The Ultimate Guide to Mobile App Development

Top mobile app development step by step guide

Entrepreneurs, modern solutions, and businesses are rapidly switching to mobile apps for many good reasons. Mobile app development has been continuously growing for almost the last two decades. No matter what industries you belong to or what business niche you fall under, mobile app development has spread its wings into several departments and areas, including retail, telecommunications, e-commerce, healthcare, banking, government, insurance, and many more.

Organizations across all industries must provide access to information and conduct transactions in real time to meet user expectations. People and businesses connect to the world today most frequently through mobile devices and mobile applications that unlock their full potential. Organizations need to create mobile applications that meet customer, partner, and employee demands in order to remain relevant, responsive, and successful.

Smartphones are used by more than 3.5 billion people worldwide, so there is no doubt the market is thriving. The statistics continue to grow steadily without showing any signs of slowing down. Over 10% of Americans check their phone about every four minutes, and average Americans check their phone at least once every 12 minutes. Here are some other statistics to consider. Most consumers have more than 30 apps installed on their devices.

Mobile app development is a highly motivating endeavor for anyone interested in creating one. Before jumping to any conclusions, let’s understand what the mobile app development process looks like. Though it seems very lucrative to build a mobile app to get a slice of the billion-dollar pie, the decision needs to be well thought out and planned. Moreover, you will have tough competition on the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store, as there are over 1.5 million apps.

What is Mobile App Development?

The process of developing mobile apps involves making apps for smartphones and digital assistants, most commonly for Android and iOS platforms. Apps can be preinstalled on mobile devices, downloaded from mobile app stores, or accessed through mobile browsers. The resources of a device are remotely accessed through the device’s network capabilities.  As a result, the mobile app development process involves developing software that can be installed on a device, enabling backend services to provide data access through APIs, and testing the application on the device.

The development of scalable mobile apps also involves considering screen sizes, hardware requirements, and many other factors. The number of jobs within the mobile app development industry is growing rapidly, so it is imperative that entrepreneurs, startups, and developers understand the process well.

Mobile App Development Process

One of the first barriers to overcome in mobile application development – regardless of whether you go native or hybrid – is the limited resources on mobile devices. In comparison to desktop computers or enterprise servers, the processing power and memory of your target mobile device will be much less. Although these constraints might seem like a real challenge, especially if you are more familiar with the comparatively boundless resources for web app development with conventional software. With mobile platform resources limited, your app design needs to adjust its goals according to the mobile.

Mobile App Development Platforms

Several independent application development companies build their apps initially for Android. What’s the reason? Android is the most popular operating system among smartphones, and the Google Play Store has fewer restrictions than the Apple App Store. Compared to mobile applications developed for Android, mobile apps for iOS need to support fewer devices, which makes optimization simpler. Furthermore, iOS apps typically have higher retention rates.

Other considerations might be necessary depending on the mobile application’s intended use case and intended audience. For instance, if you are aiming to develop an app for your organization’s employees, you will have to consider their needs and the platforms they use. This means building cross-platform apps might work on both Android and iOS. For example, if you are developing a mobile app for your customers and you know that most of them use iPhones, then you should prioritize iOS development. Among other considerations, monetization strategies and anticipated user behavior, which can be influenced by geographical and cultural factors, should also be considered when developing mobile applications.

Learn more about the role of customer research in Mobile Application Development Process.

Native Vs. Cross-Platform Development

Mobile apps can be developed in different ways for different categories of people using a diverse range of technologies. Since we have different operating systems and software for smartphones, there are different requirements from them as well. while developing for a single operating system, mobile app developers are required to write a separate code for each type of platform, commonly known as Native app development. on the other hand, cross-platform app development allows mobile app developers to write a common code for multiple operating systems like iOS and Android.

Native App Development

Consider the case when you are looking to develop both Android-based and iOS-based mobile applications. Which software development platform/approach is best in this situation?

It is possible to develop two native applications. You can build powerful apps by using native APIs and OS-specific programming languages. Native development is advantageous for enterprise apps that require substantial API traffic, especially those that require high levels of security.

When developing one native application at a time, you’ll probably start with Android. Android is often the first platform chosen by developers for some of the same reasons that independent app developers do. It is probably better to develop the full application on Android as an MVP and then convert and optimize it for iOS after release.

The code for the native code will still need to be rewritten and the front-end user interface should be redesigned as well since the operating systems differ greatly making cross-platform operation impossible.

Adapting the code to a new programming language isn’t as straightforward as translating it. However, much of the back end can be reused. You can often avoid costly rework by using frameworks, libraries, and third-party extensions that work the same in both environments.

The Native is what we call pure stock software. Native applications provide the advantage of direct interaction with the operating system’s native components. The application interface feels like a part of the operating system and you interact directly with the operating system via native applications. It is because you used native components instead of HTML components. A disadvantage of native development is that every platform requires you to develop the application from scratch. You may have to provide support in another platform, like iOS, Windows, if you choose the native app development.

Cross-Platform App Development

There is also the option of going cross-platform; writing once and running anywhere. A cross-platform app uses a single codebase that is compatible with both platforms.

When developing cross-platform applications, HTML and CSS components are used. Numerous frameworks are available to build cross-platform applications. This framework provides you with access to the native API through HTML controls. The option will come in handy for those who are Android developers and still want to develop iOS applications fast and efficiently. In addition, you can compile the same application on different platforms by using a single click.

If you’re wondering whether to develop a native or cross-platform app for your business, watch this video to learn more.

iOS App Development

Mobile app development for Apple hardware, like iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, is known as iOS application development. Swift or Objective-C are used to write iOS code, which is then uploaded to the App Store for users to download.

 Perhaps you have reservations about iOS development as a mobile app developer. Before you can distribute your app through the App Store, your app must undergo a rigorous quality review process.

However, if your target audience is one of the hundreds of millions of Apple users around the world, it is evident that iOS app development will be beneficial for you. Even with potential high entry barriers, developing an iOS app can be as easy as developing one for Android. Having proper planning and the right resources will allow you to join the ranks of a professional iOS app developer.

Requirements for Building iOS Applications

In order to build an app on the iOS platform, you would need:

  1. The latest version of macOS running on an Apple Mac computer.
  2. The Mac App Store provides free access to Xcode, the integrated development environment (IDE) for macOS.
  3. An Apple Developer account for which an annual fee of $99 is required.

Apps can only be submitted to the Apple App Store by active members of the Apple Developer Program. Submission to the App Store is only possible if apps are published and signed by Xcode. Only macOS and Xcode are compatible with Apple devices only.

However, you can do much more with Xcode than just sign and publish your finished app. The IDE comes with a user interface designer, code editor, testing engine, asset catalog, and all the tools you need to create iOS applications.

Android Development

The design and development of Android applications require extensive programming knowledge. For those who are approaching Android as a new technology, it is often helpful to break it down into its individual parts. Developing Android apps is similar to building websites, although building them for mobile devices requires an understanding of more nuanced concepts. If you’re an experienced web developer, many of the concepts and technologies you’ll encounter will be familiar to you already. In the case of Android, mobile devices have smaller screens, simpler processors, and many manufacturers, so developers must keep their code flexible and take into account a variety of user interface scenarios.


A minimum viable product is a new product developed based on a concept intended to encourage learning. Using an MVP in the first version allows a team to collect the maximum amount of authentic information about users with the least amount of effort. Customers acquire this knowledge by trying your product or by purchasing it.

In order to create an MVP, a company creates a product that can be used by the general public and then offered to customers so that their behavior can be observed when trying out the new product or service.

The basic concept behind developing an MVP is to learn about customers’ behavior before developing the final product. This is how you get an opportunity to make your final product flawless with the aim to attract more customers to the app. While an MVP gives you deeper insight into how your app audience reacts to your product, you cannot acquire this information by merely asking their response about a certain idea or product. 

Once you develop the minimum viable product, you get to know whether it catches customers’ attention or not. Based on the information, you can adjust your app development efforts and expense. 

For instance, if you have a business website but you are considering building a mobile app for your business or idea, you can first develop an app with minimum features and later convert it into a fully-fledged application depending upon your customer response. You may want to consult a professional mobile app developer or company to get cost estimation and recommendations about the practicality of your product. 

With a minimum viable product, you can get your answer to whether the product has the potential to succeed in the market or not. If you learn in the early stages of investment that the product does not have a tendency to increase or add up to the business revenue, you will stop spending in the wrong direction while saving a reasonable amount from your app development budget. 

Why do Startups and Small Businesses Need an MVP?

Startups and small businesses usually have a low budget, and therefore, they cannot afford to invest a high amount in an experiment that they are not well assured of. The purpose of a minimum viable product is to minimize the risks associated with starting a new business or introducing unique products. It is introduced to a limited group of users to test the performance of the product before introducing it to the wider world. The results are used to identify areas for improvement. This minimizes the risk of investors making a major mistake, as well as ensures positive results from users. 

Companies Should Use an MVP for Several Reasons.

Investing in an MVP minimizes implementation costs. In addition to saving costs, MVP also enables you to avoid large capital losses and product failure

You can release the product in the market in a reduced amount of time. 

The company or mobile app developer can assess the product value and demand in the market before investing in a high-budget product. 

The product owners can understand users’ behavior and preferences. It also helps companies assess and analyze what works best in the industry and what does not. They can collect and improve the customer base.

Mobile App Development Lifecycle

Using Soft Development Lifecycle principles, mobile app development is conducted. Several stages are involved, such as Research, Design, Development, Stabilization, Deployment, and Maintenance. 

A typical app development process flow starts with researching the advantages and disadvantages of a future product idea, performing a market research study, researching target groups, and estimating the cost of the project. 

In order to build a product, you first need to develop your startup idea into a product idea. That will give you a better idea about what expertise you should have on your team and how much money you need to spend. 

As soon as you research the app idea and potential, you have to create your app conception and need to polish it. Consider the benefits your product may offer your users and find a market niche where your target audience may find a similar solution. what would be your unique value and competitive advantage? Make sure you research the competitive environment in the market area you want to enter and determine if it will be profitable for newcomers. 

 Be sure to include basic information about your target audiences, such as gender, age, occupation, position, family situation, and geography. Try to identify their current problems, fears, and desires. 

Lastly, let’s dig deeper into app features with one more app development step. Identify the key features like camera integration, GPS, fingerprint scanning that you need in your app. Specify technologies that can be utilized to enable the full range of desired functionality. 

When you have a technical description of the product, check on its evaluation. Choose the platform you’ll be building the app for (iOS, Android, or both) and evaluate the potential of the development team. 

Select a programming language, set timelines for the project, decide on a monetization strategy, and draft the product requirements document.


A Mobile App Development Framework is a tool or structure that helps developers build an app quickly and efficiently.

Developers can build an app in a shorter amount of time and with greater efficiency by using Mobile App Development Frameworks. A mobile app framework serves as a foundation for supporting and boosting the app development process. There are several most popular frameworks considered standard throughout the world.


Flutter is an open-source mobile app development kit, launched by the Software Giant Google.

React Native

React Native is among the most popular cross-platform frameworks, launched by Facebook in 2013.


It is a free, open-source framework that allows developers to develop mobile apps for Android, iOS, and the web using a single codebase.


Microsoft launched Xamarin, an app development framework for Android, iOS, and Windows apps with a C# codebase.


PhoneGap is a cross-platform mobile app development framework, written in JavaScript, HTML5, and CSS.

Watch this YouTube Tutorial to learn more about the above mentioned mobile app development frameworks.

Development Categories

Any web or mobile application can be divided into two distinct categories; Front end and the backend. The front-end is the part that a user sees and interacts with, commonly referred to as the user interface. The back-end of an application is the component of it that is not visible to the user.

Backend Development

Backend development refers to work done on the server-side of a mobile app. The backend of a mobile app is responsible for storing, securing, and processing data.

A backend app functions as a server that allows users to sort the data they need. It can be defined as the operations that take place behind the scenes when you use an app to execute a task. Logging into your account or watching a movie on the internet are examples of this.

Frontend apps deliver data to backend apps. Languages like Java, Ruby, Python, PHP, .Net, are necessary for backend web development. Backend developers write code that allows the frontend app to access database information. As a result, the backend program generates all of the necessary output for us.

The following aspects of an app are addressed by a backend developer:

  • Database
  • Scripting
  • The architecture

Frontend Development

The front-end is often known as the “client-side” of an application, as opposed to the backend, which is the “server-side.” An app’s front end uses protocols to deliver data to the backend across the internet. These protocols are only for communicating between apps.

The front end includes everything a user sees while engaging with a website or app, including text colors and styles, pictures, graphs and tables, colors, buttons, the navigation menu, and much more. When websites, online applications, or mobile apps are opened, frontend developers are responsible for the structure, appearance, behavior, and content of everything that shows on browser displays. Responsiveness and performance are the two main goals of front-end development. HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are the most common frontend languages.

User Experience

Providing an excellent user experience is crucial. In order to accomplish that, you need to understand that the interface of a mobile app should be simpler than one for a desktop app. It is possible to provide a better user experience with fewer resources by designing a simple UX design that focuses on critical functions.

As part of the mobile app development process, developers must ensure that their mobile apps consume fewer resources than desktop or web applications.

The user interface of your mobile app should be designed with “touch” in mind. Your app must allow users to navigate easily and input information without having to type excessively.

The user expectations for efficient, simple touch-based apps match well with these requirements. With mobile devices, users want to be able to accomplish tasks quickly and easily. Above all else, they want their mobile apps to be quick, convenient, and easy to use.

Understanding the Context

Alignment and understanding are critical to success in the mobile app development process. First, you must understand the business context. Who are its target audiences? How is the business doing today, and where is it headed? A lot of the information is tacit. People don’t put it into words, it’s in their heads and never in writing. This understanding of context can be extracted and organized by a variety of methods. Next, you should align the information architecture with the business’s goals, strategy, and culture.

Excellent User Experience

The app should be quick, flowy, simple, aesthetically pleasing, and easy to navigate for users. The app designers and developers must consider the factors that a common user would want in the app to make their experience better. For instance, in an interior design guide app, a user may want to buy things directly from the app. Integrating such a feature can be both beneficial for users and app development companies. 

What Makes a Poor User Experience?

It’s the users who determine whether an app will be successful or not. Target audiences play a huge role in whether an app becomes successful. Users who write bad reviews on mobile apps are frustrated by a variety of factors during the application’s usage. The following factors include:

  • Slow responsiveness
  • App or device freezes
  • High battery consumption
  • App or device Crashes
  • Too many ads and promotions

The quality and performance of an app matter the most for its users. Particularly, for apps that features banking, retail, gaming, and chatting, users expect the utmost performance so that their tasks can be accomplished without any hassle.

Mobile App Testing

The best developers may write a mistaken code at times. It is imperative to test your code, and user experience during each and every phase of development. Testing goes through several phases.

Additionally, testing offers the following benefits:

  • Failures are reported quickly.
  • Identifying failures early in the development process.
  • Improved code refactoring, so code optimization is safer, without introducing regressions into the code.
  • Stable development velocity helps minimize technical debt.

To learn about top mobile app testing tools with this piece of information attached below.

Testing is typically the same for Android and iOS development but there are some changes depending on the platform requirements. Let’s take a look at both iOS and Android mobile app testing.

Testing an iOS Application

You must test your app once you have completed its development. Since you are developing for iOS, you will not have to test multiple mobile devices from multiple manufacturers. A mobile operating system exclusive to Apple iPhones, iOS is Apple’s proprietary mobile operating system. Despite the fact that you might want to test an iOS app on multiple generations of iPhones, there are still fewer devices to test than there are with Android.

You can offer a test version of your app to up to 10,000 users after your app is approved by Apple. A unique link is used to access your app when users download the Test app. This allows you to perform A/B tests and compare responses to features by dividing your external testers into different groups. You are automatically provided with usage data, and users can easily submit feedback concerning any issues they may have.

Testing Android Application

The app development process is incomplete without testing your app. Tests can ensure your app’s correctness, functionality, and usability before it is released to the public.

Organize your code into modules so you can test it easily, each module representing a specific action your users will take within the app. This differs from a stack-based view of an app, where layers typically represent the UI, business logic, and data.

While you are developing for Android, you have to test multiple mobile devices from multiple manufacturers, screens, and versions. Make sure your app performs flawless on different devices.

Mobile App Launch

Consider launching a beta version of your app before launching it publicly. This tactic has been successful for websites such as Spotify, Google+, and Pinterest. In addition to creating an air of exclusivity that generates buzz about your product, it also lets you solicit feedback from a trusted network so you can fix bugs and UI/UX problems before launching it full-scale.

This email list can be used as your pre-launch beta test group. Send an email marketing campaign to a segment of your current customers who would benefit from your mobile app. In exchange for the free, exclusive access, you can ask users at the time of launch to write a review of your mobile app. This will position the launch as the opportunity to offer free, exclusive access to your mobile app before its release. You can also use TestFlight to launch a beta version of your app so users can test it before it’s launched.

However, a launch party does not have to be extravagant. The webinar is a great way to host an intimate digital launch party. Launch a short campaign inviting early adopters, influencers, tech journalists, and others. During your live event, you can share details about how attendees can download your app and spread the word.

App Marketing

App Marketing is integral to mobile app success. No matter how great your app is and how interesting the features are, how would learn about your app, if you don’t market? Marketing is the way to spread awareness about the app you’ve built and how can it benefits the target audience. In some cases, you can begin the app marketing during the app development phase so that people would know the launch date and you can start building your app user base from the day one. 

Market Around Your Core Audience

Your app will have a core group of users who will use it in their daily lives. Those are the people you’re targeting. Focus on those users. Have a talk with them and ask them how they use the program and how we can improve it. The best marketing strategy involves targeting your users. These are the people you will be reaching your product and give boost to your business.

On the other hand, paying for ads and banner ads and all that paid stuff is not reliable in the long run. The cost is high, and you probably have a budget that you must stick to. And word of mouth is still more powerful.

The foundation of your marketing strategy begins with a core group of loyal users who love your app and its features. Therefore, try to get in touch with those who are using it and ask for their feedback. Learn from their suggestions and help improve your app.

These people are crucial to improving your product. The goal is to build a group of users who will convince other people to use your app. The app should inspire users enough that users will speak loudly in its favor.

Read this post to get more insights on mobile
app marketing. 

App Deployment & Maintenance

Once your app has been uploaded to the App Store or Google Play Store, you will need to analyze user feedback, make necessary improvements, update the product, and provide technical support for it.

During the deployment and maintenance phases, what goals should be set? In the first place, you should get as many downloads (users) as possible for your app. As more users gain access to your app, the more information you will be able to gather for further improvements. And, you must focus on your promotional strategy to gain more users. 

  • Product maintenance includes such types of activity:
  • Adding new features to your app by planning and developing
  • Reviewing and analyzing user feedback and analytics for further product development
  • Direct marketing and customer relations
  • Support for ongoing technical issues
  • Adding new content
  • Offering customers support; if your product provides services or your support team can offer direct assistance.

Depending on the app size and requirement, there may be a need for a small, medium, or a large team of maintenance experts. On the budget planning stage (Research), keep in mind the type of experts you’ll need to support your product, and include maintenance costs in your budget.

Best Practices for Mobile App Development

Today, mobile app developers plan their projects with the goal of making their applications as competitive as possible. You can add a lot of value to your app by implementing the best practices for app development and design. You should consider including services that can enhance user experience and improve app efficiency.

Push Notifications

You can engage users with push notifications by sending them information about updates, offers, events, how-to tips, and other content that encourages them to use your app.

User Feedback

Consider user feedback and remarks to make improvements in your app. To do so, add an easy-to-access feature to the app where users can easily write their feedback and reviews about the app. If you overlook what your users demand from your app, your app will eventually lose them, leading to app abandonment.

Efficient Navigation

The app navigation should be flawless. App users can easily go to the desired section navigate throughout the app.

Reduced User Efforts

The minimization of data entry is another best practice of excellent mobile app UX. A user tends to leave the app if they are required to enter a lot of information manually.

Secure Data and Transactions

When it comes to personal data and payment information, users are concerned the most. Make sure your app is secure and trustable among users so that they don’t hesitate using it to the best of their interest.

Regular Updates

In addition to understanding and implementing the components of a great user experience into the app, it’s integral to avoid elements that lead to poor user experience.

Things to Consider while Selecting a Mobile App Development Company

Although an app idea originates from you, how it will be developed in its final form depends on the mobile app development company that works on it. A good app idea needs a good team to execute. Thus, the role of an app development company becomes very critical in making your dream a reality.  Apps that are user-friendly, intuitive, and aesthetically pleasing to users are more likely to succeed. In contrast, the execution of a great idea may fail if it is not implemented well. 

If you are selecting a development team, ensure that they are familiar with all the different phases of app development so that you can achieve maximum usability and user experience. While developing the app, developers should consider the intuitiveness of the app so that users can perform their tasks independently.

Hire the best Mobile app development company to execute each phase of design and development in the most professional manner that guarantees the success of the app.

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Javeria Ibrahim

Javeria Ibrahim is a digital enthusiast with extensive experience in various forms of writing. She loves to explore various subjects including tech, innovation, personal development, and art. Her passion for bringing improvement can be seen in her write-ups.

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