iOS market share continues to fall, but Apple unlikely to be worried


The headline news in the latest IDC stats might look like bad news for Apple: iOS Q3 market share dropped from 14.4 percent last year to 12.9 percent this year. But it’s a number that is unlikely to lead to too many sleepless nights in Cupertino, for four reasons.

First, Apple isn’t competing with most of the Android market, which spans all price-points, only the top end of it. Samsung has been struggling to make money from its flagship handsets, with most of its profits coming from low-end models, while HTC has been in all kinds of trouble. Looking at Apple’s market share in the smartphone market as a whole is the most academic of exercises.

Second, while market share is down, shipments are up: from 26.9M in Q3 last year to 33.8M in the same quarter this year.

Third, for most of Q3 savvy iPhone buyers were holding fire, waiting for the new models Apple launched almost at the end of that quarter. The iPhone 5s and 5c between them notched up a record 9M sales in just the opening weekend. Q4 is where it’s really at … 

And the fourth reason Tim Cook and his team won’t be crying into their drinks tonight? This:


In Q3, the average selling price of an Android smartphone was $268. The average selling price of an iPhone (including the bit subsidised by the carrier) was $635.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel


  1. Steffen Jobbs - 9 years ago

    Apple’s shipment volumes are up which is important but Android vendors are just flooding the mobile market and leaving Apple in the dust which has already settled. Unfortunately, there isn’t a thing Apple can do about it which makes the company look totally incompetent in Wall Street’s eyes.

  2. Kook Sun Kim - 9 years ago

    hmmmmm why do i see more iPhones than any other phones when market share of android is over 70%… like 80% of people around me use an iPhone….

    • Lee Palisoc - 9 years ago

      Android phones are hiding… Inside stores.

      • frankman91 - 9 years ago

        I think it depends on your circle of friends. I am a mechanical engineer, many of my friends are also engineers, we all have Android phones. They have software available for them that allows to view 3d models very easily. They are also very handy for having native file browsers so we can share and send files that are not associated with any apps. I can also connect thumb drives to my galaxy s3 and email them directly without the use of a computer.

        As a side note, I think people under appreciate the ability to toss a micro sd card in a phone. They have become so large and so cheap (32Gigs for $15) its out of my imagination to pay apple for their insane prices for capacity increases. Not to mention I can have multiples of them and just hot-swap them.

      • Jonathan Winters - 9 years ago

        @frankman91 — I have read loads of irrational responses to the whole iOS / Andriod debate, and I have to say, yours is the most agreeable, thought-out, and logical cases I’ve ever read. There is no emotion there… just pure facts, and why those facts matter to you. I honestly have to say, you hit on the core of my (few) complaints I have with the iOS / iDevice ecosystem. Granted, these aren’t enough to sway me, personally, back over to Andriod, but they are completely valid… and I really appreciated seeing a rational response voiced in this conversation.

        For me this all really comes down to personal preference and your tolerance for the various downsides that definitely exist in either ecosystem…

      • frankman91 - 9 years ago

        @Jonathan Winters – HAHA thanks. I just remind myself that all of the smart phones out today, even most of the bad ones, would have made the 1996 version of myselfs’ brain explode from their capabilities and I don’t get super hung up on the hair splitting.

    • Matteo Rodrigo - 9 years ago

      Are you in the US or elsewhere?

  3. Big Wayne  (@ctt1wbw) - 9 years ago

    Marketshare can’t get smaller, unless people are destroying their iOS devices and not buying new ones. For example, if I own an iPad and then buy a Nexus 7, which I have done by the way, I now own both. Just because I buy a Nexus 7, that doesn’t mean that the iOS marketshare has decreased.

    • frankman91 - 9 years ago

      It’s percentage based, so it can drop. If you had just an ipad, you were 100% ios, not you have an ipad and a nexus 7, so you are 50%ios

    • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

      As Frankman says, market share is a percentage. If 100 people in the world buy an iPhone and no-one buys any other phone, Apple has 100% market share. If 900 people now go out an buy an Android, Apple has 10% market share.

  4. Matteo Rodrigo - 9 years ago

    Here we go…Get ready for those Android vs Apple ranters in the comments…and the Android is flooded with cheap devices; Apple is more profitable and only wants to go after the elite, iOS devs make more money and A…we’ve heard it all before and don’t really care…use the OS that you like and works for you – and don’t start attacking people that use a different fame

  5. drtyrell969 - 9 years ago

    “but Apple not likely to worry” Same bullshit we heard in the late 80s. Of course Apple and their PR firms will give the signal to bash anyone online who actually mentions ways of saving the company. Fanboys who ushered in the demise of Apple in the 90s will continue to Hipster everything into the ground. Apple needs to make great desktop computers, with great desktop software, and cease trying to win in the mobile market EXCLUSIVELY. They need a new CEO with innovative vision.

    • Nicholas Vettese - 9 years ago

      Remember when they forced Jobs out of Apple, and then started making all those versions of the Mac, causing the company to bleed. Jobs said that there should only ever be one device, the iPhone, and now Apple has 3. Can history repeat itself?

      • I don’t remember Steve saying that. Especially since Jobs led Apple had 5 Macs, 4 iPods, IPads iPhones and Apple TV.

    • Desktops are dying. This current generation are not using desktops.

      • Fake Sound (@Secrxt) - 8 years ago

        They really ought to, though. They’re a great “failsafe” for the inevitable, irreversible laptop crash. >_>

  6. Ronnie Yon - 9 years ago

    People have always liked Apple because its different and its not built for the masses, PC and android fans have always talked about how Apple holds a smaller percentage of the market but they miss the point Apple has always been about a better product and a better OS. While its true you can get a cheap PC or a cheap Android phone but what you get is something cheap that doesnt work as good. The masses buy the cheap stuff most of the time cause thats all they can afford but when the question is asked if they would rather have a mac and an iphone over a pc and an android phone most people say yes. Buy a cheap PC and in no time youll have viruses,spyware,adware,malware, and it would cost a normal person a lot more money in the long run to pay for someone to get rid of the viruses,spyware,adware and malware. if you buy a mac you dont have to worry about any of that and you can run macs without having to spend money on viruse programs. Mac os x is more stable than any version of windows the os is the most important thing about a computer or a smart phone is the OS. you could make all the hardware the same and the pc and android phones would still fail because of the os. theres even apps now for android phones o protect against viruses on a phone lol Come on people the iphone and the mac doesnt have these problems. so in the end it doesnt matter if the masses buy android because they cant afford an iphone they would all get iphones if they could afford it.


Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

Ben Lovejoy's favorite gear