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Definition: native application


An executable program written for the operating system and hardware that it runs in. For example, a Windows application is written to interface with the Windows OS and the x86 machine language. An Apple smartphone app interfaces with the iOS operating system and ARM hardware. 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 run in the browser. Every browser interprets the JavaScript and HTML codes in a Web app regardless of the platform the browser runs in, making Web apps universal applications.

Native apps always run faster than their Web app counterpart, because there is no translation processing taking place between the Web page source code and the computer's machine language. However, depending on the amount of processing that takes place within the app, users may notice little difference in speed. See Web application. See native mobile app.