Mobile Apps vs Web Apps: Which is the Better Option?
When it comes to choosing a mobile app development solution, you might have come across two basic options that are widely used by the majority of businesses. Those are mobile apps vs web apps, and it’s hard to decide which one is better suited to your business needs. We’re going to break down the pros and cons of each so you can make the right decision when choosing how to develop your app.
Mobile apps and web apps are excellent ways to build an online presence. But which is the best option for you?
The answer all depends on what you want out of your business. Web apps are built with a browser and a developer, while mobile apps are designed to be downloaded from an app store onto a smartphone or tablet. Both offer their advantages and disadvantages, but which is better?
First off, let’s understand their differences…
Mobile Apps vs. Web Apps: How are they different?
Mobile apps are platform-specific – that is, they are designed to run on either an iOS, Android device or a Windows phone. Mobile apps are installed on your device via the Apple App Store, Google Play or an Android store. They typically utilise phone features, such as the camera, contacts list, GPS and more. They also require a smartphone or tablet to use the app, not a computer browser.
The programming languages used in the development of mobile apps are different too. Common examples are Objective-C or Swift for iOS, Java or Kotlin for Android.
Popular examples of mobile apps are WhatsApp, Instagram, Pinterest and Uber.
Web apps also function differently than mobile apps since they are typically run on servers and not on the user’s device. The browser controls what a user sees, not code running on the phone. Examples of web apps are Google Docs, Gmail (web), Google Drive, Facebook (web).
The Pros and Cons Mobile Apps and Web Apps
Both mobile apps and web apps have their benefits and drawbacks.
Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of each:
- Web apps are more flexible.
- No app store download is required.
- Web apps are easier to maintain than mobile apps.
- They automatically update with the latest version.
- They are easier to develop as a new developer can work with an existing web app instead of building from scratch.
- You don’t need app store approval to launch a web app.
- They require an internet connection to work.
- They need another device to promote the app and spread the word.
- A web app’s security and quality assurance is more difficult than with mobile apps.
- Web apps are slower than mobile apps.
- Mobile apps’ speed means they provide a better user experience.
- A mobile app can provide a more robust and customisable experience.
- Mobile apps can be built to suit a specific need or purpose.
- The app store approval process ensures the quality of the app and its security.
- Thanks to app store search, once an app is published, it is easier to discover.
- They can work offline – without an internet connection.
- Availability of developers tools and SDKs means mobile apps are easier to build.
- Since a user needs to download the app before using it, this creates friction and may prevent them from trying it.
- Unlike a web app, a mobile app requires a smartphone or tablet to use.
- The need to update an app is more tedious with mobile apps, i.e. when Apple requires an app to be updated for each version of iOS.
- App development typically takes more time and resources than a web app.
- App store approval is required to publish an app that can prove frustrating and time-consuming.
Mobile Apps or Web Apps: Which is the better option?
It depends on your particular app and your goals.
Web apps are good for companies who want to experiment and build a product quickly.
However, if you are looking for something more long term, such as an app that will provide more functionality and customisation, then a mobile app is the best choice.
A mobile app is best for apps where speed and offline capabilities are important, such as mobile games.
A web app is the better option for apps where ease of development and an easy launch are more important, such as quick prototypes or small programs.
Web apps will suffice for simple resources with little or no need for robust UX. For example, a blog that needs to load quickly and provides a simple user experience will likely benefit from a web app.
In each case, be sure you consider your requirements carefully before deciding which option is best for you.
So, web apps or mobile apps? It all depends on your goals and needs.
Which do you prefer, mobile apps or web apps? Let us know in the comments!