Today we are going to answer the most commonly asked question on all our forums and help you understand how long it takes to develop a mobile application.
We will help you understand the exact process of mobile app development timeline so that you might understand the exact mobile app development life cycle for any regular app.
This is going to be a general timeline and it might be different in minor areas but the general timeline is going to be quite accurate. However, when we say regular mobile app we mean apps other than gaming apps because gaming app development phases are completely different and require much longer to develop.
Having said that, mobile app life cycle is something that every prospective app owner should understand because if you want an app for your business then it is very helpful to understand the development timeline stages.
This will give you realistic expectations and you will understand everything about app design and planning. You will also understand how long it takes for the coding and development to take place.
This blog will also give you an idea about app deployment and it will also help you form a mental image of the development timeline template.
All in all, this is going to be a very important but also very interesting blog about the mobile app development process.
And you can definitely use this as a guide next time you approach an app developer and ask them for a development roadmap.
So, let us look at the general app development timeline of mobile apps both for Android and iOS.
Stages Of Mobile App Development – App Development Timeline
Research and Idea Generation Stage(2 -4 weeks)
This is going to be the very first step of the app development process and this is the stage where the foundation is laid down for the app.
Sometimes, this stage is often called the most important stage because this is when you plan everything about the app.
This is the stage where the entire concept and the requirements of the app are laid down. It is when the features of the app are discussed.
This stage usually takes a few weeks and we usually take an average of 3 weeks to complete this stage provided the app is complex. If the app is simple enough then one and a half weeks is enough for this stage.
A lot of important variables are finalized right from the structure of the app but most importantly the purpose of the app. We analyse things like the target audience and the existing market of the app and how this new app will fit in.
We also do a lot of market research and studies so that we can get the best kind of inspiration and also make sure the app has all the features.
One of the key decisions that used to be taken in this initial stage was to determine the operating system of the app but now business owners generally want apps for both Android and iOS.
That is where we let the client decide whether they want a native approach or a hybrid approach.
Pre-Development Stage(4-6 weeks)
This is the second stage of mobile app development and this is when the app design is finalized because you cannot get to the next step before you finalize all the other important things that we mentioned in the previous point.
This is the stage where the user interface is finalized and also things like graphics as well as colours are finalized by the client.
This is when we make sure how the app should look and there is a good amount of back and forth with the client so that they are satisfied with the design.
In order to do this, app designers create multiple wireframes and they work hand in hand with developers to make sure whether that design is possible and actually viable.
Everything from the app logo to the font as well as the general colour scheme of the app is finalized.
Along with design, this is the stage where we set the goals that we need to achieve in the coming weeks and the development platform is also selected.
The pre-development stage finalises everything and includes every decision that needs to be taken before the developers lay their hands on the app architecture.
While this is the stage for designing the aesthetic of the app, some app development companies choose to do this after the architecture has been finalized.
App Architecture Development Stage(2 months)
The last point was about everything cosmetic and everything external about the app and how it is going to look but this is a stage that primarily focuses on the internal structure of the app.
We are talking about the architectural phase in which the app architecture is finalised. This is when the technical requirements of the app are finalized with a special focus on different devices and how the app is going to function.
This is also when things like the development type of the app as well as the programming languages of the app are chosen. Developers also determine which framework is going to be the most suitable for this particular app.
Let us look at this example to understand what this stage means. The last stage that we talked about was figuring out the external aesthetic of the building.
This step is about figuring out if the building is going to be made of steel beams or concrete. Then the next step will be app development and it is going to be the most time-consuming stage of the process.
The app architecture development stage usually takes 2 months on average and it can even be completed within a single month if the app development company knows what they are doing.
App Development Stage(3-5 months)
This is the most time-consuming but also the most important stage. And if we want to help you understand it in the simplest way possible then this is when the guts of the app are created.
This is when the coding is done where the code is written for the app using the language depending on the platform as well as the framework.
This is when the app architecture comes to life and it is closely kept in mind during the coding process. That code is then made to fit right in with the user interface.
We must also talk about the frontend and the backend components of mobile app development as the app development stage is divided between two teams.
The frontend team will take care of every aspect of the app that is visible to the user. The backend team will take care of everything that is not visible to the user, the database to the server etc.
These two teams must work together to make sure that the app is not only good in appearance but also functional.
The backend team additionally has to keep in mind data storage and whether that app will be run from a server or whether it will be an offline app.
They must also keep network connectivity in mind but also make sure that the app is optimised to provide the best kind of performance.
If they are designing an offline app then the development process is usually longer because the app does not have any online server to pull data from. But if the app is an online app then it is usually shorter.
This stage of the app development process usually takes a few months but it all depends on the kind of app. We usually take on average of 4 to 5 months for this stage of the process.
Testing And Launch (2-4 weeks)
After the app has been developed and everything about the app has been finalized, the app goes through many rounds of testing.
There are usually three kinds of testing done with mobile apps as developers do unit testing as well as integration testing and performance testing. Unit testing is when individual components at tested. Integration testing is when all the components are tested to see compatibility between each other.
The performance of the app is also tested and the app might be launched in limited closed numbers within a limited circle of users as field testing.
The testing process depends on client requirements because if the client wants the testing to go on for a long time then we as the company need to oblige but the testing process is usually carried out for not more than two weeks.
It is a very intensive process and it takes up a lot of resources and time for any company. And then comes the final launch process.
This is usually done after everyone in the team is satisfied with the app and the app has been finalized by the client and this is when the app is usually launched in the correct platform.
The launch usually takes place when the app platform approves the app after doing its own sets of testing. The Play Store usually approves apps easily as compared to the Apple App Store.
Here Are Some Factors That Impact App Development Timeline
Changes To the Project
While we told you about the timeline and how much time it can take for each step of the process but it is rarely like that.
This is because every project can encounter a lot of changes and these changes usually happen during the development process.
This is because the developers might find a better way to make something work or they might even remove features that are causing a problem in the performance.
Then comes the client requests because the most time-consuming step of the process is to accommodate all the changes the client wants done to the app.
Some of these changes or rather most of the changes come after everything is finalised and the development of the app has begun.
This takes up most of the time of development no matter the kind of app. And if the app is complex then it is going to take even more time.
The App Type
The other thing you must keep in mind is that the type of app and the complexity of the app will play a major role in how much time it takes for app development.
If we are talking about a simple application that is something like a gallery application without a lot of graphics and without a lot of features then you can expect that app to be developed within weeks.
But if you take, for example, an app that does room mapping to find out whether certain furniture would look nice and the app utilises AR and VR then that kind of app will take a lot more time to develop.
We are not even going into gaming apps because they can take on average at least a few months more than any regular app of any complexity.
The Development Team
This is a point that is universal and applicable for every kind of commissioned work and that is also the case for app development.
If you have an experienced team that has done app development for years then you can expect the best kind of efficiency and the best kind of coordination between the frontend and backend teams.
But if the team is new and they have not done this particular kind of app then they might take up a lot of time.
This is because it is not just about skills but experience and with experience comes the vision to understand what to do next.
Along with that if the development team has access to everything they need from the resources to the support from the client along with a complete team then they will be able to do the job quicker.
It is all about how experienced the team is and how equipped they are to do the job.
This Is How You Speed Up App Development
One of the mistakes developers make is that day try to create the ultimate app on the first try with all the best features that the app can ever have.
They try to include excessive features and they try to make sure that the interface is excellent with the best kind of performance.
But that is not how you should develop apps. The thing about app development is that you should at least aim for stability and not aim for the best product in the first release.
If you compare the first edition and the current edition of some of the most popular apps on any platform then you will find that they are very different.
The first version of any app will not be the finest version and that is why you should not aim for the best app but you should aim for an app that does not crash and is stable.
If you want to speed up the app development process even more then you should not utilise the traditional development techniques but you should rather go with the Agile approach of development.
Testing an app can take up a lot of time and that time might seem unnecessary. That is why if you can develop an algorithm that automatically tests the app without engaging any app developer then it is going to be amazing for the app development timeline.
The human developers can focus on improving the app and its performance as they will not be engaged in the testing process and the automatic tests can carry on for hours.
While this may not be the best approach for every kind of app but you can certainly try this out.
Native app development can take up a lot of time as with Native app development you are creating an app for a specific operating system and you will not be able to utilise that code for any other platform or operating system.
If you need to create apps for different operating systems then you can dramatically cut down development time by half by choosing the hybrid app development approach rather than a native approach.
This is because, with the hybrid approach of development, you can create a single code and then adapt it to multiple operating systems.
While hybrid might not be the best choice in terms of performance but will be just alright for nearly every kind of app other than FPS gaming apps.
We hope this blog has been helpful for you to understand how much time it takes to develop an app. There are a lot of factors that contribute to this time and we would love to explain more.
We are Think To Share IT Solutions and we are one of the pioneers of mobile app development in India with some of the finest experience and the finest app developers.
We do every kind of app which includes simple, moderate and even complex apps. We do eCommerce apps and companion apps as well as enterprise-grade system management apps and much more.
We welcome you to get in touch with us and we can plan out the perfect custom mobile app for your business.
Mobile App Development Timeline FAQs
How long does it take for Google Play to approve your app?
It all depends on the complexity of the app but the average app approval time is usually between 2 to 7 business days.
However, this is the average time and you can expect your app to be approved within a few hours or even within a few days.
If you want to make sure that your app is approved faster you should make sure that your app follows all the guidelines provided by Google and that it has a simple and clear app description that will be needed for app listing.
You must also make sure the app is bug-free and that the app is running properly.
How long does it take for the Apple App Store to approve your app?
Apple has a faster approval time but that should not make you think that it is easier to get apps approved by Apple. In fact, Apple has a much stricter policy when it comes to approving apps.
Apple has a very high reject rate which means your app might very well be rejected if it does not comply with the guidelines from Apple.
That is why if you do everything correctly then you can expect the app to be approved within a few days but if you get something remotely wrong then the application will be rejected.
What is life cycle of mobile application development?
The life cycle of mobile app development usually starts with the planning process where everything from the idea of the app to the features and requirements of the app is thought about and the idea is generated.
The second step is usually the design process where the user interface and the colours, logos and everything else are decided. This is also called the prototyping stage and it is usually done in the process of storyboarding where the journey of the app user is understood and the flow of the app is determined.
Then we come to the development part and we do not want to explain the development part because it is just coding and API integration.
Then comes the testing part where final changes are made according to client requirements and testing is done for each and every component and even for performance is tested.
Then we finally come to the platform approval and the app launch. You can then expect something like regular updates in the app life cycle.
What is the average timeline for app development?
The average app development time can vary depending on the complexity of the app as well as the skill level of the app developers.
You can expect a simple app to be completed within a few months. And you can expect a medium-complexity app to take 6 months or something near that.
If the app is complex then you can expect anything above 9 months and if the app is a gaming app then it can even take years.