How to Convert a Bubble App to Mobile Apps for iOS and Android

Want to build mobile apps with Bubble? You’ve landed in the right place. 

Read on and you’re going to find out exactly how to convert a Bubble app into mobile apps for iOS and Android. Let’s start with a little context. 

Bubble is becoming a no-code phenomenon lately. 

From hacky beginnings back in 2012, the Bubble founders bootstrapped their innovative platform for over seven years before taking on funding in 2019 to boost Bubble to the next level.

Although their driving vision to “make hand coding largely obsolete” is a still long way off, they’ve been moving in the right direction. 

The Bubble ecosystem of templates, plugins, API integrations and features has been steadily growing –  and Bubble is now the leader in ‘no code’ development platforms. It is now possible to build complex, scalable, professional web applications 100% visually with Bubble, something that would have seemed impossible a generation ago!

Although Bubble is amazing, there are still limitations. We’re going to just look at one in this article, and show you how to overcome it. 

Bubble Native Mobile Apps

Bubble is a platform for building for the web. As of 2021, Bubble is not a platform to build native mobile applications for iOS and Android. 

Though they may have this on the roadmap for the future, it’s a long way off for now. Although Bubble can get you an impressively complex and powerful web application – you need help if you want to translate that into mobile apps to publish on the App Store and Google Play. 

Why is this the case? 

The problem is that a mobile device’s operating system and a web browser are very different environments. There is no real cross-compatibility between the two and no “instant conversion” button you can press to convert a Bubble web app into a native mobile app. 

Why Convert a Bubble App to Mobile Apps?

This limitation is unfortunate, as the ability to build mobile apps with Bubble would be a huge benefit for many of the startups and growing businesses using the Bubble platform.

Here are a few of the reasons why.

Meet the Expectations of a Modern Startup

A Bubble web app is great, and should be the core of your operation. Alone though, it risks looking like a side project or getting lost in the vast sea of up and coming apps on the web. 

Even in the MVP stage, startups and digital brands are expected to have a presence on the App Store and Google Play and give users the option to engage through the mobile app format. 

Consider the fact that around 90% of smartphone time is spent in apps – mobile app usage is a strong habit in modern users that isn’t going anywhere. A certain portion of your potential users will have a preference for interacting with you through apps. By converting your bubble app to mobile apps you can give them what they want. 

A Better Mobile UX

How do users access your Bubble web app now? 

Chances are they pull up their browser, and either load it from their bookmarks or manually type the URL. Then they wait for it to load, perhaps login, and generally wait around.  

When they are finally in – they use the clunky browser navigation to get around. 

None of this is optimal. One of the reasons why native apps became so dominant is that they provide a much better mobile UX. From one simple tap on the home screen everything loads, they (generally) don’t need to log in again, then the native tab bar navigation makes getting around the app a breeze. 

Converting a Bubble app into mobile apps lets you provide the optimal mobile UX, removing friction for core users and providing a more immersive and convenient experience!

Build a Loyal and Engaged “Core” User Base

When you convert a Bubble app to mobile apps, you’re building a “home” for your core user base – the most important users who will give you feedback for improvement, drive the most revenue, and give you free promotion by telling their friends and Tweeting about you. 

Apps self select for these core users. 

Your existing Bubble web app is great for desktop, as a storefront for first time / casual users, and for providing the back-end that ties everything together. 

When you stack mobile apps on top of that you start to build a ‘funnel’ that deepens the potential for engagement. Over time, the mobile app users will come to represent your core fans. Having them all in one place – in a UI more favourable to retention – is a great opportunity to understand and engage these valuable users on a deeper level. 

You can see this strategy in action from a lot of top brands. Reddit, Quora and many others are always pushing web users to download/open the apps because they know they know that an app user is more valuable.

Communicate More Effectively with Users

How do you communicate with users? Your options are probably now limited to social channels, email, and in-app notifications. 

These all have their place – but they aren’t optimal. Email rarely gets read, social posts have limited reach, and in-app notifications are only relevant when the user is in the app. 

There’s a better communication channel – push notifications. 

You can already send web push notifications with Bubble. Web notifications are limited though, and you can only really use them on Android. 

By converting a Bubble app into mobile apps, you can send mobile push notifications to all users, on Android and iOS, whenever you see fit. This ‘direct line’ to your core users is valuable for driving traffic, engagement and usage. 

Converting a Bubble Web App to Mobile Apps is a Great Idea 

We’ve looked at a few of the reasons why building mobile apps can make a lot of sense. 

They provide a whole new channel for you to grow through – and many benefits beyond a standard web app. 

Now let’s move on from the why to the how. 

How to Build Native Mobile apps with Bubble

As we mentioned earlier – Bubble themselves focus exclusively on the web, and have no out of the box functionality for converting Bubble apps to mobile apps. 

According to Bubble experts Coaching No Code Apps:

While you can build the back-end of your mobile app on Bubble, you’ll need to use some outside resources to create a full package that’s acceptable for app stores.

What “outside resources” are they referring to? 

Essentially you have two choices:

  1. Rebuild the front end of your app as a mobile app, then turn your Bubble app into an API to function as the back end of the mobile apps
  2. Convert your Bubble web app into mobile apps with a native “wrapper”

Rebuild a Bubble App as a Native Mobile App

The first option, rebuild, is the harder of the two.

You need to either rebuild the features and functionality of you Bubble app from scratch using native code – a painstaking process – or use a tool like Dropsource as more of a “hack”. 

The former option is going to cost high five figures and take months, the latter will be faster and cheaper but will still come with a hefty price tag. 

In both cases it will likely be impossible to really recreate everything from your Bubble web app, especially if it is complex and has extended functionality through plugins. 

You’ll need to compromise. Making the apps play well with your existing Bubble backend will be a tough technical challenge too. 

Convert a Bubble App to iOS and Android Apps

A straight up conversion process is the best way to go from Bubble app to mobile apps. 

Instead of the costly and time consuming process of rebuilding what you already have, you can get just as good a result by ‘wrapping’ what you already have. In the process you’ll save tens of thousands and get to market in weeks rather than 6+ months. Perfect for an MVP. 

How is this accomplished?

Through a technology commonly known as a “webview”, which is like a dedicated browser for your web app that can be published on the App Stores, installed on the user’s device, and generally behaves just like a native app. 

The best wrapper on the market for converting a Bubble app into iOS and Android apps is MobiLoud Canvas. 

Using Canvas, you can turn a Bubble web app into mobile apps in under two weeks, and you can recreate the functionality of your Bubble app entirely, and save thousands of dollars in the process. 

Let’s take a look at why Canvas is ideal.

Convert a Bubble App to Mobile Apps with Canvas

Canvas is MobiLoud’s platform for converting any website or web app into iOS and Android apps. It’s used by over a thousand startups and established businesses across dozens of industries. 

Unlike Bubble, Canvas is not “just” a SAAS platform. It’s also a service. We don’t just sell you software and leave you to figure things out, our team works with you through the whole process to get the best possible result. 

When you sign up with MobiLoud, the process of converting your Bubble app to mobile apps is as follows:

  1. Kick off meeting with one of our app experts to establish the goals and roadmap for your project
  2. We work with you to configure the apps on our platform (or we can do it 100%)
  3. We handle the entire process of preparing and submitting the apps to the App Stores, guaranteeing approval
  4. Consultation on app marketing and promotion
  5. Launch!
  6. We handle all ongoing updates and maintenance for the lifetime of the apps

The whole process won’t take more than a few weeks, and there won’t be any tricky or fiddly work for you to do. Like Bubble, Canvas is also “no code”. Unlike Bubble, there’s no learning curve – anyone capable of building a Bubble web app will find Canvas very easy to use!

Why Build Bubble Mobile Apps with Canvas?

For the majority of Bubble web apps, Canvas is the best option. Let’s look at why. 

Recreate your Bubble App Completely

As mentioned above, it’ll be hard or impossible to recreate your Bubble web app’s features and functionality with other methods. With Canvas, it’s easy. 

Your iOS and Android apps will mirror your Bubble app exactly. All the features, plugins and workflows you build with Bubble will work just the same in Canvas mobile apps. 

There’s no need to rebuild or recreate anything. You put the hard work in already building for the web, now Canvas lets you leverage that onto the App Stores. 

The mobile apps will also sync 100% with your Bubble app, so there’s no need to worry about managing another platform or adding to your existing workflow. The apps will update in real time with any changes or updates you make for the web, so the mobile apps will practically run themselves from your perspective. 

Canvas Apps are full of Features

When you convert a Bubble app to mobile apps with Canvas, you get all the features you need. 

You’ll have the power to send push notifications to all your users whenever you like, and automate them however you see fit. 

You’ll be able to use location services, analytics, ratings prompts and many more features too!

Full Service 

Other tools that Bubble users sometimes use to build mobile apps just give you access to their software and that’s it – they won’t help you out or even refund you if your apps get rejected by Apple or Google. 

That’s not the case with MobiLoud. Not only do we guarantee approval and a successful launch – we’ll refund you if you aren’t happy with the apps for any reason within 60 days. 

This is rare though and unlikely to happen, as we work hard with every customer to make their apps a success. You’ll know our team members by name, and will be able to email us or even get on a call whenever you need. We’ll help you to overcome any problems or challenges that crop up. 

We also handle ongoing updates and maintenance. This costs most companies thousands of dollars every year, and is a necessity to keep the apps working properly. We handle everything for the lifetime of the apps so you’ll never need to worry about it!

Optimized for UX 

Canvas isn’t just a wrapper. We added all the elements that make up well designed, high quality native mobile apps to the package.

From the native tab menu and navigation, to customizable splash screens and loading indicators – Canvas apps are optimized for a great, modern user experience that will please your users and keep them coming back to the apps again and again!

We’ve added all the small but important details – like custom icons for push notifications – so you can be confident that it will look smooth and impress your users.

Build Bubble Mobile Apps today with Canvas!

Bubble pride themselves on:

“Letting you build and host web applications without having to write code or hire a team of engineers”

We do the same thing, but for mobile apps.

Bubble and MobiLoud Canvas is the perfect “no code stack” to get a winning presence on the web and the App Stores.

Want to learn more? Take a look through the main points on our product page and have a browse of the FAQ section to learn the ins and outs of our service. Also check out our 5 top reasons to convert a web app to mobile apps for some extra inspiration.

If you’ve been told that you need fully native apps, find out why Canvas beats native development in most cases.

When you’re ready to start building Bubble mobile apps – get in touch with our team for a demo call and we’ll go over the whole process in detail and show you all the possibilities.

We’re looking forward to getting you on the App Stores – book a free demo call today!