Native App

Native app or native application refers to applications on mobile devices that have been designed and developed specifically for the operating system of the respective device. They are usually distributed as free and paid applications via the app stores, which are linked to the operating system.

General Information

Native apps are tailored to a specific operating system, such as iOS, Android, or Windows Phone, and interact with the hardware. Under certain circumstances, they also interact with the software preinstalled on the system to make optimal use of all available resources. For example, access to data and RAM, camera functions, or the GPS system of the end device is possible. [1]

Native apps are proprietary software to a certain extent because they are developed for a specific system. However, the standards are visible to registered developers: A development environment (SDK) is usually provided, which also enables the connection of interfaces (API). Within the development environment, the source code of the app can then be edited, using specific programming languages such as C++, Objective-C, Swift, or Java, depending on the system.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Native Apps

The advantages and disadvantages of native apps can only be determined with regard to other types of apps, such as web apps or hybrid apps. Before programming an app, you should ask yourself what is the project and what are the goals. A decision should be made not based on which technology is better, but rather what problem the app intends to solve. [2]

  • Performance: Basically, native apps are characterized by the fact that they have a very good performance. They interact with the hardware and offer a faster speed when the user uses the app. The last point is crucial for the highest possible usability in mobile apps.
  • Native functions: In addition, the interaction between native apps and operating system means that (almost) all system functions can be controlled. Native apps can send push messages and access other system-internal functions, like the gyroscope that detects the device's movement and tilt or the data transfer via Bluetooth.
  • Installation and use: Installing a native app is very easy for users. Users can find numerous apps in the respective app stores and install them with a click. They can often be used independently of network access, which is not the case with web apps.
  • Costs and updates: The development costs of native apps can be very high because different versions usually have to be developed for different operating systems. In addition, there are transaction fees that are automatically deducted by the platform. Updates of native apps are also often associated with additional effort because separate updates have to be rolled out for each operating system.

Distribution and Marketing

Native apps are usually distributed via the respective app platforms, such as Apple's App Store or Google Play. Amazon, Nokia, and Samsung also have their own platforms from which the apps can be downloaded, sometimes for a fee. Marketing via these platforms is associated with various guidelines and obligations, depending on the provider. In order for the app to be made available on the platform at all, app developers should follow the best practice examples of the providers. Both Apple and Google provide app developers with tips on how to improve the user experience and market their apps. In terms of marketing, App Store Optimization can additionally be used. Special on- and offline campaigns can also have a positive impact on app user numbers. Methods like app tracking allow extensive functions such as reporting, analysis, and app optimization.

Relevance for Online Marketing

Apps expand the portfolio of a company. Sometimes the app itself dictates the business model. However, native apps are only suitable for certain projects, [3] because a sufficient budget is required, and the highest possible reach can only be achieved if several native apps are programmed for different operating systems. In most cases, these are iOS and Android. For other projects, web apps and so-called hybrid apps can be useful. Against the background of technological development, it can be expected that web apps and hybrid apps will gain in popularity. On the one hand, HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript are increasingly being used. On the other hand, some software manufacturers offer development environments that can be used to convert native apps into web and hybrid apps. Phonegap is one example.[4]


  1. Web App vs. Native App app press. Last opened 19.01.2021.
  2. What is Hybrid App Development? Ionic. Last opened 19.01.2021.
  3. A Guide to Mobile App Development: Web vs. Native vs. Hybrid clearbridgemobile. Last opened 19.01.2021.
  4.  Phonegap Last opened 19.01.2021.