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Web Apps Vs Native Mobile Apps, what’s the difference and which one is best for you?

Jun 24th 2022

Ever considered building an App? We take a look at Web App and Mobile Apps to understand the difference

Firstly, what is the difference between a Web App and a Native App?

To put it simply, a Native App is designed for a specific platform that, like iOS or Android, you download and run on your smartphone. iOS runs on all Apple devices (iPhone, iPads, etc.), whilst Google Android runs on Smartphones and tablets (Google, Huawei, Samsung, etc.).

Once the app is downloaded, it runs separately from any existing website. This means that the application runs natively on the device, meaning it can utilise features such as the phone’s camera, contacts, GPS and Push notifications. Examples of native mobile apps are TikTok, Facebook and Google Maps.

On the other hand, a Web App is an application that runs within a web browser and, in many cases, can be part of an existing website. The application feeds from the website and is accessed directly from a browser via the mobile. A Web App is NOT native to your device, meaning that whilst it is responsive and functions like a native Mobile App, it doesn’t need to be downloaded, installed or subject to an approval process before being available on the various app stores.

Native Apps can be made to connect to your website just like a Web App, but the key advantages of a Native App are:

  • Device-based Push Notifications
  • Accurate GEO targeting and positioning for Maps and location-focused apps
  • Integration with native services such as the Health app, contacts etc
  • Integration with the device’s camera and proximity services, hence their popularity with platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat and social media

Pros and Cons of Web and Native Mobile Apps.

Web App pros:

Web Apps are much more than just a way to deliver content – they are highly functional and can run standalone or be embedded within a website, making them perfect for widgets, dashboards, affiliate schemes, games and much more. You can host the web app yourself, meaning there’s no time-consuming approval process – you push it live, and it’s available straight away.

Web App cons:

If you want access to native device features such as GPS, Push notifications and other native services, this isn’t the route for you. Web apps are not always as quick or responsive compared to their locally-hosted counterparts and, as we don’t all use the same browser, apps need to be supported across a variety of browsers.

Native App pros:

The code that runs Native Mobile Apps is stored locally on your device, meaning they are faster than Web Apps that have to load content and imagery from remote servers in order for the user’s experience to be as smooth as possible without any lags or glitches.

Native Apps can also have the ability to function offline – meaning that you can access the app and its content anytime, anywhere.

Anyone who has their own website understands the difficulty of getting it noticed and ‘out there’. The bonus of having a Native Mobile App is that it will be listed on the App stores and available to billions of users, which provides a platform to advertise and gain new users, whereas a Web app is solely responsible for its brand recognition and marketing.

Native App cons:

Getting approval on app stores is often problematic and time-consuming, and any updates will need to be deployed via the app stores too, which can add delays.

Getting a consistent look and functionality across all devices can sometimes be challenging. iOS and Android use two very different technology stacks under the hood, which can lead to confusion when trying to build an app across multiple platforms.

Native Apps are more expensive to create and keep up to date, whereas Web Apps will remain up to date with your website without compromising on functionality.

So which one is best for me? Native App or Web App?

Whilst any business will benefit from either a native mobile or Web app, the answer depends on a variety of factors, such as time, desired functionality, budget and, of course, your business model. Our team of experts can help you choose and develop the perfect solution for you, ensuring your app functions seamlessly across devices.

If it’s time for a new project, contact us today, we’re always ready to help!
To discuss your project with us, you can send us a message or get a bespoke quote from us