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What is a native, hybrid or web app?

There are three major types of mobile app – Native, Hybrid and Web. 

But what is the difference between these types of app, if any? Which type should you prefer for your business? What are the benefits and drawbacks of each choice. 

We develop hybrid and native apps for Apple and Android. If you want to get the ball rolling and begin your app journey, contact us by clicking the button below.

Native apps 

The native app is the traditional approach to mobile development. These apps are written in code specific for Apple or Android. The app is downloaded from an App Store and stored on your phone. 

Although the native app might might access a server or database outside of the phone for information or content such as images or videos, the code itself is on the phone. The major functionality is all stored on the phone. 

Benefits of Native apps 

1. Most native apps can be extremely fast because you do not need to download each screen or its contents from a server. 

2. There are security benefits to using native apps 

3. These kind of apps can be used offline depending on the app itself and whether it requires content from the internet. 

4. Native apps are often needed for extra functionality involving the phone itself e.g. the camera, contact list, microphone augmented reality functionality. 

5. Native and hybrid apps can use push notifications 

Drawbacks of Native Apps

1. Native apps are more expensive to develop

2. Native apps need to be developed separately for Apple and Android and this also means more expensive maintenance. 

Web Apps 

Web apps are actually mobile-optimised websites wrapped up in a package that makes them look like apps. You can get web apps directly from websites or browser. These apps are written in web specific languages just like websites. 

Just like websites, they work by downloading each page/screen and all it’s content to your phone each time you use the app. 

Benefits of Web apps 

1. These are cheaper to build 

2. You can build one web app for both android and apple

3. No need to download the app – you can access it from a website directly. 


1. Web apps can be extremely slow to load each screen, making them annoying for customers. 

2. Web apps often look more like websites than traditional apps because they lack the look and feel of native or hybrid apps. 

3. Certain features are not available on web apps. If you are developing an app that might grow to be more complex, you could hit a brick wall with web apps where the functionality is not available.

Hybrid Apps 

A hybrid app combines the best of native and web applications and they are, depending on the project, our favourite approach. 

These apps have code which is stored on a phone just like a native app, they are available in the App Stores and they can incorporate operating system features like camera, microphone or contact list control. 

Hybrid apps are written in a language which is converted to native app or web when it is built. The developers can write an app in one language and build it for Apple, Android or web. You can use the same code base for all three but the app itself has been pre-converted into a specific form (Apple, Android or Web) before the user accesses it. 


Benefits of Hybrid apps 

1. These are cheaper to build than native apps and around the same price as web apps 

2. You can build one native app for android, apple and web.

3. For the web version of the hybrid app, there is no need to download the app – you can access it from a website directly. 

4. Hybrid apps are faster and slicker than web apps. 

5. These apps look and feel like native apps which means they are more intuitive and usable for your customers. 


1. Hybrid apps tend to be bigger in size than web or native apps. 

2. Hybrid app developers or companies that make hybrid apps are more rare. Most companies focus on web apps or native apps. 

3. Hybrid apps can be slightly slower than native apps. This depends on the hybrid platform used. We use the platform Flutter which is 3 times faster than similar hybrid frameworks like React native.

Interested in having an app made? Get in touch with us today.

Here at Glitterbug we provide beautiful, high quality, competitively priced apps.

No job too big, no job to small – give us a call! 

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