Mobile App Development Timeline and Stages: The Full Step-by-Step Process

In recent years, mobile app development has been an essential feature of most businesses ranging from small-scale startups to established ones.

Having an app is only the beginning. The groundwork that needs to be done is quite complex and troublesome if you aren’t up for it.

If you’re planning to build your mobile app, you should have a development timeline to know where you are headed, where, and when you will finish the app development process.

A simple app idea might sound too easy to do, but we’ve layered out all the things you need to do and factors to consider throughout the app development process.

Read further below to learn more.

6 App Development Stages for a Good Mobile App Development Timeline

There are six development stages for a good mobile app to develop. If you want to know more and get a better idea, here’s what a mobile app development process should be:

1. Requirements, Business Analysis, Strategy, and Planning

The first stage of the mobile app development process is planning around the business model your mobile app will likely use and gathering all the requirements.

You will decide everything related to your mobile app during this planning stage. Ask your partners how this mobile app will benefit your customers.

These are some of the questions that need to be answered during this mobile app development stage :

  • How will your business partners and employees benefit from it?

  • Who is the target audience of this particular app?

  • Are some of the apps your competitors use also face problems?

It will take you around 30 to 60 days during this stage. You might also need documents and requirements like Request for Proposal (RFP), budget range/proposal, Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), and the overall goals and metric forecasts of the project.

From planning, requirements analysis, conducting competitor research, business partners interview, and defining the niche of your mobile app, this stage should cover the following:

  • The purpose of your app

  • Analyzing mobile app requirements

  • Identify who’s your audience

  • Check the competition

  • Establish your app’s primary goals and objectives

Creating mobile apps can cost you around $150,000 to $200,000 and go higher depending on the complexity of the mobile app.

In addition, it would take about four to six months before a mobile app is fully developed.

2. UX Wireframe

Once you’ve already set your sights on your mobile app idea, the next step in the development process is the creation of user experience wireframes and prototypes.

During this stage, mobile app developers focus more on aesthetics and the user experience to give the intended audience a seamless and smooth approach. Wireframes are a digital form of sketches and conceptual layouts before the final product is developed.

Creating wireframes is a cost-effective and fast approach to designing your mobile app. At this stage of development, you should also consider the different user interfaces for your audience.

As you already know, most users will have iPhones, iPads, tablets, or android mobile devices. Each of these users should have a more seamless and intuitive approach regardless of their

3. UI Design

This mobile app development phase should tackle your app’s design standards, the user experience already planned from the previous stage, color schemes, graphics, typefaces, and many more under your company’s branding guidelines.

Style guides can easily fast-track your mobile app’s success. It is one of the reasons why most mobile app developers establish a style guide early during the development process to improve productivity.

Following your style guide means you have consistency in all levels that your mobile app looks good and feels great once everything is considered.

Your app design should consider the following design guidelines for different software platforms: Google for Android and the Apple app store for iOS.

The final stage of the UI design is the mockups or the final rendering designs. Mockup works by applying your style guides to the wireframes, and this will give you a better idea of how your app looks.

As you progress in this stage, expect many modifications to suit your company’s branding and standards, such as aesthetics, workflow, and information architecture.

For creating high-fidelity mockups, three tools are preferred: Adobe XD, Figma, or Invision. These applications are great with your app’s design and engineering team.

4. Back and Frontend Development

You need to have two sets of app developers during this stage. One is set for working on the front-end development, and the other is for the back-end development team.

  • Front-end developers are tasked with translating the user interface into codes.

  • The backend development team is involved in coding the data integration, server logic, app server, user management, and database.

The backend developers use programming languages such as CSS, Python, HTML, and Java to create the app’s functionality.

In this mobile app development process, planning remains an integral part. There are three main parts to this mobile app development process: The Frontend and Backend development process, and the User Interface.

During this mobile app development stage, the time it takes for it to finish depends on three factors. The first one is the app complexity, integration process, architectural setting, and the kind of technology that will power your app.

Apart from those factors that will most likely prolong the app development process, there are also situations such as the platform you choose for your mobile app.

iOS app development tends to be quicker than other app platforms, such as Android app development because it is more time-consuming for android developers to get it done.

5. QA & Testing

The testing stage is one of the most important stages because this is where you fine-tune such features your app has. The quality assurance and testing phase is often the next step after the developmental stage.

At this stage, if there are problems or defects regarding the mobile app, it can be raised and sent back to the development team for further corrections.

App testing should take around 3 to 4 weeks to complete. The alpha testing phase is done internally. The second phase is the beta testing phase, wherein users interact with the initial app.

In addition, the alpha and beta testing will give you an idea of whether it can be a successful app and if it can handle multiple users simultaneously.

Performance and load testing will ensure the mobile app is error-free before it’s launched.

Once beta-testing is done, there are major implications once feedback is sent back. Depending on the reviews, user stories, and feedback, various iterations and future versions are in line before it is deployed to the target audience.

The mobile app testing stage should include several forms of tests, including:

  • Bug fixing

  • Integration testing

  • Functional testing

  • User testing

Always ensure that testing targets multiple platforms to reflect user experience. If problems may arise, they can be settled immediately before launching.

6. Launch and Support

The last phase of the app development timeline is launching the app through mobile application platforms, such as App Store and Google Play Store.

Before you launch your mobile app, certain things should be checked on your list. Things like SEO for app stores and creating interactive content to make your app attractive to different users.

Of course, last-minute preparations are inevitable, so it would take you around 1 to 2 weeks before everything is launched the right way.

When you launch, you have already completed your software development and the changes that need to be taken during the unit testing during the previous stage.

With this last step, we have already laid out the typical app development timeline. This will give you a better understanding of the steps for mobile apps to undergo before they can be successful.

Mobile app development requires months and months of preparation for it to become a successful one, including software development, mobile app design, features, and many more.

Different factors affect the development; the more complex your mobile app is, the longer it needs to be developed before it is completely launched.

The Factors That Can Affect Your Mobile App Development Timeline

Certain factors can affect your mobile development timeline. This section will discuss each factor that might prolong your mobile app before it is completely launched:

Having Inexperienced App Developers

One obvious reason mobile development takes longer than expected is dealing with inexperienced app developers hired for the project.

A typical mobile app project can get you around 6 to 9 months, depending on your app’s complexity.

However, if you’re hiring an inexperienced in-house team, achieving your goal may take longer than expected, let alone completing the project in one piece.

When the development timeline is prolonged, so does the cost. Always remember time and cost go hand in hand with mobile app project management.

Accelerate App Development Time

When you’re in such a hurry about getting everything done in one piece, you are bound to return to the first stage as you might need to rebuild again if something goes wrong.

If you are more careful during the development phase, you can avoid different circumstances that may extend the app development timeline.

With this, you have to look at this in both ways — the time it takes for a mobile development app to be launched, and the factors that increase the whole mobile app development timeline.

As you face errors because of your hasty decisions, so do time and costs. So, be sure you have taken all the measures needed before proceeding to the next step.

Late Feedback and Reviews

Late feedback is often the culprit to why the mobile app design process takes longer than usual.

What happens is that most developers get feedback from business owners after everything is already developed.

As a result, they go back to minor tweaks and details to comply with their client’s suggestions and iterations.

It is one of the primary reasons why mobile applications take time to develop fully.

Specific Features

Integrating several app features can also add to the development time. It is also another obvious reason why it is extended.

For instance, if you’re using mobile apps to send and receive payments for your business, it might take months before developers can develop them for you.

On the other hand, mobile apps such as Quora are only made to gather data, making these apps for this intended app functionality shorter than complex ones.

Most developers take the time to create your app’s features according to your preference. So, complex features equal longer app development time.

Availability of Resources

Your mobile app development timeline may be extended if you deal with fewer resources.

For instance, if you’ve only hired a few developers, making your mobile application can take longer.

Therefore, if you want to get your mobile application up and running, hire several developers with a background in mobile applications.

Your development team should be well-versed in this industry to cut time extensively.

The Best Tips and Tricks to Hasten the Mobile App Development Timeline

Some certain tips and tricks can get your timeline cut short. We’ve discussed them below if you want to know more about them:

#1 Go For Cross-Platform App Development

Having two teams develop two separate platforms can take time and money to make it into one platform and use it to develop a specific app.

One of the advantages of going for cross-platform app development or hybrid app development is code sharing rather than writing native code for both platforms. As a result, you don’t need to encode two different codes for both teams.

When you go this route, you can cut the time in half, saving you money. While native apps offer a better user experience, the initial adoption of hybrid apps is also a major advantage that can play a pivotal role moving forward.

#2 Hire an App Development Team

As we mentioned a while back, hiring a mobile app development in-house team well-versed in application development proves advantageous.

Hiring the right team can be a little overwhelming from the start. Still, if all goes according to plan, it can result in high-quality app development done within the estimated time or even earlier than expected.

Also, hiring a great software development team isn’t considered an expenditure in this line of work; we call it an investment.

#3 Automate Everything

Automating everything to avoid repetitive tasks can hasten your mobile application and devices’ overall development.

By automating from the start, you ensure everything goes accordingly, and the development is run through a series of tests simultaneously that would normally take hours or up to two weeks of development time.

#4 Short Release Cycles

Adding short features to your mobile app and rolling them out to your clients and business partners ensures release cycles are short, and changes can be made without modifying the entire project, as this takes more time.

As a result, it becomes easy for developers and their partners to pick out which ones to omit and retain. It becomes easier for the entire and for you to apply changes.

#5 Launch MVP

As you may know, the market is already competitive and robust enough as thousands of applications exist.

But, there’s no need to release the mobile app with all the installed features. A minimum viable product launch is better during the first phase of the launch.

For example, food delivery apps were just a simple order-pay-deliver scheme. They added different features that made the entire experience smoother and user-friendly as the years passed. Similarly, the MVP can be adopted into this type of process.

You don’t have to put all the eggs in one basket. You try to improve according to user feedback and reviews as they get along with your mobile apps.

In addition, always maintain a high-efficiency level when doing this process. It is essential for this to happen so you can expect ideal results based on customers’ demands and quality requirements.

A successful app is an ever-changing cycle!

What Are Different Types of Mobile Apps?

To be more specific about app timelines, let’s consider these three popular mobile applications and the time they take to develop.

1. Healthcare App

It’s now possible to record your health with different healthcare apps that can store and analyze the needs of our bodies. Some of the most popular healthcare apps are:

SleepCycle Alarm Clock

It is a mobile application that improves sleep, analyzes sleep patterns, and wakes you up during your lightest sleep phase.


It is one of the most popular fitness and weight loss apps in the world today. It is a smartphone app that tracks exercise and diet.


It is one of the leading mobile apps for medication engagement for patients that helps manage their treatment.

Common features of healthcare apps include:

  • Daily advice

  • Progress tracking

  • Telemedicine

  • EHR

  • Built-in messaging system

  • HIPAA compliance

On average, developing a healthcare app can take anywhere from 6 to 9 months, depending on the app’s purpose and features.

2. Food Delivery App

Since the pandemic, food delivery apps have been in tight competition as more people prefer ordering food online and to their doorstep than going through lines and traffic.

Food delivery apps such as GrubHub, Deliveroo, DoorDash, and UberEats, to name a few, are some of the most popular delivery apps.

This type of app can be developed in as early as four to six months, depending on the features, complexity, and development platform.

Common features of delivery apps include:

  • Tracking delivery system

  • Map integrations

  • View cart

  • Delivery tips

  • Tracking order status

  • Social media integrations

  • Tracking delivery system

3. Education Apps

Educational apps are becoming a norm these days ever since the pandemic hit. Online learning has been an alternative; more educational apps allow different ages to learn new things depending on their wants and needs.

Educational apps such as DuoLingo, SoloLearn, and Khan Academy, are some of the most popular educational apps.

Educational app development can take around four to eight months before it is launched by android and iOs developers, depending on the features and functionalities.

Features and integrations often include:

  • Admin chats

  • In-session chats

  • Streaming

  • File sharing

  • Screen sharing

  • Breakout Rules

  • Polls

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If you have further questions regarding mobile app development and mobile apps in general, you might find them below:

How Long Does the App Development Process Take?

There are a lot of factors to consider when answering this particular question. For instance, a more complex app with tons of features and functionality may require more time to finish than a simple app.

The project scope is vastly different in this industry than your typical manufacturing company. If you’re only making a low-end app, a set of highly-skilled and experienced developers can do it for around 2 to 4 months.

It would take around 4 to 8 months if you still have the same team and are gearing towards a moderately complex app. Anything more than the highest complexity could take anywhere from 6 months to a year.

Remember that there are a lot of things you need to consider before everything is done. There’s no timetable for when the final launching takes place, but other factors may either prolong or shorten the timeline.

How Much Does the Entire Mobile Application Development Process Cost?

Again, the same reasoning can be said for this matter, from your app’s functionality to the design and the number of people you hired for the project.

The more people you hire, the faster your app will be launched, but it will cost you a fortune.

On the contrary, hiring only a few developers for the same project would reduce the cost, but launching your mobile app will take longer.

You see, there are different variables you need to factor in to know the overall cost of how to make an app. But to give you an idea, a mobile app’s average cost can be anywhere from $150,000 to $200,000.

The price might even go higher if you want a more advanced mobile application centered around various platforms from mobile devices.

For example, popular apps such as Instagram, Airbnb, and Uber range from around $215,000 to $620,000. While different developers have had different rates, this is a prime example of how these apps were priced before they even became popular.

How to Ensure the Success of the App After Launch?

Once your mobile app is launched in the app stores, you want to monitor usage rates through different analytical platforms and measure KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to measure the success of your app.

In addition, check crash reports frequently or bugs currently, making the user experience unpleasant. Encourage users to give feedback and suggestions to your app so you can improve it over time.

Importantly, update your apps every time to ensure improvements along the way and keep thousands of users engaged.

Unlike a web app where releasing patch updates to app users is always available, mobile apps, on the other hand, go through the same review and submission guidelines as the initial submissions.


Developing a mobile application takes considerable time before it is launched in app stores.

Success depends on how effectively you can implement what was agreed upon during the development process.

Like with any other software program, app development is a continuous process in which you have to constantly innovate after launch to help maintain the usage of your app and will reward you in so many ways for your investment.

Investments like app development aren’t for the faint-hearted; you must plan everything to ensure you can execute everything on time to cut costs and move forward.

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