Ionic vs React Native for Cross Platform Mobile App Development

Sep 13, 2018 6:32:00 AM

Ionic vs React Native

Reusable code, faster time-to-market, reduced cost, and native app like performance are some of the prominent reasons behind acceptance of cross-platform app development.

Ionic and React Native are two popular mobile app development frameworks available for building cross platform apps. While Ionic is a Hybrid HTML and Javascript framework, React Native is a cross-platform native app development framework.

Ionic vs React Native- Before we dive deep and compare the differences between these two frameworks, let’s start with the basic introduction to them.

  • Ionic is HTML5 framework for building hybrid apps. It uses HTML, CSS, and Javascript as core technologies for building a mobile app front-end. The hybrid apps built using Ionic are web pages, running in a native app shell.

  • React Native is a javascript framework for building cross-platform native mobile apps. These apps have native UX, high performance, have hardware access, and offers multi platform support. By using React and Javascript as core technologies, mobile apps with native look and feel can be built with this JS framework.

Building Cross Platform Apps using Ionic

Ionic is an open-source SDK for hybrid mobile app development. Built on AngularJS and Apache Cordova, the framework facilitates engineers with knowhow of web development to get started with mobile app development. Ionic offers access to UI elements and layouts that developers would only find with native SDKs for Android and iOS. 

Since Ionic is HTML framework for building mobile apps, it requires native wrappers like Phonegap or Cordova to run the code in smartphone as native apps. Some of the reasons to choose Ionic app development includes:

  • Ionic is open-source and free
  • Default elements to build mobile apps
  • Huge, helpful community
  • Cordova plugins to improve app functionality
  • Code reusability and maintenance ease

Building Cross Platform Apps using React Native

React Native is a Javascript framework for building native mobile apps. It uses Javascript and XML-esque markup (JSX) to develop intuitive app interfaces. What separates React Native from its competitive cross platform app development frameworks is its ability to develop native apps for Android and iOS, just like those built with Java, Swift, or Objective-C.

React Native is known for declarative programming style, virtual DOM concept, and reusable components to speed up mobile app development cycle. Some of the reasons to choose React Native app development includes:

  • React Native is open-source and free
  • Code reusability for Android and iOS
  • App revision with less review cycle
  • Native app like UI/UX
  • Combine React Components with Native Code

ALSO READ: React VS React Native- How do these App Development Technologies Compare?

Ionic VS React Native: Comparison


  • With Ionic, same codebase can be used to build an app for Android, iOS, Windows, Web, and Progressive Web Apps (PWA).
  • When building an app with React Native, same code can be used to build an Android, iOS, and Windows application.

Ionic VS React Native: Both mobile app development frameworks allow code sharing for cross-platform app development.


  • With Ionic, there can be a limitation with features and performance as it uses the webview and cannot access most of the hardware components of the device. Apache Cordova is used in Ionic 2 to access the phone hardware functionality.
  • A React Native app compiles to native code and can access native phone features. Hence, a good performance and scalability goes hand in hand with React Native.

Ionic VS React Native: React Native offers more benefits over Ionic in terms of performance.


  • Since an app built with Ionic is a web app wrapped in native nutshell, the look and feel of the app can be compromised.
  • React Native allows building native components and then combining them to develop an app. The outcome is an app with look and feel, similar to a native app.

Ionic VS React Native: For uncompromised UI/UX of an app, go for React Native.


  • Testing an app built with Ionic can be done in a browser. No need for emulator loading.
  • A React Native app can either be tested in emulator or a real device.

Ionic VS React Native: While web browsers makes testing easy for Ionic apps, emulators can be used for testing React Native apps. In both the cases, testing is simplified.


Ionic is an open-source, free framework to build cross platform apps, and so does React Native. In both the cases, the cost factor for building an app would be quite similar.

Ionic vs React Native: Conclusion

Both Ionic and React Native offer a unique set of advantages to build great mobile apps. However, the comparison above favors React Native as a preferable framework for cross platform app development. Considering the UI/UX, performance, scalability, and cost factor, React Native wins here over Ionic.

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Kartik Kakar

Written by Kartik Kakar

Lead Marketer at Daffodil Software. Inbound Marketer with a passion for technology and cool stuff.