How Much Does It Cost to Develop an App?

We get a lot of questions about app development.  The question that gets repeated the most is “how much does it cost to develop a app?”  If I had a nickel for every time we’ve had that question … well, I wouldn’t quit my day job, but I would make the baristas at my local coffee shop at lot happier.

So, what does it cost to develop a mobile app?  That’s a lot like asking how much does it cost to buy a car or build a house – it depends on what kind of car you’re buying or house you’re building.  That cool-looking Cube costs a lot less than an Italian sports car.  A modest house in the Midwest costs a lot less to build than a modest house in Palo Alto.  Still, we can help ballpark the figure and expenses for you – contact us via quote request form or go to contact us page.

Alex Ahlund, former CEO of AppVee and AndroidApps, and later an advisor to Appolicious, wrote a guest blog article about app sales on TechCrunch.  According to that article, a survey of 96 mobile app developers showed the average cost to develop an app was $6,453.  An article on OS X Daily about iPhone Development Costs reported that the development cost range for “small apps” is $100 to $8,000 and that “more complex or recognized brand apps” can cost $50,000 to $150,000.  A well-written article on explored The Cost of Building an iPad App and suggested the development costs (as compared to design and other costs) range from $12,000 to $150,000 or more.

Before we go on to exact numerical figures about the costs involved in app development, let us first look deeper into the factors that influence the overall development cost of an app.

Types of App

Which kind of application you think your business can live on? A simple informative app or an interactive business app or a gaming app to promote something for a short term? Are you planning to make the app public or limited to internal users? Depending on requirement, the developmental cost of each of these apps varies accordingly.

App Functionality & Purpose

Since mobile apps can be extremely comprehensive and wide ranged, the primary purpose of the app often determines the mobile app development cost. For example, a simple loan calculator app used by a niche lending business function will cost much lower than an app aimed to cater a global salesforce uploading their details in real-time to central servers of an enterprise. The enterprise app might even consist of secure credentials based logon procedure which may not be there in calculator app.

All these factors may seem trivial at first but are actually the ones that drive the finances both in and out. Knowing the purpose of having an app beforehand is very important as based on the purpose, a good developer can figure out the functionality for you. Also read – whatever you do, Don’t Pay to Train an App Developer. For help on finding a developer, see our post on Finding a Developer for Your App Idea.

Platform and Devices

Mobile platforms have come a long way from monopoly of Symbian OSes of early 2000 to polished contenders like Android, iOS and Windows. Following graph tells the story better:

Android has seen an exponential growth since the early age of mobile revolution with around 82% of market share of smartphones with iOS (Apple) having around 18% of devices with other platforms having negligible presence distributed evenly across themselves. Amongst the topmost losers in the customer base

were Symbian, Windows and RIM (Blackberry phones), that virtually eroded themselves out of the market. (Source: Gartner, 2017)

As apparent from the above graphic, an app having existence on both iOS and Android platform will get the maximum traction in market but will also require increased cost of app development and maintenance on both platforms.

Devices configuration

Maximum market share also means increased considerations and pre-requisites. Android being an open source platform – meaning anyone can modify the kernel source code and can make the device function as per their own codes – carries the maximum onus of being dealt according to configuration to perform as per the requirement and not get affected or simply get locked out in case of any tampering attempts.

There are around 2 billion android devices on earth with uniformity factor of 1.6 – which means for every fourth android device, the configuration will change rapidly – from different architecture to screen resolution, RAM, internal memory, configuration to even different aspect ratio, the change in hardware aspects, add the customized OS skins supplied by each of the phone manufacturers over the factory android configuration – all these factors become quite a thing to manage while development of app and can get overwhelming to handle in case of an app that deals in critical data. Issues like incompatibility and performance plague the platform so much that even the top flagship products are not left untouched.

In case of Apple, however the aim is limited at catering to few of the devices in market and their configuration and whole focus sets down to development and functionalities. A 5-year-old Apple device works well with latest store based apps and software upgrades, a thing which cannot be said for a 5-year-old android device – which speaks volumes about the developmental efforts invested.

User Interface

An eye catchy cool user interface can definitely earn you good recommendations from market but again it should be business oriented. For example, while developing a simply marketing based app, you need not use excess graphical or visual elements which need to be present with games and other simulation or interactive apps.

Maintenance, enhancements, and support

Mobile app development costs don’t stop after deployment. The user feedback is almost immediate and includes suggestions, bug reports and feature enhancement requests.

It is always recommended to have the development team looped in on maintenance plans until a perfectly stable version is out. After which, you can call in the team on a periodic basis to look after.

Calculative returns on investment

Now we have knowledge over platforms and costs involved, let’s take an example to understand the overall return on investment involved on the development of an app.:

Steve, an entrepreneur, chose iOS for his real estate based app whereas Mark chose Android to extend the reach of his supercar dealership. You need to be smart with your business decisions. Real estate business requires more footfall which is limited in case of Apple. However, having a dual platform presence will give Steve the much-needed boost for his business. To have a brief idea of the app development cost, you can have a fair idea of costs by filling in the details at App Development Calculator.


The overall summary of the entire article can be summed up in the graph below:

That sounds like a lot.  And it is.  But if you consider that the average app developer in the US charges around $100 per hour, the time required to code even a “simple” app quickly pushes the cost up.  Could you go offshore and get a developer for a much lower hourly rate?  Sure.  The problem is, like most things in life, you get what you pay for.  We get several requests a month from people wanting a US-based developer to “fix” cheap code.  We call these “shattered projects.”  Others call them “distressed projects.”  Whatever you call them, “saving” money on the front end could end up costing you more in the end Our set of experienced network of app development companies can help you in getting best quote for your iphone, ipad and android apps. All you need to do is to fill our quote request form and 3 best mobile apps companies will contact you as per your budget that fits your needs or visit our contact us page.

The only sure way to find out what it will cost to get your app idea developed is to get some quotes from experienced app developers.  They can discuss the details of your idea with you and give you a pretty good idea of what it will cost.  Getting three quotes is helpful as it will give you an idea if a quote is too high (or too low, which can be just as bad).  Appmuse will help you in getting ball park quotes from 3 highly experienced top rated app development companies from our wide range of network through filling our Quote Request Form.



Mark M. Stetler is CEO of AppMuse and its related businesses:,,, and AppMuse is the Internet's leading provider of free app development quotes from experienced, pre-screened app developers for iPhone, iPad, Android, and Blackberry smart phones.

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