iOS vs Android Updates – Why iOS Updates are Faster than Android

We all know that Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android are the two popular operating systems for mobiles right now. In fact these two occupy more than 85% of the mobile OS market. I am not here to talk about iOS versus Android comparison but instead here in this article I would like to compare both in terms of software updates.

Why Software Update is Important?

Every developer recommends upgrading to the latest version of a particular software because it contains bug fix, improvements and latest additional features. Normally this is pushed to users through a software upgrade and every device has a provision for this. The smartphones are programmed to include software updates too.

iOS vs Android in terms of Software Updates?

Both Apple and Google carry out software updates to bring out the latest features, bug fixes and improvements. Google every year releases a new version of Android and they have their own way of naming it by starting letter of dessert names in English alphabetical manner.

Like Android 5 is Key Lime, Android 6 is Marshmallow, Android 7 is Nougat and similarly, Android 8 is Oreo. Likewise, Android 9 version was named as Pie but they broke the tradition by naming the Android Q version as Android 10. Whereas Apple follows the number system for iOS versions. The Cupertino tech giant also releases an iOS version for Apple iPhone every year too.

That was all about the mobile OS versions naming but what software update delivery? Are all the devices getting update to the latest software version?

Let’s check out.

Apple’s iOS is run on devices that are owned by the company and they are right on top when it comes to upgrading iPhones to the latest Android versions. One of the reasons behind this is that they launch only a limited number of devices a year and this makes things easy for developers. Whereas in the case of Android, the penetration is extremely slow.

Apple devices are updated almost within a month or two after the release of a major iOS version where for Android, the penetration is very very slow.

Why Android Software Update Penetration is Slow?

Android is an open-source operating system and it’s used by many OEMs. If I start naming them, it will be more than 100 of such OEMs. But only a limited number of OEMs carry out regular Android upgrades. Most OEMs don’t have a software development team to carry out the delivery of these updates.

Another thing – while Apple iPhones are priced at nothing less than $500, the Android phones are available from $30 to $1000. $1000 phones get updated regularly, both in terms of major Android releases and monthly Android security patch fixes while it’s an obvious reason for $30 or even $100 phones not being updated. Further, it’s left to the OEM to carry out the software updates or not for a particular device.

Google is close to releasing the Android 11 version and still, we see only 15% of total Android devices running on the Android 10 version. That’s sad! Google should do something related to this but they are helpless in this regard because it’s left on OEM whether to carry out the update or not.


So the Cupertino tech giant leads here because of the following reasons –

  • Apple has a limited number of models to deal with the software upgrade process. This makes it easier.
  • Apple’s iOS is only used by their products, they don’t sell their mobile OS version to anyone.
  • Apple’s iOS beta testing is a continuous effort to improve the software. The iOS public beta testing makes the process of testing faster before global release.
  • Android is used by many OEM’s, they don’t carry out updates except for Pixel devices.
  • Most Android phone manufacturing companies don’t have a software development team.
  • Most Android phones are in the budget or low-end devices.

So I hope your have understood what’s the scenario in terms of software updates currently.

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