How to Create an App Like TikTok in Five Steps

21 Nov 2022 | Mobile App Development


Since its launch in 2017, TikTok has quickly risen to global popularity, reaching over 740 million new users. And it had a record of over three billion downloads in 2021, a 400% year-over-year first-time installs, according to Statista.

TikTok is just a video-sharing social media site, yet its popularity is immense. It’s also a mirror to the technological trend of a shift from desktop to mobile. In 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there was a spike in the time users spent on their mobile devices.

While users’ time on apps is normalizing, the demand for social media platforms is still growing. Creating an app like TikTok that delivers professionally produced or user-generated video content is a great idea. Today, we will cover all the essential steps you should take to build it.

5 Steps to develop an app like TikTok

The app development process for an app like TikTok might seem the same for all apps. However, the process is not the same. Creating this app requires effort, and we will discuss the whole process in this article.

So, let’s dive in!

Research your target audience

Like any app development process, the first step starts with learning more about your target audience. To create a better app that’ll satisfy your user’s needs, you need to know more about your potential app users.

First, you can check TikTok’s current user statistics to inform your research. Learn about your target audience based on demographics, interests, and user devices or platforms. You can also learn more about the small details like their internet connection strength.

Next, don’t forget about the impediments that can prevent users from accessing your app services, like vulnerabilities, pathetic user interfaces, slow loading time, and poor internet connections, among other factors.

Outline the key features of your TikTok-like app

The next step when creating an app that models TikTok is to identify the features that you want to include in your app, which is our second step to your app. TikTok allows users to sign up, sign in, and customize their profiles. Users can also follow others, upload, edit, like, and share their videos, so you can consider adding all these essential features to your app.

These features, among others, are the ones that you must develop in your app to allow users to accomplish their desired goals. Here are some of the specific TikTok features that you should model when creating an app like TikTok:

Video uploading and editing

TikTok is a video-sharing platform. So, it’s pretty apparent: the first main feature is video uploading and editing capability. This feature allows users to upload and customize their videos on the platform. The app also has an in-app camera where users can record their videos directly.

A TikTok user can also do basic video editing, like crop, flip, or rotate their uploaded videos and tweak their playback speed. Moreover, many users enjoy selecting and lip-syncing background music, songs, or speeches to their videos, which they can get from an extensive music library, uploads, or other user content.

Filters and effects

Many users want more than just cropping and flipping their videos — they need plenty of filters and effects to get the feel and effect they need. Filters, like Beauty, have substantially impacted the look of users’ videos on TikTok.

Moreover, users want to decorate and enrich their videos by adding relevant stickers and animations to their video content. More effects allow users to add fancy glasses, hats, puppy ears and many other virtual elements to their heads, faces, and other video content elements.

Likes, social sharing, and comments

Any social media site must include certain engagement aspects, such as reactions, shares, and comments to other users’ content. TikTok is not exception. It has buttons for likes (as hearts), comments, and share buttons that allow users to engage with the content on the platform.

Users can share their videos within the app and other social media platforms. TikTok also watermarks every video with its logo and the user’s username, so it becomes easier for users outside TikTok to trace back the source after it’s shared.

For You page

Another prominent feature of TikTok is the For You page, where users find uploaded videos from other users. It is a personalized collection of videos based on several factors that align with each user’s preferences and interests.

The more a user’s content resonates with many other users, the more the videos will appear on other users For You pages. So, consider developing an algorithm that can access users’ content to check for its relevancy.

TikTok has not revealed everything about its algorithms, so you or your developers need to figure it out. The more you can let more relevant videos reach more people while moderating the others; they can be the holy grail of your success.


Another feature you should not forget when building an app like TikTok is including both in-app and push notifications. That way, you can easily allow users to stay informed about their account’s activity and status. You can send push notifications about who liked, shared, or commented on videos, new follower alerts, and more.

Find a mobile development company or freelancer to build your app.

Social apps require a lot of custom features that require a team of experts to build. So, if you do not have competent in-house developers, you need to hire a software development firm or developers with extensive experience.

Choosing the right company, however, is not easy because the team you choose to work with on your app can make or break your success. The ideal company will align with your goals and budget yet has remarkable talent who will create a powerful app for your company.

With the data gathered in the first stage, ensure that you communicate them clearly to the development team. Let them know about your target audience, monetization strategy, priorities, business models, and more.

Moreover, your research data will be valuable during the discovery phase of your app project. Let them know your preferred features, user roles, technology stack, and budget. You should discuss your app requirements thoroughly with your development team and stakeholders so that your expectations will match the deliverables.

Consider an ideal technology stack for your app.

We won’t dive too deep into the technical aspects of app development, but it’s good to understand the technologies you can choose to use when building your app. Here are some of the mobile app technological stacks that you can consider for your app:

Native applications tech stack

If you want to create separate apps for Android and iOS, consider choosing a native tech stack. Apps built with native technologies are more performant, secure, interactive, and intuitive. However, they are also expensive to develop and take more time and effort.

So, if you need a quality application without budget limits, native tech stack will be great for you. You can choose Android tech stack, iOS tech stack, or both.

Cross-platform app tech stack

While a native tech stack allows developers to create apps for a specific platform, cross-platform app technology lets you build apps that work across different devices and platforms.

If you want to reduce your development costs and create apps that are compatible with most devices, among other benefits, this option will be ideal for you. However, choosing the right cross-platform technologies to build your app can be a challenging solution for you. So, it is crucial to take expert advice on which option to pick.

Luckily, there are two giant frameworks that you can consider using to build your social TikTok-like app:

React Native

Backed by Facebook, React Native is one of the most popular open-source app development frameworks for building cross-platform applications. You can use it to build apps for both Android and iOS. Using its declarative UI paradigm, React uses native APIs to interact with native platform features to provide the experiences you need.


Flutter is a new, popular cross-platform framework that allows developers to create apps not only for Android and iOS but also for the web, desktop, and embedded. Unlike React Native, Flutter apps are compiled into native code, which makes them more performant and preferable to many companies.

Flutter is not mature enough as React Native, yet it is growing faster and has become a more dependable framework for many businesses. So, consider hiring a Flutter developer to build your app today.

Estimating the cost to build an app like TikTok

Not every software development firm or developer is the same, and neither do they charge equally. On average, the cost of building an app can range from $5,000 to $1,000,000+ depending on several factors.

And while cost is a crucial factor to consider when choosing an app development company, we believe it can be beneficial to discuss it as another step on its own because it is necessary.

Estimating your app development costs can help you identify the companies that will resonate the most with your budget. It allows you to balance your app’s quality and the pricing to align and to know if the company you pick is only interested in your money.

Different companies will provide quotes for your app depending on their estimation system. However, this upfront pricing doesn’t tell everything. App development is more complicated and depends on numerous factors to ensure the costs remain as you estimated.

There are several factors to consider when estimating the cost of building your TikTok-like app more accurately. Here’s the overview of five elements:

Features: More app features will cost you more. Custom features that are complex to develop will also contribute to a higher app cost. So, you should evaluate the features that your users need without adding unnecessary features that will scale up the development costs.

Software complexity: Another factor contributing to a costlier app is an app that needs to achieve complex functionality. If your TikTok-like app requires more complex features like deep algorithms or varied designs, you will pay more for your app.

Tech stack: The technology stack you choose to use will also contribute to the cost of your app. Native app development for iOS and Android platforms may cost you more than twice compared with cross-platform app development.

While you should focus on minimizing the cost of your app development, be sure not to compromise the quality of your app deliverables. If you need more discussion on the cost of your app, contact us for a free consultation.

Let Aveo Software build your app.

If you are ready to develop your mobile application today with insights from a leading video-sharing site, don’t hesitate to contact us and share your app idea. Our team will be ready to help you take your business to the next level.

Let’s build your app today. Schedule a free consultation with us now.