Progressive Web Apps - 2020. The Pros And Cons

by Sandeep Varma - Oct 20, 2020
Progressive Web Apps or 'PWAs' are web applications that take advantage of new features supported by up-to-date browsers, and they create a user experience similar to a native mobile application. A striking advantage of a PWA is its ability to work offline, send push notifications with no need to download and install from the app stores. According to Gartner Research, PWAs will replace 50% of consumer-facing apps. Well, it is 2020, and we are yet to see the full potential of PWAs around us, though I wouldn't call it dead yet.

So, Will PWAs take over the market? Have native mobile applications finally met its match? Let us look at why we think PWAs still have the power to unseat native applications.


Offline usage - A PWA will continue to work even when we lose our Internet connection. Once the connection is lost, the service worker caches the page with formerly stored data, and the user can keep on browsing. The reliability of a PWA that it brings to its users, making them feel secure about the ability to stay on, even when their network is off, is one of the major reasons to win the market.
Size and load times - In comparison to native mobile apps, PWAs are much smaller and sometimes they weigh even less than 1 megabyte, while the average size of an IOS app is 36Mb, while the Android app is about 13Mb. This makes a PWA lighter and faster to load. Whether you have a fast connection or suffer from slow internet access, the sites can be loaded in less than a second which is different from both web and native apps.

Native look and home screen shortcut - With a PWA, a browser will suggest adding the PWA app shortcut to our home screen making it one click away from opening. When you make this click, you experience an entirely native app lookalike.

Push notifications - PWA notifications act like native app notifications and can remind a user to come back to the site even days after they left it, maintaining the communication with the customers to make your brand an indispensable part of your everyday life.

Development - PWA development is much easier in comparison to native apps as PWA developers manage only one set of code allowing for faster testing and bug fixes. Instead of developing both IOS and Android versions, a progressive web developer does it once. Furthermore, when the application is ready, you just upload it to the server with no need to buy a license for the app stores or the dreaded time waiting for app approval from either Google or Apple. This makes progressive web application development a cost-effective way to reach a wide audience.

iOS Support - From version 11.3 onwards, PWA users weren’t able to use a lot of vital features like Face ID, Touch ID, Bluetooth and had no access to battery information. One more problem was constant reload. After the user got out of the app, the instance was terminated, and the app restarted from scratch if they wanted to use the app again. Though Apple has promised to solve these issues on their new devices, it would still eliminate a considerable number of people having older phones.
Lack of presence on the App Stores - Despite PWA's main advantage (short app downloading process), they are however missed out by a considerable number of users who mainly use the app store to find and download apps.

PWAs have limited capacity - Unfortunately, PWAs aren’t as efficient as native apps written in Swift or Java/Kotlin and do not have as good performance as the native apps have. The difference between JavaScript and native languages makes it challenging to implement advanced functionality to make PWA apps similar to native apps.

Battery Drainage - Very poorly designed PWAs can make your phone work harder than a traditional native app. Those who are greatly concerned with their battery life will make sure they avoid such apps from ever making it to their phone screens.

No access to Native Phone features - PWAs cannot access NFC, Bluetooth, ambient light, proximity sensors, advanced camera controls, contacts, and more, which affects the app and phone usability. Besides, there are a few more downsides of PWAs like Android and iOS devices not supporting the full range of PWA features, restricted offline execution, and limited access to some hardware device components.


Progressive Web Apps are poised to be the future of content consuming on mobile devices. It offers speed, reliability, and high-quality user engagement in a world where every second of the user’s attention is valuable.

As previously mentioned there are many benefits of PWA vs Native Apps, it is about having the right advice to suit the needs of your app and your users. PWA technology is moving forward at an incredible pace, so expect to see fewer cons and more pros in the future with regard to PWA.


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