Mastering the art of mobile app releases

Like anything that requires strategy, the mobile app release process is an art. Releasing a mobile app successfully is a dance that calls for skill, experience, and a strategy to tie all the moving parts together. As a mobile developer looking to implement Mobile DevOps practices, you’re at center stage — orchestrating something that moves people into action.

With so many moving parts across functions, teams need to work together to release mobile apps successfully. In this article, we’ll detail the resources and processes required to master the art of mobile app releases.

Research and planning

To master the art of mobile app releases, you need to first define your audience, understand their behaviors and requirements, and plan your features accordingly. One of the best ways to research information about your target audience is by conducting first-hand market research in the form of surveys and interviews. This way, you can directly ask your potential user base what they want — well ahead of your mobile app release.

You can also conduct second-hand research to better understand your user base by reading behavioral studies and researching competitors. It’s best to get a good understanding of the current mobile app offerings that are available to your potential user base, and to read customer reviews to learn more about what they value.

Who to involve

In the research and planning phase of your mobile app lifecycle, involve the market research team, marketing team, or any team members that have a direct relationship with your customers or people in your target market. You could also involve Project Managers to allocate resources and lead project planning.

What tools to use

  • Read customer reviews on the App Store, Google Play Store, and G2: The customer reviews for your app, as well as your competitors’ apps, are great sources of information to learn more about your user base’s needs and wants when it comes to app design and development.
  • Do competitor research: Check out what your competitors are doing and determine your place in the market. For example, you can use Owler or Crunchbase.
  • Use Google to research customer expectations: Use Google or another search engine to look for information about what your customers are expecting from your app. For example, you can search “mobile app features for fintech apps” to get a better idea of how to maximize the ROI of your fintech app.
  • Read about mobile app trends to take advantage of new and improved technology for mobile app development.
  • Use a project management tool to plan your project: Chances are, your team is probably already using Jira or another sprint planning tool that you can use to plan your mobile app project and features.

Once you know what feature you want to develop, you need to allocate the appropriate resources and time to develop each feature.

💡Tip: Use ChatGPT to conduct customer research. You can learn more about your potential user base with ChatGPT by asking it about mobile trends in your industry, competitive analyses, and more.


After you’ve laid out your plan for a successful mobile app release, it's time to start developing the app. Depending on the size of your mobile team and the features you’re developing, different resources and time frames are required for different apps. 

Typically, mobile developers mock up the UI and UX of the app, write code to build the app’s functionality, and test the app before release. Using agile methodologies in mobile development prioritizes continuous testing throughout the development cycle and encourages early and frequent testing. 

Mobile developers might use Swift, Java, or other programming languages to create an iOS or Android app. Or, they might use Flutter, React Native, Cordova, or other frameworks to create a cross-platform app to release on the Apple App Store, the Google Play Store, the HUAWEI App Gallery, and more. Mobile developers may also choose to develop a hybrid app for both web and native apps. Choosing a programming language for your mobile app is dependent on your requirements, budget, and timeline.

Who to involve

In the development stage of your mobile app lifecycle, you should involve the mobile engineers that will create the app’s functionality, as well as the development teams that will test the app.

What tools to use

  • Use programming languages and frameworks that are mobile-friendly: Mobile engineers commonly use Swift or Objective-C to build iOS apps, while Android engineers often use Koltin or Java.
  • Use an IDE for mobile apps: An integrated development environment, like Xcode or Android Studio, is required to build your mobile app. This provides a dedicated environment for you to code, debug, and test your app.
  • Use a mobile CI to streamline development processes: Mobile CI/CD platforms like Bitrise help to automate the build, test, and deploy processes — specifically for mobile apps.

💡Tip: To save time and resources, a mobile CI/CD tool like Bitrise helps you set up a mobile CI in just a few clicks. Integrate your favorite mobile tools with Bitrise’s third-party integrations to speed up development cycles, automate mobile workflows, and more. Start your free trial of Bitrise today.

QA & testing

In order to master the art of mobile app releases, you need to have a solid QA and testing process in place. Testing and QA processes ensure that your app is functioning as intended before releasing your mobile app. Mobile app testing also helps provide a good experience to your end user.

When conducting mobile app testing, the QA team aims to reduce the number of bugs and failed tests, ensure overall app security, and improve user experience.

Who to involve

In the testing and QA phase of your mobile app lifecycle, you should involve the QA and testing team, as well as any relevant stakeholders who can provide feedback on the app's functionality and user experience. In smaller organizations, the development team itself will conduct the mobile app testing.

What tools to use

  • Use testing frameworks to automate the mobile testing processes: Testing frameworks like Appium, Calabash, and Espresso can help automate your testing processes and ensure that your app functions correctly across different devices and operating systems.
  • Use bug tracking tools to track and fix software issues: Bug tracking tools, like Jira, help development teams keep track of bugs and issues as they are discovered. These tools can also help to create and prioritize plans to fix them.
  • Use a monitoring analytics tool like Bitrise Insights to monitor app analytics and test data: Bitrise Insights helps you monitor trends and drill down on data to improve efficiency. Monitor test success rates, run times, and flakiness.

💡Tip: Know which tests take up the most amount of time and which tests fail most frequently to optimize processes. With Bitrise Insights, you can view and monitor trends in your test duration and failure rates. To reduce the testing time, you can separate tests and run them in parallel with your pipelines. And, if you use an M1 large machine, it can significantly reduce testing time.

Mobile app releases

The most important step to mastering the art of mobile app releases is, of course, the release itself. After the developers or testing team tests your mobile app, it’s time to release to the app stores. It can be a complicated process — many mobile engineers run into problems with code signing, rapid changes in processes and technology, and slow builds. 

Automation, well-managed release cycles, and a high release frequency are extremely important when it comes to mobile app releases because:

  • Automation saves valuable developer time: You can automate code signing, releases, and more to speed up mobile app release frequency.
  • A well-managed release cycle leads to a faster time-to-market: A designated release manager can oversee ongoing releases, streamline processes, and improve time-to-market.
  • A higher release frequency leads to a better-performing app: A 2-star drop in rating results in a 50% lower conversion rate.

Who to involve

The DevOps team is typically responsible for automating the release processes, improving efficiency, and streamlining time-to-market. A designated release manager, who might sit on the development team or the DevOps team, might be identified to help streamline the release.

What tools to use

  • Submit to a mobile app distribution platform: Deploy your app to Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store to distribute your app to iOS and Android users.
  • Use a mobile CI/CD tool like Bitrise to streamline processes: Automate the building, testing, and deployment of your mobile apps to save time and resources.

Ongoing feature development and releases

After you’ve released the app, your job isn’t over. To be a master in the art of mobile app releases, you need to continuously monitor the app’s performance, develop new features, test for bugs, and continuously release app updates. The Mobile DevOps process is a loop that relies on continuous integration and deployment. 

Who to involve

Everyone who was involved in the app development cycle is involved in this stage. The researchers need to continuously uncover new customer needs so the developers can continuously develop new features. The security team needs to continuously monitor risks and improve app security. The DevOps team needs to reduce build times and improve workflows.

What tools to use

  • Use a mobile CI/CD tool like Bitrise to reduce build times: Implement Mobile DevOps best practices into mobile pipelines to get features to market faster. Automate manual workflows, improve transparency and communication, and release better-performing mobile apps.
  • Use a monitoring analytics tool like Bitrise Insights: Monitor insights to improve builds over time. Bitrise Insights helps you identify negative trends in performance, drill down into data, and make informed DevOps decisions for your mobile builds.

💡Tip: Monitor your slowest builds based on a 90th percentile or a 50th percentile in order to optimize processes. With Bitrise Insights, you can filter down that data by application or workflow. You can also isolate the data from your slowest builds to drill deeper into your data.

Neo Financial mastered mobile app releases with a steady two-week release cycle

Neo Financial, a fintech company, is a master of mobile app releases. After implementing a two-week release cycle and optimizing workflows, the Neo Financial team dropped their build times by 50%. The team uses CI/CD pipelines — combined with automation, hooks, scripts, and feature flags — to reduce manual work and allow for more safe, consistent releases.

“For us, Bitrise is something that just works all the time. We don’t have to worry about who does the uploads, who sends the new versions to the testers, and who releases to the app store — it’s all automated.” — Sudeep Sidhu, Lead Mobile Developer, Neo Financial

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