• Design
  • Develop
  • Launch
  • Scale

Mobile App vs Web App – What is the difference?

For most users, the difference between a mobile app and a web app may not be noticeable. But, they are both very different. 

Mobile app and web apps are developed and deployed differently, so it is important to know about mobile apps and web apps and their differences.

Let’s take a look at the difference between mobile app development and web app development.

Mobile apps vs. Web apps

Native mobile apps

–  Built for a specific platform such as iOS for Apple iPhone or Android for Samsung and other devices.

–    Downloaded and installed via an app store.

–    Access to system resources, such as GPS and camera function.

–    Mobile apps live and run on the device itself.

–  Examples of popular apps: Snapchat, Instagram, Google Maps and Facebook Messenger.

Web Apps

–    Accessed via the internet browser and will adapt to whichever device you’re viewing them on.

–    Don’t need to be downloaded or installed.

–   Due to their responsive nature, they do indeed look and function a lot like mobile apps — and this is where the confusion arises.

Mobile App Development

•    More expensive to develop than web apps

•    Require a specific platform for Design & Development

•    Launching an app across different platforms

•    Faster and More advanced in terms of features and functionality.

•  Built using specific languages and Integrated Development Environments (IDE) depending on the intended platform.

•    Apple devices run on the iOS native operating system.

•    Apple apps are built using either Objective-C or Swift, and the Xcode IDE.

•    Native apps for Android are written in Java.

•    Native mobile app built using the Android Studio or Eclipse IDE.

•   Apple and Google also provide their own development tools, interface elements and software development kit (SDK) which developers can use to develop native mobile apps.

Web Apps Development:

•    Lower cost compared to Mobile App

•    Built using JavaScript, CSS and HTML5

•    No standard Software Development Kit for building web apps

•    Mostly Developers use Templates

•    Web apps are usually quicker and easier to build

•    To build Web Apps are quicker and easier compared to Mobile Apps

•    Most of the features are simple and easy to use

Mobile Apps vs. Web Apps: The pros and cons

Advantages of Mobile Apps

•    Faster than web apps

•    Greater functionality as they have access to system resources

•    Can work offline

•    Safe and secure — native apps must first be approved by the app store

•   Easier to build due to the availability of developer tools, interface elements and SDKs

Disadvantages of Mobile Apps

•    More expensive to build than web apps

•    Compatibility with different platforms (i.e. iOS and Android) usually means designing and building the app from scratch

•    It may prove difficult to get a native app approved by the app store

•    Maintenance costs can be high 

•    Approval on the app stores takes time 

Advantages of Web Apps

•    Do not need to be downloaded or installed — web apps function in-browser

•    Easy to maintain — they have a common codebase regardless of mobile platform

•    Will update themselves

•    Quicker and easier to build than mobile apps

•    Do not require app store approval, so can be launched quickly

Disadvantages of Web Apps

•    Do not work offline

•    Slower than mobile apps, and less advanced in terms of features

•  May not be as discoverable as mobile apps as they are not listed in a specific database, such as the app store

•  Quality and security are not always guaranteed — web apps don’t need to be approved by the app store

•    Expensive to maintain and update

Conclusion: In this blog, we provide the basic difference between native mobile apps and web apps. If you’re interested in building your own app, read our mobile app development services and find out more.

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