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October 14th, 2019

React Native versus Swift: The Right Framework for Your iOS App Development


In the world of iOS and mobile app development, React Native is a relatively newer technology. It is a framework that was created for Java, whereas Swift is an entirely new programming language in the market, which begs the question; which one should you choose for your iOS app development project?

The Rise in the Popularity of iPhones

Apple’s iPhones are more than just mobile phones, they have now become a phenomenon in society with ever-increasing popularity, ranking higher than even Android. This revolution first began in the year 2007 and since that time, people have become somewhat obsessed with the idea of having an iPhone in their arsenal. The creation of iPhones increased the overall global smartphone sales by a stark 13.2% according to Statista. The reason for this popularity is it’s elite and premium status. Towards the end of 2017, an estimate of 78% of all teens in America owned an iPhone and over 80% of teens claimed that they were planning on their next mobile device to be an iOS device.

What is Swift?

Swift was created to be a multi-paradigm programming language for general purposes by Apple so that it could develop its own iOS devices containing the same ecosystem in June of 2014. The apps created with Swift can be programmed to run on a variety of iOS devices such as tvOS, z/OS, watchOS, and macOS. Swift is currently licensed by Apache License which makes it a language accessible for the entire community.

What is React Native?

React Native was created by Facebook so that device-agnostic mobile applications may be creative. React Native differs from the traditional applications which require a different programming language for every new platform. Since this programming language is also based on JavaScript, developers using this language may easily share the code used on one platform on another as well, which includes iOS web apps and Android apps. Though developers may not be able to share the entire code, they can share up to 70% of it on to a different platform. This type of sharing significantly reduces the development time organizations have to allot when it comes to cross-platform mobile app development. It also saves cost!

React Native vs. Swift – What Makes a Comparison Necessary

Our world has created a necessity for smartphones which has allowed them to be more than just a tool and a means to an end. One simply cannot function without a smartphone anymore, as it is now a part of our lifestyles. Based off of data derived from the IDC, 80% of all mobile phone owners have a habit to check their phones every 15 minutes, especially after they have just woken up. Yes, we do mean they do this before even freshening up in the morning! It may sound bizarre until you notice that you do this as well. 

Regardless of this fact, creating mobile applications is a costly business and sometimes it can be more than organizations can even bear. Then there is the matter of cross-platform applications (also known as Hybrid apps), which cost even more than the traditional apps designed for one platform. Moreover, when a developer is creating an application, he must consider both Android and iOS devices and prepare an application that will work seamlessly on both platforms at the same time, for that purpose a most sturdy platform must be chosen! Could it be React Native or is Swift the right fit? Let us take a dive into the comparison!

Platform Comparison

User Interface

  • React Native: Uses APIs and native components for the platform
  • Swift: Uses iOS native

React Native utilizes everything that JavaScript has to offer which essentially means that it is capable of leveraging internal APIs to run several native elements. That being said, it’s user interface is highly-indistinguishable and has an easier code to configure. Due to the development legacy that JavaScript offers, applications created on React Native have no issues at all adjusting to numerous screen sizes. This can come in handy while creating applications that can be displayed on an iPhone and an iPad simultaneously.

Since Swift is created by Apple to power iOS application, it has no issues leveraging all that the UX has to offer. However, the downside with developing an application based on Swift is that developers have to start from scratch and polish each element individually. 

Speed of Coding

  • React Native: Uses up to 70% reusable code for cross-platform apps
  • Swift: Has elegant code but developers must start from scratch for a different platform 

React Native is an efficient choice for building powerful web apps. Since it takes legacy from JavaScript which has been around since 1995, it has a lot of tools to speed up the process of coding applications, which we believe gives it an unfair advantage against Swift which has only been around for a short time. 

When it comes to coding, Swift is as good as its name. This programming language takes legacy from the previous language Objective-C and it makes full use of it all by making the development process of an application easier with little to no drawbacks. It is simply just convenient.


  • React Native: Works great during CPU usage optimization, can be supported by native components to partake in heavy computations 
  • Swift: iOS native, but is good with computations on iOS

Based off of our intuition, we believe that a native app can perform better than an app-based on a particular framework. However much we wish this was true though, the real answer is not as simple as that. Based off of various tests online state that when two apps are analyzed conduction the same tasks, the differences generated are based on the varying task. React Native apps perform slightly better when it comes to CPU usage optimization, whereas it struggles a bit with graphic effects. To deal with this problem, it gives developers the opportunity to embed existing code into the app so that it can use the full arsenal of tools to conduct various tasks. This surely puts Swift a step back in comparison.

Community and Support

  • React Native: Has a prospering community
  • Swift: Has a large community but can’t be compared to that of React Native’s

It is not a secret that JavaScript is the most popular programming language in the world which can be sued for hybrid web apps and mobile app development. According to reports, this is the sixth consecutive year that JavaScript has been used for over 95.1% of all online websites. Again, in a battle of React Native vs Swift, React Native has an unfair advantage even though Swift is backed by a tech giant like Apple. 


  • React Native: Zero issues
  • Swift: Zero issues

Regardless of the fact that React Native is powered by JavaScript, it does not produce native applications. It works by continually leveraging internal APIs from JavaScript libraries. The problem is that it adds a middle man into the mix that creates a bridge between the code and the platform. 

Whereas when Swift is concerned, it happens to be a native app and has the capabilities to leverage the benefits of its platform. This allows Swift to perform better than React Native. This category is a clear win for Swift. 


  • React Native: Elegant and great storage
  • Swift: Elegant and great storage 

Both React Native and Swift win this category as they both have the support of tech giants. React Native is the creation of Facebook while Swift was created by Apple. This makes both platforms well-documented and organized as well. 

Platform Maturity

  • React Native: Uses the leverage JavaScript brings 
  • Swift: Relatively new 

React Native and Swift are both new. Swift came into existence in 2014 whereas React Native was launched a year later. Though both are trending technologies in the market, there are still major differences between the two. 

Swift happens to be the next step for Objective-C. Though creating a new programming language is not easy, it is the very foundation of software. Swift brings a lot of benefits to the table, but all of them are relatively new.

Then there is React Native which may be a new programming language, but it has the full support of JavaScript which has been in the game for enough amount of time to know the ropes and how to bypass them. It brings a lot of benefits with itself that can be highly beneficial to iOS applications designed in 2019 and 2020.

Final Thoughts

As much as we would like to side with Swift, we can’t deny that it still has a long way to go. React Native may be younger than Swift but it is undeniable that it brings with itself the full power of JavaScript which can be of great use for an iOS app development project. If you have any questions, you can always reach out to the React Native developers at Code Creators to get an idea of which framework is best suited for your next project. 

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