How Long Does It Take to Develop an App? Complete Timeline Estimation

Asking how long does it take to develop an app is questioning how much time is required to build a home.

As you know, both of these questions don’t have an exact answer. However, having a rough estimation can help in making business goals.

Because if you have a unique idea for developing an application, you want to enter the market as early as possible. So, you can measure the success metrics of your mobile application idea.

As you might know, the competition in the market is high, and mobile apps available in two different apps stores:

Being a leading Android and iOS mobile app development company in Canada, we often receive queries like:

  • How much time does it take to develop a custom enterprise mobile solution?
  • Which factors influence the app development time?
  • How much time does it take to design the user interface of a mobile app?
  • Which technologies can increase or decrease the time of app development?

As we have the experience of developing mobile apps for industries like food, transportation, lifestyle, and aviation, we decided to write a blog post while discussing questions on mobile app development time with our experienced mobile app consultants.

Also, we make sure to describe time-based on the complexity and functionalities of mobile apps to give you easy bifurcation of the timeline. Let’s dive in to know timeline estimation for app development.

Quick Answer to Mobile App Development Timeline

The time required to develop a complex application can range between 1100 to 1500 hours.

In most of the cases, it depends on the

  • Functionalities
  • Advanced features
  • Design, and
  • Integration with third-party service

Check the following table. You will learn different app development timelines on the basis of the complexity of the app, and the platform required to build the application.

App TypeExamplesAndroidiOS
Simple App
  • Messaging App
  • PDF Scanner App
  • Job Finding App
  • Picture Sharing App
200 – 750 hours
(1 – 3 months)
200 – 700 hours
(1 – 3 months)
Mid-size App
  • Online Shopping App
  • Music App
  • Photo and Video Editing App
  • Payment App
850 – 1200 hours
(3 – 5 months)
750 – 1100 hours
(3 – 4.5 months)
Complex App
  • Food Delivery Service App
  • Fleet Management Solution
  • Laundry Management App
  • Smart Parking App
  • Video Conferencing App
1200 – 1500 hours
(5 – 6 months)
1100 – 1500 hours
(4.5 – 6 months)

But, wait.
Ever thought – which factors directly create an impact on the development timeline?

Not sure?
No problem.

Here is a list of factors that might impact your app development timeline. Make sure you consider it when converting your app idea into a successful application.

Which Factors Impact the App Development Timeline?

There are multiple areas that impact the app development timeline. We are not going to discuss it all. We are only going to focus on the core areas. The areas that can dramatically increase or decrease the timeline.

  1. The Complexity of an App

  2. The app complexity refers to how hard it is to convert your mobile application idea into reality. For app developers, complexity is the time required to make an app as per clients’ expectations. Complexity can refer to the advanced app features, UI/UX design, user navigation, and mobile application testing.

    For example, FaceApp is an image manipulation app that uses Generative Adversarial Network models and these networks are hard to train as it requires continuous monitoring and analysis. And to make a GAN network requires around 90 hours. Thus, implementing such advanced technologies takes time for development.

  3. Integration with Third-party Services

  4. If your mobile app mainly uses third-party integration services to offer the output, then it can consume time for development.

    Why?

    Third-party services have methods that should be fulfilled in the stage of app development. So, app developers need to spend extra time researching and integrating third-party services and testing applications before deployment.

    For instance, you have custom requirements for integrating third-party services and need the addition of custom add-on modules. So, all these requirements go into the approval and communicating process from the developers’ end to third-party vendors. So, it results in an increase of app development time.

  5. Poor Communication and Management

  6. If you select an offshore outsourcing app development company, time-zone could be an issue. So, you might have a few questions:

    • How is it possible to provide feedback when an app doesn’t function as expected?
    • What if the design of a mobile app is not up to the mark?
    • What if there is an overall communication gap between the team members? Will my project suffer?
    • What if the project manager does not have clarity of the end goal?

    All the above questions might bring concern to your mind and if due to any miscommunication the development of the app increases.

Moving further, let’s get the in-depth answer of app development time.

Detailed Answer on How Long Does It Take to Create an App

To make it easier to understand, we have divided this section into seven different questions.

Like:

The time required to develop an Android, iOS, hybrid/cross-platform, social-media, eCommerce, or apps like Uber.

Let’s start with the Android app development timeline.

How Long Does It Take to Develop an Android app?

Here, we are going to categorize a mobile application into three sections: simple, average, and large/complex applications. Also, we have discussed the time estimation of all three app types with their respective examples. To create an Android application, developers use native programming languages like Java and Kotlin. These programming languages help developers to create Android applications, having faster performance.

Let’s check it out.

Type of Mobile AppExamples of AppsApp Development Timeline
Simple App
  • ColorNote
350 – 400 hours
(1.5 – 2.5 months)
Mid-size App
  • Zazzle
600 – 900 hours
(3 – 4 months)
Complex App
  • Pokemon Go
1200 – 1500 hours
(4 – 8 months)

The above data on app development hours might give you an idea about simple, average, and complex apps for Android OS.

However, the timeline can vary depending on the requirements. So, if you are looking to develop a custom Android app solution, then hire a mobile application development company or hire experienced app developers who can develop apps for industries like food delivery services, on-demand delivery, and taxi.

Want to Develop an Android Mobile Application of Your Idea?

Discuss advanced features you want to add. Get the timeline estimation and cost. Let’s start developing your app.

Moving further, we are going to check the timeline required to develop an iOS application.

How Long Does It Take to Develop an iOS App?

iOS is continually improving the user experience. No doubt. It allows advanced features like Facetime, Maps, Wallet, Live text, Privacy, and so on. So to get the approximate iOS development timeline, you might need help from experts who have experience in iOS development. But, you can definitely get the basic idea.

Check this table.

Type of Mobile AppExamples of AppsApp Development Timeline
Simple App
  • ColorNote
300 – 350 hours
(1.5 – 2.5 months)
Mid-size App
  • Zazzle
600 – 800 hours
(3 – 4 months)
Complex App
  • GrubHub
1000 – 1200 hours
(4 – 7 months)

Being a leading iPhone app development company in Canada, we have experience in developing mobile apps for iOS OS. Check the testimonial given by one of our USA clients named Harry Martin, who was happy by getting timely updates on the project development.

Client testionial

How Long Does It Take to Develop a Hybrid or Cross-platform App?

Let’s check the timeline required to develop cross-platform mobile applications. Here we have taken examples of application types based on their complexity.

Type of Mobile AppExamples of AppsApp Development Timeline
Simple App
  • QR Barcode Scanner
200 – 250 hours
(1 – 1.5 months)
Mid-size App
  • McDonald’s
300 – 350 hours
(2 – 3 months)
Complex App
  • Evernote
700 – 800 hours
(3 – 5 months)

Note: Hybrid apps take less time to develop compared to native apps because developers get flexibility to create a code application that runs on both platforms.

After discussing the timeline of Android, iOS, and cross-platform app development, we will describe the time required to develop popular applications, such as social media, eCommerce, and apps like Uber, Instagram, and Tinder.

How Long Does It Take to Build a Social Media App?

Here to give you an approximate timeline required to develop a social media app, we have created a table. This table consists of hours required in the different stages of app development processes. The following table breaks down the hours of the different stages like PM, design, development, quality analysis, admin, and backend of the application.

Social Media App Development Timeline
App Development PhasesAndroidiOS
Project Management83 hours83 hours
UI/UX Design50 hours50 hours
Development of app342 hours342 hours
QA of the mobile app121 hours121 hours
Admin + Backend145 hours145 hours
Total Development Time741 hours741 hours

Note: This is the estimated time required for developing a social media app. As Android technology is evolving over the time period, the time required for iOS and Android development is almost the same for social media apps.

How Long Does It Take to Build an eCommerce App?

Similar to the social media app, here we have mentioned an estimate of the time required to develop an eCommerce application. We have divided the hours needed in different stages of the application development process.

Check the table to know the complete hours.

eCommerce App Development Timeline
App Development PhasesAndroidiOS
Project Management85 hours85 hours
UI/UX Design50 hours50 hours
Development of app340 hours340 hours
QA of the mobile app120 hours120 hours
Admin + Backend150 hours150 hours
Total Development Time745 hours745 hours

Now let us take an overview on how many hours are required to use mobile apps like Uber or Tinder.

How Long Does It Take to Make an App like Uber, Tinder, Instagram?

We have chosen some of the top applications from the different app categories. We have mentioned approximate hours to develop such applications, so you get an idea of how many hours it takes to create mobile applications like Uber, Tinder, and Instagram.

AppCategoryApprox Android TimelineApprox iOS Timeline
UberOn-demand1310 – 1375 hours1190 – 1245 hours
(4 – 5.5 months)
TinderLifestyle500 – 800 hours400 – 700 hours
(2.5 – 5.5 months)
InstagramSocial1510 – 2000 hours1200 – 1500 hours
(4 – 8 months)

Now, we are going to describe the application timeline required in the different stages. Let’s check them out.

Want to Create a Mobile Application Like Instagram or Uber?

Validate your mobile app idea from our IT professionals. Discuss your requirements of features, functions, and design. Get a custom quote for your mobile app.

Mobile App Development Stage-wise Timeline

Let’s discuss the timeline of app development based on its stages. In each step, the approximate timeline for Android and iOS apps is shown. You get the complete time estimation of each stage of the app development process. Let’s discuss.

StagesApproximate Timeline for Android and iOSDetails of Different Development Phases
Requirement Analysis and Planning Stage 30 – 45 days
  • Discussion of project plans
  • Cost estimation
  • Work breakdown structure
Wireframing of App30 – 40 days
  • Wireframe creation
  • User story creation client involvement
  • Clients communication
  • Software requrirement specification
Designing of App15 – 20 days
  • Design element analysis
  • Design creation
Development and Testing of App60 – 90 days
  • Making plan modules
  • Assigning of code modules
  • Creation of code modules
  • Testing of each module

As you have checked the timeline required for different stages of app development, you also might want to know the cost of developing a mobile application. Check our complete guide on the cost of developing mobile apps. Next, we are going to discuss tips on how you can reduce the timeline for app development.

How to Reduce App Development Time?

As you get an idea of app development hours, you also might have a question about how you deploy your mobile app in the market in a short time. To do so, we have shared three possible options that you can opt for your mobile app development.

We are going to give a brief explanation of those options below.

  1. Use of Agile Approach for Developing Mobile Apps

  2. The Agile methodology refers to breaking down project development into several parts and working on it. This helps the development team to have a clarity of goals and the work process gets smoother. You have surely heard about famous mobile applications, such as Instagram and Spotify. Haven’t you? These two mobile apps have used Agile methodology in their mobile application development process.

    Why do developers use Agile methodology?

    • It allows dividing the project into small modules, so the goal becomes clear between the team members and the speed of app development increases.
    • The Agile methodology brings simplicity to the process. It becomes easy for developers if they need to update the design later in the app development process.

    Most app development companies use the Agile methodology because it allows a mobile application development team to build and test mobile apps and market the product as quickly as possible.

  3. Adopt the MVP Approach

  4. Choose this minimum viable product approach if you only want to release your mobile app with core functionalities. Then, creating an MVP for your mobile app idea allows you to develop a mobile application with the most important features to include in the initial stage, and you become ready to deploy the app in the market.

    Once your MVP version of your mobile application is ready, afterward, you can scale your mobile application as per the feedback you receive from your customers. The advantage of building the MVP version is that it allows you to save the cost and time of developing a fully-featured mobile application.

    The Uber application was released as an MVP version to test the idea of Uber cars by connecting the customers with the riders and receiving payment. Then, gradually the application was adopted by the people globally. Thus, using the MVP version, Uber entered the market. By the time Uber enhanced its application from the feedback of customers.

  5. Cross-platform Application Development

  6. Another best option to reduce app development time is choosing cross-platform development. When you are looking to create a mobile application from scratch for two different platforms, it is obvious the development time will be more. So, in this case, you can choose cross-platform mobile application development.

    Choosing cross-platform allows you to develop a mobile application for different platforms like iOS, Android, and Windows. Thus, it becomes an effective approach in saving the time and cost of development. However, the performance of mobile applications cannot be similar to native apps. But, it can help enter the market as early as possible.

This was all about the tips to reduce the mobile application development timeline. Moving further, we are going to discuss some of the frequently asked questions on the app development timeline.

FAQs About How Long Does It Take to Develop an App

  1. How much does it cost to develop an Android mobile application?

  2. Depending on your needs, the mobile application development cost can be approximately between $5000 – $500000. Several factors influence the cost of application, such as complexity, features, hours of development, the region from where you hire developers, and the platform. Hence, to get the exact cost for your mobile application idea, contact us and get a custom quote for your mobile app.

  3. What is the process of mobile app development?

  4. The process of mobile application development is divided into eight to nine steps:

    • Market research and accumulating requirements
    • Planning of the app and competitor analysis
    • Wireframing of the mobile app
    • UI/UX designing of the mobile app
    • Product development
    • Testing of mobile app
    • Release of a mobile application to app stores
    • Maintenance and up-gradation of mobile application
  5. Where to find and hire developers for building a mobile app?

    • Space-O Canada
    • Upwork
    • Clutch
    • Toptal

Want to Know Time Estimates for Your App Development?

You have learned about app development timelines. We have described the information about the time estimation required in a different stage of mobile application development. Also, you have got an idea of how you can reduce the timeline for developing a mobile application.

Want to know the exact timeline for your mobile app idea development? Contact us. Being a leading mobile application development company in Canada, our app developers have experience developing mobile apps for different types of businesses and helped clients streamline their business processes. For any confusion, feel free to get in touch with us.

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Rakesh Patel

Written by

Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel is the Founder and CEO of Space-O Technologies. He has 28 years of IT experience in business strategies, operations & information technology. He has expertise in various aspects of business like project planning, sales, and marketing, and has successfully defined flawless business models for the clients. A techie by mind and a writer at heart, he has authored two books – Enterprise Mobility: Strategy & Solutions and A Guide To Open311.