Set Up Your App Development Project

You should follow five app-making steps to set up your app development project. Only set up your app development project once you have chosen an app development environment and completed planning your app. Following this process will help you decide which app-making tool(s) you need.

Set Up Your App Development Project 5 Important Steps

  1. Pick your app-making computer.
  2. Open a developer account.
  3. Download an image editor.
  4. Download any other necessary app-making tool(s).
  5. Review similar apps.

Step 1. Pick your app-making computer.
For your app development project, even if you’re using an app-making platform, you’ll still need to complete most of the steps on a computer. It doesn’t have to be a very powerful computer—any desktop or laptop should work. If you want to make an iOS app, you’ll need to use a Mac at one of the final steps. Otherwise, either a Mac or a PC will work.

Step 2. Open a developer account.
All app OS require you to have a developer account to create apps for their devices, even if you plan to distribute the app privately. iOS developer accounts cost $99 per year (or $399 for Enterprise accounts, if you choose to distribute your app internally); Google Play developer accounts (for Android apps) have a one-time $25 fee; Amazon charges an annual $99 fee.

Step 3. Download an image editor.
No matter which app-making platform you use, at some point, you’ll likely have to create images for your app, such as an icon that will appear on people’s devices and a screen that will show when the app is loading. Photoshop is a common tool that you can license starting at $10 per month. Gimpshop is a popular free, open-source alternative.

Step 4. Download any other necessary app-making tool(s).
Depending on the app-making platform you’re using and what you’re ultimately hoping to do with the app, you may need additional programs for creating the content that will appear in it, such as a text editor or Adobe InDesign for creating layouts.

Step 5. Review similar apps.
To make sure you understand the type of app your app-making platform will deliver, be sure to review multiple apps that have been created on that same platform. Look for apps that are similar to what you hope to do. If you have questions about a particular feature or capability, be sure to ask before you sign any agreements.