Running iOS on Android Phones

It would be interesting to see iOS on Samsung or Xioami phones, but it just would not happen. We see the efforts and the challanges. Posted by erwinkarim on 5:42 PM, January 16, 2021 Last updated on 2:20 PM, January 20, 2021 Filed in: ios, android,

While it would be nice to see iOS on a Samsung or Xiaomi phones, don’t expect that will happen anytime soon or even in your lifetime. There are several reasons why, but it boils down to Apple is not Microsoft and iOS would not be as great on Android as it would be on iPhone.


andriod phone runs ios (simulated)
Would be nice, but not going to happen.

Apple is not Microsoft

Apple to phone is totally different from Google’s approach. You can think as Google is the Microsoft of phone OSes. Apple has vertical integration on the phone and the vision dictates the hardware which dictates the software. Apple competitive advantage is that Apple has complete control in the hardware and the software of the phone. While the disadvantage of such control is that you don’t have much freedom in what you can do, the advantage is that the hardware and software is a highly optimized version of the smartphone.

So Apple is not going to support any other phones that it does not make since that means they would lost all competitive advantage on the smartphone.


palm phone 9
Google is the new Microsoft where it tried to put the android platform in as many phones as possible while Apple is just being Apple

iOS might not be good on Android phones


a few andrioid phones in various shape and sizes
Android means phones comes in all shape and size, while Apple more focused on being consistent. If Apple goes the Andriod way, it means it will take android design decisions.

iOS big difference with android is how they approach the hardware. Since Apple controls the hardware in iOS, they know exactly what buttons, what kind of hardware that the device has. Android on the other hand, does not have such luxury so it would build to be as formless as possible. There is no wrong approach since both have different objective, but because of flexibility, the android experience is different on different devices. Moving from iPhone 6s to 12 for example, you can expect the experience, the app will be the same, expect in terms of speed and capabilities. In Android, one brand of phone will feel different from the next.

Because the need to support multiple platforms, the stock Android OS has to be as simple as possible and each phone manufacturer customize the OS to fit to the phone. If iOS ever to have the same flexibility of Android, it too be follow the similar approach and the result would be the same: different devices will bring different experience. So there’s a possibility that the experience would not be as good as having iOS optimized for the iPhone. Evidently, this is was the problem with the Android platform that Google has to create their own phone like the Pixel 4 as a ‘benchmark’ phone.


google and partners create andriod and the next version
How android platform is developed with Google and partners. While such collaboration is necessary and shows the technical prowess and technical complexity in developing android, it shows that android design ethos is one-size-fits-all which might not work with iOS development.

ios 14 featues grid
Contrast this with Apple which goes the top down approach. A new version of iOS is unveiled during WWDC where everything is being laid out and thought out to you.

Efforts

Although Apple does not allow iOS to be run on any hardware except their own, it does not mean people has not try to do it. However, efforts has been failed due to closed nature of iOS and iPadOS. And the hardware level differences on Android and Apple hardware makes the hurdle of getting things to work is just not worth it.

On the other hand, there are efforts to put Linux or Android OS on Apple mobile devices. There are met with some success, but not enough to be useful at the moment. Project Sandcastle is one of the most concentrated efforts to put android on iPhones.

Conclusion

iOS will not be coming to Android phones because one can think that iOS is the anti-thesis of Android. Android is Mr Fantastic where it is very flexible, smart but sometimes experience can vary. iOS is more like Dr. Doom where everything needs to be in order and have a tight grip on how everything works, but it has its fans.

References

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