What’s the difference between a Web App a Mobile App?

You probably have heard the term, “There’s an App for that!”, but when referring to App, this can mean 2 things, A Web App or a Mobile App, so what’s the difference?

What is a Web App?

A Web App is predominantly just a website that is designed in a fluid way so that when it is used on mobile device it resizes and reorders itself, adjusting to the scale of the device perfectly, thus mimicking what a Mobile App should look like.
Web Apps are accesses through the web browser on the device, just like visiting any other website. They are not native to any particular system and work on almost any device that has a web browser.
Web Apps do not need to be downloaded, nor do they need to be installed onto the device, simply visit the URL (www.somecoolwebapp.co.uk) and it just works.
As the Web App runs through the browser, an active internet connection is required.

What is a Mobile App?

A Mobile App is software built specifically for a devices operating system, such as iOS (for apple) or Android (for samsung). The Mobile App utilises features natively built into the device such as GPS, Camera, Contacts and more and can integrate these features throughout the App.
Mobile Apps (mostly) have to be installed directly from the native App Store for the device and they then reside on the device it was downloaded too.
The majority of Mobile Apps also do not need an active internet connection and can run and function on your device without one. This depends on the function of the app itself.

Mobile apps vs. web apps
So no we have a better understanding of what the difference of each type of app is lets find out the Pro’s and Cons of each type of application.

Mobile App


  • Lightning Speed! – Mobile Apps utilise the power of the device itself so run extremely fast!
  • Functionality -They almost have tons of extra functionality available to them by utilising the device itself, such as GPS, Email, Contacts, Camera etc.
  • Offline – An active internet connection is not necessarily required and if it is, Mobile Apps have ways of handling no connections and sometimes just limiting its functionality.
  • Security — Mobile Apps go through rigorous Approval systems from their native App Stores.


  • Expensive – Due to the complex coding languages required to build Native Mobile Apps, they can be quite expensive to get built.
  • Compatibility – different platforms (i.e. iOS and Android) usually means designing and building an App for each framework.
  • Maintain – Due to new mobile operating system updates, this could cause breaking changes to your app and you would need to rebuild your app to accommodate these updates.

Web apps


  • No Download Required — web apps function in the web browser, so download or installation is required.
  • Easy to maintain — they have a common codebase regardless of mobile platform.
  • Cheaper – Web Apps are quicker and easier to build than mobile apps so cost less.
  • Do not require app store approval, so can be launched quickly and easily to the world.


  • Offline – Web Apps do not work offline so if there is no internet, there is no app.
  • Speed – Slower than mobile appsand less advanced in terms of features due to being browser based.
  • Searchability – You may never come across that perfect web app as there is no definitive App Store for Web Apps that lists them All!

Now you know the difference between Mobile Apps and Web Apps and we covered the Pros and Cons of each case. Web Apps and Mobile Apps can be equally amazing if built well and offer the functionality you need.

If you want to discuss more about if a Web App or Mobile App would be useful to you or your business then get in touch today and we can explain more about the options available to you from Northern Monkey.

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