React Native vs Swift: What is Better for iOS App Development?
10 min.

Choosing the right technology stack for iOS app development is crucial in today’s fast-paced tech landscape. In 2023, the decision of React Native vs Swift holds immense importance. It revolves around saving time, effort, and money, establishing goals, and achieving them.

According to Stack Overflow 2022 data, 65.36% of developers use JavaScript, which is the programming language behind React Native, while only 4.9% of respondents reported using Swift in the same year. Additionally, the same survey showed that 12.57% of respondents reported using React Native as their JS-based framework.

Such a technical thing as the platform for your popular apps can impact their success a lot. In this article, we’ll dive deep into the comparison of these two popular frameworks and help you determine which one suits your iOS app development needs best.

React Native or Swift in 2023: What Will Suite Better and for What Type of Projects

React Native is the cross-platform powerhouse. It’s gained immense popularity for its ability to develop apps that can be used on different platforms without the need to write separate code. 

This saves huge amounts of time and effort for your team, not to mention the financial benefit. The framework also has a vibrant open-source community and offers an array of libraries and components.

It’s also a good idea to use React Native for quickly building prototypes and MVPs due to it being universal.

Swift, on the other hand, is Apple’s preferred language for app development, boasting top Swift performance. It’s designed for peak operation on Apple devices, resulting in faster and more efficient applications.

The language allows you to develop apps with an authentic look and feel, providing users with an authentic iOS experience. It’s also a good choice for complex, feature-rich applications that require the utmost speed and security.

Why Is Swift Attractive from a Business Point of View?

When choosing a tech stack for mobile app development, Swift offers several advantages from a business perspective:

  • Enhanced User Experience

When you develop your iOS app with this Apple language, you benefit from reduced loading times for app screens and quicker responses to user interactions. This means your users will enjoy a more responsive and fluid experience when using your app. The language’s efficiency in handling resources and data processing contributes to an enhanced overall user experience.

The enhanced UX not only leads to higher user satisfaction but can also positively impact retention rates and the success of your app in the competitive App Store environment.

  • App Store Approval

Apple, the company behind iOS and the App Store, shows a preference for apps built with Swift. While it’s not an official requirement, Apple’s favoritism towards the language can result in potentially quicker approvals for your product. 

Faster approval times mean your app can reach users sooner, giving you a competitive edge in the market. It’s especially beneficial when you need to roll out timely updates or new features. Swift’s alignment with Apple’s ecosystem can make the entire deployment process smoother and more efficient, helping your business stay agile in responding to user needs.

  • Scalability

As your business grows, so do the demands on your mobile apps. The Apple language is an ideal choice for companies looking to scale and extend their apps. Its clean, modern syntax and performance optimization make it well-suited for handling more significant workloads and complex features as your user base expands.

Scalability is critical for long-term success. Swift’s ability to accommodate increased usage, additional features, and the integration of new technologies ensures that your app can evolve with your business.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Swift

Let’s review the pros and cons of this Apple-approved technology:

Advantages of Swift

First of all, it’s renowned for its exceptional performance and efficiency. Here’s why it stands out:

  • It’s designed to optimize the use of device resources, resulting in faster execution of code. This efficiency translates to quicker load times, smoother animations, and overall snappier app performance.
  • It offers developers low-level control over memory management, which can be crucial for optimizing resource usage. This can lead to memory-efficient apps with reduced chances of crashes or slowdowns.
  • Its compiler is known for its efficiency in optimizing code, producing executables that run faster and consume fewer resources.

Apps built with the language adhere to Apple’s design guidelines, resulting in an authentic iOS look and feel. People feel comfortable and familiar with the user interface, contributing to a positive user experience.

It also provides direct access to iOS-specific features and APIs. This enables developers to leverage the full potential of Apple’s ecosystem, integrating functionalities like Touch ID, Apple Pay, and others seamlessly.

Finally, Swift is designed with a strong focus on preventing common programming errors. It enforces strict type safety, reducing the likelihood of type-related runtime errors. This leads to more reliable code that’s easier to maintain.

The Apple language introduces the concept of optionals, making it clear which values may be absent and requiring developers to handle potential nil values, improving the robustness of the code. Besides, its error handling mechanisms help identify and address errors gracefully, reducing the risk of app crashes and enhancing user satisfaction.

Disadvantages of Swift

One of the primary limitations of Swift is that it’s primarily designed for iOS and macOS development. If your project requires cross-platform compatibility, Swift won’t be the best option, as it doesn’t support Android or other platforms authentically.

Due to its exclusivity, the code written in Swift cannot be directly reused for developing Android apps. This can lead to additional mobile development efforts if you intend to target multiple platforms.

Moreover, developers transitioning to Swift may face a learning curve. The language introduces new syntax and language features, which can take time for developers accustomed to other languages to master. 

Plus, if your project involves working with legacy Objective-C code, it may require additional effort to integrate it with Swift, especially when dealing with older APIs and libraries.

What is React Native?

What’s React Native and why is it so popular?

React Native is a widely acclaimed cross-platform framework used for building iOS and Android applications. It promotes code reusability and allows developers to share a significant portion of their codebase between iOS and Android apps. This minimizes redundancy and reduces development time, making building apps and maintaining them more efficient for both platforms.

The framework enjoys the support of an active and rapidly growing community. This community provides a wealth of resources, libraries, and components, making it easier for developers to find solutions and collaborate on projects. This support network contributes to the framework’s vitality and its ability to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in mobile app development.

We at ProCoders love that React Native offers the invaluable feature of hot reloading. This means that as developers make changes to the code, they can instantly see the results in real time. This greatly speeds up the development process by eliminating the need to repeatedly rebuild and restart the application. Hot reloading enhances developer productivity and allows for quicker testing and iteration.

“React Native is evolving, now with the use of a new architecture, Fabric, TurboModule, Hermes. RN is becoming faster, but a lot depends on the developer’s skills.”

Anton Manuzin, Full-Stack Engineer, ProCoders

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Advantages and Disadvantages of React Native

Nothing is perfect, unfortunately. So, we have to look for the balance of pluses and minuses to find the perfect tech solution for each unique case. Here, let’s review React Native pros and cons.

Advantages of React Native

  • Cross-Platform Compatibility: Its primary advantage is its cross-platform compatibility. This not only saves time but also reduces resource requirements, as a single codebase can serve multiple target platforms.
  • Rapid Development: The framework is particularly well-suited for rapid development, making it an excellent choice for prototyping and developing minimum viable products (MVPs). With code reusability and hot reloading, developers can quickly build and test features, ensuring a swift development process.
  • Vibrant Ecosystem: It benefits from a large and vibrant community. This results in a diverse selection of libraries and components, which not only streamline development but also make it more accessible. The availability of pre-built solutions simplifies complex tasks, such as handling navigation, integrating with authentic modules, and managing state.

Disadvantages of React Native

  • Performance Variability: The framework may not deliver uniform performance across all platforms. Performance can vary between iOS and Android, and achieving consistent results may require additional optimization efforts. This variability can be a consideration for apps that require high performance, such as games with intense graphic effects.
  • Limited Authentic Access: Access to certain platform-specific features or native APIs may require additional configurations and bridging. The framework aims to provide a unified JavaScript interface to native modules, but there are instances where access to specific platform features might not be as straightforward as when you create native apps.

“Not all third-party libraries support it yet. Yes, the native API for RN is closed, but you can always create your own, not directly in Swift but rather in, or through, Objective-C. In general, you need a developer with an understanding of the syntax of these languages and how they work in the iOS SDK ecosystem.”

Anton Manuzin, Full-Stack Engineer, ProCoders

Now, let’s compare the two options in more detail!

Swift vs React Native: which one to choose

Swift vs React Native Comparison

When it comes to choosing the right technology for building iOS apps, the decision between React Native and Swift is pivotal. Let’s delve into a comprehensive comparison of these two frameworks to help you make an informed choice:

Development Approach

React Native excels in cross-platform development and code reusability, reducing development time and effort. You maintain a single codebase for both iOS and Android, simplifying updates and maintenance.

Swift is the preferred choice for iOS app development, delivering an authentic iOS native experience. It’s exclusive to iOS and macOS, making it unsuitable for cross-platform mobile projects.

The language allows direct access to iOS-specific features and APIs, ensuring full utilization of Apple’s ecosystem.

Performance

The framework’s performance may vary between iOS and Android platforms. Optimization may be required for consistent performance. To interact with native modules, React Native relies on a bridge, which can introduce slight performance overhead.

Swift is famous for its optimized performance, resulting in faster load times, smoother animations, and efficient resource usage. Swift apps run natively, eliminating the need for a bridge and ensuring consistently high performance.

User Experience

React Native app development delivers a native-like user experience on both iOS and Android, adhering to platform-specific design guidelines.

Swift ensures an authentic iOS experience, providing users with the authentic look and feel of Apple’s ecosystem.

Learning Curve

Developers familiar with JavaScript and React concepts can transition to React Native more easily.

Those new to Swift may face a moderate learning curve, especially if they come from different programming languages.

App Store Approval

React Native apps follow standard approval procedures in the App Store.

Swift-built apps may receive favoritism from Apple, potentially leading to quicker App Store approvals.

Ideal Use Cases

React Native is ideal for projects that require cross-platform compatibility, saving time and resources.

Swift is the preferred choice for native applications that demand peak performance and access to a wide range of iOS-specific features.

We’ve also prepared a table on the difference between the two for you to help answer the question, “What is better Swift or React Native?”

AspectReact NativeSwift
Cross-Platform DevelopmentYes, for iOS and AndroidNo, exclusive to iOS
PerformanceGood (with optimization)Excellent
User ExperienceNative-likeAuthentic
Learning CurveRelatively lowerModerate
App Store ApprovalStandardFavored by Apple
Ideal for PrototypingYesNot the primary use case
Access to Native FeaturesYes, with some limitationsFull access to iOS features
Code ReusabilityHighLimited (iOS only)
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When Should You Choose Swift or React Native?

The choice between React or Swift hinges on your project’s specific needs. Consider these scenarios:

Use Swift if:

  • You prioritize authentic performance and want to deliver an authentic iOS experience.
  • Your project is iOS-exclusive and does not require cross-platform software development.
  • Your app is complex, requiring access to a wide range of iOS-specific features.

Choose React Native If:

  • Cross-platform compatibility is a priority.
  • You need rapid development.
  • You want to save budget and time by basically creating two apps in one.
When to choose Swift or React Native?

Cost of Hiring iOS Applications Developers in React Native and Swift

Hiring cross-platform or native iOS apps developers can be a significant factor in your project’s cost. Swift developers and React Native developer salary can vary depending on several factors, including experience and location. 

Some estimates suggest the US React Native developer’s monthly rate is somewhere around $9,555 a month (source: ZipRecruiter). Swift specialists’ monthly rate is about $10,500 (ZipRecruiter). Multiply that by the timeframe of your product, throw in additional expert salaries, and you may get an idea of how much does a React Native app cost.

However, we recommend consulting with a development company like ProCoders for accurate cost estimates and to find the right talent for your project.

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How ProCoders Can Help When You Need iOS Swift vs React Native Development

ProCoders offers a wide range of services to meet your app development needs. We can help you with the roadmap and idea unpacking during our free Workshop and Discovery Phase. We can then proceed to augment your team with our developers, QA specialists, and other experts to amp up development.

Finally, if you need a whole tech team for the project, we can assemble it for you to work exclusively on your project, scaling up and down whenever needed. 

With nearly a decade of experience and a team of English-fluent middle and senior developers, we provide full technical support and effective communication to ensure the success of your project!

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Conclusion

In the React Native vs. Swift debate, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Your choice should align with your project’s specific requirements, goals, and target audience. Both have their own strengths and weaknesses, and your decision should be based on what serves your project best.

We’re advocating for cross-platform developers because it’s more universal, and all our partners found it saving their time, effort, and budget without compromising quality and performance.

Either way, when you need help, turn to ProCoders!

FAQs

What is the Relevance of Comparing Swift and React Native?

Comparing React Native versus Swift helps developers and businesses make informed choices for iOS app development, considering factors like performance, cross-platform capabilities, and access to authentic features.

Is React Faster Than Swift?

Swift is known for its optimized performance, making it faster for iOS-specific app development. React Native’s performance may vary between platforms.

Which one is More Resilient React vs Swift?

Swift offers resilience in terms of native iOS development. React Native’s resilience depends on optimization and the project’s specific requirements.

Is Swift More Affordable By Costs and Rates Than React Native?

The cost of hiring Swift developers may vary, but React Native developers are often more readily available and can be more cost-effective for cross-platform projects.

Can React Be Used With Swift?

Yes, the two can be combined for specific parts of an app, allowing developers to leverage both technologies.

What Are the Issues Whice Switching From React Native to Swift?

Switching React Native vs Swift may involve rewriting some native code and adapting to Swift’s native environment. It can be time-consuming and challenging.

Is React Native better than Swift?

React Native is ideal for cross-platform development, but it may not fully replace Swift, especially for projects that require high-performance iOS-specific features.

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