How long does it take to make an app?

Android vs IOS

If you have got million dollar idea to build an app then you might want to know how long does it take to build an app?  The good news is we have your answer.

Mobile is overtaking desktop and laptops as the way consumers interact with businesses. Many companies are aiming to make a mobile application for their customers. The mobile app market is increasing like never before. Google Play Store consists of more than 2.8 million apps. Moreover, 2.2 million apps are available on Apple play store. If you are also considering making application for your business then the first question you will have in mind is –  “How long does it take to make an app?”

Ask any programmer and they will not be able to give you an exact answer.  According to crispycodes', infographic we came up with one answer – 18 weeks is the average time to develop an app. It is impossible to measure exact time to make an app as developing an application depends on many factors. Following factors determine the time it takes to build an app:

1 Complexity

There are number of factors you need to consider such as the size of your audience, which platform you want to support and the screen sizes that need to be supported. Also the functionality of an app such as - ability to buy an item, scan a barcode to check product price and sharing it on Twitter or any other social media platform. The complexity of each feature determines the time it will take to build an app.

                           “Always remember the more complex features an app has, the more time it will take to design, develop and test.”

2 Number of users

The number of users of an app has a huge impact on the time it takes to build an app. For example, if you are building an app that can handle 600 users simultaneously has fewer factors involved in building an app. But if you are building an app which can handle 6000 or 60000 users then required time would be much more in comparison to fewer users. For more users, additional investments in architecture would be required. Performance testing and tuning also take longer time.

3 Platform

There are mainly three platforms – Android, iOS, and web. To reach out to widest audience – many companies build iOS application along with an android application. Some of the clients even ask for web-based apps too. While building multiple apps at the same time – design, development, and testing activities are different for each platform. So it requires more effort and more time. Which platform are you going to use to build your app?

Considering above factors while building an app – if you follow pre-defined steps for building an app then you will be able to finish your app in decided timeline. There are some fundamental stages involved while building an app. Let’s find out the process of app development and time required for each stage:

1 Research & Planning

Before you start building an app do some research about your app idea. Ask following questions:

-    Why do you want to create an app?

-    Who will use your app? (Target Market)

-    Is your app idea unique?

-    Why your app should exist?

-    Will your app contribute value to the world?

-    Does the same app of your idea already exists?

-    If answer is yes then how can be your app different than your competitors?

Do intense research about your target market, about customers’ needs, and the monetization strategy for your app. Research about your competitors – what are their business strategies, which are the unique features they provide. If you are building a small app then your research time should be of 1-2 weeks. Where in for big size app consider 3 to 4 weeks as more research would be required to develop an app.

2 Functions & Features

After finishing the task of intense research, focus on functionalities and features of your app. Which are the exactly features your app will consist of? Figure out precisely which tasks, functions, and operations will your app perform. How will your app handle data of your users? At this stage, you can create storyboard for your app. Storyboard is nothing but a visual representation of the user interface of an app. At this stage, you also need to finalize whether your app will support multiple operating systems or one operating system only. Choosing the platform will also determine the timeline of building an app. Figuring out core features and finalizing platform might take 3 to 5 weeks.

3 Design & Development

Once you have finalized features & functions of your app - your next step would be to interact with your designers and technical team. Make sure with your team that whatever you would like to appear to your users it can actually be accomplished by programming or not. Also ensure compatibility between your front-end and back-end systems. It is essential that front-end developers and back-end developers maintain constant communication in order to finish an app in decided timeline.

While developing an app focus on the important part that is API. API stands for Application Programming Interface. Decide - will you be using public API keys? Or will you be building your own abstraction layer? Most popular apps like Dropbox, Facebook, Instagram, Uber, & Twitter - all have publically available APIs so that developers can use it while building their own app. At this stage, you also need to focus on UX (user experience) & UI (user interface) design process and wireframing.

The development stage is the most complex stage. Alhough thirstyDevs;’s expert team of designers and programmers will help you to build high performing app. Consider spending 1-2 months designing and developing an app the way you want.

4 Testing & Refinement

The final stage of building an app is testing & refinement of an app. Testing is the stage where your programmers and alpha testers will try to find errors in coding so that those errors can be solved before the launch of an app. Once your internal team has alpha tested your app, you can release your app to a limited public so that it can be beta tested in the real world. Beta testing is all about figuring out how your app works when people download it to their phones. Alpha testing should cover solving major bugs and glitches of an app.

For beta testing, many web-based services are available online such as:

-   BetaFamily

-   BetaList

-   ErliBird

-   PreApps

-  TestElf

-  Appium

-  Calabash

Alpha testing and beta testing require approximately 3 to 4 weeks. If you follow all steps correctly then you can definitely finish your app in a decided timeline. Though building an app is a complex and long process. As it requires preparation, patience, and dedication.The more upfront work can be done before starting the actual visual design and development of an app begins, the better.

Before you jump into building an app make sure you have expert team for developing an app. If you don’t have one - thirstyDevs; would be the right platform to have an expert team. Contact us now to start your journey towards building a high-performance app.

Author Details


Gaurav Patel

Gaurav Patel is Founder of thirstyDevs InfoTech
thirstyDevs InfoTech is a Web solutions company offering innovative web solutions. Our company focuses on providing the best web solution for our customers.

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