Black iphone showing homescreen standing upright with spanners in front of the phone
Nik Roberts
Nik Roberts
31st May 2021

5 things you should know before developing an iOS app

If your business is looking to develop an iOS app, you might be tempted to get the ball rolling as soon as possible - but wait! Arming yourself with knowledge about the possible obstacles you’ll come up against is vital to a successful app project. Here are five considerations to review before you dive in.

1. Startup costs

In comparison to Android development, startup costs are much higher for iOS app development. As well as the need for specific programming skills, your development team will need to have access to a Mac in order to publish the app. Whilst there are ways around this, they’re fraught with problems and unreliability, so using an Apple Mac to publish is a must. The initial startup costs are a key reason why many businesses lean on an app development agency. Rather than purchasing Macs and hiring developers with React Native, Flutter, Switch or Object-C knowledge, you can leave it to an agency that has the right tools, setup, and expertise to tackle the job at hand.

On top of app development and hardware costs, you’ll also need to be a part of the Apple Developer Program in order to get onto the App Store. The membership costs $99 and is an annual charge you’ll need to commit to.

2. Comprehensive review process

Apple’s approval process can take between 24 hours to a couple of weeks. Although they state that 90% of apps are reviewed in 48 hours, that doesn’t mean that all of those apps are approved. Their app review guidelines are weighty and need to be followed to the letter. Apps can fail for neglecting just a single point from these guidelines, so it’s highly likely you’ll face a rejection notice before your app is approved.

However, there is a redeeming factor about Apple’s review process: their rejection feedback is detailed and their team is open to communicate. You won’t have to spend hours trying to figure out what went wrong, as Apple will let you know directly why they made their decision. You’re also welcome to ask for further clarification, or to politely contest their decision and explain your reasoning. Once you’ve iterated your app to rectify what went wrong in Apple’s eyes, you can republish your app and wait for the response.

Although the process might seem long-winded, it’s there to ensure only the highest quality of apps are available for iOS users to download. In the long run, users will have more trust in your app if it makes it onto the coveted App Store.

3. Quality over pace

iOS users value rich, intuitive experiences; cutting corners in order to reduce your app’s time to market is a sure-fire way to disappoint your users. Careful consideration needs to be made around the details of your app’s user experience, design and branding. Take time to plan out how your app will be accessible for all users, what intuitive features (such as haptic feedback) you’ll incorporate, and how your brand will remain consistent throughout the user journey.

Your app should be designed with experience in mind, so giving strategy, design and UX the correct levels of importance at the start of your project is vital for your app’s future success.

4. Go live is just the beginning

Sitting back and relaxing once your app is live on the App Store isn’t an option; your app will need to be maintained to accommodate iOS updates, bug fixes and new features for increased user retention. The digital landscape moves at a fast-pace, so staying on top of user feedback and asking what they want to see from your app will keep it on the right trajectory for steady growth.

5. Marketing matters

The App Store is a crowded place, so the likelihood of users finding your app organically is slim. In reality, you’ll need to warm up cold leads. Get your target users interested in your app through social media, newsletters and a crawlable landing page.

Ideally a landing page should be created prior to your app’s development, drawing attention to the upcoming release and gaining valuable insights into user interest. If you get qualified interest in your app before it’s ready to download, you should be able to hit the ground running once Apple has approved it for distribution.

App development is a process

iOS app development can become costly if you don’t comprehensively plan your project first. Understanding your app’s purpose, how it’ll help users and the steps you’ll take to achieve organic growth will give you a head-start in the process. From design to marketing efforts, the journey to build a successful app is one that takes time. However, if it’s done right, the new business and subsequent conversions from your app will be worth the hard-work.

If you’ve read this article and you’re not sure whether iOS development is right for your business, check out our post on iOS vs Android app development!

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