How Long Does It Take To Make an App?

One of the most common questions asked when it comes to mobile app development is ‘how long does it take to make an app?’. Very basic apps can be completed in a few weeks, while more complex apps can take 3 to 9 months. The more clearly you’ve defined your idea and how it works, the more accurate the estimate. Experienced developers can create an estimate by comparing your required features to an app they’ve worked on before.

It’s difficult to perfectly estimate the time required for creating a mobile app. Each project is unique and depends on the app’s specific technical requirements. In this article, we’re going to examine the major factors that determine how long it takes to create a mobile app:

Zco Corporation is a mobile app company in Boston USA specializes in mobile app development services

Mobile App Features

Feature-rich apps take more effort to design, develop, and test in each of the app development phases. Some features that can be considered complex include:
  • Algorithms

  • Sensor Data

  • Web Services

  • CRM Integration

  • High-End Graphics

  • Big Data

  • Social Media Integration

At the same time, you can expect a shorter development time for a simple app that doesn’t need complex coding and extensive features. You’ll need careful planning to avoid adding new features after development begins. Otherwise, development time and costs will increase.


Creating an effective user interface (UI) and experience (UX) is critical for mobile apps. Both contribute to how users interact with an app, and how you achieve your business goals. If you want to create a graphics-intensive app, like a 3D game, it will take longer to develop compared to a 2D game. Games need a lot of time to concept, design, and test to get the best UI/UX that suits your target audience.
Similarly, the UI design time will be longer if your app needs custom controls. You can reduce development time to a certain extent if your app is using default UI control systems. These are provided by the OS your app launches on.

Hardware Integration

It’s not uncommon for an app to pair with a custom external device, out-of-the-box devices like Apple Watch, or other commercially available hardware. We have a wide range of experience with hardware integration projects like smart jewelry, dog collars, radars for baseball, Golf GPS, and medical devices. Your developer will need to spend time with the device to understand how it works. They will also need the hardware protocol to connect and transfer data to and from.

Some other considerations related to hardware integration include:

• What type of data is being transferred, and how much?
• Is clear API documentation available?
• How does the hardware connect? With Bluetooth, WIFI, or perhaps a proprietary cable?

Wearable devices like Apple Watch also fall under this category. Golflogix, a GPS solution for golf, operates between both your iPhone and Watch. While the iPhone runs iOS, the watch runs watchOS. This uses a different Software Developer Kit (SDK) and UI, so including it in development will increase the time frame.


Your involvement with the app development process is critical. At Zco, we use the agile development process. One of the benefits of this process is that it lets you stay involved throughout development. This is because updates to your app are released in “sprints”. When a sprint is released, you get an opportunity to provide feedback. Timely feedback is the key here. The sooner we receive feedback, the sooner we can start on the next sprint to implement any suggested changes or fix issues that may arise.
Feedback can be communicated to the team in a number of ways. Phone calls, emails, and project management tools like Basecamp are the most common methods. We recommend the use of project management tools so discussion on the project is contained in one place.

Third-Party Integration and APIs

Many apps need the integration of third-party software or APIs. In this case, apps need to connect with outside services such as:

  • Payment Processing

  • Social Media Platforms

  • Optical Character Recognition (OCR)

  • GPS-based Search

  • Stock APIs

Furthermore, your app may have to go through a lengthy process to get approval from the involved third-party services. For example, with Facebook integration, developers must submit the app to Facebook for approval. The review process may take weeks to complete.
iPhone and iPad showing operating systems

Devices and Operating Systems

Running apps on multiple platforms and devices is a common strategy many businesses adopt, as this helps them acquire the widest possible range of users. However, designing, developing, testing, and launching apps for different platforms requires extra effort on the part of the developers. In most cases, the testing process composes a major part of the timeline, especially if your app is using geo-locational services.

The additional testing is to ensure the quality of the app and help your app work well across different screen resolutions. The time required for this process depends on the number of features, complexity, and third-party integration within your app.

What’s Next?

While most mobile app developers consider these factors as the major determinants of the development timeline, expert developers can efficiently manage this with innovative time management strategy. Zco’s dedicated team of developers use agile software development methodologies in our software projects, which helps us optimize our apps to finish on time and on-budget, without compromising an app’s quality. Get in touch with one of our account executives today to find out how Zco can help make your idea for an app into a reality.