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

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. 

As history has shown, almost two years passed from the concept to the mobile app release. Nowadays, 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 need 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 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 doesn’t look like the same page because of the product requirement.

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

Forming a Clear Business Idea

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

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

A mobile app development without a clear business idea is a 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 plan 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 can take up to four or five weeks. Business analysis of an idea is best carried out from 4 positions: 

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

A mobile app must have specific characteristics and provide certain products or services. Companies need to 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 that users 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 whether the expectations of customers will be met.

Idea Validation

The validation time process usually takes from three to six weeks. Before spending time and money on developing a mobile app, companies should test their design and plan. 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 cause outrage among users with an identical product.

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

The idea 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 an inherently risky idea to create a product 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, and 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, but 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 appswhy 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. They consist of the following stages:

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

Design sprints are organized to create 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 product stickiness, and figure out what to sell next. For example, last year, Coca-Cola held a design sprint process 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 should create universal cross-platform opportunities. In the case of cross-platform apps (compatible with both Android and iOS), the creation time may take six to twelve weeks. Still, companies will receive twice as many users 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 functions 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 appl+s globally is its 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 need is to spread the word so that the target audience will know about it. Then, businesses will receive long-awaited downloads from users.

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, app creation doesn’t end when an app is published in the app stores. This milestone only marks the beginning of a prominent mobile app 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 mobile app development, focusing on these stages.

Complete App Development Process

Stage Time (average time)
1. Business Idea Formation 1 week
2. Business Analysis 3 weeks
3. Idea Validation 4 weeks
4. Design Sprints 2 weeks
5. Development and QA 8 weeks
6. Deployment 1 week
Total time 17 weeks

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

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

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’ time. However, a complex enterprise development app takes thirty-six weeks time. 

It is important to remember that an experienced developers’ team never offers product 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 time. 

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 product launch deadlines, and an even worse option is the launch of a product that is irrelevant to the audience. Companies should choose Discovery Phase first to follow the best scenarios for developing their product.

Discovery Phase is the first stage of the development process. With the help of expert teams, businesses can conduct the research of the mobile project idea, discover competitors on the market, and decide on the tech project requirements.

If the market doesn't need such apps, entrepreneurs waste the time and moneyIf 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 idea 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 of using the Discovery Phase:

  • Fewer expenses and a properly planned budget for product development
  • Better understanding of the scope and goals of your product
  • 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 development analysis, many businesses get financing more easily and count on a faster product 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 goals
  • Better app idea validation 

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

Project Formation and App Goals Definition

The understanding stage is when all participants in the project design sprint create 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 team analyzes the goals of the app and the expectations of app users.

Sketching

At the sketch design stage, the sprint team individually generates several ideas. From now on, the team works together to narrow down the range of ideas to one extended solution sketch per person.

Prototyping

At the prototype design stage, the sprint team is working together to create a prototype of the mobile 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 ship a stream of valuable feedback immediately. Teams can create 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 conduct 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 ideasHow 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 testing after the product launch hoping that the product will withstand the load, and 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 on the product 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 the product 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 upload 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, our team describes the necessary steps and elements that should be taken into account 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 should 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 create 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 a critical moment 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, or 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 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 slipping in time. 

Functions Fluidity

At the initial stage of cooperation process, the vendor can incorrectly define 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 delay in the release, and inflates investors’ expectations if the project has received funding from outside.

To avoid the turnover of functions, companies need to: 

  • research core product functions on the market 
  • analyze competitor’s products and their features
  • determine the unique value of the product for the audience
  • create 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 product in any significant way 

2) non-professional team of experts where there is no BA and devs don’t know about the app value 

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

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 experience.

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 a bad idea 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 of:

  • simple but highly secure registration system 
  • unique specifications for adding only high-quality images to the application,
  • diverse payment system 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 provide helpful development strategies and predict possible risks.

How to Speed Up the App Development Time

We understand the desire of modern businesses to create a successful mobile application 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 have 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 different industries. 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 appHow 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 is difficult to say. It is necessary to focus on

  • industry
  • complexity of development
  • customer expectations

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 timeReact 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 create 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 useful to unload the infrastructure and create 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 create multiple unity projects with subsets of the entire system, testing settings, etc.

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

  • find app problems
  • 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.

Android iOS
Android Studio XCode
Visual Studio AppCode
Eclipse Atom

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 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 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

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

How long does it take to make an app?

(based on Airbnb-like app)

Development Stage Functionality Details Rough Development Time/hours
Core Functionality Authentication Welcome Page

Sign In/Up

Forgot password

28
Home Screen Structure

Suggestions

Inquiry form

38
Research Search Result

Recent Search

Suggestions

Filters

52
My profile Layout 

History

Search

Notification Settings

25
Listing Layout 10
Notifications Messages 14
Video Base video functionality 20
Profile Details Image

Location

Detail

Create a new one

72
Deploy For iOS

For Android

16

10

Another Project management 45
Testing and quality assurance 110
Design 100
Total time 540

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.

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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 operating process systems like IOS and Android. Our goal was to create 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 the work expenses of employees 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 will take 6 months. It includes the discovery phase as a required 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, but having a dedicated app development team by your side would be the right move for building a relevant and valuable product. 

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