What are Native Apps?

Category: Blog

Did you know that there is more than one type of app? In the app world as we know it today there are two main types of mobile app; the native app and the web app. What’s the difference? In the next couple of posts I will discuss the pros and cons of each and so I’ll kick things off with the native app.

Courtesy of gadgeticworld.com

A native app is the type you find on the Apple app store, Google Play or the Windows app store, they are apps which are partially or wholly written in code that is specific to the operating system on your device. In other words the apps on Google play are designed to run on devices that run Android and the apps on the App store are specific to devices running iOS (i.e. Apple devices).

The benefits of native apps are:

  • They are easy to obtain because you simply click the install button in the store and follow any prompts. Although sometimes they are just a login page until you subscribe through the app developers website.


  •  They can also easily use the hardware on your device such as the camera, GPS, Bluetooth and can detect incoming phone calls. This makes them potentially very powerful for data collection in a farming sense.


  •  Native apps can also automatically sync with a cloud service in real time or wait until there is mobile service. This makes backing up your data so easy that you don’t even have to think about it.


  • With mapping functionality the native apps seem to run smoother and faster which, if the app is designed well, can make all the difference.


The downsides to native apps are:

  • All apps and their updates are subject to scrutiny and approval (or otherwise) by the store in question (Google Play, Apple App Store or Microsoft App Store). This means they need to adhere to certain guidelines dictating the look, function and content as decided by the store.


  • The time taken for updates to apps being approved by the store can cause problems for both the app developer and user. Imagine if a farm management app released an update which had a bug stopping you from adding a spray activity… the developer needs to make the fix and then wait for the store to approve the update. The onus is on the developer to get it right before the update I guess!


  • From a developers perspective it can be very difficult (and expensive) to have separate code for each operating system. You’ll notice that a lot of apps only provide for Apple devices or only for Android devices. This is because in a lot of circumstances the updates have to be written two or three times in different programming languages.


  • Freedom between devices can be limited. Web apps, which I will discuss in detail next time, allow you to log in anywhere on almost any device, regardless of operating system. If you get an app that you can only get on your iPhone, accessing your farm data on your PC or Android device may not be possible.

How can you tell if it’s native? If you can find it on an app store… its native!

On Farmingwithapps.com I’ve listed the platform the app is found on, it’s worth double checking their website though because they may have released their app on another platform since we listed it.


James McShane