Native vs Cross Platform Apps

June 1, 2018

The first question faced by any startup wanting to test the market with an app is “should we release on both iOS and Android? Or are we better off starting with one platform then releasing on the other?”

When I was building my first app back in 2016, I decided that the correct way for me to get my idea out and start testing would be through both, an iOS and Android version. This was a nightmare for me; building both versions meant I had to build 2 separate apps and spend at least double the time and money doing so. There had to be another way.

Cross Platform Apps

Cross Platform apps are developed once and work on both, iOS and Android. On the other hand, Native apps are developed specifically for 1 platform.

So say you’re looking to release your app on both iOS and Android, you can either go Native and develop 2 separate apps, or you can reduce development and operation costs by building 1 Cross Platform app that runs on both iOS and Android.

This Comes With Performance Tradeoffs

When it comes to performance, Native apps always win, at least at the time of writing. This is because Native apps have direct access to device features and hardware such as storage and GPS for example, while Cross Platform apps do not.

In simplified terms, this means that when Native apps are installed on a device, they function exactly like part of the operating system, and control the device and its features exactly as the operating system would. Cross Platform apps however, would need to communicate with the device before they can access any of its features. This communication is resource extensive, and is what causes Cross Platform apps to usually run slower and feel laggy.

Fortunately, with more powerful mobile devices becoming readily available, and with the technology behind Cross Platform development continuously improving, performance issues are becoming a thing of the past.

With that being said, it is important to note that apps requiring heavy computation and constant access to device features such as games for example should be built as Native apps.


  • Generally speaking, building apps as MVPs is always more costly than starting with a marketing campaign for example.
  • Cross platform apps have made it more affordable.
  • This comes with performance tradeoffs.
  • The performance gap is slowly being bridged between Cross Platform and Native apps, and in my opinion, has reached a very acceptable level especially for MVP purposes

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