Cross-platform mobile app development – pros and cons

Cross-platform development pros and cons

In 2022, the previously unceasing expansion of the app economy experienced its first downturn, attributed to post-COVID adjustments. However, according to the "State of Mobile" report by, there have been slight increases in both consumer app spending and app downloads. What does this mean? Well, the mobile market is not a walk in the park. To get a proper ROI, mobile app development must be strictly optimized in terms of costs, and so cross-platform development might be an approach worth considering.

The problem is there is not going back. Mobile presence is a must. Even though a period of massive growth in the late 2000s and early 2010s is definitely over, and it is very difficult to get people to download your app — the average American smartphone user downloads zero apps per month - we are still glued to our smartphones and the mobile channel serves a significant touchpoint for your service. 

In many cases, you simply cannot afford to let it go because it represents a wasted opportunity to foster a deeper connection through three visits a week. Without a mobile app, relying solely on a desktop site, you would likely achieve little or have to spend a significant amount of money boosting your traffic. Certainly, everything ultimately depends on the business strategy, goals, and budget. However, when discussing any type of digital product or a SaaS-like service, the possibilities offered by mobile are invaluable. 

Yet, they don't come cheap, especially when we boldly decide to go native, which means using dedicated technologies—Swift and Objective-C for iOS, and Java or Kotlin for Android. Developing two separate codebases written in these languages was—although technologically excellent—time-consuming and costly because it required two separate teams focused efforts particularly on the same business entities.

This path was the one and only option when both of these systems were new, but now it's one from many, and the most promising alternative - cross-platform mobile app development - stepped in, providing a reasonable balance between technology excellence and business limitations. To say it simply: it was cheaper. 

If you are wondering whether cross-platform mobile app development would work for you, here us out. In this article we will delve into details of this approach and unveil its pros and cons in specific use cases.

Cross-platform Mobile App Development Explained

Let's start from the basis: cross-platform mobile app development can be defined as an approach that allows developers to build a single application that runs smoothly on multiple mobile operating systems, primarily iOS and Android, using a one shared codebase. And that is exactly why it is cheaper and faster. Instead of two teams working separately on iOS and Android apps, we need only one using specific frameworks.

Thus, cross-platform development offers significant cost savings by allowing developers to reuse the code across multiple platforms, ultimately lowering development and maintenance costs.

Sounds pretty cool, doesn't it? And in most cases, it indeed is. Cross-platform development should not be seen merely as a clever trick to slash costs and speed up the app development process at the expense of its quality. Far from it, this is not a shoddy compromise or a risky shortcut, but a legit way of delivering the expected value more quickly.

So... does this mean that cross-platform is now the ultimate form of app development and the "native route" is just old-school stuff for retro-lovers? Well, no, we couldn't simplify it that much, no matter how much we'd like to avoid the "it depends" answer.

Cross-platform mobile app development - despite a wide range of advantages and benefits - comes with some cons, we will cover honestly.

Cross-platform Mobile App Development Pros

Consistent user experience

By leveraging cross-platform technologies, developers can build apps that provide consistent functionality and appearance across diverse devices. This ensures a unified user experience regardless of the platform. All of this with one, shared codebase - developers write code once and can deploy it to various platforms.

Accelerated development process

With a single shared codebase, development time is significantly reduced compared to building separate native apps for each platform from scratch. Developers can create apps faster by writing code once that works everywhere.

Cost efficiency

Developing a single app for multiple platforms is more cost-effective than building separate native apps. One dev team working on the app designed to work across platforms is simply cheaper than two working separately.

Easier maintenance

Having a single codebase makes app maintenance and updates easier. Bug fixes and new features can be implemented once and deployed across all platforms, simplifying the maintenance process.

Faster Time-to-Market

The reduced development time of cross-platform apps allows companies to launch their mobile applications faster.

Access to device features

Modern cross-platform frameworks provide access to most native device features and APIs. This allows developers to leverage platform-specific capabilities like camera, geolocation, push notifications, and more, while still using a shared codebase.

Streamlined Development Workflow

Cross-platform tools often come with integrated development environments (IDEs), debugging tools, and other features that streamline the development process. This makes it easier for developers to write, test, and maintain the codebase.

Large Community and Ecosystem

Popular cross-platform frameworks have thriving communities and rich ecosystems. This means access to a wide range of pre-built components, libraries, and tools that can accelerate development. The community also provides extensive documentation, tutorials, and support.

Cross-platform Mobile App Development Cons

Limited User Experience (UX)

Although modern cross-platform frameworks excless in taking advantages of device features and so - freely shaping the UX, by design native technologies are better in getting the most of the device system. 

Using a single shared codebase  somehow limits the ability to optimize the UX for each platform, potentially leading to a subpar user experience compared to native apps. Cross-platform apps may lack the platform-specific design nuances and may not fully adhere to each platform's design guidelines and best practices.

Performance Issues

Cross-platform apps may face performance glitches and inconsistencies across different devices and OS versions, as the app has to cater to the lowest common denominator. The additional abstraction layer and interpretation required can negatively impact app performance and responsiveness compared to native apps, although - as we said - modern frameworks (such as Flutter for example) are dealing with that.

Integration Challenges

Integrating cross-platform apps with device settings, preferences, and OS-level features can be complex. Developers may need to rely on third-party plugins or custom workarounds, which can introduce compatibility and maintenance issues.

Dependence on Cross-Platform Frameworks

Cross-platform development heavily relies on the chosen framework (such as React Native, Flutter, etc.). Any limitations, bugs, or lack of updates in the framework directly impact the app and require additional work to fix those issues or add support either in the framework itself or by adding native support.


Cross-platform mobile app development is business-wise and, in most cases, will deliver expected results on the desired technological level. However, the nature of a solution designed to work consistently on two very different operating systems always requires some concessions. This means that a project of any significant level of complexity demands a highly skilled technological partner to get the most out of the cross-platform solution or, in the rarest, most advanced projects, to take the native route.