How Long Does It Take to Develop an App on Average?

App Development

There are about 1.8 million iOS apps available and over 2 million Android apps.

You have a great idea for an app, and you want to be the first to market. That will give you a huge advantage over your competition.

The only way to win is to get the app programmed fast. But how long does it take to develop an app?

Read on to learn how long it takes to develop an app and the steps you need to take between idea and going to market.

How Long Does It Take to Develop an App?

It could take a few months, or it can take a couple of years. There isn’t a definitive answer because there are so many steps involved in the process.

It also depends on how complex the app is. Plus, you have to add time onto the project to account for contingencies.

Contingencies are a cushion that accounts for things going wrong on the project that could set you back weeks or months.

Steps to Develop a Mobile App

In order to build a successful app, you do need to go through a process. These steps are the ones you can’t afford to skip when you’re creating your app.

Planning Your App

Many apps on the market today are just plain bad. They don’t function well, they’re hard to use, and they’re buggy.

The reason why is because they were made by people who didn’t plan. In this part of the development process, you create a strategic plan for building the app.

You have to flesh out your app idea and determine if there’s a market or need for it. You have to know your target audience and create your budget.

In this stage, you also have to develop your framework of app development. Decide who will be working on the project and what their responsibilities will be.

It’s also important to outline the goals of the project when the final delivery date is and the important benchmarks along the way.

Once that is documented, you can then start to research the project. This is where you analyze the competition and learn how your app can be much better than the competition.

Finally, you’ll need to decide how the app will be updated and supported. If you want to have an app that endures, you can’t overlook this part.

This part of the process can take 2-8 weeks.

The Key Development Questions

Once you have a plan written out, you have some major decisions to make.

What environment will you choose to develop your app? You could choose to develop an iOS app or Android app. You could try to launch both at the same time.

What you decide in this step will have an impact on your budget and development time. With an iOS app, you have to meet Apple’s standards to have your app available in the App Store.

Android apps are challenging because there are so many variations of screen sizes and manufacturers. What works on one device may not work on another.

Another debate within the app community is between cloud apps vs web apps. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. You want to weigh them against your project goals to find the best solution for your app.

Design and Testing

You can now start to design the app and test the usability of it. This is all about the end-user. The designers will mock up different looks of the app.

These mock-ups will then be used by everyday app users.

You’ll understand what features work, how your app is used, and what users dislike about the app.

In this stage, you’ll go back and forth between users and designers for about 8-10 weeks. You may be tempted to cut this part of the process down, but the insights you gain will only make your app better.


This is where the programmers go to work. They take all of the feedback and information from the users and designers and turn it into a working application.

In some cases, the development, design, and testing phases all work simultaneously. This could speed up the development process.

Final Testing and Deployment

Upon the completion of the app, you want to run final tests to ensure the app is in working order and user friendly. You may run an exclusive beta test to generate interest in the app.

It’s then time to deploy the app by uploading the app to Google Play or the App Store. You can also update your own website to indicate it’s available.

There is some information that you’ll need to provide to generate interest from users and make sure your app is found easily in searches. There should be screenshots and a detailed description of your app.

It may take a while for your app to be accepted by the App Store team. Apple has a strict review process. Google Play has a minimal review process that’s performed by an algorithm.

Marketing the App

The marketing team should be hard at work promoting your app and getting people excited about it. There are many ways to promote the app, though digital marketing is the best place.

You can have an entire pre-launch campaign that uses social media and video marketing to boost the awareness of the new app.

Supporting Your App for Growth

Once the app is released, the development team gets to work on version 2.0 of the app. There should be regular updates that account for security flaws and minor bug fixes.

You’ll then have major updates that add new features and improve the functionality of the app.

Great App Development Isn’t Easy

How long does it take to develop an app? It depends on the scope of the project and how great you want your app to be.

If you want to build an app that people love, you need to take the time to carefully plan and research your app. For more great app development tips, check out the Apps section of this site.

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