The difference between Native and Hybrid Apps

Published on 2020-05-29

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The difference between Native and Hybrid Apps 


Not all mobile apps are created equally. Most of the people we've spoken to all wanted mobile apps to go with their websites without really knowing the types of mobile apps available and their pros and cons.


Native apps are developed by using OS-specific codes. For Android, those are typically done in Java or C++ whereas iOS apps are often developed in XCode / Object C. The codes in native apps are almost non-transferable which means it requires twice as much development effort when released on both platforms.

Hybrid apps, on the other hand, are almost like a website wrap in an app. They are typically done by developing an OS-specific app frame but loaded with a stripped-down HTML website beneath it.

The advantage of the hybrid app is cost. Since most of the people started with websites that deliver the majority of functionalities, adding hybrid apps simply reuse those existing webpages in a wrapped app interface frame.

So why should you spend money on native apps? Native apps can truly leverage the underlying operation system to its full capability, so it delivers rich functionality and full user experiences. Native apps are speedy because they do not rely on a webserver to respond. The majority of functionalities can even work without an active internet connection. It uses fewer mobile data and therefore they are not solely dependent on an active connection to a backend server. Most of the apps that we enjoy daily, like Facebook, Instagram, Gmail or Snapchat, are examples of native apps.

Native Apps are also able to take full advantage of a phone, be that using the phone’s sensors or hardware like the camera, GPS or calendar.

Hybrid apps, on the other hand, rely on a constant connection to a backend web server. Without this, you will just get a blank white screen with a loading circle when you try to open the page. Its data exchange operates the same way as if you were to browse a web page, meaning no internet, no web page or hybrid app.

Another way to recognise a hybrid app is through login systems. If the app requires you to log in again after a long-time out session it will most likely be a hybrid app. Native apps can leverage locally stored credentials and the sessions can live on for much longer unless you choose to logout manually.  Some examples of hybrid apps are Costco, Ottawa Public Library or Indeed.






User Experience 

Less favourable 

Rich and smooth user experience 



Faster and better 

Code Portability 

Easily ported to another platform 

Often needs rewrite 


Low to none 

Everything the phone has to offer:  
GPS, Camera, body sensors etc. 


Low investment 

More investment 




Some questions to ask when deciding which type of app to develop. 

  • Time to market – how quickly do you want to bring the app to market? 
  • How often do you need to update the app’s functionality? 
  • Does the app data-intensive? i.e. requires exchange data between the app and backend services? 
  • Is your app needing the best user experiences? 


To make the right choice it is important to understand the significant difference, pros and cons between native and hybrid apps. Ultimately the decision will lie upon the needs and requirement of your app's functionality and goals.

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