How long does it take to build an app?
Vivian Rothberg
3 min read

You’ve got a brilliant idea for an app but you probably never developed a tech product before, right? That’s not a problem, questions about the development process are common. Eight out of 10 clients who approach us are not familiar with the development process. In this post, we want to clarify one of the most important questions that we are frequently asked: How long does it take to build an app?

The answer to this question depends a lot on what the customer wants to develop but it usually takes anywhere between 3 to 9 months depending on the complexity of the project, the tech stack being used and the app development company you're working with.

Let's take a deeper look into how long it usually takes to develop an app and why.

When it comes to app development time, complexity is a key word. We should think of building an app as a process involving a number of defining stages as outlined below:

App or website development timeline


1. Discovery - Research, scoping and defining your app's features: two to three weeks

During the first stage of a project, a full analysis is performed to clearly understand the market, users, the problem, and what the success of your app looks like. Together, we will define the specific features to develop.

This is one thing that people often underestimate. The better the brief, the less time it will take to fully understand the project. If this kind of thinking is done upfront, you can really reduce the time it takes to develop your app.

Once we're aligned on what the scope is and discussed with detail every single feature, we’ll provide you with an accurate quote and set specific delivery deadlines for each phase.

2. Design - Prepare Design and User Interfaces (UI): two to three weeks

The UI of an app is taken care of by the design team and comes after the discovery stage. Our designers will prepare sophisticated interfaces for your app, aiming to make your product feel intuitive and effortless for their users. Today’s users expect a lot from products they use in terms of usability, performance and reliability. If a product doesn’t satisfy expectations, people will likely abandon it and move to competitors. According to a McKinsey report, higher design index scores are correlated with revenue growth and up to 100x return on every dollar invested. This means that investing in your app's design now can have a long-term impact on your business success. With such intense competition in the market, this stage has become crucial and companies should no longer risk having a poor user experience.

With that in mind – our team does put a lot of emphasis on the design phase and we'll only implement the wireframes suggested once you're 100% satisfied with the look and feel of your app. If design and user experience are a high priority for you, you can expect this stage to take a bit longer to make sure we've got all your needs covered.

3. Development & Testing - Build tech infrastructure: twelve to thirty weeks

Our engineering team will take care of all development aspects in this stage and build everything that is required behind the scenes for the proper functioning of your app. After your app is fully developed, we will need to test it, get some feedback, and work on some adjustments. The goal here is to fix all possible bugs before the final launch and deployment.

Unsurprisingly, the development stage is the longest one in the entire process, taking from twelve to thirty weeks generally, but could take even more. You can expect that simple apps will be faster to develop and that more complex ones will take significantly more.

To understand whether your app is a complex one to build, ask yourself the questions:

  • Does it have a large number of features instead of a single main functionality?
  • Does it require sophisticated designs and interactive user experiences?
  • Does it involve integration with other pre-existing software?
  • Does it require the ability to process payments?
  • Is it connected to any piece of hardware?

If you're answering yes to any of these questions, chances are that your app will fall on the higher-end of the complexity spectrum.

4. Launch & Grow - Ready for launch, maintenance and collaboration: ongoing

Now that you have a better sense of the app development process, we come to our last stage: launching to the app stores and keeping proper maintenance to sustain growth. After you launch your app, it will need regular updates and maintenance to keep up with the level of quality needed for healthy growth and user retention.

Most apps never really finish development, there's always more that can be done! After launch, most entrepreneurs continue adding more features and enhancing their app in the long-term, to fully realize their visions and satisfy customer needs. CodeLeap works with clients as a reliable tech partner: we are with you for the long run and, when the time is right, we are ready to help you take your app to the next level.

Final Words

Adding up the times estimated for each of the four major phases discussed in this article, we’re left with a final timeframe of approximately 3 to 9 months to build an app. If you are ready to take the next step toward developing your app, our will be thrilled to hear from you and discuss the unique requirements of your project — use the chat below to say hello.

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