iOS Development

How Long Does it Take to Build an App? 📱

Are you trying to build a quality app but aren’t sure how long it’s supposed to take? Here are some things developers should know about.
Austin Betzer
Posted on
June 15, 2021
Minute Read

How long should it take you, realistically, to build an app? Sadly, this is a question that does not have a definitive answer. When it comes to designing, developing, testing, and eventually launching a mobile application, several factors significantly impact the total time the process will take. This article is dedicated to examining these factors to provide you with a rough estimate of your app-building timeline. 

Essential App Building Factors to Consider

The following list of considerations is not a comprehensive one by any means. Still, it does contain the most significant factors that will determine the length of time it takes to go from an app idea to the launch of a fully functional mobile application. Keep these considerations and questions in mind going forward to help you get a general sense of the timeline you’ll end up working with.

Who is Building the App?

Will you be taking on the project single-handedly, or do you intend to work with a professional app development team? The answer will significantly impact the time it will take to create and launch a fully functional mobile application, as well as the overall cost of the project.

What Do You Already Know About App Building?

Have you built an app before? What do you know about coding and the app development process? These are also factors that will significantly impact your timeline. In short, the more you know when you start the project, the easier the process will be, and the less time it should take you to go from an idea to an actual app product that you can put onto application stores.

Related: Here’s who you need to think about having on your app build team.

How Big is The App?

The size of your app is one of the most significant factors that will impact your development timeline. The larger and more complicated you want your app to be, the longer it will take to design, make, and test before it is ready for launch. This is largely determined by your app’s overall scope, which includes its features, platform compatibility, how it operates with different screen sizes, and more.

How Intense is Your UI/UX Design?

UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) refer to how an app looks and how it works, respectively. Both of these elements are exceedingly important in the app development process in general and in building an app that has the chance to be successful in the market while standing out from amongst its competition.

Related: 9 things to watch when you’re looking at other apps for inspiration. (Part 3 of 3)

What is Your App Building Budget?

In some cases, putting more money into the app development process will mean a smaller timeline from taking an app idea to its full public launch. However, this isn’t a universal rule, and it should be considered one of the lesser factors that will impact your project’s time span compared to those listed above.

Are you looking for a top-quality app development service to help you bring your dream app into the real world? Check out the spectacular services provided by the experts at Strides today to learn more.

App Building Stages

Someone designing app features on paper with pens and markers.

There is a significant deal of controversy regarding the exact number of stages that go into the app development process. Many resources will claim that the process only requires four stages. Still, others will list as many as ten or more, depending on how detailed the phases are and how developers choose to break up the overall development process. Generally speaking, however, the stages that are involved in mobile app creation typically include: 

  1. Picking an app idea
  2. Choosing an app development partner
  3. App discovery and pre-design
  4. App UI/UX design
  5. App development
  6. Quality assurance and testing
  7. App launch
  8. Post-development support and maintenance

General App Development Timelines

When all of the above questions, factors, and general app development stages are considered together, you are liable to end up with a timeline that is roughly similar to the ones provided below. Keep in mind going forward, however, that these are not exact timelines. It may take several weeks longer than anticipated to complete any stage of the app-building process, and some steps may even be finished faster than expected.

Small Apps

  • 1-2 weeks for app discovery and pre-design (including research, scoping, requirements gathering, and more)
  • 2-3 weeks to complete UI/UX design
  • 6-10 weeks for app development and alpha-beta testing (ideally with 5-10 alpha testers and at least as many beta testers)

Total time for small mobile app development: 9-15 weeks

Medium Sized Apps

  • 2-3 weeks for app discovery and pre-design (including research, scoping, requirements gathering, and more)
  • 6-7 weeks to complete UI/UX design
  • 14-18 weeks for app development and alpha-beta testing (ideally with 5-10 alpha testers and at least as many beta testers)

Total time for medium app development: 22-28 weeks

Large Apps

  • 3-4 weeks for app discovery and pre-design (including research, scoping, requirements gathering, and more)
  • 9-10 weeks to complete UI/UX design
  • 20-25 weeks for app development and alpha-beta testing (ideally with 5-10 alpha testers and at least as many beta testers)

Total time for large app development: 32-39 weeks

Related: What does the app build process look like from beginning to end?

The Bottom Line

Someone holding up their phone displaying several mobile apps on the screen.

The time it takes to develop a fully functional app from an idea to a full application launch depends on a vast range of factors. In the end, every app made will be at least slightly unique in terms of its development timeframe. Developers must keep this in mind as they work to construct mobile applications and ensure that they remain flexible in their estimated timeline. Numerous unforeseen issues and holdups can occur at any stage of app development, throwing off anticipated stage lengths by a significant amount. 

The ranges provided above are meant to give only a generalized estimate of average application timelines. In the end, you won’t be able to determine a 100% guaranteed time span for your project, but you can at least begin the development process with a rough estimate.

Are you looking for a fantastic app developing team to help you design, build, and launch your dream app in record time? Take a look at the stellar services offered by the experts at Strides to find out more.

Austin Betzer
My only passion is helping others solve meaningful real-world problems. I will continue to do just that!

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