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.
So which platform crashes more between iOS and Android? Looking at the graph called "Crashes by OS Version Normalized," iOS was involved in 75% of the crashes. But, you ask, isn't that just a function of iOS having more phones in the Crittercism network? The company tested 214 million app launches from last November and December for apps that use its service. Launches on iOS (162 million) were about 3 times as much as those on Android (52 million). So the data were arranged to answer the question, for each iOS and Android app, how often do they crash?
For the top quartile of apps, Android apps crashed 0.15% of the time they launched, while iOS apps crashed 0.51% of the time. In the second quartile of apps, Android apps crashed 0.73% of the time versus the 1.47% of the time iOS apps crashed. For the third quartile of apps, Android apps crashed 2.97% of the time, while iOS apps crashed 3.66% of the time.
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.