Native, Web and Hybrid Apps What’s the Difference?

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Native, Web and Hybrid Apps What’s the Difference?

As internet use continually shifts toward mobile, the importance of offering a good mobile experience increases. In an effort to do so as a developer, you have the option of developing native apps, web apps, and hybrid apps. Many companies have a hard time deciding which approach to take.

In this article, we are going to take a closer look at these three approaches and talk about the different ways that each can be used.

Native Apps

A native app is an app that is written in the native language of the device, this may be Objective-C for iOS, or Java for Android. These are the apps that are often pre-packaged into the device itself and they only work on the platform for which they are designed.


The main benefit to native apps is that they offer the highest level of functionality and the smoothest performance. Since the app is written in the native language of the device, it can access all of the utilities and features. It makes for a faster, more reliable, and more enjoyable experience for the user.


The big disadvantage to native apps is that if you want them to offer the experience on multiple platforms (iOS, Android, etc.), you will have to develop the app for each platform. This increases the cost of development and updating.

Web Apps

A web app is like a web site, but it uses interactive features to emulate the experience of an app. It runs in the browser and users access them in the same way that they would access a website.


The biggest advantage to developing a web app is that it is the most cost-effective option. Since it works on the browser of the device, it offers cross-platform support without having to build the app for multiple operating systems.


The main downside to a web app is that it cannot access all of the features of the device. This means that it cannot perform the same range of complex functions that would be available with a native app.

Hybrid Apps

With hybrid apps, you have features that come from both native and web apps. These apps are created using tools like Xamarin and Cordova. The different development systems offer different features, but they both make it possible to build an app that will work on multiple platforms while still allowing for access to native features.


The hybrid apps provide the same cross-platform capabilities that you would get from a web app, but they can access the device’s native features โ€“ making them more functional than web apps. In addition to that, you can add new features without having to make separate updates to all of the different versions of the app.


While hybrid apps can cut the costs of development, they tend to run slower than native apps. They can also be have issues in some situations. They are good for accessing basic device operations and features, but they can have problems with more complex functions that would work smoothly if the app were in native code.

When it comes to finding the right solution for your business, it mostly comes down to what you are trying to do with the app. If you are looking for something simple that does not need access to device features, then a web app can work well. If you need the app to access device features and perform complex functions, then a native app might be the way to go. If the app is relatively simple, but would benefit from having access to the phone features, then a hybrid app could be the right solution. Want some advice? Feel free to contact us to help you decide which app is best for you.

Daniel Boterhoven

Developer and Founder @DenimDevAU. I create #apps for the web and mobile.

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