Open thread: Which apps are better on iOS than on Android?

by: J. Angelo RacomaApril 30, 2014

Secret App

It’s open thread time once again, folks. And with this edition, we take a look into app ecosystems. In particular, we compare apps from two of the biggest mobile ecosystems today: iOS and Android. While the iTunes App Store and Google Play are almost at par in terms of app availability and quality, there are still some gaps, notably in how companies choose to launch their apps on one platform, but not on the other.

For example, some companies have chosen to release apps on one platform, but not on the other. Take Facebook, for instance. The social networking company has been taking a modularized approach to its mobile apps. The main Facebook app is still there, but others, like messaging and page management have been unbundled. Facebook has also acquired other companies and startups that run their own apps, like Instagram.

Most of these are available on multiple platforms. However, one of its newer apps, Paper, is only available on iOS and only from the US app store.

Facebook Paper App

This has left Android users wondering whether Facebook will release a version for other platforms of its dedicated News Feed reader, as well.

Then, there’s the “anonymish” app, Secret, which lets users share all sorts of secrets while hidden behind anonymity. The app has recently been made available to international markets. However, it’s still iOS-only at this point, with the developers hinting that an Android release could be in the works.

Secret app

Sometimes, it’s not even the availability that’s the issue, but rather the differences in features and functionality. For example, in my experience, the PayPal app for iOS is drastically different from the Android app in terms of functionality. Sure, PayPal has updated its app with support for fingerprint scanning (on supported models), plus the ability to search for nearby establishments that accept PayPal payments. However, with my iPhone app, I can send personal payments (meaning zero fees), whilst I could only send regular payments from my Android app.

I was told this was region-dependent, but it has left me wondering why I could access the feature on iOS, but not on Android.

Update: I forgot to add Hangouts on iOS. While Google recently updated its Hangouts Android app to integrate chats and SMS, the iOS app offers one thing that the Android app does not: voice calling. With the iOS Hangouts app, you can call US numbers for free, and you can also receive Google Voice calls right within the app itself. On Android, only video calls are supported, and you cannot call or receive calls from regular phone numbers.

Your thoughts?

Which apps do you think are better on iOS than on Android? And which iOS-only apps do you wish are also available for Android? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.

  • lynford marrett

    Weather App, Dark Sky is iOS only, wish it was on android.

  • kindly list them,i have an ipod so i will be able to use them other than on my android

    • Well they gave you a few, there’s facebook Paper, that secret app, also certain games are iOS only, Infinity Blade one worth mentioning. Also I know for iPad there’s Padgram which is an IG client, that’s miles ahead of the traditional app of IG for Android tablets.

  • M Yusuf

    Skype, its much smoother on iOS. I hate companies which do this !!

    • Ishaan Malhotra

      Its not because of the companies. Android apps have to be optimized for 100 different devices,whereas iOS apps for about 3 diff devices

      • filaos

        7 iPhone gens, 4 iPod touch and 5 different iPads makes a little more than 3 but it’s still the point.

        • Ishaan Malhotra

          You get the point. Anyways, most new apps and their updates aren’t compatible with older gen devices. So about 3 phones, 1 iPod and 3 iPads.

          • filaos

            You mean iOS 7 devices ?
            iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad Air, iPad Mini, iPad Mini Retina, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S, iPod Touch 5.
            That’s 13 devices with iOS 7 (well 7.1 for that matters).
            Most apps also run on iOS 6 capable devices : add iPhone 3GS and iPod Touch 3&4. Total = 16
            Just saying.

  • n_user


  • Jase

    Raptr app! The raptr community has begged for Android app for quite some time now and still we go without

  • Alex

    The one app that I miss now that I’m back on Android-wagon from a short journey into iOS is Next Expense Tracker. I cannot find something similar on Android :(

  • I have an iPad and three android devices, G2, S3, and Nexus 7, so I know the app stores pretty well for both platforms. I’d say iOS does have a few apps that aren’t on android that are pretty neat, but what’s more of an issue is the fact that iPad has a lot of tablet optimized apps were as Android just has a blown up phone app. I don’t want to get the same experience from a tablet that I get on my phones, Android needs to step it up in this department.

    • zamuz

      The *developers* of blown-up phone apps need to step up. Nothing about Android is stopping them from creating a decent tablet-optimized version of their apps.

      • I totally agree, I’m currently learning javascript in school and wouldn’t mind being involved in coding some apps for these slack bastards. Dropbox, Skype, Pandora, Spotify anyone up to tackle these tablet project’s with me? Haha!

        • Mike Reid

          Go for it. Eventually you’ll become older, wiser and more jaded and cynical… ;)

      • Mike Reid

        Not nothing. All is explainable by known and clear market forces. “Follow the money”.

        It costs time and money to optimize for tablets. And Android devs are plenty busy with fragmentation of devices and screen sizes and millions of phone/tab specific bugs. Whereas IOS devs have just a few devices to target, all from the same company.

        In many cases Android devs and IOS devs are the same people. So it’s not about devs being “lazy” or untalented.

        If there is sufficient money to be made in doing something, devs WILL do it. That’s the free market. iPad buyers also buy more apps. Android tablet buyers tend to be more focused on price, and thus they have less money for apps.

        • zamuz

          The more popular apps (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, games) are free and make their money through ads. Android is vastly more popular than iOS in terms of its user base. According to you, then, the almighty market forces predict that more effort (money, time, better developers) should go to the free, popular Android apps, because that’s where you’ll find the most users to show ads to. Well, you’re wrong. It’s enough for them to provide a sub-par Android experience because people still want to use those apps, regardless of how worse they are than their iOS counterparts, and the money is still there to be “followed”.

          As far as I understand, Android gives developers many tools to create apps that scale elegantly to most screen sizes, and does a decent job at scaling automatically even if the app isn’t particularly optimized to do so. So yes, it’ll be expensive to make your awfully-designed, guideline-oblivious Android app look good on a screen size other than the one you designed for, as is the case with any big change in a software project. That’s partly Google’s fault for not attempting to enforce design guidelines earlier on, but it’s far from being a platform limitation.

          Also I highly doubt the same teams are working on both versions of many apps. Why force your team to be experts at both iOS and Android? That’s a good way to end up with mediocre apps on both platforms.

          Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are good examples of sub-par Android apps that probably make more money than their iOS counterparts while being inferior in quality. And probably created by separate teams too – these guys can afford it.

          To sum up, yes, I think some Android developers are lazy. The tools to create amazing, tablet-ready apps are there, and they have been for a while.

          • abazigal

            I guess that’s the difference between market share and usage share. True, there may be vastly more Android users than iOS users (in terms of absolute numbers), but the revenue numbers suggest that there are still more paying customers on iOS compared to Android users, and that’s ultimately what matters more to developers.

            That’s why Google reportedly earns more revenue on iOS compared to Android, despite the latter’s larger market share, I suppose.

          • Craig

            Actually no I’ve made a few android apps now and the tooling is horrid. Ant, Eclipse and editing xml to make an app is not fun. The fragmentation in not only chrome, android browser and webkit for rendering webview components is awful. The notifications and Camera API changes while at first pleasant have added extreme disparity between versions (I have to now maintain a build for android L, samsung and Android 4.2x/4.4x) it’s just extreme busy work all the while google does jack about protecting their developers source and so my work gets copied…. and even if it didn’t i average like maybe 2$ a day in ad traffic on google that I have to fight for whereas on iOS I’ve had 40x that and I maintain 2 builds (1 phone 1 ipad)…. it’s just night and day.

  • Isaac

    Nothing productive about this “open thread” Seems like they’re just trying to get more hits on the website by starting an android vs iOS “flame war” Come on Android Authority your better than this

    • jangeloracoma

      I think it should be a healthy discussion. Which apps are better on the other platform? How can developers make it better for the other? Which alternative apps can, perhaps, fill in for these missing ones?

    • YuYu Elsalmi


    • RarestName

      Flame war? I don’t see any.

  • bpncool

    Real racing 3 performs far better on ip5 than n4 .. It literally lags on n4 and many other equivalent phones .. But runs smooth on iphone 5 even when n4 bags better hardware

  • giriz

    Almost all the apps are better on iOS.

    After using Nexus 4 for a year, I can definitely say the iOS apps are usually smoother and perform better on iPhone 4s (Not to mention iOS exclusives). Even the iOS Google hangouts app has had phone calling for several months now (and no sight of it on the Android version). The only exception is Chrome which is very slow in iPhone 4s (it’s probably very fast on 5s)

    • Let the flame war begin, I find that hard to believe.. apps ran smoother on your 4S than they do a Nexus 4. I’ve never owned a Nexus 4 but I know a couple people who had actually switched from iPhone because of the Nexus 4 specifically and how it streamlined everything that Android OS was trying to do. But whatever what do I know I’ve just had every iPhone with the exception of the 5S and every ipad with the exception of the first one and the 4th gen, and I just really don’t see why fanboys cry about how smooth iOS devices are when I get similar daily performance from both platforms.

      • Ishaan Malhotra

        Trust me, he’s actually right. My 4s actually runs apps better than my nexus 7 2( which is better than a N4 in specs).

        • Noah Roesler

          Are all of you running vanilla or something? I’m running KitKat on my S3 and it’s definitely smoother then my iPhone. The iPhone always lags out when typing fast or quickly switching apps.

          • Ishaan Malhotra

            Good for you sir. 4.4.2 is what im running on my n7 2

          • filaos

            You definitely need to try a recent iPhone on iOS 7.1.

        • Actually the N7 (2013) has the exact same specs as the Nexus 4 same CPU Snapdragon S4 Pro 1.5ghz quadcore, the advantage would actually go to the N4 for having 2gb of RAM over the N7’s 1gb, not to mention the N7 has more pixel’s to push, 1920×1200 vs 1280×720 in the N4. Anyway point I’m trying to make is maybe because the 4S only has to push 960×640 pixels instead of a notch above 1080p that’s why it seems graphically “smoother”. But ultimately I do not believe it is, having owned the phone I saw no huge differences in the 4S even compared to my S3 with a dual-core in it, not sure what you guys were experiencing but my Android phones always run butter smooth, even if I have throw a custom ROM on there to do so.

  • Iain McLaren

    If you include tablet apps then lots as most apps still don’t have Android tablet versions or are just exclusive to a few tablets eg Twitter and Sky Go.

  • Adam

    eBay is wayyyyyy…..yyyy prettier on iOS!

    • Curious – what makes Google Maps better on iOS?
      Along with YouTube

      • Adam

        More fluid UI and navigating the apps is much faster

        • Fluid UI, navigating apps is much faster? I have compared both Maps app’s on iOS and Android, I hardly see any difference, same goes for youtube. Perhaps that more fluid movement you see is from an older Android device that isn’t sporting a high-end dual/quad-core of some sort?

          • Emmanuel

            but you forgot the fact that “spec-wise” an iPhone/iPad is pretty much a low to mid-range android device…. dual core, 1 gb of ram… if it takes a quad-core device to match the performance of a “laughable” dual-core iOS device then there’s some issue there.

          • I mean I get that, but if specs didn’t matter Apple wouldn’t go around flaunting “The world’s first 64-bit Mobile chip” in their precious A7. Their processor’s are more powerful than one may think. I agree that Android devices need beefier specs, but they also have to push higher res screens, more mp to trans-code and just generally a more demanding OS, this is a department Android needs to work on without a doubt. But at least doing they are doing something with Kitkat, which now only requires 512mb of RAM to run and can run on lower-end devices smoother. I’d like to see a Snapdragon 800/801 in an iPhone or iPad see what kind of numbers it would put out, I’d imagine it would beat an A6/A6X fairly easily, and I’d gander and say marginally faster than an A7 in certain test results.

          • Adam

            Dude, I’m on a Nexus 5. Don’t get too carried away. The simple fact is that on Android, a lot of google apps, even though fast, can still feel buggy at times, sure there are plenty of examples where they excel also, but iOS simply doesn’t have as many idiosyncrasies which interfere with your experience. One example, when I open YouTube and click on the search bar on Android, it automatically closes and I have to click it again, that’s been happening for as long as I can remember and you’d think after all these years they could have addressed that issue! Android loyalists often tend to argue about specs but at the end of the day a person should pick up their phone perform an action and have it reply accordingly, quite frankly iOS simply does a better job and if you wanna argue that you’re just in plain fucking denial!

          • Milind

            Okay. I just tried that on my LG G2. I opened YouTube and clicked on the search icon and it immediately displayed the text field with the drop down showing me last searches. So no. Not in denial. I think a couple of years ago (Pre JB), I’d have granted you that iOS apps are more fluid. Not anymore. Just about the only slight jankiness I see these days is when scrolling through a really long list and there is just that slight stutter (I’m presuming during garbage collection – Google really should have bought Sun). But that’s about it. For everything else, it’s really as smooth as butter. And no way is the Nexus 5 (which is based on the G2) going to exhibit any other behavior. I’m going to try the same experiment on my son’s N5 and if it does, I’ll be back to eat crow. But I don’t think I will.

          • Emmanuel

            “The world’s first 64-bit Mobile chip” is merely a description and is not flaunting specs by any means.

            as for the screen resolution argument… please bear in mind that the chip that powers the iPhone 5s is the same DUAL-CORE chip that powers the iPad Air which has a resolution of 2048×1536 which is a fair bit higher than 1920×1080 that is powered by quad-core devices right now. So as long as you don’t push it too much, screen resolution is not much of an issue here.

            It really comes down to a chip with a very good architecture… an very well optimized OS…. Google is working on it… but still not quite there.

          • Jesse Afolabi

            are you this lame everyone knows that ios is fluid than android considering the laguage theyre both written and that software hardware integration is better on ios cause apple gets to control the two unlike android….so yeah it takes a quadcore with 2gb of ram to actually match up with an iphone4 4s whatever

      • Ishaan Malhotra

        Its just so smoother. The YouTube app has the option to choose video quality( 240p, 480p..etc).

        • Milind

          Are you saying that the Android one doesn’t? Click on the overflow menu and select HD. Oh and it looks gorgeous on my 1920×1080, 5.2″ (~424 ppi) LG G2.

          • Ishaan Malhotra

            I know. Thats all it does . HD or non HD. The ios app lets you choose your quality.if my connection speed makes me use 480p, i can force it to use 720p. Hope you got the point.

          • Milind

            Not really. So if the connection speed makes it choose SD, are you saying you can’t choose HD on the Android app? Or vice versa? Since you can, I’m not sure what you are getting at.

          • Ishaan Malhotra

            Nooo, thats not what im saying!! Look at the screenshot!!

          • Ishaan Malhotra


          • Milind

            Okay. I agree, it would be better to have a list of resolutions to choose from. But even on Sprint, just toggling between HD and !HD work just fine. Maybe in some countries with even worse broadband it may make a difference.

    • GeoBCG

      Pandora? I’ve had bad experiences with that app on iOS. Crashes, automatic skips, no landscape, and other bugs. None on my android though.

  • Emmanuel

    Generally all…. NOT because they run smoother, NOT because they are more functional but because iOS apps respect iOS design guidelines, even before iOS 7 was out, updates were already ready for design and compatibility. Up to this day there still a couple of major android apps that are not in line with android design guidelines and are pretty much ports of iOS apps.

    • RarestName

      I agree. I use two applications from Google. One is the Hangouts app, and the other one is the Google+ app. Both look noticeably better in iOS, and I always think to myself how awesome they would look like on my Android phone.

      • grumpyfuzz

        You really think the iOS version of hangouts matches the android guidelines? That is why they don’t make it look like that…

        • RarestName

          Not exactly talking about an exact match though.

          • grumpyfuzz

            Agree, I think hangouts could use a good UI update, just not like the iOS version.

    • Noah Roesler

      Actually, I think that it’s a good thing that android apps all look different and don’t share the same design guidelines. With the millions of ways to customize and tweak your Android, the ability to find an app to match your phone is quite nice.

      • Emmanuel

        ” the ability to find an app to match your phone is quite nice”… this drives the point even more…. That’s why on iOS you don’t need to exert effort in finding because apps already match the phone, the OS and the ecosystem very well…….

        In terms of “finding” an app that matches your android phone… how many different looking apps are there for Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard, CNN, Gmail, Youtube. etc that works well…. not very many really….

        it’s a bit contradictory, there are millions of ways to customize your android phone, would that mean that you would also need a million different apps of the same purpose to match each look? that would be a mess….

        So instead of matching your phone, why not have an entire ecosystem of apps that matches and complements each other well regardless of how the phone is set-up.

  • Bồn tắm khuyến mại lớn
    On Android, only video calls are supported, and you cannot call or receive calls from regular phone

  • Em

    Pdf expert and chm mate are two apps which are much better on ios than the respective apps on android.

  • Đovan

    Snapchat absolutely :D

  • Shalashaka

    All Are better on ios , I honestly haven’t seen an android counterpart to any app that has the same fluidity as ios. I think it has to do with the GPU on ios devices

  • Paul Allen

    The graphics/resolution of some of the apps on my Note2 don’t seem as clear as they were on the iPhone but I just assumed that was due to the bigger screen size.

  • Biavela

    Whatsapp is better on iOS

    • Ishaan Malhotra

      Why? It doesn’t even have quick reply( unless you’re jailbroken). No doubt the UI is much better.

  • namesib

    It is far quicker and easier to answer, “which apps are better on Android than iOS”. There are too many to list for the original question; so many devs prioritise iOS app functionality and Android gets some crap with removed features.

    • In my best Vince Vaughn voice: Erroneous. Erroneous on both counts!

  • Albin

    How many locally stored apps are nothing but internet dependent mini-browsers that are increasingly just a nuisance to continuously install and update? My guess is Chrome is going to evolve into a full-screen “anti-browser” that overcomes device fragmentation by putting the whole GUI for each app in the cloud, which is where improvements will be developed and implemented. Nothing but nice little themed launch icons on phone. That’s something Apple has not succeeded in building – a decent browser – not even to mention the browser-app ecosystem that Chrome is evolving.

  • muddy46

    “Which apps are better on iOS than on Android?” None! Go Android or better yet, go CyanogenMod 11S

  • toneyrome

    As a musicion switching to Androif from IOS I noticed that musical instruments and production apps are much better on IOS. Most of these apps aren’t available on Android at all.

    • Fievel

      Yamaha metronome, quality piano apps, quality synth apps, quality drum machine apps, any quality recording apps, mixing apps, etc. Yeah. But then, how much actual software already exists for Macs in the music world? There’s so little incentive for them to put out Android apps….. and I hate that.

  • MavDkm

    MLB At Bat, NBA Game Time, WhatsApp, Flipboard on iPad, Evernote, Viber, these all are better on iOS. And the list could go on and on. And if the iOS exclusive apps and games are mentioned then the Play Store will be shamed to death.

  • MavDkm

    The only reason I switched from Android to iOS is the exclusive games that usually are never released on Android or release after at least 8 months. Also some iOS exclusive apps like Tweetbot, Fantastical, 1password, etc. are sorely missed on Android.

  • MavDkm

    Another very prevalent problem I (and millions of other) face is the wait for the update to the latest version of Android unless you use sub par Nexus devices. Android OEMs and Google unitedly should try to address that issue. Eg: Note 2, one of the all time greats of the Android ecosystem, was never ever supported with time updates.

    • John Garlits

      I think that’s the idea behind the Silver program, no?

  • Guest123

    don’t know, don’t use iOS

  • David Fleck

    This entire thread is flawed unless everyone also includes the device and version of OS they are using to compare apps. Someone who used Pandora on a HTC Thunderbolt running Gingerbread is going to have a much different experience than someone using an iPhone 5 on iOS7 or a Nexus 5 on Kit Kat.

  • Blowntoaster

    Sorry, but this is “Android Authority” and I am pulling a troll, anti Apple schtick here.
    we don’t care about Apple, the word should be banished from this site until further notice.

    • filaos

      How sad.

  • Mark Mann

    Maybe instead of just “which app?” how about “which app and why?”

  • Ishaan Malhotra

    Most of them, IMO. The only advantage android has is the ability to integrate apps into the OS.

  • pcberdwin

    Instagram on my device (SCH-i415) cannot record video. I press the record button and the progress bar jumps back to the beginning saying “hold to record”. They know that their in application recording feature doesn’t work on devices like mine because they say this in the settings and allow you to disable that feature with the option to upload previously recorded video from your phone. However, any video I upload ends up having distorted audio and sounds slow-mo. There have been numerous updates to Instagram without any fix to these issues and I have reported this bug every time there’s an update. I don’t know if this is an Android problem, a Samsung problem or if it has to do with their inability to fix every bug for every phone. Anyways… 1st world problems.

  • Joshua Hill

    WTF, how come Hangouts has more functionality on iOS? What are you trying to pull here Google!?!

    • filaos

      Always have and will be so for the foreseeable future.
      Google cares about users that USE their services (thus generating marketable data) and iOS customers have bigger average usage of smartphone functionalities.

  • George Av

    Facebook app, works better and runs smoother on ios

  • Damon Salvador

    Sorry AA .. I love to live free . So i ll choose Android anyday . OK . Bye

  • Hugo Oskarsson

    I hate it when apps update like one or a few weeks later on android than on iOS. I know it’s not a very big deal, but couldn’t they just wait a little while until the updates are ready for both platforms before releasing it? It would seem more fair and i know a lot of people who also get frustrated aabout it.

    • filaos

      Dev work primarily for iOS. Would you want them to be late to the game on the main platform just to please Android users ? What would they win ?

      • Hugo Oskarsson

        Why do they work primarily on iOS though? Aren’t there more Android users than iOS users?

        • filaos

          Yes, but most of them don’t use apps (too young, too old, too new to smart phones, too cheap, devices not powerful/usable enough…).

  • MavDKM

    One Android user’s advantage is that apps can get better over time. Non existent apps can release some day. But how will you ever add missing features to your iphone??

  • v

    The tweaks are available within the settings of all recent Android phones in a section called “Developer options.”

    This section might be hidden on some phones, but it’s very easy to access. On many phones, you just have to open a certain page in the settings and tap a button seven times. Use Google to figure out how to enable Developer options on your phone if it’s currently hidden (for example, search “enable developer options HTC One”).

    Once you have access to Developer options, simply scroll until you find the following three settings, which may be located on the main screen or within an “Advanced” subsection:

    Window animation scale

    Transition animation scale

    Animator animation scale

    Tapping each of the three aforementioned settings will reveal that it’s set to “1x” by default. If you want to speed up your phone or tablet dramatically, simply change each of those three settings to “.5x” — that’s it.

    Just as iOS 7.1 completely changed the feel of the iPhone user experience by speeding up transitions, this will do the same for Android devices. Adjusting these settings also shouldn’t really have any impact on battery life, though if you’re using an older phone with a slower processor you may see some choppiness.

  • My personal exp. many apps are different Features like Bluetooth, expandable memory etc. are not provided by iOS as well as Apple’s devices are costlier than the android. This is the key reason why Android device are more preferable by the users. .

  • Sharon M

    I have always been an iOS user, but recently acquired an android device. I use both. I have noticed that some apps on Apple devices are far superior than on android. For instance, I watch the FX Now app. There are more features on the iOS version and it seems like the android version is dumbed down. The screen also goes black after a certain time. I have to exit the app and come back in to get it started again, but it won’t pick up where it left off. Instead, it starts a new show. Very irritating. But this isn’t about the FX app, it just seems as if ios has all the bells and whistles on certain apps and android just has the basic, no frill version.