Have you thought of a million-dollar app idea and are you now looking to develop a new iOS app?
Choosing the iOS platform is a clever choice due to its widespread popularity among most mobile and app services. So you want to understand all of the inner workings of the app making process and how to choose the best iOS app development company.
This may be a tricky task however, and you may not be sure where to start or what to look for in an app developer when hiring.
In this guide we will walk you through how to develop an app for iPhones, and introduce you to the top iOS app development companies to help you build the ultimate app.
What is iOS app development?
iOS app development is the process of creating mobile apps using Apple’s operating system, a.k.a. iOS. This includes all of the iOS devices, such as iPhones, iPads, Mac computers and iPod Touch.
Apple conveniently provides helpful tools and resources for building apps for their devices. So iOS app developers can easily program in native languages, such as Swift or Objective-C – iOS apps only run on these.
With these tools iPhone app developers build, test and refine applications for devices that function on Apple’s operating system, working consistently towards the objectives and standards of the business.
Now, you may have a basic understanding of the inner workings of developing apps, or perhaps this all is simply double Dutch to you.
Either way, when creating an app, even if you are looking to get a specialized developer to do the job, you want to have an overview of the process.
So let’s first discuss why this operating system is important and what advantages you have from integrating it into your app concept.
Why iOS for app development?
As you probably know, Apple is in its prime right now having emerged as the ultimate platform, with macOS, iOS, watchOS and tvOS being used by hundreds of millions of people around the world.
And if you have done a competitor analysis and market research, you may have quickly realized that your potential customers are among those Apple users. You therefore obviously want to engage in OS app development.
But because the iPhone is the main device the majority of people own to use apps, we will mainly focus on the importance of iPhone app development for you to reach a much wider audience.
Swift for iPhone app developers
The iPhone has established an image as a more powerful device in the mobile phone world. There are several reasons for this, but the one most relevant is the efficient programming language, Swift.
So what is so cool about Swift?
Today, the Apple App Store has 1.96 million downloadable apps available that are mainly written in Swift, including the major apps Facebook, LinkedIn, Slack and Uber.
It is a programming language that is easy to learn and read, as it requires much less code than other languages.
Once your app is developed, Swift also makes it easier to maintain. This is mainly due to the language combining the Objective-C header (.m) and implementation files (.h) into one program (.swift) file.
It’s safe and stable
Another advantage of Swift is its safety, as it is a type-safe and memory-safe programming language. These attributes ensure the language prevents any type errors and avoids vulnerabilities referring to ‘uninitialized pointers’, which may cause a program to crash.
Moreover, Swift also provides Application Binary Interface (ABI) stability, which is a binary equivalent to its Application Programming Interface (API).
But what’s more is that the Swift ecosystem offers the ultimate benefit, which is the ability to talk to apps and libraries built with other versions and ensure binary compatibility.
Time & cost efficient
Swift is a simplified programming language that is becoming the preferred choice for iPhone app developers.
It requires minimal effort to adopt and maintain, having integrated functions that are programmed to eliminate crashes and errors, so that developers can focus on more important aspects of the app, such as its performance and efficiency.
With Apple offering a user-friendly and efficient programming language along with a popularized platform that will instantly reach a wider audience, developing your app for iOS will drive your ROI to new heights.
How to choose an iPhone app developer?
If you’re building an app yourself, you may have a million other things on your plate and building the app can be extremely overwhelming – especially if that isn’t your field of expertise.
We have got you covered though. There are several top iOS app developers, operating both freelance and full-time, available for you to hire, allowing you to create an app of high-quality that will drive major installs on the App Store.
Top iOS App Development Companies
But before you choose an iPhone app developer or iOS app development company, here are some things you should consider to create a viable product for guaranteed success.
Do your research
You want to understand the basic requirements of app developers and what their day-to-day tasks are, so it is crucial to see what responsibilities app developers usually have.
In essence, an iOS app developer writes, tests and improves applications for devices that use the iOS operating system. So logically, they will need to have an advanced understanding of iOS and how it works across all Apple devices, being able to adapt the software to the business’ requirements.
Choose your app developer type
Once you have browsed the world of iOS app development, getting to know the different types of app developers can be useful to understanding which of these your business really needs.
There are four main types of app developers, but you can find many subsets within these, such as specializations in a particular platform.
In general, enterprise-level companies tend to cost more but have the quickest and most effective methods to develop your app, while boutiques are more like small artisans, with the final category being freelancers that are your all-in-one players.
Communicate your business objectives
When you are meeting with potential iOS app developers, make sure you communicate the main concept of your app, including target audience, as well as the overall needs and objectives of your business.
This way you can avoid longing the app making process and have an expert that knows exactly what you envision your app to be.
Experience is key
In fact, not all job positions need a rich background of experience in the field. But when it comes to app or software developers, and in general, roles that require more niche skills and expertise, experience is essential.
Just like how you would not trust a surgeon who has never performed surgery before, a developer who has never developed an app before may not be your best option.
So be sure to look out for previous work and significant projects they have done in the past to really understand their level of expertise.
You want the best players for your app.
What to look for when hiring iPhone app developers
Here is a breakdown of crucial skills and requirements your candidate should ideally have to ensure you choose the best iOS app developer in the field:
When hiring, you want to have an idea of what their day-to-day tasks will look like. These can vary depending on what type of developer you are hiring.
For example, if you are going with a freelancer for your project, they may be handling a wider range of tasks, as they usually handle the entire lifecycle of an app
. However, an app development company may have take on selective tasks, as they have a larger team with multiple expertise.
Nonetheless, here are some points to paint you a better picture of what a typical iOS app developer does:
How to develop an app for iPhone?
Despite having plans to hire a skilled iPhone app developer, you may still be curious about the app making process. Which is fair – you want to have some idea of what your developer will be doing to know how to further enhance your app to boost those installs.
But it is important to note that the approach we present to you below should be tailored to your unique app concept. Feel free to tweak and shape the following steps according to your goals.
So how does it work?
Create an app idea
First and foremost, you should have a great app concept that users will want to use. But it is rare to come up with a completely new idea that does not exist on the market already.
This does not mean that you won’t be able to think of an intriguing app idea. Most apps within the App Stores are in fact variations or combinations of already existing concepts. So generating an idea with this in mind will surely spark some interesting themes.
Research the current market including common social platforms, such as TikTok, Twitter and Instagram to see what apps are trending right now.
Pro tip: Think of the app services you use frequently that you consider useful and identify what common interests users have. Your app should offer a solution to common obstacles in our daily lives.
For example, a common problem may be people having trouble finding parking spots in a certain area. So your app idea could be a concept that helps users locate a spot, with an option to pay parking fees through the app itself.
Do some competitive market research
Once you have your million-dollar app idea, do some market research and look into your competitors by simply typing relevant keywords into the App Store.
This browse may even inspire you to improve existing app concepts. You may discover a similar app that is lacking useful features that you can offer in your app instead.
Your competitor research should therefore involve checking reviews and ratings of other apps and understanding if users are complaining about the same errors and if their needs are being met.
When exploring the market, make sure to take note of significant elements of existing apps to understand what prominent attributes you want to include in your app as well as relevant keywords to look out for.
Other important elements include the following:
Write out your app features
Now that you have gathered your research notes, you can bring your app idea to life.
Refer back to the list of attributes of your competitors above and fill them out for your own app idea.
These are the main questions you want to ask yourself when proofing your app concept and whether it will outperform your competitors, transforming into the next successful app in the market:
Create an app mock-up design
When it comes to designing your app, you may surely have plans to get an experienced web and graphic designer to help you out with this. But you surely have some ideas on how you imagine your app to look like.
There are some points to consider when creating a mock-up in order to efficiently communicate to your designer what you have in mind.
The first thing you should prioritize is ensuring that your app is user-friendly. User experience (UX) is key to a successful app. You want people to be able to navigate through your app easily. If they cannot, they may opt for another app that offers more simplicity.
Aim to make your app intuitive and optimized for humans, and not just for the iOS device. So make sure buttons are visible and in decent reach of the thumb, for example, or interesting animations and graphics are included to impress the user.
Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines are extremely helpful in assisting you with the basics.
You can then think of what should be on the main screen (homepage) as well as the main mechanism for navigating through your app. This includes the location of tab bars and side menus.
Remember, it should feel intuitive and natural to the user.
Establish an app marketing plan
You can have the ultimate app concept, but it will only go as far as the quality of your marketing strategies. So now is the time to put together an effective app marketing plan.
Think about how you would like to pre-launch your app. In this case, you can look into social media and email marketing to draw attention to your app.
Let users know when the app launches and how it will change their lives for the better.
Make sure you have a landing page set for your app, even before it is launched. This way people can learn more about your app and what fantastic services they can benefit from.
Strong calls to action to subscribe and sign up to email listings will secure installs from the minute you drop your app.
Consider paid marketing too. If you have a decent budget, integrating paid marketing can take your app to the next level instantly. You could use it to give people a little tease on social media about the upcoming app.
TikTok and Facebook marketing are perfect ways to get your app the attention it deserves.
Use an app builder
This is the part where your iOS app developer steps in. But perhaps you are curious to know roughly how one builds an app.
Downloading a Software Development Kit (SDK) is essential for developing applications, and in this case, the iOS SDK in particular. It provides necessary tools for software development in one combined, installable package.
Specific SDKs are used by app developers to create apps that require certain advanced features, such as advertisements and push notifications.
In general, they include all the necessary components needed, from APIs, code samples to guides and libraries, to build and maintain apps without having to write everything from scratch.
You can also use the templates in the SDK for guidance when designing your app.
Another essential you will need is Xcode – Apple’s full-featured IDE for OS devices.
It provides developers a more simplified workflow in the app making process while coding, testing and designing.
As mentioned previously, apart from the new programming language Swift, Objective-C is a must when it comes to building your app as well. So you want to learn and understand at least the basics of Objective-C before you begin programming.
Just when you thought the SDK could not get any better, it comes with an iPhone simulator.
Once you are happy with your app, test it in the iPhone simulator and include all the ways a user may use the app.
Don’t forget to identify any bugs so you can fix these before launching it.
Pro tip: It is also helpful to have others test your app to get some specialized opinion and feedback on your work. A second, third and fourth pair of eyes can illuminate aspects of your app that were completely invisible from your own perspective.
Submit to the App Store
After testing and completing those bug fixes, the moment you have been waiting for has finally arrived: It is time for your app to shine.
Now before you set your app free into the world of the App Store, make sure you have looked into App Store Optimization (ASO) to ensure your app profile copy, which includes your selected keywords, title, icon, display screenshots and descriptions, is fully optimized to rank higher in the App Store.
Submitting your app to the App Store also means getting your app approved by Apple’s App Certification Team.
So you definitely want to review your app against the App Store guidelines, insert your app meta data and create your app listing via App Store Connect to avoid any rejections that will only delay the launch process even further.
Maintain and improve
Once your app has been approved and finally out in the open, make sure you measure your launch success and track your app’s journey moving forward.
Utilize relevant KPIs as key metrics to get an accurate overview of how well your app is performing.
We suggest creating a dashboard on which you update, preferably, on a monthly basis the number of traffic, clicks, impressions and installs your app receives.
It is also useful to keep track of subscribers of email listings as well as reviews and ratings to further improve your app to continue to meet your users’ needs.
How much does iOS app development cost?
When it comes to app development costs for iOS, it can depend on what level of expertise you are thinking of bringing to your business.
If you are looking to hire a single iPhone app developer, you may find these stats below interesting. They summarize the average salary of a developer, including the years and levels of experience:
|Years of experience
|Less than one year
|1 to 3 years
|4 to 6 years
|7 to 9 years
||Mid-career to senior
|10 to 14 years
|More than 15 years
When estimating the development costs of your app without an external app developer, you need to consider the development team location and the complexities of your app. These two factors have a massive impact on the overall costs.
Nonetheless, there are some average numbers we can give you, but note that they apply to the different types of apps:
|App development type
|Simple app development
||$40,000 – $60,000
|Medium complexity app development
||$61,000 – $120,000
|Complex app development
|Hiring a US app developer
||~$90,000 / year
In our App Development Cost research page we take a deeper look into the complex costs of app developers for iOS, using a wide range of sources and methods.
Develop the ultimate app for iOS
By now you must be an expert when it comes to all things iOS app development. Put these methods, tips and tricks to use and create the ultimate iOS app that iPhone users did not know they needed.
Of course, the app making process can be a challenging one, and it is always a good idea to leave it up to the pros to develop the best iOS app for real results.
Check out our list of the top iOS App Development companies and finally bring that app idea of yours to life.
List of iOS app development companies