React Native vs. Swift: Which to Choose for Your iOS App

React Native vs. Swift: Which to Choose for Your iOS App

Many of us will have a question regarding iOS app development, such as:

  • Which language to choose?
  • Should you go with React Native, or should you go with a cross-platform?
  • Which one is more beneficial?

This blog will dive deep into React Native and Swift’s features to understand which option is better.

Let’s dive in.

What is React Native?

Designed and developed by Facebook in 2015, React Native is an open-source language based on JavaScript. It’s one of the leading cross-platform languages for creating iOS, Android, and desktop apps. React Native was designed to enable developers to reuse code across the web and on mobile devices. This means that the app developers won’t have to recreate the same app for iOS and Android with React Native; they can reuse the same code across all operating systems.

The React Native framework is, therefore, popular among mobile app developers as it enables them to create multi-platform apps quickly and efficiently. In addition, it is used by some of the most well-known online brands, including Adidas, Airbnb, Glitch, Tesla, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Discord.

Now that we have a context of React Native, let us understand what the Pros and Cons of React Native for iOS Development are.

Advantages of React Native For iOS Development

  1. Saves time: 95% of the code is reusable, i.e., developers can write one code and benefit from making it live on multiple platforms. They can save time and channel it towards creating other apps.
  2. Saves Money: Maintenance and updates are conducted simultaneously on respective platforms, thus saving money after the apps are built and launched. As the code in React Native is reusable, companies can save up to 40% on development costs. In addition, it eliminates hiring two Android and iOS development teams to create the app.
  3. Third-party plugins friendly: Because of its extensive third-party library collection, it is ideal for apps that rely on third-party plugins.
  4. React Native supports hot reloading: This allows developers to simultaneously see changes they’ve made to code in another live preview window. This real-time feedback gives developers a significant advantage over traditional mobile development platforms.
  5. React Native enjoys strong community support: As an open-source framework, many developers are willing to share their knowledge and expertise with others to improve output and performance.
  6. Upgrades are much more straightforward: The modular and intuitive interface makes it easy for other developers to look into someone else’s project and build upon it. This extends increased flexibility to a team of developers and makes creating web application updates and upgrades easier.

Disadvantages of React Native for iOS Development

  1. Updating apps becomes a hassle as React Native goes back and forth between the Native language and JavaScript.
  2. Determining the user interface is challenging, as the interface works on multiple platforms.
  3. Low security because of JavaScript’s loosely typed script results in its lack of type safety, and thus it makes it difficult to scale the apps.

Now that we have a fair know-how about React Native let us explore Swift, its features, and its pros and cons for organizations.

What is Swift?

Chris Latter, an American Software engineer, led a group of engineers to build Swift in 2010. Swift is exclusive to the native iOS system and offers a concise, interactive, and safe code. Swift is a popular programming language created by Apple Inc. and used to create native apps that run on Apple’s operating systems.

Since its introduction, Swift has gained popularity among developers, and in 2015 it became an open source. Many coders believe this programming language is much simpler to code and easier to read than the erstwhile Objective-C language that Apple operating systems for tablets, mobile phones, and computers were created with.

As one of the fastest-growing languages, apps like LinkedIn, Lyft, and Slack leverage Swift for mobile app development because of its inherent benefit. Let’s have a look at them:

Advantages of Swift For iOS Development

  1. Safe: Apple has emphasized its need for safety and created safeguards. Built on C, Swift eliminates unsafe classes and makes the language clean. It’s also easier to debug Swift apps.
  2. Best memory management: Swift has Automatic Reference Counting (ARC), which uses a garbage collector function. ARC collects repeating instances and eliminates them so that apps can perform at their best.
  3. Easy-to-read and write language: Swift has a simple and expressive syntax. As a result, it is much easier to read and write than compared to the Objective-C programming language. This results in faster coding, ease of scaling, rapid problem-solving, and fewer errors in the code.
  4. Interoperability: Swift interoperability allows developers to seamlessly integrate Swift with the Objective-C and Cocoa frameworks. Developers can exchange code between the two languages, which is beneficial, especially for large, long-lasting projects where they can leverage the best features of both languages in one project.

Disadvantages of Swift For iOS Development

  1. Nascent Talent Pool

According to Desmoulins, Swift is reasonably new, and developers who adopted it are scarce. So, first, there is a demand-supply gap. Second, since the language is unique, finding the most skilled developers is a massive challenge, as most large firms snatch these proficient coders.

  1. Compatibility Challenges:

Swift developers are prone to version compatibility issues as they introduce many language changes in newer versions of their programming language. As a result, developers who shift to a more recent version of Swift may face some challenges, including needing to rewrite their app's code.

React Native Vs. Swift: Detailed Comparison

The main difference between React Native and Swift is that React Native is best choice for cross platform development, whereas Swift is suitable for developing native iOS applications.

Let's talk about which is better for your iOS app development: React Native or Swift.

React Native vs Swift: Performance

Performance is collected and influenced by several factors, including CPU usage, memory optimization, architecture, etc. Since Swift is customized for the iOS environment, it performs faster than React Native. React Native doesn’t work well with apps containing heavy graphics, like gaming or video streaming apps.

React Native vs Swift: User Interface

React Native uses native components to achieve native-like interfaces. But there’s a catch. Since React Native controls components, every time the OS upgrades, they must upgrade components too. Also, developers highly depend on third-party libraries to access design components.

It isn’t a problem with Swift since it is designed specifically for iOS. Therefore, it naturally fits with iOS UI. However, there’s also a catch here. Swift developers have to start from scratch and enhance each UI component separately.

React Native vs Swift: App Maintenance

Since React Native highly depends on third-party libraries, with every new release, developers must ensure that libraries are compatible with the current React Native version. This is not an issue with Swift, as it’s not dependent on third-party libraries. Swift uses less code, making maintenance easy.

Enterprise App Development

Enterprise apps differ from customer-facing apps for two core reasons: security and a massive database. Companies store their essential information on apps, and any compromise with security can cause irreparable damage.

Thanks to iOS’s tight security and closed ecosystem, Swift has an advantage over React Native. Besides its ability to handle complex infrastructure, Swift is also a preferred choice for enterprise iOS app development. Features like error handling, protocol-oriented design, and memory management improve corporate-level development.

Average Cost to Build an App

A native iOS app built with Swift will cost between $40,000 to $730,000 because Swift development costs are higher because of the low availability of experienced Swift programmers.

Compared to Swift, React Native is much cheaper to build an iOS app because of the availability of JavaScript developers. On the plus side, React Native’s code is reusable for other platforms like Android and web apps, saving both cost and time.

React Native vs Swift: Debugging

Identifying bugs in Swift is easy because of its simple syntax and clutter-free interface. Developers can use Xcode to track bugs easily. However, with React Native, tracking bugs is not easy since making changes to remove bugs can often interfere with logic.

React Native vs Swift: Ease of Learning

JavaScript has always been a web-first language, and developers may need help adapting it to mobile applications. On the other hand, Swift is a modern coding language, and with Apple’s extensive resources, Swift has a low learning curve. Apple also launched Swift Playground to make the learning curve smoother.

Overall, ease of learning depends heavily on the developer.

React Native vs Swift: Developer Community

Despite its popularity, only 5% of developers use Swift. In addition, its iOS-only image makes developers hesitant to try it out. At the same time, React Native has a massive community, with over 1 million weekly downloads.

Now that we have seen the challenges with Swift and React Native let’s look at solutions. 

Why Choose Clarion Technologies to Find the Best Talent?

At Clarion Technologies, we follow a unique recruitment model that helps reach the top 5% of talent. Most of our clients have found success with our model.

Visibility into Process

With us, each developer works dedicated to your project. Also, our model gives you visibility into the entire project, so you can make changes as you can communicate with developers personally. 

Access to Global Talent Pool

We have an extensive database of Swift and React Native developers spanning regions from the UK, USA, Asia Pacific, etc. Our talent pool is unique because we only work with experienced native and Swift developers. This way, you don’t have to worry about the project going wrong.

Which Is Better: React Native or Swift?

There’s no one answer. The answer depends on your chosen language, your requirements, and what you want to achieve.

Go with Swift: If you need a resource-intensive app requiring much interaction, for example, gaming or enterprise apps.

Go with React Native: If you have a small team and limited resources to build native iOS apps. However, you want to launch the app quickly.

Whichever platform you choose, talented developers are essential to transform your app visions into reality. So, join hands with Clarion Technologies to gain access to global talent.


Author Bio: Binny is a seasoned content marketer in the tech field. With a strong passion for storytelling, she understands digital marketing through creative content strategies. She deeply understands the customer journey and knows how to craft thoughtful content that inspires action. Binny continues to thrive in her role, using her skills to help demystify complex tech concepts for a broader audience.

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