The Detailed Guide on Developing Apps Like TikTok

Guide on Developing Apps Like TikTok

In barely three years after its creation, the video-sharing software TikTok has witnessed a sharp increase in its global user base. Users of the social networking app watch and create audio and music videos for hours at a time. Due to the app's popularity, many business owners are considering developing their social media networks to let users post and edit short films using various filters and effects.

This post is for you if you're one of those business owners. We review everything you need to know to develop a competitive application, including the necessary and optional features, a detailed description of the technology components, and the cost needed to produce a comparable application.

How does one use TikTok?

use TikTok

ByteDance developed the ground-breaking social media video streaming platform TikTok in 2016. Alex Zuhu founded the software, which integrates video recording, editing, and social networking into one tool that enables users to make brief films (up to three minutes) and immediately share them with their social networks. The ability to add music to videos—either as background or lip-sync—is its primary feature.

TikTok is also an excellent platform for displaying skills and educating a large audience. Users may even use it to create live backgrounds from videos. The app became quite popular due to all these features, especially with younger audiences. Take a look at these numbers!

In Q1 2020, TikTok had over 310 million first-time downloads, making it the fastest-growing non-gaming app. Fifty-two minutes are spent on TikTok by users on average each day. By 2021, there will be one billion users on the platform globally. Younger people particularly enjoy TikTok since 41% of its users are between 16 and 24.

The "For You" algorithm on TikTok

Algorithm on TikTok

The "For You" algorithm significantly influences the app's popularity. TikTok lets users personalize the material they see by examining a range of data, including account choices, device settings, video metadata, and user interactions. Users can customize the "For You" page to suit their specific interests by choosing categories that interest them. If no selections are made, the most popular videos will be displayed. Furthermore, by long-pressing on a video and selecting "Not Interested," users may also express their lack of interest.

MVP characteristics of a TikTok-like video-sharing platform

MVP characteristics of a TikTok

Building a TikTok alternative is no different from establishing any other application in that you must prepare ahead. It is best to design a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) with the most basic functions first, then add more sophisticated features as the app becomes more sophisticated. The following are the essential elements that any app like TikTok would need to have:

1. Signup and access

To be able to produce and watch videos, users must register. Offering various signup options, including phone, social media, and email, is advised.

2. Modify your profile

It should be possible for users to edit their usernames, add a bio, and change their profile images, among other personalization options. Options for personalization are always an excellent idea.

3. Add some videos

To ensure the success of a short-form video app, it is crucial to consider posting music videos as quickly and quickly for consumers as feasible. Users who find it difficult to upload videos may eventually uninstall your app and choose another one.

4. Effects & Filters

More people interested in having access to distinctive editing choices in their attempts to generate viral videos will be drawn in by filters and sophisticated effects.

5. Tools for Video Editing

Users of an alternative to TikTok will be able to modify films within the app and shoot them. TikTok has editing capabilities that let you make video loops, flip and accelerate music videos, and more. Users can also choose to activate a "beauty" mode, which smoothes out the appearance of their skin.

6. Hearts and remarks

Like Instagram, users on TikTok can like and comment on videos. Users may also see the posts they favor by going to the appropriate tab.

7. Sharing of videos

You may grow your user base by allowing users to share their material on other social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or TikTok. Through TikTok, users may also connect their profiles to other social networks.

8. Get Notifications

A push notification option must be included to notify users of comments, likes, and other updates about their videos. Usually, Apple Push Notification Service (for iOS) or Google Cloud Messaging (for Android) are used for this.

9. Content-based on location

Depending on the device's location, the app may provide material other users have submitted. Additionally, users may include their current location in their videos, enabling the app to utilize this information.

10. Control panel

A user's post count, information about new users, and user management (editing, removing, or blocking) are just a few of the many features that an admin panel may have. We used the free source AdminJS framework to create a bespoke admin panel for our client Trash.

Trash is a site where influencers and artists go to share their video material. The designers of the product needed a comprehensive content management system for usage by both internal and external users. The Trash team created a solution that allowed them complete control over their platform with the help of AdminJS.

Features that helped TikTok become successful

Features that helped TikTok

When starting an app, having the entire feature set is not required. But, as your user base expands, you should consider including more sophisticated and distinctive features. These are some of TikTok's more sophisticated capabilities you may use while creating your application.

Video preview before registration

You may watch some of TikTok's most popular videos without creating an account. However, people need to register to comment or like them.

Instantaneous analytics

This function gives you information on the number of hearts and comments and the viewers and streamers that are now active on the graph.

AR Filters

The usage of augmented reality filters has grown in popularity recently. Users may alter their hair and eye color and add virtual things to their heads, such as flowers or a dog's ears.


One of TikTok's newest features, Stitch, alters how users engage with other people's material. Users can use this tool to edit portions of other people's videos and publish them from their accounts. This gives those who don't make their movies a chance to become more visible by modifying other people's material.


The ability to include user-generated content in publications is a characteristic shared by Stitch and this new TikTok functionality. The other user's video is shown next to the user's video, playing both movies simultaneously, where the differences reside. This split-screen arrangement fosters communication amongst content producers and raises viewer engagement.

Guide to creating apps like tiktok

Guide to creating apps like tiktok

TikTok has specific issues about the design of this kind of application because it is a video-sharing app. I wrote a detailed post on this subject in one of my earlier postings. Other than that, creating an app isn't all that different from creating other applications. The steps involved are as follows:

Determine and investigate who your target market is

Comprehending your intended user base is crucial when creating a social media application like TikTok. It's critical to identify the age demographic you want to appeal to, what products or services this demographic finds appealing, what your rivals offer, and which characteristics people find most appealing. By responding to these queries, you'll have the data you need to develop a compelling product and a successful business plan.

Create a business model map

You must develop something original if you want to differentiate yourself from the competitors in the social media space. Think about adding cutting-edge features that will interest your intended market. For instance, you may provide marketing resources that will enable young entrepreneurs to reach a broader audience to draw them in. You may also include direct connections to businesses, customizable product displays for stores, and more.

From a technological perspective, creating an app similar to TikTok requires a mix of frontend and backend programming, video processing, user authentication, and feature integration. Here is a more detailed how-to:

Choose the Tech Stack


For cross-platform development, use frameworks like Flutter or React Native. Alternatively, consider native development with Java or Kotlin for Android and Swift for iOS.


Choose a backend programming language like Ruby on Rails, Django, or Node.js.


Based on the needs of your application, select one of the following database systems: MySQL, PostgreSQL, or MongoDB.

Cloud Services

For scalability, content distribution, and storage, use cloud platforms like AWS, Google Cloud, or Azure.

Video Processing

Put in place features for editing, replaying, and recording videos. Use libraries or APIs like FFmpeg or specialized video editing libraries to process video.

User Authentication

Use industry-standard techniques like JWT, OAuth, or others to implement secure user authentication. To improve user onboarding, integrate logins from social networking platforms.

Real-time Interaction

Add in-the-moment functionality like likes, comments, and notifications. For real-time updates, use push notification services or WebSockets.

Content Delivery

Use a content delivery network (CDN) to provide consumers with video material effectively. In order to balance loading times and quality, optimize video compression.

User Profiles

Provide user profiles with individualized settings, avatars, and biodata. Permit users to create a social network by following one another.

Filters and Effects

Utilize third-party APIs or image processing packages to integrate filters and effects. Give consumers access to a range of artistic tools so they may improve their movies.

Duets and Reactions

Incorporate functionalities such as responses and duets to enable users to engage with each other's material. Easily sync and show duets together.


Ad networks should be included for in-app commercials. Use membership services or in-app purchases to unlock premium features.


Use encryption to protect user data both in transit and at rest. Put safeguards in place to stop illegal access and data breaches.


Build the design with scalability in mind to accommodate an expanding user base. Make use of auto-scaling and load-balancing features.


Test anything from units to integrations to end-to-ends. Check for device compatibility, security, and performance.


For distribution, abide by the policies of the relevant app stores (App Store, Google Play Store). Create pipelines for continuous integration and deployment to enable quicker releases.


Track user behaviour by integrating analytics tools (like Mixpanel or Google Analytics). Make use of data-driven insights to optimize and improve features.

Adopt privacy and data security safeguards to abide by legal requirements. Obtain the required music and other copyrighted content licences.

Community Building

Include functionalities that promote user participation and communication. Analyse user behaviour with analytics to make the app more user-friendly.

Updates and Maintenance

Release updates often to address issues, enhance functionality, and introduce new features. Keep an eye on user comments and respond quickly to problems.


With the appropriate guidance, making a TikTok substitute is not as complicated as it might appear. You may set realistic budget and timeline targets by reviewing the required features and learning about the development process. You can be sure that any technological problems will be resolved successfully by finding seasoned developers for video chat apps. You may make an app that your users will love with the help of the developers' technical expertise and your vision.

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