Progressive Web App (PWA) VS Native App

Every year, the world is expanding with the launch of new smartphones and other gadgets available in the market. According to Statista, more than 50% of the population will be using smartphones by the end of 2021.

Hence, businesses worldwide have understood the importance of smartphones and are joining the mobile industry by launching native apps.

Apart from native apps, progressive web apps is another technology that is gaining a lot of attention among businesses. Moreover, various leading companies worldwide have openly accepted PWA and built progressive web apps.

Now, the question arises, how is PWA different from the native apps? Moreover, our readers have requested us to provide a proper comparison between native apps and PWA.

Therefore, in this blog, we will look after the PWA vs Native app.

Before looking at the big picture, we will walk you through the basics of PWA and Native.

What is PWA?

PWA stands for progressive web apps. It is a kind of app developed using web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript; however, it feels and performs like a native app.

What is PWA

Moreover, progressive web apps are fast, reliable, and engaging.

Several well-known PWA examples include Flipkart, Pinterest, MakeMyTrip, Wego, AliExpress, etc.

What is Native App?

A native app is a software application developed using a specific programming language for a particular platform (Android or iOS).

What is Native App

Some of the leading examples of native apps can be Spotify, Gmail, Facebook, and Twitter.

PWA vs. Native: A Detailed Comparison

Here are some of the factors on which we can compare PWA and a Native app.

Which is Easy to Install?

In PWA, the user doesn’t need to install the web app; they can easily access it from the web browser on their smartphone or computer. Moreover, a user can add a home screen shortcut of the PWA and access it anytime.

Easy to Instal

On the other side, the installation process in the native app is lengthy. Here, a user needs to search for a particular app in the respective store and then click on install.

After this, the user needs to provide the necessary permissions, and then only they can access the native app.

However, after using the native app for some time, the user uninstalls an app due to some common reasons like more notifications, advertisement, large size, etc.

According to ThinkWithGoogle, around 50% of smartphone users would love to utilize the company or brand’s mobile site or a web app while browsing or shopping on a smartphone as they don’t want to download an app.

Are Native Apps Faster than Progressive Web Apps?

Performance is the essential factor that differentiates native apps from progressive web apps. The performance of both native and PWA is efficient.

However, the native app’s performance is better than PWA as it is developed for a particular platform and compiled using platforms core programming languages and APIs.

On the contrary, the performance of a PWA depends on three essential features. They are as follows:

Responsive: PWA runs smoothly on various devices.

Progressive: They align well with multiple browsers, despite their missing features.

Offline: A PWA should be able to load cached data when there is no internet connection. However, it requires internet connection to complete a specific task.

In PWA, there is delay and more consumption of the battery compared to a native app. Why? The reason being it runs on a browser that requires a constant internet connection and utilizes more battery. Also, a PWA doesn’t operate on technologies meant for the mobile environment.

Lastly, while considering PWA vs native app performance, it is clear that a native app is faster than PWA.

Can PWA Access Native App Features?

Even though progressive web apps have gained massive popularity among businesses worldwide, they still cannot access all the device features like the native app.

The reason is progressive web apps rely on Web APIs to access hardware features. Hence, they can’t utilize functionalities like bluetooth, geofencing, inter-app communications, etc.

Is PWA More Secure than Native Apps?

Security is the most important thing to protect users’ data in the tech-driven world.

While talking about security, native apps are more secure as compared to the PWA. How?

Firstly, a native app is developed considering the built-in security measures of an application. Secondly, you can integrate various functionalities to increase security in a native app.

This includes a multi-factor authentication method where a user needs to enter two or more verification factors to access the application.

Besides this, certificate pinning can also be integrated into native apps to prevent any man-in-the-middle (MiTM) attacks, confirm users from accessing trusted certificates, and secure HTTPS network traffic.

For publishing a native app, you need to comply with some security practices of a particular app store.

On the other side, PWA operates under the HTTPS protocol; hence, PWA blocks information revealing or altering.

Moreover, as PWA operates in a browser, the majority of the security is handled by the browser. Hence, it is as secure as a website.

However, PWAs are prone to various attacks such as dormant service worker, XSS, file upload, etc. Hence, we can say that PWA is not more secure than a native application.

Which has a Better App Distribution Process?

In the case of a native app, you have to first develop a native app for a specific app store and then submit it to the relevant app store. Google play store and Apple’s app store both are the most suitable options.

However, to ensure that your app gets published on these leading platforms, you need to follow that store’s specific guidelines.

While in the case of PWA, you only have to make sure that your site is live on the internet. Further, you only require a browser to access the web application. Here, it includes various browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Safari.

Hence, your app can reach a wider audience through a PWA.

On the other side, you don’t need to follow a lengthy process to launch a PWA.

Google play store now supports PWA. In short, you can now publish PWA on the Google play store. However, the publishing process in the Google Play Store is not simple for a PWA.

Which is Easier to Rank in Search Results?

Both PWA and Native apps have different processes to show up in the search results.

A PWA follows an SEO, which stands for search engine optimization. On the other side, a Native app follows ASO, which stands for App Store Optimization. Now, let’s understand both things in detail:

PWA is mainly a website, and it follows the standard SEO process similar to other websites on the Web. Due to this, it gets quickly indexed by popular search engines like Google and Bing.

However, to rank your web app on search engines is a battle. You have to follow certain specific SEO principles to ensure that your PWA ranks well in search engines:

  • Make sure all of your web pages are crawlable and accessible through a particular URL.
  • Every page should mention a canonical URL along with a canonical tag.
  • A web app should be secure and work effectively in HTTPS.
  • A web app should load quickly.
  • PWA should have responsive web design and pass Google’s mobile-friendly test.
  • While enabling a PWA besides non-canonical AMP, then integrate rel = “amphtml” tag.
  • Ensure that the content is similar for both the users and the bot.

When you are considering a native app, there are two ways your app can display in the search results. Firstly, within the particular app stores. Secondly, in the leading search engines.

To rank your app in a specific store, you need to focus on App Store Optimization (ASO). Here are some aspects you need to consider to rank your native app in the specific store.

  • Integrate a proper meta title and meta desc in a native app.
  • Add appropriate images and visuals into the native app.
  • Write a relevant description of the native app.
  • Ask users to rate your native app as it plays a vital role in ranking the app.
  • Reach out to influencers to rate and review your app.

If you want to rank your app in the leading search engines like Google, your app needs to be indexed. The criteria for your app to get indexed are the same as a website.

On Google, you will find an app pack, which shows one, three, or six popular apps for a particular search term. It displays various essential details about the app, such as title, image, app rating, and price.

To increase chances of the app ranks in-app pack or the search engines, you need to follow some essential steps given below:

  • Do thorough keyword research: If your app is a document scanner, then rank for the term document scanner.
  • Optimize the title and description: Integrate keyword in your title and description of the app.
  • Obtain some wonderful reviews: Good reviews and ratings help to rank an app better in search engines.
  • Integrate app-specific keyword: As you have an app, you should integrate the keyword app in your title and description if possible.

To rank your app in both, app store and the search engines, you need to invest a lot of time and money.

Hence, we can say PWA is easier to rank in search engines than a native app.

What is the Difference in the Development Cost of PWA and a Native App?

While comparing PWA with the Native app in terms of development cost, the PWA wins the race.

The reason is that for developing a PWA, you only need a single codebase that works across a vast number of devices. When you create a PWA, you can configure it with tools like Google Lighthouse.

According to the tool’s results, you can modify the web app and make it more relevant for the users. To know more, check out this blog on web app development cost.

On the other side, for developing a native app, you have to invest a lot of time and money. Moreover, you have to invest money in maintenance. Besides this, there are a lot of factors that affect native app development cost.

Despite this, if you choose to go with a native app, then it would be fruitful for you in the long run.

If you want to develop an app for Android and iOS, however, you have less budget, you will decide to build an app for a single platform only. Here, you can reduce the cost by developing a hybrid app.

However, the cost of building a hybrid app will be more as compared to the PWA. To know in detail about native & hybrid apps, you can check out this detailed guide on native apps vs hybrid apps.

When to Choose?

Consider PWA if Consider a native app if
You have a limited budget Want to utilize device functionalities
Want an easy app distribution process Provide better security
Want to reach a wider audience Provide top-notch performance
Want to launch quickly in market Want interaction with other apps
Provide enhanced loading speed Want to keep all the things under control

By doing a quick analysis between PWA and Native, you can easily choose between PWA and the native app.

However, if you are still confused in choosing between the PWA and the native app, you can get in touch with our experts.

Guru TechnoLabs is a professional web and mobile app development company worldwide. Hence, we can understand your business well and help you choose the best between PWA and native for your business.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will PWA replace native apps?

PWAs will not replace the native apps according to the current scenario because a native app provides better performance, security, and many other benefits.

Is PWA the future?

Progressive Web App is the future for various businesses because it offers numerous features like accessibility, SEO, performance, etc. The leading app stores in the market, such as Google Play Store and iPhone’s App Store, consist of millions of apps, and hence, businesses would find it hard to gain users and retain them for a long time. On the other side, PWA doesn’t require any installation and is compatible with different devices.

Why do the native apps are still the most widely used apps??

Native apps offer better performance, security, interactivity, scalability, stability, accessibility to hardware features, etc. These apps function well because they are developed for a specific platform. Moreover, they have access to specific APIs and components mainly made for various screen sizes and system versions. Due to this, native apps are still the most widely used apps.

Is PWA better than native apps?

PWA is better than the native apps in many ways, such as follows:

  • Compatibility across multiple devices
  • Optional installation
  • Cost-efficient
  • Doesn’t require any updates
  • SEO-Friendly
Ravi Makhija
Ravi Makhija

An entrepreneur, an IT professional. Tech geek. Founder & CEO at Guru Technolabs - Globally Trusted Web & Mobile App Development Company. Loves writing about new technologies and the latest trends in IT field.