Native Apps, Web Apps or Hybrid Apps? What’s the Difference?
Mobile Growth

Native Apps, Web Apps or Hybrid Apps? What’s the Difference?


Buse Kanal

What is the first thing that comes into your mind when you hear the word, “app?” Most likely, you are thinking about the apps that you use on your phone. However, did you know that mobile apps are just one of the three different types of apps?

In this post, you will learn the difference between native apps, web apps, and hybrid apps. Understanding their difference is crucial to deciding which app type would best meet your needs, preference, and even budget.

What is a native app?

Native apps are probably what you are actually most familiar with if you’re using a smartphone. A native app is also known as a mobile application. These apps are specifically made for a particular platform such as Android, iOS, and Windows.

As you can see, you can’t use an app in iOS if it is native to Android. The reverse is true. Each app is specifically built for a platform. 

Thus, the Android platform uses Java. The iOS platform uses Swift or Objective. The Windows platform use C# and so on. Since these apps use different programming software, you need to convert them first before you can use them on other platforms. The conversion can take a lot of time, energy, and money.

Once you have downloaded a native app, it will then be saved on your device and will be immediately accessible on demand. Since a native app is specifically made for a platform, then they can readily use the various functionalities available on the device. That’s why when you have an app on your phone, for example, it can easily use your phone’s camera, GPS, contact list, Bluetooth, and others.

Apple App Store

Google Play


  • Fast
  • Work both online and offline
  • Easily integrate with your device
  • High performance
  • Superb user experience
  • Easy to use and access
  • Great for branding


  • Consume the memory of your device
  • Expensive to build
  • Need a lot of time and energy to complete
  • Require regular maintenance and update
  • Can only be used on one platform
  • Users need to download the app

As you can see, native apps are already downloaded on a mobile device. This allows the native app to be quick to load and there’s even no need for the Internet at times.

What is a web app?

As its name suggests, a web app is an app that lives on a website. In terms of look, feel, and features, the web app is basically the same as native apps. The biggest difference is how they are accessed and where they are stored.

You need a web browser to use a web app. What’s great about a web app is that it is not limited to just one Internet browser. A single web app can be accessed on Chrome, Safari, and Edge, just to name a few.

A web app is built with Javascript or HTML5.


  • Cost-effective
  • Faster and easier to build and customize
  • Don’t need to be updated as often as native apps
  • You only need to create one web app for different Internet browsers
  • No need to download
  • Works both on personal computers and mobile devices


  • You need to have reliable Internet access
  • Solely rely on the web browser
  • Slower compared to native apps
  • Considered to be less secure compared to native apps
  • No access to local functionalities and features of mobile devices

Web apps are an ideal choice when you need an app that won’t cost you an arm. It won’t be expensive to maintain as well. Aside from that, there’s no need to download a web app and as long as you have an internet connection plus a web browser, your web app is always available.

What is a hybrid app?

A hybrid app is a combination of a native app and a web app. This means that the hybrid app enjoys both worlds and gives the maximum level of benefits. A hybrid app can be downloaded from app stores and can also be accessed through the web.


  • Highly accessible on both personal computers, smartphones, and tablets
  • Help businesses target as many users or customers as possible
  • Can easily become an expensive project
  • Faster and easier to build compared to native apps
  • Require one database on which you can build your app


  • Hybrid apps are slower than native apps
  • One simple bug can ruin all parts of the app, both on the mobile device and web
  • Not best for high-performance games
  • More complex to build since there are a lot of elements to be considered

Hybrid apps are just amazingly accessible. It’s ideal for people who are always on the go. Whether on the phone or on the computer, the hybrid app ensures that you have access to your files and apps.

A quick comparison

Now that you have a detailed overview of the main description of native apps, web apps, and hybrid apps, you should have a better understanding of their differences. However, for you to really visualize their difference, here’s a comparison table:

Criteria Native apps Web apps Hybrid apps
Speed Fastest Fast Faster
Cost Costliest Costly Costlier
Accessibility More Accessible Accessible Most Accessible

Should you use native apps, web apps, or hybrid apps?

The next big question is this, “Which one should you choose?”

The answer depends on your needs, preference, and budget.

First off, if you are on a tight budget and you want a quick application that your users can instantly use, then web apps are the right one for you. They are easy to build and you don’t need a whole lot of money to have them.

However, if money is not an issue, then native apps are a great choice. They offer a wide range of features and benefits for companies who are ready to spend money on them. With a native app, you can quickly build a brand that users can easily access on their phones or tablets.

Moreover, a native app is the best choice if you’re planning to build a high-quality and beautiful gaming app. Since native apps are faster, they can easily cope with the demand of data-heavy apps such as games.

You should choose a hybrid app if accessibility is what you deeply value. Hybrid apps allow you to enable users to access your app whether they are on their phones or on their computers.

Some of the most common apps that use hybrid applications would include communication apps such as Slack, Messenger, and Skype. These apps highly value open and constant communication. So, their app should be accessible on as many devices as possible.

Of course, any app can use the hybrid format. Whether it is social media, photo-editing, or note-taking apps, these apps would surely benefit from having their apps on both mobile and desktop.

At the end of the day, it is you who should make the final decision. Make sure you explore your options and know the advantages and disadvantages of each choice. Gather as much information as possible. From there, you should be able to make an informed and better decision.

Promote your app now

There you have it, the main difference between native apps, web apps, and hybrid apps. Whatever you choose, you would need to know how to market your app. It’s not enough to simply create and publish an app as you might already realize.

Thankfully, ShyftUp is here for you.

ShyftUp will help you get the users that you need for your app. They have fully established themselves as among the leading user acquisition agencies today.

With the help of ShfytUp, you’ll know what type of app is the best for your situation. Plus, they will promote your app in the most effective and cost-efficient way possible.

Give them a call today!

[sc_fs_multi_faq headline-0=”h2″ question-0=”Are Hybrid apps web apps?” answer-0=”A hybrid app is partly a web app and a native app. It means that it comes with features that are unique to both web apps and native apps. Hybrid apps can be accessed as a mobile app and web app.” image-0=”” headline-1=”h2″ question-1=”Why should you not choose a hybrid app?” answer-1=”You should not choose a hybrid app if you’re aiming to create a high-performing app. The hybrid app isn’t the fastest format. You need a native app to surely give you the most seamless user experience. ” image-1=”” headline-2=”h2″ question-2=”Which is better, a native app or a web app?” answer-2=”The native app is a better choice if you want your users or customers to access your app instantly. A web app is a better choice if you want to build an app with the least cost and time.” image-2=”” count=”3″ html=”true” css_class=””]

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