A Complete Guide to Mobile App Development: Native vs. Hybrid


“The excellent user interface and customer experience for your mobile app are way more important for the expansion and success of your business than you actually think.”

A responsive, functional, and secure app can make a big difference between success and failure of your business. And when it comes to the mobile app development, debates and discussions on the subject of hybrid vs. native app have been rolling on for a few years. Which platform is more profitable? Which one can provide excellent functionalities as well as user experience? Which app will be more useful to target audience? Such questions seem more relevant than ever when you start thinking about building a mobile app for yourself.

This article will help you understand the difference between native and hybrid mobile app development and also what is a better choice for you.

What is Native Mobile App Development?

With this approach, you can build and host native applications written in a programming language specific to a single platform or device, including iOS, Android, web, etc. If you develop a native app for the Android platform, it won’t run on other operating systems. For instance, apps written in Java or Kotlin will work for Android only and not for iOS. To build a native app for iOS, the code should be written in Swift or Objective-C language. These apps offer better functionality and user experience completely consistent with their platform.

What is Hybrid Mobile App Development?

Hybrid applications, conversely, are the most popular alternative tailored and designed to work & run on multiple platforms, be it Android, iOS, windows, and web. With this approach, a single standard code, a combination of JavaScript and HTML5 or C#, is written and wrapped in a native container at once only, and later can be shared and loaded on different platforms like web browsers, iOS, and so on. Using built-in native plugins for particular operating systems allows you to perform and manage device specific interactions efficiently.

Top 4 Difference between Hybrid vs. Native App Development

1. User Experience

Most of the mobile app users delete an app immediately after installing it if that application doesn’t offer a ‘GREAT’ experience and is not spontaneous in terms of design, responsiveness, and speed. And when it comes to user experience for a native app, they are considered to be the fastest and most reliable. The reason being that developers can truly design a user experience that’s consistent with the platform and its native apps.

With hybrid apps, on the other hand, creating an excellent user experience might be difficult since iOS and Android have very different style structures and guidelines. The user experience offered by a hybrid app doesn’t match the level of experience that a native app offers. Even if your mobile app development team gets close enough to create and achieve the same user experience as the native app, it sometimes reveals instability and inconsistency among different operating systems.

2. Development Cost and Time

Native technology stacks for Android and iOS entirely differ from each other. Although the same codebase can’t be used for both platforms, the logic should be the same for each one. It means you will need to create and implement the design, code, and logic for a variety of Android, iOS, and tablets that must be appropriate for every device dimensions. That’s why native apps usually take longer to develop as opposed to hybrid apps. And since the native app development occurs multiple times for all the platforms, you might need to hire different programmers specialized in specific technologies, which increases the development costs by a wide margin.

As far as hybrid apps are concerned, the source code is written only once and packed into a native container, which can be reused and run for the platforms you want your app to be created on. When building a hybrid app, you don’t need virtually as many development teams, which significantly reduces development cost and time.

3. Speed and Performance

Since native code runs faster and requires less memory than JavaScript and HTML, the native app gives complete assurance of incredible performance and perfection. Since the app is optimized for a specific platform, be it iOS or Android, you get faster and full access to new functionalities and native APIs.

From a robust look and swift performance to rapid development and consistent feel, a native app is your safest option if you are betting on high performance, security, and functionality. The native apps are developed with platform-specific languages and mimic the experience that is already on your device, allowing you to instantly loading the visual elements, gestures, geographical locations, and all of your app’s contents.

From the mobile device user’s viewpoint, some hybrid apps can attain the equivalent hardware and software-based performance amplification as native apps. However, when it comes to high graphics-oriented apps, such as HD games, it can cause a significant decline in performance and speed. Compared to its counterpart “native, hybrid apps tend to add an extra layer, in form of server or native wrapper, between the code and the target device. That means hybrid apps depend on an active internet connection to download and display the data like visual elements, structure, and graphics from the server through a UIWebView (iOS) and WebView (Android). Because of performance issues, you are likely to spend more time finding the bugs and tweaking and fixing your application.

So if you want to develop a performance-centric app, hybrid app development might not be your best bet.

4. Security and Data Protection

Compared to hybrid frameworks, native applications deliver the highest level of security by using the integrated security features and full efficiency of the operating system resources.

Hybrid apps, on the other side, need to work closely with the browser-like view called WebViews, which might leave your app vulnerable and exposed to injection attacks while using an API.

Native vs. Hybrid: Which One To Choose?

So, which mobile app development approach should you take to develop applications – Native or Hybrid? Well, both methods have their distinct and clear advantages and disadvantages, which is why the debate on Native vs. Hybrid app development is still relevant and hot topic. One codebase, easy updates, cross-platform compatibility, lower development costs and time are some excellent features that make hybrid apps very appealing. But if we talk about the long run, the most dreadful problem with this approach is that you will be more likely to spend your time, resources, and money on dealing with performance driven issues now and then.

While native apps provide you with excellent added advantages like robust security, great performance, and a highly interactive and responsive UI, the biggest detraction of this method is increased development cost & speed.

In a nutshell, the decision to pick between native and hybrid app development is solely based on priorities and objectives of your organization, so choose wisely.

Looking for a renowned mobile app development company that can provide top-notch and cost-effective app development solutions to develop and market a native or hybrid mobile app for your business? If so, contact us.