Strong sales of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have seen Apple's iOS market share grow across Europe, the US and China, narrowing the gap with Google's Android platform.
Data released by Kantar Worldwide revealed that iOS enjoyed a strong three months to November 2014, while Android saw a decline in most European markets and in the US.
Android is still the dominant mobile operating system in Europe, with a market share of nearly 70 percent, but strong performance of iOS, driven by the launch of two new iPhones in September, has seen Apple chase down some of Google's lead.
UK market share for iOS grew by 12 percent to 42 percent for the three-month period. Android, meanwhile, suffered a drop of nearly seven percent, although it remains ahead at 49 percent.
Android fared no better in Germany, where its share dropped by 4.6 percent while iOS grew by four percent.
Android's 70 percent share in Germany is well ahead of the 21 percent share for iOS, but the figures indicate a growing interest in Apple smartphones in the region.
iOS also saw increases in Italy, France and Spain, ranging from two to six percent, while Android saw little change other than in France where it saw an increase of almost three percent.
Apple's operating system took 47 percent of the US market for the period, a hike of over four percent, taking it to just one percentage point behind Android.
Carolina Milanesi, chief of research at Kantar, cited sales of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus as drivers of Apple's success in the quarter.
"The iPhone 6 was the best-selling phone in the three months through November 2014, capturing 19 percent of smartphone sales," she said.
The performance of both mobile operating systems was less eye-catching in China, where Android and iOS saw increases of 1.8 and 1.1 percent respectively.
However, Android dominates the Chinese market with an 80 percent share against 18 percent for iOS.
Tamsin Timpson, strategic insight director at Kantar, explained that Android's lead over iOS in China is down to the wide variety of products offered by local manufacturers.
The most dramatic ups and downs took place in Japan, where iOS' share fell by 15 percent and Android's rose by 12 percent.
However, further muddling the trends established by other markets over the period, iOS is ahead of Android in Japan with 53 percent against Android's 42 percent.
Kantar's figures show overall that Apple enjoyed a strong performance in the smartphone market towards the end of last year, owing principally to the positive reception and sales of the iPhone 6 range.
However, while Google many need to be wary of Apple's rise, Milanesi said that the data does not necessarily point to a decline for Android.
"A decline in Android market share does not necessarily translate into bad news for all the ecosystem's players. The choice of brands and devices within the ecosystem empowers consumers to drive different fortunes for the players in it," she said.
Microsoft continued to see declines in share, with decreases ranging from 0.3 to 3.6 percent in all but two regions. Windows Phone saw minor increases of 1.1 in Australia and 1.4 percent in Germany.
Smartphone shipments soared to 328 million in the third quarter of 2014, showing plenty of scope for Google, Apple and Windows to increase adoption of their mobile operating systems.
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