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

Updated 22 Aug 2023

18 Min




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.

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

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.

How Does TikTok Work?

TikTok has inspired a lot of entrepreneurs to explore how to create a social media website. It's 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 make personalized TikTok algorithms work for you. 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. We’ve studied TikTok features and divided them into two types — basic and advanced. You can find the information below.

You can also explore our guide on video editing app development to learn more details

TikTok basic features

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, finding an answer on how to build a Minimum Viable Product, you have more chances to get investments. A working product makes stakeholders trust you.

Login 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 media, 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.


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.


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.

Looking to make TikTok-like app?

Get an estimate of features needed to build an app similar to TikTok

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.

Video preview before 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.



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.


  • 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 or outsourcing developers. 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. Moreover, IT outsourcing provides a wide pool of experienced specialists all over the world. You can consider different professionals and select expert with required knowledge and skills.

How much does it cost to make an app? 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


  • 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.

Short Story-Cases on How Cleveroad Successfully Delivered Social Media Projects

Our team has hands-on experience in delivering various social media projects and we would like to present you with two of the most vibrant examples.

Donation-based social network with streaming

Our US-based client applied to us to create a visual social network similar to Instagram. The main goal was to build a social media app with real-time streaming and donation options from scratch.

We’ve developed a custom-made iOS app with complete functionality, enabling video broadcasting and donation acceptance. Also, we’ve provided a web-based management system that helps administrators monitor users' behavior, enabling internal process monitoring. Integration of subscription-based functionality was also required to ensure a steady stream of income.

As a result, the client received a donation-based social network with streaming, allowing the company to satisfy all the needs of the target audience and attract new users. The app was successfully launched and is now available in the App Store, receiving positive feedback from customers.

Mobile platform connecting enthusiasts of team sports

Our customer, an Australian company, came up with the idea of creating a solution to help team sports lovers find like-minded people nearby and bring them to the same environment.

At first, the client wanted to create two separate solutions: for leagues to stay connected during the gaming season and for booking games for a one-off fee with no additional obligations. However, later on, we agreed on integrating both options into a single solution, creating a team-sports players ecosystem.

As a result, our client got a sports service system for merging fans of team sports. The system contained the functionality essential for users to find local sports leagues, book places to play, and register for a season. The solution delivered allowed the company to expand the target audience and improve user retention rates, leading to increased revenue within the Subscription business model.

We believe that the delivery of this solution appears to be a successful example of experience in the social media niche, considering the opinion of our client:

David Argyle, CEO & Co-Founder of Just Play gives feedback about cooperation with Cleveroad

Key Stages to Build an App Like TikTok

To structure up your creation strategy, let’s dive into the must-have steps you should consider before starting the full-fledged development process.

Deep market analysis

For a smooth and successful launch, it’s crucial to define your niche market share and demand clearly. Let’s see what exactly should form your strategy.

Determination of your target audience

First, define who is most likely going to be interested in your product. This process tightly engages the analysis of the data of the existing user base. Using surveys, you can define their primary needs, interests, and behavioral patterns.

Also, it may be helpful to find out your average user's actual needs and pain points. Knowing this, you can solve the most widespread problems, improving users' loyalty and retention.

Monetization model choice

It’s time to think about how exactly you’ll benefit from your TikTok-like app. There are multiple monetization models, and several of them are implemented into TikTok functionality.

  • In-app purchases. TikTok allows its users to support live streamers by purchasing internal app coins. Then, the coins may be exchanged for virtual gifts that are usually handled to others during streams.
  • Advertising. This monetization model has many variations of in-app advertisement. Cost Per Click (CPC), Cost Per Mile (CPM), and Cost Per Action (CPA) are common advertising models used in mobile apps. In CPC, advertisers pay for each user interaction with their ads. CPM charges advertisers for every 1,000 impressions of their ad within the app. With CPA, advertisers only pay for clicks that lead to specific actions like app installations or sign-ups.

Another type of in-app monetization is fundraising. It’s an effective method in the first stage of a project. It implies attracting investments to support the app's development and growth. TikTok, like many other successful apps, also utilizes fundraising as one of its premium earning models.

Precise budget planning

As in any pre-planning process, TikTok-like app development requires deciding on the correct resource management. But, sure enough, unpredictable conditions happen. However, if you have a strict and systematized financial strategy, it will be much easier to avoid pitfalls and can positively influence risk minimization.

UI/UX design

A well-chosen visual concept can ensure users' attraction to your product. The more simple yet functional and convenient your app’s design will be, the more users would like to return to your solution. The primary aspect of a robust design is fast and easy access to information the user seeks to reach.

Cooperation with an experienced IT vendor

While working on TikTok app development, it is vital to cooperate with specialists with a high level of expertise in social network engineering. Otherwise, you may face project task delays and a lack of essential knowledge. This may lead to budget overruns and a list of unwanted consequences.

However, if you research and find an IT vendor with experience in your business domain, the chances of such inconveniences are low. Also, experienced experts are well-equipped with problem-solving skills and will likely find the most convenient solutions.

Discovery phase

In any development process, the discovery phase aims to define the app’s final functionality and technical advancement. This stage implies deep requirements analysis, the choice of the platform of launch (iOS/Android, web), the definition of the main features set and tech stack, as well as the preparation of a detailed TikTok estimate.

Develop a TikTok app MVP

Developing an MVP (Minimal Viable Product) is a great way to speed up the time-to-market process and reduce costs. MVP is an app version that contains only essential features for a product to function well. This method allows you to test the product and receive feedback, ensuring its usability.

MVP helps to focus on the essential functionality, not investing in unnecessary features. Also, a fast launch lets you get users’ feedback and gather valuable insights for further improvements. Nevertheless, MVP is a powerful tool for attracting investors, as they can see the product idea's potential to meet market demands.

App release

During the release phase, software engineers place the final product in public digital marketplaces (AppStore, Google Play). The team also handles all necessary project materials and files. Then, you decide on the release date and agree on ongoing maintenance and support check-up frequency.

Marketing and promotion

Congratulations! Your app has already been uploaded to digital marketplaces. However, you still have to spread awareness among the target audience that it is done and ready to be used. There are several ways to make it work for you:

  • App Store Optimization (ASO). To raise your solution in the results search of an AppStore, optimize keywords and visual elements to make it more visible.
  • Social Media Promotion. You can promote your TikTok-like app through other social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, engaging targeted ads.
  • Influencer marketing. An effective way to promote your product is to collaborate with bloggers and influencers who can show and promote your product to their followers.
  • Content marketing. Make blog posts, videos, and other pieces of visual content that can represent your product's functionality and benefits.

Reviews gathering and creating full-fledged solution

To make your TikTok-like app successful in terms of new user engagement, you have to show that it is worth it. An excellent way to do so is to gather users' reviews based on their experience utilizing the solution. Also, you can perform different surveys on social media platforms.

After receiving feedback, you can consider adding more advanced functionality to your social media solution to satisfy evolving users' needs.

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.


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.

However, you can try to develop a cross-platform app. This option implies that you develop an app that is universal both for iOS and Android devices. Such an approach appears to be more profitable in terms of time and costs, as such a solution takes nearly 50% less time to create.


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

DesigniOS appAndroid app

Approximate time

100 hours

100 hours

Approximate cost




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 — outsourcing vs. 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, Estonia is the most cost-efficient IT provider in Europe. Software developers from Estonia charge from $25 - $50 per working hour while delivering high-quality service. The cost-effectiveness is proven by the fact that 20% of world-known tech companies suc has Apple, Skype, Microsoft, Bosch and others have offices in Estonia. Flexible tax rates enable global companies to build effective business models. The avoidance of double taxation agreements with many countries allows you to reduce operating costs without legislative risks.

Mobile developers hourly rate by region

RegionAverage iOS developer rateAverage Android developer rate

North America

$110 - $250

$150 - $170

Western Europe

$37 - $175


Central and Eastern Europe

$23 - 80

$35 - $50


$35 - 150


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 depends on various factors like implemented functionality, platform compatibility, complexity of back-end development, and more. It is quite hard to make a precise estimate until your vendor knows your project’s requirements.

Note that even if you decide to make a TikTok-like solution, your product will have unique aspects that may influence the final price. However, on average, the cost to develop an app like TikTok may vary between $50,000-$100,000.

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. All the estimates are based on the average rate in Central Europe — $50 per hour.

Time to create MVP features of an app like TikTok

FeatureiOS developmentAndroid developmentBack-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


3 hours

3 hours


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 workBack-end developmentiOS developmentAndroid 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


26 hours

52 hours

52 hours

Project management

66 hours

132 hours

132 hours

Total time

416 hours

1025 hours

1025 hours

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


Total for one app (iOS or Android)

1441 hours


Total for one app (iOS and Android)

2466 hours


Discover the cost of your app

Contact us. Our team will study your requirements and make a rought estimate of your TikTok-like app

Cleveroad Expertise in Social Media App Development

Cleveroad is a professional provider of custom digital solutions based in Central Europe - one of the most famous outsourcing destinations due to its cost-effectiveness. For over ten years, we have been helping strtups, SMBs, and enterprises acquire new technologies that boost their overall performance and help them reach new heights.

Our flexible social network pricing approach allows any business to get a custom software product. All thanks to various cooperation models created for the convenience of the client and meeting financial expectations. One such model is Time and Material.

This cooperation model allows you to start working on a project without having an exact scope of future work. Development takes place according to the following algorithm:

  • We provide you with a demo of the completed functionality and sprint reports for your approval and feedback.
  • If you would like to change something in the current sprint, we will deal with the implementation of the changes in the next one. Each request is documented and the total time required for their development is calculated.
  • If we do not meet deadlines, you will receive a bill only for the completed part of the work.

So why exactly should you address your TikTok-like app development to Cleveroad?

We offer various software development services:

  • Cooperation with a company with 10+ years of expertise** in the IT industry.
  • Custom social media app development**. Our specialists have wide experience in social media app delivery, such as social networks, media sharing platforms, dating, and messaging apps.
  • Full-cycle software development services: from idea validation and requirements gathering to design, development, and lauch.
  • On-demand services: social media app creation from scratch, UI/UX design, IT consulting, MVP development, etc.
  • Our team counts all needed experts, including PM, DevOps, designers, analysts, and QA engineers.
  • A great experience in integrations into social media networks: Google Maps, Open Street Maps, Noonpayments, Stripe, Blockchain, NFC, Twilio, WebRTC, etc.

Besides, in 2022, we appeared on the list of top Estonian tech providers. Our experts keep this level and are always ready to accomplish your product’s vision and provide detailed analysis and quality results.

Frequently Asked Questions
How to make an app like TikTok?

The main aspect of a successful development and launch of a TikTok-like app is an experienced team of experts who can precisely analyze your app requirements and give a detailed feedback about your overall capabilities.

How much does it cost to build an app like TikTok?

TikTok app development cost depends on various factors like implemented functionality, platform compatibility, complexity of back-end development, and more. It is quite hard to make a precise estimate until your vendor knows your project’s requirements. Note that even if you decide to make a TikTok-like solution, your product will have unique aspects that may influence the final price. However, on average, the cost to develop an app like TikTok may vary between $50,000-$100,000.

What technologies do I need to make an app like TikTok?

To make an app like TikTok, you need to hire a development team and consider the tech stack of your future application. Usually if you've stoped at iOS development you'd need an expertise in Swift. However, if you prepare to deliver Android solution, your team is going to use Kotlin.

How does TikTok work?

It's 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. 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.

Author avatar...
About author

Evgeniy Altynpara is a CTO and member of the Forbes Councils’ community of tech professionals. He is an expert in software development and technological entrepreneurship and has 10+years of experience in digital transformation consulting in Healthcare, FinTech, Supply Chain and Logistics

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02.07.2022 at 06:05


09.07.2021 at 03:46


Still Benner
17.05.2021 at 09:22

This makes me realize I will devlop my dApp in Dfinity (Internet Computer) instead of tangle myself into all of the above.

04.05.2021 at 15:55

Why the heck would i need 70 grand for one platform when i can learn all of it and do it myself without any developers only me. Sheeesh

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 Orekhova
22.10.2020 at 09:07

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

Alex Richter
18.10.2020 at 09:37

Why node js for backend? are there other options?

Katherine Orekhova
23.11.2020 at 15:02

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

nawab shaikh
05.10.2020 at 06:58

how long period required to make app like tiktok

Katherine Orekhova
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.

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 Orekhova
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.

07.09.2020 at 09:52


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 Orekhova
14.09.2020 at 13:23

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

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

26.07.2020 at 10:02

Nice one

17.06.2020 at 18:09

Good article

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 Orekhova
08.05.2020 at 11:49

Thanks for feedback!

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