How long does it take to build an app?
One of the most frequently asked questions after knowing the mobile app development cost.
Figuring out how long it takes to develop an application depends on several factors, such as resources, project scope, and skill levels. A mobile app development company like ours will tell you that it takes anywhere between 5 weeks to 16 weeks to develop an MVP from scratch. This is the average time we take to build something worthwhile though we have worked faster or longer depending on the project’s requirements.
App usage and smartphone penetration are growing steadily and firmly, with no signs of slowing down in the foreseeable future.
With hundreds of apps on Android and iOS, some being downloaded and some deleted, the key to a successful app lies in offering a seamless, indispensable user experience combined with quality. However, if you want to make a great app-it only happens after a while as it needs proper planning and implementation.
It is now time to closely examine the factors that may impact the mobile app development process that influence the overall app development timeline.
Time taken for the App Development Process
Most app development projects nowadays opt for the agile software development approach as it offers many benefits. The following is the time taken for the app development process.
The first step of the development process involves identifying the client’s goals and gathering requirements to create the right app solution. A comprehensive understanding of the client’s vision and expectations is essential before development begins.
In this step, the strengths and weaknesses of the project are charted, and the team develops the design concept and wireframes to display the app’s look and feel. The UI/UX is finalized along with the app architecture.
Time – 1 to 3 weeks.
2. Design and Development
This is the critical phase of the app project. A team comprising analysts, designers, developers, and testers collaborates on your idea. An initial version of your app, the MVP, is built and submitted to the client/business for feedback.
The app’s core functionality is incorporated in the MVP, the first version with limited features offered to users. After learning about the target user’s needs and preferences, additional features can be included in later releases.
This is the stage where even the smallest of bugs are fixed, and iterations are made to make a fully functioning model of your app.
Time – 4 to 10 weeks
User Acceptance Testing (UAT)
The next stage of development is User Acceptance Testing(UAT) which works on the changes in the app based on client and user feedback. The app is also tested with an in-house testing team for bugs. A test version is created and uploaded for a free trial. Feedback from the first set of users is accessed, and developers then work on the feedback and incorporate final changes before releasing it commercially.
Time – 1 to 2 weeks
Once app development is complete, it is time to deploy it to multiple app stores. The project team helps you distribute the app on Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store, the largest and most widely used app stores. This may take up to 3 weeks before the app is ready for download.
Time – 2 to 3 weeks
Here is a summary of the time taken for the App Development Process
|Phases of App Development||Timeline|
|Ideation||1 to 3 weeks|
|Development and Testing||4 to 10 weeks|
|User Acceptance Testing (UAT)||1 to 2 weeks|
|App Release||2 to 3 weeks|
Now that we understand the different stages of app development let us now check out the app development time estimation based on the type and complexity.
Mobile App Timelines Based on Type and Complexity
Mobile apps take time to build. Usually, the app development time estimation ranges from 2 to 12 months or even more to build from scratch, depending on the app’s size, design, and complexity. A simple app may have fewer screens and easy coding, whereas a complex app can include many screens, complex coding, and advanced features.
How many hours/months does it take to develop an app?
The following is the timeline to build an app based on App type.
|Basic App||80-100 hours||1-4 months|
|Medium complexity App||120-150 hours||3-8 months|
|Complex App||350-600 hours||8+ months|
Let us now see the different niches and the app development timeline for each.
1. Games/Entertainment Apps
The gaming and entertainment categories can be competitive and huge. They are the most popular and widely used, bringing the user back to the app multiple times a day or week.
On the back of immersive features, game apps can be highly addictive. When translated to development efforts, Gaming/Entertainment apps can be developed in 3 – 6 months, depending on the features listed below.
- Advanced CMS to publish content
- Intuitive, engaging, and compelling UI/UX
- Special effects for video/gaming Apps
- Social media sharing
- Attractive images
- Seamless gaming experience
- Push notifications
The top-grossing apps in respective app stores currently are games and entertainment apps. Some examples of game apps include PUBG, Clash of Clans, FreeFire, and Candy Crush. Some entertainment apps include Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Disney+, Netflix, Hulu, etc.
2. E-Commerce App
E-commerce apps are the most convenient and preferred shopping avenue to attract new customers and increase brand presence and revenue. An online presence for businesses of any size to become more ‘discoverable’ to potential new clients.
The average app development for an e-commerce app takes about 3 to 12 months, depending on the features you want, app complexity, scalability, and development platform.
- One-Step registration
- Personalized customer experience
- Advanced search capabilities
- Augmented Reality
- AI Voice Assistant
- Super-fast checkout
Some of the e-commerce industry giants, including Alibaba, Amazon, Walmart, and eBay, are notable players in the market.
3. On-Demand App
On-demand apps work as an intermediary between businesses and customers who offer real-time information, easy access to services, and transaction of goods according to needs. They can help businesses of any size to create and operate scalable apps with unlimited growth possibilities.
On-demand app development time may vary between 4 to 8 months depending on the business model and conditions. The following are some essential features that may take up development time.
- Authentication and security
- Push notifications
- Order history and tracking
- Payment gateway
- Real-Time analytics
- Reviews and ratings
Top On-demand Apps are across these verticals
- Food and Drink
4. Food-Delivery App
It is a race to keep up with food delivery online as 80% of people nowadays prefer ordering food online and reducing the time spent visiting restaurants or stores.
The average app development for a Food delivery app takes about 4 to 8 months, depending on the complexity, advanced features listed below, development platform, etc.
- Map integration
- Push notifications
- Order tracking and delivery
- Restaurant filters
- Delivery tips
- Payment integration
- Social media integration
Some of the most popular delivery apps are DoorDash, Uber Eats, Deliveroo, and GrubHub.
5. Social-Networking App
Social Media Apps are among the most popular, with Facebook reporting over 1 billion active users daily. These apps must be fun and fast and continually integrate all necessary features like the following to keep users hooked and include social sharing functionality. Social Networking apps can be built in 2 -8 months depending on the features that include-
- Simple and intuitive UI
- Secure Login
- Content sharing
- Open forum
- Real-Time notifications
- Visually appealing and accessible design.
Some common social media apps include Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat.
6. Educational App
With the increased popularity of online learning, Educational apps are seeing an upward trend that allows users of all ages to learn anything they want in their comfort. On average, an educational app takes anywhere between 4 to 8 months, depending on the features and integrations, such as
- Secure Login
- Session recording
- Seamless video streaming
- In-session chats
- Screen sharing
- File sharing,
Top educational apps include Khan Academy, BrainPOP, Evernote, edX, Duolingo, etc.
7. Healthcare App
Healthcare Apps can store and analyze data about the patient and provide reports to healthcare professionals. Development takes about 5 to 15 months as it needs a team of experts to develop the app, be compliant with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) standards, and include features such as
- Integrate with Electronic Health Records(EHR)
- HIPAA compliant
- Track the real-time progress of a patient
- Goal setting
- Built-in messaging
Well-known healthcare app examples include HealthTap, WebMD, Generis, Apple Health, and PEPID.
Let us sum up the average app development time based on the above niches.
|App Type||Time (in months)|
|Games/Entertainment App||3 – 6 months|
|E-Commerce App||3 – 12 months|
|On-demand App||4 – 8 months|
|Food-Delivery App||4 – 8 months|
|Social-Networking App||2 – 8 months|
|Educational App||4 – 8 months|
|Healthcare App||5 – 15 months|
The MVP of the above niches varies anywhere between 1 to 3 months, and the estimated final app delivery may vary from 3 to 15+ months depending on the technology stack, platform, features, app complexity, and developer’s expertise.
Things that May Slow Down the Process of App Development
As we saw before, the time to develop an app ranges from 1 month to a year or sometimes even more. You must know some things that delay the overall app development process.
1. Unexpected Changes in the App Development Process
Every stage in the development process is interlinked, and even a slight mid-level change can hamper the process and slow it down. It can also affect the app’s overall performance, and you may have to rebuild the code base again.
2. Inexperienced Developers
The idea of your app may be the body, whereas the budget, resources, and experienced developers are the engines that run your app. Sometimes, the development company may hire developers who do not have the experience needed for your app. Here at Ailoitte, we have a team of experienced developers whose skills and expertise are apt for delivering high-quality applications one after the other.
3. Complexity of Technology
Emerging technologies such as Machine learning, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, and Augmented Reality incorporated into apps, can slow the app development process. Though their addition can enhance your app and the number of downloads, a proper skill set and budget is needed for these technologies, which can be complex and thus slow down the process.
4. Industry-wise Differences
The same parameters do not apply to every industry. The niche you target for your app is crucial in the mobile app development timeline. For example, a social media app can take 1 to 8 months to develop, whereas a healthcare app can take 6 to 15+ months. Do your research well and ask the mobile app development company how long your project takes.
How To Shorten Mobile App Development Timeline?
The mobile app development timeline is affected by several factors. However, developing the app on time without compromising the quality of the app is a must. Let us now see how you can reduce the time of app development.
1. Go for an MVP (Minimum Viable Product)
A Minimum Viable Product is a version of the app with just the primary features and functionality required to satisfy the user. The idea behind the MVP is to cut the development time by as much as 30%, get feedback from the target user quickly, and continue with the app’s development for the final version.
2. Opt for a Cross-platform app (Hybrid App)
You can build a cross-platform app using Xamarin, React Native, Flutter, and other technologies for multiple platforms. In addition, by creating a cross-platform app, you can avoid developing two separate native apps, which can cut down the development timeline.
3. Hire Experienced Developers
Hiring an experienced team with the right skills can make a massive difference to your app, which a novice developer can’t. With their updated knowledge, they can take less time to develop the app in the best possible way. However, when hiring an app development company, ask about the developers’ skills before confirming the project.
4. Offer White Label Solutions
This practice involves not building the app from scratch but using an existing product and rebranding it as per client needs or users already familiar with it. This shortens the development time, and you save substantial money too.
5. Automated testing
Instead of manual testing prone to human error, opt for automated testing to test your mobile app’s application features and functionality. It saves time, reduces breaches, and is cost-effective, reliable, and accurate as the app development progresses.
We hope this guide helps you determine the timeframe for building an app. As mobile apps continue to grab the lion’s share in the software market, app development can take your company to new levels of success.
Developing your app can be lengthy and taxing, requiring much planning, patience, and flexibility. Be ready to face unanticipated situations that may arise due to third-party integrations, app store guidelines, and bugs during the testing phase, which can cause delays.
Stay in touch with the mobile app development team post-release and incorporate improvements and timely updates into your app. This way, you can offer optimal value to your users and boost your brand value.
If you want to hire an app development team, look no further. Ailoitte is a web and mobile app development company with vast experience developing multi-platform apps. By working closely with us, you can scale the team and get access to a world-class team known for crafting innovative solutions and delivering exceptional results. With over half a decade of experience, we have worked with startups and brands across different industries.
If you want to build your app in less turnaround time, contact us for a quote.
Apps take anywhere from 2 to 12 months, depending on the number of features and integrations. For example, a simple app may take 1 to 4 months, a medium app can take 3 to 8 months, and a complex app can take eight-plus months to develop.
Creating an app ready for public release usually takes 3 to 4 months. However, you can prepare a Minimum Viable Product(MVP) in 2 weeks.
You can estimate an app based on project scope, UI/UX design, technical complexity, web hosting, deadlines, and contract type.