A mobile application can do wonders for your business. There are millions of applications for you to download on platforms like the App Store and Google Play Store. However, all apps are not made through the same development tools. While there are many ways to classify mobile apps, there are two basic categories based on OS-centric development, i.e., Native and Hybrid. In this post, we’ll discuss both of these app types and help you decide which one is the best for you.

What Are Native Apps?

Native applications can only work on a certain operating system. For example, a Native app designed for Windows cannot work on Android and iOS. Specifically, Native app uses a certain mobile app development platform that doesn’t support different codes. iOS apps can only be coded through Swift or Objective C, while Android and Windows applications are coded using Kotlin or Java (among others). Kotlin is one of the more recent languages used for developing interactive Android apps. The IDEs of both platforms are also different, as Android apps are mostly developed on Android Studio, and iOS apps are developed on XCode. Native apps are completely optimized with their respective operating systems.

What are Hybrid Apps?

As the name suggests, hybrid apps work on every platform. They are web apps that work on your phone’s native browser. These apps can be viewed using WebView on Android devices and UIWebView on iOS devices. The good thing about developing hybrid apps is that you can work with any programming language you want, including Python, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Cordoba. As a hybrid app works with every operating system, it’s much easier to access.

Difference between Native and Hybrid Applications

Now that y know what the two types of apps are, it’s time to compare different aspects of both native and hybrid applications and decide which is perfect for your business:

1. Performance

Native apps are made for a specific platform. Therefore, you can expect better performance. The features are exclusive to the operating system and are optimized to run smoothly. Even though an Android and iOS app might look similar to you, they were coded separately for both platforms from scratch. Also, you can access several features and tools to enhance the user experience of your application.

While Hybrid apps can work on all mobile operating systems, their performance is not quite as good as natively developed apps. Even though the performance and features are good enough for simple apps, you can’t develop high-scale apps on a Hybrid framework with the same performance output as that of native ones.

2. Cross-Functionality

Hybrid apps offer a much better customer experience, as the same codebase is used for all platforms. You can approach both Android and iOS users with one app, which is a great thing. However, miscommunications can occur between a device’s native framework and your hybrid app’s non-native codebase.

Native does not offer a lot of flexibility when it comes to cross-functionality. It requires a different codebase for a different operating system because the app code incorporates the native hardware and UI functionality of the relevant OS.

3. Cost of Development

You need to go through one app development cycle in the case of a Hybrid app. One app works on both platforms, so there is no need to develop different codebases. When you can work on the same framework for both platforms, you only need one team (or developer). This will reduce your cost of development.

However, developing a Native app is comparatively more expensive. You can’t hire an app developer and expect them to develop both iOS and Android apps, as both of these platforms are completely different. You need to hire separate teams or developers with the proper expertise and experience in developing native apps for the platforms you need.

4. Development Time

As the codebases for both operating systems are completely different, it takes more time to develop Native apps. Teams have to go through multiple development cycles to code everything from scratch. If you are launching an app on both iOS and Android, even if you include the same features, you will have to write completely different codes.

On the other hand, you only need to design, code, and complete a Hybrid app once. As we mentioned before, one codebase works with every OS. So, you don’t have to spend too much development time working on the same app.

5. Versatility

There are many OS-exclusive features you can work with while developing a Native app. While it’s difficult to code, developers have a lot of freedom to add different features to their apps. Also, you access the device’s features without the need for a third-party framework.

As for Hybrid apps, you can use a variety of plugins, features, and frameworks in developing your app. Nevertheless, Native apps are more customizable and feature-packed compared to Hybrid.

6. UI/UX

One of the biggest problems developers face while developing native applications for different operating systems is maintaining the UI. You cannot make an exact replica of your Android app in the iOS ecosystem and vice versa. The reason? Both types of apps are coded using different languages and IDEs. There is also a difference in features.

As Hybrid applications are made for all platforms, the features and the UI/UX will remain the same regardless of the OS. You won’t have to write code in a different language with a different logic to develop a similar UI/UX.

7. Security

Security is a major concern for everyone. This is where Native gets a major win in this comparison. With regular updates, apps that follow the native architecture of an operating system get protected through regular security patches. This is why if you install a native app from App Store or Google Play Store, it’s most probably pretty safe.

In hybrid apps, security is a bit compromised as it takes Hybrid developers a lot longer to install security patches. Also, with every new OS update, hybrid apps have to work with third-party frameworks and updates, which is not safe.

8. Updates

Hybrid apps do get updated. And it’s a lot easier as compared to Native apps. However, if you are developing an app for Android and iOS, you would want to take advantage of the features and updates offered by Google and Apple. Unfortunately, it takes some time for hybrid app developers to modify their apps to adapt to the changes by either of these platforms.

Native apps are perfectly optimized for their respective operating systems, so they can instantly take advantage of the new features. Also, they can work with many third-party libraries and SDKs as well.

9. Learning Curve

To develop a Native app for Android and iOS, you should have a highly skilled team with expertise in different programming languages. As we said previously, you need to work with completely different programming languages, logic, frameworks, and IDEs to design a Native app. This means if you are a beginner and don’t have full command of native programming languages like Swift and Java, you can’t create an Android or iOS app.

As for Hybrid, you can work with any language suitable for web page development. The UI, features, and aspects of the app will remain the same regardless of the operating system.

10. Approval

As native apps have security features suitable for Apple or Google’s ecosystem, they get accepted easily. The process in Google Play is a lot faster as apps go through an automatic screening process. However, every app gets carefully screened by Apple’s testers in iOS. This is why even though there are lesser apps on the App Store; they are a lot safer and more functional as compared to Android.

As the hybrid app technology is relatively new, it has to rely on third-party frameworks and security updates. It is difficult for both of these marketplaces to allow apps with third-party security patches, so the approval procedure takes a lot of time.

Verdict

If you want a simple app and want to approach the masses, you should go for Hybrid. However, if you want to make a more complex and large-scale app, you should go for Native. While Native apps require a lot of investment, they offer you a versatile and flexible mobile app development experience. Also, apps made through native frameworks are faster, smoother, secure, and more reliable.

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