Difference b/w iOS & Android app development using react native


Keval Padia

React-Native, introduced by Facebook at the top of ReactJs, is designed to increase pace through one language for multiple platforms.

It lets developers build native mobile apps through javascript. Unlike other hybrid frameworks, it offers a web-style approach to developers. Apps can be built without any web at all.

Building apps with a traditional Native framework requires a different set of Android and iOS developers, are not budget-friendly for startups/small businesses and take a slower time to deployment. Whereas, React Native is all about bringing agility to web app development.

User Interface -

Flexbox is React Native’s approach to structuring. It's popular amongst web developers and allows them to create an immersive user experience on mobile. Its considerable advantage is that all the native APIs such as GPS, TouchID & the camera can be used to create complex user interfaces & animations.

Its reusable components, if used well minimize memory consumption and boost performance.

One of the widely adopted hybrid mobile application frameworks, React Native shares around 85% of the code between iOS and Android. Let's jump into some important similarities before we jump into differences:

  • React Native renders UI for both iOS and Android.
  • Its Components can be reused for platform-specific apps.
  • Through its live reload feature, instant changes can be made to codes at any time.
  • It provides comprehensive post-launch support and a bug could be solved in one place for both platforms simultaneously.

Design Guidelines -

iOS and Android work on design guidelines that are platform-specific. Human interface guidelines set for iOS are more rigid than Android’s material design, which is more decentralized and are allowed more freedom. If the business requirements have to be tailored made for each platform, developers might find it hard to code. However, ReactJS is great for speedy development if the application is designed to look the same on both platforms. coding has to be done platform-specific since some components may not go well on both the operating systems.

Key Differences centre around the layout of the application:

  • Plugins that are needed to access native functionality using custom font need to be worked up separately on each platform. Android uses the filename for custom fonts whereas script name is used in iOS.
  • In Android, the navigation pattern comes with the back and app refresh button while with iOS, it works on a screen-specific back button located at the right top of the window.
  • The Multitask panels in Android are as big as the screen while the panels in iOS appear in smaller tabs.
  • iOS uses flat images for simplicity and lower cognitive load. Its icons are square-shaped with rounded up corners. Android allows a wide range of dynamic options including transparent background and shadows for icon design.
  • The picker component which is used to select an item from a list of options delivers different results in the Android emulator compared to the iOS simulator. This is because in spite of being cross-platform, React Native compiles Javascript with platform-specific elements for components to behave differently.
  • Shadow style constitutes an important difference. Android’s O.S doesn’t support it while it appears when one runs an app on iOS, therefore, it looks different on both platforms.
  • Since React Native detects files that have a .android. or .ios. extension, one should consider splitting the code when the platform-specific code gets too complex.

Other Noted Differences Are:

One can build React Native Cross platforms apps entirely on Mac. Android studio could be run both on Windows and Mac OS. However, developers can’t build iOS-powered apps on Windows. For IDE (Integrated development environment) iOS uses XCode which is not compatible with Windows.

Background processing is one major difference that’s been noted among developers. An iOS app running in the background continues to fire additional epics and get messages (if one is using Redux- Observable that is connected to a BLE device). This is not the case for Android apps.

Some libraries demand manual linking when it comes to connecting third-party libraries with an app. One has to add the codebase through Objective C, Swift or Java on respective platforms.


Because app components and codes are reusable, React Native has placed itself as one of the most popular hybrid mobile application development frameworks. It is faster, cheaper and no compromises are made on the features of the application.

The foundation for building applications for iOS and Android is similar. As one progresses to the latter stage of development key differences could be noted in design elements ( typography, screen resolution, buttons, etc), in-app features, and testing tools. They constitute around 15% of changes that developers need to address for platform-specific apps. There are some obvious limitations when it comes to the lack of iOS support on windows. However, it doesn’t hinder its popularity and React Native app development companies are reaping the benefits of its Native’s type capabilities.

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