Native and Progressive Web Apps: How are they similar?

3 min read

Incorporating apps in to your marketing strategy gives you wider access to a variety of customers. You are able to simplify their buying process, promote your business consistently and easily as well as being able to look through customer data and evaluate what is and isn’t working for your business. It is a one-time investment that fuels your business growth.

You may have heard about different kinds of apps – native, web and hybrid. You might also have heard of the latest and innovation, Progressive Web Apps (PWA’s), and how they are becoming increasingly popular.

PWA’s are web-based apps that function very much like native or regular mobile apps and, they include many of the same features. They have a combination of capabilities and accessibilities of both the web and the well-known native app market. They do not need to be downloaded as they are launched via any connection to the internet. And, ‘progressive’ indicates that the user experience is uniform across a variety of different browsers, which means your users are not limited to access of your services. Understand the approach you should take when creating your app with help from our resourceful guide.

It’s inevitable that PWA’s and Native apps share many advantages and disadvantages. But, what makes them so similar and different?


With PWA’s, all that is required for them to work is an Internet connection, allowing them to launch and function with great speed. Native apps are listed by app stores or marketplaces and they have to be downloaded straight to the users device. This limits most native apps as some users may not have the relevant memory space to download the large files that the app requires. Maintenance and updates are faster and easier in PWA’s as any changes made by the app developers are instantly reflected by just refreshing them. All changes to native apps have to pass through a stronger process by their respected app stores, which overall is a good thing as this prevents broken and buggy apps from being available to download via the app store.

PWAs are now gradually being indexed by app stores. This means more discovery, distribution and monetisation for the app. Native apps takes a different approach as they become discovered via the App Store Optimisation (ASO) process with keywords.


Native apps, with their installed software, are able to modify their device settings and designs based on the operating system of the device a user has. PWA’s have historically come up short in performance because they are not fully capable of utilising the operating system hardware that – for example – a computer uses.

This same reason prevents PWA’s from accessing basic device features such as Bluetooth, proximity and push notifications. As native apps can access OS-level features like contact lists, calendars, push notifications and access to the users photos, this makes native apps much more accessible.

Whilst native apps are way ahead in terms of push notification services, it’s interesting to note how service workers have started enabling PWA’s to also implement the popular feature into their services. Although it’s starting to be implemented into PWA’s, they still have a long way to go to get the feature as perfect as native apps already do.

Another great PWA feature is the ‘web app manifest‘, which enables websites to advertise themselves as an app. They provide more information about websites and they enable PWA-aware browsers and operating systems to install them just like any other native software.

PWA’s operate well across almost all browsers, platforms, and devices. They work even on iOS, which doesn’t fully support them, because their features are progressive enhancements and they can adapt to a variety of devices/servers. With native apps, you are limited to the device that you have downloaded the app onto.


Neither PWA’s nor native apps have any distinct advantage in terms of app development. However, native apps are better at ensuring consistent quality for user interfaces, as they are built using their software development kits (SDKs). Most native SDK’s have tools to test the design, performance and functionality of an app. They also have tools that help improve native apps, including design systems and boilerplate code.

Although there are similar tools for PWA’s, they are not accessible on a universal scale across all development environments. No single entity monitors the quality of PWA experiences, unlike native apps, which are tested by app stores, app experts and the all important user.

App Developers

It’s easier to find web app developers, given that the JavaScript coding system is one of the most popular programming language tools (followed by Java, C#, HTML, and CSS). This means that the turn around for a PWA is relatively faster than a native app, but it will most likely lack as much depth as a native app could offer. Although native app developers are fewer and in high demand, you are guaranteed to have an app created with passion, expert knowledge and care.

If you have an app idea, Talk To Us today and maybe we could offer you expert knowledge and tips when creating your native app!

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