new major Android OS version to allow more OEMs to get some of their devices to Jelly Bean before having to update them again to a new version. Even Android 4.3 – the next rumored incremental Android update – is not available yet.

As for Apple, while it does says that 93% of iOS users are on the latest release, we’ll remind you that some of the iOS 6 features aren’t available on all devices. Similarly, when iOS 7 will be launched, not all supported devices will get all the new features. Moreover, while iOS 7 adoption will most likely be very high, it’ll be interesting to see how the pie chart will look this fall, considering that not all iOS devices will be able to make the jump to the latest OS version.

Naturally, the same goes for the Android ecosystem. Once Android 5.0 arrives, many devices won’t be able to run it, or will receive an update a lot later than others. For that matter, that’s how things are for every operating system out there, whether mobile or desktop. You can’t expect older hardware to be continuously updated to newer OS versions. That’s not to minimize the fact that Android updates are still not ideal for both users and developers. But unlike Apple, who’s in control of updates, in the Android universe OEMs and carriers are in charge for releasing those updates, and chances are that won’t change anytime soon, as they have their own interests in mind.

What’s your stance on Android fragmentation? Is it an issue for you?

  • MasterMuffin

    And now lets show chart of how many Android phones there are vs the number of iPhones. These fragmentation stuffs aren’t fair, Apple makes minor updates to a number of phone models that can be calculated with your hands only.

    • HitokiriX

      Won’t that chart change even more with the release of iOS7? I still know people who own a 3GS and original iPad and they won’t be getting the update.

      • DoubleJ

        Yes, but the Android chart will change with the release of KLP. Also, the original iPad didn’t get iOS 6 (As it started on iPhone OS 3.0), so it’s already included in the 6% portion

    • S2556

      These charts are a load, Apple just pushes out an update and says it supports their old phones instantly however many key features are NOT included in the update. How is Siri on the 3Gs? and it is not always hardware limited but just trying to make their newest phone stand out so people pay extra for the upgrade.

    • joser116

      I think Google’s chart would be better than Apple’s if it was counted that way. In that case, Google does a better job than Apple at updating its own devices.

    • Joshua Hill

      Not quite as fair as comparing Nexus devices only but I’d be interested in comparing all phones original RRP > $500. I bet ppl with flagship devices have > 90% jelly bean OS installed.

      I don’t care what OS ppl with $100 – $200 phones have and neither do the ppl who own them. The Android fragmentation chart contains 100% data and tells us 0% useful info. The fact that Apple or the author of this article thinks it is a mocking attempt shows us much more.

      • On a Clear Day

        The “fragmentation” of Android devices is as much a function of older devices becoming antiquated and unable to adapt to the requirements of the operating system advancing as anything else.

        Yes, it isn’t that easy to get carriers focused on new sales to new customers to care that much about updating.

        But as the market matures and the power and abilities of even the mid-level phones starts to come in close to the upper levels, I think we may well see less and less of a problem with the updating since when a manufacturer or a carrier considers updating they won’t have to be afraid of bricking a device that it turns out a certain percentage of – for whatever reason – go kablooey because they can’t handle the upgrade.

        • Joshua Hill

          The problem with older hardware is updated drivers for things like modems, e.t.c. My 2 year old SGS2 is running Jelly Bean 4.1.2 and has had 4.2 Jelly Bean on custom ROMs. The new Key Lime Pie OS is reportedly able to run on phones with 0.5Gb of ram. Personally I don’t think lack of processing power, ram is the problem.

    • On a Clear Day

      I used to sell the Iphone and Android for a major carrier. One of the silliest experiences I recall was when an East Coast Apple Director (or some such upper level title) came to our store due to a new a earth shaking unveiling of Apple iPhone something or other.

      This person made a big deal of pointing out how “fragmented Android is compared to iOs.” as is usually the case on the parts of both the sales people and the managers at cell phone stores (and if you doubt this get one or two of the alone when they aren’t having to service the party line of their carrier) everyone breathed a big sign of “Who cares?” Except someone desperately trying to denigrate Android in anyway they can and willing to pick on things that for all practical purposes “don’t make no never mind” to the average person – or even frankly to the more skilled and knowledgeable among us.

    • MattEgansHairLine

      seeing as roid only gets a maximum of 18 months of updates (as stated in google’s T&Cs).

      And guess what, not all features are available on every roid handset (as an example, how is the fingerprint reader working on your S3?).

      The Galaxy S4 only got Lollipop a couple of weeks ago. But I guess software that I s six month out of date adds a layer of security that iPhone owners envy!

  • RAJ


    • Farbod

      i think you’ve got the wrong article.

      • Trent Richards

        I think you are right lol

    • RarestName

      The awkward moment when non-enthusiasts don’t even care about true multitasking. Heck, so many people that I know don’t even know that Android has “true” backgrounding and that iOS has “pause” multitasking.

      • mobilemann

        that awkward moment when someone thinks even android multi tasking is like it is on your PC. Kids.

    • MasterMuffin

      Read the article again…

  • Farbod

    “the most popular mobile OS is iOS 6 then its gingerbread.”
    ok, good :)

    • Steve Bailey

      Look at apps developed for Apple and most of the time they become dependant on the latest version of ios. Then look at apps developed for Android and they will be playable on much older versions of Android so why would people update their phones or operating system if they didn’t need too. Had Apple devices and just got bored of them. Now they have io7 coming and still it is an android wanna be.

  • AndresQuintana

    well one thing they don’t mention is how even though their 95% of their phones are running iOS6. An iPhone 4 & 4S doesn’t have all features that are available on an iPhone 5 running iOS6

    • kascollet

      The 4S has all the iOS6 features, just like the 5. iPhone 4 & 3GS don’t have the features that require big RAM or CPU, that’s about it (90% of the OS does work though).
      Each iOS version is fully functional on the last 2 generations and has some limitations on the older 2.
      -> 4 years support. And that’s not right ?

      • Benjamin Pavel

        goo. gl/wq2kD
        Right, as if Panorama and Airdrop requires so much CPU and RAM.
        Even a 4 year old Android phone can perform Panorama.
        Stop being brainwashed by Apple.

        • jusephe

          Panorama requires a camera and more importantly an advanced ISP like that one in A5 and higher.

          Air drop requires newest wi-fi hardware with wi-fi direct support which is possible only on newest 5Ghz wi-fi iOS devices.

          Yeah i can perform panorama on an old iPhone 3G but the result is well, just horrible and it takes hours to process.

  • millwork help

    Well its alright even ICS is better then iOS 6

  • alex

    This honestly doesn’t surprise me. Apple has been using flowcharts and bars to show that “mine is bigger then yours”, but they never show the truth behind the numbers. First of all, Apple is leading in the US, UK, France, maybe Canada. And Yes, the AppStore is one of the reasons. But what about the rest of the world. Last time i checked, the price difference between a refurbished mac and a state of the art asus was over $300, and about $100 between a nexus and the ipad. Can’t argue with the fact that over half of the population will put practicality and price, over looks and aluminium. just saying…

  • Todd Smith

    This has to be one of the most pointless comparisons Apple has ever made against Android. Who care what version your on as long as your phone works. Apple needs to get with program and realize they have fallen way behind and the new iOS is just another “me too”.

  • Getgo

    Where is ios feature fragmentation graph?

  • mjolnirxz

    I would like to point out, that the most important announcement at IO regarding fragmentation was the change to Google Pay Store Services… it essentially allows Google to push the app updates to the devices regardless of OS version. In other words, does it matter if you have GB/ICS/JB if all of them can run the latest apps? I know this is a very over-simplified explanation, but this is a respectable attempt at addressing fragmentation.

  • Peter Blanco

    I suppose we can disregard the minor that the number of different manufacturers, sizes, types, feature specific phones (like the Note series), price differences, tiers and so on is different from the handful of phones Apple has? As an Android power user, I want to see Apple succeed,I want clean competition to make my products better. But when Apple shows skewed stats like this it pisses me off.

  • Jeffrey

    I’m an android user but honestly I think the apple AppStore is way better than play store. I think apples apps are high quality compared to the apps found in playstore 90 % of apps found in the playstore are complete trash I think google should filter remove all those useless apps.

  • Jeffrey

    Don’t be such An android fanboy we all know that playstore app are 90% trash I’m an android user but pls google filter your playstore

    • jusephe

      They will not, they want to have as many apps as possible, ideally 2-3 times more than Apple.

  • Android Does it Better

    One thing Apple is not telling us is how many versions of iOS6 there are and how many devices have which version. ICS and JB are both version 4.x and Eclair, GB, and Froyo are all version 2.x so if you combine the versions to just the Android V4 and Android V2 is looks more like Apple and it IOS chart…..

    • MasterMuffin

      So true, there have only been 3 Android operating systems for phones, 1.x, 2.x and 4.x

  • kmeck518

    can we get a chart that show fragmentation of nexus devices?

    • kascollet

      Upgradability of the Nexus phones is not fundamentally better.

      Nexus One : 2.1 -> 2.3
      Nexus S : 2.3 -> 4.1 (only one climbing one major version to date)
      Galaxy Nexus : 4.0 -> 4.2
      Nexus 4 : 4.2 -> 5.1 (?)

      If you consider 1st rank revisions to be major versions, you have 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 4.0, 4.1 and 4.2, and still, Nexus phone only get 2 of them (compared to 4 major upgrades for one given iphone).

  • joser116

    Imagine how much worse Google’s charts would be if Cyanogenmod did not exist.

  • Chris Boots

    Which only goes to prove there is much more variety in the android ecosystem unlike apples closed system which allows for Android to be used on multiple devices

  • Simon Belmont

    Yeah, and if you think about it, almost 60% of people are on Android 4.x, which is pretty damned respectable. Especially given how diverse the hardware is with Android.

    I’m tired of Apple manipulating the facts in their favor. They do this with OS X and Windows too. Of course people have upgraded to the latest OS X faster than Windows 8. There’s exponentially more people running Windows than OS X, so of course a small amount on Microsoft’s side is probably a lot more than “MOST” on OS X’s.

  • Kindroid

    iOS users pay a pretty hefty price for that lack of “fragmentation”. To maintain that backward legacy compatibility means the latest iOS is always going to be a compromise…..give up cutting edge capability to allow aging hardware with antiquated specs to run it. And even after making those compromises, there is no guarantee that older hardware won’t have poor operation under the strain. As 3 and 3g iphone owners learned all to painfully a couple of years ago. Google’s decision to require current hardware specs to run current Android versions was a smart one. Android OS is free to grow and innovate as fast as the latest hardware will allow. The truth is, the majority of Android users are clueless as to what version their phones use….and what new innovation they are missing. As long as their phones continue to operate the way they did when they bought them….they are perfectly happy. As for the early adopters and geeks…as long as they buy the hero handset of their choice….they will get the couple of updates to Android that they crave…before their carrier plan allow them to buy the next great Android phone.

  • No One

    I’m not really in the Android OS or iOS game in here but something I know for sure that, when I was with iOS, I never had any trouble with incompatible apps. With my old iPhone 5 before I can install every single app that I want. However, with GS4 which I had last month, it is a power house but try to install Dungeon Hunter 4 I got a message incompatible with your device. Also same for HTC One which I really like but the message is appear again when try to install NFS Most Wanted. If an older device cannot play that app, I might understand that is because of it’s hardware but 2 high end android devices like I mention above are not acceptable.

    So tell me is that not a real problem with Android OS? I don’t care what OS or what device it is but I will care if that device cannot do what I want. You fanboy for both iOS and Android OS need to look at the truth instead of fighting over none scene. You both will not gain anything from it.

    Android OS need to fix the fragmentation about the apps so that all apps can run on all devices at the same time and the update roll out.

    For iOS, add some more features like Widget and give 2 screen size of choice. I am sure you will gain a lot more customer.

  • Erusha Tiranagama

    Apple quite simply disguises their fragmentation. Most of their older phones have the latest version of iOS in name only. This would be their reality distortion field in effect.

    • kascollet

      No. That delusional. Only some features are not present on n-2 and older devices. Still, you GET 90% of the update, year after year, three times in a raw, until your device is 4 years old.
      Tell me what features offers a 1st gen Galaxy (2010 phone, max OS=1.6 Donut, iphone 3GS era) compared to a Nexus 4.
      Wake up.

  • gogobarril

    Of course the fragmentation on apple is less! When they update the iPod Touch 4 to iOS6 everyone can change but with iOS 7 nooo, so users will trash their old products to buy new products
    this explains apple fragmentation, buy new device, trash old one, profit (?)

  • vosg

    Given the fact that even Gingerbread is better than iOS7, that’s not so bad.

    • kascollet

      Cupcake forever !

  • Samsung Fanboy

    now lets see a chart on how many Android, Windows, BB or Cydia tweaks have been stolen and incorporated into iOS 7.

    and another chart that shows how many Sprint & Verizon iPhones cant do talk and data at the same time.

  • John-Phillip Saayman

    Convert the Android chart to iOs, then we are all running iOs 10 & 11. So I don’t see the meaning.