We have stepped into a time, where smartphones are officially taking over traditional mobile phones for several uses such as the primary mode of communication due to a revolutionary stride in back-end technology. They have positively altered the way we have been consuming information from across the internet.

A Step-Wise Guide to iOS App Development

The rise of the internet and digital culture has laid the foundation for the popularity of mobile websites and apps which have adding taken the popularity of mobiles through a giant leap. 

Today, apps are transitioning towards becoming handier and utility friendly such that they let you do anything from managing your finances to booking your travel tickets and even conducting your yoga sessions online.

They are emerging out as easy to use, quick essentials that let their users (and the developers) tap into the full potential of a smartphone. Everyone, from kids to adults, is busy exploring the apps either for adding the tint of entertainment to their daily lives or to make their life easier by getting everything at their fingertips.

Thus, the iOS app building industry is booming and has emerged as one of the most promising and profitable industries. Be it the Google’s Play Store or Apple’s App Store, each day thousands of applications are being uploaded and updated to meet the many different customer demands and staying updated with the guidelines for effective app development is an inevitable need for those planning a career in it or pursuing a developer’s profession.

Talking about the smartphone landscape, two dominant names that rule are – iOS and Android. While Android has a larger user base, however, Apple (iOS) apps lead the way when it comes to revenue generation with in-app purchases and other monetized services. Both android and iPhone app development are pacing up in the competition of app development which varies greatly, So, it’s important to understand why users like so much? 

Here are the major reasons: First, it’s simple. Second, the App Store submission process is rigorous, ensuring that customers get only the best and high-quality mobile products. Finally, Apple prioritizes user privacy, unlike any other company. 

Although, the acceptance of apps by Google’s Play Store is easier as compared to the acceptance of apps by Apple’s App Store, however according to statistics Apple’s App Store still houses over 1.5 million unique apps, with a combined download figure of a whopping 100 billion apps till date! And by the time you read this sentence, about 1000 more new apps must have already been downloaded and installed on a similar number of iPhones. No doubt the numbers are on an exponential rise.

Hence it’s an utmost necessity to Stick to certain guidelines during the iOS app development process to ensure the effectiveness of the output which also aligns with the latest trends and consumer expectations. As a result, to fetch a user-friendly and simple app, developers have to go through an extremely arduous process.

From the development, to get the app out the app store the iOS app developers must traverse a lengthy and difficult path to deliver a product that is a cut above in one way or another. Here is a step-by-step guide used by most iPhone app developers in India.

Usually, the app development cycle follows five main phases which are elaborated below :

1. Planning Phase 

Before setting down to start creating an app, 

it is important to have a clear focus and define the objective. You need to answer a few questions as to, why do you want to create an app? what problem does the mobile app solve, who is the target audience, what features are to be included, and so on? Besides, it is crucial to carry out comprehensive market research in this phase to access the app’s competitiveness in the market niche.

The planning phase also includes arranging all the pre-hand preparations and tool requirements needed in the subsequent phases of the iOS app development process. Let’s dive into the processes under it.

Research and Analysis

Currently, there are more than a million apps on the app store and that number is growing at a steady rate. This indicates a lot of similar apps either already existing or being built which may come across as a challenge to the developers to develop robust apps for the extremely competitive market.

So to ensure your app gains traction and is amply downloaded, you must conduct extensive market research to see the similar applications and map out the current trends in terms of features and technical requirements. Looking at user feedback can also reveal the dynamic demands and insights and what resonates well with the audience which you can inculcate in your app and subsequently use in the ideation process.


As for any other app, for an iOS app also, you need to sketch out and plan innovative and fresh ideas to make it successful and to draw the roadmap of the app’s complete development process. This requires considering several points to cultivate a robust idea for your app such as the necessary features.

The ideation process being the first step towards developing an iOS application idea needs to consider several perspectives and be open to suggestions and feedback Once you are set with it, you can make final refining to proceed.

Understanding the App Store Guidelines

The process of creating an app for iOS also requires you to intricately understand the Apple store guidelines. It allows us to publish only those applications that meet their requirements for the design, safety, user privacy.

Hence you must be equipped with these beforehand to move in the right direction for acceptance of your app, without wasting any time on last-minute modifications. And sadly there is no other way. That’s why all apps on iOS have a similar look and feel without losing out on the uniqueness aspect, and this way your process of creating a flawless iOS app is almost half done.

2. Design Phase

In this stage, the team comes with the user interface and user experience which is the looks, feel, and navigational channel of your app ultimately handed over to the iOS app designers to deliver. It includes multiple tasks.

Concept and Wireframing 

Once the concept behind your app is clear, you need to properly document the requirements for handing it over to the design team. This would aid the team’s wireframe developmental process But we move any further Let’s first understand what is a wireframe before we proceed any further.

It refers to an image or group of images which describes the visual components ( essentially how the app would look like) for later use in iOS app planning on structure and functionality. One of the advantages of wireframing is the room for alterations and enables them to map the cost areas and possible challenges.

It is important to Keep in mind that once the screens are frozen, changes are almost impossible to incorporate, without having to repeat the entire process all over again. This design stage is the backbone for subsequent app progress processes and successfully achieving other steps to create an app.

UI & UX Design

A key process of creating an app is the UI/UX design which can either make or break an app. This step determines the overall ease of navigating within the app, the user experience, and the appearance of the look. The ultimate goal at this stage is to create an iOS app design that is both visually appealing and intuitive in use.

In the case of IOS app developmentit must adhere to the specific Apple’s guidelines. For example, Apple states an appropriate touch size of 44 pixels square. This design phase allows the team to lay down the plan of display features such as graphics, animation, and icons which constitutes the building block of the complicated developmental Process.

Software Architecture 

The other major step that works alongside designing is the planning of software architecture. It is one of the key stages in the iOS app development process which focuses on planning aimed at ensuring stability and scalability of an app. It accounts for three primary components of the model view controller (MVC) paradigm – the data, the user, and user interfaces. A comprehensive software architecture planning is inevitable as it takes into account the fluctuating market dynamics.

3. iOS Development Phase

Although the initial parts of the iOS app building process help in getting all the requirements ready and having the app design completed, however the most critical phase of the entire effort begin in this phase of where you create an actual functional app from the pre-plans. It concentrates on bringing the app concept to life. Here the development team works on three different yet integral parts of the project – the back end, the API, and the front end of the mobile app.

Back-end Development

When it comes to app functionality, the back-end development forms the core. It is purely focused on the functionality of the app thus includes working on – 

maintenance and functioning, user account authentication, account management, push notification services, system integration with third-parties, and user experience customization which is taken care of by the server. At the back-end, the developers need to work on a couple of other things such as different states of the app like in the active mode, in the background, or sleep mode. There is also a requirement to optimize the app for better performance and using minimalism.


The Application Programming Interface (API) serves as a link between the front-end and the back-end of the mobile application. APIs form one of the core components in the apps development process as it completes the development process by maintaining a balance between the two. 

Front-End Development

Coding forms the basis of the development of the front-end to create different design elements for the app that directly interacts with the user. It involves the team to code design elements, like wireframes and mock-ups, caching, and synchronizing the databases. A well-developed front end will enable a 

consistent smooth user-experience across varied screen sizes and orientations, be it portrait, landscape, or both. The screens must be in the utmost sync to deliver the best.

Things to Consider During iOS App Development

Before moving to the actual development process, it is important to make a few selections regarding the fitting technology stack for your mobile app. Besides, choosing a suitable programming language approach is of utmost essentials. Here is a brief overview of the available approaches -platform-specific native, cross-platform native, and hybrid.

Platform-specific Native – Apps built with this approach have to be written separately for each mobile platform as the codes can’t be reused between Android and iOS. But on the positive side, these apps can be fully optimized for each platform. However, this is often the most expensive approach but is very established. Creating an app through this approach makes XCode – Apple’s IDE (integrated development environment) a necessity which imports the app designs. This tool provides various useful features, like editing source code, debugging, and ultimately exporting the application to the App Store.

● Cross-platform Native – Apps built with this approach have some shared codes but run like native apps using technologies such as React Native, Xamarin, and Native Script. This is a nice middle ground with cost-effective elements that can still be uniquely optimized and styled for changing platforms.

● Hybrid – Hybrid apps are built through web technologies such as HTML, CSS, Javascript, and are installed using a native wrapper. This can be done using a few well- known technologies such as Cordova, Phone Gap, and Ionic. Although it is the cheapest option available, however, poses some real difficulties.

Here Are a Few Other Things to Plan Before Beginning With the Developmental Process:

iOS Programming Languages: There are dozens of languages that can be used to build your API…Accounting for the requirements, the developer can choose any of the two languages for iOS app development – Objective-C and Swift. While Objective-C is a superset of the C language, it is gradually being replaced by Swift which is Apple’s newly launched programming language. It is claimed to run two points six times faster in comparison objective-C It provides an upper hand by being concise, sustainable, safer, and supporting the majority of the modern hardware units.

Agile Development: Keeping up with the rapidly changing mobile platforms, it’s always a brighter plan to gear up your iOS app development process. To achieve this goal, the developers must choose an agile development approach for the timely delivery of quality software.

4. Testing Phase

After finishing all technical app development phases, You need to check and ensure that the app is bug-free and optimized for delivering fast performance using low device memory to avoid rejection. Thus the next step is the QA testing of the developed product which is a crucial step, considering the difficulties in the submission process and Apple’s approval of the app.

For the app to pass Apple’s review guidelines, test the app thoroughly once it is completed, and make sure that it follows all the guidelines stated by the store. The iOS app developer must review the app for checking performance optimization, effortless user experience, debugging, optimal memory usage, security, so that they are in sync with Apple guidelines which involves the preparation of the test case, identification and modification of the automated script, device testing and a lot more in the list.

After reviewing the app and ensuring it won’t get rejected, you need to apply the App Store by creating an app Id (Identifier) and an iOS provisioning profile for subsequent review, approval, and distribution. It usually takes a time duration of a couple of weeks for Apple to respond and approve your mobile product. Finally after which you can Submit the version for releasing the app.

5. Promotion And Marketing Phase

After launching the app, Promotion is a necessary step to catch the attention of the users. Use the right keywords to make your app stand out amongst its competitors in the market and visible to the audience. With the upgrade of the iOS App Store, you can promote your apps. Use searched data about In-app purchases, stories, categories, stories, and collections –for marketing and promotion activities.

6. Maintenance Phase

Once published, however, the iOS app development process doesn’t end. You need to consider user feedback and maintain regular updates to ensure that it supports all the latest iOS updates and developments as well as meets the quickly changing customer demands. Updates are an indicator that the app has the necessary support and up-to-the-mark in this age. So, this phase simply marks the beginning of another development cycle.

The iOS app development process can seem overwhelming and involved. It is actually with an unending set of steps, elaborate research, and pre-planning and consistent efforts that are required along the way. But, it is worth the efforts at the end and is an extremely rewarding process that will ultimately fetch you the results you have been working for when religiously followed.

Bhavesh Kachhadiya

Bhavesh Kachhadiya is Sr. iOS Application Developer at USS LLC. He likes to share iOS app development tips & tricks.