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Want to learn how long does it take to develop an app? This blog post is exactly what you are looking for.

Determining the time required to build an iOS or Android app involves considering the distinct stages of app development and recognizing the factors influencing the overall development timeline.

When comparing apps based on their complexity and feature set, the general timeline is as follows:

  • Simple App Development: 1-3 months
  • Average App Development: 2-4 months
  • Complex App Development: 7-10 months

Several factors contribute to variations in the development time, such as the intricacy of the product, the final model structure, the chosen app development partner, among others.

This article delves deeper into these factors and elucidates examples to define the timeline for developing a mobile app from scratch.

Let’s delve deeper together.

How Long Does It Take to Develop an App as Per App Type and Complexity?

The mobile app development timeline varies based on distinct app types, categories, features & functionalities, and so on.

The following table highlights the estimated timeframe in order to develop a mobile based on apps types and their complexity.

App Type

Estimated time

Simple App Development 1-3 months
Average App Development 2-4 months
Complex App Development 7-10 months

Mobile App Development Timeline Based on Distinct Types

mobile app development timeline

The journey of app development is a nuanced process influenced by various factors.

The complexity of the app, the features it encompasses, the chosen technology stack, the size of the development team, and the overall project scope collectively determine the pace at which an app comes to life.

While we can provide broad estimates, it’s crucial to recognize that real-world usage might sway these timelines.

Simple Apps

Simple applications typically feature up to five screens, minimal interaction with external databases, no data analytics for user activities, and user registration through email.

For those seeking simplicity, like utility or information-focused apps, the development journey typically spans 1 to 3 months.

These apps, often requiring minimal backend connectivity, boast straightforward user interfaces.

Mid-level Apps

Mid-level apps involve multiple processes, encompassing approximately ten screens. These apps include personal accounts, social network authorization, integrations with servers or websites, and payment systems.

They generally take 2 to 4 months in order to complete.

These apps delve into more intricate user interfaces and backend integrations, incorporating features like real-time messaging or location services.

Complex Apps

Complex apps, such as envision marketplaces, games, or enterprise-level software, usually take time between 7 to 10 months or even more.

It’s important to note that coding is indispensable for the functionality of these advanced applications.

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Top 8 Factors Affecting the Mobile App Development Timeline

factors affecting the mobile app development timeline

When you’re on the journey to build a mobile app, there are various factors involved that play a crucial role in determining project timelines.

Most importantly, your app idea plays a huge role in discovering your app development timeline. You can check out our recent blog on how to develop an app idea. It will help you discover the best mobile app ideas.

Below, we’ll delve into the top 8 factors that affect the mobile app development timeline.

1.      Complexity of the Idea

The complexity of an app idea stands out as the primary factor that helps to determine the mobile app development timeline.

It includes various factors such as the number of screens, features, and the overall roles envisaged for the product.

While a simple app with limited functionalities may take a few weeks to develop, a more intricate one with advanced features can extend the timeline to several months.

For example, crafting apps with functionalities akin to Uber might consume around 800 hours, whereas apps like Fitness Pal, focused on serene meditation experiences, might demand 1000 hours.

Venturing into innovative domains, such as SaaS solutions, could extend the development time to over 1200 hours or even more.

2.      Precise Requirements

The clarity and depth of an app’s requirements play a pivotal role in shaping the development timeline.

A comprehensive breakdown of core features and functionalities streamlines the development process. The more detailed the requirements, the less time it takes to translate them into a fully functional app.

Various functionalities, such as backend infrastructure, CMS selection, and third-party service integration, can either expedite or extend the development time.

Additional features, like social media or email sign-up, chat functionality, push notifications, and payment integration, introduce varied timelines to the development phase.

3.      Accuracy of the Final Result

The documentation of project requirements and goals serves as the bedrock for the development timeline.

This documentation is later utilized by the design team to create wireframes, which are essentially digital blueprints depicting how your MVP (Minimum Viable Product) will look and feel like.

The wireframing process helps identify potential pitfalls and ensures that only essential functionalities are included.

A clear understanding of the project requirements from the beginning reduces the likelihood of change requests during the development phase.

Leveraging agile methodology further aids in streamlined product development.

Depending on the project’s scope, wireframes for simpler apps, like meme generators, may take a week or two to complete.

4.      Business Expertise

The level of expertise in the business domain significantly influences app development timelines.

Entrepreneurs well-versed in coding may require assistance only in product and design strategy. Conversely, novice entrepreneurs may need comprehensive support throughout the development process.

If opting for an in-house team, additional time is allocated for hiring and training, whereas external assistance can expedite the overall timeline.

Design and development timelines flex according to the level of business expertise involved.

5.      Design and User Experience (UX)

Crafting an appealing and user-friendly design involves factors like fluidity, adaptability for various screen sizes, interactivity, custom animations, and user testing.

This phase typically spans a few weeks to 2-3 months.

6.      Backend Development

Establishing a robust backend infrastructure, including server setup, database development, and API creation, can last 5 to 10 weeks.

7.      Frontend Development

Implementing the user interface (UI) across platforms and devices, considering design complexity and custom animations, usually takes 5 to 10 weeks.

8.      Third-Party Integrations

Incorporating third-party services, APIs, or libraries can significantly extend development time.

The duration depends on API accessibility, integration complexity, and unforeseen challenges, ranging from 30 days to a few weeks.

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Mobile App Development Timeline & Stages – A Quick Overview

Want to learn how long does it take to develop an app idea? In reality, every phase of app development sets the tone for the entire project and outlines the steps to be taken.

This makes it crucial to carefully consider the time invested in each stage, starting from the initial planning.

1.      Planning Stage

This pivotal stage plays a key role in gauging the development timelines for an app. It serves as a focal point for both the development team and customers, allowing the creation of a project roadmap.

Typically taking around 2-3 weeks, the planning stage involves collecting and analyzing vital information about the project, market, competitors, and target audience.

key aspects of planning stage

2.      Discovery Stage

The duration of the discovery stage can vary, and several aspects need attention:

·       Requirements and Specifications (2 Weeks)

This involves crafting detailed specifications, including the project goal, success metrics, request for proposal (RFP), budget range, non-disclosure agreement, and an approximate delivery date.

·       Design Low-Fidelity Wireframes (2-4 Weeks)

Low-fidelity wireframes offer initial visual representations of the product. These aid designers and clients in understanding the design and functionality, fostering flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and a quicker app development process.

·       Define Tech Stack (40-80 hours)

Analyzing the technology stack for the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is crucial. The choice between web, native, or hybrid app development depends on the project.

Native apps are tailored for specific mobile operating systems (e.g., Objective-C, Swift for iOS, Java, Kotlin for Android), while hybrid apps use frameworks like Flutter, React Native, or Xamarin.

All in all, understanding and implementing the above stages rightfully meticulously pave the way for a successful app development journey, ensuring efficiency, and meeting project timelines.

3.      Design Phase

The design phase is a significant and integral part of the app development process.

It involves a deep focus on conceptualizing and refining the User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) of the product.

This phase is critical as it lays the foundation for a comprehensive plan that serves as a blueprint for app developers, guiding them meticulously through the process of building the product.

key aspects of design stage

·       Craft High-Fidelity Wireframes

Creating High-Fidelity wireframes is one of the preliminary steps in this phase.

These wireframes provide a detailed and precise representation of the final product, helping testers to have a clear concept of what they should expect in the final output.

The process kick-starts with the creation of low-fidelity wireframes where the primary focus rests on harmonizing the narrative or story-telling aspect with the content strategy.

Once this is achieved, the process transitions to high-fidelity wireframes.

These wireframes play a significant role in establishing the layout and structural hierarchy of the app, thereby setting a solid groundwork for the development phase.

·       Construct a UI Kit

A UI kit is another crucial component of the design phase. It comprises an array of user interface components that offer various functionalities to users.

Elements like buttons, navigation buttons, checkboxes, widgets, and progress bars are all part of a UI kit.

The importance of a UI kit is undeniable in the realm of app development. It houses all the necessary UI design elements, thereby saving significant time and effort that would otherwise be spent on building these elements from scratch.

Furthermore, a UI kit plays a vital role in maintaining the mobile app development timeline, ensuring that all stages of the app development process are adhered to and completed in a timely manner.

In general, the design phase can be quite time-consuming and typically requires somewhere between 50-70 hours in total.

When combined with the planning stages, the entire process can extend from two weeks to a month, depending on the complexity and scope of the app.

4. Development Phase

The development phase is the heart and soul of the app development process. It primarily focuses on both frontend and backend development.

Additionally, it involves crucial stages such as beta testing and the process of uploading the app to relevant app stores for user accessibility.

development stage

  • Backend Development

The backend of an app, although invisible to the end-user, holds immense responsibility for data storage and security. Its functionality resembles that of a server.

The components comprising the backend include data storage, server-side logic, user management, versioning, and data integration.

These components are critical in ensuring the seamless and smooth functioning of the app, enabling a satisfactory user experience.

·       Frontend Development

The frontend of an app is the visible part experienced by the user. It encompasses everything a user sees and interacts with – from the structure, design, and behavior to the content.

Every aspect that a user encounters is meticulously crafted by front-end developers.

Furthermore, this part of the development process plays a significant role in guaranteeing the app’s responsiveness and overall performance, ensuring that the app remains user-friendly and engaging.

On average, the time taken to build an app ranges from 3 months for a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to up to 9 months for a full-scale, feature-rich product.

5.      Testing

Testing is a critical and final phase of the app development process, typically taking between 4-6 weeks.

It involves rigorous checks and balances to ensure that the app is free from glitches and offers optimal performance.

The use of effective test automation tools can significantly speed up this process, thereby ensuring that the app is ready for launch as soon as possible, without compromising on quality and functionality.

Here’s the information organized in a table:

Development Stage

Description

Estimated Timeframe

Idea and Conceptualization Initial brainstorming, idea refinement, and conceptualization of the app. Varies
Requirements Gathering Comprehensive collection and documentation of core features and functionalities. 1-2 Weeks
Wireframing Creation of digital blueprints (wireframes) depicting the app’s look and layout. 3-5 days
Design and User Experience (UX) Development of an attractive and user-friendly design, focusing on multiple screen sizes, interactivity, and custom animations. Few weeks to 2-3 months
Backend Development Setting up a server, developing a database, and creating APIs for a robust backend infrastructure. 5 to 10 weeks
Frontend Development Implementation of the user interface (UI) and ensuring responsiveness across platforms and devices. 5 to 10 weeks
Third-Party Integrations Adding third-party services, APIs, or libraries to the app, which may extend the development time. 30 days to a few weeks
Testing and Quality Assurance Rigorous testing of the app to identify and fix bugs, ensuring high-quality performance. Varies

Understanding these stages provides a comprehensive view of the app development process, allowing for effective project management and successful delivery.

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What Slows Down the Mobile App Development Process?

what slows down the app development process

The typical duration of the app development process spans several months, yet numerous elements can introduce delays and influence the timeline for a mobile app’s completion.

It is crucial to account for the app’s intricacy, resource availability, and unforeseen challenges that may emerge during development.

Through meticulous planning and addressing these considerations, a seamless and efficient app development journey can be ensured.

Here are the key reasons contributing to slowing down the mobile app development process.

1.      Alterations in App Development Projects

Introducing sudden changes midway through the project can impede progress and affect the app’s performance.

Excessive modifications to an already-established code base may result in performance issues.

2.      Inexperienced Developers

Successful app development necessitates excellent ideas, a well-defined budget, and skilled developers.

The common mistake of hiring inexperienced developers, especially by startups, often leads to process slowdowns and subpar outcomes.

Our team of seasoned mobile app developers consistently delivers high-performance apps, collaborating closely with clients to optimize their app ideas for business success.

3.      Technical Complexity

Software development introduces various technical challenges that can hinder project progress.

Challenges may arise from intricate technical requirements, integration with third-party systems, scalability considerations, or the complexities of dealing with legacy code.

Addressing these challenges involves additional research, testing, and modifications to meet desired functionality and performance standards.

Dealing with complex technical requirements demands a deep understanding of the problem and the ability to formulate appropriate solutions.

This may entail delving into intricate algorithms, designing architectures, or implementing sophisticated data structures, thereby extending the development timeline.

4.      Industry-Specific Variances

The industry for which the app is developed significantly influences the average app development time.

For instance, a social media app may take 1-2 months, while on-demand apps typically require more time. Industry specifics are, therefore, a determining factor in the time needed to develop an app.

Now that we have explored the nuances of app development and identified factors contributing to delays, let’s delve into the factors that expedite the mobile app development timeline.

How to Speed Up the Timeline of Mobile Application Development?

how to speed up the timeline of mobile app development

Undeniably, In the rapidly evolving landscape of mobile apps, maintaining a swift app development timeline is paramount.

Whether it’s a new startup or an established enterprise, the quest for mobile app developers capable of delivering high-quality apps promptly is constant.

For startups, the imperative is to attract a substantial user base swiftly, and mobile apps serve as the quintessential solution.

Having established the fundamentals of app creation and identified factors influencing development time, it is now crucial to explore strategies for minimizing app development timelines and accelerating project delivery.

1.      MVPs and Prototyping

MVPs and prototypes emerge as invaluable tools for streamlining app development timelines. These preliminary versions, mirroring the core concept of the application, facilitate rapid development.

Companies like Airbnb and MailChimp began their journey as MVPs before full-scale implementation.

2.      Embrace Cross-Platform Development

Navigating the perennial Android vs. iOS debate can be overwhelming, with both platforms inportfolio curring a significant Android app development cost in 2024, along with considerable development time.

Opting for cross-platform app development, leveraging tools such as Xamarin and PhoneGap, presents an efficient solution. This approach enables the creation of robust multi-platform apps within a shorter timeframe.

3.      Engage Professional Developers

Outsourcing app development to seasoned professionals is a strategic move for several reasons. A skilled app developer ensures an aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly UI/UX design, which is crucial for user attraction and retention.

Moreover, professional developers bring expertise and efficiency, reducing overall development time.

Choosing to outsource further reduces development hours, with offshore collaborations offering access to a talented developer pool.

Trango Tech, with a proven track record, guides clients through the entire app development journey, providing comprehensive support from concept to the final product.

4.      Adopt Agile Development Practices

Agile development practices are widely adopted in the app development landscape for their ability to expedite the development cycle.

This approach prioritizes flexibility, adaptability, and accelerated time to market.

The agile structure facilitates open communication between app owners and developers, ensuring timely project completion.

5.      Leverage White-Label Solutions

White-label solutions empower businesses to diversify offerings without diverting resources from core competencies.

Partnering with a white-label provider enables swift product or service launches, capitalizing on existing infrastructure.

This strategy ensures rapid market entry and furnishes customers with a holistic solution.

6.      Implement Automated Testing

Despite its apparent importance, automated testing is often overlooked. This testing method significantly reduces the mobile app development cycle by executing a comprehensive set of tests simultaneously.

Automated testing, encompassing various methods, not only expedites the testing process but also enhances application security.

The efficiency gained in testing directly translates to an accelerated development process.

In conclusion, adopting these strategies in your app development journey can lead to substantial time savings, ensuring a faster and more efficient app development cycle.

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From conceptualization to deployment, our seasoned team offers a comprehensive suite of Android and IOS app development services.

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Explore our extensive portfolio showcasing successful collaborations with top-tier brands, witnessing how we’ve empowered businesses to thrive and scale.

At Trango Tech, we thrive on your demands and specialize in delivering beyond expectations.

Whether you have a groundbreaking app idea or questions about app development timelines, connect with our experts for a detailed discussion.

FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is the typical timeframe for developing a simple mobile app in 2024?

The development timeline for a simple mobile app in 2024 generally falls within the range of 2 to 4 months.

This duration includes various stages such as planning, design, development, testing, and deployment.

The simplicity of the app’s features and functionalities contributes to a more streamlined development process, ensuring a quicker turnaround.

How long does it usually take to create an average mobile app?

On average, the development of a mobile app spans from 4 to 6 months or a year based on app type and their complexity level.

This timeframe accommodates the incorporation of a moderate level of features and functionalities, striking a balance between complexity and development speed.

It allows for thorough planning, comprehensive design, meticulous development, and rigorous testing to ensure a polished final product.

What factors can impact the time required for app development in 2024?

Several factors influence the time needed for app development in 2024.

The complexity of the app, the choice of a development company, the intricacy of features, and the overall structure of the app are crucial determinants.

Collaborating with an experienced development team, defining clear project requirements, and having a well-thought-out development plan can positively impact the efficiency of the process.

Is there a significant difference in the timeline for developing simple versus complex apps?

Yes, there is a notable difference in the development timeline between simple and complex apps.

Simple apps, with fewer features, can be completed in approximately 2 to 4 months. On the other hand, complex apps, characterized by advanced functionalities, may require a longer timeframe, often starting from 9 months.

The extended duration allows for intricate development processes and extensive testing to ensure a robust and feature-rich application.

Can the app development timeline vary based on the chosen technology stack?

Absolutely. The technology stack plays a pivotal role in determining the app development timeline.

The choice of frameworks, programming languages, and tools can significantly impact the speed and efficiency of the development process.

Opting for well-established and compatible technologies can lead to a smoother workflow, potentially reducing the overall time required for development.

About The Author

blog author
Mariam Amin

Mariam Amin is an Electronics Engineering graduate. As a content marketer, with her insights on engineering and digital strategy, she showcases informative guides and content that is built on imparting knowledge. When away from marketing and the digital landscape, you can find her looking over the food industry, and fitness trends, and catching up on a documentary or a movie.

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