Mobile Apps Vs Web Apps: What’s the Difference and How to Choose?

With over 3.6 billion smartphone users across the globe, there are no signs of it slowing down in the coming years. Everywhere you see, on the city bus, at work, while eating, and even in bed, we are glued to our digital screens. 

In India, consumers spend about 90% of their screen time on apps. Apps both web and mobile have huge potential, no doubt. But how do you make the decision between choosing a mobile app or web app for your business? 

“Apps! They’re all the same, what difference is there going to be?” Did we hear you say that in your mind? Well, web apps and mobile apps are two different things in terms of development, technology, functionality, potential, speed and user experience among others. 

The development for both kinds of apps have rapidly advanced over the last few years. Before you invest in building your app, you need to decide which kind of app will suit your business idea. It is imperative to understand the difference between web apps and mobile apps to choose the right medium to reach your target audience. 

What Are Mobile Apps?

What Are Mobile Apps?

From snoozing your alarm in the mornings to sending a Good Night forward to your family groups, you are using mobile apps all day long. Mobile apps are applications that can run on a mobile/tablet device. 

You need to download these apps to your device to use them. These apps are made for specific platforms like Android and iOS which will be listed on the Play Store or App Store. The apps are downloaded and installed to run on the operating system of your mobile device.

Some well-known examples of mobile apps are: WhatsApp, Ola, Zoom, Paytm and Swiggy. 

What Are Web Apps?

What Are Web Apps?

Web apps are apps that can run on any device the user choses. As long as the device has a web browser i.e. Chrome/Firefox/Mozilla/Safari, the app can fully function on it. It can be a mobile, tablet, laptop or desktop. 

These web apps are fluid and compatible with any device that has an internet connection. They run on a web browser and unlike mobile apps, they do not need to be downloaded and installed to use. 

Some well-known examples of web apps are: Gmail, Netflix, Facebook, Amazon and Trivago.

So, Mobile Apps or Web Apps?

Your app must be built on how you want it to look, feel, operate and interact with your audience. Write down your company’s goals and app’s main functionalities. Think about your target audience and what they are comfortable using. 

Consider your budget for the development of your app and time you have in hand. All of these factors will help you decide if you should go ahead with a mobile app or a web app. To put the difference between the two in plain view: 

Mobile Apps

Web Apps

Mobile Apps

Operating System

Mobile apps work on the operating system of a mobile/tablet device

Web Apps

Web Browser

Web apps work on the web browser on any device

Mobile Apps

Different Apps

They must be built specifically for the platforms i.e. one app for iOS and another for Android

Web Apps

Responsive App

They must be built to be responsive to any device so the same app can be used on any screen size

Mobile Apps

Download

Needs to be downloaded

 

Web Apps

No Download

Works without any downloading and installation

Mobile Apps

No Internet

May or may not need an internet connection

Web Apps

Internet

Needs an internet connection

Mobile Apps

Constant Updates

You must constantly release new updates of the mobile app

Web Apps

Auto Update

It’s a one-time development and can be set to auto-update

Mobile Apps

Expensive

Building and maintaining a mobile app is expensive

Web Apps

Less Costly

Building a web app is less costlier than a mobile app

Mobile Apps

Faster

They are fast and efficient

Web Apps

Slower

They work slower compared to mobile apps

Mobile Apps

Months

It needs a few months to finish the initial phase of building

Web Apps

Weeks

They can be built faster within a few weeks

Mobile Apps

Complex

Complex functionalities can be integrated

Web Apps

Simpler

Complex functionalities are limited

Mobile Apps

Hard

Monetization of mobile apps is harder

Web Apps

Easy

Monetization of web apps is simpler

Mobile Apps

Need Approval

These apps need to be approved by the App/Play Store

Web Apps

Direct launch

They don’t need any approval for launch

Mobile Apps

Listed in Directories

Easy to find as they are listed in the App/Play Store directories

Web Apps

Not Listed

They are not listed in any directory

Both web apps and mobile apps have their own charm with your audience. But it comes down to what will appeal to them the most. In short, if your app doesn’t require complex features and your audience is comfortable using browsers, go for a web app. If your app involves intricacy and you have room on your clock and pocket to keep up with the maintenance of your app, go for a mobile app. 

If you’re still confused about your choice, talk to your developer and list down all that you want for your app. They will help you pick what’s best for your business. 

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