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iOS vs. Android App Design

iOS vs. Android App Design

Vimlesh Gautam
 min read
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While it takes skills to design an app, adapting an existing app design from one platform to another requires additional expertise on the part of app developers. App designers need to find unique ways to incorporate the app’s design into the user’s patterns they use for interacting with the target platform. However, such adoption into new platforms simplifies development work as it enables the use of the platform’s native components.

In order to successfully adapt an app’s design onto a different platform, businesses need to involve developers in the design process for technical insights. Here in this article, we shed light on what sets an iOS app apart from an Android app. 

1. Material Design for Android apps and Human Interface Design for iOS UI

Google’s Material Design is a set of design guidelines for Android phones that explain patterns and icons at Material.io. They also feature great tools to check UI patterns and test designs for app designers.

Credits: justinmind.com

There are some fundamental differences between Android and iOS platforms’ design philosophies, which are beautifully reflected in Material design guidelines and human interface design, respectively. 

On the other hand, Apple’s Human Interface Design guidelines are an exhaustive list of design patterns specifically for iOS apps. It also features some sample Photoshop or Sketch resources.

Credits: justinmind.com

2. Movement Between Screens and States

One of the most common user actions on an app’s UI is moving backwards and forward between screens.

On an Android, there is a universal nav bar at the bottom. This is very handy and is useful within apps as well. This navigation bar is used in other contexts, which we talk about later in this post.

Google’s Android apps feature a universal navigation bar at the bottom of the UI. The back button helps users navigate back to a previous screen, and it works equally well in all apps.

However, in iOS apps, there is no universal back button present. Instead, every iOS app screen needs to have a back button on the top left corner.

3. Action Buttons

Action Buttons allow the user to take desired actions on the app. While some buttons are of higher priority or visibility, others may not be so. 

Material Design on Android has introduced Floating Action Buttons.

These buttons feature an icon that floats on top of the main content.

iOS apps place action buttons on the top title bar.

4. In-app Navigation Patterns

Credits: Material.io

iOS platform recommends top-level navigation: via the Tab Bar, but Android apps feature three methods: the navigation drawer, the bottom navigation bar, and tabs. Suppose the number of top-level pages is more than five; its best to use the Navigation Drawer. For a fewer number of top-level pages, it’s best to use the Bottom Navigation Bar.

5. Content Behaviour

During content scrolling on iOS apps, the Navigation Bar gets reduced in width, and the Toolbar disappears altogether. 

Material guidelines, on the other hand, suggest more options for interactive content scrolling. Here the Bottom Navigation Bar, Search Bar, and Bottom App Bar can disappear altogether during scrolling.


Knowledge of the design guidelines can increase the awareness of the UI design. It helps in understanding established user patterns and creating apps that fit organically into a prospective user’s habits. Following the guidelines aids designers in respecting the platforms’ native solutions.

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