What Is Native App Development? A Guide

In the hyper-digital world we live in today, apps are the tools that dominate every aspect of our lives. For the developers who work on them, the decision on how to approach the app development can make or break the app’s success. In this guide, we will question what is native app development and understand its benefits, challenges, and strategic advantages.

Understanding What Is Native Development 

With an array of options available, from web to hybrid applications, finding the path that leads to an optimal blend of performance, user engagement, and platform integration can be daunting.

Besides, the pressing demand for apps to enhance user interaction by performing seamlessly across different devices and leveraging the full potential of the device’s hardware makes the choice even harder.

However, in recent years, native app development has entered the scene of app development, promising to address these issues by offering applications tailor-made for specific platforms. 

What Are Native Apps?

Native apps are software applications created for specific mobile operating systems. These include Android for Samsung, Google, and other brands and iOS for Apple devices. 

Using the languages and tools designed for those platforms — Java and Kotlin for Android and Swift and Swift UI for iOS — these apps excel in performance and user experience. This comes mainly from their opportunity to access hardware and software features directly.

On top of that, native apps can work offline, while web apps need internet access to provide their functionalities. This way, users can access the app’s features and content even when disconnected from the internet. 

Another characteristic of native apps is integrating the push notification system from the operating system. By doing so, businesses can reach out directly to the users, driving up user engagement and retention. 

Due to these enhanced features, native applications have slowly become popular among developers striving to assemble intuitive, high-quality mobile applications.

Native Apps vs. Web Apps

One of the main differences between native apps and web apps is how they access the device’s hardware and software. While native apps get installed directly into the mobile device, the web apps need a web browser to access them. Due to this, web apps tend to be slower and need more access to device capabilities.

However, web apps are famous among developers due to their universal accessibility. As long as you have a web browser on your device, you can access the web app. This universal access also makes maintenance easy since there is one codebase for all platforms, making maintenance hassle-free. 

The major drawback of web apps is their dependency on a stable internet connection. On top of this, web apps lag behind native apps in performance as their speed is tight to the speed of the internet connection of the person accessing the app. 

Native Apps vs. Hybrid Apps

Native apps are like custom-tailored suits, explicitly designed for a device’s operating system to ensure they fit perfectly, offering fast performance and full access to the phone’s features.

On the other hand, hybrid apps are like off-the-rack suits; they aim to fit many different devices simultaneously, combining web technologies wrapped in a native container. While convenient, hybrids can’t quite match the perfect fit or performance of a native app.

As the name suggests, hybrid apps blend web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript with native app elements. Such integration allows these apps to run on multiple platforms with a single codebase. This makes them quicker and less costly to develop compared to native apps. 

Hybrid apps can access some device features through plugins, balance performance and flexibility, and are easier to update. Many changes can be deployed directly from the web without updating the app through a store. However, they may not provide as smooth of a user experience or as full access to device capabilities as native apps do.

4 Benefits of Native App Development 

Like crafting a masterpiece, native app development offers benefits that significantly elevate the mobile experience. These advantages range from superior performance to unparalleled access to device capabilities, a more intuitive user interface, and robust security features. These elements are critical in why developers and companies invest in native applications.

Let’s dive deeper into how these benefits manifest and impact the app development process.

1. Performance Advantages

Some developers consider native apps as the sports cars of the app world — built for speed and precision. All jokes aside, native apps are indeed optimized for speed as developers make them using the platform’s native programming language. 

This design-for-the-platform approach harnesses the device processor’s full power, resulting in a smooth, responsive user experience without waiting between loading times.

For developers, this means creating highly responsive applications that can easily handle complex operations and graphics-intensive tasks. As a result, this sets the bar high in terms of user expectations.

2. Access to Full Device Functionality and APIs

The nature of how native apps are developed allows them to fully access the device’s hardware and software features. Unlike hybrid apps, when developing native apps, it feels like you have a master key for all the cool gadgets your phone boasts. From cameras and microphones to GPS and accelerometers, there isn’t a feature of the device you can’t access. 

For the creative minds programming these apps, the opportunities this full access to devices features go beyond coding. It is about creating an experience that allows the users to engage with the app more personally and intuitively.

3. Enhanced User Experience and Interface

In our digital-driven world, just as when we interact in our offline world, the first impression of opening the app plays an important role. It’s all about the vibe they give off – do they feel right at home on your phone, or do they stick out like a sore thumb? 

Native apps get this. They’re like the perfect guests, fitting in smoothly because they follow the house rules of your device’s operating system. From how they look to how you swipe, tap, or scroll, native apps make the navigational patterns, gestures, and animations consistent with other native apps. This makes the app incredibly intuitive to use. 

For the folks behind the scenes, such access allows them to create apps that users can easily use, directly contributing to higher user satisfaction and retention. 

4. Security Features

In a world being swept by digitalization, the security of the information we share online is more important than ever — especially for apps that require people to add their personal information. 

Again, native apps have an edge compared to web or hybrid apps due to their ability to take full advantage of the platform’s security features. From encrypted data storage to secure data transmission and integrated authentication mechanisms, native apps run in a resilient framework that protects user data.

For the tech wizards creating these apps, native apps provide a tight safety net that users trust with their data. This way, they can build apps that people are not afraid to use and share information with. 

Challenges in Native App Development 

While native app development has its fair share of advantages, it also comes with some challenges developers face while programming them.

Understanding these challenges is crucial for any team embarking on native app development, as they can directly impact the project’s timeline, budget, and overall management.

Let’s delve into more detail on the main obstacles of native apps.  

Development Cost

Developing a native app is like planning a custom-built home for iOS and Android lands. You need architects who speak the local dialects fluently — Swift for Apple and Kotlin or Java for Android. Such expertise usually doesn’t come cheap.

Besides, just like custom homes, crafting apps that feel right at home on each platform involves a lot of tailored work — from unique designs to specialized functionalities. This means more work hours clocked in for development and testing, which translates to a higher bill. 

For the smaller players in the game, like startups, these added costs can build a steep financial mountain. Ultimately, this requires a mix of strategic foresight and carefully planned budgets. 

Time-consuming Process

Developing native apps is a marathon, not a sprint. The need to create separate apps for iOS and Android platforms doubles the effort, as each app must be designed, coded, and tested within its unique ecosystem. 

This duplication of work extends the development timeline significantly, especially when striving for feature parity across platforms.

Updates and maintenance add another layer of time commitment. Each platform’s app requires individual attention whenever changes are made. Such prolonged timelines can delay market entry, miss timely opportunities, or allow competitors to gain ground. 

Need for Multiple Codebases

Picture this: you have a restaurant with two separate kitchens; one serves French cuisine, and the other specializes in authentic Japanese dishes. Building native apps is pretty much like this. You must master cooking (read: developing) for iOS and Android. 

This means that you need to master two very different recipes, each with its own set of ingredients and techniques. The tricky thing is that you are not cooking two meals. Instead, you are running two culinary worlds, each with its rhythm, culture, and language.

The duplication of effort increases the risk of inconsistencies and bugs, as changes made in one app must be mirrored in the other. Of course, this is a time-consuming process and prone to human error. This approach demands a diverse skill set from the development team, as they need to be proficient in the languages and tools of both ecosystems.

The Future of Native App Development 

As technology progresses, the future of native app development has never been more promising. Thanks to emerging trends and leaps in mobile hardware, we expect that native apps will be fully integrated into our daily lives.

For one, augmented reality (AR) can turn smartphones into a magic window that seamlessly blends digital and physical worlds. Another game changer is Artificial intelligence (AI), which helps make apps more intelligent and more personalized as we interact with them. 

Then, there’s the evolution of mobile devices with more powerful processors and sensors. These open new possibilities for developers to create even more immersive and interactive experiences. Thanks to the hardware progress, native apps will harness even greater power, offering functionalities that were once the stuff of science fiction. 


In the rapidly evolving digital landscape, native app development stands as a cornerstone, blending unmatched performance with a user-centric approach. As we’ve explored, what is native app development goes beyond its technical interface. Its significance is undeniably rooted in delivering seamless, intuitive experiences tailored to the very fabric of our devices.

Beyond just developing apps, native apps provide an opportunity to craft future-ready digital experiences that resonate deeply with users today and tomorrow.


What is the difference between native and hybrid app development?

Native apps are developed using the platform’s specific language and tools, while hybrid apps are created using a single codebase for all platforms.

How long does it take to develop a native app?

The development time for a native app can vary widely, typically ranging from a few months to over a year, depending on the app’s complexity and features.

Can I convert my web app into a native app?

Yes, you can convert a web app into a native app, but it requires rebuilding it using the native programming languages of the desired platforms.