Users love to be associated with businesses that have mobile apps and promise an outstanding experience on mobile. Native apps give you a brilliant end-user experience (UX). They’re known for their exceptional performance, better features, and advanced functionality. 

Still, many companies are turning to Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) that help you keep costs under control, ship faster, and reach out to users on numerous platforms. In addition to this, PWAs can be developed without spending lots of resources. 

In this guide, our topic of focus is the PWA app vs native app. We will help you understand what your mobile app development plan should be and see what is ideal for your company’s growth and what your users prefer. 

Progressive Web Applications (PWA)

A PWA is an accelerated website. CSS, Angular, HTML, React, JavaScript, or other web technologies are used to make it a top-quality app-like website.  

It focuses on creating a difference and crafting UX on the mobile web. These types of apps give you an app-like experience with an entire host of web features. Even though all this sounds like a win-win situation, PWAs also have their pros and cons.

Pros of PWAs


PAWs are compatible with every operating system.

URL access

Downloading PWAs is not necessary. You can access every feature via browser by typing the URL. 

Lower costs

PWA is still a website, so it doesn’t require thousands of dollars for its development. As a PWA is compatible with any platform, it is developed once, indicating you will require only one development team. 

App-like UI/UX

A PWA feels much like a native app. 

SEO benefits

A PWA is technically a website. To this end, rather than launching a marketing campaign, you can depend on the benefits of SEO for its promotion. In addition, your app will likely be given a higher ranking due to its mobile-first indexation policy of Google. 

User engagement

Even though it is nothing more than just a tweaked site, a PWA keeps users notified with push notifications.


A PWA can be updated without the need for users to click any buttons. Moreover, all the new features will be available automatically. 

Cons of PWAs

Battery consumption

Since PWA needs internet,it drains the battery quite quickly. Another reason for so much battery consumption is that a PWA runs on technology that is not intended for the mobile environment. Consequently, devices must work harder to understand the code. 

Limited hardware access

Such applications have limited access to hardware and software features. For example, they don’t support features that aren’t maintained by HTML5. 

Moreover, for iOS devices, PWA does not yet work with Touch ID and Face ID, ARKit, Siri, In-App payments, and other primary features of Apple.

Limited functionality

Since PWAs are the brainchild of Google, it doesn’t run well with iOS.

Native Applications

Unlike PWAs, mobile or native apps are developed for a particular operating system (OS) and offer greater features. The native apps are known for their advanced and rich functionality developed for one specific platform. 

The current leaders are iOS and Android. Native apps offer a smooth customer experience and excellent performance using a device’s software and hardware capabilities. Still, many businesses prefer PWAs. So, let’s view the pros and cons of native applications to understand why.  

Pros of Native Applications

The best UX/UI experience

Intuitive and appealing layouts, seamless scrolling, vivid animations, and many more key ingredients of the native feel and look. 


A native app stands true to its name as it is developed using a device’s native language. While offering a vast range of sophisticated features and high speed, mobile apps don’t consume a lot of battery power. 

Excellent performance is why many firms prefer native apps over their PWA counterparts. 

Offline mode

A mobile app can function accurately in an offline mode due to smooth data synchronization with the cloud and local storage. Such applications usually cache data when the connection is there. 

Full access to hardware aspects

Unlike their PWA counterparts, native mobile apps have complete access to the features, such as a microphone, Bluetooth, camera, contact list, GPS, player, accelerometer, and NFC. 

Data protection and security

Since native apps have complete access to hardware components, they’re more efficient at data protection and security. For instance, native apps give you access to 2-factor authentication.

Cons of Native Applications

Installation process

For installing, go to the store and tap on the install button. 

This process can be a little time-consuming, so over 50% of users are more likely to use a web app or a brand’s website for browsing or shopping because they simply have no interest in downloading the app.

Higher costs

Since a native application is developed especially for a specific OS, you will need to hire a different development team for every platform. Hence, you will require a Java or Kotlin developer for an Android application and Swift or Objective-C professionals for an iOS version. 

Simultaneously, you can hire a team of React Native developers to develop a hybrid app, able to work on both platforms. Still, bear in mind that a hybrid app isn’t the same thing as a native app, regardless of its similarity to the latter. 

Promotion costs

As the power of SEO can’t be used with mobile apps, they call for additional promotion in the app stores. 

Memory consumption

One primary downside of mobile apps is that they consume too much RAM. An average iOS app takes up 37.9 MB, whereas its Android counterpart takes about 14.6 MB. Still, these figures may differ depending on the application type.

When to Use Each App Type?

A PWA will not replace a native app, regardless of the former’s advantages.  A top-quality PWA is enough to run a strong business and there is no need to spend money elsewhere.  Here are the following cases that require PWAs:

  • The expected app’s functionality doesn’t call for hardware elements, which aren’t supported by PWAs,
  • Budget always constrains you from reaching a large audience, 
  • Application store policy is not followed,
  • You have to go for other options instead of push notifications to gather attention. 

If your case did not make it to the above list, you need a native mobile application. Let’s look at the business cases that require a native app: 

  • Biometric authentication is compulsory,
  • Push notifications are needed for iOS and Android


We hope that now you have a better understanding of the crucial differences between PWAs and native apps, their principle pros and cons, and use cases.

Owlab is a custom software development company that originated in Ukraine. Now, we have opened up our second development center in Estonia. 

We offer superior application development services and have niche expertise in the areas of healthcare, blockchain, fintech, retail, etc. We are eager to take up more projects and deliver the best custom software solutions.  So, if you need help with the project, just contact our team and share your requirements!