Native App vs Web App - Which One You Should Choose?
Published at November 29, 2017

Businesses quickly realize the benefits of mobile apps. Apart from the app development, the process of equipping your company with a mobile or web app also involves planning, budgeting, testing, placing the app on the app store and promoting it like crazy. Even if you decide to hire a mobile or web app developer, you will still need to make several big decisions, concerning your app's structure, type, and availability.

One of these decisions is based on the way in which you are planning to build, share and promote your app. Native app vs web app development is one of the most important choices the future app owners need to make. 

In this article, we are going to explain the difference between web and native app development and determine, which type of setting is better for your business idea.

Native vs web app development

Before we start comparing the features of these two concepts we need to define them.

Native app development

This is the process of creating apps that can fit in only one type of phone device and work on only one operating system. Most native apps are either designed for iOS or Android phones, and they are downloaded from app stores, like iTunes, Google Play and the Microsoft app store.

What are web apps?

Unlike native apps, the web apps don’t need to be downloaded to work. Due to their structure, they can work from any browser, on smartphones or desktop computers. These are internet-enabled apps that you can open in the smartphone browser. On iOS, Safari browser is the best example of the functional web app.

Pros and cons of web and native app development

Both of these concepts come with their unique advantages and disadvantages.

Native app development


- Since native apps work directly with a smartphone's built-in features, they perform faster than web or hybrid apps.

- You can easily find and download native apps on the most popular app stores.

- The app stores we mentioned also provide full support for native apps.

- Since every native app needs to get assurance from the app store, they are fully checked, safe and secure.

- For developers who are provided with SDK and other similar tools, native apps are easier to make and maintain.


- Native app development is usually more expensive, especially if the client wants an app that is compatible with several platforms.

- These apps come with a higher cost and more complicated maintenance. Same goes for app updating, for the native apps that work on several operating systems.

- The process of getting the app approval in the store can be difficult, time-consuming and tiresome. The app owners often need to share lots of information about the apps purpose, features and development and their program is thoroughly checked by the store operators. Even when your app is approved, there are no guarantees that it will become instantly popular among the targeted consumers.

- If they want to cover more market ground with their app, developers need to make several versions that will work on different operating systems. Providing support for several app versions is much more challenging.

Web app development


- Web apps are easier to maintain because they provide a common code base that can work on various platforms.

- The web app framework allows developers to manipulate these apps’ code and make them compatible with the older mobile devices.

- Although most web apps don’t use app stores for promotion, Apple lists web apps on their iTunes store.

- Web apps don't need to be approved by the OS producer, which means they can be launched at any time and downloaded from any website.


- When it comes to accessing smartphones' built-in features, web apps are much more limited than native apps.

- In the same way, as native apps need to be supported by the operating systems, web apps require the web browser support. Mobile phones with different operating systems use different programs for web browsing. For example, Android phones use Google Chrome, iPhone uses Safari and Microsoft uses the MS Edge. Adapting the web app to different browser requirements can be  costly. Still, since web apps are made with JavaScript, HTML5, and CSS, they will work in any of these browsers, just they might look a little bit weird in browsers that don't support some of their CSS elements.

- Web apps are often overlooked by the users because they are not listed on the most popular app stores.

- Since web apps don’t fall under the regularized quality control, they are not always safe and easy to use. That is why many smartphone users prefer native apps. Still, if your company is going to release the app and promote it as your brand, you won’t need to deal with this type of users’ stigma.

Which one should you choose?

If the speed and performance are the most critical parameters of your future app, you should opt for a native app development. They allow you to reach any device-specific feature quickly and are the best of for companies that use apps as their core business. That is why paid apps mainly use native development.

On the other hand, if you want to build a promotional app that will help you to spread the word about your business and make the promotion, ordering or support processes easier, you should choose the web app because they are equally reliable as their native counterparts and they are simpler and more affordable to make. 

Virtual Spirit can develop both native and web apps, so if you still have some doubts on what type of app you should choose, ask our experts, and they will help you to find the best architecture and features.


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