How To Make an App (Updated for 2019)

by Chris Ching

Today I’m going to show you how to make an app even if you don’t have any coding experience.

Introduction

Thousands of people have gone through this guide on how to make an app and given me praise for publishing it!

You’ll learn the core skills and foundation that you need in order to create any app.

I don’t care what your app idea is; I know you’ll need to do the following 5 basic things at the very least:

1. Use Xcode: Xcode is the app which is used to construct your user interface and write Swift code in.

2. Know Swift: Swift is the programming language used to make iOS apps.

3. Constructing a user interface: No matter what your app idea is, you’ll need to know how to build the screens and user interface!

4. Handling user interaction: When the user interacts with your app, learn how to respond to it.

5. Expressing computer logic: Every app does something. You need to know how to express logic and process user input!

In the following lessons, you’re going to learn these 5 things and more!



Learn how to build your own apps

Instead of paying freelancers and contractors to build your app for you, once you learn this skill, you’ll be able to create your own apps for free!

It’s really not that far fetched as long as you have the desire to learn and the persistence to keep at it and get better.

Programming can be self-taught and yes, you can start your own career in iOS development even if you don’t have a formal background.

Many of my students have done exactly this!

It’s probably the single greatest thing I love about my field; that merit is based on your achievements and hard work rather than seniority or experience (as in the case of a surgeon for example).



The biggest point of failure for beginners is giving up before they pass “the hump”

The hump is what I like to call that point where it turns from frustrating to fun. It’s kind of like that point where you’re riding your bike without training wheels for the first time and you’re really wobbly, but not falling!

Then it’s just fun from there.

So get ready, we’re getting on that bike together and going over the hump!


How to use the materials below to create your own app

  1. Download and print out the Swift cheat sheet below.
  2. Go through Lessons 1 to 10 (highly recommended to do it on your own laptop).
  3. Whenever you get stuck or you don’t understand something, post your question in our community forum.
  4. Join my hall of fame for people who completed the app!
  5. Check out the next steps to keep learning.


Handy Resources

While you’re going through the lessons below, you’ll want to keep the following resources at your fingertips.

  • 7 Day App Action Plan
    This is my free 7 day fast start email course. It’s going to help you set goals, come up with your plan and start executing on it, all in 7 days!
  • My Swift Syntax Cheat Sheet
    I created a printable PDF cheat sheet for Swift syntax that you can keep beside you as you get used to Swift and Xcode.
  • AppRoadmap.io
    I created a handy web tool that asks you a series of questions and then generates a personalized learning plan for you!
  • Apple’s Swift Programming Language Guide
    This is a document on the Swift programming language. It’s a pretty dense read but good as a reference guide.


The Basics of How to Make an App

You’re going to get an orientation of the development environment, a tiny taste of Swift code and you’ll also make your very first app!

Xcode Tutorial

1. Introduction to Xcode
In this video, I’ll tell you what you need to learn and give you a tour of Xcode.

Auto Layout

2. All About Auto Layout
Jumping right in, you’ll learn how to build layouts.

Stack Views in Xcode

3. How To Use Stack Views
Learn how to use Stack View elements to build layouts much more easily.

Building a User Interface

4. Assembling the War User Interface
Put your skills to the test by building the UI for our War Card Game.

Swift Variables

5. Learn Swift Basics (Part 1)
Get hands on with the Swift programming language.

Swift Functions

6. Learn Swift Basics (Part 2)
Build upon the skills from the previous lesson and learn more about Swift programming.

Swift Classes

7. Learn Swift Basics (Part 3)
Finally, we put it all together and I’ll tell you how Swift code plays a part in your app.

Completing the UI

8. Connecting Elements With Swift Code
You’ll learn how to connect the elements in your layout to the Swift code that you write.

Handling User Interaction

9. Handling User Interaction
Learn how to capture and handle taps from the user.

Writing The Logic

10. Writing The Logic
Learn how to write code that THINKS!



Wall of Fame

By completing this tutorial, you’ve done more than 99% of the people who dream of building their own app but never take any action.

Give yourself a pat on the back and then click the card below to send out a tweet to inspire others!

I’ll see your tweet and I’ll add your name below and a link to your Twitter profile.

I completed the War Card Game app! @CodeWithChrisClick To Tweet

After you complete the tutorial, Click to Tweet above and pronounce your victory! I’ll add your name below:


Next Steps and Additional Resources

So you’ve gone through all 10 videos and you’ve successfully made your first app. Congratulations! That’s really impressive and I hope you share your success with a friend or family member!

Don’t sit on your laurels for too long though because you might forget what you’ve learned so far! So what’s next?

Continue learning of course! Here are some additional resources to learn from:

    • CodeWithChris Courses
      Learn how to make apps step by step even if you don’t have any programming experience. Backed and supported by me!

iOS Training Courses


162 thoughts on “How To Make an App (Updated for 2019)”

  1. Hey, I am trying to start a social media app.. i already have everything ready except for the actual coding.. currently learning how to code. Would you be interested in a partnership? Or maybe there are tutorials online that teach how to code an instagram-type app?

  2. hi can you please suggest how to send image view image to whatsapp/wechat .i already tried so many tutorials but not working just only default message is going i want to send image view image to whatsapp thanku guyssssss

  3. I have an idea for a new social media app. I just have the base idea, so we would need to discuss it more in depth. If you know how to program that would be a huge help, because I am clueless in this area. However, I can make the design. You will have to be serious about this and we would split all the costs and profits. Please message me if interested on youtube or email (mattullian1@gmail.com).

  4. Can anyone help me
    i have some knowledge in Computer and analysis .. i do work with Excel and Access what i look for is a away to build an iphone app based on my access data base and some of my Excel sheets as well

    i am very good with programming Data base on Access and can help bulding the app which will be used in pricing
    can i discuss my idea with someone

    • Hey Hosam, I’m launching the forums at the end of the month with a section for partnerships so you’ll be able to post there and find some one to work with!

    • I think I could help you with the design concept. Although the programing would have to be done by yourself or someone else. I myself have an idea for an app. If we could share ideas and choose the better one I would be glad to work with you

  5. hey I need some help if anyone can help me make an app then please add me on Skype my name is scotty.fensome

  6. i have the absolutly best idea for an app. social and everything. Comes with challenges yet fun for kids, adults, yet so simple. i NEED to learn how to create an app. Please dont ask for my idea so you can use it. because i wont be telling anyone like a dumbass. this idea is no joke

    • You want someone to make you an app for a product or service of which you are not willing to discuss. Exactly how do you see that turning out? I agree that you should not blab your idea around, but when you solicit help in a random forum from complete strangers, what do you expect will happen? You have to discuss it with your app builder, and if you choose someone here that you do not know, you may get scammed.

  7. Is there an equivlent to MIT App Inventer for Apple/iOS? This is the simplest one I have found but need to build same app for iPad users

  8. Hi Chris,
    I want to make a songs app of my language for iphone firs and cross platform later. Can i develop an app exctly like saavn , spotify or soundcloud?. I am really keen to do and learn this. If you could guide me,it would be great or we can do business on this. reply me here or email me nsaini23@gmail.com . It would be really appreciative for you if you will help me.

  9. Hello Chris,
    I’m hoping you can guide me in the right direction. I’m looking to build an app for use within school. Something where students can log in and answer a survey each week for 10 weeks. At the end of the 10 week period this information can be accessed by staff in a graph or some type of summary. Is this possible? I’ve been tasked with this and don’t know where to start!
    Cheers

    • Hey Carly, thanks for your message. Given your short time line and unfamiliarity with building iPhone apps, would you be able to make a webpage with the survey and have the app simply display that page? That would be the “lowest hanging fruit” for your situation i think. Otherwise, you’d have to dedicate a decent chunk of time to learn a new programming language.

      • Hey There Chris, I’m on Video 9 (Swift) Right now and Have been following you so far, Sometimes watching the video twice to be sure I didn’t miss anything . I have an Idea for a simple 2D game and I would like to build it and post it by March Next year .. Will I be able to do that after finishing all 15 Videos ? or is there more that I’ll have to learn ?

        • Hey Jonathan, there’s a ton more to learn! It’ll also depend on how complex it is.
          My suggestion is to finish up to 15 and recap on what you’ve learned and see if your game idea is doable with what you know at that point!

  10. Hey Chris, I’m really interested in taking your class, however I own a PC and am likely not to get a Mac until I am completely ready to start coding in objective c. I was wondering if your premium video class requires a mac for instructions?

    • Hey Naren, unfortunately it does.. There are cheaper options for PC users to get started if you would like to try your hand at iOS development. In particular, there’s a site called macincloud.com which will allow you to virtually connect to an Mac environment to do development. It’s something like $10-$20 a month i believe so you can use it as a test to see how you like coding in Objective-C!

        • Hey Naren, I haven’t used macincloud myself; i only heard about it from others but from what i’m reading on their website, you will have access to Xcode 5 and iOS7 which is all you need so you should be fine. Worst case, I can provide a refund for the class if it’s not working out for you, so no risk! Thanks for your interest!

          • Okay, thanks so much, just one quick question, when you said 67 dollars one time fee, does that mean ill pay 67 dollars once, and then after, Ill be able to access your videos and hw as many times and as long as I wish? Just wanted to clarify

  11. Hey I’m new to programming and have no experience. I want to create an app that can be a songbook. I just want a list of songs and then when you click on the name it goes to the right picture and then you can go from one picture to the next until the song is done (we are planning on scanning the songs into a computer). Can anybody help me with that

  12. Hi- I have an idea for an app which I have discussed with primarily women, they love my idea and say they would absolutely use an app as such. My problem is that I am so clueless. I really cannot imagine programming anything (I still have problems setting digital clocks LOL!). How could I have an app idea turn into a functioning product, how would it be marketed, would I earn money, etc…
    Donna

    • Hey Donna, thanks for commenting! It’s going to take some effort to learn to program but i’ve seen people with no experience end up doing it! Your other route would be to hire a freelancer to do this. Sites like odesk or elance can help you get quotes for the project.

  13. Hi Chris, I have set up a forum using vbulletin and want to add features such as video channel and an app for instant upload. I also want to add a mapping feature based on info from multi twitter feeds. As I have no coding experience what’s the best way to outsource this? I have seen a site called getacoder however the variation in quotes for the same job is a mind field on what you are actually getting. Also do you need to use a specific software terminology to get the job quoted.
    Regards
    Dean

    • Hey Dean, it’s going to vary a lot because people who have done that before will quote less time while people who need to do research will quote longer. Also quotes from professional consulting companies will usually be in the range of $150/hr. Individual developers you’ll get ranges from $15 – $100/hr depending on where they live in the world. The other reason where quotes vary is because the person doing the quoting may or may not have thought out all the details and may miss estimating a piece of functionality or required code.

      The only advice i can give you is to get many quotes so you can get a ballpark, and go don’t pick purely based on price. Look at past work, professionalism, communication, ability to deliver on deadlines etc.

      Good luck!
      Chris

      • Chris, thanks for the advice. Based on what I want to achieve is this something that can be achieved at a reasonable cost? What issues do you think I will have?

        • Hey Dean, to get an accurate quote, try to include as much detail as possible down to how many screens your app will have an what each screen will do. Unfortunately, I’m not the person to ask since I won’t be the one building it, but create that spec and shop it around. You can try this site here as well to get a ballpark: http://howmuchtomakeanapp.com/

          From what you described, it’s more complex than the usual fare so you may need to have a server to host videos or to do the twitter feed scraping (amalgamating the twitter data from multiple feeds)

    • Hey Vusicia! Thanks for messaging. Building games is a little different and I’m in the process of learning how to do it myself. You need to use something called “Sprite Kit” which you can look up for more info. I’ll share more tutorials on game building when i get a little more experienced. Thanks!

  14. Hi Chris,

    What’s your opinion on the flappy bird success of recent weeks and how (in your opinion) do you/can you differentiate your apps from others?

    It would seem now that social media is the way to success with apps, imagine one celebrity posted a link of a current app on there twitter…, bang, thousands of dl’s from fans, this is the market of today.

    Have you personally developed any apps currently available on the iphone app store? I would be interested in seeing what you have done.

    • Hey Josh, i think social media and recommendations from friends certainly has a lot to do with it. Many of the games out there today use human psychology to their advantage such as giving daily login rewards to “condition” the user’s behaviors or in the case of Flappy Bird, the game was hard but yet easy to retry so it was really addictive to keep trying. I feel like the difficulty level combined with the easy learning curve game play made it really easy to share with friends and “go viral”.

      However, this is just my opinion because I don’t have experience with app marketing and I haven’t built any apps for myself. I’ve got a lot of semi-finished prototypes but nothing that I’d submit.

      If I were to try to make an app, instead of trying to make something unique and innovative, I would look at the top charts to see what’s currently “working” and emulate that but make it “better”.

      “Better” could mean more features, better design/graphics, a twist in the game mechanics, or just implementing the feedback/requests from the reviews of the top app. I think it’s really important to listen to users and iterate constantly on the app to continually improve it. So if a developer isn’t doing that, you can capitalize on that and create a similar app that is more suited to what the users want based on the feedback.

      Again, take it with a grain of salt as I’m speaking from theory rather than personal experience!

  15. Hi Chris, I don’t know if this site is still active but i have a question for you. Can Someone without programming experience make an app that really worth? What i try to say is IF someone in the past maked an app and made money out of it without the programming experience that needed.

    • Hey Nick, i would say that it was easier a long time ago.. Currently if you want to have a really successful app (not game), you’d have to either have to create your own version of an existing app (like a calculator or to-do list) but make it really high quality or have some exclusive features or the other way is to come up with an entirely new concept that currently has no app. The latter is easier for the beginner but its hard to determine what concepts will be a hit in the app store.

  16. Chris, I am looking to make an iPhone/iPad app that closely resembles a wiki type setup. Can you point me in the right direction. Thanks

    • Hello! If you were planning to allow users to post stuff as well, then it gets a little more complex because you’ll need to learn how to build a user creation/login system and a system to post the articles to a database. If you are just learning iOS programming currently, I would suggest that you build a static app first and learn how to build user interfaces, hook up user interactions, have multiple views and then when you can do that, you’ll feel confident enough to learn how to create a server side interface (API) that will accept wiki posts, store them in a database and also how to make your app download the posts from the database.

      Sorry if that sounds very technical, but you can contact me using the link at the top of the page and I’ll explain more if you need more guidance.

      • Hello Chris , I have an awesome app that I’m trying to create . I know this is definitely a money maker , but I don’t have a clue on how to get started. I have been doing a lot of reading and research but theses terms are not familiar to me at all. Can u please help me?

      • HI I’m looking to make a instant messaging app like the one that works with facebook called messenger. where do I start. Or where can I pay somebody to make it?

  17. Hi hope someone can help me out, I am useless with computers and want/have a Really good idea for an app to build. Only problem is I don’t know how to do it. I do know since reading online that I need programs to make an app. is there anyone out there that I could share an app idea with and maybe we make a few bob?
    The app idea is fun and would be used by many people as I have done some research of people I know that have an iphone.
    Wally ….

  18. Hello,
    I am not trying to create my own app but I am writing a paper/report of an app I would create that would serve as a controller for game consoles. I am trying to give a breif description of how app development works but this is a lot to sum up. Could you help?

  19. Hello Chris,

    I am trying to build a very simple video library app, and I work on your tutorial and they are great, thank you.

    My problem is I found that coding is hard and it will take some time to get it done. Is there any way to built an app without coding.

    • Hey Floris, I know AppCoda just released a game starter kit. Also Ray Wenderlich has some great game tutorials for Game Center (which is what you’ll probably want to use to do multiplayer)

  20. Hi Chris, My question is more for advice. I have a database of restaurants on my blog. I would like to make an app that is more mobile user friendly (and for a little income.) I have been trying to decide if I should create an app for it from scratch with an app maker by exporting the database, or if there is a plug in that would take just the database component. Is an app easy to create that is just a searchable database?

    • Hey Sandi, thanks for your question. I checked out the restaurant database; really useful tool, that is! Is there a way to return just the raw data via url? Like say in an XML, RSS or JSON format? If so, it would be pretty easy to just create an app that’s a table with the filters at the top and whenever the user changes the filter, it would construct a url (like when you click a filter on your db on the site now) and then hitting the URL would return the results in a format that the app can parse and display in the table. Hope that helps!

  21. Hey Chris, This is a 13 yr old speaking here… compared to other online tutorials for objective-c, yours is more ”human friendly”, reading twice give additional confidence on the topics.
    already progressed half the way, thanks to you.

  22. Chris,
    Do you have any advice on how to get noticed on the App Store? There hundreds of thousands of apps out there, so it’s very difficult to stand out. Thanks, and great tutorials. Much appreciated.

    • Hey AJ! Unfortunately, this is an area I need to educate myself a little more too before I share anything with you guys. The screenshots and app icon are very important to convey quality. In terms of getting found, make sure you’re using keywords that are getting searched. Try using a keyword tool like the one Google provides: Keyword Planner. Listen to and implement user feedback from reviews to continually improve your app and finally there are marketing efforts you can undertake such as contacting app review sites or blog owners of relevant niches etc..

    • Hey Murray, this was actually my first attempt at teaching and it seemed a little overwhelming for some so i started the series at “Start Here”.
      I would suggest starting with the Basics Series at “Start Here” and then reading this series.

      Thanks
      Chris

  23. Hello Chris,

    I am a web programmer and very keen to learn IOS apps development.

    While surfing, I just found your website and it really helps for the beginner to know where to start and how to proceed.

    Since i am a beginner in IOS, will required your help for some time.

    Regards,
    Harikumar

  24. I have an idea for a website and mobile application. I want to really put some effort behind it. I want it to look polished and professional. I am afraid if I attempt to do this myself the execution will not turn out. I have been researching a lot. Where would you begin if you were me?

    • Hey Steven, to get it to the level that you describe will definitely require a designer if you’re not a designer yourself. If you’re willing to put in the work and frustration to learn the coding part of it, combine it with the professional design and you can get a polished app. However, also factor in the time it will take to learn a new skill (and how much free time you have).. it may take more than just a couple of months.

  25. Hello. I just wanted to say this is one of the best (if not the best) tutorials i’ve ever read including the paid ones! Very well documented and exampled. Good job!
    Are you open to questions or giving advice? I’m just learning the process of app developing and i have some web-developing experience that i want to put it to use. Thanks!

  26. I have two ideas for apps and want to learn how to make an app. , But before I do, I want to be sure no one has already made one like it. Where is there a comprehensive list I can go to by go just searching by category?

    • Hey Troup, yeah, the best way i know is just by searching it on the App Store. I usually do research like this and then there’s a site called AppFigures.com where you can see roughly how an app has been performing in regards to downloads. I do this to validate an idea.

      I think if you find an app that already exists for what you want to do, it doesn’t mean that you can’t do it too. You can improve upon their version with your own!

  27. Hi Chris,
    I am just starting but I want to thank you for sharing you knowledge to everybody that wants to learn.

    Regards,
    Jorcas

  28. Hello Chris, your tutorials are really great. I have a question for you:
    – I started making heart rate application and for now everything is OK but I want to put chart to which I will follow Heartbeat signals (ECG signals). If you could help me with this I’d appreciate it.
    NOTE:
    I have ECG device whose signal want to follow via bluetooth on my iPhone.

  29. Hey Chris, i am looking forward to get into all these xcode tutorials, This is one of the best, simplified one i have found so far. I registered myself with your xcode updates. I have a bit of background on c++, but not on a programming level. Thanks a lot for your effort. I am hopping to come up with something useful to all. Wish me luck……

    thanks a bunch..
    Rami

  30. Hi Chris, I have run through the first 4 tutorials of the series and your explanations are very good has enabled a non-programmer to get a grip of Objective-C.

    Really looking forward to the next tutorial.

    Thanks
    Rob

    • Thanks Rob! It means a lot to me to hear that and I’m almost finished with part 5 so i’ll let you know when it’s up!

  31. Thanks for this series – it’s the best I’ve found so far. I’ve really struggled with the “now enter this, put that there” type of tutorial. It’s much better when things are explained – learning as opposed to training, as my nursing lecturers used to say.

  32. Hello Chris, I am going to watch your tutorials for I want to learn how to make games. My son who is Autistic wants me to teach him how to do them. I do not have any experience. But I will do my best. I already have an idea for a game, all I need is some orientation to make it happen.
    Thanks !

Leave a Comment