Mobile app development has become a must for almost any business nowadays. They are aware that in this competitive era where most people spend their considerable amount of time on mobile, it is indispensable to appear before them in digital form. And that’s where mobile application development comes! And people would be curious to know that how long does it take to make an application?

The problem arises when they put their step forward to make an app from scratch. Since, for most of them, the whole app development ecosystem is alien. They don’t know the cost, they don’t know the technology. They don’t have the slightest idea about the timeline for a mobile app development project.

We have been working with all kinds of businesses for the last decade on app development projects. 8 out of 10 clients ask us about the project completion time and application development cost on their first call

Additionally, we have faced many intricacies in projects-often come in a form of timeline problems and last minute add ons from the client-side.Since these delayed and last moment changes make application building more complex and add to the time of project completion, it ultimately costs more to the clients. On the flip side, some clients had always been clear on their requirements and had seen their final project delivery on time with optimum cost.

By keeping all these in mind, we have decided to write a comprehensive blog that describes the average time taken for app development and how to reduce the timeframe of the project without compromising application quality. So that any enterprise or a startup who is not aware of the application development process, and are on a path of digitizing their business, this guide on how long does it take to make an app could be really useful for them.

Let’s Get started!

How Long Does it Take to Make an App

We know all apps are unique in their own way. There is no black or white answer to How long does it take to create an app. Besides, the entire mobile app development process is divided into various parts based on the app requirements.

We have seen some apps get completed in 4 weeks. Some applications had taken 12 to 18 weeks because of the complex features or any adversities that occurred in the projects. It generally depends on the type of app and experience of a development company who has been helming the project.

However, there is one thing you must remember (because you are investing your hard-earned money!) that the cost of your mobile app is directly proportional to the time taken to develop an application.

So, meticulously, inspecting all stages in app development and the time it takes to launch an app. Here are the stages that add their share of time in the mobile application.

SEE ALSO: How to Sell an App Idea?

Time Taken In Mobile App Planning (2-3 weeks)

So you have come up with an app idea and you have found a perfect development partner. Now what?

You must take some time to generate a brief about your mobile app idea. It will allow your developers to understand your customers, define business goals, and decide requirements while designing the application. Creating a perfect brief for mobile app development takes some time as you have to make your developer aware of your idea and how you see your app.

How to Write a Scope of Work Format

What Should be Included in brief?

  • What kind of application, its user base, and how you want it to be developed
  • A complete project description in which you give app idea in detail. Are you selling a product or service? Type of product or service. Whether you are promoting something or enhancing the target audience’s loyalty. Everything should be discussed.
  • The description of the end-user- who they are, how they make decisions, and what are their penchant towards.
  • If you have a familiarity with platforms, then your preferred choice of platform. (iOS vs Android development or both). Native or Cross-platform. Native apps are more efficient and provide more usability. But if you want to develop your mobile application as soon as possible, then Cross-platform is the best choice. You could also ask your developer about it.
  • If you know about backend, then explain your preferred communication protocol, security preferences, data storage, offline mode, and more. You could also get help from our developers.
  • Give briefings about the design you want. What you have researched and what kind of design you want.

So mobile planning should be done by scrupulously exploring every detail you want. Mobile app planning takes around 2-3 weeks.

Note: Include your development partner in this process so they could guide you better for building a seamless mobile app.

Design Sprints (2-3 weeks)

So, how long does it take to design an application?

Once you give a green signal to your app development project, your development company starts working on the design process. Now, the timeline for building a mobile app design varies according to the design complexity.

If you have given designers an idea about the design and you are clear on that, then it may take less time. Conversely, if designers have to work on designing from scratch and brainstorming the idea, then it may take several more weeks in this process.

Designers usually, before jumping onto the look and feel of the mobile application, create flow control and structures. This is the stage where they start wireframing. It helps them understand how a user will navigate through the app and how many screens a particular mobile app will have.

Most designers prefer pen and paper for making raw design however some believes in using tools like Sketch or Adobe XD. They take 3 to 4 days to complete a wireframing the app.

App Design Time

These wireframes are sent to developers and clients for approval and the design procedure moves one step further. Here mockups and prototypes take place. Designers build icons, background, buttons, logos, and decide on the font for the app on this stage.

SEE ALSO: Top Mobile App Design Trends To Go For in 2024

Collaboration with Developers

One of the most crucial things designers do while creating app design is a collaboration with the developers. The reason is to avoid development complexities. If the design built by the designers are not practically possible to develop at the development side, then it could add some extra time to redesign the screen. Not every operating system or device is compatible with over the top design of the app.

Finally, designers handover all the design work to the developers for further development.

Remember, app design time depends on the number of screens the app has, the number of devices (phone and tablet), and the complexity of the design.

So complete app designing takes 2-3 weeks.

Development (12-14 weeks)

One of the most time consuming yet important parts of the app development is the development stage. Flawless coding is the cornerstone of any app’s success. And to have that error-free code, a perfect planning and timeline should be discussed before hopping onto the coding.

For example, we work on an agile methodology for early and predictable delivery of the app. It saves time and allows us to change when it is necessary for a better flow.

Developers usually work on “Sprints” or “Milestones”. They divide the parts of the project as per their expertise and start their work.

The development part is divided into two kinds of developers Backend and Frontend. Let’s look at how the development process moves further and know how long does it take to develop an application.

  • Backend Development

Data storage: Usually, development companies kickstart at the database level and work forwards. They figure out as much of the application’s data that they think they need first.

User Management: At this stage, API development take place for User authentication and storing of their data. In a simple word, users’ registration process, authentication and password management is addressed here.

Server-side logic: It depicts the flows implemented by the application server and the process of handling the user’s request came from UI.

Data Integration: Developers execute processes and logic to extract, transform, and distribute data across one or more data locations from a variety of sources.

Push Notification: The work is done for sending notifications to the user’s device from the server. (i.e, notification sent while a product is added to your favorite store). Remember not every app requires this feature.

Versioning: It allows the back end developers to work on a new version without disturbing the existing one.

Now, while backend developers code and implement the systems, the work on the frontend side has already been started. The reason behind not starting the front end development before backend development is reducing the overall timeline for the process of creating a mobile application. We will see why development companies prefer to start with backend first. But before that, let’s see how long does it take to create the frontend of the app, what makes frontend.

Note: When you work with any company or developer, ask them how the backend works and do check on the milestone you have agreed upon.

  • Front End Development:

Once the server is in development and the structure of the database is set – the development team starts working parallelly on the frontend side or the mobile application itself. It will be rendering and creating data from the aforementioned back-end server.

The front-end developers commonly manage the tasks that enable functionality from 6 to 8 weeks. Programmers utilize frameworks like Swift, Objective – C, and Java to create separate versions for the App Store and Google Play.

What’s important to know about the UI design (as we have seen in the design section)and front-end development parts of the project is that both of those tasks require a lot of repetitions. Design and fluency of the interface are much more subjective than even UX design, so the team should be prepared for a lot of discussions and edits.

In the frontend, caching is created for temporary data storage. Basically, the application’s data is stored in the caching in order to reduce the loading time of the application thereby eliminating the requirement of calling the server.

Developers work for making the app offline by creating data synchronization mechanism. It tracks the versions of data built online and offline to store updated data sets.

Apart from that, internal testing is done at the frontend part to make sure that everything is perfect and working properly.

The frontend development cycle usually completes in six weeks of timeframe.

Testing (3 weeks to 4 weeks)

Once the development part is over from the developer side, the last and most imperative part of the application development process starts.

Yes, we are talking about Testing- finding bugs and glitches that could jeopardize your app functionality if not properly tested.

Usually, quality analysts work on this process and make sure your app comes out filtered and fully-functioned. QA works on initial testing called “Alpha testing” to eradicate some basic bugs and complexity during this stage before proceeding to the next stage. It is usually tested to check whether the application is working as expected or not. Whether the functionality of the app justifies the design that was planned or not. However, this type of testing is insufficient to go for the market.

Application Testing Process

In most projects, our quality analyst understands the need for the app and creates test cases that developers check while they are initially working on the application. So some basic features and functionality rectifies at the early stages of the app development. Then, our testers work on UI testing and functionality testing. They rectify the bugs module by module.

One of the most vital parts of the testing is to verify the compatibility of the app. Since some apps are built for multiple devices. So it properly checked on each every major device for better compatibility and seamless UX. At last our QA test the performance of the application.

Before the app finally goes out in a fully-fledged mode, the beta testing is done and the app is made available to a few selected users. At last, the final testing removes all the flaws from the mobile app and the app goes to the app stores for public use.

In the mobile app development timeline, application testing takes around 3 weeks to 4 weeks.

Application Development Timeline

Deploying to The App Store (Up to 1 Weeks)

Now, you have developed an application. You have also completed the testing procedure. Now what? You might ask how long does it take to get an app to market?

But do you think your application will be live on the app stores without any hassle? No. There is no instant approval process for doing that. So what should you do?

There are specific steps to be followed for presenting your application to iOS users.

Apple store has strict guidelines if you want your app to be featured on that. And it takes a considerable amount of time to do that. Android Playstore also has some rules that you should follow to get onto that.

So how long does it take to get an application on app stores?

Both popular stores review your submitted app against their review policies.

  • Apple App Store

Apple has been known for its stricter submission policies. And reviews for design, content, and functionality and most importantly the security of your app. Apple doesn’t want the iOS store to clutter with bug-soaked, low-quality, and insecure apps.

Hence, make sure you are submitting your applicaton in the App store after going through all the meticulous details. You can go through Apple guidelines for the app development.

The time it takes to approve your iOS application in the app store depends on multiple factors. If the app is rejected, do not get agitated, but communicate with Apple’s Resolution Center modestly. They would give you a proper reason for rejection.

Generally, apps we have submitted in the Apple store have taken 2 days or a little longer. But it depends on the type of your app.

In the Apple Store on average, 50% of the mobile apps are reviewed in 24 hours and more than 90% of the apps are reviewed in 48 hours.

  • Google Play Store

If we talk about the Google play store, it too has its quality guidelines. You should follow it strictly if you don’t want your application to get rejected. Additionally, it will increase the time to develop an app.

Understand that Google too wants your app to be published without any hassle, after all, they are cashing on your app’s sale. So it is the best practice to submit your app after reading every policy Google wants you to follow.

In most cases, if you are a first timer in approving your app, then according to the latest Play store rule, it will take a minimum of 3 days to submit your application and go live.

But if you are updating your second or third application in the Play store, It will be updated on the same day, in fact within 2 hours.

SEE ALSO: Top 8 Mobile Application Development Trends for 2024

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Factors Which Can Increase the App Development Timeline

Now that we’ve explained every stage along with an estimated timeframe that adds to the collective application development time – let’s discover the factors that add to the timeline of your app building.

So, we’ll take a look at perspectives from both ends. First, we’ll explore the factors from the app owner’s point of view:

1. App Owner’s Mistakes/Actions Which Delay App Development Timeline

  • Verify every detail stage-wise – Finding mistakes right during every stage’s end will save a lot of time. Remember, time is money!
  • Your lack of technical knowledge – If you lag in tech-stack knowledge, outsourcing your app development is probably not a very good idea. Choose to outsource your project, which will help you keep up with the application development timeline.
  • Change of mind or influence from other ideas – This is possible only when you need to do more brainstorming. If you had through everything earlier, you would not have got new ideas when the development process was already in progress.

2. Developer’s Mistakes/Actions Which Slow Down the Mobile App Development Timeline

  • Irresponsible & inconsistent with development cycle – Finding mistakes right during every stage’s end will save a lot of time. Remember, time is money!
  • Industry-oriented approach – A different industry’s application will require different technologies. This implies that an education app will be made using different frameworks than a social media chatting/messaging application.

How to Shorten the App Development Timeline

As we have discussed earlier, the more the mobile application building duration, the more you have to pay for the app.

Usually people ask us how to build an app for my business in the fastest way? If you want to launch your application as soon as possible and go live in the market before anybody else could grab your idea. You must pay attention to various ways in which you could build your mobile application in considerably less time.

Let’s shed some light on that and know how to reduce the timeline for building a mobile app.

Create MVP for your app

MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is basically an application built with only the most essential features.

It is not stuffed with all the cool features out there in the market. It only has just enough features to stay viable.

What if your fully featured app you built failed miserably may be due to your impractical idea or functionality? You don’t want your money and time wasted on that, right?

MVP allows you to test your application in the market with only its core functionality. If your idea is unique and early adopters love your idea, you could always go further and add extra cool features to make your application more attractive and profitable.

Renowned apps like Instagram, AirBnb, Dropbox, and Facebook unveiled their MVP app first and then they had gone in a full swing.

The MVP timeline for application development is lesser compared to fully featured mobile apps. So, it is advisable to head for MVP app development, if you are not sure or want to go to market ASAP with your product.

Go for Cross Platform

There is another approach that could notably decrease the total time for app development and that is Cross-platform app development.

Since the native app is exclusively made for the specific platform(i.e iOS and Android). Hence, the need for separate coders and two different apps require to reach larger audience. So, it takes more time for developing an app.

On the other hand, Cross-platform development allows developers to code an app only once for both the platform. Almost all the code is reusable and similar. So, you can develop an application in less time without compromising user experience. Apart from that, you could promote your app on multiple platforms, unlike Native where you can upload your application only in app stores.

Since the tech giants like Google and Facebook have come up with their cross-platform technologies called Flutter and React Native respectively, the inclination towards these platforms has increased.

All in all, go for cross-platform development if you want your application to be in the market as soon as possible.

White Label Solution of Clone Apps

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration if I say every successful app is followed by hordes of clones because of its attributes like less cost, time, and skills.

With these white-label clone apps, you can easily get an application similar to popular apps in the market in a week or so. In these services, the data layer of the application remains the same, but it is possible to edit the frontend. You could customize your UI of the application according to your ideas. So basically, you receive a ready-to-use app, to which you can stick your own brand identity.

There are lots of white label solution providers and clone application development company in the world, who could provide you clone apps like Uber, Netflix, Taskrabbit, Uber Eats, and more.

Normally, some entrepreneurs prefer such kind of solutions because they are faster and cheaper to get. They know custom application development may take a lot of time for completion. But, these are exactly the reasons why you should NOT hire a cheap mobile app development company.

So in order to reduce the application development time white-label apps can be a perfect option.

Apart from these tactics, make sure while you are discussing your project with the developers at an early stage, be clear on what you want. Because late additions of the different functionality would disturb the development process and extend the app development time frame.

Concluding Thoughts: How long does it take to build an application

So, How long does it take to make an app? Well, the answer to this question depends on many factors discussed above. Developing an app is an intricate process. Some simple apps could be built within 2 months, whereas some complex apps may take 5- 7 months. Complex applications will have more features and functionality. Also, the design will be more detailed and complex.

However, there are certain ways like build an MVP application, Cross-platform or white label clone application in which you can start your dream startup in much less time.

Do you have any app ideas and you want that to become a reality? Let us help you out and allow us to build the most beautiful and marketable mobile application in a decided timeline.

Or either you can hire dedicated developers also who will work dedicatedly for your mobile application development.

Infographic: Timeline for Building a Mobile Application

Mobile Application Development Timeline Infographic

FAQs on Application Development Timeline

Mobile app development is a process that involves a series of steps that takes a few weeks each to complete. Developers spend a considerable amount of time deploying a quality application without errors. Each stage takes approximately a few weeks to complete like below:

  • Idea Formulation and Research (2-3 weeks)
  • Specifications and Design (2-3 weeks)
  • App Architecture and Development (12-14 weeks)
  • Testing and Finalizing (3-4 weeks)
  • Deployment- upto 1 week

Developing a mobile application would approximately take 250- 300 hours, and it includes all the stages of application development. Along with this, to deploy an app on the store and get it approved will take a minimum of 3 days to submit and go live. It all depends on the type of application.

Mayur Panchal

Article By

Mayur Panchal

Mayur Panchal is the CTO of Excellent Webworld. With his skills and expertise, He stays updated with industry trends and utilizes his technical expertise to address problems faced by entrepreneurs and startup owners.