How long does it take to develop a native app?

Mobile app development rapidly overtakes desktop app development since  the way how consumers interact with businesses has changed as well. More and more companies are striving to go mobile and build a mobile application.

If you have an idea of an outstanding app, you should present it to the world as quickly as possible. Any app idea may hit someone who can faster bring it to life. Thus the question of time has never been so important.

There are a great many of factors influencing the time required to develop an app. Generally, it takes around three months to build a minimum viable product (MVP) of a mobile application. But building an app with more sophisticated features and advanced functionality takes up to six months. Let’s focus on how long it takes to develop a fully-functioning native app.

Production Process

Modern IT companies use an agile approach to develop a mobile app since it offers lots of benefits such as an ability to work closely with clients throughout all development process, providing incremental demos and adding value to customers, an ability to react to the changes on time, etc.

However, the development process can be divided into four stages:

Prototyping (2-4 Weeks)

Working out a prototypeis an important stage in the app development. It’s essential to define a clear vision of how a client sees an app and what problems an app is going to solve. To ensure a comprehensive understanding of a client vision, design, and requirements, a project team holds a session of discussions.

During this stage, a team will work closely with a client finding out the key requirements and the app concept to deliver a product that fully matches the needs and expectations.

The drafting stage includes creating of:

  • Design concepts
  • Wireframes
  • Website
  • Navigation
  • Layout
  • Technical architecture

Development and Testing (6-8 Weeks)

After the app draft is worked out, a project team will start development and testing process of a mobile application. Let’s take a look at the requirements for a development team. It should be also mentioned that a project team can be basic and extended.

Basic App Development TeamExtended App Development Team
● Project Manager

● Developer

● UI/UX Designer

● QA Engineer

● Project Manager

● UI/UX Designer

● Admin Panel Designer

● 2-4 Developers

● QA Engineer

● Backend Developer

● Frontend Developer


A multidisciplinary team works hard to develop a bug-free app meeting the needs and requirement of both a client and modern society.

Stabilization (1-2 Weeks)

Stabilization stage closes the development process. It’s a final stage of development. At the stabilization stage, development and testing iterations are focused on making an app stable and free of internal errors.

A project team will take into account a client’s feedback and prepare a demo to get a user feedback.

Release (around 2 Weeks)

Hurrah, it’s the last base camp of the app development. After the development and testing is complete, a project team starts releasing the app to the App Store, Google Play, or other mobile app marketplaces.

Before submitting any app, your project team will make sure that:

  • App hasn’t any bugs or crashes
  • All app information is accurate and sufficient
  • Contact information is updated
  • Demo account and login information are active
  • Backend services are accessible and live
  • All non-obvious features as well as in-app purchases are explained
  • Supporting documentation is available
  • App follows App Store or Google Play guidance in other documentation

The Apple App Store approves the app before it gets to the store. It may take around two weeks. And unlike the App Store, Google Play uploads the app directly to the store, and then the users can approve or disapprove the app.

Mobile App Features

One of the primary determinants of how long it takes to build a mobile app is the number of features and their complexity. Features account for the app functionality and decide what the users can do in the app – buy an item, share a post in social media, scan a barcode, or take a photo.

It’s beneficial to start with building an MVP. An MVP has a minimum of functionality, but still it’s enough to check if the app provides some additional value to the customers. Building an MVP keeps the overall number of features, creates the early version of your app, and allows to find out what features the app lacks.

App Complexity

The number of features, as well as their complexity, have an impact on the duration of the development process. For example, some features are easy to implement, and some features are hard to build.

A feature allowing a user to look up the price of the product is less complex to develop than looking up a product by a photo. The last feature will provide a more sophisticated user experience but is longer and more expensive to build.

Number of Platforms

To reach out a wider audience, it’s better to develop an app for several popular mobile platforms, for example, iOS and Android.

There is some efficiency in developing multi-platform apps at the same time since the design, features, and testing process differ for each platform requiring separate efforts. But still, there are some activities that can happen simultaneously. Extra time is required to build more than two apps.

Key Takeaways

Finally, here are the ballpark numbers. But note, no one can tell you the exact numbers without running through your app requirements and its features.

On the whole, we can build a simple app without any 3rd party integrations in around 263 hours starting from ideation to testing. More precisely, it will take:

  • 95 hours to design an app
  • 132 hours to build an app for iOS
  • 21 hours to launch a microsite
  • 15 hours to find all crashes or bugs

But the following numbers don’t include the time required for project management. As a rule, project management time adds around 20% of the entire time required to build an app.