12 Best Mobile App Development Tools

What tools do you need to build a mobile app? Here is a list of the top programs, services, and development tools for your mobile application.

There are a plethora of mobile app development tools from and it can be overwhelming to choose the right ones.

It’s 2021, and given the sharp rise in technological advancements, there hasn’t been a better time to develop a mobile app. This is also largely down to the fact that the world is attuned to people who use smartphones, tablets, and wearable tech on a daily basis.

This means any business that wants to scale and grow exponentially, should invest in building a responsive mobile app. While it’s fairly easy to develop a mobile app these days, building a truly great one requires careful planning of resources, costs and identification of tools and frameworks.

Having said that, there are a plethora of mobile app development tools to choose from, and quite frankly, it can get overwhelming to pick the right ones. Here’s a list of the top 12 mobile app development tools that will help businesses make the right choice for your mobile application.

Native Mobile App Development Tools

1 Xcode

Xcode enables developers to create native applications for Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Apple Watch. Xcode provides developers with a seamless and easy-to-use workflow. Many developers regard it as a type of IDE (Integrated Development Environment) that helps them to not only write software but also to compile it and debug it.

Xcode makes use of the all-new SwiftUI framework to bring an iPad app to Mac with a simple click.

Key Points:

  • Free to start your mobile application development
  • No demo available
  • Exceptional native app performance on Apple platforms

2 Android Studio

Want your app in the Google Play app store? Google’s Android Studio is an Android development software to build apps on every type of Android device based on IntelliJ IDEA. Apart from providing a unified Android app development platform, Android Studio offers a feature-rich simulator that makes app development a breeze for Android developers.

Android Studio’s drag and drop features along with the various shortcuts for coding and designing save time and make building apps a much easier activity.

Key Points:

  • Free to start mobile application development
  • No demo available
  • Time-saving, easy-to-use tool
  • A suite of rich features

3 AppCode

AppCode is a smart IDE for iOS/macOS development. AppCode uses a variety of programming languages like Objective-C, Swift, and C/C++. Being a highly dynamic tool, AppCode also supports web technologies such as JavaScript, HTML, HTML5, XML, CSS, and more.

AppCode helps developers save time and improve efficiency by automating routine tasks and providing a thorough code analysis and inspection on the fly.

Key Points:

  • Starting price is $89 for first year per individual user and $199 for the first year for businesses
  • No demo available
  • Free trial for 30 days
  • Thorough code inspection
  • Automates regular routine tasks

Open Source Mobile App Development Tools

4 PhoneGap

Adobe PhoneGap is one of the most exceptional and robust open-source cross-platform’s for app development. Based on Cordova technology, PhoneGap developers have the freedom to work using web development languages in the likes of HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript instead of mobile programming languages.

Another advantage for developers here is the fact that PhoneGap allows developers the option to access a device’s various functionalities like the camera, file system, microphone, gyroscope, accelerometer, and more.

Key Points:

  • Free to start
  • No demo available
  • Dynamic and robust tool
  • Utilize web technologies to develop mobile apps

5 React Native

Developed and launched by Facebook, React Native is a Java-Script based mobile platform that also happens to be one of the preferred choices for app developers since it allows for building truly cross-platform apps by using native components.

React Native’s vast community of happy developers makes this the perfect tool for open-source mobile app development. Having said that, React Native is better suited for experienced developers.

Key Points:

  • Free to start
  • No demo available
  • Open-source tool
  • Developer’s choice

6 Xamarin

Founded in 2011 by Microsoft, Xamarin is an open-source mobile application development platform that is widely used to develop native apps for iOS, macOS, Android, and Windows mobile devices. Also an IDE, Xamarin uses a .NET code base and Visual Studio Tools and is pegged as one of the most sought after tools for hybrid mobile app development.

This is also down to the fact that Xamarin boasts fewer bugs and saves the time spent on developing apps due to its ability to re-utilize code on Windows and macOS platforms.

  • Free for individual users, prices start at $1,199 for enterprise use
  • No demo available
  • A free trial is available
  • Time-saving tool
  • High-level of code inspection

Hybrid and Cross-Platform Mobile App Development Tools

7 Onsen UI

Onsen UI is an open-source hybrid mobile development framework designed to be used without the Angular JS requirement. Known for its possession of high-quality UI components, Onsen UI offers a suite of well-optimized tabs, side menu, navigation, list, and forms that can be used on a range of device types.

Not only is Onsen UI easy to use, but it also serves as a powerful tool to build mobile apps on various different platforms.

Key Points:

  • Free to start
  • No demo available
  • Easy to build for cross-platform app development

8 Ionic

Ionic is another preferred choice of hybrid cross-platform tool for most developers. It’s easy-to-use, and easy-to-learn framework makes it a hit among developers as it helps them build beautiful cross-platform apps without much complexity.

Apart from being a free open-source tool, the CSS portions alone of Ionic’s framework can be used to create native apps for iOS, Android, and web. However, Ionic’s full potential can be unveiled when it is paired with AngularJS.

Key Points:

  • Free to start
  • No demo available
  • No free trial
  • Open source, easy-to-use mobile platform

9 NativeScript

NativeScript is an open-source mobile platform that enables developers to create native iOS and Android apps with AngularJS, JavaScript, and TypeScript. Developers can use their web development skills, JavaScript and CSS, to build hybrid apps. The biggest advantage of NativeScript is that it uses one single codebase to deploy iOS and Android mobile applications.

Key Points::

  • Starting price is $19 per month and a free version is also available
  • A demo is available
  • No free trial
  • Open-source framework
  • Build mobile apps with web application knowledge, no additional know-how required

Rapid Mobile App Development Tools (RMAD)

10 BuildFire

BuildFire is a simple and effective app builder that is free to use. It is a DIY, web-based app development tool that does not require any prior coding or previous knowledge of programming languages. The platform is best suited for apps on the iPhone, iPad, and Android devices.

BuildFire offers developers a highly immersive and intuitive framework packed with drag and drop functions to create mobile applications on iOS and Android smartphones.

Key Points:

  • Starting price: $53 per month
  • A demo is available
  • No free trial
  • Easy-to-use framework
  • No coding or programming knowledge required

11 Alpha Anywhere

Alpha Anywhere is a complete end-to-end mobile and web app development platform known for its “no-code” and “low-code” mobile application tools. This RMAD platform is pivoted towards developers and businesses that want to create elegant apps without spending too much time. Alpha Anywhere’s low code environment enables developers and businesses to build complex apps and workflows with ease.

Key Points:

  • Pricing starts at $29.95 per month, per user.
  • No demo available
  • Free trial for 30 days
  • Build quality apps swiftly
  • Build complicated apps with ease

12 AppSheet

AppSheet is a unique software development tool that enables anyone to build a robust and productive mobile app for Android and iOS by using their own data sources. Data from various sources like Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, and Smartsheet can be used to create the app. AppSheet offers an array of app customization options to edit various components and also to make changes to several parameters of the app like security provisions and more.

AppSheet is commonly used by developers to build powerful, feature-rich cross-platform and platform-specific apps.

Key Points:

  • Starting price is $10 per active user, per month
  • A demo is available
  • A free trial is available
  • Build powerful cross-platform apps with ease
  • Edit UI components on the fly

While all the mobile app development tools mentioned above make for brilliant frameworks, choosing the right set of tools can get a bit confusing. This holds especially true for businesses and individuals who are new to the world of app development. The following tips should help.

  • Does the tool offer all relevant features and components suited for the app? Study the features of every tool carefully.
  • Does the cost of the tool meet the budgets set for app development? Thoroughly calculate the cost based on the estimated time of deployment.
  • Does the tool offer hybrid or cross-platform development capabilities? Check if the platform can be used to build the app on multiple mobile platforms simultaneously.
  • Can the tool be used to create native apps with ease and in a time-effective manner? Check if the tool has been used to create native apps before.
  • What tools have been used before by your mobile app developers? Check the quantity and quality of apps that have been developed using a particular tool. Check if any apps are similar to the one you are commissioning.

With these tools, building an intuitive and feature-loaded mobile app will be a breeze. What do you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the best mobile app development tools:
  • Xcode
  • Android Studio
  • AppCode
  • PhoneGap
  • React Native
See the full list of recommended mobile app development tools.