Yes. While they have a lot in common, iOS and Android apps are built differently and have unique accessibility features. To catch all potential accessibility issues, treat your iOS and Android apps as separate digital properties. Here are some of the ways Android and iOS differ when it comes to accessibility:
They use different screen reader technology.
Where iOS uses VoiceOver, Android uses Talkback. There are notable differences in how the two interact with content in native environments. For instance, by default, Talkback announces more detail about components like menus and tells the user how to interact with them. VoiceOver announces the main building blocks of a component but doesn’t give as much detail or repeat gesture controls to the user unless customized to do so.
They’re coded differently.
Native Android and iOS apps have different codebases and require different steps to fix issues with the code. That means you’ll get unique remediation instructions for each operating system since Android developers may not be able to fix issues based on recommendations for an iOS app, and vice versa. Programming for Android and iOS are typically considered two separate skill sets.
iOS has more built-in accessibility features and interacts better with gaming architectures such as Unity.
iOS comes with a full suite of built-in accessibility features that users can customize to their needs, including sophisticated zoom controls with reactive text. iOS devices also tend to have high pixel density and screen resolutions that make for smooth UI and gaming interactions and complement the built-in accessibility features.
Android supports a wider range of elements and tends to represent web components more accurately.
Android is historically better at reading list elements and html, both of which are known issues in iOS. It also has better gesture support, better auto-detecting features for elements such as missing labels on form fields, and more robust tools like the rotor tool or the accessibility home centre.
Still on the fence about testing both?
If you’re still on the fence about testing both your Android and iOS apps, consider testing the app with the most users first for a greater impact.
Check out our blog post "WCAG for mobile apps" to learn about compliance requirements.