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React Native VS Swift: What’s Better for iOS App Development?

Whenever a business or developers are looking to create an iOS mobile app, they often are stuck in the dilemma of React Native VS Swift.

React Native and Swift are great technologies for mobile app development, but what should you use when starting a project?

Swift is used for iOS app development, while React Native is for cross-platform development involving Android, Apple, and web applications.

So let’s have a Swift VS React Native comparison to find out what programming language is suitable for your next project.

What is React Native?

React Native is a Javascript-based framework by Facebook, involving many API libraries and components from React. Over the years, React Native has emerged as one of the best mobile app frameworks for developing cross-platform applications.

The reason is that React Native allows a developer to create mobile applications functional for multiple platforms.

Plus, it is based on Javascript, so it has a low learning curve for JS developers. Furthermore, React Native developers have easy access to extensive documentation, communities, and tech support.

Apps Made With React Native

Apps made with react native
Source: Phaedra Solutions

What is Swift?

Swift is another programming language for developing iOS, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple TV operating system applications.

Apple launched Swift in 2014 to replace Objective-C and is 2.6x faster than Objective-C.

As Swift is created by Apple itself, it is the best option for iOS mobile app development.

This programming language is also easy to learn and code. Also, it has a vast community for helping new developers.

Apps Made With Swift

Apps Made with Swift
Source: Phaedra Solutions

React Native VS Swift Comparison

Before deciding the winning programming language for React Native VS Swift, let’s compare them according to the following criteria:

  • Performance and Stability
  • Coding Speed
  • Community and Documentation
  • Testing
  • Cross-platform Availability
  • Cost of Development

1. Performance and Stability

Performance is the most vital concern for everyone when an app gets deployed. Native applications consume the device resources optimally to provide the best user experience.

Swift creates applications specifically for iOS devices with better performance than a React Native app.

Although the apps on Swift may consume more CPU power, the Apple devices have strong processors to handle what an iOS app has to offer.

But that doesn’t mean one cannot create a native application on React Native. It’s just a developer has to do more with fixing bugs and errors before finalizing an MVP.

Some React Native performance issues can be resolved using Hermes, alternate image caching, and memoization techniques.

But the debugging process is faster on Swift because it utilizes the native components, and not a framework to make an app appear as native.

Here, Swift VS React Native performance winner is Swift because native apps deliver better performance.

Also Read: Python VS Swift Comparison

2. Coding Speed

Swift can obtain similar results with fewer lines of code, and it’s even easier for an Objective-C developer.

On the other hand, React Native is a Javascript framework used for creating cross-platform apps. An experienced javascript developer will be more proficient with React Native.

But if we compare the syntax for both platforms, Swift has more clean syntax meaning coding should be faster on it.

Although, the proficiency and experience at a platform matters more than raw coding speed.

3. Community and Documentation

Swift VS React Native, which is easier to find?

Both React Native and Swift have extensive documentation for supporting developers. And there are vast communities on GitHub, Stack Overflow, HackerNews, etc.

In fact, both React Native and Swift have 86.7k stars on GitHub.

Swift is growing strong every year, but React Native has the upper hand in popularity.

Javascript is among the top 3 popular programming languages, so it is easier to find javascript developers who can work on React Native.

Most popular programming languages
Source: Phaedra Solutions Blog

4. Testing

Now let’s move on to how testing works for our React Native VS Swift comparison.

A developer creating an app on React Native can test the app with Jest Framework. Plus, it allows automated testing for specific conditions and cases. And there are other API libraries like Test Renderer and React Native Testing Library for testing the errors.

On Swift, the XCT framework allows automatic testing for the applications. It is based on Xcode and can test various UI elements.

The testing can take more time on React Native because there can be issues with code loading and component issues. So testing is less time consuming on Swift for iOS app development.

Also read: Python, the ultimate choice for startups

5. Cross-platform Availability

If you are familiar with React Native and Swift, you may know Swift programming language works for Apple operating systems only. React Native is used for multiple platforms like Android, iOS, and web.

It means if your goal is an iOS application only, go for Swift. But, in case you need apps for Android or multiple platforms, React Native is a better choice.

6. Cost of Development

Keeping in mind how much app development costs is essential, more specifically for startups.

Here you may also want to know if you should hire app developers in the US or go for non-US app developers.

Cost to hire Swift developers

The cost of hiring a Swift engineer starts from $30/hr and can go above $60/hr.

  • US rates: $41/hr on average
  • Non-US rates: $35/hr on average
  • Average annual salary: $102,000

Cost to hire React Native developers

The cost of hiring a React Native resource ranges from as low as $30 to $100 per hour.

  • US rates: $62.5/hr on average
  • Non-US rates: $50/hr on average
  • Average annual salary: $122,000

(Sources: Talent, Glassdoor, and Ziprecruiter)

You may find Swift developers inexpensive for native iOS apps. But let’s assume you need two native apps for Android and iOS, the cost will go higher.

Alternatively, if you are a startup looking for a cross-platform app, React Native is cheaper because of reusability of the code for other platforms.

Although, we recommend going for native app development for two or more platforms, but if you are low on budget, React Native can be a better option.

React Native VS Swift: Pros and Cons

When developing an app, you need to understand what you are looking for from an application. The pros and cons for Swift VS React Native are:

React Native VS Swift Pros and Cons
Source: Phaedra Solutions

React Native Pros:

  • Best for cross-platform development — It’s a framework with many libraries to develop an application. Also, you can use existing components to start building the app. So, no need to create an application from scratch every time. Plus, React Native’s code is 90% reusable for other platforms. If a startup needs mobile applications for multiple platforms, they can go with React native.
  • Cost-Effective — As the code is reusable, the same code can be used for preparing apps for other platforms.
  • Developers are easier to find — React Native uses the good old Javascript that is among the most known programming languages. That’s why the React Native Developers are easier to find.
  • Hot Reloading — A developer can immediately apply new features in the live application with React Native.

React Native Cons:

  • Not recommended for highly complex applications — If an application is highly complex, cross-platform tools are not the best options. For apps with complicated features, native app development is a better option.
  • Non-viable for pure native development projects — Mobile app development projects that require pure native development are not suitable for React Native.
  • Some problems with UI — It makes the framework components render as native components, so sometimes there will be issues with the user interface. And you might miss out on newer features.

Swift Pros:

  • The best option for native iOS apps — For someone looking to develop an iOS app only, Swift is the best option.
  • Faster iOS development — Swift has a safe typing system with an effective mechanism to handle errors. So a developer can create native applications faster.
  • Better optimized performance — It is backed up by Apple, making it the best solution for creating iOS-based applications. iOS apps built with Swift use the Apple device resources optimally and provide an excellent user experience.
  • More UI compatibility for Apple Devices — This platform supports native iOS apps, using the native components for applications. So the UI is more dynamic and doesn’t face many problems compared to a cross-platform framework.

Swift Cons:

  • No cross-platform support — As mentioned earlier, Swift supports Apple OS only.
  • A small pool of developers — Swift is quite a new programming language, so the Swift developers are not that easy to find.

Conclusion: What’s better for app development?

Swift and React Native have their own advantages and disadvantages. But what is the best option for your app idea?

When to use React Native:

  • Need applications for various platforms
  • Faster development
  • Looking for lower development costs for cross-platform apps

When to use Swift:

  • Faster development of an iOS app
  • Need native iOS app development
  • For more complex iOS projects

If you have any queries or want to hire a Swift developer or React Native developer, you can reach out to Phaedra Solutions.

We are a US-based software development company, working on various projects from web and mobile applications to complex software solutions.

Don’t forget to check out our portfolio.

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