Different types of mobile apps you should know about

16 min read
November 10, 2023

Building a mobile app is a good way to expand your business’ reach and generate more revenue.

But, you need to build the right app to make that happen.

And deciding on the right type of app to build isn’t easy.

That’s why we’ll cover 8 types of mobile apps you should consider building in this article.

Let’s go!

2 types of apps by technology

First, we’ll cover the 2 main types of apps by technology – native and cross-platform mobile apps.

Native mobile apps

Native mobile apps are developed specifically for a particular operating system (OS) like iOS or Android.

And they’re built using native programming languages and tools, like:

  • iOS – Swift, Objective-C, Xcode
  • Android – Java, Kotlin, Android Studio

Native apps are more reliable and offer better performance than cross-platform apps.

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That’s because they can use the full capabilities of a user’s device and seamlessly integrate with device-specific features and hardware.

But, that comes at a cost – they’re also more expensive and take longer to build.

Pros and cons of native mobile apps


  • Optimized performance
  • Superior user experience
  • Full access to device features
  • Access to the latest security features


  • Increased development costs
  • Longer development time
  • More expensive to maintain

When to choose native mobile app development

  • If you need a high-performance app

If you want to build a high-performance app, like a gaming app, native mobile app development is the better choice because it’ll be optimized for the OS you’re targeting. 

  • If your app has complex features

For apps with complex features, e.g. a fitness tracker app, native development is the right choice because you get full access to device features and components like the camera or location services.

  • If you need advanced security features

Apps that need advanced security features, like fintech apps, should be built natively to take advantage of the latest platform-specific security features.

Cross-platform mobile apps

Cross-platform mobile apps are built to run on multiple operating systems from a single codebase.

And that means you don’t need to write separate code for each platform, which significantly speeds up the development process.

Cross-platform apps are built using frameworks like:

  • Flutter
  • React Native
  • Kotlin Multiplatform
  • Ionic
  • NativeScript

The goal of cross-platform app development is to build apps with a native-like experience while reducing development time and cost.

But, there’s a catch.

They have poorer performance than native apps and lack access to native device features.

So, they’re not the right fit for every app type, especially ones with complex features.

Pros and cons of cross-platform mobile apps


  • Cost-effective to build
  • Faster development
  • Wider reach
  • Easier maintenance


  • Poorer performance
  • Limited access to device features
  • Large app size

When to choose cross-platform app development

  • If you’re on a tighter budget

If you’re a startup building an app on a limited budget, cross-platform app development is the way to go if you want to target both iOS and Android users.

  • If you’re building a simple or medium-complexity app

Cross-platform development is a good choice if you’re building an app that’s (relatively) simple and doesn’t need advanced native features, like an e-commerce app.

  • If you need to get to market quickly

If you’re under a time crunch and need to get your app to market quickly, cross-platform development is the better option because it supports faster development.

8 types of apps by industry

Now, we’ll cover 8 types of mobile apps by industry.

Utility apps

Building a utility app is a good way to get started with developing mobile apps.

But, what exactly is a utility app?

A utility app is an app that serves a specific function or solves a specific problem.

In simple terms, it makes doing a certain task easier.

Often, they come pre-installed on users’ phones so if you end up building a utility app, it should offer extra value to your users.

Some of the most common utility apps are:

  • Calculators
  • Unit converters
  • Flashlights
  • File managers
  • Weather apps

The main benefit of utility apps is that they’re relatively easy to build and launch.

That’s because they have specific functions that are the same in every app.

So, every calculator app performs the same functions, for example.

But, where you can stand out is in the user experience (UX) and extra value your utility app provides.

Let’s discuss some key features you should include in your utility app to make that happen.

Key features you should add to your utility app

The specific features you’ll add will depend on the type of utility app you end up building.

A weather app will have wildly different features to a file manager, for example.

But, some features should be universal for every utility app.

One such feature is an intuitive user interface (UI).

Benefits of intuitive UI design

source: Revival Pixel

Having an intuitive, easy-to-use UI will go a long way toward improving your users’ experience and making your app stand out from the competition.

And that’s especially important with utility apps, as your competitors’ apps will have very similar functionalities.

Also, you need to make sure that your app is optimized for performance.

Like Jeff Attwood, co-founder of Stack Overflow, said: “Performance is a feature.”

That’s also something that will help your app stand out from the rest.

And that’ll help it be successful.

Gaming apps

Mobile gaming is a fast-growing industry.

According to Precedence Research, the mobile gaming market was worth $184.4 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach $775.69 billion by 2032 – that’s a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.5%.

And building a gaming app can help you get a slice of that pie.

Take Candy Crush, for example.

Although it’s a relatively simple puzzle game, it generated a staggering $5.1 billion in revenue between 2017 and 2021, as you can see below:

Candy Crush revenue 2017-2021

source: Juego Studio

Candy Crush shows just how profitable gaming apps can be.

Another compelling reason to build a gaming app is the sheer number of people who play mobile games – Zippia estimates that there are over 1.92 billion mobile gamers in 2023.

That’s a huge user base you can target with your app.

But if you want it to be successful, you need to do it right.

Let’s take a look at some key features you should include in your gaming app to make that happen.

Key features you should add to your gaming app

Your gaming app’s key feature will be your app’s gameplay mechanics.

If you want it to succeed, your core mechanics should be engaging and fun.

You can have the best-designed gaming app, but if your core gameplay mechanics don’t hit the mark, it won’t resonate with your users.

That’s why you should focus on making your gameplay compelling and interesting before doing anything else.

Also, you should include an easily understandable tutorial to help new players understand your game’s mechanics.

Call of Duty: Mobile tutorial

source: GottaBeMobile

A good mobile app user onboarding experience is key for every app, but with mobile gaming apps, it’s an absolute must.

After all, first impressions matter.

And if new users can’t figure out how to play your mobile game, they won’t come back.

Another feature you should add to your mobile gaming app is customization.

Your users should be able to customize various gameplay elements to get a more personalized experience playing your game.

And that will keep them coming back.

Educational apps

As people spend more and more time using mobile apps, the effects of that are felt across various industries.

And education is no exception.

Educational apps are revolutionizing the education sector and the education technology market is booming.

Here’s a more detailed overview:

EdTech growth

source: HolonIQ

And educational apps cover everything from learning foreign languages to professional courses.

Some of the biggest apps on the market are:

And you have a lot of options if you decide to build an educational mobile app.

You can build an internal educational app for your business, for example.

This will help you onboard new hires faster as well as upskill your existing team members.

Now, let’s talk about the key features your educational app should have.

Key features you should add to your educational app

A key feature that almost every educational app has is progress tracking.

Your users should be able to continually track their progress and any achievements they gain.

But, it’s not enough to just do that and stop there.

The progress tracking in your app should be engaging and improve your users’ experience.

Here’s an example of Duolingo’s progress tracking:

Duolingo progress tracking

source: Duolingo Blog

Duolingo’s progress tracking is well-designed and engaging and their users can see exactly where they left off without being overwhelmed by numbers.

Another feature your educational app should offer is customized learning paths.

Your app should adjust to each user’s level of knowledge and performance.

This will help create a personalized experience tailored to each users’ preferences and skill level.

Also, it’s a good idea to offer additional resources and materials in your app.

This way, your users can delve deeper into a topic they’re interested in without having to leave the app.

And that will help you retain your users even when after they finish wih

E-commerce apps

Another type of mobile app you can build is an e-commerce app.

E-commerce is the buying and selling of goods and services on online platforms like:

And it’s a very lucrative industry that will only grow in in the coming years.

Types of e-commerce

source: GeeksforGeeks

A report by Precedence Research estimates that the value of the e-commerce industry reached $14.14 trillion in 2022 and is expected to grow to a staggering $57.22 trillion by 2032.

These numbers prove that e-commerce is here to stay.

And building an e-commerce app is a great way to market your goods and services and grow your company.

Now, let’s discuss the key features that will help make your app a success.

Key features you should add to your e-commerce app

A key feature that will help your e-commerce mobile app stand out is your recommendation system.

A personalized recommendation system will help you retain your app’s users.

It will help you generate more revenue, too.

Take Amazon’s recommendation system, for example.

McKinsey estimates that it’s responsible for generating 35% of Amazon’s yearly revenue.

And the best part?

You can use it in your app.

Amazon offers their recommendation system as a service through Amazon Personalize.

Amazon Personalize

source: AWS

Another important feature you should include in your e-commerce app is advanced filtering.

This will help your users quickly find (and buy) the products they’re looking for.

If they can easily find exactly what they’re looking for in your app, they will be much more likely to use it again.

And that’s exactly what you should be looking for when building your e-commerce app.

Lifestyle apps

Lifestyle apps are mobile apps that aim to improve various aspects of their users’ everyday lives.

They include apps about a wide range of everyday activities, like:

  • Dating apps
  • Fitness apps
  • Meditation apps
  • Fashion apps
  • Cooking apps

And these apps are growing in popularity.

Let’s take a closer look at just one type of lifestyle app – fitness apps.


source: FitnessView

According to Grand View Research, the size of the fitness app market in 2022 was $1.5 billion and it’s expected to grow to $4.8 billion by 2030, with a CAGR of 17.6%.

These numbers show that it’s a market with strong growth potential.

And that’s why building a lifestyle app can be good for your business.

Now, let’s discuss the key features you should add to your lifestyle app to make it a success.

Key features you should add to your lifestyle app

One key feature your lifestyle app should have is detailed user profiles.

A detailed profile will help your users set their preferences and goals and tailor the app based on their specific needs.

That will help you personalize your app and that’s exactly what users want.

Also, your lifestyle app should have in-depth how-to guides and tutorials.

They’re especially important if your app has a progression system and you regularly introduce new concepts and techniques.

And they also deliver extra value to your users, which will keep them coming back to your app.

Another important feature you should add to your lifestyle app is a community forum or chat room.

This way, your users can share their experiences, connect with other users, and build a community in your app.

And that’s a great way for your app to stand out from the crowd.

Communication apps

Communication apps are self-explanatory.

They’re a key part of modern life and help people connect with each other for both personal and professional reasons.

We’ve all used apps like:

They all offer an easy way to connect and talk to other users through text or video.

Slack UI

source: PCWorld

And with so many big players in this market, it might seem like building a communication app is a waste of time.

But, that’s not the case.

For example, you can build an internal communication app for your business.

They can be especially useful if you have employees all over the world or if your business handles sensitive data.

With your own app, you’ll have full control over your company’s data and won’t have to rely on third-party apps.

And if your app is successful internally, you can even spin it off and market it to other companies.

Now, let’s discuss the key features your communication app should have.

Key features you should add to your communication app

The main feature you should focus on in your app is the communication system your users will use.

This can be:

  • Instant messaging
  • Voice calls
  • Video calls

Getting this right is key to your app’s success.

Of course, as you update your app you can add other means of communication.

But, make sure your core communication channel is top-notch.

Another key feature you should include is end-to-end encryption.

With cybercrime on the rise, your app’s security should be a top priority.

Cybercrime costs 2018-2027

source: Statista

With end-to-end encryption, your users’ messages and calls will be private and secure.

And that will help you build trust with your users.

Also, you should include file sharing in your app.

Your users should be able to securely send and receive documents, pictures, and other files through your app.

This will make your app more user-friendly and useful.

And that’s key to its success.

Productivity apps

Productivity apps are the backbone of modern work.

They help:

  • Teams organize their tasks
  • Improve collaboration
  • Increase efficiency

Some of the biggest productivity apps on the market today are:

These apps help teams and workers complete their tasks faster and more efficiently.

So, what are the benefits of building your own productivity app?

For starters, you’ll improve your internal processes.

If your app improves productivity in your own organization, it can do the same for others, too.

And that’s why it makes sense to build one of your own, especially if existing apps don’t fully meet your needs.

Also, there’s continuous demand for newer and better productivity apps.

So, if the app you build fills a gap in the market and offers better features than the competition, it will be successful 9 times out of 10.

Now, let’s talk about those features in more detail.

Key features you should add to your productivity app

The main point of building a productivity app is to help your users manage their time and tasks more efficiently.

And that’s why task management is the key feature you should focus on.

Your users should be able to:

  • Create tasks
  • Make to-do lists
  • Prioritize tasks
  • Categorize tasks

But, you need to make sure that you offer customization options.

After all, an engineering team has different priorities to a marketing team, for example.

Also, your app should have cross-platform syncing.

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Your users should be able to access the app regardless of the device they’re using.

Another important feature your app should have are collaboration tools.

Features like real-time editing and commenting will help your users collaborate more effectively.

And that’s what productivity apps are all about.

Fintech apps

Fintech apps are one of the fastest growing mobile app types currently on the market.

They’ve revolutionized how we handle digital financial services and they’re at the forefront of the digital transformation in finance.

The term “fintech” covers a number of different activities, as you can see in the picture below:


source: Unit21

And the stats back up the value of fintech.

Vantage Market Research estimates that the value of the global fintech market in 2023 reached $133.84 billion and it’s expected to grow to $556.68 billion by 2030 – that’s a CAGR of 19.5%.

These numbers prove that it’s a resilient market that won’t lose value in the coming years.

And that’s why building a fintech app makes sense.

Now, let’s go over the key features your app should have to be successful.

Key features you should add to your fintech app

The key to a successful fintech app is user trust.

And to get that trust, your app needs to be secure.

That’s why adding security features like biometric authentication is so important.

And biometric authentication is one of the most secure forms of authentication, as you can see in the Spiceworks survey below:

Most secure forms of authentication

Another important feature your fintech app should have is real-time tracking.

Depending on the purpose of your app, you should track:

  • Your users’ account balance
  • Currency exchange rates
  • Transactions
  • Stock prices

This will keep your users informed about any changes that happen and provide them with a better experience using your app.

Also, make sure you add data visualizations.

After all, people are visual creatures by nature.

Visualizations can break down complex financial terms into a more manageable format for your users.

And that ease of use will help you retain your users for the long-term.

Mobile app types: FAQs

The main differences between native and cross-platform apps are cost and performance.

Native apps have better performance, but they’re also costlier and take longer to build.

On the other hand, cross-platform apps are cheaper and faster to build but they have performance limitations and can’t access native device features.

You should build:

  • Utility apps
  • Gaming apps
  • Educational apps
  • E-commerce apps
  • Lifestyle apps
  • Communication apps
  • Productivity apps
  • Fintech apps

The easiest types of apps to build are apps with simple features and that don’t require you to follow specific regulations.

And of the types we’ve covered, the easiest to build are utility apps and productivity apps.

They usually have a straightforward set of features and a simple UI, so they’re generally the easiest to build.

Which type of mobile app do you want to build?

Building a mobile app can be a great decision for your business.

But, you need to build the right kind of app to reap the benefits of building one.

If you want to learn more, check out how we build mobile apps and get in touch with us if you need help building one.

Written by

Vladimir Kolbas

IOS Team Lead

When something unusual happens, Vlado is the man with an explanation. An experienced iOS Team Lead with a PhD in Astrophysics, he has a staggering knowledge of IT. Vlado has a lot of responsibilities, but still has time to help everybody on the team, no matter how big or small the need. His passions include coffee brewing, lengthy sci-fi novels and all things Apple. On nice days, you might find Vlado on a trail run. On rainier days, you’ll probably find him making unique furniture in the garage.

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