We have access to quite a few app marketplaces today. But if we look at their essence, there are only two major ones: Android and iOS. These two mobile operating systems dominate the smartphone ecosystem. Apple’s system is completely closed, with the Cupertino giant controlling the entire ecosystem. Google’s ecosystem is more open, with most of the Android OS being open-source. But it still controls its own app marketplace, the Play Store.
In many areas, the App Store and the Play Store are similar. There are, in turn, several key differences between the two, reflected in their policies.
Apple provides developers with extensive resources. But they come at a cost. Developers have to pay an annual fee to access them. On the Play Store, developers pay once and they are done – and the fee is much lower.
As a result, Apple’s app ecosystem is often seen as more exclusive – due to its higher cost and stricter review process.
It is a well-known fact that you can publish your app much faster on Android than on iOS. This is in part due to Apple’s more rigorous review process both when it comes to quality and content.
Apple’s review process is more thorough. Each app and each update must get the green light from a team of Apple employees before hitting the marketplace. This ensures an often superior experience for the users but much longer wait times for publishers.
The reviews in the Play Store are often automated, and a tad less strict. This makes deploying an Android app faster. At the same time, this more lenient process sometimes allows even harmful apps to slip through, even with malware.
Appealing rejection at Apple is tedious at best. Google’s in turn, is a more straightforward process, though. This also helps Android apps to be deployed faster.
When it comes to gambling apps, the policies of Apple and Google are radically different. Apple opened its app marketplace for real-money gambling apps years before Google even considered it. Plus, it has a more lenient policy toward gambling apps, making them more accessible in areas where the activity is regulated.
Most Android casinos outside Europe and North America can only be downloaded from the casinos’ websites. This is because Google only allows listing them in a handful of jurisdictions. While the number of countries where Android casino apps are available is growing, the process is slow.
Apple is more strict in this area, too, with the apps it accepts. iOS casino apps must be native, as opposed to Android, where even a Webview wrapper around an HTML5 port works.
Apple doesn’t want developers to use alternative payment systems on its marketplace – only its own, which perceives a 30% commission. This has been the subject of a major lawsuit. Google has a similar policy but it is, once again, more open to implementing alternative payment systems in its app marketplace.
Privacy is paramount on iOS. Apple takes its users’ security and privacy very seriously, having strict guidelines on data collection and handling. Google also emphasizes these issues. But it is a more open ecosystem, so Google has a hard time enforcing policies that are as strict as Apple’s.
While the App Store and Play Store are, in essence, similar, they differ significantly in their policies. Apple’s App Store, with its rigorous review process and annual developer fees, offers a more exclusive and controlled environment. Google’s Play Store, with its one-time fee and more open policy, provides faster, even if sometimes less secure, app publication. These differences reflect the core philosophies of each platform: Apple’s emphasis on control and quality, and Google’s focus on accessibility and flexibility.