Mobile apps have changed our way of life.
We live in a world where there's an app for everything and everyone.
From sorting your finances to placing your dinner order to listening to songs that have been on your tongue.
We have apps for just about everything you can think of.
But ever thought, “How long does it take to make an app?”
The standard answer to build an app is around 4 to 5 months. That doesn’t mean our team hasn’t worked faster or worked longer.
But it all depends on the project. The app development time frame depends on several factors.
I will highlight the various stages of app development that determines the time frame.
Do you know every day thousands of apps are downloaded and uninstalled immediately?
Probably you have been the one uninstalling few of them. Yes, building a worthwhile app takes time.
It’s not an easy game. Especially when there's an app for every single thing, delivering high user experience app is extremely important.
The ones created by giants like Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. These apps are so ubiquitous, and usable that we forget how many hours we spend on them.
Can you guess how much time it would have taken to build a Facebook app? I know, Facebook is on another level. But the reality is any great products takes time.
No wonder, why Facebook has hundreds of developers who are working full time on the app development prices to remain at this position.
Yes, I know not every business can afford such a big team for app development.
But there are many points to consider. Considering the scope of the app is the first stage.
So what does it take to run an app that is successful? Well, it all depends on proper research.
The first step begins by outlining the scope of the app. At this stage, the team analyze the following things:
What are the needs of the targeted audience
What are the demand scale for the particular app
How to analyze the plus and minus of the competitor’s app
The objective is to have clarity on how this app will be different for the users. The team works to list detailed requirements and scope of the app.
If you are working with an experienced team then it shouldn’t take too much time.
Research is the first stage of the app development process. It's also called the discovery stage.
Not many people know but this first stage determines how long does it take to make an app.
So it's important to understand this stage in detail. The team begins by understanding the purpose of the app and expanding the idea further.
It’s important to choose the right app idea. Check out the amazing app ideas that will dominate in 2020.
Once the purpose is cleared then comes the testing of your app idea.
You need to test the idea in the real world before starting the development work. A professional mobile app development company always follow this rule.
The idea testing can be performed on a small target group. The purpose is to find out what type of users or organizations will be interested in your app.
The size of your group depends on the app’s target audience. For instance, apps like Facebook are used by users of all age and gender.
That’s not the case with all the apps. Snapchat and tinder are used by the young age group of people. Out of the two, tinder’s target group is even smaller.
As its users majorly follow in the age group of 18-44 years. Then comes apps for Netflix type users or subscribers offering certain service.
Once the potential customers are identified, the focus shifts to planning for an interesting app.
This where your hired team will be investing their time on. The team also needs to make sure that they give good reasons for the users to download.
During the research, one should work to analyze the competitiveness of the market and the app. The entire research consumes for several weeks.
By the end of the research, you should be well aware of the app idea, targeted audience and strengths, weaknesses of the competitors.
The entire research takes several weeks. By the end of the research, you should know all the strengths and weaknesses of the competitors, the app strategies and defined target audience.
The next stage after the research is the planning stage. It's time to plan out the app development process. This stage includes discussions regarding the chosen platform.
It includes questions like whether the app will be built for iOS or Android, native or hybrid, web-based or mobile app.
Once the platform is selected, it's time to add the specific functionality. The features of the app should slowdowns the app or complicate the app further.
Certain basic features include a search bar, profile building, login options, social media sharing buttons etc.
The time consumed in the features will vary from app to app.
For instance: an e-commerce app will need to have the “add to cart” feature.
While social media app will incorporate the features of media sharing. Each and every feature consume time and vary from app to app.
The next stage is where the real action begins.
This is also the stage that takes the most time of the development process. Remember, the design can make or break your app.
Ground rule: Don’t create designs, create experiences! A professional UI/UX design company knows how to create a user-centric design.
So how long does it take to do the UI/UX for the app?
Well, again, there’s no one clear answer. You need to understand first the work that gets focus on this stage.
So, when it comes to the development process, there are three crucial elements.
Now, depending on the complexity of the app, these elements will consume more or less time.
So if you are thinking How long does it take to design a mobile app? Here’s the answer: On average the actual development will take up to 6 weeks.
The process begins with the User Interface of the app. The graphic designers create the UI of the app.
This gives the face to your app. The designer turns the wireframe drafted by the UX designers.
But the UI of your app is of no use until you start developing mobile Front End.
So here comes the front end developers into the scene. The Front end developers turn the UI into an app using a programming language.
This is where most of the time of the development process goes. At this stage, the team also determine the feasibility of the app.
So, the designers and developers work together to deliver a visually stunning front end design that is backed by strong back end solutions.
The front end aspects include wireframing, UI design and development and caching. Now comes the backend part.
The backend works on data integration, data storage, user management, versions and other details.
Why this information is important? Well, it ensures the app integrates seamlessly at the front end and back end.
Else the team would go back, again and again, to rework on features that don’t work as per expected. This results in delays.
So what’s the conclusion? Well, the time consumed by the development process depends on the size of the app and its features.
Here's an approx answer to How long does it take to design a mobile app?
Let’s face the truth. Your app will have bugs that you will have to fix before the release.
To find and fix as many of these errors as possible, you should run Alpha and Beta tests.
Alpha testing is typically done in a closed, test environment, in which developers repeatedly try to break the app.
They try different, often unusual scenarios to see if they can cause any mishaps.
Then all these errors need to be fixed.
Beta tests are often public. It means that the Beta version of the app is unofficially released to a limited number of real customers, in this case, called Beta testers.
It’s different from the Alpha stage because real users tend to treat the Beta version as they would an official release, so they’re simply using it as normal customers would.
So how long does it take to make a beta version of an app? It depends on the app size: Here’s the approx time depending on project size:
The Beta app is monitored to show you what can go wrong, and what needs improvement. Usually, some more bugs surface as well.
Additionally, at the end of the Beta phase, you will ask the Beta testers for general feedback about their experience with the app.
When all the mistakes are fixed, it’s time for the official launch.
Before you submit your app to the relevant app marketplace, you should figure out the app’s title, write two descriptions (short and long), and prepare some promotional images.
Keep in mind that there is such a thing as App Store Optimization (ASO), which is a term similar to SEO, but within the app marketplace ecosystem.
So use relevant keywords in your descriptions to increase the chance of getting downloads.
The final step is submitting the app for approval. Apple has recently cut short its app approval time to one day. Google usually takes a few hours.
Got your app approved and on the App Store/Play Store? Celebrate! But the work (in most instances) isn’t over yet.
It is advised to keep up the cooperation with the developers to work on updates for the app as you should continuously evolve your product to keep your users happy as well as acquire new ones.
These updates can bring minor improvements and bug fixes or introduce great, new features. It all depends on you.
So What’s the Approximate Total Time of a Mobile App Development?
Realizing how much work there is to do in each stage hopefully helped you estimate the time it will take for your app to be developed.
Bottom Line: The more time you put in research and planning, the more time you will save later during the development process.
Typically, though, apps are being developed from scratch to the release point in about three to four months.
But the work on an app can never stop if you decide to constantly provide your users with new updates and improvements.
An important part of the app development process includes features, screen sizes, and targeted platforms.
Your app development time will influence these features.
Out of three, scoping the features is the larger challenge.
In my experience, the client expects to request too many features for a v1.0 app.
This is an issue. Why? Well, it has been seen that apps that are more focussed do better.
We have previously seen how too many features can lead to a huge failure.
Also, a longer list of features will increase the development process timeline and the cost. This is where an experienced team can guide you better.
The goal should be cut as much upfront as possible. It’s important to analyse and shortlist features that will help you target your audience well.
This approach not just fasten the development process but also cut the cost.
The budget of your app can impact timelines and schedules.
Surprised? Well, that’s a fact!
Budget is an important aspect one consider before outsourcing the project.
But remember the cost of your app development will go up as time passes.
So by knowing how much does it cost to make an app, you can streamline the features.
Assessing the timeline of your app development process
Based on your budget you can scope features
So let’s begin by understanding the first point. Now the math works here like this:
The type of your app will decide the cost of your app and the timeline. Here’s an example of this:
Now, based on your budget you will roughly know the timeline required to build the app.
In the startup world this is called a “runway”.
Now, once you know what your runway is you can add or reduce your feature list.
What does that mean?
So suppose your budget only supports the app development for 3 to 4 months. Now in such a scenario, you need to be smart. You can begin by cutting your feature list.
This is also called product discipline. The more focused your approach the better results you will reap.
In my experience, I have seen that a limited budget usually leads to a more aggressive approach for feature list.
It is often seen that companies who fail to manage this part smartly go out of business quickly.
Why? Well, the truth is that many times larger or “infinite” budget leads to a lack of product discipline. So beware of such situations.
Don’ t let your big budgets blind you. Remember, there’s always a runway. It is all about its length: long or short.
So now you know a general time that any app development process would require.
But what if you want to create an app like Uber, tinder or PubG? These ideas have thought, created and became an integral part of our life's.
How much time does it take to build such apps?
Well, the short answer: it varies from app to app.
The time consumed by the development process depends on the functionality of the projects. More complex the project, more time it consumes. So, if you are wondering how long does it take to build an app like uber, remember, it's a complex project.
An app like uber is a complex project with heavy server interaction. It displays dynamic data and social networking integration which can consume around 20 weeks.
There are a lot of technicalities that need to be taken care of while building a cab riding app.
Also, it needs to be understood that an app like uber demands creation of two interfaces.
In Fact, uber is actually a culmination of two apps. One as uber driver app and the other as uber passenger app.
So Step one: request: when the potential passenger would send a request to the driver to get the cab. Step two: match: at this stage, the driver can accept or reject the ride.
This just about the development part. How long does it take to build an app like uber in totality? Well, we have designed a table for that. Here’s a look:
So how long does it take to make an ios app like uber? Well, all in all, your iOs App like uber would require 469hours (user) + 226 hours (driver).
This means it would require around 4 weeks approx.
So all in all your ios App like uber would require 575 hours (user) + 273 hours (driver).
This means it would require around 5 ½ weeks approx.
Today, people are using the internet to find everything. Finding love online is one of them.
This trend has made dating apps a popular trend.
If you are interested in creating something like this, then tinder is the best example of such services.
Tinder is a mobile application that helps people to meet, date and find love in the online world. But how much time it takes to make an app like tinder? The answer to this question depends on its functionality.
An app like tinder is a complex one. The architecture of such a complex technological solution may require a longer duration of time.
Not many people know but some of the components lay the base of the app performance. That’s the reason it's more expensive and time-consuming.
Roughly, here’s what a dating app development process would require:
Remember, these are the approximate calculations. Development costs pf dating app like tinder rest on the features that need to be added.
Here is the topmost feature that a dating app like would need to add.
Social media integration
The other part is the functionality. We calculate an estimated time to build a dating app through its functionality.
You can also get some idea about the app’s feature by asking for app prototype from the development team.
Wondering, how long does it take to build an app prototype? Well, the table tells you all.
This is an approximate time that’s needed to create a dating application.
The cost of such an app depends on the added features. So if you are wondering how much does it cost to make an app? The answer depends on the features.
Apart from the features, the time would vary from stage to stage and from platform to platform. So here’s what the extra time would be required for.
We live in a picture sharing a world. People are addicted to the concept of picture sharing.
The one app that has taken this trend to a new height is Instagram. Instagram is a popular picture sharing and other visual content.
If you want to build an app like Instagram, it's important to consider its functionality and features.
This will decide how long does it take to make an app like Instagram. So let's see
Instagram has added augmented reality selfie filter called face filter. Instagram has copied this filter from snapchat that was meant to serve the users more.
Just like snapchat, this filter allows users to add virtual gestures. For instance: crown, glasses, koala ears, wrinkle smooth makeup, etc.
The reason Instagram is so popular to date is its unique features. One of them is face filters. Here are some of them:
A range of unique face filters
Easy to pick up mode
Take videos using face filter
Allow some edits
Social media integration
We have designed a table about the time required to build an app like Instagram. So let's see how long does it take to design a mobile app?
Note: We know the duration of any app development depends on the number of features and functionality.
So if you want to develop an app like Instagram, you need to tell the team to what extent the app would resemble Instagram. Also, what the platform and target audience will look like.
The table reflects an estimated amount of time. But remember it's not a definite duration.
On average, an app like Instagram would require 900-1200 hours for a single platform.
This means 6 weeks to 7 weeks of time for development, designing and testing.
We are living in an era of cross-platform mobile applications. These are apps that work simultaneously on ios or android or both.
Building cross-platform apps are very easy and fast with react frameworks and libraries.
The advantage is that the developer has to write just one single version that will work on both the platforms.
With the help of react native, the application can be ready in just 3 weeks.
So if you want to know how long does it take to make an android app? The answer is for 3 weeks! However, the time and cost of react-native also depends upon the complexity of features.
As we have seen, app development time depends on the requirements.
If the client demands many features and functionalities then it will take more time to develop an augmented reality app.
Also, the kind of industry you dealing. On average it takes around 4-6 months to develop an augmented reality app with fewer features.
Augmented reality apps are everywhere today. The technology behind AR combines virtual reality with the real world.
This reason has made AR apps popular among users.
So whether you want to assess the height of a tree or the size of your bedroom, AR features can make it simple. Be it the height, length, width or volume.
You can measure every corner of your room with AR technology.
This is the reason why companies are using AR technology-based apps. An experienced augmented reality app development company knows how to seamlessly integrate advanced technologies.
So how long does it take to make an augmented reality app? Well to understand this, we need to consider the structure of AR apps.
When it comes to AR technology, designing consumes a lot of time. The work of designer depends on the data received from the business analysis team.
The work is started after understanding the needs of the end-users. The next steps involve: visualizing all the features and functionalities and design the interface user-friendly.
When it comes to AR app development, the designer tasks are not limited to design alone. Augmented reality apps depend on visual data and effects.
You may need to create animated images or 3D graphic models depending on the app requirements.
That’s one of the reasons that design becomes the time-consuming part of the app development process. Creating a seamless AR app.
comes with challenging and difficult tasks.
Each and every feature of your app consumes time. So the time again rests on the software architecture for an AR application.
Tentalivy software architecture development requires between 25 to 40 hours. The more complex the app features and functionalities, the more time is consumed.
These were some of the basic features. But good apps don’t stop here. A good app leaves no stone unturned to boost the UX.
Thus, comes a range of features that you will need to add.
The list is not complete. There are other features who's time limit is difficult to estimate. For example, if you wish to add the visual odometry feature in your app, more time will be consumed.
Similarly, if you want to add a feature to monitor or change the shape of the AR object, more will be consumed.
In short, every new feature added to enhance the app work will stretch the timeline further.
The goal of the QA stage is to deliver a bug-free app.
Thus, QA is an integral part of AR app development. At this stage, the task is to ensure that everything works seamlessly on different devices. In short, the task is to deliver a bug-free app to the users. Thus, the QA stage consumes a lot of time.
This again stretches the overall timeline of the app development process.
QA is another stage that increases the time. It usually consumes 1 by 3 of the time invested in the development.
By now we know the average time for the app development process is 2 to 3 months. However, there are certain things that stretch the overall timeline of the project. It’s important to consider these factors before outsourcing your cost project.
changes are bound to happen. But any change that’s added in the middle of the plan will slow the development process.
These mid-project changes can slow the development process. As any new change will consume more time for implementation.
But not just time, these mid-project changes also affect the performance of the app. Too many changes in the already built codebase can do this.
what does it take to run an app that is successful? A good idea, proper planning, budget, and an experienced development team.
Isn’t it? Unfortunately, many businesses goes wrong with the last part. They hire an unexperienced development team because of budget constraints or lack of information.
Result? The entire project slows down and the poorly build product is delivered. When it comes to app development, the right app development company can make or break the project.
So you need to know exactly how to hire an app development company that delivers success.
A professional app development company is highly skilled and experienced. They know how to help the client with the app idea. This ensures you launch a high performing app project.
The chosen technology can impact the app development process. This includes the latest technologies like AR, VR etc that consume more time and slow down the process.
There’s no doubt that these technologies are in demand. They deliver an enhanced user experience to the app.
But everything comes with a cost tag. So here the cost that you may have to pay is of more time. However, an experienced team of developers can speed up the process.
Ask about the previous working experience of the company before handing over the project.
New technologies are a bit complex and take time. So the team that has experience of working on a similar technology knows all the nitty-gritty and helps to deliver a project fast.
The industry is the next factor that determines the timeline of app development.
The selected industry will play a major role in app development. So, for instance, a social media app will take 1-2 months.
While any on-demand apps may take more development time. Thus, the industry is another factor that determines the time of app development.
We have seen there are many factors that determine the speed of the app development. But we live in a world with the fast growth of apps.
In such a scenario, one can’t afford to slow down the app development. The good part is that you don’t need to.
Professional developers can develop apps in less time without increasing the timeline or budget of the app. By now we know how long does it take to make an app. Let’s see how can you reduce the time of app development.
MVPs or prototypes are a good way to reduce app development time.
So if you are thinking how long does it take to build an app prototype? Remember, Prototypes are very simple to make.
A basic prototype can take as little as 2-3 weeks. It can be made quickly and resemble the application working.
Once the MVPs are ready, it can be made out for public use. While the actual app can be improved further by adding features and functionalities.
Many top companies like Airbnb and mail chimp began as MVPs before the switch for actual implementation.
Which platform (android or iOs) should I choose? That’s the question the client ask always. Android Vs iOS is still the biggest debate.
While there are many factors that should be considered before choosing. The timeline and cost for both platforms are high and vary.
That’s when a cross-platform app is a perfect solution. It saves time and built your app for both platforms in less time.
A professional app developer delivers the best app. They know how to create an amazing UI/UX for the app in less time.
A professional team of developers know the nitty-gritty of the process and deliver a successful app to the clients.
We have covered everything. Each stage of mobile app development consumes time.
However, the more time invested in research and planning, the better an app will be developed.
On average, an app built from scratch would be ready in around 3 to 4 months.
But the rest depends on the functionality and scope of the app.
So it’s important to find the right team and start working on your idea before anyone one else does.
Let us help you build custom software solutions that scale your business. Get in touch to book a free consultation now.