How To Create An IOS App?
Many of us have dreamt of designing and building an iOS app. Some of us may have even tried, but got discouraged by the complexity involved. In this blog post, I will take you from zero to an app that you can submit for approval to the Apple App Store.
Do you look at your iPhone and wonder how the apps you use were created? Or perhaps you are a savvy business owner who sees the huge potential of iOS mobile apps but don’t know where to start?
Whatever the case may be, and even if you’re just curious about the process at all, we want to give you a walkthrough of how iOS apps are made.
The steps involved in creating an iOS app
Step 1: Define your app idea
The first step is to come up with an idea for a mobile app. You might have some thoughts about what you want your app to do, what problem it will solve or how people will use your app.. Are are some helpful tips to get you started:
- Determine the purpose of your app
- Ask who is using it?
- What are they trying to do or accomplish with it? (What’s my “elevator pitch?”
- What are the benefits and features of my app?
- Who is the competition, what do they offer that I can improve on or deliver in a different way?
- Succinctly describe your idea for an iOS App:
Example: I want to create an app for iOS enabled mobile devices that will help people lose weight by tracking their food intake and exercise. The user would input the type of foods they are eating, as well a list of exercises they have completed throughout the day, and it will automatically determine how many calories were consumed during the course of these activities and then provide the user with a visual representation of how they are doing in terms of their weight-loss goal on an easy to read graph.
Step 2: Research
The next step would be to validate your app idea and start to research.
You will want to validate your idea by doing market research and finding if there is a need for it. Market research will help with the validation process by determining if people need this product in their lives. It can also be a good way to understand the competition and what they are doing out there.
You can do this through looking at what other apps are out there, seeing what has been downloaded the most or even talking with people in person who have similar interests as you about their feedback on an app that does something similar.
If you think that your idea is a good one, then start to research how much it will cost and what tools are needed in order for you to make the app happen.
If your idea is not a good one, then it would be wise of you to go back and look at other ideas or try something else that might work better for what you are looking for.
Research is important because it will keep you from investing money in something that doesn’t work or has already been done before.
Step 3: Create a list of features
After validating your app idea and researching similar apps, the next step is to list out features. This should be done before any design work, and will serve as a roadmap for developers during development.
For example, if you’re launching an ecommerce store, what are the features you want your app to have?
Features can include things like check out, product browsing and in-app purchase.
Step 4: Create app Design and mockups
This is where the real work begins. You need to design the app’s screens – you’ll typically sketch each screen on paper or in a graphics program like Adobe Illustrator.
If you’re using software to design the interface, it’s best to start with quick sketches and work your way through the process, refining as you go. You’ll want to create a wireframe of how your app will work before getting into the design phase.
A wireframe is a rough blueprint or plan of how an app should work, and it typically includes sketches for the screens that will make up the app. Wireframes are usually created in black and white, but it’s important to include as much detail as possible so you don’t run into any surprises later on.
Once you’ve sketched all the screens, it’s time to start designing them in color, detail and animation. You’ll want to choose a color palette that’s in line with the other design and branding elements, and pick fonts that are easy to read.
Next create a prototype. A good prototype is a realistic representation of how your app will work, and it’s important to make sure the prototype does not contain any bugs or flaws.
Tools you can use for designing your app include Sketch and Adobe Photoshop; Wireframe tools include Axure, Proto.io and Balsamiq etc. and prototyping tools include Flinto, InVision and Justinmind etc. Note that some of these tools can perform multiple functions.
Step 5: Build(program) the App
It is time to transform the prototype into a real product with all the features you outlined earlier.
Choose development tools
Xcode from Apple is the main development environment. A full suite of tools is included, including an integrated debugger and a Swift compiler for writing apps in Apple’s new programming language.
Xcode is available for free from the Mac App Store and can be installed on your home PC or laptop as well.
Decide on a programming language
Most developers usually choose to write their code in Swift – which is “powerful and intuitive programming language for iOS, iPadOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS.”
Using Xcode and Swift, developers can use different languages to write code as well. They can use C, C++, Objective-C, Java, Applescript, Python, and Ruby.
Hire an iOS app developer or do it yourself?
If you are good at programming, design and have some spare time on your hands then there is no need to hire a developer.
The pros of doing it yourself:
- You’ll have complete control over the app and how your company will be represented.
- Building an app is a great learning experience and you do not need to create another app but can use the knowledge for other projects.
- You will have saved the expense of hiring someone else to do it for you.
The cons of doing it yourself:
- You will need to invest in some knowledge that can be time consuming.
- Limited expertise: due to the extensive expertise, technologies, frameworks etc. required in app development, it is difficult for a single individual to be adept in all these areas.
Freelance app developer
The second option is to find a freelance app developer to do it for you.
The pros of hiring a freelance developer:
- The app can be made quicker and you only pay the freelancer for the work they do.
- You don’t need to know how to code to have an app built for you.
The cons of hiring a freelance developer:
- It can be difficult to find someone reliable and experienced.
- You will need to pay for the time and expense of hiring someone to do it.
- You will need to be involved in managing the process from start to finish which could be daunting.
App development Agency
The most reliable option is to partner with an app development agency. App development agencies are an all-inclusive option that will take on the project from start to finish.
The pros of partnering with an app development agency
- You will not need to invest in any knowledge or time.
- The quality of your app can be guaranteed
- You will not need to worry about the planning, design and development of your app as it will be taken care of by the agency.
- You will have the ability to work on other aspects of your company with more time and resources since they are doing all the hard work.
The cons of partnering with an app development agency:
- You will have to invest a lot more money upfront and pay for the project and their services.
If you are not sure what the best option is for your company, then there are a few questions to ask yourself:
- What is your level of expertise and how much time do you want to invest in this project?
If you are good with design or programming, then you might want to have a crack at it. However, there is more to just programming. You’ll require expertise in QA, Security, marketing and business side of things. So, if you are not confident in your skills, then it might be better to hire someone who has the required expertise – it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- How important is the app for your company?
The iOS app marketplace is very competitive with many apps on the market so you want to make sure that your app is high quality and stands out from others. The barrier of entry is higher than ever before. If you want the best chance of success as a business or startup, or hoping to generate money from your product then it is crucial that your app has attention to detail and a polished design that top app development agencies have.
- What is your goal and what do you want from this app?
If you want to make a splash on the iOS app market and become an instant success, then it is worth investing in hiring app development agencies. Here is the thing: app development companies have the resources and can guarantee quality assurance, plus one that is an Apple Partner means they’ll not only develop a mind-blowing iOS app for you, but they will assure that it is approved and listed on the App Store with a minimum of fuss.
Step 6: App Testing
Once development is complete, the app must be tested for bugs. This can take place on devices that the developers have access to or in a lab setting.
The testing process is important to improve the app’s quality. Testing should be done on all major hardware and software configurations that your target audience might be using.
It is important to do a full set of tests, including:
- Performance testing
- User interface and interaction
- Compatibility testing
- Stress testing.
As you can see, app testing is quite an extensive process and skipping any part of it can have a significant impact on the quality of your app. Unfortunately individual freelance developers/ solo developers don’t have the resources to cover all of these steps in-house.
Step 7: Publish your app on Apple App Store
Once testing is complete, the app can then be published to Apple’s App Store for distribution.
First you’ll need to submit an app to Apple for review.
Follow these steps:
- Create an account with Apple’s Developer Program.
- List your app on App Store Connect account with all the relevant information for your app such as title, description, and keywords, screenshots and other details.
- From Xcode upload your app package to App Store Connect under the app listing that you just created.
- Next, submit your to the App Certification Team for review.
Apple will decide whether or not they want to approve the app, and will notify you if they don’t.
The following tips will help you submit your app successfully to Apple’s review process:
- Make sure that the name, description, and screenshots are what you want them to be before you submit the app.
- Check the App Store guidelines and make sure your app doesn’t violate any of them.
- Make sure that the screenshots and videos provide an accurate representation of what people will see when they download and use the app.
- Please do not include icons, images or screenshots of other apps in your review materials as these may be construed as spam.
Step 8: Promote your App
Your app can be the best in the world , but if no one knows about it then that doesn’t matter much. You’ll first need to decide on your marketing strategy:
There are many ways to promote your app. You can use social media, paid ads, influencer marketing, affiliate marketing, or other forms of marketing.
The most important thing is that you find a strategy and promote your app persistently. You’ll need to be prepared to continue promoting your app for a long time, because it may take some time before you start seeing the results.
But if you’re patient, and keep on promoting your app, you’ll start to see the results.
The goal is to get people talking about your app and downloading it!
Step 9: Updates, Upgrade and Continuous Improvement
One of the most important factors in app development is to keep it up-to-date. For instance, as new versions of iOS are released, you must update your app to support the latest changes with a minimum of disruption for users.
Regular updates to an app can also include new features and bug fixes. When you make changes, it is important that the user experience of your app is not disrupted, otherwise users may stop using it.
Also you want to take user feedback into account. For example, if a particular feature is not popular among users, you can remove it or change its design to make it more attractive for the majority of your users.
A continuous improvement process also includes the use of analytics tools such as Flurry Analytics that can measure how often a feature is used and to what extent. With these insights, you can improve the features that are most popular among users while working towards tweaking your app to make it better.
Even though you can take advantage of all sorts of apps and tools, from analytics platforms to beta testing, the feedback you get from your users is the most important, because it will tell you if they are happy with your app.