Native and Hybrid Apps – A Quick Overview

By on May 25, 2017

A native app is a smartphone application developed specifically for a mobile operating system (think Objective-C or Swift for IOS vs. Java for Android).
Since the app is developed within a mature ecosystem following the technical and user experience guidelines of the OS (e.g. swipes, app defined gestures, left aligned header on Android, centrally aligned header on iOS, etc), it not only has the advantage of faster performance but also “feels right”. What feeling right means is that the in-app interaction has a look and feel consistent with most of the other native apps on the device. The end user is thus more likely to learn how to navigate and use the app faster. Finally, native applications have the significant advantage of being able to easily access and utilize the built-in capabilities of the user’s device (e.g., GPS, address book, camera, etc). When a user sends text messages, takes pictures using the device’s default app, set reminders, or uses the device’s music app (the one that came with the phone), they’re using native apps.

Hybrid applications are, at core, websites packaged into a native wrapper.

They look and feel like a native app, but ultimately outside of the basic frame of the application (typically restricted to the controls/navigational elements) they are fueled by a company’s website like an iOS mobile app development Company. Basically, a hybrid app is a web app built using HTML5 and JavaScript, wrapped in a native container which loads most of the information on the page as the user navigates through the application (Native apps instead download most of the content when the user first installs the app). Usual suspects here are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, your mobile banking app etc.

Quick Wins

Native App Hybrid App
Native UI allows users to quickly learn the app Portability (one code base, multiple platforms)
Easy to discover in app stores (apple’s app store, play store) Access to various hardware / software capabilities (through plug-ins)
Access to device hardware / software (GPS, location, shake, calendar, etc.) Cheaper origination costs
Better user experience Faster (initial) speed to market


Native App Hybrid App
Best security Portability (one code base, multiple platforms)
Best in class user experience Access to various hardware / software capabilities (through plug-ins)
Best performance Cheaper origination costs
Offline mode Faster (initial) speed to market


How to select if the app has to be native app or a hybrid app?

➔    Development Cost and Time

Hybrid apps take least amount of time to develop and are developed at a fairly cheaper price as compared to native app. Building a hybrid app with the help of iPhone app developers London means maintaining just one code whereas with native code you need an app developer for each platform. But this does not mean that native apps are bad because they have their own advantages.

➔    User Experience

Native apps provide the best user experience because they are specifically designed for a single app store (E.g. for Apple store, the app is designed by an iOS developer London) with which one can get the best compatible apps. The screen size is taken care of and so are the hardware capabilities. Whereas with Hybrid apps, it is impossible to provide a good experience with just 1 app for all platforms.

➔    Paid or Free app

Since native apps have the best UI hence paid apps are usually advised to be developed as native apps whereas free apps can be developed as hybrid apps.

Cross Platform Hybrid development sounds great

  • Single code base across multiple platforms.
  • Don’t have to update each app in the app store to wait for approvals.
  • You can use your existing web talent and don’t need to bring on additional resources.
  • Don’t need to do any API development since it’s all handled via the web.

Author Bio: I’m Dhananjayan working as iOS developer in a London based company with more than two years’ experience writing highly readable, clean, maintainable source code. I have developed applications for iPhone and iPad that offer users an intuitive, friendly interface for a variety of small to mid-size companies. I have worked on iOS mobile app development and as iPhone app developers London both native and hybrid. I have skills in Native technologies like objective-c, swift and hybrid technologies like React Native, Ionic, etc.

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