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Mobile app development timeline: How long does it take to build an app?

Mobile app development is an intricate process. There are many factors to consider and understand, especially when developing apps for the first time. One of the most important things to learn about development is realistic time frames.

Although every app is distinct, the architectural foundation shared by all of them does not change much. While the precise timelines may vary for different apps, the average for the core processes remains somewhat similar and gives a decent idea of the duration of app development.

If you are interested in knowing how much time it takes to develop an app, you have reached the right place. To demystify this process, we have developed a practical guide to the app development timeline. It breaks down the journey of an average digital product into stages and illustrates the duration and effort required for app development.

In this blog

  1. Mobile app development: An introduction
  2. Mobile app development timeline: A detailed breakdown

Mobile app development: An introduction

Mobile application development refers to the process of designing and building software for portable devices such as smartphones and tablets. There are multiple methods and techniques of mobile app development available out there.

The traditional process requires programmers to create installable program packages that can be marketed and sold through app stores such as Google Play and the App Store. Apps can also be created for distribution via the web or other shareable networks.

Additionally, low-code and no-code mobile app development has become increasingly popular due to its ease of use and low entry barriers. It is highly affordable, accessible, beginner-friendly, and unbelievably fast.

Some of the most popular types of app development across the industry include native Android development, iOS development, PWA (Progressive Web App) development, cross-platform app development, and more. To learn more about mobile app development in detail, you can read our detailed guide: The complete guide to mobile app development for 2024

Mobile app development timeline: A detailed breakdown

The image represents the time taken by every important phase in mobile application development


Usually, the app development timeline is divided into the 7 stages described below. These phases encompass all the steps of development starting from concept to delivery.


A ground-breaking mobile app project starts with the lightbulb moment where an idea germinates. This follows with the validation of the app idea, a process that takes around 1 to 2 weeks. Ideas that are experimental need to be explored and analyzed first.

Coming up with a suitable app development idea is not as easy as it is often perceived. However, you need to first start with developing a clear app structure. Although any concept can be a seed, realizing it into an actual program requires serious effort.

The practicality and rationality of the idea must be in line with the brand and market scenario at that time. There should be a sustainable need for the app idea. Spend reasonable time validating your app idea to ensure an efficacious beginning.


Mobile app research is one of the most important steps in development. It allows you to optimize all the consecutive steps and steer your project in the right direction. A robust research strategy also allows you to save resources, time, and effort.

The research and analysis process ideally takes 2 to 3 weeks. Extensive and well-timed research allows you to ensure optimal resource usage, proper planning, product and brand coherence, effective product positioning, and more.

The principal goal here is to ensure a successful shift from the conceptualization stage to the production stage. While you can spend a couple of weeks on initial research, you can continue to study the market, competitors, and audience at regular intervals.

Outlining features and functionalities

Developing your app’s features and functionalities is a defining step, which can take anywhere around 1 to 2 weeks. However, the exact time required to develop and incorporate the features will depend on the category of your app and the final list of requirements.

It is recommended to have a clear app outline, vision, and a dedicated budget before starting the development process. Besides, you should also keep an eye on the trends in your industry and try to incorporate the basic features that are common in successful apps.

It is best to find a solution that allows you to integrate all the features under one roof. Create a list of your app’s functionalities and find a platform that agrees with your requirements. Allocate a fixed time for the development of features and proceed accordingly.

Software development

After the completion of meticulous research and planning you can move on to the next step in developing an application – the creation of an architectural framework. The software development, 3 to 6 months wide, is the longest stage and the most significant of all.

The level of intricacy involved in this endeavor is multi-directional, which makes perfection the key. Most app development companies and developers now follow methodologies where various development processes take place simultaneously. This essentially includes the following steps:

  • Design UI/UX: The process of creating the user interface and defining the user experience and interactions with the app.
  • Backend Development: The process of developing the app that traditionally requires coding and building behind-the-app components that facilitate software operations.
  • Frontend Development: The efforts that take place in the background appear on the front end—the client-facing interface. Here, developers and designers work together to create an interactive interface and easily navigable app architecture.

Testing and QA

Testing and Quality Assurance (QA) is precisely the stage in which custom software development is most advanced, and it designates the last and essentially the final phase of software development. This phase, lasting between 2 to 4 weeks, involves intensive testing and trials so that the product operates smoothly.

The need for quality assurance and mobile app testing becomes inevitable as failures may occur in different phases in the form of bugs and errors. This comprehensive process becomes vital for revealing minor and major problems that often get overlooked during other stages.The testing timeline can further be divided into the following phases:

  • Performance Testing: This is the process of reviewing the app’s looks and features as well as functionalities. Additionally, it also involves evaluation of the application’s scalability and ability to accommodate huge traffic and in-app activity.
  • Security Testing: As apps now collect huge volumes of data, testing it for security becomes essential. Therefore, considerable time should be spent ensuring the app is safe against threats and privacy violations.
  • Usability Testing: Running tests on different device and environment types allows for a more reliable assessment of the adaptability of the finished product before its release. Specific time should be allocated to test the usability of the app.

App launch

After verifying that the application has reliably passed intensive tests, next comes the crucial stage of app launch. This may take around 6 to 7 days. It may start with creating developer accounts and submitting apps for review on Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

The final approval may require anywhere between a few days to a month, largely based on the review you receive. If your app complies with the guidelines of the respective store, it should only take two to three days to get approved and go live.

Wrapping Up!

Mobile app development needs a pragmatic approach when it comes to allocating time and budget. Sometimes people ignore this and create unrealistically tight deadlines that ultimately lead to frustrations and delays.

From the first ideation to the production, the mobile app development timeline comprises detailed phases that involve research, careful planning, and software development. It is important to allocate enough time for each stage and optimize the calendar as per your personalized app goals and needs.

If you wish to follow the traditional route of development, you should at least ensure the bandwidth of 3 to 4 months. However, if you are worried about the changing trends of development in the fast-paced market and want rapid and instant solutions, you can go with a no-code platform.

A free no-code app maker like AppMySite allows you to shorten your app development cycles by record time and effortlessly navigate through the process. It takes only a few minutes to go from concept to app and realize your app dreams with AppMySite. Try now and learn more. 

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