Best App Building Software of 2022

Building mobile apps no longer requires coding skills and technical knowledge. With the help of app makers and app creation software, anyone can create their own mobile app without writing a single line of code. 

But not every app builder on the market is created equally. 

To help you find the best app development platform for your specific use case, we’ve reviewed and tested the best app makers and narrowed down the top ten options.

Top 10 Best App Building Software

Before you start building mobile apps, check out these reviews to see which app builder best fits your needs, app idea, and business model.

1. BuildFire

BuildFire is the most powerful app builder for iOS apps and Android apps on the market today. 

Trusted to create more than 10,000 mobile apps, it’s the easiest way for anyone, regardless of technical ability, to create an app from scratch and get it in the hands of real users. 

As a web-based solution, there are no software installation requirements or steep learning curves to get started. You can sign up for a free trial today and start building your app immediately. 

To get started, choose from a professionally-designed template in your app category. Then it’s just a matter of customizing the content to fit your vision.

Adding features and functions is simple. Just browse from the hundreds of pre-built functions on the BuildFire marketplace, and add them to your app with a single click.

What makes BuildFire stand out compared to other app builders is its limitless customization and scalability. You’ll never outgrow BuildFire, and you can always add custom features.

If you have a function in mind that you don’t see on the feature marketplace, just connect with a BuildFire rep, and the pro services team will build it for you.

BuildFire is the best way to build mobile apps quickly and for a fraction of the cost compared to traditional development. When you’re done building the app, you can get it live on the app stores with a single click. The BuildFire team understands the publishing requirements for the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, and they’ll assist you with the publishing process.

BuildFire’s app development platform starts at just $159 per month, and you can try it for free with a 14-day trial. 

2. Inspire U Mobile Apps

Inspire U is a no-code app builder that advertises the ability to build your own app in four hours.

It’s a simple and intuitive platform designed for creating custom mobile apps without any technical knowledge.

The company was founded by a marketing consultant that quickly realized the opportunity and demand in the app development space. After working with so many clients that needed an app, Inspire U Mobile Apps was born.

This customer-oriented brand is built on the foundation of hard work, quality, innovation, and trust.

They also run app development workshops to help teach people how to use the software. 

To learn more about Inspire U Mobile Apps, check out the full story here

3. Zoho Creator

Zoho Creator is a no-code app maker designed for business process solutions. 

Unlike some of the other tools on our list, you do need some technical knowledge to use Zoho Creator for app development. 

The platform has been used to create more than seven million business process apps. It’s commonly used for business processes like:

  • Sales management
  • Project management
  • Customer portals
  • Data management
  • Enterprise resource planning

For the most part, Zoho Creator isn’t really made for customer-facing apps. It does have a drag-and-drop interface but still requires some technical experience to get the most out of this tool.

If you have an in-house IT team and want to provide them with ways to improve internal workflows, Zoho Creator is a top option to consider. 

4. MobiLoud

MobiLoud is a basic solution for anyone that wants to quickly turn a website into a mobile app.

If you’re not worried about any customization and just want your site transformed into a web app or native mobile app, MobiLoud gets the job done.

While this is a quick solution for web apps, it’s not really a viable option for a business app.

A website in the form of a mobile app is going to be pretty restrictive. MobiLoud doesn’t quite have the same customization options as other app development solutions on the market.

It’s also worth noting that some app stores require differences between your website and app before they publish your app. So this method could cause your app to get rejected.

That said, if you’re in a pinch and need a super basic app as quickly as possible, MobiLoud can be a good temporary solution. 

5. Unity

Unity is a niche-specific app development solution.

If you’re interested in creating a mobile gaming app, this app development platform should definitely be on your radar.

The software comes with custom tools for iOS and Android—making sure you have the power to create whatever you need for the game to work well on native platforms.

Generally speaking, games are a bit more complex compared to other types of apps. So some technical skills and general tech knowledge will definitely be helpful if you’re using this platform.

They have a wide range of tools and resources, including:

  • 2D game tools
  • Universal render pipeline (URP)
  • A game library
  • Addressable asset scripting
  • Visual scripting
  • Augmented reality foundations
  • Analytics

If you’re ready to take your game idea and bring it to life, Unity is a solid option to consider. 

6. Swing2App

Swing2App is a simple app development platform based in Korea. 

If you’re looking for a basic and low-cost solution to create an app, this is a viable option to consider.

It’s worth noting that the platform doesn’t quite accommodate custom capabilities. Swing2App is more of a cookie-cutter solution, which really only supports basic mobile apps. 

Cookie-cutters are fine for some people, but they’re not always ideal for business use or monetizing apps. 

Lots of customers rely on this solution for converting a website to a mobile app. 

7. Skuid

Skuid entered the app development space in 2013. 

For nearly a decade, the tool has been used to develop apps for business productivity and internal solutions.

Similar to some of the other app makers on our list, Skuid isn’t really designed for customer-facing mobile apps. 

One unique standout of this mobile app builder software is its recent partnership with Salesforce. It was recognized for its ability to create apps that drive customer success using this well-known sales tool.

Skuid can be used to create apps for guiding sales, partner portals, people operations, and other internal business processes. 

They also pledge to give 1% of their equity, employee time, and product licenses back to the community.

8. Linx

Linx is a unique app development solution compared to other options we’ve reviewed so far.

Based in South Africa, this low-code development platform is designed for creating and hosting backend applications. 

Like other low-code solutions, Linx does require some technical knowledge. You can host on-premise or cloud solutions that contain built-in monitoring, management, and metrics.

Some examples of what you can build with Linx include:

  • Integrated systems (like mining and supplier integrations)
  • Backend web applications
  • Automated backend processors
  • Endpoints for Webhooks
  • APIs and microservices

It’s worth noting that this low-code IDE is probably the most complex solution on our list. While you technically don’t need to write code, some basic coding knowledge and technical skills are definitely helpful. 

Linx is built for developers. 

9. Alpha Software

Alpha Software provides mobile app development tools for both low-code and no-code apps.

It offers two different Alpha app development solutions—Alpha TransForm and AlphaAnywhere. 

You can use this platform to create cross-platform apps using a low code system. If you want to create a no-code app, then you can use it for things like automating workflows and digitizing paper forms. 

The platform offers offline capabilities, simple licensing, and the ability to integrate with any system.

It’s commonly trusted by SaaS solutions and professional services that have specific use cases. 

10. Xojo

Xojo is a solid app development option for developers that want to create a native app across multiple platforms.

You can use Xojo for desktop apps, web apps, mobile apps, and Raspberry Pi. 

Unlike other web-based tools on our list, Xojo does require a software download for you to use it. The software is compatible with macOS, Windows, and Linux machines.

Overall, Xojo is a beginner-friendly tool that’s designed for developers. 

It has more than 40+ built-in user interface tools that you can use to customize the look and feel of your app. The software also supports advanced features like inheritance and polymorphism.

How Do You Create Apps With an App Builder?

Using an app builder to create mobile apps is a bit different from traditional development. The best app makers don’t require any coding skills or programming knowledge to get started.

It’s worth noting that some low-code tools on our list are made for developers and do require some tech skills.

For no-code mobile apps, getting started is typically as easy as creating an account and choosing a template. You can do this directly from your web browser, without any software downloads or installations required.

Here’s a quick glance at what the initial stage looks like when you’re creating apps with BuildFire:

Once you’ve selected a template, you can dive straight into the app development process. 

Just set up your account, and you can immediately start adding features and functions from the marketplace. 

This process will look a little bit different for everyone, depending on the tools you’re using. For more information, check out our in-depth guide on how to make an app.

How to Find the Best App Builders

Now that you’ve had a chance to look at some of the best app development solutions on the market, it’s time to find the right app development software for you. Keep the following considerations in mind as you’re comparing options and narrowing down a shortlist. 

Ability to Create iOS and Android Apps

This is the first thing you should look for if you’re seeking mobile app development software for real users. The best tools let you create iOS apps and Android apps in a single build.

If you can’t simultaneously create Android native apps and iOS native apps using the platform, it’s going to add to your costs and extend your project deployment time.

App Development Timeline

How long will it take for you to create the app?

Some app development solutions say you can build the app in hours. Others advertise weeks or months. 

This answer is going to vary for everyone. It depends on what type of app you want to build and the features you’re adding. If you’re going to add custom features beyond the plug-and-play options offered by the software, it’s typically going to take a bit longer.

Free Trial

Always sign up for a free trial of app development software before you start building.

These trials are the best way to get a feel for the app builder and what the solution offers. After playing around testing a handful of these solutions, you should be able to quickly identify which one gives you the most flexibility. 

App Development Software Cost

Your budget is obviously an important factor when you’re comparing app development tools.

With that said, you shouldn’t look at price alone if you’re assessing two tools side-by-side. While one tool might have a lower price tag, it could be extremely limiting compared to tools with more custom options. 

Generally speaking, cheaper app development software translates to less flexibility. You’ll be bound by certain restrictions of the tool, making it tough to scale or add custom features. 

Some solutions might have a higher price point, but they come with pro services solutions and added support before, during, and after you launch the app.

Check out our guide on the value of mobile app development services vs. app builders to learn more about this concept. 

Customization

Lots of app makers on the market are rigid and don’t leave much room for customization. You’re bound by the limitations of the software and what that tool can handle.

BuildFire is the only app maker that truly allows you to create fully custom apps without writing any code. That’s because BuildFire offers limitless scalability and customization. 

If you can’t find what you’re looking for on the feature marketplace, BuildFire has a team of expert developers that can create custom functionality for you. 

Assess All the Features

This is something you can focus on during your free trial of an app development tool.

Assess the features and see if there’s something missing that you’d need to complete the full app. The best tools should include features for push notifications, analytics, app publishing, and more.

You can also look at the pre-built functionality for things like calendars, video integrations, polling, social walls, event management, images, ecommerce integrations—the list goes on and on. 

Ease of Use

Simplicity is key when you’re comparing app development tools.

If you don’t have any technical skills or coding knowledge, you need a solution that lets you create native mobile apps without writing any code. 

With any software, there’s always a slight learning curve. But you shouldn’t have to go through any complex training or courses to figure out the tool. Some solutions on our list are a bit more advanced and designed for developers. These often come in the form of low-code app development as opposed to no-code app development. 

White-Glove Support

Having a team of experts at your disposal definitely makes some tools stand out from the crowd.

If you have some questions or need something done for you, you’ll definitely want to lean towards a tool that offers white-glove assistance. This can range from basic questions about using the software to full-service feature creation. 

App Performance

The best app development software delivers a stunning final product. After all, isn’t that what’s most important?

Some tools might be cheap and easy, but the end result is a rigid app that crashes and has too many problems. 

Check out some of the existing apps that have been built using the software you’re considering. See if those apps perform well or if they have bugs and errors. You can also refer to the user reviews of those apps to see whether or not real users are happy with the in-app experience. 

App Submission Process

Development is just the beginning part of creating and managing an app.

But once the process is complete, how are you going to get your app live on the app stores?

The Apple App Store and Google Play Store each have a unique publishing process. So it’s in your best interest to use an app builder that provides a seamless submission process. 

White-Glove Support

Having a team of experts at your disposal definitely makes some tools stand out from the crowd.

If you have some questions or need something done for you, you’ll definitely want to lean towards a tool that offers white-glove assistance. This can range from basic questions about using the software to full-service feature creation. 

Final Thoughts on the Top App Building Software

The best mobile app development software should be easy to use, customizable, and built to scale. 

This guide contains something for everyone, but some of these tools definitely stand out compared to others. 

We also have an in-depth ebook—a Complete Buyer’s Guide to Mobile App Development Platforms that can help you narrow down your options and find the right solution for you.

If you’re ready to get started, you can sign up for a 14-day free trial of BuildFire and start making your app today.

Best Custom Software Development Companies

Custom software development is the design, creation, deployment, and maintenance process of a system or application. Unlike off-the-shelf software, custom development is unique and fully customized based on the requirements of specific users.

Software development services are commonly used for mobile app development, web development, business process automation, and similar use cases. 

But not all software development companies are created equally. Some specialize in certain areas of software development services, and others are undoubtedly better than the competition based on their reputation and the quality of software development offered.

If you’re seeking a custom solution for mobile app development, web app development, or another type of software development, you’ve come to the right place. This guide will help you find the best software development company for your unique situation. 

Top 10 Best Software Development Companies

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of custom software development options on the market today. But after extensive research, testing, and combing through real user reviews, we narrowed down the ten best software development companies for most businesses.

1. BuildFire

When it comes to custom software development for mobile apps, BuildFire is at the top of its class. This industry leader in the mobile app development space has been trusted to create more than 10,000+ mobile apps for clients across every industry imaginable. 

What makes BuildFire stand out from the crowd is its white-glove service. They’re more than just a custom software development company—BuildFire is a partner in your success.

BuildFire specializes in getting custom mobile apps to market fast and at an affordable price compared to other custom dev solutions. 

The team at BuildFire works with you through each stage of the development process, including the pre-development planning through the post-launch maintenance and updates. 

While other developers out there simply build your app and pass off the final product, BuildFire continues working with you to ensure the app can scale as your needs change over time.

Your journey with BuildFire starts with a free consultation to ensure the project is a mutual fit for both parties. Then the team takes your ideas and runs a competitive analysis to see how your app will stand up against industry leaders in your particular category. 

BuildFire also handles all of your designs, prototyping, wireframing, system architecture, and everything you need for custom software development. 

These custom software development services are trusted by mid-size organizations and enterprises in categories like ecommerce, education, fitness, events, internal communications, and so much more. 

Whether you need an internal app for your business or a public app for Android and iOS users on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, BuildFire has you covered. 

Schedule a free consultation to learn more.

2. Social Connection Marketing

Social Connection Marketing is a local digital marketing agency located in West Virginia. The firm is relatively new to the world of custom software development, but they’re already making a huge impact on its clients.

This agency got its start by offering traditional digital marketing services, specializing in videography for small businesses. With many of its clients requesting mobile apps, Social Connection Marketing eventually expanded its services, becoming a custom software development company in 2021.

Social Connection Marketing created a custom mobile app for a local county in West Virginia. The app showcases local businesses, schools, libraries, and other highlights of the area. 

Since creating this app, they’ve been contacted by other counties in the area about developing a similar project. 

They’ve also created mobile apps for local wedding planning companies to promote local vendors in this industry. 

You can read more about the Social Connection Marketing story and how they expanded from a digital marketing agency to a custom software development company. 

3. Altar.io

Altar.io is a European-based custom software development company. 

With offices in Lisbon, London, and Milan, this company specializes in software solutions like UX/UI design, UX wireframes, UI mockups, clickable prototypes, and more. 

They offer a seven-day project scope to help get your ideas organized and align your vision with your business goals. 

Altar.io also offers a unique service to quickly build an MVP (minimum viable product), helping you get your bare-bones idea to market as fast as possible. 

They’ve worked with organizations in financial technology, smart home technology, and other industry-specific niches. 

4. Experion Technologies

Experion Technologies has been in the custom software development space for nearly 15 years. 

They typically offer custom software development services to organizations across industries like healthcare, financial services, retail, and transportation. 

Experion Technologies is a bit smaller compared to other players in this space. They only have about 300 clients, but those customers are located in 30+ countries.

One unique standout of this firm is its focus on product engineering services. This goes beyond traditional development and includes blockchain, AI, machine learning, cloud services, cognitive computing, and more. 

The idea here is to focus on building forwarded-thinking software products to achieve business goals and provide innovation throughout the product life cycle. 

In addition to product development, Experion Technologies provides UX/UI services, product testing services, technology modernization consulting, and more. 

5. Brainhub

Brainhub is another custom software development company located in Europe. 

This software engineering company specializes in custom software development, web development, and application development using .NET, Node.js, React Native, ReactJS, and TypeScript.

Brainhub’s core services include web development, mobile development, desktop development, UI/UX design, product development, staff augmentation, and more.

They also offer tech and agile consulting to help streamline your technology, strategic planning, and overall product delivery. You can even lean on Brainhub for MVP development and product scaling. 

For organizations that have internal developers but don’t have the resources to create custom software, Brainhub can help. Your team can work with them to help create a custom tech stack for your software needs. 

6. Netguru

Netguru is a custom software development company based in Poland.

This firm was founded back in 2008 and has over 630 software developers on the team.

In addition to providing custom software solutions, Netguru specializes in agile project management. They market themselves as an on-demand agile product team. 

Their process includes a product design sprint, scoping session, UX review, and research before diving into custom software development. 

Within these larger service offerings, they offer additional agency services like UI design, illustrations, branding, and more. So if you’re interested in getting software services paired with web development, design, and project management, check out Netguru to learn more. 

7. Vates

Vates is a custom software development company based in South America.

They offer a wide range of software solutions, including application testing, big data, IoT, IT consulting, and more.

Vates also has custom software development services for Atlassian products, offering strategic consulting, installation, and training for these tools. 

This organization has more than 30 years of experience developing custom software. 

They offer functional testing, user acceptance testing, usability testing, compatibility testing, and other development tests. You can even use Vates for automated testing for desktop software, web software, and mobile software. 

8. OTAKOYI

OTAKOYI is a custom software development company based in eastern Europe. 

The company brands itself as having perfectionists and open-minded individuals on the team. They value radical honesty and use these qualities to offer consultancy with custom software development. 

Some of their core services include:

  • Web development
  • Mobile development
  • UI/UX design
  • Chatbots
  • Engagement platforms
  • Research and development (R&D)
  • DevOps
  • Software product development

OTAKOYI prides itself on only using world-class technologies that have stood the test of time, ensuring they can support your business goals for the long run. 

9. The NineHertz

The NineHertz is a US-based organization that launched back in 2008. 

In addition to custom software development, they also offer IT consulting services and boast an impressive 92% client retention rate.

The NineHertz made our list because of its very unique service offerings. 

This is a custom software development company that specializes in game development, which isn’t something that everyone offers. They create iOS games, Android games, 3D games, NFT games, AR games, video games, casino games, and more. 

The NineHertz also creates custom software for blockchain, crypto exchange, NFT marketplaces, NFT development, IoT, and more. 

If you’re seeking a solution in one of these niche categories, you can visit their website to learn more. 

10. Develtio

Develtio is a full-service software and custom software development company located in Warszawa, Poland. 

Founded in 2017, this firm is a relatively new player in the custom software development space. But they’re still delivering quality results to clients, earning them a spot on our list.

Develtio specializes in unique dev services like:

  • Website maintenance (SLA)
  • Web development
  • Mobile development
  • Software development
  • WordPress development
  • Chatbots

Their web services and online stores really make this company stand out from the crowd.

Develtio has a team of 50+ experts, including project managers, UX designers, UI designers, copywriters, and programmers.

Check them out if you need help with a custom web development project.

How to Find the Best Custom Software Development Company

Now that you’ve seen the top development companies on our list, it’s time to narrow down your options to find the best custom software development solution for your specific needs. 

You can use the criteria below as a buying guide to help steer you in the right direction:

Mobile App Development

If you want to create a mobile app, you need to find a custom software development firm that specializes in these services. For mobile app development, it’s best to stick with development companies that offer app development as its core service. 

You’ll see mobile app development listed as a service on many websites, but that doesn’t mean the company is a specialist in that field. Instead, go with a solution that lives and breathes mobile apps.

Web Development Services and Web Apps

Web and mobile developers are two different breeds. So if you have custom web development needs, you can’t always get that from a mobile app developer. 

Try to find a web development company that offers a wide range of web development services under one roof. This goes beyond custom software development and includes web design, custom tech stacks, and more.

If you have a specific web application need, like a customer portal or internal solution, look for a company that has experience with those types of projects. 

Small Business vs. Enterprise Software Development Company

Development companies come in all different shapes and sizes. Not all of them are equipped to handle the needs of just any business that contacts them.

Make sure the agency you’re considering has experience working with companies similar to yours. For example, if you’re a small business or a startup, some enterprise software development companies may not even consider working with you.

Conversely, if you’re in the mid-market or SME space, you probably shouldn’t be working with a small-town firm.

Location of Software Developers

Working with a global software development company can be attractive for many organizations, especially if you’re trying to save some money by outsourcing a project overseas. 

While this may work fine for simple projects, this isn’t always the best route for custom software development. 

You want to make sure that your custom software developer is easily accessible. If you’re in the US, working with a company in Europe or Asia can pose some challenges with time differences and language barriers. So just keep that in mind when you’re creating a shortlist of contenders. 

Software Maintenance

Application creation is actually just one component of custom software development. You also need to consider how you’ll be assisted with software maintenance.

If the company you’re using is just going to hand off the project and run away, then it will be your responsibility to maintain everything. Most businesses don’t want that burden.

Look for a solution that offers post-launch maintenance and support. This includes things like content updates, tech updates, server maintenance, and everything you need to make sure your software continues running smoothly for its entire life cycle. 

Experience of Software Developers

Custom software development takes a lot of practice. The success of your project is directly tied to the developers you’re working with. 

In fairness, every custom software developer needs to start somewhere—but you shouldn’t volunteer to be their guinea pig or experiment.

Working with a reputable agency with an entire team of developers is your best bet. They’ll work collectively to ensure you’re getting exactly what you ask without cutting any corners.

That’s why it’s better to work with an app development company compared to freelancers

Price of Custom Software Development

The cost of your project obviously needs to be taken into consideration. But it shouldn’t be the sole factor in your decision. 

Cheaper isn’t always better, and the most expensive option doesn’t always translate to the highest quality. 

Check out our guide on mobile app development costs to learn more about what to expect as you’re pricing out different options and getting quotes.

Final Thoughts on the Top Custom Software Development Services

Custom software development is the best way to get what you want without buying a cookie-cutter solution. 

There are tons of great development companies out there offering services for mobile app development, web development, desktop app development, design, project management, game development, and so much more.

The top software development companies on our list each specialize in something unique, making it easier to find the best option for your specific needs. 

For more information, refer to our complete learning hub for outsourcing app development. This page has tons of relevant guides that will help steer you in the right direction as you’re making such an important decision. 

Create a Shopping App

The ecommerce industry is booming, and mobile shopping trends dominate the overall ecommerce category. 

In fact, 73% of the total ecommerce market share worldwide comes from mobile commerce. 79% of mobile users have purchased something online from a mobile device within the past six months.

But not all mobile shopping experiences are created equally. 85% of people say they prefer mobile apps to mobile sites, and apps convert at a 157% higher rate compared to the mobile web. 

So if you want to maximize the potential of your ecommerce operation, creating a shopping app is the way to go.

This ultimate guide will walk you through the step-by-step process to create a shopping app.

How to Create a Shopping App in 9 Steps

Anyone can make a shopping app by following these simple steps:

  1. Market Research for Your Online Store
  2. Platform and Tech Stack Selection
  3. Choose Agency for Shopping App Development
  4. Identify Features for Minimum Viable Product
  5. List Additional Features for Your Store to Stand Out in the Future
  6. Create a Mockup of Your Online Store App
  7. Begin Mobile Shopping App Development Process
  8. Test Your Shopping App
  9. Launch Your Shopping App

By the end of this guide, you’ll have a complete understanding of shopping app development and how to succeed in this space. Let’s dive in!

Step 1 — Market Research for Your Online Store

Before you start building anything, you need to validate your idea with market research. This step will look a little bit different for everyone, depending on the stage of your business.

There’s a good chance you fall into one of two categories:

  • You have an existing ecommerce business and want to add a mobile app
  • You’re starting a new business from scratch and want a mobile app on day one

For those of you who are already selling products online, you probably went through the market research step when your business first launched. So some of these tasks may be a bit repetitive. 

Anyone starting a new shopping business from scratch must take the market research step very seriously. Otherwise, you could pour money into a business that the market doesn’t want or need.

Identify Customer Needs and Requirements

The first thing you need to do is identify a target customer profile. Who are you selling to?

Selling to “everyone” is not a recipe for success. You need to narrow things down to an ideal customer profile. Then you need to find out if your products actually meet a market need for your ideal customer. 

Running a SWOT analysis is the best way to start your research.

This process not only looks at your potential customers but it forces you to evaluate your internal initiatives, competitors, and overall market landscape. 

Very few new businesses offer something that’s 100% unique to the market. There’s a good chance there are other online stores and shopping apps selling something that’s almost identical to your offer. 

What makes your product unique to the market? Are you taking a broad product and targeting a niche audience? How will your value proposition stand out from the competition?

These are the types of questions you need to ask yourself and answer with confidence before you can proceed.

Business Model

Shopping apps typically fall into three different models:

  • B2C — Business selling products directly to consumers.
  • B2B — Business selling products to other businesses, sometimes at wholesale.
  • C2C — Customers selling to other customers through an online marketplace (like eBay or Etsy).

Which model are you going to use for your shopping app? 

Monetization Strategy

Next, you need to determine how you’re going to make money from your shopping app.

Compared to other mobile app categories, shopping apps are fairly straightforward. For B2C and B2B shopping apps, your primary focus should be sales revenue. I would not recommend adding ads to your shopping app, as this can ruin the customer experience.

For C2C shopping apps, you can make money by either charging sellers a fee to use the platform or by taking a commission of each sale. You could potentially charge for promoted products to appear high in the search results as well.

Step 2 — Platform and Tech Stack Selection

Once your idea has market validation, you can start to think about the technical aspects of your shopping app. 

Choose Your Platform

What platforms are you building for?

  • Android — Android apps are available for download on the Google Play Store. Android dominates the global market share, with 71.7% of smartphone users owning an Android device. 
  • iOS — iOS apps are available to download on the Apple App Store. It’s a bit more challenging to get your apps approved for the App Store, and iOS controls 53.66% of the OS market share in North America. 

If you’re strictly targeting users in countries outside of North America, it makes more sense to build for Android. But if you’re targeting North American consumers, building for both iOS and Android is the best option. 

This will make your shopping app available to the widest possible audience, and you won’t be neglecting any potential consumers. 

Native Development

Next, you need to decide on how you’re going to create a shopping app for the platform or platforms you’re targeting. 

Native app development requires low-level coding specifically for a single operating system.

So if you want to create an Android and iOS app through native development, you’d essentially be building two completely different apps—one for each operating system. 

This is the most time-consuming and most expensive path to development, and it’s typically not necessary for basic shopping apps. 

If you want to add complex features like augmented reality built into the app, then you might need to go native. But otherwise, this development path is only necessary for gaming apps, virtual reality apps, or apps that require precision and the highest possible performance. 

Cross-Platform App Development

Cross-platform app development is typically the best option for most shopping apps. This means that you can create an app for both iOS and Android with a single build and codebase. 

Cross-platform development typically saves you at least 40% on development costs and drastically reduces your development timeline. 

If you want to create a shopping app on your own without hiring a developer, you can take advantage of no-code ecommerce app makers like BuildFire. 

It’s a simple and cost-effective way to create an ecommerce app for iOS and Android without writing a single line of code. So even non-technical users can do this on their own.

Step 3 — Choose Agency for Shopping App Development

Assuming you’re not going to create the app on your own, you need to find an agency that can create a shopping app for you.

This is typically better than hiring a freelance team that hasn’t worked together before. There are lots of different roles and responsibilities in the app development process, so it’s usually best to go with an agency that has a proven track record. 

Team Composition

The exact number of developers and team members required will vary slightly depending on your project scope. But here’s a general idea of the positions required to create a shopping app:

  • Android developer
  • iOS developer
  • UX designer
  • UI designer
  • Project manager
  • Web developer
  • Quality assurance agents

Again, this is why it’s much easier to just go through an agency. Assembling a team like this on your own is challenging. Ecommerce app development agencies will have all of the resources in-house to accommodate your needs. 

How Much Does it Cost to Create a Shopping App?

The average cost to create a shopping app ranges from $30,000 to $700,000, with a median of $171,450, according to a recent survey,

But there are lots of different factors that contribute to the cost, including:

  • Development method (native vs. cross-platform)
  • Location of development team
  • App complexity
  • Features
  • Tech stack

For example, hiring a freelance developer in India to create your app will likely be cheaper than using a US-based agency. But there will likely be a significant difference in the quality of the final product between these two options as well.

Using a cross-platform development solution is one of the best ways to save money here, as you won’t need to create two separate apps for iOS and Android. You can make an app for both platforms with a single build.

Discovery Phase

The discovery phase is an important step here when you’re consulting with different agencies. You can shop around and get a quote from your top considerations to get a better understanding of the cost, timeline, and other factors.

Essentially, you just want to get a feel for the agency and see if they sound like a good partner for your shopping app development project.

BuildFire Plus is our all-inclusive app development service. 

We offer everything from pre-development strategy sessions to post-launch maintenance and support. We’ll help you run a competitive analysis to validate your idea and get started with prototypes, wireframes, and mockups before the build. 

Our expert development team can create a custom shopping app for iOS and Android faster than traditional development solutions without sacrificing quality. We’ll work with you each step of the way to ensure your app achieves its intended goals. 

Step 4 — Identify Essential Features for Your Shopping Application

Now it’s time to think about the features you want to include in your shopping app. Try not to get too carried away here with the “nice-to-have” features. First, focus on the bare minimum and essentials required for your app to run smoothly.

You can always add more features later. 

We’ll cover some examples of different essential features in greater detail below:

User Registration and Sign-In Process

The best shopping apps offer the ability for users to sign up and create an account. This gives them the ability to save key information in the app, like their name, shipping address, billing address, and payment information.

This will help increase your conversion rates as your users won’t have to manually enter these details for each purchase. They can simply add something to their shopping cart and buy it with a single click. 

Letting users create an account can also help you customize their shopping experience with recommended items based on their purchase history. 

Easy Navigation

It should be really easy for users to find what they’re looking for when they’re browsing for products in the app. A good rule of thumb is that every product page should be no more than three clicks from the home screen.

That’s why it’s so important to put your wireframes on paper before you start building anything, as this will help you design a smooth user flow. You can borrow ideas from big players like Amazon to map out your navigation. 

User Profile Editing

Give users the ability to edit their profiles with preferences. Registration should only ask for the minimum information required to create an account. But give them the option to go back and change their settings at any time for an enhanced customer experience.

For example, users shouldn’t have to enter their birthday to register. But you can ask them to add that information to their profiles later on if they want to receive special deals on their birthday. 

This is a chance for them to customize other preferences, like managing what types of push notifications they want to receive. 

Product Catalog

Obviously, you need to sync your shopping app with your product catalog. This is not only necessary for the app’s functionality, but it will also help you manage inventory and fulfillment. 

For example, if you have an existing Shopify store, you can simply sync your Shopify account to the app to import the product catalog. 

In-App Smart Search Engine

This feature is really important for any shopping app with more than a dozen or so products. 

You can’t expect users to scroll through hundreds or thousands of products to find what they’re looking for. So you need to give them the option to search for products by name or narrow down the results through a search filter. Filter options could include parameters like gender, size, color, product type, etc.

User Reviews

Roughly 95% of consumers read reviews before they buy something. 

That’s not all. According to BigCommerce, products with at least five reviews are 270% more likely to sell. 

It’s no secret that user reviews have an influence on mobile purchasing decisions. So make sure you include reviews on your product pages. 

Shopping Cart

Obviously, you need to have a shopping cart feature and payment gateway to process transactions. 

There are hundreds of options to consider here, like Stripe. In many cases, you can use the same shopping cart solution that you’re using on your website. Otherwise, you can talk to your development agency to see what they recommend.

Easy Checkout and Payment Options

The best shopping apps have a smooth checkout process. Eliminate any friction in this process and make sure that customers can add items to their cart and finalize the purchase with as few clicks as possible.

Offering as many payment options as possible is another way to keep conversions high.

The options will typically depend on the shopping cart software you’ve selected. But the best shopping carts will support:

  • All major credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover)
  • Debit cards
  • PayPal
  • Apple Pay
  • Google Pay

This is the bare minimum that you should be accepting. But the more payment options you have, the better it will be for your conversion rates. 

Ideally, you’ll want users to buy from their profile. But having a mandatory login can be problematic, so you should still offer a guest checkout option. 

Shipping Options

You should offer some form of free shipping option, even if you require users to spend a certain amount of money to receive free shipping. Roughly 70% of consumers say they abandon shopping carts due to shipping costs. 

Offering multiple shipping options at varying costs can also boost conversions. Give your customers the option based on how quickly they want the shipment. Examples include:

  • Free standard shipping (5-7 business days)
  • $7 rush shipping (3-5 business days)
  • $25 expedited shipping (next day)

Again, it’s all about giving your customers as many options as possible to accommodate their needs.

Key Admin Panel Features for Online Shopping Apps

In addition to the customer-facing features for your shopping app, you need to consider the features that you’re going to use on the admin side to manage your application. 

  • Order Tracking
  • Inventory Management
  • Catalog App Builder for Product Management
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Customer Support Tools

This is something you need to evaluate when you’re comparing different development solutions and agencies. See what they’re going to offer you in terms of management features and how those features will impact your costs.

Step 5 — Identify Additional Features That Help Your Store Stand Out

Now you can start thinking about other features that go beyond the basic functionality mentioned above. To be clear, you do not need to add these additional features right now. 

For your first build, you should focus on simplicity and getting your app to work as it’s intended. Adding too many features at once can be messy and ultimately take away from your app’s primary purpose. 

With that said, you can start to brainstorm these ideas now and think about them for future updates. Examples include:

  • Customer wish lists
  • iBeacon
  • Maps
  • Augmented reality
  • Machine learning
  • Social media sharing options
  • Barcode scanner
  • Push notifications
  • Chatbot for improved customer service

Again, none of these features are required for your ecommerce app to work. But they are “nice-to-haves” that could ultimately help your app stand out from competitors.

For example, if you’re creating a shopping app as an extension of your brick-and-mortar retail business, adding a barcode scanner can enhance the in-person shopping experience with mobile. Users could scan a product in-store to see user reviews and save it to their wish list for a later purchase. 

But for now, you probably don’t need to worry about adding these features. Just focus on getting your app to market. 

Step 6 — Create a Mockup of Your Online Store App

Mockups are non-functional static designs of an app. This will help you and your team understand the look and feel of your final product. 

The purpose here is to help establish things like fonts, visuals, images, content layouts, color schemes, and the overall user experience from a design standpoint. 

Wireframes, designs, mockups, and prototyping are all part of the BuildFire Plus white-glove service offering. 

This stage ensures that you’re on the same page with our design and development team before they start building your app. 

Step 7 — Begin Mobile Shopping App Development Process

By now, you should know the answer to the following questions:

  • What platform or platforms are you building on?
  • What development method are you using?
  • What app development company are you proceeding with?
  • What features do you need for an MVP (minimum viable product)?

Now you can actually start building the shopping app. If you’re outsourcing this to a development company, then there’s really not much work for you to do here.

Just make sure you have a basic understanding of the development timeline and have a rough idea of when the app will be ready. In the meantime, you can start putting together promotional materials and build some hype for your app with marketing strategies prior to the official launch.

Step 8 — Test Your Shopping App

Once the app is finished, you need to test it before making it available for real users. 

First, you need to make sure the app is bug-free. Then you need to verify that it works as intended. There are lots of different approaches for application testing, including alpha testing, beta testing, user testing, and more. 

Aside from looking at software glitches, you should use this as an opportunity to gather user feedback and conduct additional research. 

No app is perfect, and there’s always room for improvement. So try not to focus on getting everything perfect prior to launch. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck in development forever.

But the idea here is to put out a product that’s fast and functional without crashing. 

Step 9 — Launch Your Shopping App

Now it’s time to officially launch your shopping app!

You’ll need to get it submitted to the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Each of these platforms has different requirements for approvals and submissions, so make sure you understand the guidelines thoroughly before submitting.

Examples of what you’ll need here include an app name, description, screenshots, app category, and an app icon. 

To ensure your app is highly visible in searches, check out our complete guide to app store optimization (ASO)

Make sure you’re promoting your app on your website, social media, and as many channels as possible to get the word out. Your app marketing strategy will have a direct impact on your downloads.

Conclusion

Shopping apps are superior to mobile websites in terms of revenue generation, conversions, and customer satisfaction. 

If you’re ready to get started, reach out to our team at BuildFire for a free strategy session. We can create a custom ecommerce app with all of the features you need to succeed. We’ll assist you with the pre-development steps and even handle your post-launch updates and maintenance. 

Click here to book your free consultation.

How to Publish an App to the App Store

Creating a new app is exciting. But getting that app into the hands of real users isn’t always easy.

First, you need to publish your app to the App Store so it’s available for download.

The two major app stores are the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store—one for iOS and one for Android. But each platform has its own unique guidelines, rules, and submission requirements. 

This guide is going to focus specifically on publishing an iOS app to the Apple App Store. Once the app is published here, it can be downloaded on an iPhone or iPad.

It’s worth noting that Apple is very particular with its submission guidelines. You’ll need an Apple Developer account, and the App Store listing must match the app’s functionality. There are lots of other small details that Apple takes into consideration before they’ll approve apps.

That’s because Apple wants to protect its users. Apple wants its user base to feel comfortable knowing that any app downloaded from the Apple App Store is safe and won’t break their devices.

Ready to get started? Let’s dive in!

Where to Start: Submitting an iOS App to the App Store

Submitting your iOS app to the App Store is the final stage of development. By now, the app should already be built, tested thoroughly, and you should have an app name that you’re confident in using. 

If your app is still in development, there’s nothing wrong with looking ahead toward the App Store submission. Just know that it’s too early to take any of these steps. Apple won’t approve any unfinished apps to the store, even if you have all of the other app information required for the listing. 

You should also consider the legal prerequisites of launching a mobile app. For example, if you’re launching an app in EU markets, the app must comply with GDPR guidelines. If you’re going to offer app purchases and collect payments through the app, you’ll need to think about things like PCI compliance as well. 

How you’re collecting, handling, and sharing user data is really important here. You should refer to the official Agreements and Guidelines for Apple Developers to ensure you’re following all of the appropriate requirements regarding user data. 

App submissions must only have content that was either created by you or that you have the proper authority to use. If you’re using content from another source without the proper legal licenses or permissions, it can be grounds for either rejecting your app from the App Store or getting it removed from the App Store.

You’ll need to have an Apple Developer account and Apple ID as well. Submitting your app from a computer running on macOS is not a requirement, but it’s definitely common considering the software and tools you’ll be using.

For example, if you’re using Xcode to create an iOS app for iPhone and iPad, you can take steps to prepare your app for publishing directly in the IDE.

App Store Submission Requirements

Before we get into the steps required for publishing, you need to understand the App Store guidelines for app submission.

You can review all of the App Store review guidelines here. These are some important points to keep in mind:

  • Developers are responsible for making sure everything in the app complies with Apple’s guidelines, including analytics services, third-party SDKs, ad networks, and more.
  • Attempting to cheat the review system or manipulate ratings is grounds to remove your app and kick you out of the developer program.
  • You must comply with Apple’s guidelines regarding apps for kids.
  • Apps may not include objectionable content (discrimination, explicit materials, etc.).
  • The app’s privacy policy must comply with all Apple guidelines. 
  • Apps must be complete and fully functional before you submit them for review.
  • Apple has certain technical requirements and software standards that must be followed.
  • You may not just copy another app and make subtle changes to pass it off as your own.
  • Apps must have minimum functionality that goes beyond a mobile website.

In total, the App Store Review Guidelines are quite lengthy. There are five major categories—safety, performance, business, design, and legal. Each section is broken down into different subsections, like this:

So give yourself ample time to review this document in detail before you go through the steps for submission.

6 Steps to Submit and Publish an iOS App

The App Store publishing process can be summarized in just six steps. 

  1. Sign up for the Apple developer program
  2. Prepare the app for submission
  3. Create a listing via App Store Connect
  4. Capture App Store screenshots
  5. Upload the app using Xcode
  6. Submit the app to be reviewed by Apple

We’ll cover each step in greater detail below:

Step 1 — Join the Apple Developer Program

You must be a member of the Apple Developer Program to submit an app to the App Store. So if you haven’t done so already, sign up for an Apple developer account

If you’re enrolling as an individual or sole proprietor, you can sign in using your Apple ID and enable two-factor authentication. Apple will ask you for some personal information, like your legal name and address.

To enroll in the developer program as an organization, you’ll also need an Apple ID with two-factor authentication enabled. In addition to the Apple ID, enrollment requires:

  • D-U-N-S Number
  • Legal Entity Status
  • Legal Binding Authority
  • Website

Just click “Start Your Enrollment” on this page to get started.

The membership pricing starts at $99 per year, and it gives you access to other exclusive Apple developer tools and services. 

You can use the account to manage your apps for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. The membership also comes with beta software, app analytics, testing tools, and everything you need to manage your App Store listing. 

Apple developers also have access to TestFlight—a way to collect feedback from up to 10,000+ testers before submitting the app to the App Store. You can invite them with an email address or public link.

Step 2 — Prepare the App for Submission

Identifying bugs and problems with your app before submitting it to the app store is just one aspect of app development. There are other things you must do to get it ready for review.

First, you need to set the bundle ID in Xcode. This is used to uniquely identify your app in the system. Xcode will give you a default identifier when you create a project from a template, but it’s important to create one that’s unique. Just be aware that you cannot change the bundle ID after it’s been uploaded to App Store Connect. 

You can adjust these settings in the “General” menu of your project editor in Xcode.

Next, you need to configure your app version number and build string. The version number will appear in the App Store, and it’s expected to be in a format of [Major].[Minor].[Patch], such as 9.12.1.

Apple requires you to set an app category with your submission. This is designed to help users discover your app in the App Store. Options include:

  • Books
  • Business
  • Developer Tools
  • Music
  • Medical
  • Navigation
  • Education
  • News
  • Finance
  • Photo & Video
  • Productivity
  • Food & Drink
  • Reference
  • Games
  • Graphics & Design
  • Shopping
  • Social Networking
  • Lifestyle
  • Sports
  • Kids
  • Travel
  • Magazines & Newspapers
  • Utilities
  • Weather

Primary categories must match the primary purpose and function of your app. Choosing a category that doesn’t fit your app’s functionality is against Apple’s guidelines and grounds for removal. 

You need to prepare an app icon and provide a launch screen as well. The launch screen is the UI that appears when your app launches and quickly disappears when the first screen loads. The purpose of a launch screen is to enhance the UX by offering some visuals while the app is loading. 

Review all of Apple’s official guidelines to prepare your app for distribution. 

Step 3 — Create a Listing via App Store Connect

The App Store Connect is where members of the Apple Developer Program can upload apps, submit apps, and manage apps post-launch. It comes with everything from sales reports to analytics, test resources, and more. 

Here’s a quick overview of how to create a listing for App Store Connect:

  • Log into your account
  • Select the “+” button from the “My Apps” menu
  • Add the platform (iOS), primary language, bundle ID, and SKU
  • Add the app name and category
  • Provide a URL to your app’s privacy policy
  • Choose your app’s pricing

You’ll also have the option to decide how your app is released after the review information is approved. 

You can manually sign back into App Store Connect and release it when you’re ready, or set it to be published on a certain date (assuming it passes certification). Apple gives you the option to select the app to be released immediately following its approval as well. 

Step 4 — Capture App Store Screenshots

Now it’s time to prepare your screenshots for the App Store. There are two basic approaches here that you can follow. You can either use raw screenshots from your app or use a mockup template to showcase your app.

These screenshots are the perfect way to help showcase to the world what your app does and how it works when they find you in the App Store. 

Here’s an example of how Delta Airlines uses app screenshots to showcase its top features:

Apple does have a lot of different screenshot specifications for app previews that you must take into consideration. That’s because they have so many different devices on the market.

iPhones range from 4.7-inch screens to 6.5 inches. iPads range all the way up to 12.9 inches.

You can view all of Apple’s screenshot specifications here. I also recommend reviewing this API collection resource for app screenshots for more technical requirements.

Step 5 — Upload the App Using Xcode

Now it’s time to actually upload your app from Xcode. Do not proceed with this step until you’re confident that the app is free of bugs and it runs as intended. If the app doesn’t function, it won’t get approved for the App Store. 

For new apps, the version should be set to 1.0.0. 

Xcode 11 makes the publishing process really easy. In the past, lots of extra steps were required. But not most of the work now gets handled in a couple of clicks. 

Start by creating a full app archive. Go to your list of simulators in Xcode and click “Generic iOS Device” from the menu. 

Then select “Product” and “Archive.” This will prompt Xcode to bundle your app. Depending on the size, this could take quite a bit of time. 

Once this process is complete, just go to the “Archives” tab, and click “Distribute App” on the right side of your screen. Then select “iOS App Store” when it asks for your method of distribution.

Xcode will go through a few steps to ensure you’re not trying to upload a broken app. If something is missing or there’s a problem, Xcode will likely stop the upload and ask you to add missing assets. 

You should see some type of confirmation on the screen when the upload is successful. 

Step 6 — Submit the App for Review

By now, the archive from Xcode has been sent to App Store Connect. But you still might have to wait until App Store Connect actually processes the upload. So don’t freak out if it’s not showing up in your account right away. 

You should get an email when the archive is officially processed and ready for you. This can save you some time so you don’t have to keep manually checking.

Once it’s available, just select the archive and click the “Submit for Review” button at the top right of the page.

According to Apple, 50% of apps get reviewed within 24 hours and 90% are reviewed in 48 hours. So assuming your submission is complete, there’s a good chance you’ll have an answer within two days.

The app’s status will get updated upon review, and you’ll receive a notification with the status change. 

Conclusion

Publishing an iOS app and going through the Apple review process might seem a bit intimidating, especially if you’ve never done this before. But if you create an app with BuildFire, we’ll handle the publishing process on your behalf. 

You’ll still need to create your own Google and Apple Developer accounts, but our team will handle the majority of the heavy lifting. So you won’t have to worry about most of the steps in this guide. 

If you’re still in the planning stages of your app project, request a consultation to see if BuildFire is the right partner to achieve your goals. 

How to Distribute an iOS App Without Using App Stores

How to Distribute an iOS App Without Using App Stores

Publishing an iOS app on the Apple App Store is not mandatory. As an app developer, you actually have multiple distribution methods to consider.

The App Store is definitely the best option for mass distribution. But if you’re creating an internal mobile app for your business or custom apps for B2B purposes, you may want to keep the app private and only available for certain users.

Think about it—you wouldn’t want a random person to access an app built for your employees, right? In this scenario, you need more control over each mobile device that the app gets installed on. The public App Store isn’t an option.

This simple guide will show you exactly how to distribute your iOS app without using the Apple App Store. Let’s dive in.

iOS App Distribution Without Apple’s App Store

Most iOS apps are made for the Apple App Store. But the App Store is public and gives anyone with an iOS device the opportunity to download. 

According to Statista, more than 43 billion apps will be downloaded from the App Store in 2025.

As you can see from the graph, the Google Play Store is projected to have more than four times the number of app downloads that same year. This is largely due to Android dominating the global market share. 

But it’s also worth noting that Apple has a much stricter approval process for developers that want to publish an app to the App Store.

This same concept holds true for private app distribution. Compared to Android, distributing apps outside of the App Store is much more complicated for iOS apps. Apple does offer a few options for specific use cases. But the direct download and installation of any iOS binary files is strictly prohibited by Apple. 

Apple’s Solutions for Alternative App Distribution

There are three ways to distribute an iOS app without the App Store:

  • Apple Developer Program — The Apple Developer program makes it possible to distribute apps for testing purposes only.
  • Apple Developer Enterprise Program — The Apple Enterprise Program is intended for organizations that want to distribute apps internally and privately to employees.
  • Volume Purchase Program for Enterprises — The VPP app deployment method allows organizations to create a private app store to manage apps in bulk, typically used for custom B2B apps and MDM (mobile device management).

We’ll discuss each of these distribution methods in greater detail below, so you can find the best option for your app.

Beta App Distribution Using the Apple Apple Developer Program

This iOS app distribution method is designed specifically for testing. Developers can distribute a prerelease version of an app to a specific group of people for beta testing purposes. 

You must have an Apple Developer Program account to do this. The Apple Developer Program membership costs $99 per year. Nonprofits, government entities, and educational institutions might be eligible for a fee waiver.

This is the only scenario where an app intended for a mass audience can be distributed privately. But the distribution is only allowed during the testing stage and limited to a certain number of devices. Beta distributions are limited to 100 iPhones, 100 iPads, and 100 iPod touch installations. 

Releasing your app to beta testers won’t be the same as distributing a fully complete, fully functioning, ready-for-release app. 

It’s important to know that your app is protected from being copied or redistributed during the beta testing distribution. 

Ad-Hoc Deployment Using the Apple Developer Program

For private beta testing or temporary distribution, Apple allows developers to use the Ad-hoc app deployment method. In this scenario, the developer will deliver the app binary to each unique user via a download URL or email. 

To ensure the app binary works on the intended device, developers are required to register each device to the Apple Member Center and include the UDID for the device. App binaries will not run on an iOS device until the registration has been completed. This process protects your app from being duplicated or redistributed without your approval. 

You’ll see this option in Xcode when generating the IPA, open the Organizer, and navigate to Archives.

Pros of Ad-Hoc Deployment

  • No need for iOS approval process
  • App is private and cannot be installed by the public
  • Apple Developer Account profile is valid for one year

Cons of Ad-Hoc Deployment

  • Limited to 100 devices
  • Manually UDID registration is required for each device with a provisioning profile

Upgrading to the Apple Developer Enterprise Program

The Apple Developer Enterprise Program is designed for large organizations that want to distribute internal apps to employees. The Enterprise Program allows for internal distribution through secured internal systems or through MDM (mobile device management) solutions.

Not everyone is eligible for an enterprise account. It’s only for internal use of proprietary apps in scenarios that can’t be addressed through the public Apple App Store, Apple Business Manager, beta testing, or Ad Hoc distribution. The app must be developed by the organization and specifically for use on Apple platforms.

Other eligibility requirements include:

  • Minimum of 100+ employees.
  • Must be a legal entity (no DBAs, trade names, fictitious names, etc.)
  • Program must be used for internal in-house apps for employees.
  • Must have measures to ensure the app is only available for employees and all membership credentials are protected.
  • Must pass Apple’s verification process and continuous evaluations. 

Pricing for a Developer Enterprise Program account costs $299 per year for a distribution certificate. If you’re already enrolled in the Apple Developer Program for distributing apps through the public Apple App Store, you’ll need a separate Apple ID for the Enterprise Program.

In-House Deployment With the Apple Developer Enterprise Program

The in-house deployment option is great for larger organizations that want to distribute custom internal apps for employees. It also helps corporations get more control over app security and device security through MDM—mobile device management. 

Pros

  • No App Store approval process
  • You have full control over who can access and use the app
  • Ideal for internal distribution to employees

Cons

  • Only for larger businesses
  • Strict eligibility requirements

Apple’s Volume Purchase Program (VPP) for B2B App Distribution

The Volume Purchase Program, VPP, makes it possible for organizations and educational institutions to buy corporate apps in bulk and deploy them to iPhones, iPads, and Macs within the organization. 

For example, a school that provides students with Macbooks can use the VPP to pre-install different applications on those devices prior to distribution. 

The Volume Purchase Program also supports custom B2B apps that can be distributed through a private app store. 

Larger organizations could use this program to share apps with other businesses, vendors, and partners that work closely with the company. 

This is another scenario where you can create custom apps and distribute them privately without going through the App Store. Let’s say you create a custom business workflow app that involves vendors working with your company. You could grant them access to the app through a private app store using the VPP. It’s also common for organizations to use this distribution method for MDM. 

Note: The Volume Purchase Program is no longer available as of January 14, 2021

You can upgrade to Apple School Manager or Apple Business Manager to access similar benefits offered through the VPP. See more information from Apple here.

Android App Distribution Without Google Play

While we’re on the subject of distributing apps without app stores, I wanted to quickly touch base on how the Android app development and Google Play process is different from alternative distribution methods. 

As previously mentioned, the iOS process is a bit difficult. It’s much more straightforward to distribute Android apps without going through the Google Play Store. 

You can do this through a direct webpage link or direct email for download. Android apps are also easier to distribute through a third-party app marketplace. 

Refer to this Android developers resource on alternative distribution options for more information. 

App Distribution Methods in Summary

Most developers will want to use the Apple App Store for iOS app distribution. This is the best way to get your app in the hands of the widest possible audience.

But there are some scenarios that require an app to be kept private. Distributing internal employee apps or private business apps is the most common reason to avoid the App Store. 

Some apps just aren’t made for public use. If you fall into this category, you can use the Apple Developer Program or Apple Developer Enterprise Program as a solution. The former is best for beta testing, and the latter is intended for the internal distribution of an enterprise app.

Interested in creating an internal workforce app for your business?

We can help. BuildFire’s custom app development solutions are perfect for larger organizations and enterprises. We’ve built workforce apps for compliance, employee communication, business workflows, field sales, field service workers, employee safety, HR, employee onboarding, scheduling, and more. Reach out for a free consultation and book a strategy session to learn more.

Pro Tips For Effective iOS App Testing

Pro Tips For Effective iOS App Testing

App testing is one of the most important parts of the iOS application development process. 

Each iOS device is somewhat unique. There are dozens of Apple iPhone products on the market, each with different screen sizes, iOS versions, hardware, and feature capabilities. This means that you’ll have lots to test for and potential issues to debug.

Truthfully, application testing is important for any software development project, including applications for Android devices and macOS. 

But for the purposes of this guide, we’re going to narrow that focus to Apple mobile devices and explain what you must know to effectively test your iOS apps.

What is iOS App Testing?

The term iOS app testing refers to tests run on any iPhone or iPad application. iOS app testing is the process of testing apps built for Apple devices. It involves testing for bugs, user interface issues, functionality, behavior, and any general performance problems that can impact the quality of the application.

The goal of iOS app testing is to deliver the best possible user experience. By identifying and resolving issues before the app gets in the hands of real users, you can debug and fix problems that would otherwise prevent people from downloading, accessing, or using the app.

There are lots of different ways to approach iOS app testing. Depending on your app development method, you might use a combination of different testing tools.

You can hire quality assurance agents and use real testers to see how the app performs while it’s in use. Alternatively, you can use an iOS simulator or take advantage of the built-in debugging tools in Xcode. 

Testing your app using multiple methods is the best way to ensure it performs at the highest level and runs bug-free. No app is perfect, and you’ll ultimately find more bugs and issues throughout the lifetime of your app. But getting the app to market with as few problems as possible will set you up for success in the long run. 

What to Look For When Testing iOS Apps

Before you start testing an iPhone or iPad app for the Apple App Store, there are certain factors that you must understand. You can use this checklist of pro tips and best practices for effective iOS app testing:

  • Apple has lots of different iOS devices on the market. So you need to consider different screen sizes and orientations during the testing process to ensure the app fits a range of screens.
  • Think about the different types of devices under the iOS umbrella. Consider the screen resolutions and how those devices differ from each other (like iPhone UI testing vs. iPad UI testing).
  • Find out if the app is crashing or freezing during use. If so, what is causing the issue? In some cases, it could be a similar function or in-app action that causes a crash every time. Getting to the root cause of the issue will help you debug the error. 
  • Look for potential security issues within the app. What types of vulnerabilities does your iOS app have for a breach? Is there sensitive internal data or user information that could be the target?
  • Try to identify any memory leaks, which are blocks of memory that the application no longer uses. These often cause an iOS app to crash. 
  • Make sure the app is compatible with new iOS versions. As Apple continues to release new versions of software, your app must stay up to date with those releases to ensure compatibility. 
  • Test all of your push notifications and see if the push notification permission alerts are being displayed properly. This alert should only be shown to the user one time. 
  • Use beta testing to see if real users are satisfied with the app before it gets released to the general public. 

All of these tips will make your life much easier as you’re going through the iOS app testing process.

Testing 3 Main Types of iOS Apps

As previously mentioned, there are lots of different options to test an iOS app. The best mobile app testing option for you typically depends on the type of app you’re building and your development path. So before you begin any manual testing or start running an emulator, let’s look at a quick overview of each type of iOS app:

Mobile Web Applications

Web apps are an enhanced version of a mobile website. They only require a web browser to be run and used on a user’s mobile device. Many popular web applications are built with Javascript and can be accessed with a URL. 

Native Apps

Native mobile apps are typically built using the native API for Apple’s official iOS software development kit (SDK). Native iOS apps leverage the UI components in the SDK and also leverage built-in device features like internal cameras, microphones, GPS, Bluetooth, and more.

Hybrid Apps

As the name implies, hybrid apps are a mix between web and native. They do have some native UI components and offer a native experience to the end-user. But they give app developers a bit more freedom in terms of creating the app using web technology. 

Different Ways to Go About iOS App Testing

There are lots of different approaches to iOS application testing. To simplify those options, we can break them down into simulator categories. Below we’ll compare manual testing with automated testing and emulators vs. simulators. 

Manual or Automated Testing?

Manual app test cases are done “by hand.” This process requires a real device, like an iPhone or iPad. Then the tester will run through a set of instructions and scenarios to see how the app performs. 

The goal of a manual test is to verify the functionality of the app scripts for different use cases. Many manual tests require the testers to go through different in-app flows to mimic how users would actually use the app for its intended purposes. 

Manual tests can also be used in an exploratory fashion, helping to determine what other types of tests can be run moving forward.

The downside of manual testing is the time and effort required. Each time a change is made, having to go back to retest the entire app functionality isn’t always realistic. That’s when manual testing comes into play. 

You can use different automation frameworks and tools to help you through this process. But for the most part, automated tests can be segmented into two categories:

  • Unit Testing — Unit tests use code to focus on one component of the iOS application in isolation. These tests take that single component through different variables to see if it responds with the correct values. Unit tests are ideal for identifying and fixing bugs in the early stages of development. This will ultimately save time and money if you can fix these issues early, as opposed to after the UI design has been implemented. 
  • End-to-End Testing — End-to-end tests are intended to simulate a real user experience. Testers will use the entire application stack, including network requests and backend server functions to see how everything responds to the simulation. 

Both of these types of automated tests are important to run as you’re testing iOS apps.

Emulators or Simulators?

The terms emulator and simulator are often confused with each other, but the two tools are not interchangeable. 

App simulators are designed to create an environment that mimics the behavior and configurations of an actual iOS device. Emulators duplicate all of the hardware and software features of a real device. 

In short, simulators provide basic device behaviors, and emulators duplicate the exact thing as the iPhone or iPad would exist in the real world.

Many iOS app emulators and simulators are web-based, meaning you can use them from a web browser like Safari or Chrome. But neither is a true replacement for testing on a real device. 

Can You Test iOS Apps On Windows?

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to have an iPhone or even Mac to test an iOS app. There are plenty of platforms out there that let you conduct iOS app testing from a Windows machine. Many of these tools double as a solution to test Android apps as well. 

We have a complete guide on the best iOS simulators for Windows. The list includes Appetize, iPadian, Smartface, AIR iPhone, and Remoted iOS Simulator for Windows PC.

You can refer to that guide to compare the pros, cons, and pricing of each tool. From there, you can determine which one is best for your unique scenario.

With that said, testing iOS apps on Windows is somewhat rare. Most iOS apps should be tested from an Apple device. But if you’re in a pinch and don’t have one at your disposal, you can still run effective iOS app tests from a Windows computer. 

Conclusion

Running tests on your iOS application is important. Getting these tests done throughout the development process will make your life much easier in the long run.

The key idea here is to identify and fix as many issues as possible before the app gets into the hands of real users. People just won’t put up with an app that’s constantly crashing, has bugs, and doesn’t work as advertised. 

It’s also worth noting that perfection is near impossible. Even the best and most popular apps in the world have bugs and crash when they’re being run on an iOS device. So don’t get discouraged if your code has some issues. You can always fix minor issues with new releases of the app as problems arise down the road. 

With so many things to test for, developers and quality assurance agents must pick a testing method that makes the most sense for their application. 

If you’re still in the preliminary stages of app development and haven’t started building anything just yet, BuildFire can save you a ton of time and money. BuildFire’s no-code app development platform makes it easy for anyone to create an app, and all of the technical requirements on the backend are handled for you.

You can also leave the entire development process, including tests and updates, to the professionals. With BuildFire Plus, our expert development and design team will create a custom app for you and manage it post-launch. So you’ll never have to worry about testing or debugging. 

Sign up for a 14-day free trial or request a free app strategy session to get started.

How to Convert Your Website to a Mobile App

Having a mobile website isn’t enough for your business to stay competitive and relevant in today’s day and age. App development is the future, and the future is now.

Whether you’re an iPhone or Android user, think about the way you use your smartphone on a daily basis. 88% of all mobile time is spent on apps. 

The mobile application experience from a smartphone is far superior to web browsing. There are millions of apps available for download on the Apple Apple Store and Google Play Store. Simply put, smartphones were built for apps—not websites.  

Here’s the good news. If you already have a website, you can convert that site to a mobile app with ease. You already have most of the content at your fingertips. Now it’s just a matter of putting that content into an app, and this guide will teach you how.

5 Main Reasons to Convert Your Website to an App

Are you still on the fence about mobile app development? These are the five main reasons why you need to create a mobile app:

#1 — Easy to Use and Access

When a native app gets installed on a mobile device, it’s much easier for that smartphone user to access, open, and use the application. Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself right now.

Reach into your pocket and open an app on your phone. Now navigate to the website of that company. Which was quicker and easier?

Opening a mobile app takes a single click. But navigating to a website requires you to open a web browser, manually type in a URL, or use a search engine to find the site. 

That’s just one of the many reasons why people prefer iOS apps and Android apps over browsing the internet from their mobile devices. Just look at this data from eMarketer:

On average, people spend just 23 minutes per day using web browsers on their mobile devices. But they’re spending nearly four hours per day using apps. 

#2 — More Modern Than a Website

Having a website has basically become a requirement for all businesses. So your site isn’t really giving you an edge over the competition in terms of keeping up with the times. 

But now, we’ve reached a point where people expect businesses to have a mobile app as well. If you don’t have an app, it can make your business seem like it’s falling behind modern trends. This holds true for nearly every business type and industry, including:

  • Small business apps
  • Fitness and gym apps
  • Health and wellness apps
  • Education apps
  • Ecommerce apps
  • Internal communications apps
  • Content apps
  • Event apps
  • Religious apps

The list goes on and on. If you want to show your current and prospective customers that your business is modern, developing a mobile app is one of the best ways to do so.

#3 — Better Engagement

Mobile devices were built for mobile apps. They offer enhanced functionality compared to a web app or mobile site. 

It’s easier for apps to connect to device features, such as an internal camera, microphone, GPS, and more. Apps also offer the option for users to leverage device-specific gestures, like swiping, pinching, and other interactions that they can’t get from a mobile web browser. 

Compared to the mobile web, engagement is roughly 16 times higher on mobile apps. 

Beyond engagement, apps also have the edge when it comes to conversions. In fact, mobile apps convert at a 157% higher rate than mobile sites.

Additional Reading: Why Mobile Apps Convert Higher Than the Mobile Web

#4 — Improve the User Experience 

Mobile sites are a bit limiting in terms of what they can accomplish. But apps are programmed to be much more interactive. This creates a better user experience. 

For example, when you click on an action button on a website, there’s going to be some load time for the next page to appear. There might even be a delay in the site recognizing your gesture. 

But with an app, navigating from screen to screen is seamless. Everything is enhanced because the application is built specifically for the platform it’s being used on. 

#5 — Revenue Potential

Mobile apps are an absolute must for businesses selling products or services online. When you look at the revenue potential of an app compared to a mobile site, there’s almost no comparison.

Think about the process involved with buying something from a mobile site. Once the user adds an item to their cart, they have to enter so much information to convert.

  • Name
  • Address
  • Email
  • Credit card number
  • Credit card expiration date
  • CVV
  • Billing address

This takes forever, and it’s tough to do from a small screen. But from an app, all of this information can be saved on file within the user’s profile. So purchasing is a breeze.

That’s why mobile apps have just a 20% cart abandonment rate, compared to a 97% abandonment rate from mobile websites. 

Even if you’re not selling physical products or digital products, an app can still increase your revenue. For example, barbershops, salons, spas, and similar services can use apps to manage appointments, bookings, and deposits.

Content apps can sell subscriptions. You also have the opportunity to increase revenue with ads within your mobile apps—the opportunities are seemingly endless. 

How Can a Mobile App Be Better Than a Website?

To be clear, I’m not saying that you need to get rid of your website. You still need to maintain your site and keep it updated. 

But there are lots of reasons why mobile development is superior to web development, especially when comparing the usage from mobile devices. Examples include:

  • It’s easier to personalize apps and in-app content for the user.
  • Once an app has been installed on a user’s device, it’s easier to access and open.
  • App owners can use push notifications to send timely messages to users, keep them engaged, and entice them to open the app.
  • Apps can incorporate mobile device features like GPS, Bluetooth, camera, microphone, contact lists, and more.
  • Apps support offline mode, meaning app users won’t always need an internet connection to use the app from their smartphones. 
  • Apps work quicker on mobile devices compared to websites.
  • People spend more time on their phones using apps compared to mobile sites.

iOS vs. Android: What’s the Best App Platform?

When it comes to mobile app development, there are two major platforms that dominate this space—iOS and Android. 

If you’re going through native development, there are several key differences between these platforms that you need to consider. Things like cost, target audience, programming language, and development tools will all be impacted based on your decision. There are more Apple users in the US, but Android controls the global market share. 

It’s impossible to say that one platform is better than the other. But rather than being forced to choose, you can use an app builder like BuildFire to create an iOS app for the Apple App Store and an Android app for the Google Play Store simultaneously with a single build.

This is the easiest and most cost-effective way to convert your website into a mobile app, and it doesn’t require any coding knowledge or technical skills. You’ll get your app to market quickly, and you won’t have to worry about hiring a team of developers for each platform. 

Key Considerations When Converting Your Website to an App

Before we get into the actual steps that you’ll take to create an app, here are some things that you’ll need to keep in mind as you’re going through this process:

  • Think about your target audience and what platforms they’re using.
  • Decide whether you want to create a native app, hybrid app, or cross-platform app.
  • Figure out if you want to create the app on your own using an app builder or whether you’re going to hire a team of developers.
  • Assess your team’s technical knowledge and coding experience (example: do they know how to code Javascript, HTML, etc.).
  • Start to think about your development costs and post-launch maintenance costs.
  • Think about screen sizes, devices, and platforms that the app will be used on. 
  • Decide if you’re going to create the app in-house or outsource it to a professional app development company. 

How to Convert Your Website to a Mobile App

Ready to convert your site to an app? Here’s what you need to do:

Create a List of Desired Features

You shouldn’t be taking your website and just repurposing it in the form of a mobile app. That defeats the purpose. 

Instead, decide what types of features you want your app to have and how those features will benefit your users. When you’re going through this process, it’s important to stick with only the features that support your app’s core purpose and functionality.

For example, an ecommerce app doesn’t need to have a social networking feature. Keep it simple, and stick with what matters most for your business type, industry, users, and end goals. Think of ideas that will support the native features of different smartphones. 

Plan Your Budget

How much does it cost to convert a website to a mobile app? The cost will vary depending on your features, development cost, operating system, timeline, and other factors. 

A content creator that’s just taking videos from a website and making them available in a mobile app will have a very different budget than a website that’s trying to become the next Facebook.

You can use our mobile app cost calculator to estimate your development costs. Just add the desired features from the previous step, and the calculator will show different costs based on your development method. 

Make sure that you allocate some of your budget for post-launch maintenance and updates. 

Choose Your Development Method

Next, you need to decide exactly how you’re going to build your app. Common options include:

  • Creating the app in-house
  • Outsourcing a team of developers
  • Hiring an app development company
  • Using an app maker

For the vast majority of websites, using an app maker or hiring a development company is going to be the best option. 

An app builder is perfect for non-technical users that prefer the DIY approach. With BuildFire, this is as simple as signing up, choosing a template, and customizing the content from a user-friendly web platform. 

Alternatively, you can take advantage of BuildFire Plus—our full-service app development solution. We’ll handle all of the development, design, testing, and everything else you need to create a stunning app. 

BuildFire will even handle the app publishing process on your behalf, ensuring your app gets pushed to the Apple App Store and Google Play Store with ease. We’ll also take care of the post-launch app maintenance, updates, and support.  

Test, Launch, and Maintain

Once the app is created, you still need to test it out before getting it in the hands of real mobile users. This is especially important if you’ve been coding the app or using a team of developers to create native apps for iOS and Android.

Developers write bugs in their code—it happens. The only way to identify and fix these bugs is by testing the app on a wide range of devices, operating systems, and platforms.

When you’re satisfied with the app’s performance, it’s time to push it to the app stores. It’s worth noting that there are different publishing guidelines for Apple vs. Android. In short, the Apple App Store is a bit stricter. 

Here are a couple of resources from BuildFire University that explain the differences:

The job isn’t done once the app is live. You still need to handle post-launch maintenance and support. This includes regular updates, new features, ongoing bug fixes, and more. That’s why it’s so important to use an app builder or work with white-glove app development services like BuildFire. The vast majority of the post-launch work will be handled on your behalf. 

Conclusion

Websites will always have a place in the world. They’re great for brand exposure, SEO, and driving traffic through search engines. 

But websites just barely scratch the surface in terms of what you can accomplish with mobile app development. 

If you’re ready to get started and take your website to the next level, it’s time to create an app. Regardless of your needs, BuildFire has you covered. If you’d like to handle this on your own, you can use our DIY app builder. Sign up for a 14-day free trial, and you can start turning your website into an app today.

Alternatively, you can let us handle everything on your behalf. Reach out to our app development experts for a free consultation, and we’ll gladly develop the app for you.

5 Best iOS Simulators For Windows

Testing iPhone apps is a crucial step in the software development process. This is relatively easy if you’re using Xcode or Apple’s DevKit for iOS. But app testing can be challenging if you don’t have access to an iPhone, iPad, or macOS. 

Fortunately, using a simulator to run iOS apps makes it possible to test your app developments on a Windows operating system. 

This in-depth guide breaks down the best iOS app simulators on the market today. We’ll cover the top features, benefits, pricing, and other considerations so you can find the best tool for your unique situation. 

Before we get started, I just want to quickly clarify the difference between simulators and emulators. These terms are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. 

Simulators create an environment that imitates the configurations and behavior of an actual iOS device. Emulators duplicate the software features and hardware of the device in question. 

The reviews in this guide will mainly focus on iOS simulators. But some of the tools listed below double as iOS emulators and Android emulators as well. So if you’re looking for a solution that checks multiple boxes, this guide has you covered.

Best iOS Simulators for Windows

  1. Appetize
  2. iPadian
  3. Smartface
  4. AIR iPhone
  5. Remoted iOS Simulator for Windows PC

Criteria: How We Chose the Best iOS Simulators

There are dozens of different iOS simulators available on the market today. With that said, not all of them are actually viable options for testing iOS applications. 

The five iOS simulators below have been graded based on pricing, features, and functionality. 

As previously mentioned, some of them double as emulators for Android devices—making them ideal for those of you who need simulations beyond iOS development. 

Unless you’re on a really tight budget, you shouldn’t let pricing alone be the sole factor in your decision. Sometimes paying a little extra will deliver a better experience, which can ultimately translate into a higher quality app. You’ll also want to consider which operating systems the simulators support (Windows 10, Windows 11, etc.).

Let’s dive into the reviews. 

1. Appetize

Appetize.io is a web-based iOS simulator and Android emulator that was founded in 2015. For the past seven years, it’s been trusted by hundreds of brands, including Shopify, Intuit, DoorDash, The Washington Post, Ulta Beauty, and more. 

What makes Appetize great is its simplicity and versatility. You can use it for training purposes, development, testing, support, and more. 

As a web-based tool, you don’t need to download anything to test your iOS app. Just upload the app directly through the website or use the Appetize API for an enhanced workflow with your IDE. Many developers consider it the best emulator and simulator.

Features and Benefits

  • User-friendly tool
  • Works well for each phase of iOS app development
  • Automated testing features
  • Stream your app instantly
  • Run your app in any browser using HTML with an iFrame
  • Supports both iOS and Android
  • View remote devices to diagnose problems
  • Supports enterprise deployments with SSO, customizations, enterprise-level SLAs

Pricing

There are three different packages to choose from:

Basic — $40 per month

  • 20 concurrent sessions
  • Standard capacity
  • $0.05 per minute rate
  • 500 minutes included

Premium — $400 per month

  • Unlimited concurrent sessions
  • Reserved devices
  • $0.05 per minute rate
  • 2,000 minutes included
  • White label capabilities

Enterprise — $2,000 per month

  • Dedicated devices
  • Unlimited usage
  • White label capabilities
  • SSO
  • Custom legal agreements
  • 24/7 enterprise-grade support

Appetize also offers a free trial package that supports one concurrent session and up to 100 minutes per month. 

2. iPadian

Unlike other tools on this list, iPadian is strictly an iOS simulator—not an emulator. So if you’re seeking a tool that does both, you can skip over the section and move on. 

That said, iPadian is one of the most popular iOS simulators on the market today. It’s been downloaded more than ten million times and has over one million daily active users. 

As a simulator, iPadian mimics the mobile app experience of a real device. This allows you to feel the difference between your iOS app and Android app from a PC or Windows device. 

Since iPadian is made strictly for simulations, it does have some limitations. The tool doesn’t create a local version of iOS on your device, and it cannot access the Apple App Store. iPadian doesn’t support iMessaging either. 

Features and Benefits

  • Ability to run apps including Facebook, Tiktok, Whatsapp, Instagram, and more
  • Imitates the appearance, design, and basic features of iOS devices
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Affordable

Pricing

iPadian offers one of the best deals for iOS simulation. Just pay a one-time fee of $25 for lifetime access to the tool. 

This is a really good price for Windows users who want to have an iOS experience without having to pay for an actual iPad or iPhone. There’s also a free version that works for iOS 10 if you want to try it out before spending the $25.

3. Smartface

Smartface is an emulator and simulator that works for both iOS and Android apps. You can run these apps in your browser without downloading any software or purchasing any additional hardware. 

Unlike other iOS simulators and emulators, Smartface supports a wide range of operating systems, devices, and OS versions. Beyond Windows machines, you can run Smartface on Linux, ChromeOS, and macOS as well. 

There is a slight catch. Even though this is a browser-based iOS simulator, you can’t just sign up and start using it right away. Smartface requires you to request a demo first, which can be a bit of a pain if you’re trying to do something quickly. 

Features and Benefits

  • Run iOS apps and Android apps in your browser
  • Supports native iOS code in Windows
  • Interactive user experience
  • Good debugging features
  • Supports app testing and development

Pricing

Smartface starts at $99 per month. Again, you’ll need to request a demo before you can access the simulator and emulator tool. 

4. AIR iPhone

AIR iPhone is a free iOS simulator for Windows. It runs using the Adobe Air Framework, which means you must install Adobe Air on your machine to run this tool. 

The purpose of AIR iPhone is to reproduce an iPhone’s GUI (graphical user interface) without an iOS device. 

But compared to other solutions on the market, this tool is outdated and extremely limited. The interface looks more like iOS 3 compared to more recent versions, like iOS 14. While you can see the GUI of an iPhone and iOS application, AIR iPhone won’t actually run the apps as if they were installed on a native iOS device, so it’s not ideal for debugging.

Features and Benefits

  • Great if you’re already using Adobe Air Framework
  • Free
  • Simple installation process

Pricing

AIR iPhone is free to download and use. If you’re on a tight budget and don’t mind sacrificing the quality of your simulator, this tool is fine for basic use.

5. Remoted iOS Simulator for Windows PC

Remoted iOS Simulator for Windows makes it possible to test apps using an iOS simulator with Visual Studio 2019 and Visual Studio 2017. The tool is installed automatically with Xamarin with both versions of Visual Studio.

While you don’t need an iPhone or iOS device to run this simulator from Microsoft, you do need a Mac. The tool requires you to pair Visual Studio with a Mac Build host. From there, you can use the simulator for debugging iOS and tvOS projects on a Windows device.

The tool is pretty technical compared to some of the other options on the market, but it works as promised.

Features and Benefits

  • Toolbar is user-friendly with lots of options
  • Supports iOS functions like Home, Lock, Settings, and Screenshot
  • Functionality that mimics Apple’s Touch ID
  • Ability to simulate static and moving conditions

Pricing

There are free and paid versions of the Remoted iOS Simulator for Windows. But as previously mentioned, it’s installed automatically when you use Xamarin with Visual Studio.

Conclusion

There are plenty of potential use cases for using an iOS simulator on Windows. The main idea here is to run and test an app without having to buy an iPhone, Mac, or iPad. 

If you’re creating an iOS app but don’t own any Apple devices, this is an easy shortcut to testing.

BuildFire has an app emulator built into its software. So you can update your app and see the changes in real-time directly on the screen. Our software also makes it easy for you to check your app directly from your own smartphone. Here are some helpful guides and tutorials on this subject:

But if you’re set on using a third-party tool, that’s fine too. Appetize.io is a great simulator for testing apps. Alternatively, you can use iPadian if you just want to mimic the iOS experience from your Windows computer. 

How to Test Your App on an iPhone Using Xcode

App testing is a key part of iOS development. If you’re using Xcode to create an iOS app, you can test your app using a real iPhone and iOS device with Xcode’s built-in simulator. 

While simulators are great, some features don’t quite work the same unless you’re using an iPhone.

For example, maybe you want to send an SMS message from your iOS application. Or maybe you want to test the app’s compatibility with an iPhone camera. You can’t do this from your Mac.

In addition to testing for functionality, running your app on an iPhone for the first time can also help with debugging. Xcode even has a built-in debugger tool that helps you identify bugs and problems directly within the source editor. 

Ready to start testing? This guide will show you how.

What is Xcode?

Let’s start with the basics. If you’re new to development and haven’t started building anything yet, you might have some questions about Xcode and how it works. 

We have an in-depth tutorial on how to code Xcode that’s written for complete beginners. I strongly suggest giving it a read for a full explanation of how Xcode works. But I’ll quickly summarize the key highlights below before we continue with the testing instructions.

Xcode is an integrated development environment, better known as an IDE. It’s the official IDE for Apple that’s used to create, test, and debug apps for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Mac, and Apple TV.

Xcode is also great for team collaboration. So your entire development team can work together on the app and ensure it’s ready for testers before deployment. It’s much easier to use Xcode for testing and debugging apps before they’re added to the app store.

Testing on a Simulator vs. Real Device

App development isn’t complete until the application has been fully tested. There are several different ways to test mobile apps, but these options can generally be segmented into two categories—simulators and real devices.

Simulators let you run applications that weren’t intended for your computer’s operating system. Developers can use iOS simulators to test their code on an iPhone or iPad without actually running the app on one of those devices. 

Some simulators double as emulators, which mimic the capabilities of real devices beyond a simulation. You can even find simulators that support both iOS and Android for testing multiple versions of your app.
Xcode has a built-in simulator that’s great for testing during the early stages of development. This allows you to run a simulation without having to lay out the user interface.

You just need to configure your settings and click the run button on your toolbar. 

Then select what type of device you want to simulate your app on. This can be selected from the run destination menu of the toolbar.

If you want to test the app using an older iOS version, you can click “Add Additional Simulators” at the bottom of this pop up menu.

Again, simulators are fine for certain aspects of testing—especially in the early stages. But they can’t really show you the user interface and how your app flows when it’s really being used on a device. That’s why you’re better off testing on an iPhone in the later stages of development before the app gets pushed to the App Store. 

Setting Up to Run Xcode On a Real Device

Before you test your mobile app on an actual iOS device, you need to make sure that everything in your Xcode project is configured properly. Then you’ll be able to run the app on an iPhone without having to write any extra code.

Grab your device, and connect it to your Mac.

If you’re testing a macOS version for an iPad application, then you’ll also need to choose a scheme. Xcode app schemes are essentially settings that clarify the build configurations, targets, and executable environment. 

To choose a real device for testing, you’re going to follow the same steps you took earlier for selecting an iOS simulator. Only this time, you’re going to choose the connected iPhone from the run destination menu for device management in Xcode.

Similar to what we described earlier, you’ll just click the run button to proceed after you’ve selected the connected iPhone.

Xcode will automate the process, install the app, and attach the debugger. Once this happens, the app should appear on your phone. From here, you can navigate to the debug area of Xcode to test your app. This is an opportunity for you to examine variables and debug any errors.

If your build is unsuccessful, you can view any error messages or warnings in the Issue Navigator. You can do this by selecting “Navigators” from the “View” menu and choosing “Show Issue Navigator.” Any messages will appear here. 

How Do I Test My App on My iPhone?

Here’s a quick summary of the requirements for testing apps on iPhone using Xcode:

  • You need to plug the iPhone into the Mac that’s running Xcode.
  • Then you must download the app to your Mac.
  • When you select a real device in Xcode for testing, you need to add your Apple ID in the Accounts preferences of your project editor.
  • If you’re part of the Apple Developer Program, you must register the device before running the app. 
  • You can also pair Xcode with iOS and tvOS apps if that device is on the same network as Xcode. When you open Xcode, any paired devices should appear on the toolbar.

Conclusion

I hope you found this tutorial on testing your Xcode app on iPhone helpful. 

To bypass these steps and avoid unnecessary headaches, you can use BuildFire as an alternative solution. The BuildFire SDK is developer-friendly—allowing you to create new app features using Javascript, HTML, and CSS using your preferred framework. 

BuildFire gives developers the ability to build on top of our existing infrastructure, which saves a ton of time and money during the development process. 

If you’re a complete beginner who doesn’t have any coding experience, there’s really no reason to learn Xcode and test your apps on your own. Unless you want to become an iOS developer, it’s much easier to let BuildFire create an app for you. Check out our full-service app development solution, BuildFire Plus, for more information. 

For those of you who are still early on in the development process, read our step-by-step guide on How to Make an App to learn more.

How to Debug an iOS App

Developers aren’t perfect. Even the best developers in the world commit mistakes when they’re developing iOS applications—it happens. 

These coding mistakes can lead to all kinds of problems that can ultimately affect the user experience and sometimes impact the core functionality of your app. 

That’s why debugging is such a crucial part of the software development lifecycle as various tests are being run. Eliminating bugs is crucial for all applications—not just mobile apps running on an iOS device. App debugging is equally as important for Android apps, web apps, macOS, and any other type of software.

But this guide is going to specifically focus on Apple. You’ll learn exactly how to use a debugger to test and debug your code. Let’s dive in.

What’s Involved With the iOS App Debugging Process

iOS debugging all starts with finding the right tools to help you out. Manually trying to go through your code to look for errors isn’t realistic, efficient, or scalable. You just need to configure your debugging tools for different iOS versions and devices.

Xcode is one of the best ways to develop, test, and debug apps. Apple created this IDE (integrated development environment) specifically for developing and troubleshooting iOS apps, so it comes with plenty of built-in solutions to assist with the process. 

You can debug your app on a live device, like an iPhone or iPad, or use a simulator on your Mac to test the codebase. 

Here’s a brief overview of what you can expect during a typical debugging process:

  • Setting up your project to test
  • Configuring your debugging tools
  • Setting a breakpoint for testing
  • Use a running application with a breakpoint
  • Find the bugs and fix the issues

We’ll expand on these concepts in greater detail below.

Debugging an iOS App With Xcode

As previously mentioned, Xcode is Apple’s official IDE. To learn more about Xcode and how it works, check out our beginner’s tutorial on how to code Xcode for more information.

If you’re using Xcode to create an app for the App Store, it only makes sense to handle your app debugging directly in this platform. Once the platform has been set to run within the app while testing, the navigator lets you look through everything to check the current state of the app for testing and debugging. 

Here’s a glimpse of Xcode’s debug navigator, source code editor, and debug area in action.

This will ultimately give you insights into more than just code errors. You can use the navigator to see information on resource consumption, app performance, and other things that might impact the iOS device.

Setting the Breakpoint

Setting the breakpoint is a critical step in the iOS debugging process. This is another instance where using the right developer tools will make your life easier. 

Every iOS developer needs to understand how this works, which we’ll discuss in greater detail below.

What Are Breakpoints in Xcode?

Breakpoints in Xcode make it possible to pause your app when you’re running the debugger. This allows you to inspect different variables as you’re trying to isolate and locate bugs, crashes, and other errors. 

Adding a breakpoint in Xcode is easy. Just navigate to the line within your code where you want the execution to pause. Then click the line number to set the breakpoint.

You can drag it up, down, or away from the gutter to remove it completely. Selecting the breakpoint icon in your toolbar debugger will activate or deactivate all of the breakpoints in your source editor. 

If you have several breakpoints across multiple source code files, you can use the breakpoint navigator to manage all of them in one place.

From here, you can:

  • Navigate to a breakpoint in the source editor
  • Remove a breakpoint from the code
  • Enable breakpoints
  • Disable breakpoints
  • Find frequently used breakpoints
  • Specify conditions for pausing the app

How Do Breakpoints Work in Xcode?

Breakpoints work by patching the code you’re executing with specific instructions to trigger an event. When you run an exception breakpoint in Xcode, the default will break on C++ and Objective C—pausing the app during the debugging process and taking you to where the problem lies in your code. 

Once you accept the defaults, you can re-run the app and force the error. The debugger should highlight the code that’s causing the problem, so you can isolate and fix any issues.

Can You Debug iOS Apps On An iPhone?

You can debug iOS apps directly on an iPhone. You just need to connect the iPhone to your Mac with Xcode installed, and configure all of the permissions to run the app on a real device instead of on a simulator. 

Here’s a quick summary of iOS debugging on an iPhone:

  • Connect your iPhone to your Mac.
  • Open Xcode and navigate to the Run Destination Menu on the toolbar.
  • Select the connected iPhone when prompted to choose a device.
  • Xcode will automatically install the app and attach the debugger.

If there are any problems with your code, you’ll see error messages and warnings in your Xcode issue navigator. 

What Are the Benefits of Debugging an App?

Using Xcode to debug your iOS app is a critical part of the testing stage. It has a direct impact on the success of your app and its usability. Some of the key benefits include:

  • Saves time and money during the development process.
  • Developers use troubleshooting opportunities to learn from mistakes in their code.
  • When apps are tested at different stages of development, you can identify errors before the release.
  • Using a debugger improves the quality of your app for users to enjoy.
  • Apps with a smooth UX have a chance to generate more revenue.

Don’t take shortcuts during the debugging stage. It’s important for you to take this seriously to truly get the benefits listed above. 

Conclusion

I hope this tutorial on how to debug an app provided some clarity for you as you’re going through this process. Whether you’re creating an app for Apple or Android, debugging is an essential stage in the app development lifecycle. 

If you’re still a bit intimidated by native app development and debugging on your own, BuildFire might be the perfect solution for you.

You can use BuildFire’s no-code app builder to make an app without writing a single line of code—meaning no debugging is necessary. Alternatively, you can go with the full-service app development route and let us build the app for you. We’ll handle everything, so you can be free to work on other aspects of your business.

What is an iOS App Simulator and How Does it Work?

Every mobile application needs to be tested. This is a key step in the app development lifecycle.

So before you push release an iPhone app, iPad app, or Mac application to the Apple App Store, you must ensure that it actually runs and functions the way it’s intended. If you don’t have an iOS device, then you can use an iOS simulator or emulator as an alternative option. 

This in-depth guide will explain everything you need to know about iOS simulators and how they work. More specifically, we’ll focus on using simulators for testing and debugging during app development.

What is an iOS App Simulator?

iOS app simulators mimic applications that run on an iOS device. These tools allow you to start and run iOS apps without an iPhone or iPad—accessing the app from your web browser, Mac, or Windows computer instead. 

The terms “simulator” and “emulator” are often used in the same context. But these tools are not interchangeable.

Simulators create an environment that replicates the configurations and behavior of a real device. Emulators duplicate the software and hardware features of the real device. While simulators mimic the basic behavior of a virtual environment, they don’t actually follow all the rules of that particular environment. 

Some iOS app simulators double as emulators, or vice versa. But this is not always the case. 

There are two main use cases for iOS simulators—testing apps without an iOS device or accessing iOS apps without an iOS device. The first scenario is primarily used by developers, and the latter is leveraged by end-users. 

Let’s say a developer is creating an iOS application but doesn’t have a real iPhone to test it on. They can use an app simulator as an alternative option. Or maybe a general user wants to access an iOS app like Facebook or Whatsapp from a Windows device—some simulators make this possible.  

There are lots of different options on the market for running iOS simulators. Here are some of the most popular tools to consider for iOS app simulators and emulators. Depending on your desired use case and available device, some of these tools will likely be better than others for your specific needs.

Appetize.io

Appetize is one of the simplest iOS app simulators on the market. It’s trusted by big-name companies like Shopify, Intuit, The Washington Post, DoorDash, and more. 

What makes Appetize stand out from the crowd is its versatility. It doubles as a simulator and emulator for both iOS and Android. Appetize supports app testing, customer support, previews, and other use cases. 

As a web-based tool, Appetize is really user-friendly. No downloads or installations are required. Simply upload the application to the Appetize.io website, or leverage their API to use the simulator directly within your preferred IDE. 

Whether you’re a solo developer or a large organization, Appetize has a plan for everyone. Packages start at $40 per month for the entry-level plan and go all the way up to $2,000 per month for the enterprise version. 

iPadian

iPadian is just an iOS simulator. It does not function as an emulator like some of the other tools in this category. 

You can use iPadian to mimic the in-app experience of an iPhone or iPad from a Windows device or PC. Starting at just $25, it’s one of the most affordable solutions on the market for iOS simulations. This likely explains its popularity. iPadian has been downloaded more than ten million times and has one million daily active users. 

Most people that use iPadian aren’t developers or testers. They’re simply looking for a way to access iOS apps without a real device, and iPadian gets the job done. 

With that said, this tool does have some restrictions. It does not connect to the Apple App Store and does not support iMessaging functionality. 

BuildFire is a no-code app builder for iOS and Android. Trusted to create more than 10,000+ mobile apps, BuildFire is the most powerful and versatile app maker on the market today. 

What makes BuildFire so unique is its versatility. As a no-code solution, anyone can use this web-based platform to create an app without any coding knowledge or technical skills. But BuildFire is also developer-friendly, meaning those with coding skills can use the BuildFire SDK to create custom functionality for an app. There’s truly nothing else like this on the market today.

Within BuildFire’s DIY app builder, there’s a built-in emulator that you can access while you’re building the app. This allows you to see what certain features and functions will look like as you’re building directly from your web browser. 

The emulator is fully interactive, so you can click and run app functions the same way you would from a real device. When you’re finished creating your app, the team at BuildFire will even get your app published on the App Store for you. 

Start for free with a 14-day trial. 

Smartface

Smartface offers an in-browser app simulator and emulator for iOS and Android. The cool part about this tool is that you can run iOS apps without macOS. It works on Macs, Windows, Linux, ChromeOS, and any operating system. 

You can use Smartface to run and test a wide range of different iOS versions and devices, including new and older versions of iPhones, iPads, and Android smartphones. All of these are available directly from your web browser without any downloads or installations.

Smartface also has diverse compatibility with different frameworks, including Cordova, Java, React Native, Ionic, Swift, Objective-C, Kotlin, and more. 

Unlike other web-based iOS simulators, you can’t just start using Smartface immediately. They require you to request a demo for access, so it’s not on-demand. 

How Does Xcode Work With Testing an iOS App?

Xcode is Apple’s official IDE (integrated development environment) for building, testing, and debugging iOS applications. As an iOS developer using native development, you can use the iOS simulator in Xcode to test your app without using a third-party tool. 

This simulator is easily accessible from your Xcode project. 

We have a more in-depth guide on how to test your iPhone app using Xcode. But here’s a quick summary of those steps:

  • Open your Xcode project.
  • Navigate to the run destination menu in the toolbar.
  • Select how you’re going to test the app (iOS simulator or real device).
  • If you want to test using a real iOS device, that device must be plugged into a computer that’s running Xcode.
  • If you’re testing using the built-in simulator, simply select the simulators of a device family (iPhone X, iPhone SE, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, etc.).
  • Xcode will automatically flag any errors and bugs during the simulation.

Xcode is great for running simulations if you’re already developing an app within that IDE. Otherwise, it doesn’t really make sense to use it for this purpose. 

What Are The Advantages of Using an iOS App Simulator?

There are several benefits to using iOS app simulators. Here are key advantages:

  • You can use iOS app simulators for debugging and testing.
  • Simulators run fast since they only mirror the software, as opposed to running the full software.
  • Simulators make it easy to spot errors and issues within your code.
  • You run apps built for iPhones and iPads without an actual iOS device.
  • Many iOS simulators are free and open source.
  • Simulators can be connected to an IDE during the early development stages.
  • Most developers and testers don’t have access to every single iOS device with different screen sizes, resolutions, and older iOS versions.
  • Some simulators work for iOS and Android apps without needing to plug in any hardware.

What Are The Disadvantages of Using an iOS App Simulator?

While using a simulated device to test and run a mobile app can be useful, it’s not always perfect. Here are some potential drawbacks to consider as you’re going through this process. 

  • You can’t replicate the actual conditions of a real device, like battery consumption, restricted memory, etc. 
  • Simulators don’t take into consideration the full experience of using a physical iOS device, including the visual experience and app speed.
  • Results from different simulators might vary, and the speed is typically unrealistic due to low graphic load times that don’t function the same as a working app.
  • You can’t accurately replicate certain functions like push notifications or SMS messaging from the app using a simulator. 
  • App simulations may run differently than how it would normally run in a natural environment on a real device.
  • You can’t access native features like an iPhone camera or natural gestures (scroll, zoom, tap, pinch and zoom, etc.).

Conclusion

iOS simulators are really versatile. They’re mostly used for testing iOS apps, tvOS apps, and watchOS apps without actually running the app on a real device. 

If you’re using Xcode to create your app, you can take advantage of the built-in simulator within that IDE. Just understand that an iPhone simulator will always have some limitations and restrictions and is not a replacement for app testing on a real device. 

For those of you still in the pre-development stages, you can bypass running simulations altogether. BuildFire’s interactive emulator is an easy way to see the look and feel of your app while you’re creating it and adding new features directly from your browser.

Alternatively, you take advantage of BuildFire Plus and let our team create an app for you. This is a no-hassle solution, and you won’t have to worry about any testing, debugging, or updates—we’ll handle everything on your behalf.  

How to Code Xcode: A Complete Tutorial For Beginners

Learning how to code Xcode is an important skill for any Apple developer. You’ll be writing code on Mac to create applications for the App Store.

The great part about Xcode is its versatility for applications across different Apple devices. It supports development for iOS apps, macOS apps, tvOS, iPadOS, and watchOS. 

New to Xcode? That’s why we created this guide.

This in-depth Xcode tutorial is designed for complete beginners. It explains everything you need to know about Xcode, how it works, and how to learn Xcode.

What is Xcode?

Xcode is Apple’s official IDE (integrated development environment). It was released in 2003 specifically for building software on Apple platforms. 

IDEs are centralized environments that consolidate the different aspects of building software. Unlike other IDEs, Xcode is only available for Mac, and it’s an all-in-one solution to build and code an app. 

An Apple developer can use Xcode to create apps for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. It’s most commonly used for iOS app development (creating a mobile app).

Swift 5.5 and SDKs for iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, tvOS 15, and watchOS 8 are all included with Xcode 13.

Xcode is the only official tool for creating and publishing apps on the Apple App Store. It’s designed for beginners and experienced developers alike.

Xcode comes with all of the tools and resources you need to create an app within a single source of truth—including a compiler, text editor, and name system. This makes it possible to not only write and compile but also debug an app. 

Once you’re done writing code, you can submit your app to the App Store with ease. 

Xcode contains lots of great tools that help streamline the development process, making it easy for experienced developers to push apps out quickly. But it’s also a user-friendly IDE, so the learning curve isn’t as steep for beginners.

This is the only official way to create apps by Apple. Xcode comes with excellent debugging tools that make it easy for developers to troubleshoot problems faster. The platform also comes with project management resources to help you stay organized with coding files, image assets, and everything else you need to create a great app.

Xcode Requirements

Before you start a new Xcode project or try to install Xcode, it’s important for you to understand the platform requirements. Xcode is only available for Mac users running a version of macOS 10.14.4 or later. You’ll need at least 7.6 GB of hard drive space to download Xcode as well. 

For those of you who don’t meet these requirements, there are some alternative methods you can try for writing Xcode in older Mac visions or PCs. But with that said, this is generally not something that we recommend. 

Getting a Mac is your best option here. The workarounds for other devices can be tricky and could not only impact your experience but also affect your app.

Is Xcode Good For Beginners?

To clarify, Xcode is an IDE (integrated development environment). It just provides developers with a user interface for writing code. As a programmer or developer, you still need to have a basic understanding of programming languages before you can start using this interface builder and code editor.

Xcode is a tool that helps you write code for Apple platforms, but it won’t teach beginners how to write app code. You still need to learn that on your own.

A complete beginner with no prior coding knowledge could not download Xcode and immediately start to create apps. With that said, once you have the coding knowledge, Xcode has a friendly UI that’s easy for beginners to navigate and understand. 

What’s the Best Way to Learn Xcode?

The best way for beginners to learn Xcode is through Apple’s own documentation. If you’re starting from scratch, Apple has excellent developer resources that will teach you how to code. 

It’s in your best interest to learn Swift—the official programming language to build apps for the Apple App Store and Mac App Store.  

The great part about using a Swift tutorial from Apple is that you’ll be learning to code and building a foundation for navigating Xcode simultaneously. 

Swift Playgrounds is another option to consider. This is an iPad app that teaches you how to code and create apps with Swift. You can also explore app forums, Udemy, Codetree, and other online resources that can teach you about Xcode, Swift, and source code.

How Does Xcode Work

The first thing you need to do is install Xcode. To start a new app project in Xcode, you’ll need to select a template for the platform you want the app to run on. Then choose the type of app you want to create (game, single view, document based, etc.).

Starting with the right Xcode template is a crucial step to ensure you can start creating an app as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

Configuration

Before you start to develop anything, you need to provide Xcode with information related to yourself (as the developer) and your app. This includes:

  • Product Name — Your app’s name as it will appear in the Apple App Store and on devices when it’s installed. Product names must be at least two characters and less than 255 bytes. It should be similar to the name that you’ll ultimately enter in the App Store Connect.
  • Organization Identifier — This is a reverse DNS string to identify your organization. For those of you who don’t have a company identifier right now, you can use com.example. as a placeholder until you distribute your app. This must be replaced before distribution.
  • Organization Name — This is the name that will appear in all boilerplate text in your project folder. This is not the same as the name that appears in the App Store for your app.

It’s worth noting that you cannot change your App ID after it’s been uploaded to App Store Connect. Here’s the official wording from Apple:

Creating a Project

Here’s a quick overview of the steps you must follow to start a new project:

  1. Download Xcode and launch it on an Apple platform.
  2. Select “Create a new Xcode project” in the welcome window or navigate to File > New > Project.
  3. Select a template (iOS, watchOS, macOS, Cross-platform).
  4. Fill out all of the required information.
  5. Choose your language and user interface (for example, Swift and SwiftUI).

Choosing SwiftUI also gives you the option to develop for all platforms and view an interactive preview of your layout. 

Managing Files

Any time you start a new project or re-open an existing project, Xcode will open your main window. This shows all of your code files and required resources to create your app. 

You can use the project navigator as a way to quickly access different areas of the project. 

All details about the files you select will be shown in the “inspector” portion of Xcode on the right side of the screen. You can always hide this to free up space on your screen as well.

The “toolbar” is where you’ll create and run your application as a simulator or from a real device. If you’re building an iOS app, just select an app target and simulator from the toolbar menu before clicking the run button to proceed. 

You can refer to Apple’s official developer guidelines for more information about how Xcode works.

Windows

As previously mentioned, Xcode is meant for software development on macOS. With that said, there are ways for Windows users to use Xcode for app development as well.

While this isn’t really something we recommend, you can create a virtual environment on your PC. If you’re really tech-savvy, you can create a “Hackintosh”—which is essentially a PC that’s been modified to run macOS. This-party solutions like React Native, Xamarin, Appcelerator, and PhoneGap are other ways to create an app for iOS using the programming language of your choice from a Windows machine.  

Xcode Tools and Features

The latest version of Xcode offers tons of great features, including SDKs for new versions of Apple platforms. Here’s a quick overview of the noteworthy highlights:

Team Comments

Xcode has an inline team comments feature that makes team collaboration a breeze. Reviewers can quickly comment on lines of code, which will appear with their name and avatar—limiting the need for a third-party collaboration solution.

Simulators

In addition to the app simulator for iOS and Mac, Xcode now offers a CarPlay simulator as well. This makes it easy for you to test the CarPlay experience for apps across different types of cars, screen sizes, and other variables. 

Crash Reports and Feedback

You can get detailed crash log reports from TestFlight users to help you quickly identify what caused the app to crash. Testers can add feedback as well to explain what actions they were doing when the crash occurred. 

Xcode Debugging Tools

There are plenty of debugging tools built into Xcode. Piggybacking off the last point, crash logs are displayed inline so you can quickly jump to the relevant code with just a simple click.

What Programming Language Does Xcode Use?

These are the programming languages compatible with Xcode’s integrated development environment:

  • Swift
  • Objective-C
  • Objective-C++
  • C
  • C++
  • Java
  • Applescript
  • Python
  • Ruby (Ruby on Rails)

Objective-C++ can compile the source files using a combination of Objective-C and C++ syntax. 

Advantages of Using Xcode

Xcode is a robust, easy-to-use, and well-designed IDE that’s great for writing code, debugging, and simulating apps built for Apple platforms.

Other Xcode pros include:

  • Supports a wide range of programming languages
  • User-friendly interface
  • Simple navigation from the view controller
  • Supports testing and debugging
  • Allows developers to create apps for iOS, macOS, watchOS, tvOS, and iPadOS

Disadvantages of Using Xcode

Here’s a closer look at some potential drawbacks to consider when using Xcode:

  • You must have an Apple ID and Mac
  • Doesn’t support development for Android
  • App publishing requires complex steps
  • Limited drag-and-drop functionality

Using BuildFire SDK as an Alternative to Xcode

For beginners and experienced developers alike, BuildFire SDK is a simpler alternative to learning Xcode. This is the best way to avoid the pains and drawbacks associated with Xcode.

BuildFire makes it possible for developers to create custom functionality using Javascript, HTML, and CSS with any framework. So you’re not limited to the restrictions that come with Xcode.

You can also take advantage of BuildFire’s existing infrastructure and leverage built in tools, including authentication servers, image servers, file servers, databases, and more. 

BuildFire also takes care of all the publishing for both iOS and Android. So you won’t have to go through the complex steps that would normally be required to publish an app from Xcode. 

Take full advantage of our development features like:

  • Data tracer
  • Remote debugging tool
  • Testing tools
  • Plugin IDE
  • Command-line interface (CLI)
  • Hot loader

BuildFire also has hundreds of open source-plugins that you can use and redistribute for free. Our UI components will save you countless hours on development.

Conclusion

I hope this in-depth guide answered all of your questions about Xcode and its use cases. 

Rather than learning how to code and using Xcode as an IDE, you can use BuildFire SDK as an easier alternative. Complete beginners should consider BuildFire Plus—our full-service app development solution. Instead of wasting your own time and internal resources to learn something new, let BuildFire create the app for you, so you can focus on other areas of your business.

Get a free consultation to learn more about our custom app development services.

Getting Started: How to Create an App For Your Business

It’s no secret that mobile apps have become part of our daily lives. From increasing brand awareness to generating more sales and improving internal workflows, the use cases for mobile apps in 2022 are seemingly endless.

But how do you get started with app development?

The vast majority of executives and decision-makers understand the importance of mobile apps. Many already have an app idea in mind. But taking that next step to actually create an app is where they struggle.

If this sounds like your situation, you’ve come to the right place. This step-by-step guide simplifies the mobile app development process and explains how to create an app for your business that’s delivered on time and within your budget.

7 Steps to Create Apps For Your Business

App development is far less daunting when you break it down into simple, attainable tasks.

  1. Define your app development goals
  2. Set your budget and establish a timeline
  3. Assemble your app development team
  4. App design
  5. Add your key features
  6. Testing
  7. Promote and publish

We’ll cover each of these steps in greater detail below:

Step #1 — Define Your App Development Goals

It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many businesses skip or rush through this first step. Don’t make the same mistake.

Take a moment to truly understand your app’s purpose. This is the first building block on your path of building a successful app.

Avoid obvious or ambiguous goals like “we want to make more money” or “we want to make our customers happy.” These aren’t specific enough to drive the rest of this process and won’t get you very far.

Obviously, your goals will vary based on factors like your business size, target audience, industry, and other factors.

But one of the first things you should do is think about your app users. What pain points or frustrations are you trying to solve for them? Are you creating a customer-facing app that’s available for mass download on the app stores? Or is this an internal app for your employees?

Let’s look at some example goals for both consumer apps and internal apps so you have a better idea of how to approach this step.

Mobile Apps For Customers

The following example scenario may not apply to your specific business. But you can replicate the thought process and logic as you’re narrowing the focus of your goals.

Let’s say you run a gym chain with 25 locations across three states in your region. Each location has a different class schedule, and attendance varies by class, time, and instructor. Some classes are packed, and others are empty. Not only is this hindering the customer experience, but it’s also costly when you factor in the instructor’s fees to teach an empty room.

The solution—a mobile app with a real-time booking feature. Members can view schedules, class information, and sign-up for a spot directly from their mobile devices.

Can a gym app have features like membership sign ups, personal training videos, meal plans, and workout routines? Absolutely. But first, you need to focus on your primary goal and use case. Secondary features can always be added in at a later point.

Mobile Apps For Employees and Internal Processes

Internal apps are completely different from customer-facing applications. These are typically designed to improve the employee experience or reduce costs in specific workflows. 

In this scenario, let’s say you have a mid-sized organization with roughly 700 employees dispersed across eight corporate offices nationwide. In addition to those eight offices, 20% of your staff is fully remote, and an additional 35% is hybrid. The majority of those hybrid employees split time between their homes, offices, and working on the road.

The problem? Your HR department is confined to a single location in Chicago, and your HR staff is only in the office from 9 am to 5 pm EST. 

So when a hybrid employee working in California has a question about their benefits at 2:30 pm local time, they’re unable to reach an HR representative. Even if your staff is able to reach HR during office hours, they wait on hold, and it creates HR bottlenecks. This is not how you want your employees to spend time at work.

In terms of budgeting and personnel, extending HR office hours or opening an HR department in another location just isn’t an option for you right now.  

The solution—an internal mobile app for HR communication. You can set up a centralized HR communication hub and even customize an employee self-service dashboard. So if they have questions about their pay, benefits, or other HR information, they can access it 24/7 without the need to call or email an HR rep.

Other internal employee app goals could be related to training and compliance, employee onboarding, quick communication for urgent scheduling changes—the list goes on and on.

But again, rather than trying to build an app for everything, you need to focus on just one or two primary goals when you’re getting started. 

These goals will be your north star as you continue through the rest of these steps.

Step #2 — Set Your Budget and Establish a Timeline

Now that you’ve clearly identified the intent and purpose of your app, it’s time to assess your finances. Let your CFO and Controller do their jobs here and come back to the table with a reasonable budget for app development. 

They’ll obviously need to factor in some estimates for how the app will improve your ROI or change internal overhead costs.

Your HR costs might drop. But app maintenance costs will be a new line item on your expense report.

Common app development costs that you need to take into consideration include:

  • App developers
  • App designers
  • Backend infrastructure
  • Servers and architecture
  • Hosting expenses
  • Maintenance

In addition to the development costs, you’ll also need to consider the ongoing costs to maintain your app. Your costs don’t stop the day your app launches.

Beyond development, you’ll also need to consider your app marketing costs and user acquisition costs (assuming you’re building a consumer app). 

What kind of timeline are you looking at to launch your app? In some scenarios, you may not be in a rush. But depending on your company goals, you may need the app sooner rather than later.

For example, new ecommerce apps should be done and in the hands of users before the holiday buying season. Event apps would obviously need to be finished well before the event itself was taking place. 

Your budget and sense of urgency will ultimately help dictate your development team, which we’ll cover in greater detail next.

Step #3 — Assemble Your App Development Team

This step is often one of the biggest stumbling blocks for businesses. Many SMBs and enterprises have internal IT teams. 

But do those teams have what it takes to create the native app you need? How will this new project impact their existing job and responsibilities? That’s why the vast majority of companies tend to outsource their app development needs.

In short, you have four main options to consider:

  • Use internal resources
  • Hire app developers
  • Hire an app development company
  • Use an app maker

I’ll explain these options in greater detail below, so you can figure out the best method for your needs.

Using Internal Resources

I’d say less than 5% of organizations are equipped to handle app development in-house. Having some engineers and in-house developers on your payroll that know how to code isn’t always a qualifying factor.

It’s unlikely that your IT team has the experience required to develop apps. Even if they do have experience building apps, they probably haven’t built dozens, hundreds, or thousands of apps. Do you want to put your app project on the shoulders of someone who has only built one or two apps in their life? I assume not.

With that said, there are definitely some scenarios where you can consider using internal resources. If you’re building an internal application for a single workflow or business process, you might be able to get away with using your IT team.

But if the app is going to be used by your customers or employees at scale, then it’s definitely in your best interest to outsource.

Hiring App Developers

Many companies opt to hire freelance developers. But assembling your development team through Fiverr or Upwork isn’t always an ideal scenario. 

This option is better suited for small businesses with simple needs. Mid-sized organizations and enterprises could run into some problems with this method.

First of all, you’ll likely need multiple developers. If you’re coding an app from scratch, you’ll need at least two versions of the app. Android apps and iOS apps are written in two different programming languages. 

Could you hire a single developer who knows how to write both? Sure. But that essentially doubles your development time, as that developer would need to build two completely different apps from scratch. 

You’ll also need to hire a designer, tester, and project manager. You could potentially use an in-house manager to lead the app project. But again, you need to consider that person’s experience leading software development teams. 

When you outsource projects to freelance developers, you’re at the mercy of those individuals. Some of them might be overseas or working in different time zones, which could add complexities to your communication process.

But this also leaves you with a single point of failure. What happens if you’re six months into a 12-month development project and your Android developer goes cold? Maybe they’re sick, or maybe they’re working on another project. But you haven’t heard from them in a week—now what?

This happens more often than you might imagine when working with freelance developers.  

Hiring an App Development Company

The best app development companies give you an all-inclusive development service. You need an app—they deliver. 

BuildFire Plus is more than an app development agency—we’re a partner in your success.

At BuildFire, we’ll walk you through each stage of the development process. We’ll start by aligning your business goals with the project. Then we’ll help you with the pre-development steps like wireframes and prototypes. Our team will even run a competitive analysis to compare your app goals to leaders in your industry. 

We offer app strategy sessions, user engagement reports, and everything else you need to create and maintain your app.

Best of all, you won’t have to worry about anything. We’ll handle all of the backend maintenance, servers, architecture, and updates in-house. 

We have more than 10,000+ apps under our belt. So it’s safe to say we’ve seen it all in the app development space. 

Our white-glove touch paired with our technical expertise separates us from other app development companies on the market. 

This is by far the best option for SMBs and enterprise organizations. You’ll get the app (or apps) you need without the hassle or headaches associated with managing freelancers or in-house projects. BuildFire will work with you every step of the way to ensure you’re getting exactly what you need to achieve your business goals.

For the best end-to-end app development services, book an app strategy session with our team here at BuildFire.

Using an App Maker

An app builder is a viable option for smaller companies that don’t have the budget to hire a development team. 

So if you’re a solo entrepreneur or small business owner that prefers the DIY approach, this is definitely something that you can consider. 

Enterprise users are better off hiring a development company.

Step #4 — App Design

The approach for this step will depend on how you proceed in the previous step. If you’re hiring individual roles for your project team, then you’ll also need to hire an app designer.

If you’re using an end-to-end app development solution, they’ll have designers to handle this for you.

Start with a wireframe to get the blueprint and vision of your app. From there, you can create a prototype with your logos, branding, and color schemes.

If you use an app development company like BuildFire Plus, we’ll create a fully interactive app mockup with your design elements. This will give you an opportunity to see the look and feel of your app in the early stages. It also ensures that everyone on the app development team is on the same page for your goals. 

It’s also worth noting that the design might be a bit different for Android and iPhone apps. Each platform supports different devices. So the iOS app version and Android app version may need design variations to support those differences.

Changing your design down the road can be very time-consuming and expensive. So it’s important to nail this now.

Your design team will focus on your backend architecture, API design, technology stack, and other critical elements as they’re working on the visual components of your app. It’s important for decision-makers and stakeholders to participate during this stage. This ensures that their vision aligns with what the designers are producing. 

Step #5 — Add Your Key Features

Lots of organizations get off track during this step. It’s very tempting to add all the features under the sun. But this is expensive, complicated, and it can overwhelm your app developer.

Stick to the features that strictly align with your goals defined back in step #1.

Your fitness app to simplify class signups doesn’t need a social media-type feature for gym members (at least not yet). Your internal app for employee communication doesn’t need an ecommerce app feature to buy shirts and hats with your company logo.

Most apps will have the same core features, like push notifications, app analytics, and app user login screens. 

Each new feature you add will change the cost and timeline of your development process. 

Start with an MVP (minimum viable product), and work your way up from there. What are the bare-bones features that your app needs to achieve your goal? Save the “nice-to-haves” for later, and only focus on the necessities for right now.

Step #6 — Testing

Before you submit your app to the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, you need to make sure that it’s bug-free and ready for real users.

Your app won’t be perfect—no app is. Even Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, and Uber have bugs and glitches that need to be fixed over time. It happens.

But your app needs to have a fairly seamless user experience. If there’s too much friction and issues, users simply won’t re-open the app after downloading it. 

You should have quality assurance agents on your project team from the beginning. This makes things easier for testing purposes, as they can do continuous testing as each milestone is reached. It’s also less intimidating for an app developer to fix issues on the latest code deliverables, as opposed to an entire six-month project. 

Successful apps must be tested on multiple platforms. The iOS app might be fine, but there could be a glitch on the Android version. 

App testing is something that must continue for the lifetime of your app. As devices change and software moves to new versions, native apps can develop glitches or bugs that need to be addressed. 

For example, your iPhone app could work fine today. But in two months, when Apple releases its new version of iOS, your new features may not be compatible with the update. 

This is another reason why it’s so advantageous to work with an app development company. Not only will they deliver a professional app for your business, but they’ll also handle all of the testing and updates for you.

Step #7 — Promote and Publish

It’s never too early to start thinking about your launch. Build hype for potential app users and let them know what’s coming.

Create an app landing page and blast updates to your email subscriber list. Let them know your app is on the way, so they’re ready to download it once it’s ready. 

You’ll need to prepare your app for publishing on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Each platform has different submission rules and guidelines. 

In short, Apple is a bit stricter than Google. But in addition to the submission requirements, you’ll also need to start planning for ASO—app store optimization. This ensures that your app is highly discoverable when users search for related terms on the respective app stores. 

Are you making a free app? Or will you charge users to download it?

Even though you might be months away from launch, you need to start thinking about this in the early stages of development. 

If you outsource your app development needs to BuildFire, we’ll take care of the publishing process on your behalf. It’s just one less thing you need to worry about when you partner with BuildFire for your project.

Final Thoughts on How to Make an App For Your Business

Your business needs an app. That’s already been established.

In terms of execution, you have lots of different options to consider. The best path to development is different for everyone. But generally speaking, an end-to-end app development solution will be the best option for the vast majority of businesses. 

With BuildFire Plus, we’ll take care of all your needs under one roof. We’ve built more than 10,000+ apps for our clients, and we’re industry leaders in the app development space. This is much easier than building your own app with in-house developers or freelancers. If you’re serious about creating a successful app for your business, contact our team today to get started.

Getting Started: Coding an App

You have a great idea for an app. Now what?

While it might be a great premise, you need to figure out how you’ll get it to market. Building apps takes more than just an idea.

So, what’s the first step in mobile app development? It depends.

Some of you might want to create your first app alone. But you don’t know how to code an app or have any programming skills, for that matter. Is it even possible to create apps if you lack the basics of coding language? Do you need to start with an app for beginners?

Here’s the honest truth.

If you want to learn how to code an app, it’s going to be hard. But you can definitely learn to code your first app in less than 30 days.

You can use these skills to create your own app and even other apps down the road. Like most things worth learning, the more you dedicate yourself, the faster your results will be.

What is Mobile App Development?

Mobile app development is the process of creating software applications for mobile devices. 

The roots of application development stem from traditional software development (like software for computers). But apps for smartphones and tablets are made to utilize the built-in features and hardware of mobile devices. This includes cameras, GPS, Bluetooth, and more.

In terms of programming language, creating an app for users on mobile is different from creating software for computers. With that said, a web development background can make it easier to code a mobile app.

The mobile app industry is booming, and apps are expected to generate over $935 billion in revenue by 2023. The fast-growing mobile trends have made it attractive for businesses and entrepreneurs to build apps for such a wide range of use cases.

Can You Code an App Yourself?

You can definitely code an app yourself. In fact, you can do this without any required professional learning. Lots of people self-teach themselves to code and get a solid foundation in programming from open source projects. 

With that said, it all depends on your goal. If you want to learn to code, then going through active development steps, testing a list of functions, and getting your feet wet with a new programming environment is fine.

But if you want to create an app for real users, using an app maker or DIY app builder is the recommended route. These make it possible to build an app without learning Python, C++, or other languages. 

App makers make it easier for anyone to create an app from scratch—no coding or app development skills are required. 

Coding an App For iOS

iOS apps are for Apple stores. 

Xcode is the original IDE (integrated development environment) for iOS and Mac applications. Swift is Apple’s newest programming language, and you can use it to code an iOS app in Xcode. But both of these were developed by Apple, and each one holds the same core fundamentals of coding an app for iOS.  

Coding an App For Android

Android development is a completely separate process from iOS development. So if you want to create an app for both platforms, you need to code two apps from scratch (unless you’re using a no-code app maker).

Android has fewer restrictions than Apple for coding. But it’s still very technical. To code an app for Android, you’ll need to use Android Studio—the official IDE for Android development. 

The Best Tools To Help You Code an App

Using an app-building tool speeds up the coding process. It lowers the barrier to entry into app development, and beginners won’t need to learn a programming language. Here are some options to consider:

BuildFire

BuildFire is the most powerful app maker for iOS and Android. It doesn’t require any advanced concepts, coding skills, or technical knowledge.

You can use BuildFire to create an app from scratch without writing a single line of code. Everything is managed in a web-based dashboard that’s really easy to use. Just start with a template, add your features, and customize the content. 

What makes BuildFire unique compared to other app builders is its limitless functionality. If there’s a custom function you want that isn’t available in the feature marketplace, the BuildFire team can create it for you.

Try it for free with a 14-day trial.

React Native

React Native is an open source Javascript framework. The tool is made for creating web apps, iOS apps, Android apps, Windows applications, TV applications, and more. 

This is technically a hybrid platform, meaning you can create an application using the same language and source code for multiple deployments. But it does have lots of native features (hence the name).

Unlike an app builder, React Native does require coding skills and programming knowledge. You can potentially re-use a block of code or helper functions to speed up the learning process, but you still need to learn how to code.

Xamarin

Xamarin is another open-source application building platform. The company is owned by Microsoft, and it allows developers to leverage the .NET body of functions to create apps for Android, iOS, smart TVs, wearables, and more. 

Similar to React Native, Xamarin does require coding skills and programming knowledge. This means that you’ll need to learn the .NET concepts and C# language to create apps using this tool. But you won’t need to create multiple versions of your app for iOS and Android.

Sencha

Sencha is a cross-platform tool for application design and development. But unlike other tools on this list, Sencha is a better option for web apps as opposed to iOS and Android mobile apps. 

It’s also a popular choice for developers that want to test data-intensive web applications. 

6 Basics Steps to Create an App

All app projects follow the same basic path. Beginner developers can follow these app idea tips and steps below to get started. Even a single person with no coding skills can follow this formula and bring their app ideas to life if they’re using the right tools.

1. Coming Up With an Idea

Some of you might already have an app idea. Others might need to brainstorm for app ideas. 

Regardless of your situation, you need to come up with the core concepts of your mobile application before you can proceed. A blank project can be intimidating. But moving forward is much easier when you have a path to follow.

  • Are you creating a brand new app concept?
  • Is your app solving a problem or pain point?
  • Does the app improve your business or extend an existing service?

These are some good questions to ask yourself during the creative process.

2. Understanding Your Market

Your app is likely going to enter a competitive market, regardless of the app type or industry. You must take the time to identify a target market and see how you’re going to carve out a market share based on differentiation. 

Do you have massive competitors like Amazon and Walmart? Or are you competing with smaller niche apps?

Reference the app stores to see what apps in your category have the most downloads and take a look at those app reviews as well

3. Wireframes and Design

Design mockups and wireframes are crucial to the app-building process. 

There are plenty of online graphic design tools you can use for a wireframe. Balsamiq and Figma are two popular options. You can also use tools like Photoshop or Sketch. 

The first version of your wireframe can even start as a handwritten doodle on paper.

4. Prototyping Your Idea

Prototypes bring your app to life. The purpose of a prototype is to demonstrate the app’s function and design, but without any functional code. So you’re not quite putting learning into practice just yet with any coding skills.

Most prototypes are high-fidelity digital versions of the app that are clickable. This gives you a chance to see the user interfaces before the app actually gets built.

There should be a distinct difference between the wireframes and prototypes. Wireframes are the initial skeleton, while prototypes are meant to show more visual representation.

5. User Testing

Building an app with user feedback throughout the development process is crucial for success. You don’t need to wait until the app is done to start your QA process and get actual user feedback.

But before the final deployment, you need to send the app to actual users before the app goes live for download. This is the best way to identify bugs and any UX/UI issues. 

It’s in your best interest to have a large enough user testing group, so the user feedback isn’t limited to an isolated area.

6. Publishing and Marketing

The most successful applications have an app marketing plan in place prior to launch. Start promoting the app early, so users are eager to download it once it’s available.

Don’t forget to budget for marketing during the initial planning stages. Your app could be amazing, but it’s useless if nobody knows about it.

There are plenty of ways to market your app. You can run PPC campaigns, focus on app store optimization (ASO), promote on social media, drive traffic to your website, promote via forums—the list goes on and on.   

How Long Does it Take to Make an App?

Apps can be built in 30 days, three months, six months, or sometimes longer than a year. It all depends on the type of app and its complexities.

As a beginner, you can use an app maker to get to market quickly without learning a programming language, hiring app developers, or working with app designers.

But if you’re coding an app from scratch on your own, it will take a bit longer. Take advantage of app management tools for your project. This will ensure you’re meeting deadlines and keep everyone on track.

If your app is going to have user profiles, use GPS, have user messaging features, store credit card information, and things like that, then it would take longer to develop compared to a basic calculator app.

Submitting to Google Play and App Store

Pushing the app to users is the final part of your app development journey. To do this, you need to make it available for download on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

With BuildFire, we’ll take care of the publishing process on your behalf. Just let us know when the app is done, and we’ll get it live on both stores.

This is such a valuable service because getting apps published on your own can be tricky for beginners. The Apple App Store and Google Play Store each have different publishing rules and guidelines that must be followed.

Here’s a quick overview of those requirements and nuances:

Google Play

  • Sign up for Play App Signing
  • Compress your app so the file size is 150 MB or less
  • Set proper versioning
  • Prepare promotional materials
  • Upload assets

You can view more information here about publishing on Android Studio.

App Store

  • Complete app information and metadata
  • Enable backend services
  • Review Apple’s guidelines to ensure your app complies
  • Choose a category
  • Provide an active demo

Generally speaking, Apple’s requirements are stricter than Google. So you must follow the instructions closely or you’ll risk getting rejected. Here are the full App Store Review Guidelines.

Final Thoughts

Building an app isn’t an overnight process. But app creation is a highly profitable business venture that can benefit existing companies and startups alike. 

Learning to code is a valuable skill. But it takes time. Using an app builder is a better alternative if your goal is to launch an app for real users and business purposes. Not only does this speed up the development timeline, but it also saves you money.

Sign up for BuildFire today and start your 14-day free trial—no coding required. 

Best BuildFire Apps of 2021

The new year is finally here. Like many of you, I use this time to reflect on the past 12 months and set goals for the future. 

As I look back on 2021, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to highlight some of my favorite apps created with BuildFire. Every app on this list had a significant impact on revenue for their companies in 2021. Read on to learn the reasons why each app made the cut for the Best of 2021.

Kidz Bop Live

Kidz Bop is a name that you’ve likely heard of—and for good reason. As the number one music brand for kids, Kidz Bop has sold over 22.5 million albums and generated more than 6.5 billion streams worldwide. 

Only three artists in music history – The Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Barbra Striesand – have sold more top ten albums than Kidz Bop.

For those of you unfamiliar with the brand, the concept is really simple. Kids sing covers of popular music. The songs, music videos, and albums are available on all major streaming services, including Apple Music and Spotify.

In addition to selling albums in record numbers, the Kidz Bop brand also sells out arenas worldwide for concert tours. These concerts inspired the launch of Kidz Bop Live, the mobile app created with BuildFire.

The app gives the Kidz Bop core fan base a way to interact with the brand 365 days a year. Parents can find out about upcoming shows, buy concert tickets, purchase merchandise, get access to music, and watch videos directly from their smartphones. 

Unfortunately, most of the Kidz Bop 2021 tour was canceled due to the pandemic. But this only made the Kidz Bop Live app that much more important to the brand and its fans.

The app makes it easy for parents and children to watch exclusive Kidz Bop videos from anywhere. So while they can’t attend any concerts, they can still have fun and engage with the community every day.

Rob Decker, Kidz Bop Director of Marketing, explains why the app has been so popular over the past year. “The most used feature in our app is the video section. People are looking for a way to find and consume our content. While fans are stuck at home, they’re looking for some entertainment.”

2022 looks to be a better year for live music and concert tours, which means the Kidz Bop Live app will help to grow the brand and entertain fans even more in the new year.

311

Sticking with the music theme, this list wouldn’t be complete without the 311 mobile app.

311 has been making rock music for more than 30 years. With 13 studio albums and over 8.5 million records sold in the US, this band has created some of the most recognizable rock songs of the past few decades.

311 has a very loyal fan base. That’s where the 311 mobile app comes into the equation.

The app has everything you’d expect from a band. Fans can find tour information, buy tickets, get 311 gear, and see news about the members. But unlike the average music app, 311 has one of the most active fan communities on the planet.

Fans love the in-app message board.

With BuildFire, implementing this feature was as simple as installing a plugin from the BuildFire marketplace. The rest is history.

Fans use the message board feature on a daily basis to talk about the band and music. They discuss past shows, upcoming events, and share some of their favorite 311 stories. The app has essentially become the ultimate fan community hub. App users even use these message boards to coordinate post-concert meetups and after-parties. 

It’s truly incredible to see how the app evolved from something so simple into a must-have app for every 311 fan.

Amputee Walking School

The Amputee Walking School was founded in 1988 by Todd Schaffhauser. Todd lost his leg to bone cancer when he was just 15 years old. 

But that didn’t hold him back. As a Paralympic Games gold medalist and world record holder, he revolutionized the way athletes can run with prosthetic legs. Todd’s story is truly inspiring. 

Today, The Amputee Walking School has over 30,000 members, and they help more than one thousand amputees every year. 

Enter the Amputee Walking School Mobile app. Created with BuildFire, the app has become a lifeline for amputees and healthcare professionals. 

To summarize its top features, the app offers:

  • Resources for amputees and people considering an amputation
  • Help for people struggling with the mental aspects of amputations
  • Physical therapist training videos
  • Patient training videos
  • Direct access to the Amputee Coalition of America
  • Walking challenges for app users

Arguably the most impactful feature of the app is its physical therapist training. The Amputee Walking School works directly with hospitals, prosthetic companies, and outpatient services programs across the country. This role includes training for physical therapists who work with new amputees during the rehab process.

But an afternoon of training isn’t always enough for a physical therapist to retain information. The mobile app solves this problem by giving therapists direct access to walking videos, exercises, and techniques from anywhere.

So when a patient comes in for a rehab session, the therapist simply opens the app on a smartphone or tablet. They can play a video, and the patient just needs to mimic the movements on the screen. 

This mobile app has single-handedly bridged the gap between physical therapist training and patient care for amputees. The walking challenges and in-app leaderboard helps inspire the amputee community. It gives people motivation to get out there and walk, so they can post their step counts in the app. 

In 2021, the Amputee Walking School mobile app was used to connect doctors, patients, educators, and even prosthetic companies. The sky’s the limit for this app in 2022.

Kids Learning Tube

Kids Learning Tube is an education tool for kids. It teaches subjects through animated videos and songs. With over 1.25 million subscribers and more than one billion video views, Kids Learning Tube has been used by teachers and parents worldwide as a resource to make learning fun.

The app was initially launched out of necessity. After YouTube faced some compliance issues related to online ads in children’s videos, Kids Learning Tube needed to pivot.

They came to BuildFire and launched an ad-free platform where teachers, parents, and kids could access all of the videos. 

The app has proved to be extremely useful in 2021. Countless parents across the globe were navigating unfamiliar waters. All of the school closures and uncertainty forced parents to teach their kids at home. This is far from an easy task.

First, you need to get your kids excited to learn. Then coming up with teaching materials and a way to convey those lessons can feel impossible for parents. 

But Kids Learning Tube solves all of those problems. 

While the app was obviously built for kids, it’s actually used by students and educators at all levels. In fact, a Stanford University student wrote their thesis about how they used Kids Learning Tube to get an A in a college anatomy course. 

Here at BuildFire, we saw a significant increase in the demand for educational mobile apps in 2021. I expect that demand to continue in 2022 and beyond.

Grief Refuge

Many people across the globe experienced loss in 2021. 

Losing a loved one is always difficult, and everyone deals with loss in different ways. But once you learn to cope with your grief, it can make a significant difference in your life.

The Grief Refuge mobile app offers tools and guidance to ease the pain and deal with grief head-on.

This unique app offers comfort and support to individuals who are often at their most vulnerable. It gives them the opportunity to reflect on their grief, share personal stories, and track the entire grief journey.

Grief Refuge provides these support resources on the go. So whenever someone feels like they need some extra support, the app is just a click away.

The daily journaling feature is one of my favorite features of this app. It allows users to take notes and share thoughts about how they’re feeling that day or in the moment. App users can even listen to daily audio recordings to help ease pain and stress.

Sadly, we all need to deal with grief at some point in our lives. The Grief Refuge mobile app is one way to get through our pain.

Savannah Bananas

Savannah Bananas is unlike any baseball team you’ve ever seen before. The homepage of their website says it—they make baseball fun.

This unique team based in Georgia has sold out every home game since it was founded back in 2016, and they have thousands of people on the waitlist for games.

The Bananas have been featured in ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Good Morning America, and Cosmopolitan for both on-field and off-field performances. Here are just a handful of the wacky antics put on by the Bananas:

  • The players wear kilts
  • The team performs choreographed dances at every game
  • Post-game interviews are done in the shower, ice baths, or other unconventional places
  • The owner wears a yellow tuxedo to every game
  • Players run through the crowd when the team scores

You get the idea. It’s LOTS of entertainment, with a little bit of baseball mixed in there as well.

The Savannah Bananas mobile app takes that fun and excitement on the go. Fans can use the app to buy tickets, buy merchandise, view rosters, chat with other fans, and even access tickets on game day. The app has parking information, food and beverage maps, and digital game programs.

Since the games are always sold out, fans can also use the app to watch highlights at any time. These highlight videos include on-field action, as well as the wacky off-field antics. 

PepTalks

PepTalks is one of my favorite BuildFire apps of 2021 for two main reasons:

  1. The app itself is awesome, and it’s designed to help people.
  2. The app creator is even more awesome, and she’s a DIY entrepreneur that built the app on her own—without any prior technical experience.

Before we dive into the app, I want to give you a quick backstory on the owner and creator, Lindsey Eryn Clark.

Lindsey has her own branding studio and also hosts a weekly podcast for entrepreneurs. Unlike other entrepreneurial content, her podcast focuses more on the heart and soul of entrepreneurship. 

Out of necessity in her own life, Lindsey began writing daily pep talks to herself. These were just simple words of motivation to get her through the day. Realizing how much these words were making an impact on her, she decided to share them with friends as well. 

As the list of friends turned into a list with thousands of strangers, she eventually found a platform to text people daily words of encouragement. 

That’s when the entrepreneurial spirit in Lindsey kicked in. She wanted to scale her words of wisdom while simultaneously monetizing her content. That’s when the PepTalks mobile app was created.

Not only did the app allow Lindsey to scale her list and make money, but it also improved the experience for her subscribers. Rather than getting a text message, which wasn’t always supported on different devices, the app allows Lindsey to reach her subscribers with daily push notifications.

Users can customize these settings to control how many notifications they get per day and what type of inspirational quotes they want to receive.

Furthermore, app users no longer have to wait until a specific time each day to get a daily pep talk. They can access the app 24/7/365 for motivation on-demand. 

Lindsey is also using the PepTalks mobile app to promote her podcast and personal brand.

In a year when so many people needed advice, words of wisdom, and motivation, the PepTalks mobile app was there for support.

Final Thoughts

More than 10,000 apps have been created with BuildFire. So coming up with this list of my favorites for 2021 was no easy task. But each app above stood out to me for at least one or two significant reasons when I was reflecting on the year. 

As you can see, BuildFire’s platform is extremely versatile. Individual users, businesses, musicians, and even baseball teams have used our platform to create something special. From videos for physical therapy training to event sales, words of wisdom, and fan hubs, the BuildFire apps on this list are truly unique.

Do you have a creative idea for a new app? Start building it today, and maybe you’ll make my list of the top BuildFire apps next year.

How to Build an App Without Coding

In the past, mobile app development required coding skills and programming knowledge. Learning to code is far from easy, and it’s a time-consuming process. Plus, the first time you build native mobile apps with code probably won’t be the highest quality final product. 

Fortunately, modern technology has made it possible for anyone to take an app idea and turn it into reality—without writing a single line of code. 

If you know how to navigate the internet, you can use an app maker as an alternative option to traditional development. 

This is the ultimate guide to create a mobile application without writing code. It covers everything you need to know about this process, including step-by-step instructions for creating and launching an app. Let’s dive in!

Everything You Need to Know About Making an App Without Coding

Here’s a quick summary of what this extensive guide will cover:

What to Expect Building Your Own App

Before we proceed, I just want to quickly set some expectations, so you know exactly what you’re getting into here. 

Creating a mobile app without code is easy. If you have experience using website builders like Wix or Squarespace, the app development process using app builders will be very similar. 

You’ll be using a web-based app maker to design and develop your app from scratch. Usually, these platforms let you begin with some type of template or starting point. This makes it much less intimidating than starting from a blank screen.

From there, it’s just a matter of customizing the app with your color scheme, branding materials, and unique content. You’ll use a drag-and-drop interface or plug-and-play marketplaces to add different types of functionality to your app. For example, let’s say you wanted to incorporate videos into the app. You might look for a YouTube or Vimeo plugin. Then the platform can just pull those videos directly from your YouTube account.

It’s worth noting that not every app creator offers the same features and functions. Some are undoubtedly better than others. 

So you might run into some limitations or restrictions, depending on the no-code platform you’re using. 

I strongly recommend reading our Buyer’s Guide to Mobile App Development Platforms. This free ebook explains exactly what you should be looking for when you’re evaluating different options and comparing them side-by-side. It has a solution for every app type, budget, and development goal. 

Who Can Create Mobile Apps With a Mobile App Builder?

Anyone can use an app maker to turn their app ideas into reality. You don’t need any experience or prior coding knowledge to make this happen.

The great part about using an app maker is that these platforms aren’t just for beginners. Even experienced app makers and business users take advantage of no-code solutions. That’s because it’s cheaper and faster to build an app without code compared to traditional development. 

I know plenty of developers who used to write code from scratch, but now they use an app maker just because it’s so much easier.

The potential use cases of app development platforms are seemingly endless. But here are some common examples:

  • Small business owners who want an app for their business
  • DIY entrepreneurs who want to create a new business with an app
  • Ecommerce stores that want to improve mobile commerce sales
  • Restaurants that need mobile menus, mobile ordering, delivery, and customer loyalty
  • Businesses that want a mobile solution for HR and employee communication
  • Schools and universities that need a mobile solution for faculty and students
  • Gyms, personal trainers, fitness instructors, and health professionals
  • Churches and religious organizations that want to engage with their congratulations
  • Musicians, bands, and entertainers that want to improve events
  • Content creators and podcast hosts that want to expand their reach
  • Agencies and white label resellers that want to create apps for their clients

The list goes on and on. Here at BuildFire, over 10,000+ apps have been built on our platform. Check out our customer stories and case studies to see some real-life examples of the possibilities of our no-code solution.

These case studies really showcase the platform’s versatility. You’ll quickly learn that anyone can use it regardless of age, background, or technical expertise. 

Cost to Build Mobile Apps Without Code

Price is obviously an important factor when you’re evaluating different options. Compared to hiring a developer or app development agency, app builders will always be less expensive.

That’s because an app builder just charges you a fixed monthly, quarterly, or annual plan.

The exact cost of the plan will vary based on the platform you choose and your needs. For example, plans that come with advanced features will obviously cost more than a bare-bones package. Some solutions charge you extra for things like push notifications.

Traditional development requires an iOS developer, Android developer, web developer, project manager, app designers, quality assurance agent, testers, and other members of a team. For example, you may need an extra developer who is familiar with both iOS and Android code to step in if one of your other developers quits, gets sick, or takes a vacation. 

But you won’t have to worry about any of this with an app builder.

Additionally, the best app makers come with everything you need to manage your app on the backend. This includes user authentication servers, push notification servers, backend maintenance, and more. 

No-code platforms can start as low as $150 per month. Compare this to the average cost to make an app, and you’ll quickly see there’s no comparison.

BuildFire’s entry-level app builder starts at just $159 per month. That’s less than $2,000 for the entire year. You wouldn’t be able to hire a single developer to create a fraction of your app for that price if you went with traditional development. 

Benefits of Building Mobile Apps With a No-Code App Builder vs. Traditional Mobile App Development

Using an app builder to create an app is usually the best option for most people. 

But there are definitely some use-case-specific scenarios where custom mobile app development with coding from scratch will be better. For example, let’s say you wanted to create a mobile gaming app, a virtual reality app, or an augmented reality application. In these highly specific categories where the graphics and responsiveness are extremely sensitive, a no-code app builder may not be able to get the job done. It’s still possible to build native apps in these categories using an app creator, but that’s generally not what these platforms are made for.

Here are some of the top benefits of using a no-code app maker:

  • Simultaneously create an iOS app and Android app with a single build
  • Create custom apps with no technical experience
  • Build and maintain the app on your own without hiring an agency or development team
  • Significantly lower cost compared to traditional development
  • It’s faster to create an app using an app builder, so you can decrease your time to market and get the app on real Android and iOS devices ASAP
  • Easier to maintain the app post-launch
  • No surprise fees or unexpected costs during the development process
  • Easy to update and make changes

No-code app development is the future. So it’s definitely in your best interest to leverage this technology now. It’s only going to become more and more accessible to the masses in the coming years. So getting your app built now will give you a first-mover advantage over other people who will be competing with you for the same users. 

How to Create an App Without Code in 6 Simple Steps

Ready to create apps without writing even a single line of code? Just follow the step-by-step process explained below. This is ideal for beginners and non-technical users alike—no coding required. 

Step #1: Select a No-Code App Builder

The first thing you need to do is choose an app maker. Don’t rush through this process. Not all no-code platforms are created equally, so you can’t just pick one randomly and expect it to work out. 

Here are some tips to help you with the evaluation process:

  • Budget — An easy way to narrow down your options is by price. If you see that an app builder is way out of your price range, you can quickly eliminate it from your list. You should have a clear budget in mind before you begin this process.
  • Interface — Take advantage of any free trials offered by the app creator. This is one of the best ways to see if you’re comfortable using the interface before you commit to a subscription. Like any piece of software, there will always be a slight learning curve. But some platforms are definitely easier to use than others.
  • Reputation — Lookup customer reviews and see if the platform has case studies you can see. Take a look at the other apps created using the platform. Do those apps fall into the same category as yours? If yes, that’s always a good sign. In some cases, you can even download other apps that have been built using the platform as a way to test the app performance. If those apps are constantly crashing or having issues, it could be a red flag.
  • Customization — No-code app development shouldn’t mean you’re limited with what you can build. Some cookie-cutter app builders have limited functions. But the best options offer limitless customization. 

For example, let’s say you’re using BuildFire to create your app. But you have a highly specific function in mind that doesn’t currently exist within the BuildFire app marketplace. 

You reach out to BuildFire and have their team create that custom function for you. Alternatively, you can hire your own programmer, and they can take advantage of the BuildFire developer SDK build option.

Not every app builder offers this type of functionality. 

This won’t be a concern if you’re creating a really simple app. But for those of you who don’t want to be locked in and limited, it’s important to evaluate how flexible the solution is.

Step #2: Choose a Plan That Best Fits Your Needs

Once you select a platform, you’ll likely have different plan options to consider as well. Again, take your time here and look at exactly what features come at each price point. 

For example, if you want to create multiple apps, you’d likely need a more expensive plan than if you were to just build a single app. 

Do you want the app to be available on every mobile device, including tablets? Or do you just want it to be compatible with smartphones? These are the types of questions you need to ask yourself when you’re evaluating plans.

Let’s take a closer look at BuildFire’s packages so you can see what I’m talking about here.

As you can see, the entry-level Growth plan supports Android app, iOS app, and PWA. But it doesn’t offer iPad or Android tablet compatibility. You’d need to sign up for the business plan for this feature. 

Now let’s continue looking at the different features at each plan tier:

Narrowing down your options here all depends on your short-term and long-term goals for the app.

As you can see, the entry-level plan supports user management and user tagging. But if you want to tag users based on behavior, offer in-app purchases, app access codes, and private app sections, you’d need a Business or Enterprise package.

Integrations are another important consideration here as well. Zapier is one of the most versatile solutions in existence, as it’s essentially the middleman of the internet. 

So if you want to set up custom workflows using Zapier and other integrations, a Growth plan won’t be enough for you. 

BuildFire is just one example here. But every other app maker will have similar pricing pages that you’ll need to evaluate. If you’re unsure, I’d recommend reaching out to a sales rep and discussing your specific needs with that agent. They can steer you in the right direction and let you know which plan makes the most sense for your needs.

The cool part about using BuildFire is there’s no extensive onboarding process. Once you’ve chosen a plan and signed up, you can start to create your app in just a few clicks. 

Step #3: Pick a Template

Building apps is easier when you can start with a template. That’s another significant benefit of using an app maker as opposed to coding from scratch. An app builder should give you a starting point with a template that matches the type of app you want to create.

Here’s a quick look at some of the templates that we have here at BuildFire:

All of the templates are fully interactive. So you can click around and see different types of features, screens, and functions that are already built into the template.

For example, here’s a look at our Zen Yoga Template:

If you click “Instructors” on the home screen, it will bring you to this page with a photo, name, and brief description of each instructor.

Now if you click on an instructor’s name or picture here, you’ll be brought to another screen that shows their contact information.

So if you were in the fitness space and you liked this template, all you’d need to do is change the names, descriptions, and contact information to match the instructors in your gym.

Additional template categories offered by BuildFire include:

  • Ecommerce
  • Employee
  • Content and News
  • Small Business
  • Church and Nonprofit
  • Public Figures
  • Education
  • Real Estate
  • Music and Media
  • Restaurant
  • Sports and Fitness
  • Social

So no matter what type of app you want to create, BuildFire’s app maker has a template for you.

Step #4: Design Your App With Custom Branding

As mentioned above, the template is just the first step towards your design. While all of the major design components are already done for you, now you just need to change the colors and logos to match your brand.

BuildFire has a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor. So everything that you see and change on your editor will automatically be adjusted in real-time to the interactive app on the screen.

Here’s what I mean.

Navigate to the left side of your admin dashboard and select “Branding” from the “Design” menu.

Anything you change on the left side of your dashboard you can preview in the app on the right side of the page.

In the design section of the app creator, you’ll have the ability to customize and change things like:

  • App icon
  • App display name
  • Loading screens
  • Font
  • Color scheme
  • Preset themes
  • Title bar and text icons
  • Header text

The preset themes can really make your life easier. Rather than customizing each component of the app design, these themes come with colors that complement each other really well. But you’re still in total control of everything if you want to make custom design changes. 

Step #5: Add All the Features

One of the reasons why BuildFire is considered the best app maker on the market is because of our extensive feature marketplace. 

To add functionality to your app, just head over to our feature marketplace. From your admin dashboard, click on “Marketplace” within the “App Components” menu.

This will bring you directly to the app marketplace, where you can browse for features or search for specific functionality.

To install a new feature, simply click on the “+” icon in the bottom right corner of the description. 

When you’re ready to customize the features, you can manage everything from the “My Features” page, which can also be located within the “App Components” menu.

Step #6: Publish Your App (Apple App Store and Google Play Store)

After you’ve customized your app with branding and features, it’s time to get it live on the app stores. 

With BuildFire, our team can push your app into the Apple App Store and Google Play store with just a single click on your end. You just need to create a developer account on each platform.

Just click the “Publish” button at the top of the screen, and our team will take care of the rest. 

For a more in-depth explanation of our publishing process, check out this knowledge base tutorial on how to publish an app with BuildFire

Final Thoughts

Learning to code isn’t necessary for app development. Anyone can build an app without coding.

All you need to do is find the right app builder to accommodate your needs. Then it’s just a matter of learning to use that platform, adding your features, and customizing the look and feel of the app with your own branding.

One of the coolest parts of BuildFire compared to other no-code platforms is our limitless functionality. If there’s a feature you need that isn’t currently available, you’re not restricted to the app marketplace alone. 

No-code app builders are affordable, easy to use, and offer the fastest path to development. 
So what are you waiting for? Sign up for your free trial, and you can start building your app today.

Getting Started With App Development: Actionable Steps For Day 1

Taking an app idea and turning it into a reality is a dream for entrepreneurs and business owners across the globe. But app development can be an intimidating venture for people who have never been through this process.

I see this all of the time. Someone has an amazing app idea but just doesn’t know where to start. 

Should they hire a developer? Should they hire an app development company? When is it too early to start with market research or app marketing? How much money will it take to build your own apps?

The list of questions and uncertainties goes on and on. 

If you’re new to app development, I want to help you get started. Before you start to overwhelm yourself with the app interface, user feedback, new features, and things of that nature, there are some actionable steps that you can take right now. The steps in this guide will help you get started and build momentum with app development. 

Mobile App Development Preparation

Whether you want to create an app development business from scratch or you’re launching an app as an extension of your existing business, there are several things you must do to prepare yourself. Don’t overlook the preparation phase of the app project, as this is crucial for everyone—regardless of the app’s complexity. 

First, you need to define your role. Are you going to own and operate the app? Or are you leading the project management team? 

Next, formalize your reason for starting this endeavor. Maybe you have an existing company and want to leverage a mobile app to improve the customer experience. Or maybe you’ve identified a market need that you’re filling with a completely new concept or idea. It’s also possible that you’re running an agency and want to learn how to start an app business as a way to extend your services to clients. 

In all three of these potential scenarios, the path to creating a successful app will look a bit different. 

Arguably the most important part of the preparation phase is narrowing your focus to a single feature. So many app developers out there want to create an app that does everything. But they lose sight of the app’s core purpose.

Ask yourself this question—what’s the most important feature of your app? 

Here’s a great analogy that showcases this point. Take an app like Uber or Lyft. What’s the most important feature here? Is it the ability for riders to choose the quality and size of the vehicles? Or is it a way to help them get from one location to another? Obviously, the latter is the most important feature. 

The final part of preparation is equipping yourself with tools for success. You’ll need some form of project management software and communication software to do this the right way. This graphic from Kissflow highlights some of the top benefits of using project management software. 

Whether you’re building an app on your own or hiring a team of ten developers, project management software is a must-have. It’s the only way to stay organized, track progress, and keep everyone on the same page.

Your development method will ultimately impact the type of software you should be using here. For example, if you’re using a no-code app builder, you can use a solution like Trello or Asana. But if you’re coding the app from scratch with a development team, you’d be better off with a solution like Jira Software.

In addition to the team collaboration features within a project management solution, you may decide to use a tool like Slack for communication as well. 

Once you have these preliminary things in order, you can move forward with actionable steps. 

How to Build an App — Getting Started in 5 Days

Everyone has different app ideas. Whether you’re launching free apps on the Apple App Store, paid apps on the Google Play Store, or planning to build the next killer app that’s downloaded by tens of millions of app users worldwide, everyone starts from the same place. 

Below you’ll find a five-day sequence of steps to follow. This will help you build momentum, and you can use it as a preliminary app development checklist. 

Most apps fail in the early stages because the project owner doesn’t have a concrete plan of action. But with this sequence below, your first week is completely outlined for you: 

Day One Steps

Anytime you create an app (or any type of software development for that matter), it means you’re starting a business. So you need to treat your app business the same way you would any other type of new startup. 

With that in mind, these are the actionable steps you need to take on day one:

  • Define the target audience and potential customers for your mobile app business.
  • Create a value proposition or unique selling point to show how your app will benefit the target users.
  • Decide what platforms your app will be available on (iOS platform, Android, web app, etc.).
  • Come up with a monetization strategy. How will your app make money? (will you offer in-app purchases, have a paid app and a free version, generate app sales through a product or service, etc.)
  • Identify the key resources you need for your app to work properly after it launches. For example, do you need push notification servers or authentication servers?
  • Identify necessary integrations that your app needs (third-party GPS apps, databases, etc.).
  • Assess the costs involved with your mobile app business.

Everyone will have different answers to these questions. But it’s important for you to take the time and understand the best course of action for your specific app. 

Using an app maker like BuildFire will really make your life easier when it comes to the steps above. That’s because our platform has everything you need to create, launch, and maintain your app are built-in on the backend. 

You won’t have to worry about servers running on the backend or struggling to write custom code for third-party integrations. BuildFire has all of those capabilities out-of-the-box. 

Plus, our cost structure is much more affordable compared to traditional development. 

Additional Resources:

Day Two Steps

Next, you can start to focus a bit more on the development process itself. Here are the actionable steps you need to take for your new app on day two:

  • Look at similar apps on the market and compare your app idea to these other apps. 
  • Research prototyping tools that you’ll need to map out your app design and architecture.
  • Look back at the core features you defined during the preparation stage and use that to think about your minimum viable product. 
  • Outline your fastest past to launch, with the fewest barriers to entry. Focus on what’s important, and all the features that aren’t in this category can be added in later.
  • If you’re coding a native app from scratch, decide what programming languages you’re going to use.

The most important part of this day is getting a rough outline of what your MVP will look like. Focus on your core features here, and think about how your core features should look in the user interfaces.

For example, let’s stick with the Uber and Lyft analogy we discussed earlier. Rather than forcing the user to select the car type each time they create a ride, you can have a default option that’s automatically selected for them. This reduces friction within the app and enhances the user experience. 

A secondary feature could be the ability for users to select a premium vehicle (like a newer car with extra legroom in the example above). But this isn’t important to the mobile app’s core function, which is getting users from point A to point B.

Day Three Steps

By now, you should have a clear understanding of the primary screens vs. secondary screens within your app. Then about how users interact with these screens from their mobile phones. Then you can use this to improve your initial app sketches with the following screens:

  • Decide what your app login screen will look like. Will users log in just by a username and password? Or will you incorporate biometrics like touch ID or facial recognition? 
  • Create a password screen and password reset screen.
  • Set up your user registration screen. Do your users need to create a profile from scratch, or can they register using a Google account or their social media accounts?
  • Design a screen where users have the ability to control notification settings. You must give them the option to opt-out or control what types of messages are being sent to them.
  • Outline your mobile app’s terms and conditions and privacy policy statements. You may need to consult with an attorney for this one, but most of the text will be fairly boilerplate. 
  • Create a “Contact Us” screen and map out what that will look like. What contact information will you include here?
  • Design user profile pages and what they will look like when the user logs in and adjust their settings.
  • Create “empty state screens.” This is an often overlooked step, but it’s important for pages within your app where something isn’t showing. For example, let’s say your app relies on GPS technology, but the user has their GPS settings disabled. Will the screen just say “nothing here, try again later,” or will it prompt them to enable GPS through a CTA popup?

If you’re using a tool like BuildFire, this step will be really easy. You can start planning your app screens directly within our platform by taking advantage of our existing templates. 

Every aspect of your app design and its screens can be fully customized with BuildFire. 

The best part, you won’t need to write a single line of code to do this, and you don’t need any development experience. You won’t have to hire an app developer either.

Day Four Steps

Now that you have the main aspects of your app outlined, there are a few other things you need to consider about the business side.

  • Do you need to raise money from outside investors?
  • What type of formal business structure are you going to set up (LLC, corporation, etc.). This will help shield your personal assets from the business. 
  • Formalize everyone’s role in the app business so that all of the partners and stakeholders are on the same page.

I won’t spend a ton of time diving into the formal details here. But as I said before, mobile applications are still a business. So you need to go through similar steps to legally form the business, just like you would for any startup.

If you’re launching an app as an extension of your existing business, then you probably won’t need to go through this. The only reason will be if you want to treat the app as its own company.

For example, maybe you own a restaurant and want to create an app to improve your delivery process. But you ultimately want to white label the app and license it to other restaurants. In this type of scenario, it would probably make sense to treat the app business as a separate company.

Day 5 Steps

On the fifth day of the week, you should spend some time getting other things in order for your app. Even though you won’t be launching quite yet, it’s still in your best interest to get ready as early as possible.

  • Create developer accounts on both app stores. You’ll need these to get your app live and available for download.
  • Secure a domain and create a landing page for your app.
  • Brainstorm your marketing materials for YouTube videos, social media content, and other ways to connect with the app market before your app officially launches.

The great part about using BuildFire is that we’ll get your app to market for you. All you need to do is create your developer accounts, and we’ll take it from there.

So once your app is ready to launch, just let us know and our team will take care of all the heavy lifting required to get it published on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. This is just one less thing you’ll need to worry about.

Additional Resources:

Final Thoughts on Getting Started With Mobile Apps

App businesses are exciting. But they can be intimidating when you’re starting from nothing. 

I hope the steps in this guide will provide you with the blueprint you need to get started and build momentum with your development project. 

Rather than starting from zero, you should consider using an app builder as an alternative to traditional development. Platforms like BuildFire have everything you need to design, develop, and launch your app. 

This drastically reduces your development timeline, lowers your development costs, and eliminates your need to hire a developer. The vast majority of the steps explained in this guide can be handled directly within the BuildFire platform.
For those of you who are seeking a bit more assistance and want custom development done for you, BuildFire Plus might be a better option for you to consider. This is our all-inclusive development service that includes planning, design, wireframing, competitive analysis, strategy sessions, and so much more. Request a free consultation to get started.

10 App Categories That Will Dominate 2022 and Beyond

The world is changing. Recent global events have changed the way businesses operate—some short-term, and some forever.  

As an entrepreneur or a business owner, you need to recognize these trends and adapt accordingly. 

Some of you might own a business in an app category that didn’t require an app in the past. But based on circumstances out of your control, consumers now expect to see apps in that category. 

Other entrepreneurs might be looking for an edge in a new industry or business venture, and certain types of apps are better than others. 

We created this guide to show you the types of apps that make money based on recent and future trends. You can use this guide to brainstorm app ideas and take your business to the next level by creating a new app in a popular category. Let’s dive in

1. Medical Apps

There’s a significant demand for mobile apps with a wide range of use cases in this category. 

Doctors and physicians can use apps for scheduling appointments, check-ins, appointment reminders, and more. Apps great for post-appointment surveys as well. 

One popular feature that we’re seeing in this category is health education. There’s so much misinformation on the web regarding different illnesses, vaccines, etc. So medical professionals are using mobile applications to provide patients with accurate and relative information.

For example, you could create a symptom checklist for various illnesses. You can also provide useful resources on what patients should do if they’re experiencing certain symptoms. Apps can also serve as a resource for doctor information, addresses, phone numbers, and even doctor bios. 

According to a recent study, 90% of US adults use at least one digital health tool. Statista estimates the mobile health market to reach $189 billion by 2025. That’s not all. A whopping 93% of doctors believe that mobile health apps can actually improve patient health. 

Statistics and trends like this truly speak for themselves. If you’re a doctor, dentist, OB/GYN, pediatrician, podiatrist, dermatologist—basically any professional in the medical field, your practice can benefit from a medical app. 

2. Health and Wellness Apps

Let’s stick with a similar trend but with a different point of emphasis. Beyond medical apps for doctors, several other types of businesses can dominate the health and wellness space. 

Anyone running a fitness business should be looking to go mobile.

The possibilities here in the health & fitness space are seemingly endless. Use cases and examples in this app category include:

  • Gym apps
  • Personal training apps
  • Cooking apps
  • Apps for dietitians and nutritionists
  • Weight loss apps
  • Meditation apps
  • Yoga apps

The list goes on and on. There are countless ways to expand your fitness business and make money in this app category. I’ll quickly cover a few specific scenarios that we’ve seen explode over the last year or so.

Virtual personal training is on the rise. Trainers are using apps to create 30-day workout challenges with custom videos and lessons. App users find this extremely useful, as they have access to these training sessions on-demand. 

Gym owners are using apps to manage memberships, share class schedules, set up training sessions, and facilitate mobile check-ins. 

According to Statista, there will be 86.3 million people in the US using health and fitness apps by 2022. That’s up from 68.7 million users back in 2019. As you can see from the trajectory of this trend, health and fitness apps can be huge money-maker moving forward.

For more information, check out our blog post on how mobile apps are transforming the gym world.

3. Grocery Apps

Years ago, ordering groceries online was a pretty niche category. But that’s no longer the case.

As big players like Amazon, Walmart, and Target have started offering grocery delivery and grocery pick-up services, consumers have quickly adapted. 

Today, anyone with a grocery store should be developing a mobile app. From large chains to small mom and pop shops, specialty stores, and everything in between. Just take a look at how online grocery shopping has penetrated the US market, based on a recent study from Business Insider

Mobile apps give businesses a significant advantage in this space. 

First of all, forcing people to open a laptop or desktop for grocery pick-ups or deliveries is a pain—everyone wants to use their phones. Mobile sites alone won’t get it done. They’re not as user-friendly as an app, and they can add frustrations to shoppers. 

But arguably the biggest win for grocery stores is the ability for users to save information in the app. This simplifies the checkout process and allows for higher conversion rates.

The user’s name, address, phone number, email address, and payment information can all be safely stored within the user’s profile. So when it’s time to place an order for pickup and delivery, it’s just a matter of clicking the buy button—no need to re-enter this information for every order.  

There’s a growing demand for mobile applications in the grocery space. Businesses that adapt quickly can make a lot of money in this app category. 

4. Education and E-Learning Apps

Remote learning trends are on the rise. This has increased the demand for education and e-learning apps. 

Beyond traditional schools and universities, there are lots of use cases for educational apps.

Tons of people are using e-learning apps to attain new skills or credentials. For example, Udemy saw a 425% increase in online course enrollments last year. Duolingo, a mobile app for learning new languages, experienced a 148% increase in new user signups during a single month in 2020.

There are even lots of new educational and e-learning apps on the market targeted towards children. Kids Learning Tube is a great example of this. 

Kids Learning Tube is an online learning resource for children. Kids learn about subjects like geography, nutrition, the solar system, and more through animated videos and music. These videos have more than 615+ million views on YouTube alone. The videos were so successful that the online learning company decided to launch its own dedicated e-learning mobile app.

The app was built using BuildFire, and you can read the full Kids Learning Tube case study here. 

With so many possibilities in the online learning space, we’ve just barely scratched the surface in terms of potential for educational apps. Expect a significant spike in the release and user adoption for these apps in the coming years. 

5. Restaurant and Food Delivery Apps

The food & drink industry has been faced with significant challenges over the last year or so. Most of this has been driven by lockdowns, government regulations, and consumer behavior. But the restaurants that have adapted will continue to survive and thrive moving forward. 

Just take a look at the US food delivery app revenue from the past six years. 

Revenue reached $26.5 billion in 2020, up from a modest $8.7 billion back in 2015. As you can see from the graph, these numbers were trending upward long before a global pandemic rocked the world. 

But consumer usage and preferences for food delivery go beyond the big names like GrubHub and UberEats. According to Statista, a whopping 67% of people in the US prefer to order food directly from a restaurant’s website or mobile app. 

This is great news for restaurant owners nationwide. It gives you full control over your margins, as you won’t have to pay the fees associated with third-party services. 

A dedicated restaurant app also allows you to manage reservations, send targeted promos, set up a customer loyalty program, and more. Customers can keep their payment information and address on file for quick checkouts and as well. 

6. Dating Apps

30% of US adults have used an online dating app. This percentage increases to 49% for people between the ages of 18 to 29 and 38% for adults between 30 and 49. 

The stigma associated with dating apps has changed over the last several years as well. Many people are using these platforms to find a committed partner, and it’s working out. 

Take a look at this graph based on research from Stanford. The data shows how couples in the US met over the last 60 years.

As you can see, just one of these trend lines has a significant upward trajectory, and its growth is exponential—online dating. 

According to Statista, there are 44.2 million online dating users in the United States. This app category generates $602 million per year.  

There’s lots of money to be made in this lifestyle app category. Even beyond the big players like Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, and OkCupid, and more, there’s plenty of room for smaller niche dating apps as well. 

7. Finance Apps

The demand for finance apps is skyrocketing. Over the last several years, the overall fintech market has been trending up. 

Mobile banking apps, mobile payment apps, asset management apps, personal finance apps—all of these are seeing a rise in user adoption and usage. 

According to Google, 73% of smartphone users have used a mobile app to manage their finances within the last month. Investment and stock trading mobile app searches are growing 115% year-over-year.

In 2020, finance apps saw a 90% increase in install market share worldwide. 

People like the idea of using an app to track expenses, pay bills, save for big purchases, trade stocks, and more. These apps allow the average person to feel more in control over their finances, and it’s going to continue trending upward for the foreseeable future. 

From Android apps on the Google Play store and iOS apps on the Apple App Store—finance apps and subcategories in this space are popular on every operating system. 

8. Pet Apps

If you look beyond social networking apps, productivity apps, and entertainment apps, you’ll find a niche target audience that’s primed for spending money. Americans are obsessed with their pets. This obsession is causing them to spend more and more money on animals. 

There’s more awareness around pet health and quality foods. The days of dogs and cats eating bulk, cheap foods stored in the closet are slowly moving behind us. 

Pets are even getting gifts. In fact, 92% of Millennials buy their pets gifts—and 51% buy their pets gifts at least once per month. Pet apparel is one of the fastest-growing ecommerce app categories as well. For example, pet hoodie sales grew by 622% in just a one-year period. 

Between pet grooming, pet food delivery, dog walking, pet insurance, and more, there are countless ways to make money with a pet app. 

Believe it or not, 45% of pet owners in the US spend the same or more on pet healthcare than their own healthcare in a given year. 

It’s safe to say that people are willing to spend money on their pets, and there’s lots of room for apps in this space. 

9. Ecommerce Apps

It should come as no surprise to see ecommerce apps on our list. This is a category that has been growing exponentially for years now, with no signs of slowing down. 

Compared to online shopping from a mobile site or desktop browser, an app offers significantly more advantages for users and businesses alike. Just look at the conversion rate comparison between mobile browsers and mobile apps in the ecommerce space. 

In terms of personalization, speed, convenience, customer support, offline access, user experience, engagement, and checkout optimization—apps have an edge in every category. 

For those of you with an ecommerce presence, a mobile app has become a must-have feature. 

Even if you’re a small retailer interested in increasing your online presence, ecommerce platforms like Shopify allow anyone to create an ecommerce site with ease.

From there, BuildFire has a simple Shopify integration. App development has never been easier—with a few clicks you can turn your Shopify store into an ecommerce app. No coding, technical experience, or formal app developers required. 

Check out our guide on how to increase Shopify sales with a mobile app to learn more about this concept.  

10. Internal Communication and Employee Apps

Beyond apps for general consumers, we’re seeing a huge spike in demand for internal business apps and workforce apps

HR apps and employee communication apps have become the new normal for the modern workforce. With so many remote employees and field service workers out there, apps make it easy for businesses to stay in constant communication with their employees from anywhere.

Workers love the employee self-service functionality of the apps, like quick access to crucial information, company news, and more. Lots of businesses even add a social media style function to the app, where employees can informally communicate and share stories.

You can use these apps to facilitate schedule changes, training lessons, employee safety, compliance, employee onboarding—the list goes on and on. 

Here at BuildFire, we’ve seen a significant increase in requests from businesses of all shapes and sizes that need a mobile app with these types of features. From small businesses to enterprise organizations and everything in between, employee apps will continue to grow in popularity in the long run.  

Conclusion

There are tons of ways to make money with apps. But targeting app categories that are trending up is the best place to start. 

As you can see, these categories weren’t just pulled out of thin air. They’re all based on recent trends and statistics. What separates the best business owners and most successful entrepreneurs from average is identifying these opportunities and adapting accordingly.


For those of you that want to take full advantage of creating an app in one of these categories, book an app strategy session with BuildFire.

15 Mobile App Development Trends for 2022

The mobile app development industry is continuously evolving. Technology advancements, consumer demands, and a wide range of other factors have a direct impact on mobile app trends.

Staying up to date with the latest trends is arguably the most crucial aspect of success in this space. As a member of the Forbes Technology Council, I’m constantly researching patterns and communicating with other tech leaders about gaining an edge. 

Mobile app resellers need to keep up with new trends to better serve their clients. The same goes for content creators and producers ready to take their brands to the next level with mobile development. 

Are you prepared for the mobile app development changes in the coming year?

The list below is more than just a hunch or my personal opinion. I’ve used fact-based research to come up with the top app development trends that will dominate 2022. 

1. Internet of Things (IoT) App Integration

The IoT is far from a new concept. But the rise in mobile penetration across a broad range of sectors and categories has created seemingly endless opportunities for the Internet of Things.

People have grown accustomed to using technology to improve their everyday life. 

The IoT describes the growing network of devices connected to the Internet, providing convenience and automated control to consumers. Smart home technology is a perfect example of the rise in IoT and mobile app development. 

Mobile apps can be used to adjust the thermostat in a house from a remote location, lock or unlock a front door, and connect to home security systems. Refrigerators and other household appliances can also be connected to mobile apps. 

The global Internet of Things market is expected to reach $264 billion in 2022. $190 billion of that estimate will come from software, like mobile apps. 

Global IoT revenue

That’s a 14% increase from 2019. As you can see from the graph, the IoT is poised for steady growth in the coming years with software leading the way. The number of IoT devices out there is growing, 

According to Statista, the revenue from technology associated with the Internet of Things will eclipse 1.6 trillion by 2025. 

In 2022, I expect to see more mobile app development with the IoT in mind. Household devices, automobiles, display devices, smart devices, and healthcare are all markets to keep an eye on. 

2. Apps For Foldable Devices

It feels like a lifetime ago, but one of my first mobile phones was a flip phone. Mobile phones have clearly changed over the last decade. Touch screens with one or no buttons have taken over the market. 

But over the last couple of years, foldable devices have begun making a comeback. 2019 saw the release of foldable devices like the Samsung Galaxy Fold, the Huawei Mate X, and the new Motorola Razr. 

These smartphones fold to compress or expand the screen size based on user preferences. For example, a user might make a call with the device closed, but watch a video on a larger screen by unfolding the device. 

From an app development perspective, resellers and content creators need to account for these devices when building or updating an app.

The idea is that an app should seamlessly adjust its display as the screen folds or unfolds. 

Right now, foldable devices are just a sliver of the overall smartphone market share. But this will change in the coming years. According to a 2019 study by USA Today, 17% of iPhone users and 19% of Android users are excited about buying a phone with a foldable design. 

According to Statista, roughly 3.2 million foldable phones were shipped in 2019. This forecast is expected to reach 50 million units in 2022. 2022 will obviously be a big year for foldables, which means app developers must plan accordingly. 

3. 5G Technology

The rollout of 5G will have a major impact on 2022 app trends. For developers, resellers, and creators, this technology is poised to change the way mobile applications are used and created.

Take a look at the expected growth of 5G smartphone connections over the next four years.

Worldwide 5G Smartphone Connections

2021 had roughly 3.5 times more 5G connections than in 2020. These connections will nearly triple in 2022.

What does this mean for mobile app development?

Speed and efficiency will drastically improve. In fact, 5G is expected to deliver a 10x decrease in latency, while boosting network efficiency and traffic capacity. Compared to 4G, 5G will be up to 100 times faster, depending on the mobile network operator. 

The penetration of 5G will ultimately boost the functionality of mobile apps. This will allow developers to add new features to apps without negatively affecting the app’s performance. 

Developers and mobile app resellers should also use 5G network speed during the testing and development stages of building an app. 

4. Development For Wearable Devices

Wearable technology has been trending upward for years now as well. This isn’t necessarily a breakthrough in the market. We’ve seen smartwatches, trackers, and fitness bands for a while now.

But wearable devices have yet to reach their full potential. 

Take a look at this graph from eMarketer about the penetration of wearables in the United States. 

US Adult Wereables Users

While we’re not seeing a staggering jump year-year-over year, the growth is still steady. The wearables trend has changed and will continue to change the way that mobile apps get developed.

For instance, Apple made a big announcement about wearables and app integration at WWDC 2019. The new watchOS 6 has brought the Apple App Store to Apple Watch. Independent apps are being built specifically for these devices. This has created an enormous opportunity for app resellers and content creators.

In 2022, more mobile apps will be made with wearables in mind. Users will be able to download tens of thousands of apps directly from their wrist. 

We’re just beginning to scratch the surface with wearables and mobile app integration. The coming years will be exceptionally progressive in this category. 

5. Beacon Technology

Beacon technology has been embraced by a wide range of industries. From retail to healthcare and hospitality, beacons can add advanced functionality to nearly any mobile app.

The first mobile app beacons were developed back in 2013. But over the last few years, significant advancements have been made to this technology. 

Here’s an example of how beacons work with mobile apps. Let’s say you’re a mobile app reseller that builds apps for retailers. Your clients can install beacons in their stores that connect with a user’s smartphone via Bluetooth if the app is on their device. When a user passes by a beacon, they can be instantly notified about a sale or special on products in that store.

Beacons can also help track buyer behavior in stores. They can detect if a user is spending a significant amount of time in a particular aisle. The app can automatically trigger a push notification to entice a sale at a later date related to those products. 

The main benefit of beacon technology is proximity marketing. It ultimately improves the customer experience within a mobile app.

According to Statista, the beacon technology market is increasing at a compound annual growth rate of 59.8%. The estimated market value will reach $56.6 billion by 2026. That’s more than ten times higher than the $519.6 million worth from 2016. 

6. Mobile Commerce

I can’t make a list of 2022 app trends without mentioning mobile commerce. This trend has been dominating 2020, 2021, and will continue to thrive in 2022.

It seems like everyone is leveraging mobile apps to increase revenue. From large retailers to individual content creators and personal brands, there is plenty of money to be made in this space. 

Mobile ecommerce functionality is a top feature for mobile app resellers to showcase during client pitches. It seems like every day another business is launching an app to drive sales.

We’re not quite at this point yet, but we’re almost reaching the age where you need a mobile commerce app to stay competitive. Every single person and business selling online is competing with giants like Amazon. To keep pace, you need to replicate what makes those brands so successful; an app is at the top of that list. 

In 2021, more than 72.9% of total ecommerce sales came from mobile devices. Apps play a significant role in the current and future success of mobile commerce.

Mobile Ecommerce Growth

I could go on for days listing dozens of trends about mobile commerce. But in an effort to keep things brief here, you can check out our complete guide to mobile ecommerce statistics. 

2022 will continue to be a big year for ecommerce app development. Plan accordingly. 

7. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence and machine learning both penetrated mobile app development years ago. But we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface with how these advanced technologies can be used. 

When we first think about AI, virtual assistants like Siri or Alexa come to mind. However, the use cases go far and beyond this for app development.

Last year, Apple released Core ML 3. This latest version of the iOS machine learning framework was built to help developers embed AI technology into their apps. 

Examples of AI features that can be implemented into a mobile app include:

  • Image recognition
  • Face detection
  • Text and image classification
  • Sentiment recognition and classification
  • Speech recognition
  • Predictive maintenance

Artificial intelligence can make apps smarter, and ultimately improve the performance at every level. From the backend development process to the frontend user experience, AI will change the way apps are built-in 2022. 

8. Mobile Wallets and Mobile Payments

We’ve already discussed the role of mobile commerce for app development in 2022. But the way people pay using their mobile devices is evolving as well.

Mobile wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay are trending upward. 

According to a recent report, there was $6.1 billion worth of transactions from mobile wallets in 2019. This is expected to reach $13.98 billion in 2022. 

In short, the mobile wallet market should double in the next two years. 

Smartphone users are slowly but surely adopting mobile payments. They’re even leveraging app functionalities for payments on connected wearable devices. In coming years, all the mobile apps out there need to account for mobile pay.

Mobile wallets must be taken into consideration for app development in 2022. Wallet integration should become a standard feature for every app that processes transactions. Currently, that’s not the case. But the mobile wallet penetration rate in apps will grow significantly in the coming years.  

9. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality

Augmented reality will continue trending upward in 2022. Mobile apps can use AR features for a wide range of use cases.

Pokemon Go paved the way for AR in mobile app gaming. But today, the applications for AR have become more practical for other apps as well.

L’Oreal Paris uses AR for their Style My Hair app. 

Augmented Reality Examples

The app uses AR technology to showcase different hair styles and colors directly on the user. L’Oreal has also created a virtual makeup app using AR to see what makeup looks like on the user’s face. 

Even Google Maps rolled out a feature called “Live View” where users can see turn by turn directions in real-time on real-world imagery. By pointing the device’s camera at buildings and street signs, the app can figure out exactly where a user is. 

While these examples may not necessarily be useful for the majority of apps developed in 2022, there are plenty of other ways to use AR in mobile apps. 

For example, workforce apps can use AR-based training programs for employee learning. 

AR adaption is a top app development trend for content creators. You can use this technology to get creative as Instagram and Snapchat do with face filters. 

Virtual reality is also shaking things up in the world of mobile application development. This is especially true for gaming apps. VR technology can connect with phones, apps, and wearables to enhance the gaming experience of fully functional mobile apps. In terms of virtual reality and AR, these mobile application development trends cannot be ignored if you’re in the industries mentioned above.

10. Chatbots

Chatbots have been around for more than a decade. I remember my first interactions with these bots in the late 1990s on AOL Instant Messenger.

Over the years, chatbots have evolved and become much more advanced. Chatbots on websites have increased in popularity due to consumer demand. It’s becoming the new standard of customer service.

But of the millions of apps available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, just a small fraction actually use chatbots. This will change in 2022.

Since chatbots are driven by AI technology, their responses are becoming more human-like. We already discussed how AI will continue to trend upward, and this is one of the reasons why.

The global chatbot market is growing at 24% each year. It’s expected that 25% of all customer service tech interactions were facilitated by virtual assistants in 2020. For this to happen, chatbots need to penetrate the mobile app development market. 

11. Superior App Security

Everyone is susceptible to cybercrime. From singular content creators to multi-billion dollar enterprises, nobody is immune. 

Malware attacks designed to harm mobile devices increased by 54%. More than 60% of fraud originates from mobile devices. Of that figure, 80% comes from mobile apps. 

From an app development standpoint, you can’t afford to take any shortcuts when it comes to securing your app. If you’re an app reseller, security needs to be a top priority for your clients as well.

App users are well aware of security risks. So moving forward, people think twice about sharing passwords or providing sensitive information to third-parties, like app developers. 

Developers will start implementing features like Sign in With Apple to mobile apps. 

Rather than forcing app users to fill out form fields with their name, email address, and password, they can simply create an account and sign in using their Apple ID. These accounts are protected with two-factor authentication, and Apple won’t track the activity. 

12. Predictive Analytics

Here’s another mobile app development trend that will shake things up in the mobile app industry. By leveraging technology for machine learning, AI, data mining, and modeling, predictive analytics can forecast events using data. 

Tech giants have been leveraging predictive analytics for years now. A simple example is Netflix. The platform offers TV show and movie recommendations based on what users have previously watched. 

In 2022, predictive analytics will be implemented on a more mainstream level, for a wide range of mobile apps. The primary purpose will be to enhance the UI/UX with an app.

Take a look at how businesses across the globe are using AI technology.  

Predictive Analytics

19% of companies use AI for predictive analytics, which ranks first in the marketing category and fifth overall. 

The idea here is that no two users will have the same experience with an app. Product suggestions and preferences will be presented differently based on each user’s actions and behavior history. 

13. On Demand Apps

On-demand mobile app development is trending upward in 2022. Apps like Airbnb and Uber have shown how successful apps in this space can be. 

Users spend $57.6 billion per year using on-demand services. These are some examples of how apps can transform the on-demand industry:

  • Laundry service
  • Doctors on-demand
  • Virtual tutors and coaches
  • Food delivery
  • House cleaning
  • Maintenance services
  • Fitness on-demand
  • Pet care
  • Barber and beauty salon

The opportunities for on demand apps are seemingly endless. As a mobile app reseller, this is a huge opportunity for you to widen your customer base. By leveraging on-demand capabilities, your clients can add advanced functionality to their apps, which will increase profits for everyone. 

14. Cloud Computing Integration

While cloud technology is not new, it hasn’t quite penetrated the mobile app industry to its full potential just yet. But this is a mobile app development trend that you definitely need to keep an eye on. Cloud computing has a wide range of possibilities for mobile development, which will be exploited in 2022. 

Cloud storage technology can improve the performance of mobile apps at the user’s end. Apps can store data and carry out complex tasks on the cloud, as opposed to storing information directly on the user’s device.

Not only does this streamline development operations, but it’s also a cost-effective development solution. 

In 2022, 83% of enterprise workloads will be cloud-based. If your agency is building business apps or internal workforce apps, you need to keep an eye on cloud computing trends in 2022. 

15. Instant Apps

Android Instant Apps launched a few years ago. But we’re going to see a rise in usage and development in 2022. 

Android Studio allows developers to build instant app experiences to improve their app discovery. Users can try the app without installing it. They just need to click on the “try now” button.

Instant Apps

Instant apps have size restrictions, so it won’t necessarily be a full version of the app. But these limitations could change in the coming years.

App users demand a better experience. Allowing them to use an app without downloading it is a great way to give them that. 

Hollar, a mobile commerce app, was able to increase conversions by 20% by launching an instant app. 30% of their entire Android traffic comes from the instant app. 

If you’re developing apps for the Google Play Store in 2022, you need to have an instant version as well.

Conclusion

Mobile app development is constantly changing. If you’re building apps today using information from two or three years ago, you won’t be able to stay competitive. Mobile app industry trends can make or break the success of your project.

As a reseller or mobile app development company, you can treat the 2022 mobile app trends like your bible. This is how you can gain an edge in your space. All of the mobile app developers on your team need to understand mobile app development trends and incorporate them into the app development process.

You don’t necessarily need to implement every single trend into every app you build. But you need to have a general understanding of how the market is shifting so you can adapt accordingly. 

Based on my extensive research, the 15 app development trends that I outlined above will dominate 2022. 

Project Management Methodologies For Mobile App Development

Mobile app development has lots of moving parts. Each team member has unique responsibilities, but all work towards a common goal. 

It’s easy for this process to get derailed if you don’t have the right plan—and proper planning all starts with project management. 

But there are several different project management methodologies and frameworks to choose from. Some work well for mobile apps and software product development, while others aren’t so useful. 

If you’re building an app and you’re not sure what project management method is the best, then you’ve come to the right place. I put this guide together based on years of first-hand experience managing project teams—specifically in the mobile app and software space. 

Best Project Management Methodologies For Software and Apps

A quick Google search will yield dozens of project management methods. Exactly how many project management methodologies are there? It depends on who you ask. 

You’ll see terms like agile, scrum, waterfall, kanban, lean—the list goes on and on. There are even hybrid management methods, like scrumban, agilefall, and more. Between the different methodologies and specific frameworks within those methods, it’s easy to get confused. 

Rather than wasting time explaining every project management methodology under the sun, we’re going to focus specifically on the methods for app development. 

The following sections will teach you more about each method, how it’s used, and why it works so well for software teams.

Agile Project Management

The agile project management methodology prioritizes maximum value against the business goals within an allowable time and budget. This method empowers team members and supports the constant delivery of value to the project.

As an iterative approach to completing a project, agile management promotes velocity and adaptability. 

In short, the agile methodology is flexible. Rather than following a linear path from start to finish, different incremental steps and iterations are delivered in shorter bursts. This allows for maximum flexibility, as things can change throughout the project life cycle. 

Agile project management is comprised of multiple stages—requirements, design, development, testing, deployment, and review.  

These stages help reduce and mitigate potential risks, which is crucial for app development.

Instead of looking at an app from start to finish, the project is broken down into shorter cycles, usually about two or three weeks each. Your project team will follow these stages for each cycle, which has constant testing and review throughout. 

Agile works well for client and stakeholder collaboration, as the results of each iteration will be reported back to the stakeholders. This allows them to have more control over the development process.

For example, let’s say you’re building an enterprise app with an in-house software team. Rather than just telling them what you want and waiting for the finished project, agile project management empowers you to be involved throughout the process. 

Some of the top advantages of agile project management for app development include:

  • Ability to fix bugs after each stage
  • Easy to make quick changes throughout the development project
  • Constant collaboration with clients and stakeholders
  • Breaks the project up into multiple stages
  • Prioritizes budgets and timelines

The biggest drawback of agile PM is working with a difficult stakeholder. If they’re unable to review things after each sprint, it can push back your initial timeline and drag things out longer than they need to be. 

Agile project management requires a bit more planning from the start as well. The project manager needs to identify the top priorities of the software that should be handled first. 

Scrum Project Management

Scrum is a project management methodology that follows the same core values and principles as agile. So you’ll want to keep those agile concepts in mind if you’re using this method.

All work gets completed in short cycles, called sprints. Scrum teams meet on a daily basis to quickly discuss the current tasks they’re working on and any obstacles they’re facing. 

Daily scrums are also known as stand-up meetings. The idea here is that the meeting is so short that nobody has to sit down. Even if your software team is working remotely, it’s important that you stick to the daily scrum. 

Another crucial component of scrum is the product backlog. This is essentially a list of prioritized tasks that must be completed. These product goals are broken down into sprint backlogs, and ultimately turned into increments when they can be marked as “done.”

Kanban boards are useful for managing these backlogs. It allows everyone on your team to clearly see what’s being worked on, what’s been completed, and what needs to get done—all in real-time. 

In addition to the daily scrum, there are several other meetings that help make scrum project management so effective for software teams. 

  • Sprint Planning —  The tasks of highest priority are defined before each sprint. Product owners or stakeholders explain the backlog to the software team, removing all ambiguities. The team communicates how much work they can get done within the allowed timeframe. Sprint goals and sprint backlogs are created by the end of the meeting.
  • Daily Scrum — Held every day, usually for 15 minutes max. Each team member will quickly explain what they accomplished yesterday, what they’re working on today, and define any roadblocks or bottlenecks they’re faced with. 
  • Sprint Review — This meeting is held after each sprint to determine what’s been achieved in the past few weeks. The product performance is also measured against the goals that were initially defined during the sprint planning stage. 
  • Spring Retrospective — What went right and what went wrong during the sprint? This meeting allows teams to reflect on what they’ve accomplished and prepare for future sprints. 

Overall, this methodology works great for mobile app development due to its flexibility. The constant meetings and communication keep everyone on the same page.

By breaking the work down into tasks for completion during sprints, it allows your team to work quickly and complete the app in stages

Other advantages of scrum project management for software development include:

  • Ambiguities are removed during meetings
  • All tasks and completion of tasks are clearly organized
  • Responsibilities are clearly divided
  • Any roadblocks or obstacles are identified immediately 
  • Quick releases keep teams motivated and satisfy stakeholders

Scrum project management doesn’t work well if the team isn’t committed. It’s easy for things to get off track, especially if the backlogs pile up and teams are expected to complete work in an unrealistic amount of time. 

This methodology works best with small teams. Some members might be annoyed by the daily meetings, but it’s important to hold them regularly and ensure everyone stays on task. The scrum master needs to be a problem-solver to complete successful projects.

Extreme Programming (XP) Project Management

As the name implies, extreme programming is another ideal solution for app development. It’s agile framework designed specifically for producing high-quality software.

Of all of the agile frameworks, XP has the most specific use case with principles for software development. The stages of XP typically include:

  1. Planning
  2. Managing
  3. Designing
  4. Coding
  5. Testing

Here’s a visual overview of the extreme programming lifecycle:

There are five core values of extreme programming, which each contribute to the framework’s success for app development:

  • Communication — Team members must transfer knowledge to each other. Visual tools like whiteboards or other drawing mechanisms can be extremely helpful as teams explain ideas and concepts to each other. 
  • Simplicity — Avoid waste at all costs. Keeping the system and design as clean as possible makes it much easier to maintain the software, provide support, and fix bugs down the road. Focus only on what you know right now, without trying to predict the future. 
  • Feedback — Teams must get constant and immediate feedback about their effort. This helps everyone identify areas where they can improve, and continue doing what works well. Feedback loops also allow you to adjust the final product product going forward.
  • Courage — Software teams must have the courage to accept feedback, even if it’s difficult to swallow. They also need the courage to stop doing something that isn’t working, and move forward trying something else. If there’s an issue or problem, team members must have the courage to speak up. All of this helps improve the team’s efficiency, even if these decisions can be uncomfortable. 
  • Respect — Respect ties all of these values together. It’s impossible for software teams to provide feedback and speak up in certain scenarios without respecting each other. XP relies so heavily on constant communication that respect needs to be a priority. 

Again, XP is specific to software development. It can be challenging to implement with inexperienced developers. The methodology doesn’t always work if teams are working together for the first time, as they may not be comfortable communicating with full transparency. 

Waterfall Project Management

The waterfall methodology is the simplest way to plan any project. It’s not necessarily the most common methodology for app development, but it can work well for basic apps. 

It’s also worth noting that the waterfall project management methodology is arguably the easiest to implement. So if you’re a new project manager and just getting your feet wet managing teams, this could system can help you build confidence.

Following a sequential order of steps is the primary concept of the waterfall method. Tasks flow in order, and one step must be completed before the next one starts.

Just like a waterfall, everything flows down—you can’t turn around and go back upstream. 

It’s easy for teams to understand the waterfall process because everything is straightforward. But it doesn’t work well with larger teams.

Waterfall project management doesn’t typically work for complex projects because the framework isn’t very adaptive. It doesn’t allow for changes throughout the development project, and many developers find it pretty limiting.

With that said, there are definitely scenarios where the waterfall project management methodology is perfect for app development.

Let’s say you’re building an app on a no-code development platform, like BuildFire. If you’re doing this on your own without a dedicated software team, the waterfall method will work fine. It’s not like you can work on two things simultaneously anyways—you’re just one person. So the waterfall method will keep you on track and give you a clear list of sequential steps to follow as you’re creating an app from scratch. 

Kanban Project Management

Kanban project management is another simple concept to grasp, and the methodology can be used for a wide range of projects—including software. 

This methodology gives you and your team a visual overview of the tasks associated with completing the app. Deliverables are typically categorized into three basic categories—to-do, in progress, and done.

It’s common for kanban boards to be used in other types of project management methodologies. For example, we briefly touched on this earlier when discussing scrum. Lots of scrum teams use kanban boards to manage sprints. 

While kanban isn’t quite as technical as some of the other project management methodologies, it’s still trusted by software teams.

Even Jira Software, one of the best project management tools for software development, has kanban project functionality. 

The project manager here is responsible for assigning tasks to different team members on the board. Then each person will move the tasks to the “done” column upon completion. 

Kanban also works well for managing bugs post-launch. As new bugs are reported, a new task or card can be generated in your to-do backlog. Then developers can clearly see what needs to be fixed, and move those cards from in-progress to done. 

The downside of using kanban alone is that there isn’t a great way to prioritize deliverables. You can assign due dates or use a color-coding system for priority. But the methodology itself doesn’t have those types of principles built in. Kanban also doesn’t support dependencies between tasks. 

Conclusion — What’s the Right Project Management Methodology For You?

So, what’s the best project management methodology for app development? It depends. 

Most software teams tend to use an agile framework, as these are more flexible than some of the traditional project management and rigid PM methods. Some of you might decide to use a combination of these options. For example, scrum project management using kanban boards to track sprints is a popular option. 
In addition to finding the best project management method for your app, you also need to have the right team in place to execute development. So download our free ebook on building an expert mobile app development team.

Everything You Need to Know About Software Vulnerabilities

Mitigating software vulnerabilities is crucial for your business continuity. Breaches and attacks by malicious agents can cost companies thousands or even millions of dollars on average, which could greatly impact business operations, as well as its finances. 

Software vulnerabilities must be nipped at the bud before it causes damning damages. To effectively do this, you must first understand what these vulnerabilities are, how they come to be, and how to successfully address and prevent them.

What is a Software Vulnerability?

In a nutshell, software vulnerabilities are flaws that exist in a code and are often used by malicious agents to get unauthorized access to networks, steal valuable and sensitive data, and compromise company systems.

How Vulnerabilities Get into Software

The truth of the matter is, application vulnerabilities are a top concern for security professionals, but it’s not getting prioritized by businesses and developers. It’s often just an afterthought once a breach or attack has already taken place and the network has already been compromised. 

Insufficient attention to identifying and preventing software vulnerabilities is a result of numerous things, including inadequate comprehension of application security. Hence, companies need to have a clear understanding of the main sources of vulnerabilities to make sure they’re better prepared to create an effective mitigation strategy.

Insecure Coding Executions

Especially now because of the pandemic, countless companies rely on software for day-to-day internal operations as well as their main source of innovation for external products and solutions. Oftentimes, businesses put an immeasurable amount of responsibility and pressure to developers to build functional software in the shortest possible time. 

Security is usually jeopardized because the focus is primarily on speed and functionality during the development process. This fact is supported by a study published by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC)2, 30 percent of companies never scan for vulnerabilities during code development.

Since they’re in charge of creating the code, developers usually take the majority of the blame when security vulnerabilities cause issues in an organization. Of course, developers must ensure that the code they create is safe and doesn’t have flaws, but being obligated to quickly create usable and unique code can cause them to be more negligent on secure coding best practices. They also tend to overlook the importance of security assessments altogether to meet their deadlines.

Ever-Changing Threat Landscape

Numerous software is developed without thinking about how the threat landscape constantly changes. During the early phases of the development process, despite following best practices and using strong cryptographic algorithms, developers will realize that once the software is complete, the algorithm is already broken. 

Malicious agents are highly motivated to find weaknesses in a company’s network. This causes them to become more innovative in uncovering ways to find even the smallest flaws to infiltrate applications quicker than developers are producing methods to keep them safe.

Reuse of Vulnerable Components and Code

Most third-party and open source components do not undergo the same strict security assessment as custom-developed software. This is an issue that industry organizations like OWASP, PCI, and FS-ISAC are attempting to fix by recommending clear policies and control. 

Enterprises that utilize many code repositories will find it troublesome to specifically define every software wherein a jeopardized component is applied. This puts countless web and mobile applications at risk, especially when new vulnerabilities are publicized. 

It’s a common occurrence for developers to take code from open source libraries rather than to build specific codes from scratch. So even if there are weaknesses found in the code, they are not as burdened by it.

Top Software Vulnerabilities

Injection Flaws

Injection flaws allow an attacker to compromise systems by transmitting harmful code from one application. It’s one of the most common types of software vulnerabilities out there. These threats consist of different factors such as the use of third-party programs via shell commands, calls to the operating system, and SQL injection.

Unprotected input fields due to missing input filters during development are compromised by these attacks. 

Broken Authentication

By pretending to be an authorized user, broken authentication allows malicious agents to access systems, creating critical security weaknesses. Authentication flaws jeopardize a company’s sensitive data, network files, and operational systems.

Sensitive Data Exposure

When a company’s database is poorly secured, businesses endanger their sensitive data. Attackers who have a hold of an unencrypted database can easily exploit the exposed information. Taking advantage of this flaw is easy for hackers, especially since the system lacks a layer of protection.

Broken Access Control

Access control is a policy put in place to define and limit user functions. Therefore when it’s broken, it can bring about data tampering, information leaks, system interference, and more.

Security Misconfiguration

In a nutshell, security misconfiguration is the inefficient implementation of security controls for software. These flaws are regarded as an easy target for attackers since they’re quick to detect and exploit, which can cause a great deal of damage, such as data leakage for businesses.

Cross-Site Scripting

Cross-site scripting flaws are exploited by hackers to administer malicious scripts in a targeted application. For an app that holds sensitive data, the consequences are more critical. Attackers utilize XSS to steal a user’s login information, perform unauthorized activities, or even gain control of software.

Insecure Direct Object References

Insecure direct object references take place when an app shows a reference to an internal implementation object. This weakness allows a user to get the information of other users and serves as a vital issue in application security, especially since a lot of industries are using apps to collect user’s data, such as medical and banking apps.

Cross-Site Request Forgery

Cross-site request forgery is a threat that compels a user to carry out malicious actions on an application in which they are authorized. For normal-level users, the victim can be prompted to perform state-changing requests like changes in login credentials, funds transfer, and more. However, if admin users are compromised, this puts the entire application in jeopardy.

Using Components with Known Vulnerabilities

When you use unverified code from untrusted sources, you risk being vulnerable to numerous software flaws. Components that have vulnerabilities allow malicious agents to breach and compromise your existing network. 

Instead of taking the risk, it’s a wiser decision to utilize third-party software that has Code Signing  so you can be assured that the component is authentic, trustworthy, and safe.

Insufficient Logging & Monitoring

One of the main reasons businesses have difficulties in efficiently managing security breaches is insufficient logging and monitoring. Your system then becomes open to tampering, extortion, or destruction.

Unfortunately, improper logging and monitoring give attackers more time to compromise your data and system as much as they want since you will have difficulties tracing the breaches. Hence, addressing the malicious activities would take even more time.

Benefits of choosing a trusted software development vendor

Innovative and secure software development is vital for a company’s success. That’s why hiring a trusted and experienced software development vendor is a must.

If you’re still wondering if outsourcing software development is the best choice for you, these reasons might help you conclude.

Efficiency

An expert software development vendor will improve your company’s efficiency by helping you uncover business needs, communicate them to the development team, guarantee functional and secure code, and also train your employees to use and maintain the new program. 

Cost Savings

It’s often assumed that hiring third-party vendors are more costly compared to hiring an in-house development team. However, outsourcing your development project is a more efficient and financially sound choice since you no longer have to hire and train an entire team to create a solution.

Delegating this duty to a seasoned partner will save you valuable resources, which you can allocate for business growth.

Security

Established custom software development vendors are experts in their field, especially with system security. They are knowledgeable about the existing dangers in the industry and how to mitigate them. 

Partnering with the right development firm means you’ll have access to the best talent pool, with pros that would turn your business and security requirements into a viable and reliable product.

Expertise

Once you partner with a trusted software development vendor, they can have a better understanding of your business and steer you in the right direction that would give your company an advantage in the industry.

Your partner can propose important features for your software, how to safely collect and store data, the best platform to build on, and more. Open communication throughout the partnership is also essential to establish trust and confidence.

Support

From new user training to database maintenance and security assessment, your software provider will support you, so your organization can get the most out of your new product. 

Software vulnerabilities are not easy to deal with. However, being well-informed, addressing issues early, and facing attacks head-on, especially with the help of experts, guarantees effective mitigation of weaknesses, ensuring the safety and success of your business.