Look Up Another Term

Redirected from: native app

Definition: native application


An executable program coded in the machine language of the hardware platform it is running in. Native applications are compiled into the machine language of that CPU. For example, Windows and Mac executable apps are in x86 machine language, while mobile apps are ARM based (see x86 and ARM).

Native Apps Vs. Web Apps
Native apps are often contrasted with Web-based applications that are stored on a server and interpreted one line at a time by the browser's JavaScript and HTML interpreters. A native app will always run faster than a Web app, because there is no translation processing taking place. See Web application.

Native Apps Vs. Emulated Apps
Like a Web app, an emulated app is also translated into the machine language of the computer at runtime and is considerably slower than a program developed for that platform to start with. See emulator.

Native Vs. True Native
With the advent of mobile apps, the terminology began to change. Whereas in the past, a native app was a precompiled program in machine language, a native app today can be an interpreted app or one that is compiled at runtime. See native mobile app.