React Native vs. Native Android/iOS Development: Which One To Choose in 2021
According to Statista, there were 204 billion mobile app downloads in 2019 alone. Given all the time people spend on their phones, the idea of building a mobile app to grow your business is luring every modern entrepreneur.
When it comes to building a mobile app, one of the dilemmas people face is whether to build one app that functions on both Android and iOS or two different apps, one for each platform.
The decision—going for React Native vs. opting for Native Android/iOS app development—will depend on the utility you want to get out of your mobile app. In this post, I’ll share with you everything you need to know to properly understand the repercussions of each choice.
Understanding the Approaches: React Native
React Native was developed by Facebook to allow building mobile apps simultaneously for both Android and iOS, aka cross-platform development. Because you don’t have to redesign the entire app for a different platform, you can see how React Native for business becomes an obvious choice for entrepreneurs. Opting for React Native has the following main benefits.
It Is Time- and Cost-Efficient
When you don’t have to redesign the UI and UX for two different platforms from scratch and can reuse the code for another platform, you automatically save time. Put simply, if you went with React Native development over Native app development, then you’d only have to hire half the developers Native Android and iOS coding would require.
This saves time, as time leakage can occur when there needs to be coordination between multiple developers, which wouldn’t happen in the case of a React Native developer who doesn’t have anyone to keep up with or wait for.
Moreover, when you’re able to build an app that can be used on both OSs simultaneously because of the ability to reuse the code, the app development cost inevitably drops significantly lower (about 25-30%). So if you’re trying to build an app and are capped on a budget, you can always go with React Native developer.
Imagine if you could monitor the code in real time without having to wait for the app to be built and the code to be compiled to be able to make changes. That’s exactly what happens with React Native, compared to Native Android or iOS development where the developers would’ve had to coordinate at every phase,to make sure they’re on the same page, only after which they move ahead.
The ability to see the coding happening in real time helps you in so many different ways, from being able to make the necessary changes, to having more accountability maintained.
Same Experience on Both iOS and Android
If your goal was to build an app that would deliver the same experience on both Android and iOS platforms, then that’s exactly what’s going to happen opting for the React Native development solution.
Using separate frameworks for building separate Native apps to deliver the same experience is definitely time-consuming. Having said that, companies (running on a tight budget) often launch their apps on iOS first. One of the reasons for this could be that an average iOS user spends more time on apps than an average Android user.
Clubhouse, the invitation-only social media platform, is a recent example of this.
Understanding the Approaches: Native App Development
For better or for worse, there are two mobile operating systems that the entire world revolves around: Android and iOS. Native apps are somewhat the opposite of React Native. The apps here are built independently on both Android and iOS, and the UI and UX development have to happen separately for both platforms.
Android uses Java or Kotlin as its primary programming language, whereas iOS uses Swift as its programming language for Native iOS app development. But why would anyone want to have two separate sets of code for two different platforms? Let’s find out.
When you compare Native apps with cross-platform apps, the difference comes down to the operating speed and overall performance. React Native apps, as good as they may be, lack the performance enhancement abilities that a Native app framework will offer you.
When it comes to running heavy animations and building games, Native apps come to the rescue.
The ways in which you can customize your UI and UX are endless.
A Native Android or iOS app is capable of a lot more sophisticated UI interface and designs, created on Adobe XD, and animations than React Native, thereby becoming a lot more user-friendly. This helps the user understand the navigation around the app more quickly.
When you look at an app like Uber, you realize that an app can often require integrations like Google Maps for GPS, numerous Payment Gateway apps, in-phone apps like Calling and SMS, and so many others. If your app requires such integrations, you might want to go with Native app development because of the ability to handle the heavy lifting.
However, it’s not just that. Different phones have different operating systems, and you can’t get a React Native developer to integrate Android apps and expect that it will play out the same in iOS. Therefore, if you plan to use numerous integrations with your app, it only makes sense if there are separate Native Android and iOS development.
Easy To Launch
One of the most overlooked factors is the fact that there are almost no hiccups when it comes to launching your Native Android or iOS app. It’s mainly because Native app developers will follow the guidelines of the respective operating systems before starting to work on them.
A React Native developer will likely have to find and edit codes and features consistent with a specific operating system.
Which One Is Better?
Well, it entirely depends on who you are and what you are looking for. But, in a nutshell, here are some factors that can push you in either direction.
If you’re someone who can’t afford to spend money on building Native apps, you can definitely go for a React Native development and see how it works out for you. If you aren’t aware of the ramifications of your choice, then you can always reach out to app development companies, and most of them would be happy to advise you.
Maybe you have the budget, but you feel that there aren’t any possible complications when it comes to having integrations, heavy designs, or guideline compliance, in which case you can definitely go with React Native.
In any other case, and especially if you think the app is complex, then in order to still deliver high performance, you need to go with Native Android and/or iOS development.
How Soon Do You Need It?
If you’re in a rush to launch the app, then you can definitely go for React Native. After all, it is a greatly reliable option no matter how much we compare it with Native app development solutions. React Native helps you launch apps really fast on both Android and iOS.
However, you shouldn’t go with Native app development if the app is huge because if you push it to come out sooner, you’ll end up compromising on quality.
Uniqueness of Your Service
If the niche of your market is unexplored, then you should definitely go with Native app development mainly because it won’t take long for your competitors to catch up and enter your market quickly by offering something you’re not. But lucky for you, they can never match your level of performance because in order to set up a quick app, they’ll have to get it made on React Native.
Besides, it’s easy to incorporate new features and update lines of code in Native Android and iOS apps, so you won’t have to worry about falling behind. Similarly, if your market is saturated and you’re entering into it, you may as well go with React Native.
Choices Are Easier When You Know Why
Choices can often seem intimidating, especially when they involve important business decisions. Choosing which path to follow for building your app is definitely such a choice involving many parameters.
However, choices are easier when you are armed with knowledge, and hopefully this post has offered you the necessary information that can make your task less daunting.
Each approach, Reach Native of Native Android/iOS, has its own advantages and disadvantages. As I showed you, the former generally offers flexibility, and it’s time- and cost-efficient, whereas the latter is a better choice when performance and integration possibilities need to be taken into consideration.
In case you still aren’t sure about it, do not hesitate to consult industry experts. And if you are ready to start your mobile app development, you can hire React Native developers and get going!