Which platform crashes more, Android or iOS?

A study done by mobile app monitoring company Crittercism had some interesting statistics. With the large number of iOS and Android operating systems still in use, it is no surprise that crashes happen on mobile operating systems. App developers are forced to test their apps on each OS to make sure they still work on the software of the past. From December 1st through the 15th, Crittercism noted crashes on 23 iOS operating systems and on 33 Android operating systems (that is the number on the graphs that separate both operating systems. The graph that combines iOS and Android shows 22 iOS crashes and 17 for Android).

Crittercism’s crash survey analyzed more than 214 million different app launches between November and December of 2011 to determine the source of most app crashes. And, in doing so, the company came up with the statistic that more iOS apps crashed versus Android apps by around 162 million to 52 million – basically, three times as many iOS crashes.

The OS with the largest percentage of crashes was iOS 5.1 which had a hand in 28.64% of them. Older versions also crashed often. For example, iOS 4.2.10 was involved in 12.64% of the crashes and iOS 4.3.3 was involved in 10.66%. These stats are interesting because they reveal that many Apple iPhone owners take their sweet time to update their OS and some don’t do it at all!

Crittercism’s CEO says crashes occur for a number of reasons, like hardware issues, like the use of GPS features, or it could be due to a poor internet connection, or problems prevent a smooth and flawless hand-off between 3G and Wi-Fi or vice versa. An app that uses too much memory can also cause a crash. “It can be a mix of both hardware and software issues that developers may or may not be responding to, says Levy, the CEO. In iOS particularly, users very rarely update their apps which might cause a problem. In Android, users can have their apps auto-updated which helps eliminate some of the problems. And even though developers are supposed to respond to a new OS by testing their apps throughout the platform, sometimes that is not possible.

Before iOS fans start getting ready to explode, we have to remember that iOS 5 had just been launched in October while Android 4.0 has not been released widely during the time of the study. “I expect as Ice Cream Sandwich just launched and the new Nexus S phone launched (during the study), we’ll expect the same situation to occur (with Android) as what happened (with iOS),” Levy says.

For now, though, the numbers show that iOS crashes more(“substantially more,” says Levy). He also noted that apps in the first quartile crash less than those in the third quartile which proves that by looking at the data, developers can improve their apps and reduce the number of crashes. The best apps on Android crashed one third as much as the best iOS apps. The second best Android apps crashed half as much as the iOS as in the second quartile while the difference was less for the third quartile. This means that for a reason that Levy himself couldn’t explain, Android developers are doing a better job with the crash rate