One of the first decisions you will have to make when developing an app is if you want to develop a native app or universal app. One is not necessarily better than the other, they are just very different. Let’s take a look at what both of these terms mean, and then what the pros and cons of each are.

Native Apps

Native apps utilize a specific phones features and built in functionality, meaning these apps are platform specific. An app developed specifically for iPhone will tap into the features only Apple provides, or a platform that allows pinching can be accessed in your app functions. With a native app, if you want to develop for different platforms the code will be different for each.

Universal Apps

Universal, or HTML5 apps are developed for many different devices with one code. This code is more widely known by developers, and may lead to faster app development than a native process. The drawback is that any platform specific features can not be accounted for, as they will not function across the board.

Why Choose Native Over Universal?

Choosing native development comes down to a business decision. Native apps give the best user experience, and perform better than universal apps hands down. If you do not want to risk a frustrated user base who might turn their back on your app when bugs and crashes happen, native is the way to go. If having a leg up on your competition is important to you, native is where you should develop. Universal apps are more basic in their functionality because they can not access platform specific features, while native apps utilize the look and functions of a device.

Why Choose Universal Over Native?

Many companies will develop on a universal platform with the intention of going native once the app gains traction. Generally universal platforms cost less, so the investment is not as daunting when you have a lot of unknown variables. You can launch the app and see if it gains traction before investing in developing natively. With a universal platform you can also gain information about your audience, such as devices they use and demographics, before deciding which platform to develop for.


It’s important to discuss the pros and cons of native and universal for your app. You must determine your objectives for your app, the user base, and the competition to decipher what you should choose. It comes down to what is best for your business, your budget, and your users.