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How Long Does it Take to Develop an App in 2024

Ever had a brilliant app idea? You’re not alone. App development is a thriving industry, with countless innovative ideas waiting to be turned into reality. But how long does it take to develop an app? That’s a very simple question, but it has many answers depending on a variety of factors. In this blog post, we’ll talk about app development timelines, exploring the different levels of complexity and the various factors that can for how long does it take to develop an app and bring it to life.

Understanding App Complexity

how long does it take to develop an app in 2024

When it comes to the app development timeline, complexity is the name of the game. The more complex the app, the longer is app development timeline typically. But what exactly do we mean by “complexity”? In simple terms, complexity refers to the number of features, functionalities, and technical challenges involved in building an app. Here is a breakdown of how complexity affects how long does it take to develop an app:

Simple App (2-4 months):

A simple app, like a to-do list application, may seem straightforward on the surface, but there are still technical considerations to address:

  • Requirements Gathering: This stage involves defining the features and functionalities of the app. For a to-do list app, this could include tasks such as creating, editing, and deleting tasks, setting reminders, and organizing tasks into categories.
  • Design: While the user interface (UI) of a to-do list app may appear minimalistic, designing an intuitive and aesthetically pleasing interface requires attention to detail. UX considerations such as ease of task entry, intuitive navigation, and visual hierarchy are crucial.
  • Development: Writing code for both the frontend and backend of the app is necessary. The frontend code handles the user interface and interactions, while the backend code manages data storage, retrieval, and synchronization across devices. In the case of a simple app, backend integration may be minimal, possibly utilizing cloud-based solutions like Firebase for data storage and authentication.
  • Testing: Ensuring the app functions smoothly across different devices and scenarios is vital. Testing involves not only validating the functionality of the app but also assessing its performance, responsive design, and compatibility with various operating systems and devices.
  • Deployment: Once the app is thoroughly tested and deemed ready for release, deploying it to the respective app stores requires careful configuration and adherence to platform-specific guidelines. This involves generating signed builds, preparing app store listings, and complying with submission requirements.

Medium Complexity App (4-7 months):

Moving up the complexity ladder, let’s consider a fitness tracker app, which introduces additional technical challenges:

  • Requirements Gathering: In addition to basic task management features, a fitness tracker app needs to define requirements for tracking various fitness metrics such as steps taken, calories burned, and workout duration. Integration with wearable devices like fitness trackers and smartwatches further complicates the requirements-gathering process.
  • Design: Designing the UI for a fitness tracker app involves visualizing complex data in a clear and understandable manner. Graphs, charts, and interactive visualizations may be employed to present fitness data effectively. The UX design must prioritize ease of data input, readability of metrics, and seamless navigation between different sections of the app.

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  • Development: Writing code for frontend components, backend APIs, and integration with wearable devices requires meticulous attention to detail. The frontend code must handle real-time data updates from wearable devices, ensure smooth synchronization of data across devices, and provide interactive visualizations of fitness metrics. On the backend, scalability and performance considerations become paramount to handle potentially large volumes of data generated by multiple users.
  • Testing: Testing a fitness tracker app involves validating the accuracy of fitness data tracking across different devices and scenarios. Real-world testing with various fitness activities and environmental conditions is essential to ensure the reliability of the app. Load testing the backend infrastructure to assess its ability to handle concurrent user requests and data processing is also crucial.
  • Deployment: Releasing updates to a fitness tracker app involves not only bug fixes and performance improvements but also adding new features and enhancing existing ones. Careful planning of release cycles, user feedback integration, and version control is necessary to maintain the app’s competitiveness and user satisfaction.

Highly Complex App (7 months+):

At the highest complexity lies the challenge of building a social media platform from scratch, which entails a multitude of technical considerations:

  • Requirements Gathering: Defining the requirements for a social media platform and understanding how long does it take to develop an app, involves specifying complex user interactions, real-time updates of feeds and notifications, scalability requirements to accommodate millions of users, and security measures to protect user data and privacy.
  • Design: Designing the UI/UX of a social media platform requires creating visually appealing interfaces that encourage user-on-mobile app engagement and interaction. Features such as news feeds, profiles, messaging systems, and multimedia content sharing necessitate careful consideration of layout, navigation, and visual hierarchy.
  • Development: Developing a social media platform involves building a robust backend infrastructure capable of handling massive amounts of user-generated content, user interactions, and concurrent requests. Technologies such as microservices architecture, cloud computing, and distributed databases may be employed to ensure scalability, reliability, and performance.
  • Testing: Rigorous testing of a social media platform involves not only functional testing but also performance testing, security testing, and usability testing. Load testing the backend infrastructure to simulate heavy user traffic and stress testing security measures to identify vulnerabilities are critical steps in ensuring the platform’s stability and security.
  • Deployment: Rolling out updates and improvements to a social media platform requires careful planning and coordination to minimize disruption to users. Continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD) pipelines, A/B testing of new features, and monitoring user feedback and analytics are essential practices to maintain the platform’s competitiveness and user satisfaction. 

Want to reduce your app development timeline and deploy your app as soon as possible? We at Octal Digital, embrace a defined milestone roadmap, based on agile principles. We adhere to best practices. Automation plays a key role in saving time and ensuring code quality. We implement automated testing frameworks and Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipelines to catch bugs early and facilitate rapid and frequent releases. Code reuse is another practice we adhere to. By creating modular and reusable components and establishing a centralized repository for common functionalities, we minimize redundant coding efforts and accelerate development by building upon existing solutions.

Additional Factors Affecting “How Long Does it Take to Develop an App”

In addition to app complexity, several other technical factors influence the overall app development time:

how long does it take to develop an app in 2024

App Design (UI/UX): The design phase is critical as it directly impacts user engagement and satisfaction. Crafting a user interface (UI) that is intuitive, aesthetically pleasing, and aligned with user expectations requires meticulous attention to detail. Similarly, ensuring a seamless user experience (UX) involves understanding user behaviors, conducting usability testing, and iteratively refining design elements. Complex UI/UX requirements, such as custom animations, interactive components, and adaptive layouts, demand extensive design iterations and may prolong the development timeline significantly.

Team Size and Experience: The composition and expertise of the development team are pivotal in determining project efficiency and quality. While a larger team may offer more resources and diverse skill sets, it can also introduce coordination challenges and communication overhead. Conversely, a smaller, highly cohesive team with specialized expertise may exhibit greater synergy and agility in addressing technical challenges. Moreover, the experience level of team members influences problem-solving capabilities, code quality, and adherence to best practices. Experienced developers adept at leveraging frameworks, libraries, and design patterns can expedite development tasks and mitigate technical debt, thereby accelerating the overall development process.

Backend Development: The backend infrastructure serves as the foundation of the app, facilitating data storage, retrieval, and processing operations. Designing and implementing a scalable, resilient backend architecture necessitates thorough consideration of factors such as database selection, server configuration, API design, and security measures. Complex backend requirements, such as real-time data synchronization, asynchronous processing, and microservices orchestration, introduce additional development complexities and may extend the timeline substantially. Moreover, ensuring data integrity, compliance with regulatory standards, and resilience to potential security threats entail meticulous planning and rigorous testing throughout the app development timeline lifecycle.

Every app development requirement is specific, based on the user intent and scalability. If you plan and phase out every single step in the app development timeline roadmap, it will become easier to understand “how long does it take to develop an app”. 

Need help to create an app development roadmap? Hire our expert app development Project Managers, with 2 decades of industry expertise delivering robust solutions! we embrace Agile methodology, utilizing practices such as Scrum or Kanban. By breaking down projects into manageable tasks and prioritizing them based on value and complexity, we streamline our development process and promote collaboration among team members.

App Development Timeline (Estimation)

While estimating how long does it take to develop an app, it’s inherently challenging due to project variability, the following average hours to code an app range provides a rough approximation based on complexity levels:

Development Stage Simple App (200-500 hours) Medium Complexity App (500-1000 hours) Highly Complex App (1000+ hours)
Requirements Gathering 20-40 hours 40-80 hours 80-160 hours
Design 40-80 hours 80-160 hours 160-320 hours
Frontend Development 60-120 hours 120-240 hours 240-480 hours
Backend Development 60-120 hours 120-240 hours 240-480 hours
Testing 20-40 hours 40-80 hours 80-160 hours
Deployment 20-40 hours 40-80 hours 80-160 hours
Total 220-440 hours 440-880 hours 880-1760 hours

These app development timelines serve as general guidelines and may vary substantially based on project-specific requirements, team dynamics, technological dependencies, and unforeseen challenges encountered during the development process. As such, meticulous planning, continuous communication, and adaptive project management practices are essential for solving the complexities of app development timelines and ensuring successful project outcomes.

Still not sure how long does it take to develop an app? Get a free quote from Octal Digital today! We understand your specific app functional requirements and create a documented roadmap of all the app development timelines, phases, and milestones. We also find out the best tech stack for your app. Not only that, almost all our past client has accepted that a free consultancy with us, helped them gain a better perspective of their needs and app development journey. Explore our range of app development portfolios. 

Best Practices for a Smoother App Development Timeline

Our expert app developers based in Houston suggest the following best practices to reduce the overall app development timeline.

  • Embrace Agile methodology to break down projects into manageable tasks and prioritize them effectively.
  • Utilize frameworks and libraries such as React, Angular, or Vue.js for frontend development and Express.js or Django for backend development to expedite coding.
  • Implement automated testing frameworks and Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipelines to catch bugs early and facilitate rapid releases.
  • Promote code reuse by creating modular and reusable components and establishing a centralized repository for common functionalities.
  • Enforce coding standards and best practices, utilize code linters and static analysis tools, and emphasize consistent code formatting and documentation.
  • Streamline the development environment by providing efficient tools, IDEs, and plugins, utilizing version control systems like Git, and Dockerizing applications.
  • Foster a culture of continuous learning and improvement, staying updated on emerging technologies and industry trends, and encouraging knowledge sharing among team members.


In conclusion, how long does it take to develop an app varies depending on its complexity, design considerations, team dynamics, and backend requirements. Whether you’re building a simple to-do list app or a highly complex social media platform, careful planning and realistic expectations are essential.

By understanding the factors influencing development time and estimating the hours required for coding, you can better plan your app development journey. So, if you have a brilliant app idea, don’t hesitate to get started. With the right approach and a dedicated team, you can turn your vision into a reality. Get started building your app today!


What does it take to build an app?

Building an app involves several stages, including concept ideation, requirements gathering, design, development, testing, and deployment. Each stage requires careful planning, collaboration, and execution to ensure a successful outcome.

How long does it take to code a mobile app?

The app development timeline varies depending on factors such as complexity, features, team size, and development approach. Simple apps may take a few weeks to a couple of months, while more complex apps can take several months to a year or more.

Average hours to code an app?

Estimating the number of hours needed to code an app is challenging due to the variability in project requirements and technical complexities. However, a rough estimate for coding a simple app could range from 200 to 500 hours, while a highly complex app may require 1000 hours or more of development effort.

What is the app development timeline?

The app development timeline outlines the various stages involved in bringing an app from concept to launch. It typically includes stages such as requirements gathering, design, development, testing, and deployment. The app development timeline can vary based on project specifics, but a general timeline for a mobile app development project could range from a few months to over a year, depending on complexity and scope.

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