Unravelling the Mystery of Native Apps: What is the Definition?

With smartphones being an indispensable part of our daily lives, mobile apps have witnessed a tremendous growth in the last decade. According to Statista, there were 218 billion app downloads in 2020, and that number is expected to reach 258 billion by 2022. In this era of mobile app evolution, developers often opt for Native App development, a popular and powerful approach to create high-performance, robust mobile applications. This glossary page delves into the world of Native Apps, their definition, how they work, benefits, use cases, best practices, and recommended books on the topic.

“When you build a native app, you put your stake in the ground and let the world know that you’re serious about delivering the best possible experience for your users.” – Ben Horowitz

What is a Native App? Definition of Native application

A Native App is a software program specifically designed and developed for a particular operating system, such as Android or iOS, using platform-specific programming languages and development tools. Native apps offer an optimal user experience, high performance, and access to OS-specific features as they are built using the native development environment provided by the operating system’s creators like Google’s Android Studio for Android and Apple’s Xcode for iOS.

How it Works

Native apps are installed directly on a mobile device and can be accessed via a dedicated app icon on the device’s home screen. They work by utilizing the core programming languages, development tools, and libraries associated with the specific operating system. For Android, the native app development is primarily done using Java or Kotlin, along with Android SDK (Software Development Kit), while for iOS, it’s built using Objective-C or Swift and iOS SDK. These apps can directly interact with the device’s hardware, such as the GPS, camera, microphone, and other peripheral devices, making them capable of executing complex tasks efficiently.

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Benefits of using Native Apps

  • High Performance: Native apps are faster, more efficient and responsive as they are built with platform-specific languages, libraries, and APIs.
  • Better User Experience: These apps provide a superior user experience by following the OS-specific design guidelines, giving them a native look and feel.
  • Access to Device Features: Native apps have access to the full range of device features, including GPS, camera, accelerometer, push notifications, and more, which can enhance the app’s overall functionality.
  • Increased Security: Due to the platform-specific SDKs and APIs, native apps offer a more secure environment for data protection and privacy.
  • Reliable Functionality: As native apps are developed and tested using the official tools provided by platform creators, they ensure better stability and compatibility across different devices.

Native App Use Cases

Some popular use cases for native app development include:

  1. Gaming apps with high-quality graphics and smooth user experience.
  2. Apps that require complex and frequent interaction with device features, such as camera, microphone or GPS.
  3. Financial apps with strict security requirements to protect sensitive user information.
  4. Social networking apps that demand quick responses, such as messaging and video calling.
  5. Media streaming apps like music and video players, which need optimized performance for smooth playback and intuitive controls.

Code Examples

import React, { Component } from 'react';
import { Text, View, TouchableOpacity, Alert } from 'react-native';

class NativeAppExample extends Component {
  onPressButton() {
    Alert.alert('You pressed the button!');

  render() {
    return (
      <View style={{ flex: 1, justifyContent: 'center', alignItems: 'center' }}>
        <Text>Welcome to the Native App!</Text>
          onPress={() => this.onPressButton()}
            backgroundColor: 'blue',
            paddingHorizontal: 20,
            paddingVertical: 10,
            borderRadius: 5,
          <Text style={{ color: 'white' }}>Press me!</Text>

export default NativeAppExample;

Best Practices

When building native apps, it’s important to follow best practices for an exceptional user experience and performance. This includes leveraging platform-specific guidelines and conventions, prioritizing multi-level performance testing, using efficient coding practices and optimizing the app for various devices and screen sizes. Be mindful of the app’s security and data privacy, and continuously maintain and update the app to ensure compatibility with the latest OS versions and devices. When developing for multiple platforms, consider adopting shared code libraries for the common app functionalities to save time and effort.

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Most Recommended Books about Native App

If you’re interested in learning more about Native App development, here are some highly recommended books:

  1. Android Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide by Bill Phillips, Chris Stewart, and Kristin Marsicano – A comprehensive guide for Android development.
  2. Swift in Depth by Tjeerd in’t Veen – A book that covers the latest updates in Swift programming language for iOS development.
  3. Effective Java by Joshua Bloch – A must-read for Java developers with best practices and guidance on Java development.
  4. Mastering iOS 12 Programming by Donny Wals – A detailed guide to help master various iOS development aspects with practical examples.
  5. App Development with Kotlin and Android Studio by John Horton – A step-by-step guide to mastering Kotlin development for Android apps.


In conclusion, native apps have established themselves as the go-to choice for developers seeking optimal performance, seamless user experience, and robust access to device features. By understanding the benefits of native app development, its use cases, and best practices, developers can create cutting-edge mobile applications that delight and engage users on their preferred mobile platforms.

Tagged as

apps, code, definition, development, mobile

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Back in 2013, I founded Echo with the simple business idea: "Connect great tech companies around the globe with the brightest software engineers in Eastern Europe." We've employed hundreds of talents so far and keep going.
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li-url Lou Reverchuk

IT Entrepreneur

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