Android - Differences When Designing for Android/Kindle Fire vs iOS

Device Resolution and Dimensions

When designing issues for Android devices it is important to consider the resolution and the dimensions of the issues, since Android devices come in all shapes and sizes. mag+ Android apps scale interface elements to support any resolution and, as of v4.2, the Issue content will scale as well.

Note: If the aspect ratio of the mag+ Issue does not match the aspect ratio of the device, the app will letterbox the content (i.e. put black bars in the unused space).

A 1280 x 800 InDesign layout will cover all Android tablets big and small (down to 1024 x 600). Because of the way Android rendering works, you will see no real loss of quality even on large Android devices. A 1280 x 720 layout covers all smartphones.

Note: For information on which resolutions are supported for different Android devices, read the article "Which Android App Do I Want to Build?"

If you'd like to design layouts specifically targeted for different resolutions, you can use any of the templates mag+ provides and the mag+ Publish Portal will attempt to serve the appropriately sized MIB to the requesting device. if one cannot be found, mag+ Publish will look for the next largest screen-size MIB in relation to the device. For more information, read the article "Device and Issue Compatibility."

InDesign Vertical Layouts

It is important to understand that Android-based devices render the content differently than iOS devices. The most common issue is disappearing blocks and this is caused by having blocks of text, images or other features overlapping on the same layer in your layout. Here are some best practices to avoid these issues:

  • Group common layer objects as much as possible
  • Do not overlap a feature object blocks like slideshows, panning, html blocks, etc. on top of each other or other text or image blocks on the same layer
  • Do not create panning objects longer or wider than the actual Android device can support. (ie. if a device is 1280 pixels in height, do not exceed this height with your panning image)

Unsupported Features

Most of the following feature differences exist because of different capabilities and user interface standards between iOS and Android. As the mobile operating systems continue to evolve and as mag+ releases new versions, this article will be updated to reflect the feature differences.

Feature differences compared to iOS

  • Google Cloud Messages cannot trigger an auto-download of content.
  • If an updated MIB is uploaded for an issue an Android user has already downloaded, there is no automatic prompt to download the new issue.
  • PDF block type is not supported.
  • Unified verticals do not transfer as they do on iOS when the app is held in portrait.
    For more information, read the article "Unify two or more verticals".
  • Modal Popups are always centered.
  • The Popup "Flip" transition is not as fluid as the iOS version.
  • Some HTML limitations exist in Android apps.
    For more information, read the article "Using HTML on Android".
  • Video specifications differ between iOS and Android.
    For more information, read the article "Tips - Video Best Practices."
  • Google Push Notifications do not report the number of successful deliveries in the mag+ Publish Portal.
  • Google subscriptions work differently than iOS subscriptions—users get access to all content during the duration of their subscription and no content when their subscription has expired. Also, a Google subscription must be broken out separately from iOS subscripions in the "Subscriptions" tab in the mag+ Publish Portal.
  • You cannot exclude issues in a Google subscription.
  • Oplytic, Admob, AdMarvel, Google Conversion Tracking is not supported in Android.


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