How to Create an App Like TikTok: Features, Estimation, Tech Stack

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21 Jul 2020
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13 min
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Katherine O.
Copywriter
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Stanislav K.
Business analyst

We’ve updated the article to provide the final price to make an app like TikTok.

TikTok video-sharing app has become a new trend among entertainment applications these days. This application has millions of users from all over the world. And they spend hours on TikTok watching videos and creating own content.

The unexpected but stunning success of TikTok led to many requests like how to make an app like TikTok and cost to create a TikTok-like app.

In our article, you can find a ready-made estimation, basic and additional features as well as a tech stack for developing an app similar to TikTok.

Table of contents

How Does TikTok Work?

TikTok is a video sharing platform that lets users create and share videos online. It enables users to upload videos and film content. After that, the videos can be edited as the application provides many editing effects, filters, and more.

Additionally, TikTok is a perfect platform for showing talents and sharing knowledge with a broad audience. It can convert a video into a live wallpaper. Users can save these videos in the settings. The platform has become popular in a short time.

What About TikTok Algorithms?

TikTok has revealed all the details about creating For You and Suggestions fields. Let’s single out the details.

How does TikTok create For You page? The system analyzes several factors like user interactions, video information, device and account settings. Based on this information, TikTok recommends individual content for each user.

Of course, there are more ways to personalize TikTok content. Before using the app, users need to choose the categories they’re interested in. If the user doesn’t select categories, TikTok shows the most popular videos.

Also, users can tell TikTok that they don’t like this video. For this, they need to long-press on a video and tap ‘Not Interested’.

Quick Stats

  • TikTok has approximately 800 million monthly active users from all over the world.
  • According to SensorTower, TikTok has been downloaded more than 2 billion times on the App Store and Google Play.
  • According to the latest research, TikTok is used by teenagers. The average age of TikTok users is between 16 and 24. more prevalent among men than women.
  • Users tend to spend an average of 52 minutes daily on the TikTok.
  • Apptrace claims that TikTok is available in 155 countries.

How to Make an App Like TikTok: Features and Technologies

Creating an app like TikTok, it’s necessary to consider essential features beforehand. In most cases, it’s better to start with building an MVP (application with some basic functions) and, after that, integrate new and advanced functionality.

Looking to develop an MVP?
Our team is ready to help! We can consult you about any tech issues!

It may be time-consuming and expensive to develop a TikTok clone. However, you can build an app with some basic features and launch it. The MVP version of the app allows getting feedback from your target audience and deciding what features to develop further.

Additionally, having an MVP version, you have more chances to get investments. A working product makes stakeholders trust you.

We’ve studied TikTok features and divided them into two types — basic and advanced. You can find the information below.

TikTok Basic Features

Basic features of an app like TikTok

MVP features for an app like TikTok

Log in & sign up

Users need to sign up to post the content. It’s better to bring several options for sign up, e.g. email, social network, and phone number.

Edit profile

Offer the users to customize their profiles, e.g. the ability to change the profile pictures or username, add a bio, and more. Customized options are always a good idea.

Upload videos

How to make a TikTok-like app successful? It’s necessary to provide users with an easy and fast way to post videos. As a result, it’s better to consider sharing options beforehand.

Filters & effects

TikTok offers adding many filters and effects to the video. So, it’s necessary to add such a feature to your future app. As a result, you can attract more users offering them unique filters.

Video editing

Users should have capabilities to edit the video on the app. There can be some basic options like flipping, speeding up the video, and more. However, it’s also possible to add an opportunity to turn on ‘beauty’ mode. It makes the users’ skin more smooth.

Hearts & commenting

Similar to Instagram, TikTok provides an opportunity to like the video and comment it on . The users can also look through the liked posts on the specific tab.

Sharing

To gain more users, you can offer sharing options. It stands for the ability to share their publications on other social media like Facebook, Twitter, etc. Additionally, TikTok offers to connect the user’s profile to other social networks.

Notifications

To keep users posted, it’s necessary to add a push notification function. You need to inform the users about comments on their videos, likes, or any other updates. Usually, notifications are implemented via Google Cloud Messaging (Android) or Apple Push Notification Service (iOS).

Admin panel

Admin panel offers multiple functions like user management (e.g. edit, delete, or block users). Additionally, it can assist in counting posts of a particular user, providing data about new users, and more.

Exciting Features to Add Later

It’s enough to have only basic features for launching an app. However, the more users you gain, the more advanced and unique functions your application should have. There are some TikTok advanced features below that you can implement if you start TikTok app development.

Advanced features of an app like TikTok

Some unique features for an app like TikTok

Video preview before the registration

TikTok allows looking through some popular videos before signing up. As a result, new users can look through the content. However, to comment or like, it’s necessary to sign up.

Location-based content

One more advanced feature that you can consider while making an app like TikTok. This feature allows locating the device. According to this data, the app offers content posted by other users with the same location. Additionally, users can add their current whereabouts to the video.

Real-time analytics

This function provides an opportunity to see the live viewers and broadcasters on the graph. Additionally, it offers data about the number of comments and hearts.

Live video streaming

TikTok doesn’t have this feature these days. However, an opportunity to start a live video is in demand among social video applications.

AR filters

Some augmented reality filters can change the hair or eye color, add objects over the head (e.g. dog’s ears, flowers), and more. This technology becomes more and more popular these days. So, it’s a good idea to integrate this technology into your application. By the way, we’ve developed an amazing AR library. If you are curious, you can check our GitHub profile to study our ARFaceDetection.

ARFaceDetection

ARFaceDetection

Wrapping up, there are a lot of exciting features that you can add while making an app like TikTok. In most cases, it’s better to start with creating an MVP gradually adding some complex features.

How to Create an App Like TikTok: Required Team and Technologies

To develop an app like TikTok, you need to hire a development team and consider the tech stack of your future application.

Team:

  • Business Analyst
  • Project Manager
  • UI/UX designer
  • Android developer
  • iOS developer
  • Back-end developers
  • QA engineer

There are two main ways to cooperate with IT specialists — hire an in-house team or an outsourcing company. Each option has benefits and drawbacks. For example, it’s easier to communicate with in-house developers, but there are a bunch of additional expenses like rent, equipment, and others. On the other hand, outsourcing companies offer affordable hourly rates and the high quality of the final product.

?

How much does it cost to make an app in 2019? We’ve revealed various hourly rates and what affects the final price.

A lot of modern technologies can be used to create an app like TikTok. In the case of native mobile development, you need to choose a programming language — Swift (iOS) and Kotlin (Android). Also, if you choose cross-platform development, software engineers can utilize Flutter app development services.

To give you a hint, we’ve listed the APPROXIMATE tech stack to make an app like TikTok.

iOS app

  • Programming language: Swift
  • Networking: Alamofire

Android app

  • Programming language: Kotlin
  • Networking: OkHttp 3

Back-end development

  • Programming language: Node.js
  • Framework: Express 4
  • Database: MongoDB, SQL, MySQL
  • Cloud: AWS or Azure

Tools:

  • Storage: Amazon S3
  • Signup: Amazon SES, Amazon SNS
  • Notifications: Google Cloud Messaging for Android and Apple Push Notification Service for iOS
  • Real-time analytics: Azure stream analytics, Google Mobile App Analytics
  • AR-filters: ML Kit, ARCore
  • Geolocation: Google Maps API, MapKit/Core Location frameworks (for iOS).
  • Chat: Twilio
!

The technology stack is approximate and may differ depending on your goals, project requirements, features, and more.

Factors That Affect the Final Price

Creating an app like TikTok, you need to consider several factors that can completely change the price. The most essential of them are platform, design, application features, and a team of mobile developers. Let’s discuss them more precisely.

What can change the development price?

Factors to consider

Platform

Nowadays, there are two popular platforms — iOS and Android. So which platform to choose? The answer — you need applications for both platforms if you want to make an app like TikTok.

However, if you have a lack of budget, you can choose one platform depending on your target audience and their preferences. For instance, Instagram was first launched on iOS. The Android version was released a year and a half later.

Additionally, it’s curious that iOS development tends to require 20% or even 30% less time in comparison to Android. It happens because more devices run on Android. As a result, it’s necessary to provide support for various screen resolutions and OS versions.

Design

The design of the applications is always a struggle since it can require a decent amount of money and time.

Users are quite demanding these days. User-friendly and intuitive UI/UX design can assist in driving new users and gaining their trust and loyalty.

Cost to make a TikTok design
Design iOS app Android app

Approximate time

100 hours

100 hours

Approximate cost

$5,000

$5,000

Features

To start making an app like TikTok, you need to prepare a list of required features beforehand.

The number of features and their complexity are the main components of the application development cost. To build an advanced feature for a TikTok-like app, the developers require more time.

Development Team

How to make a TikTok app? There are two main options — cooperate with an outsourcing company or hire in-house developers. Each option has advantages and disadvantages.

In-house development tends to be more expensive since there are such expenses as hardware and software purchases, taxes, rent, and more. However, the communication process is much more comfortable.

On the other hand, outsourcing development has become popular these days. Vendors offer various hourly rates depending on their location, so you can choose the company that fits your budget. For instance, developers from Eastern Europe are highly-qualified but have low hourly rates.

Mobile developers hourly rate by region
Region Average iOS developer rate Average Android developer rate

North America

$110 - $250

$150 - $170

Western Europe

$37 - $175

$70

Eastern Europe

$23 - 80

$35 - $50

Australia

$35 - 150

$110

CCPA and GDPR Compliance

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) are established to provide consumers with more control over their private data.

GDPR compliance. If you make an app like TikTok for the EU market, you need to follow GDPR. It protects users’ personal data. Additionally, there are high fines in the case of noncompliance.

CCPA compliance. You need to consider this law if you make software for California residents. CCPA tends to offer users more control over their personal data.

TikTok App Development Cost: MVP Version

TikTok app development cost always depends on the functionality of your app variation. However, to give you a basic understanding of price, we’ve prepared the estimate for the TikTok MVP version.

In the estimate, you can find the MVP features we’ve discussed above, including iOS, Android, and back-end development.

!

Below you can find APPROXIMATE time and cost to build an app like TikTok.

Time to create MVP features of an app like TikTok
Feature iOS development Android development Back-end development

Log in & sign in

30 hours

30 hours

24 hours

Edit profile

24 hours

24 hours

14 hours

Upload video

20 hours

20 hours

6 hours

Filters & effects

109 hours

109 hours

4 hours

Video editing

56 hours

56 hours

4 hours

Likes & comments

39 hours

39 hours

21 hours

Sharing

3 hours

3 hours

-

Notifications

13 hours

13 hours

14 hours

Admin panel

-

-

42 hours

Considering all the factors mentioned in the article, the cost to create an app like TikTok may range between 1,441 hours and 2,466 hours for one or two platforms respectively.

Let’s take a look at the details.

Time to make an app like TikTok
Type of work Back-end development iOS development Android development

Features development

201 hours

507 hours

507 hours

Frameworks and libraries integrations

35 hours

58 hours

58 hours

UI/UX design

-

100 hours

100 hours

Quality assurance

88 hours

176 hours

176 hours

DevOps

26 hours

52 hours

52 hours

Project management

66 hours

132 hours

132 hours

Total time

416 hours

1025 hours

1025 hours

!

All the estimates below are based on the average rate in our region (Eastern Europe, Ukraine) — $50 per hour.

Having the development time, let’s find out the final cost to make an app like TikTok.

You should add back-end development time and iOS or Android development hours, depending on the chosen solution. After that, you need to multiply the time by the team’s hourly rate.

To create an app like TikTok (MVP version), you need at least $72,050 for one platform (iOS or Android) and $123,300 for two platforms (iOS and Android).

Cost to develop an app like TikTok
Platform Time Cost

Total for one app (iOS or Android)

1441 hours

$72,050

Total for one app (iOS and Android)

2466 hours

$123,300

Discover the cost of your app
We’ll check your requirements and estimate your app.

Cleveroad Expertise: Ayoo Dance

Our team has already developed an application similar to TikTok and we would like to briefly talk about this experience.

We’d love to introduce our social network that connects dancers from all over the world — Ayoo Dance.

Platform: iOS

The technology stack of Ayoo Dance

Ayoo Dance project stack

Ayoo Dance gives dance lovers a place where they can show their skills,abilities, and communicate.

Our development team has created a mobile solution and a web-based admin panel according to the project requirements.

The main challenge of Ayoo Dance development was implementing the Duet function. Duet stands for playing two videos together. As a result, users can create a dances comparison that is fully synchronized.

One more exciting feature is the opportunity to vote for a dancer. So, the users watch two videos together and vote for the best show.

Ayoo Dance: Interesting features

Ayoo Dance: Duet function & Votes

Need any assistance?
We provide full-cycle tech consultations and project estimation at no charge!

Frequently Asked Questions

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Comments
W
Walter
25.04.2020 at 19:59
Your article was very insightful thank you!, and props to the lead generation idea with this article as a landing page, as well as a marketing strategy for Ayoo Dance : )
Katherine O.
08.05.2020 at 11:49

Thanks for feedback!

H
hmftj
17.06.2020 at 18:09
Good article
B
Bibhu
26.07.2020 at 10:02
Nice one
CL
Coral Lee
01.08.2020 at 14:00
We need to make an app just like tiktok or stop Donald Trump from banding it. So who ever knows how to make apps can you make an app just like TIKTOK!. Thanks
DR
Donald Rodriguez
20.08.2020 at 03:01
I want to create a social media platform that give people an outlet to be creative with different videos and share with each other
Katherine O.
14.09.2020 at 13:23

Please contact our managers, clicking on the 'Contact' button at the top of the page.

H
Honey
07.09.2020 at 09:52
Nice
C
Carlos
24.09.2020 at 22:51
What type of services do you believe you would need in AWS or Azure in order to make the system stable for users? Trying to gauge the cost of running the product once it is in production.
Katherine O.
05.10.2020 at 13:28

Hello! To answer your question, we need to know more about your system. You're welcome to contact our managers. Managers and DevOps engineers can help you calculate the cost of running the product.

NS
nawab shaikh
05.10.2020 at 06:58
how long period required to make app like tiktok
Katherine O.
05.10.2020 at 13:05

Thanks for your interest! The time required to develop an app like TikTok depends on your project requirements. You can contact our managers to get a free estimate.

AR
Alex Richter
18.10.2020 at 09:37
Why node js for backend? are there other options?
Katherine O.
23.11.2020 at 15:02

Thanks for your question. Please contact our managers to discuss other options with our development team.

R
Raman
20.10.2020 at 17:18
Can you develop Tik tok like application on serverless environment so that code can be scaleable using pod etc
Katherine O.
22.10.2020 at 09:07

You'd better contact our managers to get a free consultation. Our development team can answer your questions.

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