I thought it might be helpful to put together a list of products and services that can help you start making your very own apps today. There are a seemingly limitless number of products for app developers, so I’ve narrowed things down to a list of services that I’ve personally used and honestly recommend. I may add or edit this list as new products or services are available, so make sure to bookmark this page and check back from time to time.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. Check out my full affiliate disclaimer for more details.

Hand-drawn mockups

  • App Idea Sketchpad (PDF)
    You don’t need anything fancy to get started with your mockups. I always begin with quick sketches with pencil and paper. This is the iPhone template I use to quickly get ideas out of my head and into some tangible form.
  • iPhone Sticky Pad
    If you do want a little more flexibility than a blank piece of paper, I’m in love with these iPhone Sticky Pads. They can be valuable for designing the information architecture of your app, not just the layout, so a couple of packs of these may come in handy.
  • iPhone Stencil Kit
    I haven’t used one of these myself, but I have students who absolutely love them. It’s not a necessity, but it’s a cool tool, none the less.

Digital mockups

  • Precursor
    Easy and free online tool to quickly create digital prototypes. There’s also an inexpensive Team plan that supports real-time collaboration.
  • iOS7 Graphical User Interface (GUI) PSD
    This is a free layered Photoshop file containing all the user elements of iOS7. It’s a fantastic resource if you’re familiar with Photoshop.
  • Keynotopia
    If you’re more familiar with presentation apps, like Keynote and Powerpoint, Keynotopia may be the perfect resource for you. It’s filled with all the iOS user interface elements so you can design your mockup in your favorite presentation app.
  • Moqups
    Moqups is a fantastic online tool for making digital versions of your sketches. It’s HTML5, so it works in any browser, and the cloud-based storage means you can work on your app anywhere. Premium plans, which start at $9 per month, allow you to save your work in PDF format.

App download tracking

  • App Annie
    Sends you a daily email with your app download numbers from the previous day. Checking your numbers is such a pain if you’re logging into Apple all the time.

 Web hosting

  • Bluehost
    I’m a big fan of Bluehost and use it for numerous different projects. I’ve even created a free video course that shows you exactly how to get started (in six minutes!) and then delve into becoming a WordPress master.


  • WordPress
    The most popular blogging platform in the world, by far. It’s super customizable and the learning curve isn’t too overwhelming. I use WordPress for all of my blogs.
  • Themeforest
    A marketplace where you can purchase premium blog themes (and other website themes) for fantastic prices. This blog’s theme is from Themeforest, and I’ve purchased a ton of other websites there, too.
  • Scrivener (OS X, Windows)
    This is what I use to write longer articles and books. I don’t know what I’d do without it. This app makes it easy to organize your thoughts, outline your book, keep track of themes and characters, and format everything properly. Plus so many other things that I can’t possibly list them all here.


  • Programming in Objective-C by Steven Kochan
    If you actually want to learn how to programming iPhone apps, but don’t have any prior programming experience, I highly recommend this book. After two years of struggling, this was the first book to actually make sense to me. If you can make it through this book, without turning the page unless you understand the page you’re on, you will learn how to code.
  • The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
    It sucks to build a product that no one wants. Eric Ries has developed a method of customer development, rather than product development, that will help you create apps that people actually use.
  • Getting Things Done by David Allen
    I don’t use David Allen’s techniques to the letter, but his methodologies have had a massive impact on the way I think about work and my productivity levels.
  • 8 Things to Learn Before Making Your App by Dann Berg
    I wrote this book as a preface to my class — but the information is relevant to anyone interested in building their own mobile apps. The book is available as a free PDF when you sign up for my newsletter, or as a Kindle download for a $2.99.

Legal Stuff

  • Docracy
    An open collection of legal contracts that you can edit and use as you need. You shouldn’t be paying a dime for a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA).
  • Priori Legal
    If you do need to actually hire a lawyer, but don’t know where to turn, check out Priori Legal. It’s like ZocDoc, but for lawyers.

Useful Apps

  • Skitch (OS X)
    I’m not a huge fan of the new version (so the link above is for the older app), but Skitch is a great tool for communicating feedback. Take a screen shot, add annotations, and send. Simple as that.
  • Jing (Windows)
    Just like Skitch, but for Windows. Jing is also a fantastic tool.
  • F.lux (OS X, Windows)
    A utility that changes the color temperature on your computer based on the time of day, which reduces eye strain and night and will help you get to sleep. Make sure to adjust the setting so the color change happens gradually over the course of an hour. It might be weird the first few nights, but you’ll get used to it in no time.