William Shakespeare said that the world was a stage. Centuries later, this quote holds true thanks to the phenomenon called TikTok. Your friends are on TikTok. Your neighbours’ on it. Your parents or even grandparents are on it. Jimmy Fallon, Katy Perry, Nick Jonas, and more celebrities are using TikTok for their social presence. Probably you are, too.

What started as Douyin in 2016 in China, went on to become a global sensation under the name TikTok. For a brief time, it was also called Musically. With a simple concept, the platform garnered a user base that almost threatened the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter.

By now, we’re sure you would have seen TikTok videos on your feed. In case you’ve been living under a rock, here’s what the app is all about.

What is TikTok App?

It’s simple. TikTok capitalizes on the inner desires of people to become or mimicking actors. Once you’ve signed up on the platform, you can create a 15-second video and add sound clips or soundtracks of your choice. You can then share them on other social media channels and post them on your TikTok feed for others to view.

Like any other social media app, you can follow people, like their content and comment on them. The app rose to a tremendous response as people started creatively using the app to create homemade/amateur videos that were offbeat, humorous and those that would bring out their talent.

In September last year, the app became the most downloaded app (free) on the App Store and within a month, became the number one app on Google Play as well. Some of the interesting facts about TikTok include:

  • It’s available across 150 markets in over 75 languages.
  • There are over 500 million active users on TikTok
  • It generates close to $3.5mn every month on in-app purchases (it does not feature paid advertising as yet).
  • Out of this revenue, over 42% came from the US.
  • Over 41% of the app users are teenagers or millennials within the age group of 16 to 24.
  • TikTok users spend an average time of 52 minutes on the app every day.

If you pay attention to these numbers, they would tell you that the market is ripe and ideal to develop a video generator app. The success of TikTok lies in the aspect that the platform relies on its users to create content and share them with others. All you have to do is provide them a platform. 

So, if you intend to develop an app like TikTok, this guide will give you a comprehensive idea of where you should start, how you should go about it and more details like the costs and the tech involved.

Essential Features To Consider While Developing An App Like TikTok

Every app development process begins with a mind map process on paper. The clearer you are about what goes into the app in terms of features and functionalities, the better and faster the development process would be. The advantage we have here is that we know the purpose of our app – to create a platform for users to generate short videos. 

What we need next are these:

Login and Sign Up

This is basic. This feature is essential to get primary information about your users and ensure a safe environment for other users. Login and signup features allow people to access the app from verified sources like their email or other social media platforms. This feature also allows them to retrieve information when they get locked out of their app, uninstall it, or change their phone. They can simply start from where they left.


This is what keeps users retained to the app. Users need to know who has liked or commented on their posts and who followed them. Notifications in the form of posts from their friends and those they follow are essential too. Besides, notifications such as new challenges, updates, and announcements also influence the retention of users.

TikTok Notifications

Video Upload

The very purpose of the app’s existence, this feature should allow users to upload a video to their feed. They should be able to do this seamlessly in two ways – a recorded video from their gallery/memory card or direct recording from the phone's camera.

Hearts and Comments

This is what keeps users going into the app. Users need validation and recognition for their contributions. Hearts dictate how many people liked their performance and comments are their physical manifestations.

Comments on TikTok


When users upload a new video, they should also be able to immediately share the video with their first circle of contacts such as their friends and family apart from their feed. The sharing feature will allow them to share the videos via WhatsApp or push them to other social media channels. This is to ensure videos reach to those who are not yet on the platform.

Social Sharing

Filters and Effects

These are the entertainment factors in the app. Users summon creativity and come up with unique videos with the help of filters and effects. The filters should not just involve multiple moods and color saturations but the trend with time as well. When it comes to effects, the app should feature slow-motion, lighting, face filters and more.

Video Editing

We don’t mean the video editing capabilities motion picture artists would use. The simplest form of video editing features your users would need is the ability to trim the duration of their videos. The interface should be easy enough to drag and set the video start and end time. Some of the ancillary features could be flipping, faster playback and more.

Edit Profile

This is where users set their username (custom), password, recovery email addresses, add a profile picture, give basic information about themselves like their gender, date of birth and more.

Admin Panel

Here, your users would be able to block users if any and other analytical aspects of their usage – like the number of posts, hearts, comments and more.

Advanced Features

Your app wouldn’t be fun if it only had the features we’ve included so far. We need to further leverage the power of technology and infuse it in our app. So, say hello to some advanced features.

Live Video

Like Instagram, your app should also allow users to go live from wherever they are. It allows them to share with the world the experience they are going through right then. Though TikTok doesn’t have this feature, it’s inclusion can give you an edge in the market.

Real-Time Analytics

This is simple but inevitable. This shows in real-time the number of viewers when you’re going live, number of broadcasters, number of hearts and comments and more.

Video Access Before Signup

One way to increase the number of signups is to add a video preview feature. With this, users don’t have to sign in to look at videos. To comment, like or create a new one, they must.

Content-Based on Location

Your app should be all about offering trending videos to your users. That’s why you should consider their geographical movement for new content. If a user from Canada travels to Asia, your app should be able to detect this geographical change and recommend indigenous videos to offer them variety. Local trends and sensations should appear on their feed as well.

AR Filters

Augmented Reality is an amazing way to retain the interests of your users. With their phone’s camera, users can combine real-world environments with virtual elements like GIFs, images and short videos on their screens for added fun and creativity.

AI-Powered Recommendations

Your app should constantly learn about your users through their activity, preferences, and interests. It’s the only way it can show them videos that are relevant to them. If a user dislikes cat videos and your app consistently shows him or her cat videos, the user is more likely to lose interest. Right algorithms should be in place for the learning process.

Hashtags and Challenges

TikTok is all about frequent challenges. Celebrities and influencers at regular intervals offer new challenges to users in the form of dance moves, activities, and the likes. Users have to then recreate them on their feed. This is a huge engagement tactic and it should be an integral part of your app, too.

Duets and Reactions

A duet is when two people collaborate over a split-screen and do a video together. Imagine a movie dialogue and two people take up roles. They then act to the dialogues like in a movie. Collaborations are great ways for users to find new followers and make interesting videos. Your app should have this feature.

Built-In Music Library

Users tend to capitalize on trending topics, movies or songs. And your app should support all of them. A built-in music library will allow users to look for songs or dialogues that are trending and lip-sync to them. The library should also feature the most popular and searched tracks to enable users to add to their videos.

Tech Stack of TikTok App

When you’re looking to build an app like TikTok, it’s a good practice to understand what it’s tech stack is. You can then replicate or tone down the stack and tailor it to suit your budget and requirements. The tech stack of TikTok includes:

  • Swift for iOS app development
  • Kotlin for Android app development
  • Cloud architecture powered by Amazon Web Services and Azure
  • Node.js for backend development
  • Database management by SQL, MongoDB or Cassandra
  • Azure Stream Analytics for real-time analytics
  • Notifications backed by Google Cloud Messaging and Apple Push Notifications
Tech Stack of TikTok App

How Much Does it Cost to Build an App Like TikTok?

A generic question like this, unfortunately, does not have a generic response. Now, app development is a strenuous process and a number of factors like team size, deadline, features and more are involved to fix on a specific budget.

While these are the features we’ve mentioned, you can always tailor your app according to your needs. Pivoting aftermarket research is plausible and should be considered, too. That’s why we recommend getting in touch with us for a personalized quote. Our team of developers assures quality app development, testing, and deployment so you can sit back and witness the next big sensation taking shape in house.

So, get in touch with us today and get a personalized quote to get an app developed like TikTok.