Introduction to the Mobile App Development Lifecycle

Yogesh Pant
Apr 18, 2024


Remember the time you felt bored? Who was there for you? Or, let's revisit another scenario: the day you were getting late for work, who helped you book a cab? Undoubtedly, the answer is your smartphone, complemented by the array of apps it has. Those are merely two examples; there is plenty of evidence that indicates mobile apps are here to stay and rule, the reason why app stores are overflowing with millions of apps. With these digital apps rapidly becoming an integral part of our lifestyle, several businesses have stepped up to invest in mobile app development to expand themselves digitally and achieve success. 

While the idea of developing a business app seems lucrative, the process is full of excitement and challenges. Therefore, having a comprehensive understanding of the mobile app development lifecycle is more than essential in assuring the expected results. For instance, if you don’t have enough knowledge about UI/UX, you won’t be able to communicate with your app development partner regarding your specific design preferences and user experience requirements. 

The entire mobile app development lifecycle involves a lot of steps to be followed. Even if a single step gets skipped or overlooked, it would have a negative impact on your end product, leading to countless iterations. So, understanding each stage of the mobile app development cycle is crucial. If you’re also planning to get a mobile app for your business, wait a little and first read this guide to mobile app development so you have all the knowledge about what it takes to develop a mobile app.

blog contact

Mobile App Development Statistics to Know in 2024

  • In 2022, the global mobile app development industry was valued at $193 billion. By 2030, it's projected to reach approximately $793.31 billion, with an average annual growth rate of around 8.2 percent. (Source: Kissflow
  • A recent survey found that nearly half (47 percent) of the participants believe that the 2020 pandemic has irreversibly sped up the process of digital transformation. (Source: KPMG)
  • That global IT spending will reach around $4.6 trillion in 2023. Out of this, $891 billion will be allocated for software and app development, a significant increase from the $793 billion spent in 2022. (Source: Gartner)
  • According to the freelance platform Upwork, hiring a developer can cost anywhere between $15 to $30 per hour.  (Source: Upwork)
  • Nearly 82 percent of companies struggle to hire the software engineers and developers they need to meet their digital transformation objectives. (Source: Kissflow
  • Low-code development is currently a hot trend. It's estimated that by 2025, 450 million of the 500 million cloud-native apps will be developed using low-code platforms. (Source: Kissflow


Why It Is Important to Understand the Mobile App Development Lifecycle?

Having a blueprint of your mobile app development lifecycle is advantageous not just for you but also for your development partner. The benefits include - 

  • It offers insights into the nuances of app development, helping businesses assess the development timeline and ensuring that all requirements are understood, achievable, and met within set deadlines. 
  • The stages of app development provide project managers with a comprehensive view of the app development process, enhancing project planning and scheduling. 
  • The app development cycle simplifies project tracking and management, enabling organizations to plan app launches and satisfy internal or external clients. 
  • The standardized development methodology outlines activities and deliverables throughout the life cycle, enhancing transparency for all stakeholders. 
  • Adhering to the development cycle reduces project costs and risks associated with other production methods. 
  • Project timeline estimation tackles common challenges in app development projects and could potentially accelerate the development process.

Mobile App Development Lifecycle Explained: Step-by-Step Process


So, that’s the most awaited part—the mobile app development lifecycle itself. Below, we have outlined each step of the development process so you'll know your next move. 

Step 1. Planning 

The first step in your app development process is to conduct extensive research on the market and your app’s existing rivals. You should then start brainstorming on various aspects, including your app’s goals, targeted audience, preferred platform (iOS, Android, or both), app development technologies (frameworks & languages), development and launch timeframe, and how you want to market it. 

At this stage, you can conduct a strategic business analysis to help you calculate the appropriate ROI (Return on Investment), which will ultimately lead you to set up a realistic budget. Although the intent of one app may differ from another, there are some common app-specific questions you need to address throughout the mobile app development lifecycle, including - 

  • Who will be your app’s targeted audience?
  • Who are your competitors? 
  • What are your app’s goals and objectives?
  • What platform you should develop your app for? 

Remember, clear and concise planning can provide you with a blueprint of your app concept.

Want to Hire Website developers for your Project ?

Step 2. Design 

The next step in the process of developing a mobile app includes focusing on the UI/UX aspects. Your app design goal should be to offer a seamless user experience with clean and navigational layouts. Remember, your mobile app should be dynamic, spontaneous, and user-friendly. At the same time, you should avoid some common app design mistakes during the process. 


Your app design process includes the following steps: 

A). Architecture and Workflow

The foremost step in the mobile app design process is to work on the data points. For instance, you need to decide what type of information or data you want to show in your app, what type of data it will collect, and how users will interact with your app. 

Meanwhile, your mobile app's technology stack and architecture should be chosen ideally. It is important to note that every business has diverse users with varying responsibilities and rights; therefore, it is crucial to include them in your app’s information architecture. 

B). Wireframe

The next step in the process is to document and create a wireframe for your application. Detailed sketches of your app's vision (its appearance, features, etc.) will significantly help in bringing it to life in subsequent stages. Paper sketches serve as a fundamental starting point for mobile app designers. 

Meanwhile, wireframes are the digital counterpart of these sketches; they are conceptual layouts, also known as low-fidelity prototypes, that offer a visual guide to your app's functional requirements. 

Wireframes focus on aesthetics and user experience, not color schemes and styles. They're a fast and cost-effective way to create app layouts and review them during the design review process. So, whether you're developing an app following the iOS application life cycle or the Android development life cycle, wireframes facilitate clear and device-specific user experiences.

Want to Mobile App Development for your Project ?

C). Technical Utility and Style

Once you've defined your app’s design aesthetics, it's crucial to evaluate whether the back-end technologies can accommodate its functionality. This includes aspects like APIs, data schemas, data integration, servers, push notifications, and more. 

The type of device—be it a smartphone, wearable, or tablet—will also affect the back-end operations. As you near the end of this stage, you might find that some of the initially planned functionalities are not viable, prompting you to revisit and reassess these features.

At the same time, style guidelines are pivotal in the mobile app design process. Implementing a style guide at the onset of the mobile app development lifecycle can enhance your app's efficiency. Moreover, adhering to a style guide helps maintain a consistent look and feel for your app. 

A style guide offers detailed insights into various app functionalities, without which crafting a top-notch app could be less efficient. You should take time to reflect on and scrutinize these features.

Step 3. Prototype

After deciding on your app's UI/UX design aspects, you should now focus on creating a quick prototype. It is literally impossible to understand the app’s user experience without using it and observing how the workflow functions. Start by creating a prototype to get a sense of how it functions and feels. Consider working on the feedback, as it will help you steer on the right path in the next phases of development. 

Prototypes using static designs can illustrate your mobile app's functionality. These can be converted into interactive models with tools like Figma. They can mirror the user experience and app operations that the final product will demand. Although creating prototypes can be lengthy, it's a worthwhile investment as it allows for early testing of your app's design and operation. 

Prototypes help you pinpoint alterations to the app's planned functionality. Some companies opt to develop prototypes during the wireframing phase, particularly when an app's practical needs haven't been fully fleshed out.

Your Success, Our Priority

Turn Your Idea Into Reality


Step 4. Development

This phase often starts sooner than you might think. The development stage includes everything from building a working model to scrutinizing it at every stage. As this phase progresses, the key features are rigorously examined. The app is then moved to the deployment phase. 

If the project is complex, the large application is divided into smaller segments and handled in phases before assembling everything and launching. The back-end/server technology and the mobile app user interface are some of the primary elements of the mobile app development procedure.

A). Back-end Development

This stage involves integrating the database and server-side objects necessary to facilitate the functions of your mobile application. If you're using a pre-existing back-end platform, modifications might be needed to accommodate the required mobile features. The term "backend" typically pertains to the application's server side. It oversees all processes, calculations, and, ultimately, the app's reliability.

B). Front-end Development

As the name implies, the front-end is the interface your users will interact with. Typically, a mobile app development lifecycle involves user interactions that leverage an API and a back end for data management. In situations where the app needs to operate without internet access, it can utilize local data storage. 

As for the back end, you have the flexibility to choose any web programming language and database. When it comes to native mobile apps, you need to select a technology stack that aligns with the requirements of each mobile operating system platform. For instance, iOS apps can be developed using either Objective-C or Swift. On the other hand, Android apps are predominantly developed in Java or Kotlin.

Ready to bring your B2B portal or app idea to life?

Step 5. Testing

Rigorous testing and quality assurance (QA) are the most crucial parts of the mobile app development process. They are intended to ensure that mobile apps are functional, reliable, and secure before their launch. For a comprehensive quality assurance (QA) check of your application, it's essential to formulate test cases that include all facets of app testing. 

These test cases serve to carry out test procedures, document the outcomes to ensure software quality and keep track of rectifications for subsequent retesting. It's a beneficial strategy to involve your QA team during the Analysis and Design stages. This understanding of your app's functional requirements and objectives will facilitate the development of precise test scenarios.


To deliver a top-notch mobility solution, your app should undergo the following testing stages:

A). User Experience Testing

The main objective of mobile app testing is to confirm that the final product aligns with the user experience. Your app's visuals, workflow, and interaction offer your end-users an immediate impression of your app. Ensure that your software complies with the initial design specifications.

B). App Functional Testing

The success of your mobile app depends on how well it functions. It's crucial to have a broad range of all potential testing scenarios. The main objective of this functional examination is to confirm that users can utilize your app's features and operations without any hitches.

C). Evaluating App Performance

There are multiple quantifiable aspects that can be used to gauge your app's performance. 

  • How effectively does your mobile app handle user interactions?
  • What's the speed of your app's loading time?
  • Is your app draining the phone's battery or causing memory leaks?
  • Is your app occupying more storage than necessary?

Even if your app, API, and backend meet the basic performance standards, it's essential to load-test them by mimicking the highest possible number of users. Your app should maintain its performance and manage the load effectively, even as the number of users increases.

Want to Hire Website developers for your Project ?

D. Security Audits

Any potential vulnerability in your mobile app could lead to a security breach. Your Quality Assurance and development teams can protect your app using simple strategies. 

If your app requires user logins, these sessions should be tracked both on the device and backend. The system should automatically end the session if a user remains inactive for a prolonged period. If your app uses stored credentials on the device for user re-login, it's essential to use a reliable service.

E. Devices and Platforms Review

With technology becoming more intense day-by-day, new mobile devices with updated hardware, firmware, and designs are introduced every year, and mobile operating systems receive updates every few months. To ensure your mobile app functions correctly for all users, it should be tested on a variety of mobile devices or device emulators. A thorough mobile testing strategy is necessary to deliver a high-quality mobile app.

Want to Mobile App Development for your Project ?

Step 6. App Launch 

After developing your app and getting it thoroughly tested from every aspect, here comes the most crucial step. At this stage, your app is ready to be launched on App Stores. Remember, Android apps are released on Google Play Store, while iOS apps are launched on Apple’s App Store. In both cases, you need to create a developer account to launch your app. 


The app store distributions require the preparation of metadata, including

  • Selecting categories
  • Choosing targeted keywords
  • Screenshots of your app and its features

After submitting your app to the app stores, the approval process for both marketplaces differs. 

For instance, iOS apps are subjected to an evaluation process. This process can span a few weeks and depends on the app's quality and compliance with app lifecycle guidelines. 

In contrast, Android apps are not subjected to a review process. They typically appear in the app store a few hours post-submission.

Step 7. Maintenance

Once your mobile app becomes available on the app store, tracking its usage is essential. Utilize mobile analytics systems and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to assess how well it's doing. Regularly review crash reports and other issues reported by users. 

Encourage your users to provide frequent feedback and suggestions for your app. Providing prompt support and maintenance to the end-users and consistent app updates featuring improvements is key to maintaining user engagement. 

Unlike web applications, where patches are instantly accessible to users, updates for mobile apps need to undergo the same submission and review process. Moreover, with native mobile apps, it's crucial to stay updated with technological advancements and regularly update your app for new mobile devices and operating systems.


While many think the mobile app development process ends with just launching an app on the app stores, it is continuous. No matter how many times you test your app before launching, it will still have some unforeseen issues that are likely to distress your users. 

Every company has its own app development process, so the steps involved vary slightly. They differ based on factors such as app requirements, cost, project size, business needs, and app complexity. 

However, the universal mobile app development lifecycle simplifies the development process and aids in the successful completion of the project. This is because development teams use proven strategies and methodologies to develop, deploy, maintain, and update applications.

If you are looking to develop a mobile app for your business or need help at any stage of the process, feel free to contact Mtoag Technologies anytime.

Related Posts