Developing custom mobile applications is never easy. The most confusing thing we encounter in the process is choosing between Progressive Web Apps (PWA) and Native mobile apps. It’s essential to choose the right one for building your app, but it’s not easy to choose among them.

So, to help you understand which one is better for your app, here, you’ll find a full guide on PWA vs Native. Even if you don’t know much about them, you will come to know each vital thing about these two.

It’s quite essential to compare PWA and Native apps because it’s crucial to consider developing a custom mobile app. Before we dive into deep, let’s cover both’ basic meaning so that you have an idea before we compare them.

What exactly is the Native App?

In short, a native app is any mobile application that the users can download from any app store like Google Play Store, App Store, etc. Apart from this, you can also download it easily from any website or other platforms available on the internet. An app is an only Native app when it is developed using either of the following programming languages:

  • Swift or Objective C for Apple Mobile Devices
  • Kotlin or Java for Android devices.

But some apps are built by using cross-platform tools like JavaScript and native code as well, so these apps are Native but only to an extent.

However, the reality is that only developers building the app can tell you whether it’s Native or not.

What is a Progressive Web App (PWA)?

As we always download applications from app stores, so all these apps must be Native. However, you’ll also find progressive web apps from Google Play. So, what apps are precisely known as PWA? Well, there are many definitions of PWA, but mainly there are three things that required for an app to be PWA, and these are:

  • The app must run under HTTPS
  • The app must have a Web App Manifest
  • The must use Service Workers

It might sound so tricky, so PWA is a web application that can look and perform like a native app in a simple language. These apps can access the devices’ hardware to use the camera, track the location, or access the health data.

So, in terms of appearance and usage, it isn’t easy to distinguish between them.

Now that you know a bit about both of them, let’s start with the differences.

Differences between a PWA and Native App

There are many advantages of PWA over the Native app. When it comes to delivering things, a Progressive Web App provides us with the following features compared to a Native App.

  • PWA delivers a user experience which is similar to that of a Native mobile app
  • There’s no downloading required for PWAs, so you don’t have to wait for any lengthy download process
  • PWAs are accessible from any devices, including desktops as well
  • PWAs has a simple development process as compared to Native app development

Even though there are advantages of PWAs, but still there are some factors where PWAs lags, like:

  • A PWA can be hard on the battery of a device
  • It lacks certain features
  • There may occur hardware integration issues

Apart from these downsides, PWAs are still more beneficial and preferred over a Native app.

Well, let’s take an overview of the things that PWA can provide, but the Native app cannot.

  • PWA can work across all devices
  • Google indexes it
  • There’s no downloading required
  • It requires no update
  • The PWA can be linked and shared
  • It requires low data
  • PWA bypasses marketplace

Apart from differences, there are a few similarities as well between both.

Similarities between PWA and Native App

  • Both can function offline
  • There are push notifications in both
  • They both have mobile-specific navigation
  • They can be installed on the home screen


To conclude this comparison between PWA and Native apps, it’s quite clear that there are advantages of PWAs over Native apps. However, there are still some factors that Native apps can provide, but PWA cannot, like a Native app, give a better raw performance, and it can include extra features like API access.