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13 native app plugins that will supercharge your mobile app

TL;DR: If you have a mobile website, but not a native mobile app, you’re missing out on an opportunity to deliver a more convenient, engaging option for your users! With a native app, you can optimize your mobile experience for both iOS and Android devices. Because web-based apps run in a mobile browser, they are limited to the functionality available through the browser. Native apps, on the other hand, can access the hardware and functionality of the device itself, leading to a wide range of new features and possibilities. Let's explore the benefits, and how to get started.

The benefits of using native app plugins from Median

When you convert your existing website to a native iOS or Android app with Median, you’ll gain access to an extensive library of native plugins to help you harness the power of native functionality without the need for extensive web development:

  • While some of these plugins access device hardware and functionality directly, others do so via third-party SDKs (Software Development Kits) provided by various vendors such as Twilio or Google.
  • You’ll find native plugins that will allow your app to access a device’s camera, GPS, microphone and media player, as well as enable in-app purchases, video chat, social login capabilities, send push notifications and more.
  • Once you’ve added these native plugins to your app, you can access them via the Median JavaScript Bridge — an API that allows your website to communicate with and control your app.
  • You can add native plugins to your app, publish them and integrate them with your website later. The advantage? Your users won’t have to download any future updates to your app to take advantage of the features of the plugin(s). Instead, they can use all the features provided by the plugin(s) immediately as soon as you enable the integration on your website.
  • Median’s native plugins do not require any native programming. All integration is completed on your website with HTML and JavaScript, and we provide examples that you can copy and paste.

13 native app plugins to consider when designing a native app

When you’re choosing native plugins to add to your app, it’s important to think carefully about which features and functionality will help:

  1. Your end users get the most out of the in-app experience and are delivered the best user experience (UX) possible.
  2. Enhance the ability of your app to achieve certain objectives (user engagement, customer retention, revenue generation, etc).

With that, here are thirteen highly useful native app plugins to help guide your thinking.

1. Push Notifications

Push notifications are a highly effective way of reaching all, or a subset, of your users directly on their mobile devices with updates, announcements, offers and other information. You can also integrate push into your website to send personalized alerts to your users and update them on specific events within your app. Add push notifications to your app using a variety of third-party providers such as OneSignal.

Apps that can benefit from push notifications: 
  • Transit apps with notifications for service interruptions 
  • Corporate employee portals with notifications for announcements 
  • E-commerce apps that use notifications for special promotions
  • A local events app with notifications of new events that align with the user’s interests
A screenshot of an unlocked iPhone’s notification screen with notifications from WhatsApp and Twitter

2. Social Login

Social login provides a seamless login experience for end users using any combination of Facebook Login, Google Sign-in and Sign in with Apple. If a user is already logged into any of these accounts on their device, this plugin allows them to log in to your app with one tap.

Social login is highly useful during the initial sign-up process and each subsequent time the user is logging in to their account in your app. Without social login, your users must manually create an additional account and fill in their username and password to login to your app.

Apps that can benefit from Social Login: 
  • Social login is highly useful across a wide variety of apps that include or require a membership or login experience
Two iPhones, one showing the Reddit sign-up page and the other showing different methods used to login into Reddit’s app

3. Native Media Player

This plugin allows users to play audio natively on iOS and Android devices with playback controls and track information displayed on the device lock screen. Media playback will continue even when your app is backgrounded and/or the device is locked and screen turned off. This plugin can also be used to play the audio track of a video while the device screen is turned off.

Apps that can benefit from Native Media Players:
  • Audiobook apps
  • e-Learning apps
  • Podcast and radio player apps
A person listening to a Native Mobile App (possibly a podcast) while making notes simultaneously using a black pen.

4. QR & Barcode Scanner

This plugin allows your users to use their device camera to scan QR codes and barcodes directly in your app. This plugin streamlines and simplifies data entry and accessibility by leveraging existing barcodes and QR codes (product UPC barcodes, travel document QR codes, etc).

Apps that can benefit from QR & Barcode Scanners
  • Shopping apps
  • Hotel and conference check-in apps
  • Warehouse logistics 
  • Corporate workflow apps
  • Event ticketing apps
  • Museum/park exploration apps
  • Transit apps
Two individuals holding up their iPhones, revealing QR codes to scan.

5. Document Scanner

The document scanner native plugin allows your users to easily scan documents of all kinds via their device’s camera. This plugin uses image processing technology to crop, rotate and optimize the scanned image to ensure the resulting electronic document is legible and meets compliance requirements.

Apps that can benefit from Document Scanners
  • Real estate and property management apps
  • Insurance policy management apps
  • Apps that require ID verification

6. Twilio Video Chat

This plugin uses Twilio’s native iOS and Android SDKs to provide a native video chat interface that is far more seamless and integrated for your end users when compared to a web-based version. Twilio recommends using their native iOS and Android SDKs versus their browser-based JavaScript API for native mobile apps: your users will enjoy smoother audio and video, improved connectivity, seamless switching of front-facing and rear-facing cameras, and call interruption handling.

Apps that can benefit from Twilio Video Chat
  • Healthcare / patient consultation apps
  • Coaching and mentorship apps
  • Real estate and insurance sales apps
Video chat on three devices (two iPhones and one Macbook) powered by Twilio video chat

7. Apple Face/Touch ID & Android Biometric

These native plugins provide users with a seamless login experience if their devices utilize Apple's Face ID and Touch ID authentication on iOS and Android’s Biometric Authentication. Once your users login and create a session you can prompt them to use their Face/Touch ID / Biometrics for future logins.

Apps that can benefit from Biometric Login
  • These native plugins are highly useful for a wide range of apps.
  • From internal corporate and enterprise apps to financial services and insurance apps, they provide ease of access for users while maintaining security.
A prompt, on an iPhone, within the Apple Music app, to purchase the Ted Lasso Season 1 theme song for US$1.29.

8. In-App Purchases

This plugin allows your business to seamlessly accept payment within your app to facilitate in-app purchases and create subscriptions. It makes it far easier for your users to purchase digital and physical products, unlock premium features, add subscriptions, and more. And because the plugin leverages Apple and Google’s IAP platforms, both Apple and Google manage all payment processing and future billing/subscription management.

Apps that can benefit from In-App Purchases
  • Gaming apps with in-app paid coins/items/levels/etc
  • Educational and training apps with premium content
  • Audiobook/ebook apps
  • Music and video subscription/paid content apps

9. Google AdMob

This plugin uses the Google Ads platform to allow your business or organization to run native banner and/or interstitial ads in your app. Native ads deliver an enhanced user experience and generate higher conversions and revenue than browser-based ads.

Apps that can benefit from Google AdMob
  • Forum/online community member-based apps 
  • Tourism/park exploration apps
  • Other apps where ad-based monetization is desired or required

10. Offline Download Manager

With the offline download manager, users can manually or automatically download files for offline usage. Your users will see a user interface that lists all files stored to their device While this plugin is typically used for PDF documentation and video/audio files, it is applicable for any file format that can be opened on the device.

This plugin is useful when users must be able to access large file sizes or a large quantity of files at all times, even in areas with poor cellular coverage or no cellular/wifi access.

Apps that can benefit from Offline Download functionality
  • Equipment manuals/safety documentation corporate apps
  • Technical reference apps for field crews
  • Corporate training documentation and video apps
  • Trade show kiosk informational apps with video playback 
  • Offline reading/music/podcast apps

11. Jailbreak/Root Detection

This plugin is used to meet app compliance requirements. It helps ensure that your app is not running on an insecure or compromised device on which data could be accessed improperly.

Apps that can benefit from Jailbreak/Root Detection
  • Financial services apps with compliance requirements 
  • Enterprise apps that show and collect sensitive data or information

12. Google Firebase Analytics

With Google Firebase Analytics, your business or organization can harness the power of the Google Analytics platform and enable enhanced event tracking within your mobile app. This plugin can help you add notable app events to your Google Analytics platform such as app installs, app opens and app clicks to help you track and optimize user engagement. It is highly useful for businesses or organizations with a vested interest in tracking, optimizing and improving the performance of their app.

Apps that can benefit from Google Firebase Analytics
  • Apps that are focused on increasing user growth and engagement

13. Credit Card Scanning

This plugin makes it far easier for users to add their payment details and complete payments. Using machine vision, this plugin can read any credit card and extract the card number and details. Users simply have to hold their camera in front of a card to capture cardholder name, card number and expiry date without typing. If you’re looking to make a digital image of the card in question, refer to the Document Scanner plugin.

Apps That Can Benefit From
  • Event ticketing apps 
  • Restaurant ordering apps 
  • Meal kit or subscription box apps
  • Equipment rental apps

Create an immersive, integrated mobile experience for your users

Regardless of the services your business or organization provides, the Median platform can help you optimize and enhance how your users interact with your brand on mobile devices. Our highly intuitive native App Studio makes it easy to convert your existing website into a stunning feature-packed native app for both iOS and Android devices. You can quickly publish an app that leverages your existing web content and add Native Plugins to provide even more functionality for your users.

To learn more about our full range of app building services, browse our full library of native plugins, and try out the Median App Studio for yourself, click here.

Want to learn more about our plugins?

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On an iPhone screen, the Fitbit app displays a pop-up window asking for Touch ID authentication during the login process.

*DISCLAIMER: This content is provided solely for informational purposes. It is not exhaustive and may not be relevant for your requirements. While we have obtained and compiled this information from sources we believe to be reliable, we cannot and do not guarantee its accuracy. This content is not to be considered professional advice and does not form a professional relationship of any kind between you and LLC or its affiliates. is the industry-leading end-to-end solution for developing, publishing, and maintaining native mobile apps for iOS and Android powered by web content. When considering any technology vendor we recommend that you conduct detailed research and “read the fine print” before using their services.*
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