Having experience developing apps for a variety of clients across a range of industry we come across a common question, what is the difference between a native and hybrid app and what are the advantages of each. 

Having experience developing apps for a variety of clients across a range of industry we come across a common question, what is the difference between a native and hybrid app and what are the advantages of each. 

There is no exact answer to which one is better and no one size fits all answer. There are many variants; timeline, budget and target audience to name a few. In this article, we are going to explain the differences between a hybrid app and a native app. 

What is a native app?

A native app is a mobile application developed for a specific mobile operating system. Developers will often use Swift for iOS and Java for Android. 

 Pros of Native apps 

  • Native apps normally have good performance when compared to other app types. They tend to be much faster and have fewer bugs appear. This makes native apps a good choice for games. 
  • The security of native apps is usually strong. The main reason is that these apps need to get approval from the app store they are made for. This also improves the level of trust a potential user has with the support of the app store. 
  • Users who use an iPhone or Android will be accustomed to these devices, as native apps have been made for these devices the user will more than likely have a good experience on the app. This makes native apps commonly very user-friendly. 

 Cons of Native apps 

  • Development time can be the main con for native apps. As they need to be specifically designed for each platform. This means developers will need to write different codes for Android and iOS. This can add to the development time as apps across all platforms will need to run extremely similar to keep high levels of quality user experience. 
  • Due to the app being across many different user devices bugs and errors are more common, this can lead to more support being needed for native apps. 

What is a hybrid app

Hybrid apps are a combination of native and web apps. It is the same app that can be used across all operating systems; iOS, Android and across web browsers. Hybrid apps are most commonly built using cross-compatible web technology such as HTML5. 

Pros of Hybrid app

  • Hybrid apps are often cost-effective in terms of development. As you only need to create one version of the app which will suit all platforms.
  • Development time is often shorter with hybrid apps as you don’t have to do separate code for each platform.  
  • This is less maintenance and updates are easier to perform once the app does go live, as bugs and errors will be fixed on all platforms at the same time. 

Cons of Hybrid app

  • User experience can be the main con to hybrid apps, it can be the case that some operating systems respond to the app better than others. This can lead to longer load times etc on some devices. 
  • Design-wise a hybrid app will need a fixed design which can cause some visual representation to be off on some devices. 
  • Glitches are more likely to appear on a hybrid app, although there are many solutions and methods to avoid glitches happening. 

Overall there is no correct answer to which is better or what type of app you should have. Every client and app created will be different. At Your Digital Lab we conduct full audience analytical pre-design and development stage to decide what type of app would be best suited for your business, budget and audience.