Cross-Platform Development vs. Native: Which is Right for Your App?

cross platform app development

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The world is a digital playground in today’s age. Statista, the evergreen number junkie organization, says that just under 4 million apps were up and running on the Play Store and just under 3 million on the iOS App Store in 2021. It requires skill, talent, and, most of all, hard work. Furthermore, it is not a one-man army type of work. Two of the development procedures, namely cross-platform app development and native app development, are the leaders of the app development market. In this blog, we will only dig deep into these two types. But the smooth and attractive interface of mobile apps is just the cover of the technical and complicated coding and scary spells written by developers during mobile app development, on the backend to make the app magic work. Now, let’s briefly see what cross-platform app development and native app development is.


Cross-Platform App Development

A cross-platform app can be compared to a person who can ride a motorcycle AND an automobile. This easiness gives the green light to the app to execute across various operating systems. Suppose you have more than one smartphone in front of you, and both have different operating systems, such as Android and iOS. When you open the relevant app store and find the same app in both places, that is a cross-platform app. For example, you are scrolling on the Android Play store and spot a game, let’s say ABC App. Now, when you switch on your iPhone and surf the App Store, you also spot ABC app. There you have it. ABC app is a cross-platform app! Native apps are the complete opposite. Explanation is coming right up!


Cross Platform App Development


Native App Development

If native app development were a word in the English dictionary, then its antonym would have been cross-platform app development. A native app is built for a particular platform. If you find an app only available on the iOS app store and not anywhere else, whether it be the Android Play Store or Windows Store, then it is a native app.

Are you a newcomer in the world of app development? Then there is every chance you will find words such as Kotlin, Java, Objective-C, and Swift baffling. Working on these programming languages is a bigger challenge. But not for the maestros. These heroes with capes are the experts who use Kotlin and Java for Android apps and Swift and Objective-C for iOS apps. Remember, we are talking about native app development here.


Native App Development


Cross-platform or Native?

Numerous factors exist to consider when selecting which type of app you should develop. These include cost, performance, security, and time, to name a few. Cross-platform app development would be the best fit if you are a newbie in the market (I mean startup) and need the app ASAP. But if you want a highly sensitive app such as a banking app, then you need super-tight security; for that, a native app is suitable. Moving on to the cost, the best app model is cross-platform if you have a limited budget. But if you are a die-hard gamer, the app should also perform like Sonic the Hedgehog. That is why native app development should be considered in such cases. The goals and objectives are heavily correlated to the type of app you want to develop.

Another thing that is extremely important over here is the target audience. For example, most users who play games are teenagers and kids. But these type of users also watch kids’ material, such as cartoons, mostly on video streaming apps. This is why there should be special research before developing an app so that the most suitable type of development is done.

Now, let’s dig a bit deeper into these two types of mobile application development and harvest the peculiar traits of each.


Cross-platform or Native


What REALLY is Cross-platform App Development

Most of the mobile app development companies nowadays are into developing apps made for multiple platforms, especially Android and iOS. The main thing in multiplatform app development is reusing the same source code. The code in simple words, can be shared. Consequently, time is saved and costs less when you use the same code again. When the same code will be used again, there will be no need to write the code again for iOS and Android individually. Isn’t it obvious that it will take double time to do a thing two times? Cross-platform development eliminates this hassle because you get to utilize the same code for the different platform.

Startups who want the app pronto and with no heavy graphics usually go for this type of development. Furthermore, if you want to save that cash, you can choose this option.


What REALLY is Cross-platform App Development


Advantages Of Cross-Platform Development

Like every human, app development also has pros and cons, a good side and a bad side. In this section, let’s go through some of the advantages of cross-platform app development.


Advantages Of Cross-Platform Development


Reusable Code

As mentioned earlier, the same code can be used again, which saves valuable time. Time is saved by not having to do repetitive tasks such as API calls, analytics implementation, data storage, and data serialization. These things (if you’re new) might seem a bit fancy to you, and yes they are! A significant amount of time is taken while conducting such tasks. This means a lot of time is saved when you reuse the code. A mobile app development company has masters who dedicate their entire lives to make the best apps possible.

Time is Money

Less code means valuable time saved. Moreover, when there is less code to write, it will mean less testing and fewer chances of bugs. Bugs emerge in almost every development. You can’t be a bug-less app even if the Muhammad Ali of coding has developed you. Every bit of time saved is valuable because all this takes a hefty amount of money.

Resource Utilization

Both the teams, iOS and Android developers, can learn to write reusable code. In this way, the resources can be managed effectively. And when the resources are managed effectively, that means more productivity and, ultimately more profits.

Wider Audiences

Two is more than one. Confused? When there are more platforms where your apps will be shown, there will be more chances of downloads. Basically, your apps will have a larger audience and more awareness. This is related to profitability. When there will be more downloads, the ads and in-app purchases will be higher in number.

Quick Customization

If there is a need to change parts of the app, then it is easier for the developers to do so. Changes according to the feedback will be accurate because there will be less pressure on the developers. The developers will not get swamped and give it their best.


Cross-platform App Development Frameworks

A framework is a structure that you can build software on. Some of the cross-platform frameworks are listed below:

  • Ionic
  • React native
  • Flutter
  • Xamarin
  • NativeScript
  • js
  • Appcelerator Titanium
  • PhoneGap
  • Sencha Touch
  • Corona SDK


Cross-platform App Development Frameworks


More about Native App Development

We already briefly discussed what native development is all about. Over here, we will go deeper into it and explain what it is all about. The phrases linked with this kind of development are ‘specific operating system’, and ‘only for a particular device’. The apps created with native allow a silky smooth user experience, better performance, and uninterrupted access to other device components such as camera, GPS, and microphone. Although cross-platform app development is more widely used, native app development is still very popular among app developers. And the reason is the staggering benefits that native development allows. Mobile app beta testing ensures that the app is suitable for use.


More about Native App Development


Native App Development Platforms

Some frameworks of native app development are mentioned below:

If you are building an app for iOS devices, Swift and Objective-C are the two leading programming platforms used widely. On the other hand, if the development is for Android devices, Java and Kotlin come into play.


Native App Development Platforms



The building blocks of Objective-C are on the C programming language. It is an object-oriented language. It first came into existence in the mid 1980s. Apple had this language as its primary development source till 2014. But this does not mean it has gone out of the market. It is still capable of developing iOS apps. Stability and compatibility with C and C++, and the ability to dynamically load code means you can use it for all app types, complex and simple.


Apple’s very own programming language, which was introduced in 2014, is known as Swift. This language is heaven for newer developers because it is open-source and offers a simpler syntax than Objective-C. Swift was created to be faster than Objective-C, and it is memory-safe, preventing type errors.


Another experienced candidate for programming is Java, which was introduced in 1995. It is one of the few languages that can work for desktop and mobile applications. Like Objective-C, it is also an object-oriented programming language. It is one of the best programming languages that is popular as well as mature when it comes to functioning.


Introduced 15 years after Java in 2011, Kotlin is an open-source programming language designed to develop Android apps. The creators of Kotlin emphasized clarity, safety, interoperability, and tooling support.


Benefits of Native App Development

Native App development is indeed more challenging as compared to cross-platform app development. But as they say, the more challenging, the better reward. We will cover the benefits of native development now.


Benefits of Native App Development



The design of native apps is specific to a particular platform. This is why these perform faster and use the device components efficiently. In some creative words, the relation of native apps is stronger with the device than cross-platform apps. And when the relation is strong, then the performance automatically is better.

User Experience

The behavior of native apps is similar to all the other native features of the device. This similar DNA allows the users to interact with the app like all the other apps that they are used to. An intuitive experience is promised when dealing with native apps that help the end user to operate the device smoothly.

Access to Device Features

When Native apps are around, no one is safe. Just kidding! We are talking about the device capabilities such as the camera, microphone, accelerometer, GPS, and many more. In this way, the user is allowed a more interactive and integrated experience.

Better Security

Native app development offers higher security than other types. In this way, sensitive data such which are there in sectors such as banking are less vulnerable to attacks and crimes.

Fewer Bugs

There are fewer bugs when it comes to native app development because it has fewer tech dependencies and since the code is written specifically for each app, there are very few chances of bugs to emerge.

Instant Updates

One of the best features of native apps is that it receives instant updates. Updates are very important because they provide stability and improvements, and if an app does not get updated at the right moment, then the user is simply going to fall behind and other competitors will take over the market share.

Launch Facilitation

There are less formalities when it comes to native apps. In cross-platform app development, a few more hurdles need to be crossed, which can delay the launch of the apps. The Google Play Store and iOS app store have certain rules and regulations, which are less common when dealing with native apps.


Performance of Cross-Platform vs Native Apps

We will now compare the performance of cross-platform apps and native apps.

Suppose you are an Android user, and your life revolves around your phone. I mean, you’re on your phone all the time. If you plan to do online shopping from an e-commerce app that is built with native means, then you’ll find much better performance in terms of speed and security. The overall user experience will be top-notch as well. The only disadvantage over here is the time and cost, but we can compromise that over here because of the excellent performance.

On the other hand, if you are using an app with cross-platform app development, there is every chance that it will function slowly and be more vulnerable to cyber-attacks and data hacking. Moreover, the native app is developed using the platform’s core programming language and APIs. This is the reason why they are more efficient, responsive, and faster.

Let’s understand the performance by another example. Suppose you are playing a game. We all know that a heavy game takes more time to load. If the game is native then the loading time will be less and there will be almost no glitches in the gameplay. On the other hand, if the game is cross-platform, then the loading time and gameplay is most likely to experience lags and glitches.


Performance of Cross-Platform vs Native Apps


Performance Scenarios

We now know that the performance level is different for both development platforms. But there can be scenarios where we can ignore the performance and focus on other features. We will also go through scenarios where we have to keep performance a top priority. Both of these are mentioned below:

Graphics that are crazy as hell, processing power like the mighty Hulk, and real-time interactions are not the need when it comes to some mobile apps. Below are some examples where performance can be compromised:


Performance Scenarios


To-Do-List Apps

These types of apps exist to store some text. Making a list of the work you must do daily does not require rocket science. There is no major performance requirements when it comes to these to-do-list apps.

Calculator Apps

Simple calculations are done on apps that do not need horsepower. So, these apps can be developed without making performance a must-have.

Notes Apps

There are several note-taking apps available in the app stores. The purpose of these apps is to note down some text. These text-noting apps have no requirement for fancy graphics.

Reading Apps

E-books only need to display text also. Apart from text, there will be some images as well. But no fancy performance requirements are there for such apps.

Music Players

Audio players do not require fancy performance, too. There are indeed some audio players that provide complex audio processing. But other than that, the requirement for audio players is not too intricate.

Dictionary Apps

You must have extracted the meanings of difficult words from a dictionary at some point in your life. Did you notice that there are no images in it? Well, dictionary apps also are text-based. This textual nature of dictionary apps makes it one of the simplest apps out there with no complex performance requirement.

Recipe Apps

Recipes are primarily text-based also. You must have noticed that all the apps mentioned above are textual that do not require fancy performance. A few images of recipes might also be displayed but that is okay when it comes to intricate performance apps.

Weather Forecasts

One of the least performance-demanding apps are weather apps. There is no silly information except the temperature and other weather information.


Apps that Require High Performance Platforms

Most of the apps out there want good performance devices and backgrounds. Some of these are listed below:

  • Video Editing Apps
  • Virtual Reality Apps
  • Mobile Games
  • Music Production
  • Video Streaming
  • Virtual Reality
  • Photography and Image Editing
  • Video Conferencing Apps

Apps that Require High Performance Platforms


What is the Impact on User Experience?

The impacts of both cross-platform and native development on user experience is mentioned below:.


What is the Impact on User Experience


Native Apps

  1. Performance: We have emphasized on this point throughout this blog. They have the full license to make use of the device’s capabilities. By doing so, there is better response time and performance.
  2. Offline Usage: User experience is also affected, considering offline functionality. Native apps store offline data more easily and provide effective usage without an internet connection.
  3. App Store Connection: Native apps can use the app store monetization and integration.

Cross Platform Apps

  1. Speed Issues: User experience is affected negatively because of slow processing. As compared to native apps, cross-platform ones are relatively slower.
  2. Security: These apps are less secure when it comes to security, which means that the user experience is affected negatively again.
  3. Code Reuse: The code can be re-used, which means there will be faster development of the app.

In a Nutshell

Cross-platform app development indeed has its pros and cons. The same story applies to native app development. While code reusability can make cross-platform apps come into this world faster, slowness may make them not the perfect option for high graphics games. On the other hand, native apps that are developed wholly for a particular platform or operating system, provide security and speed as well as a better user experience with the help of the device capabilities such as the microphone, camera, etc. So the debate continues, and no one knows when this debate will end. It might go on and on, and there would be no specific answer. But the truth is that both cross-platform and native ones have pros and cons, and the purpose is very much related to the development of each kind.


In a Nutshell

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