The difference between iOS and Android adoption is still staggering

WWDCScreenshotCraig Federighi

Every year at Apple’s developer’s conference, the company can’t resist taking a jab at the low adoption rates of Google’s Android operating system versus iOS.

Craig Federighi, Apple’s SVP of software engineering, proudly touted that 83% of active iPhone users are running the latest version OS. Comparatively, only 12% of Android phone owners are running Lollipop, Google’s most recent smartphone update.

Federighi stressed that getting the latest update is important for iPhone users.

“Not only are they getting all the most recent features, they’re up to date on all the latest security features, and [developers] know they can target latest and greatest,” he said.

The not-so-subtle subtext: Android users don’t get the latest security features and developers don’t know which version of Android to optimise their app for.

Apple shows a similar chart almost every year. Fragmentation is an age-old problem for Google and Android.

Android adoption traditionally lags behind Apple’s because Apple can make its latest iOS available for all users at once because it makes all the hardware and the software.

Android, on the other hand, is much more fragmented. Google lets hardware makers use its Android software. So, the newest version of Android is always made available for Google’s lineup of Nexus smartphones and tablets, but it can’t release software updates to every single Android phones at once.

Smartphone manufacturers often add their own modifications to Android, which means that the update needs to be approved by each individual carrier.

This means that depending on which phone you own, it could take ages to receive the latest software update.

Here’s the brutal chart:

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