How to Design and Develop an App Like TikTok?


IIH Global

TikTok application development


TikTok, developed by Chinese company ByteDance Technology Co Ltd, is a media app launched in 2016 for users to create and share short videos. As the most popular musical app globally, TikTok boasts over 500 million users. Available in 75 languages, it caters to both iOS and Android platforms. If you're considering app development, whether for Android or iOS, partnering with an experienced Android app development company or iOS app development firm could help you achieve your goals effectively.  “After China, ByteDance launched TikTok for the international market in 2017 and also targeted the US teenage market for this app.“This app is immense popular globally and ranks#1 among free mobile app downloads on app stores. It allows users to make short music videos of duration 3-15 seconds and short looping videos of 3-60 seconds. Users can also edit the videos with animations, sounds, filters, etc.  

People often share videos on Facebook and when we open our Facebook or Instagram account, we can see many of TikTok popping up on the screen. This shows the popularity of social video apps among the audience. There many music apps like TikTok but still TikTok is #1. This article provides tips to design and develop an app like TikTok.

Features and Functionality required for developing TikTok-like mobile app:
  1. User Interface: As a thumb rule to design any app, the user interface should be simple so that users are comfortable to do a lot from the app.  The app can start directly with a prominent video and let users choose the “For You” tab.
  2. Hashtags and Live-Ops: Usually hashtags are suggested by the app itself.  These are used by video makers for what the video is about. The app takes care that the content is fresh and relevant. Live-Ops are important as they are enhancements to user experience and help to keep app user feel fresh and full of activity.
  3. Social media sharing: Users can add social media account in the app which enables them to share their videos and profile on social media like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, etc. This way the users can also increase their followers via the app. Users can also share their pictures on the app.
  4. Special Effects & Music Library: There is a lot of music available in the music library for the viewers. The special effects feature enables users to choose the desired background music and easily make marvelous clips.
  5. Real-Time Analytics: This feature allows admin to analyze the live audience and view the broadcasts in a graphical way i.e. real-time insights of the app usage and comparison with the previous data which helps in further decision making.
  6. Geolocation:  This is an advanced feature that you can use in the video streaming app. Users can find broadcasts according to their region and select the desired broadcasts to watch from the map itself. For this, an app developer needs to mark markers in the map in a range neighboring user’s current location to show the live broadcast in that area. The live & inactive broadcasts should be shown in different colors. 
  7. Push Notifications: These enable users to get notified of live events even if they are not on the app at that time. App developers can also include scheduling future broadcasts in the app to make it more interactive.
Technologies used to develop the app:

Cloud Storage: The cloud environment is AWS. The choice of server is very important for the app as it should be able to easily handle thousands of requests per second. So a cloud storage service like Azure, Google Cloud Storage, and Amazon S3 can be used. The server also needs to be configured to support all the major devices.

 Since video streaming is the key function of this app, it should be ensured to keep the mobile app light and you always stream from an external server. The broadcasting stream stays on user device till the time the user is watching and after that, it is deleted automatically from server-side. It is recommended that the app must also have an option to save videos in the external storage of the user’s phone.

 You can also choose a streaming media system like Wowza Streaming Engine Helix Universal Server. Apache Flink & Azure Stream Analytics are meant for real-time analytics. Use & Twilio for push notifications.

Content Delivery Networks (CDSs): Use highly scalable CDN services for secure media streaming. Video/Audio transcoding of media files needs to be done in many media formats so that they are supported on all major browsers and devices. The app developers can use open source software like FFMPEG for this purpose.

App development team:

It is necessary to have an experienced team of mobile app developers who can develop a wonderful app like TikTok. For this the required team structure should be:

One project manager, Android & iOS developers, & UI/UX Designer. When the app is ready, it needs to be well-tested by quality analysts. You should ensure that the app is reliable and secure.

Estimated app development cost:

There are many other apps like TikTok but TikTok is the best and the fastest growing apps around the globe. Some examples of such apps are Dubsmash, Triller, Vigo, etc. The cost of developing such an app having a smooth UX/UI finish depends upon factors like development region, the requirement of resources, & the development cost per hour. In the US & Europe, the development cost would be much higher than in Asia.  In India, the app development cost would be around $25000 for a single platform but for multiple platforms, this cost would be around $35000-$40000.

How will you earn money after developing such a marvelous app?

Of course, you expect a good business after putting so many efforts in developing a TikTik like the app. Here are some of the ways by which you can earn money for this app.

1) In-app purchase

Your app is available free to download and use from Google play store or apple store. There is a trick that you can charge a nominal amount from app users to upgrade the app to the premium version or to unlock some of the features.

2) Funds from investors

Remain in touch with some of the potential investors to get investment for your app. This is a very useful way of earning money and even the TikTok app development company received funds of $100 million from high-profile investors.

3) Selling the app

When your app gets popular among the targeted users then you can easily sell the app to potential entrepreneurs or corporates. Go ahead with the deal that is most suitable for your business.

4) Advertising

Obviously, you can also earn by displaying ads in your mobile app. The advertisements should be targeted to the audience according to age groups, region, and things most liked by a particular community, etc. Advertising can be of many types like cost per click, cost per install, etc.


Now you know how to design & develop an app like Tiktok. You are also familiar with the ways of earning money from such an app. So, try to be one of the reputed names in the field of media app development with the launch of your app.

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