Distinguish App Types in Mobile [Technology and Functionality]

Looking for other apps on the marketplace may make you confused because there are tons of apps published every month, specifically on mobile. However, all of them are divided into just several categories of app types. Therefore, by deeply understanding what you want to release, you can choose the most suitable app type for your business, in case you want to create one.


In this blog, we will distinguish different app types and then discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each along the way so that you can make an informed decision.

This article will focus more on mobile apps in the technology category over the functionality category.


There are three basic types of mobile apps based on the technology used to code them:

  • Native apps: are designed for a single platform or operating system.
  • Web apps: As they are delivered through a mobile browser, web apps are responsive versions of websites that can work on any mobile device or OS.
  • Hybrid apps: are hybrids of native and web apps that are wrapped within a native app and can have their own icon or be downloaded from an app store.

Native apps

Native apps are created specifically for a mobile device’s operating system (OS). As a result, you can have native Android or native iOS mobile apps. Because they are designed for a single platform, you cannot mix these two app types together.

Native apps are created using a variety of programming languages such as Java, Kotlin, Python, Swift, Objective-C, C++, and React.


Pros: Because of their focus on one platform, the performance of native apps is faster and more stable. They generally use the device’s resources more efficiently than other types of mobile apps. In addition, native apps make use of the native device UI, providing users with a more personalized customer experience.

Because native apps connect directly with the device’s hardware, they have access to a wide range of device features such as Bluetooth, phonebook contacts, camera roll, NFC, and more.

Cons: However, the disadvantage of native apps is that once you start developing them, you must duplicate your efforts for each platform. It is not possible to reuse code written for one platform on another. Then leads to increase costs. Not to mention the time and effort required to maintain and update the codebase for each release.

Also, whenever the app is updated, the user must download the new file and reinstall it. This implies that native apps consume large storage space on the device.

Web apps


Web apps function similarly to native apps, but are accessed through your mobile device’s web browser. Therefore, they are not standalone apps. They are responsive websites that adjust their user interface to the device the user is using.

Furthermore, the progressive web app (PWA), which is essentially a native app running inside a browser, is also one type of web app.

About the language, web apps are created using HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, Ruby, and other web-specific programming languages.

Pros: Because it is web-based, there is no need to modify it to a specific platform or operating system. This reduces development costs.

They don’t take up device memory as native apps. It makes maintenance easier by simply pushing the update live over the web. Users are not required to download the update from the app store.

Cons: However, there is one disadvantage: web apps are entirely dependent on the browser used on the device. The functionalities of web apps available in one browser but not in another can potentially give users different experiences.

Furthermore, because they are website shells, they can not operate completely offline. Even if they have an offline mode, the device will still require an internet connection to back up your data, provide new data, or refresh what’s on screen.

Hybrid apps


Hybrid apps are web apps that have the appearance and experience of native apps. They may have a home screen app icon, responsive design, fast performance, and even the ability to function offline, but they are actually web apps with native app characteristics.

Hybrid apps use a combination of web technologies and native APIs. They are built with Ionic, Objective C, Swift, HTML5, and other languages

Pros: Creating a hybrid app is much faster and less expensive than creating a native app. As a result, a hybrid app can serve as the minimum viable product (MVP), demonstrating the viability of developing a native app. They can be loaded quickly so hybrid apps can support users in places with slower internet connections and offer a consistent user experience.

Finally, because they share a single code base, they have far less code to maintain.

Cons: Hybrid apps may lack the power and speed that native apps have.

Read more: The top 10 Must-Have Features in an EdTech App


Another way to classify web apps is based on their functionalities. With that, we have 6 main types of web apps as followed

Lifestyle mobile app

Lifestyle apps have grown in popularity in recent years. A lifestyle app is one that accelerates or supports the various aspects of your lifestyle. This refers to mobile apps that are related to:

  • Fitness
  • Dating
  • Food
  • Music
  • Travel

Examples of Lifestyle apps include Spotify, Tripadvisor, and Uber.

Social media mobile app


Social media apps are among the most popular types of mobile apps. We create social networks and most of us check in with them on a daily basis. For example, Facebook alone has over 1 billion daily active users.

Some popular social media apps are Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok.

Utility mobile app

Utilities are the types of mobile apps that we may use without even realizing they are apps. Many of them come pre-installed on your device and only serve one purpose.


The following are some examples of common types of utility mobile apps:

  • Reminders
  • Calculator
  • Weather

Game/ entertainment mobile apps

The gaming and entertainment industries are massive and, as a result, extremely competitive and popular as well. In terms of game apps, we can mention Subway Surfer, Angry Birds, and Clash of Clans.

Productivity mobile app

While productivity may appear to be one of the uninteresting types of mobile apps, it is a common category nowadays. These apps assist their users in completing a task quickly and efficiently, making what can be tedious tasks easier and even fun. Some of these are Docs, Sheets, Notion, Evernote…

News/ information mobile app


And the final mobile app type is apps for news and information, which are relatively straightforward. They provide their users with the news and information they seek in an easy-to-understand format that efficiently navigates them to the topics that are most important to them.

Popular news apps are Buzzfeed, Google News & Weather, and Feedly,…


In conclusion, you now have a thorough understanding of the major categories of mobile apps available on the market. Hopefully, this has helped you determine which category your app belongs in and how you can make your app differentiate itself from the competitors

If you need a consultant to build your business a successful mobile app. You can leave your contact here. Our development team with years of experience will provide you with the most suitable and valuable advice for your company.

Son Chu

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