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App Development Time: How Long Does It Take To Develop a Successful App?


From the moment you start coding to releasing an MVP – how long does it take to develop an app? Discover the estimates, variables and what expect in our focus on app development time

How long does it take to develop an app? Well, naturally, that depends on the type, complexity, and nature of the product – along with a whole host of other factors.

But since we at Specno specialise in developing top-tier new products for top-flight corporates and trailblazing startups, we’ll focus on the app development time needed to create a truly successful, advanced new product.

So, for your planning, what time should you allocate to have your app professionally developed?

About these app development time estimates

When considering the full scope of app development, the entire process may consist of 5 Phases:

  • Concept Validation
  • App Design
  • App Development
  • Roll-Out
  • Optimisation

So when we say App Development, we are referring to Phase 3 and 4 in isolation – the actual coding building and roll-out that ideally follows the app design phase. To get the full picture of timelines and options for launching a new product, see our guide to how long it takes to create a new app and take a look at the future opportunities in mobile app development.

How long does it take to develop an app?

The average app development time is usually 3–12 months to complete the building and roll out of a new product, depending on the complexity of the project. Simpler apps might take closer to 3 months to complete, mid-level products around 6 months and more complex builds around 12 months. See how to outsource app development successfully.

It often helps to consider the entire app development process, viewed as a timeline.

App development timeline

Discovery (preparation & planning phase)

An enormous amount of planning is needed before any coding can start on a new product. First, you need to ensure you have the right team and mix of skills – specialist back- and front-end developers might be preferable to full-stack. Then you need to create the final architecture and spec out all the technical requirements for the product, before breaking all features into Stories (simplified descriptions of user goals at any given time), in order to break the entire project down into individual sprints.

This is also when you need to onboard everyone with your project management systems, CI/CD principles and processes throughout the entire project – because you have a lot of different people working on different parts of the larger whole over a period of days, weeks and months, and you want to put every step in place to ensure nothing unforeseen happens.

Alpha Stage 

After the initial development phase, an Alpha Stage is a live deployment of the application mainly for in-house testing. (It’s usually not stable enough for public release, but good enough for testing and fine-tuning.)

Beta Stage

After Alpha updates, the product can be released to a selection of external users (beta testers) for further feedback and refinement.

Release Candidate

Following Alpha and Beta, developers will iron out all known issues and prepare a “final” product that’s deemed stable enough to make public.

Again, for a fuller picture of what it actually takes to develop a new product, see our complete guide to the app development process.

App development time variables

Developers are often wary of making too explicit app delivery timelines and costs. That’s because every product is unique, and therefore comes with its own requirements and challenges - see the future opportunities in mobile app development.

Some variables that might impact the time it takes to develop an app are:

Scoping and requirements

It’s much easier and faster to start development on a tested, proven and validated app concept. We at Specno offer a Concept Validation service, where we help you thoroughly research and test any new product concepts before investment.

Discover why it’s a good idea to validate your app idea first. See what startup support you need to make it big and all you need to know about selecting an app developer.

The complexity of the app

Complexity is hard to define, but a simple way to categorise apps is to look at the type and amount of features it will require. The below comparison table showcases potential features and relevant app complexity.

Simple Apps

Mid-Level Apps

Complex Apps

  • A single, straightforward function or purpose

  • A limited number of screens or pages

  • Basic navigation

  • Limited user input

  • Basic data storage

  • Limited integration with external systems or services

  • Basic security features, such as login or authentication.

  • Multiple functions or purposes

  • More advanced navigation, such as nested menus or dynamic navigation

  • More advanced user input

  • More complex data storage

  • More extensive connectivity, such as integration with external APIs or services

  • Advanced error handling and user feedback

  • More complex security features, such as encryption or multi-factor authentication
  • Many functions and navigation

  • Advanced user input, voice and facial recognition

  • Advanced connectivity and real-time data exchange

  • Advanced error handling and user feedback

  • Advanced security features, such as biometric authentication

  • Support for multiple languages and localization

  • Support for various device types and platforms, including wearables and IoT.

The resources needed

Apps with a large number of screens, complex navigation and inter-relatedness might require a bigger team or more time to complete. See all you need to know about selecting your ideal app developer.

Testing and optimisation

The quality. clarity and brevity of feedback and sign-off from stakeholders will impact turnaround times. If a key stakeholder is unavailable to sign off, for example, that delays the process.

Whom you choose to work with

It should go without saying that working with an agency VS a freelance developer is in most cases faster and more preferable. At Specno, for example, we’ve built entire, dedicated development teams, to allow us to deliver work faster and more accurately..

Note: Timelines are based on Specno app development times

The guide times we show here are based on our internal Specno turnaround and delivery timelines. Our dedicated team of driven developers can turn around finished products at a level that’s ideal for funded startups and corporates.

Naturally, we can’t vouch for anyone else in the industry but ourselves.

Get us to develop your app for you

There’s a lot that goes into developing an app that actually works the first time, and that’s why we at Specno spent years building one of the best multi-speciality app development teams.

To get your app deployed timeously and successfully, contact Specno now.

(You’ll get a response immediately.)

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Specno Team