How To Create An App In 2024 (Definitive Guide)

Apps have been around for years, but they’re becoming more prominent than ever. Statista predicted that more than 6 billion users will own a smartphone by 2027. If you plan to create an app, it’s important to optimize your app for mobile users.

Today, mobile apps are indispensable to more than 4 billion users who seek information, purchase products, access services, and more on their mobile devices. Whether you’re building an entire business on an app or intend to make your services more accessible, apps are the answer.

The question is — how do you create an app?

I’m Yan Likarenko, Product Manager at Uptech. Over the years, I’ve helped founders build apps that their customers find useful. At Uptech, our goal is simple, we want to create apps that solve real problems, whether web apps or mobile. And that’s what we did for 200+ startups and established companies.

In this article, I’ll show you how to develop an app in a detailed steps and launch it on app marketplaces.

What should you do before building an app?

Developing an app requires a substantial investment. So, don’t build an app until you truly understand the market and your audience.

Understand the Mobile App Landscape

The mobile app industry is fast-changing. Ideas that used to be feasible years back might not remain so in the coming years. For example, mobile app games used to dominate in terms of app revenues, but entertainment and photo/video apps are predicted to take the lead in the near future.

Still, the mobile app market looks promising as a whole. By 2027, the global revenue from apps across all categories is predicted to reach $673.80 billion. While the US and China are leading in app usage, Brazil is expected to overtake them soon. This gives you a clearer picture of which market to target.

how to create an app

Expect emerging technologies like artificial intelligence to shape the course of the mobile app market in years to come. Specifically, generative AI, which has impressed the public with its ability to create realistic content, will play a more pivotal role in mobile apps. In fact, startups like Hamlet AI have turned to our team to build an AI-powered text summarizer web app.

Whether you plan to build an AI-based app or not, pay attention to data security and privacy. As more apps are published, users and authorities are concerned about data breaches and cybercrime. Ensuring app compliance with acts like HIPAA, PCI-DSS, and GPDR is essential if you’re developing healthcare, fintech, or other apps governed by the respective regulations.

If you have an idea to build a GenAI app or integrate this tech into your app, check our Generative AI services page. We built a PoC in just 2 months and delivered over 25 AI solutions to our clients.

Find Your Winning App Idea

Ideation is essential for startups to set a solid foundation for their app. Without spending time brainstorming and validating ideas, you can’t build an app that fills the market gap. More importantly, it puts your startup at risk. According to a survey, lack of research is one of the top reasons why startups fail.

So, before learning how to build an app, start by asking if there is a market for it. You can do so by.

  • Conduct market research
  • Estimate the market size
  • Defining your target audience
  • Identify if there’s a problem that needs solving

We use these methods to build successful apps, which I’ll explain in depth in the next section.

How to Create an App: A Step-by-Step Guide to Success

Once you’re convinced that you have a solid idea for an app, it’s time to build it.

how to create an app

Step 1. Begin with Ideation and Conceptualization

Before you start any development work, make sure there’s a demand for the app. That’s the first thing we do in our software product development lifecycle as part of the discovery phase.

Some founders assume that their app will be wildly successful, only to find themselves disappointed after launching it. So, find out what problems you want to solve with your app. For example, are you trying to help retail customers shop online more effortlessly? Or are you helping people prioritize self-care by providing access to online therapists?

Here’s how you identify a feasible idea.

  • List several ideas
  • Then, evaluate the risks and opportunities of each with frameworks like SWOT.
  • Consider whether your idea aligns with your goals and business model. For example, if your startup focuses on environmental goals, your app should reflect the mission throughout the customer journey.

In addition, consider the skills, technologies, and budget you can spare to create the app. If your target audience is largely Apple users, you can start by building a native iOS app. Otherwise, you might need to build an app for both platforms or opt for a web app.

Step 2. Conduct Product Discovery

At this point, all you’ve got are assumptions. To proceed, you must prove them. The best way is to engage and survey potential users. First, you prepare the assumption sheets. Then, you conduct interviews to understand their challenges and whether they are willing to pay for a solution. Then, use their feedback to refine your app requirements.

Sometimes, you might uncover a better idea by seeking user feedback. That’s what happened with Yaza, a client of ours. Initially, they wanted to build a social app with visualization capability. However, after going through the discovery phase with our team, they found they’re better positioned as a real estate app.

Besides surveying users, it’s also important to analyze your competitors. Explore the features of competing apps and read reviews to learn what users like and dislike. Chances are, you might find opportunity gaps that you can capitalize on for your app.

As a startup, you have to be profitable eventually. So, explore how other apps make money. Even if you plan to market a free app, there are ways to generate revenue from it. For example, some apps run ads, while others allow users to purchase credits to use advanced features. You can learn more about app monetization here.

Learn more about software discovery services we offer.

Step 3. Plan Your App

Next, decide the features you want to include in your app. Some companies make the mistake of including too many features in the initial release, which increases the cost, complexity, and time to reach the market.

Instead, we recommend starting with a minimum viable product (MVP). An MVP is faster to build, and it lets you test your market quickly in the market. Basically, it consists of key features that are important to solve the user’s problem.

To ensure you are on schedule, it’s vital to prepare a detailed plan. The plan should outline the entire app development lifecycle, including:

  • Development milestones like UI/UX, coding, and testing
  • Skills and tech stack required
  • Budget
  • Data security and compliance requirements
  • Post-release support requirements

Listing them allows you to anticipate possible challenges and make ample preparations.

how to build an app

Step 4. Implement UI/UX Design

If you want to learn how to make a mobile app, you must understand UI/UX design principles. There’s no point in building an app with powerful features if users struggle to use it. Successful apps prioritize user interaction throughout their journey by balancing functionality with intuitiveness.

Considering mobile devices have limited space, UI/UX designers adopt a minimalist layout where only commonly used features are easily accessible. They also arrange the on-screen components in a logical flow to avoid confusion when using the app. On top of that, the choice of colors, fonts, icons, and other visual elements also help create a user-friendly app.

Check 10 best platforms to hire UI/UX designers.

At Uptech, we use wireframes to visualize the customer journey. The wireframes serve as a skeletal layout that lets developers understand the app’s logical flow. From there, our team builds mockups, or prototypes, which contain more details to conduct usability tests for validation.

You can imagine the mockup as the beta version of the product you want to build. It helps you decide if the idea is feasible before investing more money into it. Moreover, having a mockup increases your chance of raising funds compared to mere ideas on paper.

Step 5. Choose the Right Development Methodologies

Armed with a validated prototype, you now need to decide how to create the app. From tech stacks to talents, there are key decisions you need to make.

Native vs. hybrid

Native apps are developed with programming languages and frameworks specific to the operating platform. For example, we use Swift when building an iOS app and Kotlin for Android. A native app developed for one platform cannot run on the other.

Meanwhile, a hybrid app can run on any platform. Instead of creating two different apps, we build a single codebase with tools like Flutter. This way, our clients save development time and cost. Unlike native apps, you don’t need to hire separate iOS and Android developers to build a hybrid app.

But this doesn’t necessarily mean hybrid apps are better than native apps. Hybrid apps are more affordable to build, but they cannot access advanced platform features that native apps can. Also, native apps generally have better performance and provide a more seamless user experience.

Ultimately, the best approach depends on your app requirements. If you’re doubtful, consult with our team.

Low code vs. coding from scratch

Another decision you need to make is whether you want to build your app with a low-code platform or start from scratch. Low-code platforms let you create an app with little to no coding. You use the drag-and-drop interface to design the layout and logic flow. Then, you configure how every element behaves by keying in the parameters.

On the other hand, manual coding is more laborious. Developers start from a blank canvas and create every function the app needs. Often, they use libraries, plugins, frameworks, and APIs to speed up their work. Even with that, manual development might take weeks or months.

Again, there is no one-size-fits-all solution here. Low-code platforms are ideal if you want to create a mock-up quickly, but you can’t customize your app in ways that manual coding can. Also, you’re locked into the low-code platform, which limits scalability. Meanwhile, you have complete control over whether you build your app from scratch.

In-house vs. outsource

Finally, decide if you want to hire developers in-house or outsource to an external agency. Some companies hire an in-house team because they want more control of the entire development process. However, this option seldom benefits startups, particularly if they have a tight budget.

Remember, if you're hiring in-house, you need to search, interview, and onboard the entire team. You also need to pay their salaries, leaves, and other perks because they are your full-time employees. The long-term financial commitment can be a burden for startups that prefer operating with a leaner thin.

That’s why many startups choose to outsource their app development to an external partner. Outsourcing frees them from paying fixed salaries. Besides, they can save development costs when collaborating with outsourcing partners from cost-friendly regions like Ukraine.

Imagine hiring developers from the US. You would pay around $100 per hour for their services. In Ukraine, hiring a developer costs an average of $50 per hour. Not only can you reduce hiring costs, but you also enjoy access to a broader talent pool that delivers quality work.

Step 6. Develop the App

Here, your developers assemble the different parts of the app together. This involves coding, integration, and applying business logic to the architecture they built. Depending on the approach you choose, this process can be tedious. The duration largely lies in software development methodology and team communication.

For example, changes and bugs discovered must be communicated effectively and promptly amongst team members. If you use the traditional waterfall development model, you will only uncover software issues after the entire development has been completed.

Reworking an app is more challenging and expensive when done at a later stage. And that makes the type of development methodology your developers adopt so important. At Uptech, we practice Agile. Agile is a framework that lets us apply small changes in multiple iterations.

Instead of working on a huge part of the app, we break it down into smaller tasks. Then, we work in ‘sprints’, which are short periods of interval (usually 2 weeks). This provides us with more flexibility, and we can also involve founders in the sprint meetings.

Throughout the development stage, it’s important for you and your developers to communicate openly and accurately. Miscommunication can hinder progress or result in an app that doesn’t meet user expectations. At Uptech, we use project management tools like Slack, Jira, and Zoom. to keep our clients updated and seek their feedback.

Step 7. Perform Quality Assurance Tests

Ideally, you should test the app at every stage of development. Continuous testing decreases the chances of bugs and performance issues manifesting in the production release. It also helps you comply with security and privacy requirements.

These are tests your QA engineers can perform when developing the app.

  • Unit test to determine if individual functions are performing as they should
  • Performance tests to assess software functions when they are exposed to specific workloads
  • Integration tests to ensure various software components can function seamlessly as a whole
  • Security tests detect possible vulnerabilities in the code
  • Usability tests allow select groups of users to test the app and report their experience to the QA team

QA engineers create test cases for each test, specifying the testing conditions and expected outcomes. Remember that these tests are performed in the testing environment, which isn’t sufficient to ensure your app is ready for real-world usage. To do that, you need to perform beta testing.

In a beta test, QA engineers run the app in the production environment, where the general public enrolls as beta testers. The beta testers then use the app and share their thoughts on the performance, user experience, functionality, and other aspects. Then, your app developer makes the final updates to prepare for launch.

Step 8. Launch the App

To launch your app, you will likely need to publish it on Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Both marketplaces have different guidelines, with App Store being the stricter of the two. If your app doesn’t meet the content, technical or other requirements, your submission will be rejected. As the review process often takes weeks, it’s better to study the guidelines in detail.

Once approved, your app will be listed on the respective marketplace, but that doesn’t mark the end of your effort. Make sure your marketing team is doing their best to attract sign ups. At the same time, put your developers on standby to resolve post-launch issues.

Step 9. Collect Feedback and Improvise

Apps are never really done. Market trends change, user requirements evolve, and bugs might appear over time. Regardless of the causes, take a proactive effort to continuously improve the app.

If you’ve integrated analytics features into the app, you can review performance data, such as retention rate, latency and usage time. These data helps you identify possible UI/UX issues and revise the existing workflow. On top of that, your app should also include a bug-reporting system that automatically sends incident data to facilitate troubleshooting.

Relying on in-app analytics is not enough to ensure your app remains engaging. Rather, analyze comments users leave on marketplaces, forums, and social media to learn how they truly feel about your app. Then, apply the changes, test them, and release subsequent updates to the marketplace.

how to build an app

How to Create an App: Uptech Cases

Uptech is an app development company with an international presence. Over the years, we have helped startups worldwide create apps that their customers love. Our multidisciplinary teams, tech stacks, and user-centric approach allow us to help them find the right product-market fit and launch successful apps. Let’s explore some of our best works.

Dollar Shave Club

Dollar Shave Club (DSC) sells grooming products online. DSC already had an Android app when they reached out to us. However, they need to rebuild the app to engage their users better.

how to create an app

We worked closely with their in-house team to determine and implement features that enrich the customer experience. To ensure the best results, we compared variations of the same feature with A/B tests. The app won the Webby Award in 2017 for the best shopping app.


GOAT is the global platform for the greatest products from the past, present and future. Our collaboration started with requests to improve several features. For example, GOAT needs a more flexible workflow for creating an offer and the ability to play several videos simultaneously without lag.

how to create an app

For each feature request, our developers plan and validate the improvised features before developing them. We work closely with GOAT to release an app that overcomes their previous limitations. Today, the app continues to receive great reviews from both the App Store and Play Store.  

Dyvo.AI lets users generate avatars from their selfies with generative AI. We built the app collaboratively with Sommo, a no-code development studio. The app marked our successful adaptation of the emerging technologies in less than one month. Within a short period, we developed, tested, and launched and managed to 100k users.

how to create an app

Rather than building the app from scratch, we took a different approach. We use a low-code platform called Bubble and our own development tool, Natively, to produce the iOS and Android applications. To ensure optimal performance and cost, we tested several AI techniques and chose to rent on-demand GPUs.


Not every idea results in a successful app. However, you can increase the chance of building a successful app with careful research, planning, development, and testing. Remember that an app is only successful if it engages users and solves their problems.

We’ve shown you step-by-step in this extensive guide on how to develop a mobile app. There are, in fact, several approaches to building your own app. Some, like outsourcing, help startups release their app on time and within budget. Also, tapping into the experience of a proven app development agency helps you avoid known hurdles.

Talk to us to learn more about creating your app.


Can I build an app for free?

Yes. Many low-code app builders allow users to build apps for free. You can use ready-made templates to develop the logic flow your app requires. However, these platforms have limitations to customizations, functionality, and scalability.

How much does it cost to build an app?

It depends on the app’s complexity, platform, tech stacks, UI/UX elements, features, and other requirements. Also, developers based in different regions charge different rates. For example, building a simple app might cost up to $45,000, while a complex one could cost $150,000 or more.

How long does it take to develop an app?

Most apps take 4 to 7 months to build, but simpler ones can be as quick as 2 months. Therefore, it’s important to test your idea with a prototype before committing to full development. At Uptech, we took up to 1 month to build certain prototypes.

Should I develop a native app or a hybrid app?

It depends on your immediate and long-term goals. If you need to present a functional app to investors or quickly reach the market, building a hybrid app is better. On the other hand, native apps can take full advantage of the mobile platform’s functionality, which improves performance, reliability, and user experience.

How do I get my app on the App Store or Google Play Store?

You need to create a developer account on both marketplaces. Then, fill in the application form and submit it together with your app. Wait for results as the marketplaces review whether your app complies with the technical requirements, content rating, and other guidelines. Once approved, your app will be listed on the App Store or Play Store. Otherwise, you’ll need to revise the app or description and resubmit.

Let’s build your next product! Share your idea or request a free consultation from us.