If you wish to build apps for Google Play Store and Apple App Store with React Native, you would first need to know about the core difference between iOS and Android app development using React Native.
Although React Native is technically a hybrid platform, it offers you the best of both worlds, thanks to its many native-like features. Unlike most hybrid platforms that compile a responsive web app into a mobile application, React Native helps you build a true native app with displays that are native to each platform.
Because of this, React Native has been one of the most widely used cross-platform mobile frameworks since 2019.
If you are planning to hire Android developer, make sure you test their knowledge of React Native and how iOS and Android development differs in React Native.
Core Differences between iOS and Android App Development Using React Native
“Write once, use everywhere” – this slogan described the USP of React Native when it first came out. Although you can reuse 85%-90% of the code between iOS and Android, they are, after all, two very different systems. Because of this, there are some practical differences between iOS and Android development using React Native.
You may never find a one-size-fits-all solution in cross-platform app development. You would always need to customize some pieces based on the platform you are developing for. That is why you need to know about the following core differences between iOS and Android development using React Native.
If you are building the app using Expo, which mainly adds an additional layer of abstraction to React Native, you won’t need any special tools. That is because you would not have to deal with native Android or iOS code when using Expo.
But if you are using React Native CLI to build your app, you will need a wide variety of tools for Android and iOS.
Xcode is the first and most important tool that you will need when building iOS apps using React Native. This tool installs the iOS simulator along with various other tools that are necessary in the development process. When working with Xcode, you would also need a Mac OS.
You would need an entirely different toolkit when building Android apps using React Native. Firstly, you will need to install the JDK or Java Development Kit. Another tool that you will need is Android Studio. Android Studio is comparable to Xcode.
Knowing how to use these tools is an integral part of building iOS and Android apps using React Native.
- Native Components
The first thing you will notice when building apps with React Native is that various components of the app look different on Android and iOS. That is entirely natural.
Since React Native translates these components into the platform’s corresponding native component, you will easily notice the cross-platform differences.
A good example of this is the date picker component. Date picker looks entirely different in native iOS when you compare it to how it looks in native Android.
Date Picker in iOS
Date Picker in Android
This poses a challenge. Since these aren’t custom components that look alike in cross-platform, you will need to account for the other styling differences too based on the platform you are building for.
- Operating System
Some tools allow you to run an iOS simulator that you can test your apps on. While these tools may be useful, their reliability is often questioned as they are not official Apple tools.
Android Studio is the only official tool you will find when working on Windows. You can use this tool to test your React Native Android app. Furthermore, since Android Studio works on Macbooks, you will be able to use it when working with macOS.
That is why every React Native developer needs a computer with macOS! Since Xcode and its simulator cannot run on Windows, you can’t test your iOS apps easily when working with Windows. That is a significant limitation since Xcode is a highly useful tool when building apps using React Native.
- Platform Specific Styles – Shadows
This is another important aspect of cross-platform app development, mainly when it comes to the difference between iOS and Android app development using React Native.
When implementing shadows, you need to use the following code:
Putting this code will place a shadow on the iOS version of the app. But as you can see below, the Android version has no shadow at all. That is because Android does not support shadows in React Native.
To place some type of shadow effect, you would need to use the elevation property. It will “elevate” the element above the standard element so that it casts a shadow. The shadow can get bigger depending on how much elevation you add to it.
To add this effect, you would need to put “elevation: 20” to the code shown above and the result will look like this:
Remember, this style property has no effect on iOS apps. That is why you don’t need to use the “platform.select” option here.
- App Release Process
The most important step, which comes after you finish developing and testing your app, is the app’s official release or launch. Releasing web apps is significantly easier and more hassle-free than releasing mobile apps.
A core difference between iOS and Android app development using React Native is in how these apps are released into the market post development. Let’s discuss it briefly.
Before developing and releasing an iOS app, you must go through the Apple Store guidelines. Apple has a much stricter review and approval policy than Android. So, you need to know about all the different reasons apps are rejected by the platform to avoid them. It usually takes a few days for a new app to get approved by the App Store.
You would need to release your Android app to Google Play, which has a relatively easier and more straightforward review and approval policy. Despite that, you should read the approval policy and guidelines to be safe.
These are the top 5 differences between iOS and Android app development using React Native. Knowing how to work around these differences will help you develop the best cross-platform apps using React Native.
Though iOS and Android app development using React Native differs in some areas, most of the differences that we discussed have to do with the layout of the app. You can find quick fixes to most of these issues.
Despite these differences, React Native is one of the most popular app development frameworks out there. It lets you use the majority of the code on both iOS and Android to reduce development time and effort.
There are many other reasons for the consistent popularity of React Native. For instance, it is open-source, and its structure is set to be entirely compatible with both macOS and Windows. React Native also lets you build easy-to-navigate and smooth UI (user interface) in both operating systems.