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Teacher App: iOS vs Android

Community Coach
Community Coach
19 24 5,924

I have compiled a list of difference between the iOS and Android Teacher app. If you notice a mistake or something I'm missing, let me know and I'll add it to the list. 


Attaching Media

  • On Android, the camera will only take photos and won't let the user create a video.

  • Not sure if it’s a bug, but editing an assignment doesn't allow a user to attach an image on Android.

  • Android will not allow the user to record audio only, but this is available on iOS. 


NOTE: a user can only attach ONE item to an announcement, discussion or conversation message on BOTH iOS and Android. Conversation messages support more than one. 


Rich Content Editor (RCE)

The teacher app brings rich context editing for the first time to a Canvas mobile app. This gives instructors the ability to add simple styles to text. This includes the

  • bold
  • italics
  • numbered lists
  • ordered lists
  • links


Android only

  • underline
  • insert an image*


*To insert an image, the user will need to know the link to the image. The app doesn’t support uploading any media directly through the the RCE on either mobile platform. 



The Inbox is really a nice upgrade over the existing Canvas App version. It’s quick, easy on the eye and had intuitive features.


The only difference is not really a difference. This is the only place where a user can attach more than one item when attaching media. Conversation messages support attaching more than one item. 



  • Android users can change their profile photo and name (if allowed by their administrator) 
  • iOS support Act as User


To Do Items

  • No differences. 



There are few subtle differences in the Android and iOS version, which are mostly focused on attaching media to announcement text and the announcement itself.



The Assignments section in iOS and Android are very similar except the following:

  • Under the submission list
    • Android does not filter by Graded.
    • Terminology for iOS is Haven't submitted yet while Android is Not Submitted
    • Terminology for iOS is Haven't been graded while Android is Not Graded
  • Refer to the Rich Content Editor section for other differences.
  • iOS will let a user try to unpublish an assignment when there are user submissions, but there is an error (and there should be), but Android hides this option.



On the surface there isn’t much difference between iOS and Android, but the biggest differences come when accessing quiz settings on Android.


The Android and iOS app share the following settings in common:

  • Quiz Type
  • Published (On/Off) - NOTE: Android won't allow publish settings once due date has passed.
  • Require Access Code (On/Off)


The iOS app allows the user to adjust more settings than Android, which includes:


  • Assignment Group
  • Shuffle Answers (On/Off)
  • Time Limit (On/Off)
    • Length in minutes
  • Allow Multiple Attempts (On/Off)
  • Quiz Score to Keep (Average/Latest/Highest)
  • Allowed Attempts
  • Let Students See Their Quiz Responses (On/Off)
  • Only Once After Each Attempt (On/Off)
  • Let Students See the Correct Answer (On/Off)
  • Show Correct Answers At
  • Hide Correct Answers At
  • Show One Question at a Time (On/Off)


Refer to the Rich Content Editor section for other differences.


Quiz Summary Information

The quiz summary shows slightly different information in Android and iOS

  • Android shows points in quiz summary, iOS doesn’t, but does at the top of the quiz details screen.
  • Android shows multiple attempts (Yes/No), while iOS does not. 
  • Android has Show Correct Answers as “Immediately” while iOS is “Always”
  • iOS shows Score to Keep, while Android does not. 
  • iOS uses the terminology Allowed Attempts while Android uses Attempts



As mentioned above in Announcements, the RCE on Android and iOS share subtle differences. As for the discussions tool itself, here are a few small differences:


  • Android can only delete, but not upload or edit attached media to an existing discussion topic
  • iOS orders discussion by topics that have no replies followed by last replied. Android orders discussions by last replied and then topics with no replies. If the discussion is closed for comment
  • iOS allows users to subscribe to a discussion, but Android doesn’t have this option. 
  • Android allows a teacher to like a discussion reply (if enabled on the web)
  • Refer to the Rich Content Editor and Attaching Media section for other differences. 
  • Users cannot view ungraded group discussions on iOS and Android  @mjennings ‌



  • No differences. 



SpeedGrader is really the heart of this app. It gives teachers the ability to do so much on the go, and with the addition of an iPhone version, it’s even more convenient than before.


The parity between Android and iOS is very good with only a few subtle differences:


  • When annotating, the Android app doesn’t have a button for undo
  • Under comments, the Android app adds the text “Submitted Files” with the submission.
  • The Android version hides “Add Comments” or “View Long Description” in a Rubric if this hasn't been set on the web. iOS hides "Add Comments" if not set on the web, but shows "View Long Description" regardless.
  • The rubrics area on Android has a save button that needs to be tapped to save the grade. With iOS, the user can just swipe to the next user and the grade is saved
  • The Android version can export documents from SpeedGrader to the device, while iOS does not. 
  • Rubrics display from smallest to largest, left to right - This is opposite on the web version (8/10  @victoria-maloy ‌)



  • On Android, users can add choose the option Set as Front Page when creating a new page



  • Refer to Attaching Media section for differences. 



  • Android can filter people by section.




Android and iOS are fundamentally different, so it’s not reasonable to expect perfect parity with how features work on both platforms. For instance, Android generally leans towards drop downs, when iOS uses dropdown menus. Other difference(s) noticed: 


  • Android version has limited support for web-based LTIs
Community Champion

Thanks for itemizing this out, I just tested out the Teacher App in depth for the first time on iOS and was disappointed that there was no audio/video but since Android has it, I suspect it will be part of the iOS app too at some point, time to search out the InstructurCON presentations and road map I saw yesterday...

I also noted that you can only edit your Profile (minimally) on Android and not iOS.

- Melanie

Community Contributor

Thanks for itemizing the differences  @rseilham ! I was going to test the Teacher App on the iPad and found out you have to have IOS version 10.  Since I have an older iPad, this will not work!  Yikes!!  Bummer!!  I guess it's time to replace the iPad for a nice new one!!  Thanks again!! 

Community Coach
Community Coach

I'll add the profile feedback to this list.

As for audio and video, this is something that "should" be there eventually. 

Community Coach
Community Coach

 @schachernp ‌, 

I think they have very good reasons to use the iOS 10 minimum, but it will keep some people from using the app. I'll post the following for reference:


Community Contributor

Can teachers take attendance on the iOS Teacher App?  I found this 'how to' for Android but haven't found one for iOS.  I also don't see the option on my iPhone but wanted to confirm that I wasn't missing something obvious.

Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @msanders ‌, 

It's currently available for Android, but not iOS yet. I've seen it in beta, but it needs more time to cook before being released to the public. I'm sure it will be available very soon. 

Community Member

Where can I get a list of what mobile apps (perhaps some of these?) and associated functionality are available with Canvas Open Source version as perhaps provided by the Canvas OS Community?


Community Participant

 @rseilham ‌, thanks for this post.  I have been training my district's high school and middle school students how to load and set up the Canvas mobile app for students.  There are some differences there, but I never thought about the differences in the teacher app.  I will have to check this out before I start training teachers on it.  This is our first full year with Canvas and our teachers are way more reluctant than our students.  I can see how the mobile app would benefit them.  Thanks again!

Community Coach
Community Coach

This has changed quite a bit in the last month or two. I plan to update this document shortly. There is much more parity now!

Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @taraschmidtke ‌, I have not seen an open source version of any Canvas mobile app outside of the Canvas Student app. I don't know of any plans to open source Canvas Teacher app, but I'll dig around and see. Who knows, maybe it already exist? ( : 

Community Coach
Community Coach

Document has been update on 1/27. If you find anything that is missing, or not correct, please post here! 

Community Champion

Hey  @rseilham ! This is a great breakdown I really appreciate it. Did you know that in the teacher app you cannot view ungraded group discussions? I thought this was odd, but apparently how it is set up. Thought I would pass this along in case anyone else had run into it.

Community Participant

Thanks,  @rseilham !  One thing I noticed in using the mobile app this week with students is that when you "Turn In" a video assignment, it does not give Google Drive as an option.  It only goes to your devices photos.  I think being able to acess items from the drive app would be a really terrific feature!  Thanks.

Community Coach
Community Coach

Thanks! I'll add it to the list. 

Community Coach
Community Coach

 @wwolf ‌,

Yeah, that seems like a logical option to push these to cloud services and other 3rd party apps. I would highly suggest that you create a Canvas Idea and detail the workflow so people can learn more about this need. 

Community Coach
Community Coach

Also, is that for iOS and Android or just one of the platforms? 

Community Champion

 @rseilham  - I believe that it is both, but I only have iOS. hensonj‌ is the one with Android in our group maybe he could chime in.

Community Coach
Community Coach

I just tried this on my Android, and that's correct. While I'm able to see graded group discussions, I am unable to get ungraded group discussions.

Community Champion

Thanks  @klundstrum !

Community Participant

 @rseilham does the Teacher App allow Admins to be Admins?  I tried the Act as a User feature on my iPhone and I keep getting a notification, "ERROR There was an error with Act as User.  Please try again later."  I am attempting to act as another teacher, not as a student.  Thins might be my issue.  

Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @wwolf ‌, 

I have had no issue acting as a user. If you try to act as a student, you don't get an error, but a page letting the user know that they can't use the app and should try to use Canvas Student or Canvas Parent. 

Have you tried a few different users? Just trying to see if it's an issue with a specific user. 

Community Participant

 @rseilham ‌,

Unfortunately, my Motorola Droid Maxx is not compatible with the teacher app... I am trying to come into this new world 🙂   LOL

Community Coach
Community Coach

Good thing that literally every phone on the market today (Android or iOS) will support the Teacher app. So when you upgrade, you'll be ready to go! 

Community Member

Not sure whether this post is still active.  Under "attaching media" (I believe), it states that

On Android, the camera will only take photos and won't let the user create a video.

I've noted that on android, there is no option to scan an assignment, only take a photo.  In iOS, it's possible to scan.  There is a huge quality difference between a scan and a photo, and it's difficult to read annotations on a photo.  I would be happy to learn that there is another way to get canvas student to scan on an android device.  If there isn't, then adding a scanning feature to canvas student would be very welcome.