#Entrepreneurship #Guides | 21 min read | Updated: 4/11/2022

How Long Does it Take to Build an App in 2022: Development Time and Expert Tips

Updated: 4/11/2022
, CEO of Sloboda Studio

How long does it take to make an app? – that’s what the IBM Simon smartphone creators asked themselves back in 1992. Since it was the first experience ever creating an app, nobody answered. 

An as long history has shown, almost two years passed from the concept to the mobile app release.

There are nearly 18 billion downloads for different types of apps worldwide. The number of companies that have an app in 2022 and beyond will increase with a turbo effect. If you wanted to know how long does it take to make an app, below we get businesses acquainted with the figures and details of the mobile app building time.

App Development Stages and Their Timeframes

In 2021, the world’s number of mobile internet users grew to 4,3 billion.

The number will reach 5,5 billion users by 2025 from more than 150 countries worldwide. If companies still don’t have a mobile app, they lose potential customers.

In addition to a loyal audience that will use the mobile apps, the company can significantly increase its income and return on investment.

That is why, if companies haven’t had their mobile app yet, they can change this situation.

How much time does it take to build an app: mobile apps revenue worldwide

Source: Statista

Average mobile app development time can take 6 to 9 months. It depends on project complexity, functionality, and software provider experience. 

However, as practice shows, each mobile app creation process doesn’t look the same because of the product requirement.

Nevertheless, the good practice is to consider how much time takes on average at various project stages.

How much time does it take to make apps: 7 app development stages from idea and design to maintenance and support

Forming a Clear Business Idea

This stage usually takes no more than 1-2 weeks. The importance of this stage exists for some companies that

  • do not have a clear design and features of their future app
  • cannot formulate business goals
  • can’t realize the full range of tasks for the creation process
Wht forming a clear business idea is vital when making apps

A mobile app development process without a clear business idea and unique design is a long way to nowhere. 

“Entrepreneurs are often so passionate about their ideas, they can lose objectivity,” adds Nancy A. Shenker, president of the ONswitch LLC, a full-service marketing firm in Westchester, New York. “Rather than taking the time to develop and research thoroughly, they sometimes plow ahead with the execution, only to spend valuable dollars on unfocused or untargeted activities.”

Idea Business Analysis

The business analysis stage takes up to four or five weeks long. Business analysis is best carried out from 4 positions: 

  • company
  • potential customers
  • competitors
  • future (current) business development team 

A mobile app must have specific characteristics and develop certain products or services. Companies should consider how their product will differ from competitors and solve customer problems. In 2022, when there is so much plagiarism and pseudo-custom goods around. Uniqueness is a value customers want to receive from a product they trust.

Next, an assessment of the market and the weaknesses/strengths of the product is needed. Only then will it be possible to conclude whether the product will be attractive or not to users. It will be able to receive financing and determine whether customers’ expectations will be met.

Idea Validation

The validation process usually takes from three to six weeks. Before developing a mobile app, companies should test their design and plan before spending time and money. It is possible that users will not be willing to pay for a new product, or the view will be too similar to competitive ones, which will initially develop outrage among users with an identical product.

The purpose of checking a concept is to ensure that your concept has actual demand. Otherwise, there is a real risk that it will become “just another cool proposal.”

The concept must either solve a real problem, fulfill its purpose, or stimulate the process. Testing an app aim and then seeing how it solves a specific issue. However, it is a risky process to build a mobile application and then look for ways to use it. 

One of the best examples of effective idea validation is Mailchimp. This company also started its journey as a website for electronic meetings, but this design didn’t pass the test. Instead, visitors expressed their wishes to help them with marketing mailings, which became their main project. The company currently has a website and an app for iOS and Android. As we know, Mailchimp’s revenue was $800 million in 2021.

Google Glass – just another example of a seemingly good design and aim. It has been implemented, but no one knows how and why to use Google Glass. 

A new type of glasses sold poorly looked unattractive and had some safety and health problems. The process of building them seemed excellent. However, it did not have strong support, and the question was why people needed them, if not for a beautiful picture on Instagram that they had touched a new modern reality.

Design Sprints 

why design sprints is crucial when you are building mobile apps

The design sprint is a high-quality methodology for solving problems through prototyping and user behavior research for mobile and web apps. Design sprints usually take from three to six weeks long. They consist of the following stages:

  • Project formation and app goals definition
  • Sketching
  • Prototyping
  • Testing

Design sprints are organized to build and test a prototype in just a few days. Many companies, including Spotify and Starbucks, have used the design sprint process to improve the user-journey experience, increase stickiness, and figure out what to sell next. For example, Coca-Cola held a design sprint process last year with an agency partner to figure out how to launch the DTC experience in Austria.

Development and Testing

As a rule, any modern mobile app development requires at least one full-stack mobile app developer. In 2022, companies need to build universal cross-platform opportunities. In the case of cross-platform apps (compatible with both Android and iOS), the creation time takes six to twelve weeks. Still, companies will receive twice as many visitors in the end.

It’s crucial to understand that the process depends on the functional content of the app.

However, development and speed matter and timely testing with finding bugs. Sometimes untimely testing can cause a slowdown in growth since some features may depend on each other.

However, some companies may conduct it after the development stage time. And here, it is essential not to miss important points. There are risks of any time errors that can violate the entire structure.

Product Launch: Deploying to the App Stores

The last step to distributing the apps globally is publication in the app stores. Depending on the chosen and developed platform, publishing an app differs. For example, the App Store has stricter rules and time regulations for the release of the apps; unlike Google Play, there is also a price difference.

Optimizing a mobile app to the app store requirements is the key to successful deployment. If everything is done correctly, it takes such a time scale as 7 to 14 days to publish the submitted app in the app stores.

All companies’ goal is to spread the word so that the target audience will know about it. Then, businesses will receive long-awaited downloads.

Maintenance and Support

The last and final stage of the app development cycle is not included in the app development stages, but it is critical. Maintenance and support is a process that should not be interrupted. It should consist of such elements as:

  • Server monitoring
  • Periodic backing up of data
  • Updating apps
  • Debagging apps

Contrary to popular belief, the app creation process doesn’t end when an app is published in the app stores. This milestone marks the beginning of a prominent mobile app’s journey. 

It’s vital to remember that the speed of development and deployment affects success because of competitors. Below is an example of the average value of the pace of the mobile app, focusing on these stages.

Complete App Development Process

StageAverage time
1. Business Idea Formation1 week
2. Business Analysis3 weeks
3. Idea Validation4 weeks
4. Design Sprints2 weeks
5. Development and QA8 weeks
6. Deployment1 week
Total time17 weeks

Usually, the app development takes six-time stages and is at least seventeen weeks long. Still, the seventh stage – maintenance and support is critical at any time. It takes the app to be more reliable and valuable for customers.

The size of the mobile apps matters and directly affects the development time speed. A simple mobile app with minimal functionality will be developed within ten weeks. However, a complex enterprise development app takes thirty-six weeks. 

It is important to remember that an experienced developers’ team never offers mobile development without a discovery phase or product ideation and testing – because these are inseparable phases that directly affect the success of the app in the future. 

Sloboda Studio has studied the top 5 most attractive countries for outsourcing mobile app development in 2022.

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How To Do a Research on Your Application Idea

Many startups are trying to skip such a critical stage as the Discovery Phase to save money and time. However, this rash decision will later result in financial losses, violation of launch deadlines, and an even worse project option is the launch of a product that is irrelevant to the audience. Companies should develop Discovery Phase first to follow the best scenarios for developing their long-term software.

Discovery Phase is the first stage of the development process. With the help of expert teams, businesses can conduct the research of the project concept, discover competitors, and create correct tech requirements.

If the market doesn't need such apps, entrepreneurs waste the time and money

Source: Fortunly

Discovery Phase

Globally, the goal of the discovery phase is to build a bridge between the concept and its best possible implementation. It helps to understand the market, users, their “pain” and measure the app’s success.

There are at least five main benefits companies perform the Discovery Phase:

  • Fewer expenses and a properly planned development budget
  • Better understanding of the scope and goals of your software
  • Complete knowledge of the pain points and needs of customers
  • Rightly defined market positioning
  • Awareness of competitors week positions 

The Discovery Phase creates not only an opportunity to influence the development of the project and its construction, but it is also an excellent opportunity to test the partnership with a software development supplier and realize whether the companies are ready to continue working further. 

After the Discovery Phase, companies will receive an SRS (software requirement specification) document, in which such crucial mobile app development points are described:

  • Best suitable technology stack
  • Mobile Architecture
  • App functionality
  • User’s App navigation
  • Wireframes

After this advanced project analysis, many businesses get financing more easily and count on a faster launch.

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How to Validate Ideas Using Design Sprints

It is customary to use design sprints to test various aspects of development and see firsthand how the future user will feel about the app. This stage has many essential advantages:

  • Ability to track and change some functionality
  • Test navigation
  • Deep understanding of app project goals
  • Better app idea validation 

A design sprint is an excellent opportunity to create and validate an app idea in four design stages:

Project Formation and App Goals Definition

The understanding step is when all participants in the project design sprint build a shared knowledge base. This database is based on the information provided in

  • brief and lightning-fast conversations
  • interviews with users
  • exercises such as experience comparison

A team displays the user’s experience in a problem space or context step by step.

Having combined all the data, the teams develop and analyze the goals of the app and the expectations of app users.

Sketching

At the sketch design stage, the sprint team individually generates several ideas. The teams work together and make the range of ideas to one extended solution sketch per person.

Prototyping

At the prototype design stage, the sprint team is working together to build a prototype of the app concept. 

The prototype looks like a set of screens. It behaves like an actual mobile app, working as a “live” app but doesn’t have a back-end side. It can already be given to the client or user to immediately ship a stream of valuable feedback. Teams can build prototypes in Figma or Sketchbook by ordering frames on the screen or linking objects using connectors.

Testing

The sprint team will use their prototype to perform user research at the final design stage. Important observations during this process include user feedback, stakeholders, and technical feasibility reviews. 

The testing process will end with either a proven concept or a concept that will still need to be finalized, accompanied by helpful feedback notes.

How much time does it take to make an app: design sprint time and validation of app ideas

Importance of QA Testing After the Product Launch

Sometimes companies skip project testing after the launch hoping that the product will withstand the load. Even more – the system failure will pass by itself. However, miracles in the world of technology are not the result of a perfect match of circumstances but the hard work of experts.

One of the most representative cases happened with The British Passport Agency. They digitalized its passport processing system with new Siemens computers and mobile phones. Not only were they untested after the launch, but employees couldn’t figure out how to use them correctly.

These unknown digital passports caused long lines in front of the agency, delays in passport issuing, and substantial financial losses. 

The company has launched a mobile app, but this does not mean that the work is completed. Some problems, bugs, and inconveniences may appear out of nowhere. And the sooner the product is tested and all bugs are fixed, the sooner it will win the users’ trust.

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Submitting Your Application to App Stores: Key Things You’ll Need

After testing an app, it’s time to develop uploading a mobile app to the App Stores. It might seem easy, but there are different nuances to keep in mind. More than 90% of downloaded applications have specific errors and defects. So, their publication is postponed for 2-3 days.

Below, we describe the necessary project steps and elements that should be considered when publishing a mobile app (using the example of the Apple Store).

Step 1: Signing Up for the Apple Developer Program

The first step in submitting an app is publishing it in a particular program for developers, costing $99 per year. 

Developers need to log in using the Apple ID and confirm their participants in the Apple Developer Program. At this point, it’s right for developers to go to the MyApps symbol and click “+” to develop another app.

Step 2: Collecting All the Information About the Mobile App

When it comes to applying, developers should be as cautious with the following points:

  • App Name: This will be displayed to all users 
  • App Description: It should include the work and crucial info about the apps
  • Screenshots: It is worth having at least 2-3 screenshots of the apps
  • App Icon: All images must be in PNG or JPG format
  • Keywords: Ensure that the devs separate each of the keywords with a comma
  • Categories: Choose the proper classification that syncs with the audience

Step 3: Uploading Screenshots

Screenshots of the app should be in the format .jpg or .png. The pictures should be clear, created in a specialized program, and not contain a blemish.

Step 4: Submitting an Application for Review

The Apple expert group first checks each app submitted to the Apple App Store and publishes the app within an average of one or a maximum of two days.

If the application is not confirmed, try checking the notes in the Resolution Center area and work on the specified focuses.

Step 5. App Store Optimization

App Store Optimization or ASO is also critical when uploading a mobile app to stores. This is search engine optimization of applications, its promotion through a page in the store. The mobile application must break into the top of the output by

  • tags
  • keywords
  • queries

Companies shouldn’t ignore ASO because optimization affects every aspect of a mobile app. It’s essential from a well-chosen title or description to an icon or a video teaser about a mobile app.

What Can Slow Down the Application Development Process

Nothing is perfect, but in the case of IT technologies and software production, the speed of project development is critical. 

What can prevent a company from releasing a product on time? 

There may be several of these factors, but all of them should be considered when creating a mobile app. The first crucial one is – how long does it take to make an app? Next, we advise companies to pay attention to some essential points preventing businesses from the project slipping in time. 

Functions Fluidity

At the initial stage of the cooperation process, the vendor can incorrectly develop the scope of features. As a result, companies are forced to change or add functionality during mobile app development. Ultimately, this function collapse affects the project’s cost, creates a release delay, and inflates investors’ expectations if the project has received funding from outside.

To avoid the turnover of functions, companies need to: 

  • research core functions on the market 
  • analyze competitors and their features
  • determine the unique value of the product for the audience
  • build an MVP with a critical set of functions

After the product’s launch and receiving feedback, the company will improve its development further.

Inexperienced Developers

In pursuit of clients and a good portfolio, some unfair software outsourcing vendors deliberately set low rates and offer inexperienced developers for their projects. However, there are many pitfalls behind low rates companies can face. So, the game’s not worth playing if businesses solve challenging tasks and lack expertise. 

That’s why before making an app, companies should search the trusted partners that provide the best developers in their industry. Then the process of developing a mobile application will be associated with pleasant and expected weeks time.

Complex Technologies

Complex technologies usually slow down development. It happens for several reasons:

1) race for modern trends that will not affect the values of the app in any significant way 

2) non-professionals, where there is no project BA and devs, don’t know about the app value 

3) absence of an expert who can build a correct architecture 

Moreover, complex technologies in the product are not a sentence if the company hires a high-quality developers team, including a business analyst with good industry practice.

Niche Dependence

Companies should trust only those cooperative partners who have sufficient experience and level of knowledge in a particular industry. The specificity of the industry puts an imprint on the development process. So, it’s bad to choose cheaper development instead of focusing on the industry.

Focusing on a niche is important because a particular industry requires specific functionality and strategic decisions, and the software provider’s experience plays a key role. For example, for a mobile application for the marketplace, there will be the creation process of:

  • simple but highly secure registration system 
  • unique specifications for adding only high-quality images to the application,
  • diverse payment system (and its comfortable design) to meet the needs of global users, etc.

If a dedicated outsourcing team does not have sufficient experience in a particular niche, they won’t develop helpful project creation strategies and predict possible risks.

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How to Speed Up the App Development Time

We understand the desire of modern businesses to build a successful mobile project and conquer the market first. Each company can speed up its development process using three following opportunities.

Creating a Cross-Platform App

Starting in 2019, cross-platform applications are in great demand. Every year the growth of mobile phone users on various platforms is growing exponentially. These figures will not stop decreasing in the coming years.

Cross-platform applications can satisfy even the most demanding customers, as they develop the following advantages:

  • Faster mobile app development time
  • Wider reach both with IOS and Android audience
  • Faster and easier updates at any time companies need
  • Cost savings and reduced time 

At the end of 2021, Flutter was a prominent cross-platform app technology leader among industries. According to different surveys, the average cost of building a mobile app takes from $50,000 to $200,000 (the design process is included). The stable second place was for React Native solution.

Popular Cross-Platform Mobile Frameworks

How much time does it take to make an app: cross platform frameworks opportunities for an app

Source: Statista

Which technology is the best suited for a mobile application? It is necessary to focus on

  • industry
  • complexity of development
  • customer expectations during the process

However, we suggest looking at the differences between Flutter and React Native technologies.

React Native or Flutter: what to choose for mobile app for saving much time

Modularization

Modulation is one of the safest ways for modern businesses to build comfortable load conditions for their systems and avoid problems with the code. Experienced programmers can break the principle of a mobile app into modular segments. It’s helpful to unload the infrastructure and build comfortable conditions for improving the code in individual sections that will not violate the general environment of the app.

For example, developers can divide a project into several UPM-packages, else called text packages. For example, the core package and various module packages for the main aspects of the application. This modularization would allow developers to build multiple unity projects with subsets of the entire system, project testing settings, etc.

Thanks to the modules, it will be easier and faster to

  • find app problems
  • develop and change app components
  • scale the application

IDE

Modern developers use an integrated development environment (IDE) when writing code. This particular set of software allows developers to quickly and easily edit the source code using in-built automatic tools. Most settings have intelligent solutions that can evaluate the quality of the code and analyze its process. Such great valuable IDE opportunities make mobile app creation: 

  • Accessible with automatic correction
  • Comfortable with fast workflow using high-quality visualization and compilation
  • Faster and better code exchange between developers
  • Compelling with the possibility to analyze the app code and improve it

The best IDEs for Android and iOS (based on the clients’ and developers’ rates in 2021) are listed below.

AndroidiOS
Android StudioXCode
Visual StudioAppCode
EclipseAtom

Reusing Ready-Made Solutions

There are many ready-made solutions on the market for creating a mobile app. They are called mobile app builders. An app builder is a mobile app development software that allows building a mobile application without coding. Such apps will be hosted on cloud platforms. App builder suppliers like Appy Pie, Shoutem, and Swiftic also provide drag and drop visual editors. They are helpful to visualize and develop their app, making it easier to fix the app bugs and save time.

It’s good to remember that app builders require constant monetary costs. Their prices are sometimes not democratic. However, the speed of creating an application process will be fast.

Our Experience

Sloboda Studio has 11 years of experience creating various mobile applications in such industries as

  • real estate
  • transport
  • accounting
  • training
  • education, etc. 

Moovle

Sloboda Studio Case: Moovle

Moovle

Moovle is an Airbnb-like rental service based in Belgium. Our client had only a concept and design suggestions. So, we provided Discovery Phase to analyze product value on the market. After all research, we built an MVP using Flutter.

In this case, fast app development was crucial. The client wanted to get financing by providing investors with a ready-made mobile solution.

In general, we created only the core functionality for the mobile application:

  • User registration
  • Properties page
  • Property listing
  • Search and filtering system
  • Search personalization
  • Request placement
  • Admin panel

So, we created an MVP in a limited time, and our client successfully presented the project to investors.

How long does it take to make an app?

(based on Airbnb-like app)

FunctionalityDetailsRough Estimation
(hours)
AuthenticationWelcome Page
Sign In/Up
Forgot password
28
HomeScreen Structure
Suggestions
Inquiry form
38
ResearchSearch Result
Recent Search
Suggestions
Filters
52
My profileLayout 
History
Search
Notification Settings
25
ListingLayout10
NotificationsMessages14
VideoBase video functionality20
Profile DetailsImage
Location
Detail
Develop a new one
72
DeployFor iOS
For Android
16
10
Project management45
Testing110
Design100
Total time540

Split

Sloboda Studio Case: Split

Split

Our client, Split, is a California-based marketplace for scooter riders in Los Angeles. The company turned to us for help in creating an application. The app connects freelance drivers managed by Split with those who need transportation to or from a specific destination. 

We made an MVP with basic logic to prove the app idea when the user requested a ride on the platform.

As a result, Split received a mobile app with outstanding performance and user flow.

Luca Expenses

Sloboda Studio Case: Luca Expenses

Luca Expenses

Former McKinsey consultants created Luca Labs as a company that focuses on accounting documents with the help of AI. 

Our client had an old app and significant problems keeping two separate operational process systems like IOS and Android. Our goal was to build a cross-platform app that would work with an existing API, look good, and be easy to maintain.

We upgraded the app with the help of Flutter. Our experts helped the client keep tabs on employees’ work expenses and save data from supporting those expenses. As a result of our cooperation process, Luca Labs was awarded the most exciting startup at Fintech Factory. 

In 2018 Luca Labs raised an undisclosed amount on the seed stage from DNB, Norway’s largest financial services group.

Conclusion

In 2022, no one can imagine themselves without a mobile phone, as well as applications in it. 

Soon there won’t be a person left who won’t use apps on the phone for entertainment, car-sharing, delivery, accounting services, etc. 

Сreating a mobile application varies in terms of time. So, entrepreneurs must know how much time it will take from the start of a project to its launch.

How long does it take to make an app: the minimum development time for a mobile application takes 6 months. It includes the discovery phase as a required project step, without which further development can be a risky undertaking.

Based on our 11+ years of experience, creating cross-platform apps would be the best choice for covering both IOS and Android versions. This also will help to cut costs and time-to-market. 

There would still be many steps to figure out down the road. Having a dedicated app development team by your side would be the right move for building a relevant and valuable product. 

Frequently Asked Questions

On average, a mobile app takes between six and nine months long (seventeen weeks time) to build depending on the app complexity, project functionality, design, etc.

According to different surveys, the average cost of building a mobile app takes from $50,000 to $200,000 (design is included).

Even though iOS remains the leader in application businesses build, modern mobile platforms need to develop cross-platform solutions that will provide companies with the opportunity to get more app users who use both Android and iOS to develop a great project.

Yes, the Discovery phase is a crucial time process, when the relevance of the project and the building of an app itself is confirmed. Without this phase, the company takes risk money, wastes weeks’ time and resources, and also dooms its product to significant process risks.

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