How Much Does It Cost to Make An App In 2020?

By Jigar Agrawal Mobile August 7, 2019 47 min read 2651 Views

According to the Clutch Survey, by skipping all the factors in cost breakdown, the cost to create an app by expert agencies is $171,450.

There are many App Cost Calculators available online that can be used to get the approximate idea; they give you a price tag of $200,000 to $350,000 for an app consisting of myriad features. And the smaller apps with basic features cost around $10,000 to $50,000.

Some of the factors that highly govern the cost of creating an app are different developer rates, project complexity, and the time it takes to build an app.

The aspects that you need to take into consideration the cost of developing an app are:

  • Type (Mobile Game, Social Networking, Business, Shopping, etc.)
  • Design (Basic, Individual, Custom)
  • Platform (iOS, Windows, Android)
  • Features and infrastructures
  • Number of pages

Any Mobile Application Development Company would provide you with a quotation for app development by taking these factors into consideration.

An average cost to make an app depends upon the type of app that you want to build. Here’s a list of things that constitute app development cost. Let’s analyze them one-by-one in detail.

1. Defining The App Cost Calculator

Planning to build a handy mobile application? This is the right place to get a detailed insight into what factors to consider while developing a mobile app and how much does it cost?

Before jumping to the cost, first of all, you have to decide the niche of the application. The requirement of the general public or the demand of the user should be deeply understood, and this analysis can answer the multiple questions.

Understanding the requirements could sum up different factors, and these factors play a very specific role in crafting a mobile application. A mobile application cost has a simple calculation, i.e.,

App Cost = Development Time * Hourly Rate

A simple calculation structure with detailed factors that are described below:

App Cost Calculation Factors

Target Your Platform

Building an application across platforms could attract a lot of investment, and bulk investment results in a higher amount of risks. This problem can be brought into control by either selecting a single platform to build an app and then after plowing back profits into building another app for different platforms.


Internet-dependent application attracts a lot cost in an earlier time as compared to no internet-dependent application. Also, in an earlier time, these internet-dependent applications were the ones that require a lot of costs but with backend technologies like Firebase, the app development has become affordable.

Number of Features

The beauty of the application is dependent on the features you add in it, and the more features you add, the more investment you have to bring in, instead what you can do is, bring the updates in the version format and slowly increase the ROI

Number of Screens

The number of screens decides the investment in terms of time and money, as the number of screens could attract a higher monetary investment. It is advisable to use less screen and feed in more information that could save a lot of time and money.

The complexity of Backend

Backend plays an important role in any application as it stores data, manages information and credentials, etc. The front-end sometimes looks simple & easy but the backend becomes complex and that takes out a lot of investment which in turn becomes costly for an app owner.

UI, Animation, Special effects

The application that has great animations, gestures and special effects in it attracts the higher investment and thus, the gaming apps are the costliest one while building.

Whom do you hire?

The hiring isn’t a part of the app cost calculator but if we see the overall cost then this is also considered as an integral part of it. For Ex: If you hire a freelancer from your native, it would cost you more as compared to outsourcing the project. The outsourcing can also become costly if you do not research in-depth but generally hiring a developer from a company would attract you more benefits and could help you in gaining a few suggestions from their experience.

2. Cost Of Mobile App Development According To Its Types

Types Of Mobile Apps

Native Apps

These apps are those large and heavy apps that aim at providing the best user experience, optimization, and fast work. They use various device’s APIs and also process a wide range of features at the same time.

Native apps start getting expensive based on the platforms you want to support because it involves more people in the developing process of an app. They are usually business apps, education apps, and entertainment apps.

Hybrid Apps

The cross-platform apps that are best suited to reach a bigger audience from the start.

The development and maintenance cost goes down for this app if the developing process involves a team and a single code, which works for all the platforms.

But cross-platform apps are less optimized; they lack access to APIs and cannot provide a user experience similar to the one provided by native apps.

They are only appropriate for small and medium communication apps, such as lifestyle app or game app.

Database Driven Apps

These are the apps that are complex with the bulk data to operate, stored directly in the device memory or on a web server.

For this app to work as desired, additional features like camera, internet connection or access to phone gallery may be required.

The native apps that use device memory to store data library are various mobile dictionaries or encyclopedias.

Basic Functionality App

These apps are very fast to develop and include very few or no features at all. They get developed for personal use, and these kinds of apps cannot get found in the app store.

Usually, they are made to view the list of the topic- where you can click on a question and get the information about it or view another list.

Firmware/Hardware Dependent Apps

These apps access a mobile device and aim at enhancing the functionalities. The functionalities that include an alarm, flashlights, camera, etc.

For example, AlarmMon is an app that allows the user to customize the alarm clock.

Mobile/Gaming Apps

Sometimes the question is, How Much Does It Cost to Make a Game App? For that purpose, you need to take its features into account.

Games can be simple and advanced, including various features like 3D graphics and physics, global ratings, AR support, social media integration.

So basically, creating a more sophisticated gaming app can cost more. Gaming apps are the most popular apps worldwide, and of course, the ones that bring in more profit.

3. App Development Cost Breakdown As Per Complexity

The planning of app development requires a lot of investment in various categories. Not only designing and coding but also there are many other areas where an app owner has to plan for an investment.

To build an app involves a lot of complexities and this paragraph will give you in-depth knowledge about various categories that are involved while building an app.

A Detailed Business Analysis

A business analyst plays an important role in determining how the development of the app will kick start. It adds value to the process of development of the application. Your idea will not be worth if you don’t have a plan to execute it.

As a famous saying “Planning without execution is just like an illusion.

Let’s jump onto some vital factors that a business analyst contributes to the development of the application:

  • Sorting out Problems
  • Defining project value
  • Noting down in detail project scope
  • Market Analysis
  • Define and produce an effective business solution
  • Conduct a workshop by gathering multiple advantages under one roof

Business analyst contributes a lot in the project development and that is the reason, a project becomes effective and consumer holder if there is a presence of a business analyst.

Designing App Cost

The question is, What Is The Costing For Developing An App? For that purpose, you need to take the designing aspect into account.

The designing of an app is equally important as the whole project, and to design for an application requires a detailed study of the niche and target audience. This analysis determines the complexity of the design and the complexity decides the price.

Below is an estimate categorized as per the complexity of the design, the designs are categorized as follows:

Simple Design Complex Design Professional Design
Cost (hourly rate- $40) $5,000 – $10,000 $10,000 – $20,000 $20,000+

Note: The above numbers are estimated figures and for an exact idea, you need to consult a developer who is well experienced and skilled.

The Development Cost

How much does it cost to make and the app becomes a vital question and answer to it is elaborated below:

The complexity of application depends on the platform you choose, and the team you select for the app creation. A very important aspect is app development and if this turns out to be successful and affordable then the whole cost of an application becomes pocket-friendly and effective.

App Specification Descriptions Comments Cost of back end & Android ($)
Signup/Login User can register in the app by signing up in the application Recovering password feature is also included $850 – $1,050
Payments User can make payments through Credit Card Addition/Removal of CC can be done from the app to pay $2,100 – $2,600
In-App purchases In-app purchases can be done by the user from their profile

One non-consumable In-App

The subsequent app adds a percentage of the original budget

$700 – $1,300
Search User can search the product from its categories Adding the subsequent category may influence the estimate $450 – $600
User Profile User can manage their profile Personal Information (Name, DOB, Profile Picture, etc) $700 – $850
Chat User can chat

List of Chat

Send text messages, emojis, GIFs

Push notification for new messages and chat

$2,400 – $3,300
Report Abuse User can report content or another user

Possible reporting reason

Adding category may hike the cost

$350 – $500
Push Notification Integration of push notification (Hidden for users)

Adding push notification may hike the cost

If a user logs out, then push notification is disabled

$450 – $625
Analytics Integration with analytics (Hidden for users)

Single Analytic tool (except fabric)

Google analytics/ Flurry

$100 – $200
CMS: Admin Authorization Admin can register, sign in and sign out Sign in, Sign out $300 – $500
CMS: Admin Management Admins can manage other admins

CRUD on administrator

Full name, email

$250 – $450
CMS: User Management Admins can manage users Filtering or sorting our (by name, email ID) $800 – $1,600
CMS: Reported entity management They can manage the reported entity

Adding subsequent entity may hike the percentage of the cost

It can be removed

Sorting out with the number of claims

$350 – $600

The cost estimate above is excluding QA specialist, project manager and time that a project manager takes to communicate with the client. The cost might hike if these factors are taken into consideration.

Quality Assurance

Any project that is built using technologies has to pass through the testing phase as not even a single application across the mobile app market is without bugs or system non-performance. The quality assurance is vital for the project and the benefits that one can reap are as follows:

  • Lower the chances of App getting stuck or frequent non-performance issue
  • The requirement is met with the testing of application
  • Provide up-to-date information about the application

Cost of App Release

The final step that adds to the cost of building an application is to upload it to the google play store or iOS App store. How much does it cost to build an application? This question is answered with the final step and that is to have a developer account play store or app store.

Also, the application build for using within the organization, then the google play store doesn’t charge anything, while the Apple store charges $299 per year.

App Store Submission

The list above has a few things that are chargeable and a few things that are free. Legal charges and privacy policy requires time and legal are affordable.

Hire a professional expert for the development of the application and leave it everything onto him, that will help you in building the application and provide an effective solution.

Post-Release Expense

Post-app launch expenses are such types of expenses that are additional but are equally important to consider while planning to build an app. The app development doesn’t charge for programming, it has other areas where the investment is required.

These areas are such wherein proper attention is required for the progress of the application. The maintenance of application costs you additionally but it is mandatory to invest a sum of amount into it.

These additional areas are payment gateway integration, third-party app integration, etc that charges an additional sum which is mandatory to grow and build a robust application that outreaches the maximum audience.

Integrating a third-party app could attract your around 4.4%  additional cost with the development cost. Also, if you wish to add stripe as a payment gateway to your application, then it will attract 2.9% + 30 cents for any CC/DC payment.

These are the factors that are not included in the app development cost but are significant because overall, these factors play an important role while preparing a budget for building an application.

4. What Does App Development Cost: Freelancer vs. Agency vs. DIY

Majorly when it comes to developing an app, you have two options in the list: Mobile App Development Agencies and Freelance App Developers.

When you opt for hiring an agency for developing your app, it’ll cost more rather than a freelancer developer. But it’s a reliable option to depend upon the development team as they guide you and give you the best options to create an app.

One more thing that adds up to the development team is that the designer, programmers, and project managers are all highly skilled and experienced.

But app development hourly rates differ significantly around the globe, excluding the quality that you might get. So, it is one of the Questions To Ask Before You Hire a Mobile App Development Company.

A good concept and a clear app strategy can help you build the perfect app without paying more because ultimately high price doesn’t mean high quality.

Advantages of hiring an app agency

  • All in one- good companies have skillful staff, and there’s no need to seek programmers, designers, and testers separately.
  • You can see what you pay for- the portfolio, project estimation, and hourly rates.
  • Companies ensure that the work will get completed on time, and the results will be the desired ones.

Freelancers, on the other hand, can also build superior apps not worse than the ones that companies make. They can give you the work with similar quality but at less cost. So they can be called the cheaper cost companies compared to the software companies.

Significant disadvantages of hiring freelancers

  • You have to look for designers, programmers, and testers separately.
  • The communication gap between the members of the project
  • There’d be no one to manage the project and take up the activities in the coordination.

There would be a lack of skills and highly experienced developers.

There is also another option through which you can build your idea into a virtual platform:

Do it yourself is something that sounds wonderful but while executing it, you need to have a detailed insight into programming, coding, designing, gathering information, analysis, etc.

App template or starter kits

Your ideas are worth it if you know how to build it or what technologies to use for executing the project. Also, if you know what to do and how to do still you have to pay approximately $30- 210, and also designers to craft a prolific design. In addition, you also need programmers to build a project.

Online application building platform: There are so many application building platforms available in the market such as BuildFire, Apppie, and many more that crafting a highly-intuitive application which not only fulfills your wish to become an entrepreneur but also offer a great service to the community.

Lack of programming and coding skills may end up building a badly-optimized and buggy application. Subscription cost is something which an online application charges to avail the service of it, and these subscription charges are $10 per month or may cost around $5000 at the initial stage.

As every coin has two sides, building an app by yourself also has its own pros and cons:

Advantages of Doing it Yourself

Below is the list of pros that describes the in-depth advantage of building an app by yourself, and everyone loves to do it by themselves.

Cost-effective: As the title says, it is cost-effective because an app development involves the SDLC cycle which is the inclusion of planning, analysis, design, implementation, and maintenance, and these life cycles have subject matter experts who tend to have detailed knowledge about specific phase.

As the phases have specific SMEs, you can also become one, and save a lot of money by doing it yourself.

Project Control: When you plan to build an application, you envision to add mandatory as well as exclusive features, and these require control over the project which is vital for including all the major features and also maintaining the scope of the project.

As earlier said, if you are an expert in one of the phases listed above, you can save a lot of time as well can have control over the project.

Furthermore, if you wish to understand in detail how to make a mobile app, then you can go through the blog for more details. This will give you a detailed insight into the crafting mobile application.

5. How Much Does It Cost To Make An App As Per Geographical Regions?

You may want to know, How Much It Costs To Craft An App across the globe? the answer is it goes beyond $70,000 approximately.
A basic application could attract a sum of $20,000 easily which includes integration and development.

The geographical location for building application matters a lot because it could either bring an opportunity to save money or could cost you higher than expected.

Geographical locations have thousands of companies that are claiming to be the longest and most experienced IT solution deliverables.

Out of these thousands of companies, proper research should be done to know which company has what benefits. The benefits include service, maintenance, and support, development factor and last but not the least rate per hour.

App Development Cost Breakdown profoundly differs according to the geographic location; the hourly rates worldwide for developing an app are:

Country iOS ($/hour) Android ($/hour)
North America 150 168
UK 70 70
South America 43 34
India 30 26
Australia 110 110
Europe 35 35
Indonesia 11 12

The datasheet concludes the following things which can be also called in-depth knowledge about the various costs that differ as per the geographical location.

  • Indonesia charges a maximum of $ 20  per hour, while Indian developers are satisfied with  &10 – $75.
  • Eastern Europe charges $20 to $110 per hour
  • UK developers are bit costly and charge $35 to $175 per hour
  • $25 – $120 are the basic rates for South American web app developers
  • Australian hackers charge a lot from their customer that ranges from $35 – $150 per hour
  • The most expensive region across all the continents for web app development is $20 – $250 per hour.

The cheapest amongst listed above is Indonesia and the costliest is South America. If we go by the calculation then Indonesia is 12.5 times costly than South America.

Mobile app development services

6. Cost To Develop An App According To App Features

According to the survey conducted, about 80% of mobile apps take over three months to develop, and 40% require six months or maybe even more.

App development is an intricate process, and the cost to create an app is governed by the set of features and also the design. Many people ask, Can You Make an App for Free?

However, that’s not possible. Companies can provide you with a free consultation, but they can’t make the whole app for free.

There is no single price tag set for the features, as they are different for every app project; they differ logically, and also they may vary in designs too.

The hourly rates for the cost estimation can get used, low cost ($25) and median ($50).

Mobile App Features

User Login

It is the feature where app users have to register and log into the app to use it.

Registering users via email or phone while signing through social media is the most popular option. Signing in makes it easier to use an app.

Also, it creates a user profile and collects public data. This practice takes 20 hours, and it’s a standardized one.


App navigation defines how users go from one screen to another, and how they go back to the main menu, how they perform certain activities and close the app.

Scrolling, swiping, buttons, arrows, icons, mean that UI architecture is the basis for an app to be built. This logic demands more than 10 hours and might cost nearly $250-500.

Media Content

Although interactive features appear by default, they are also a result of individual work. Some of the applications need graphics, images, videos, audio file support. The best example can be Video Editing App Like Magisto.

Almost all of the social networking and messaging apps need it all, including editing capabilities, filters, effects, emojis, smileys, GIFs, etc.

From the developer’s point of view, there are specific tips: C++ is more reliable than Java to implement the media content in the apps.

Also, a native development kit (NDK) is of great assistance. App engineers require at least 20 hours, and the cost may start from $1,000.

Push Notifications

It is the most demanded feature in almost 99% of apps today. These are the real-time updates that keep users updated about the activities or the services related to an app.

There are several types of notifications: simple texts, the one with images or ones with action buttons. Also, the app logic includes- when and to whom notifications are delivered.

The development time needed is between 20 hours to 200 hours. The range of the cost is from $1,000 to $10,000. However, you can contact & Hire App Developer for more information.

Portrait/Landscape View

The interface concept is also an integral part of any application.

It is generally the way a list of items in an app gets presented to users, also known as master/detail flow in the Android community and the portrait/landscape view for iOS.

It might take nearly 20 hours to develop and cost approximately $500-$1000.


It is a crucial feature for transportation apps, dating apps, food delivery apps, business apps, restaurant apps, traveling, and many more.

It takes its basis on GPS and real-time user permissions.

For the cost approximation, it depends on geolocation service accuracy and is divided into various ranges: general area, medium-range proximity, and accurate location.

It takes about 50 hours to develop and costs $1,250-$2,500.


This is an essential feature for many apps as well. There are still various kinds of chats available that you may need such as direct person to person or group chat.

Chat/Messaging has become one of the important aspects to market your business. You need to have an idea of App Marketing Trends. It will help you in the long run.

It may support file transfer or saving the messages and auto-deletion option, or works on an offline mode, consists of emojis and sending notification and much more.

It might take more than 80 hours to develop, and the costs range from $2,000-$4,000.

Google Maps Integration

Along with geolocation, if apps need to integrate Google Maps, then the developer needs 20 hours extra to do it.

But still, it is undeterminable as it all depends on ways to incorporate maps with app logic and the tasks that it should execute so it’s time-consuming. The cost starts at $1,000.

In-app Purchases

Sometimes the question arises, How Much Does It Cost to Market an App? For that purpose, the in-app purchase comes into the picture.

Ads within the apps imply purchasing options right from the user’s smartphones.

It could be different content or items up for purchasing- products, services or subscriptions, premium features, and many more.

Developing this feature is not that complicated, but it still can take nearly 30 hours, and the estimated cost is $750-$1,500.

Payment Integration

If the users are purchasing something within an app, then obviously there’s a need to provide them with the payment options, so it has to get installed too.

There are many payment systems available to choose from- Android Pay, Google Wallet, Apple Pay, PayPal, Stripe, Braintree, and many more. It can be integrated into the app directly through gateway APIs.

The scope of this task gets determined by factors like how payments are processed, where the data is stored, the level of PCI compliance to be provided. This needs about 50 hours or even more to develop and the cost ranges from $2,500-$5,000.


This feature gets used for cinematographic apps like Hotstar, Amazon Prime, Netflix, HBO Now, Hulu, etc.

The process includes the app logic and the data processing if the data is sent to the server in real-time and transmitted from there or via record and send option.

Also, the settings for users’ phone cameras and internet connection. So it takes about a minimum of 30 hours to develop these features and costs $1,500.

Multi-Language Support

It is helpful when an app requires to get represented in different languages for different regions.

Two significant factors that impact this task and its cost are the scopes of data and UI adjustments.

It takes about 15 hours to develop this feature and costs nearly $350-750.

Offline Mode

The key feature of many apps is its availability in offline mode. In messaging apps, you can still see your chat history even after losing your internet connectivity.

There are a few methods for offline data storage and access to data in mobile apps- local coaching, cookies, shared preferences, local storage, and SQL database.

Overall, the developers need about 40 hours to develop this, and it costs $1,000-$2,000.


When you decide to opt for an offline mode, it would probably require a database to store data locally on a device.

Mobile app developers usually utilize a sure open-source solution to set up a database.

SQLite is a small embedded database/library that stores all the data in a single file on a device. This feature takes about 30 hours and costs $750-$1,500.


It is when the app control is in the hand of the user, and they can change the outlook of an app like changing the language, switching from list view to files, or full width.

The time required to develop this feature is estimated to be around 20-25 hours per screen. The cost starts at $1,500.

Data Encryption

The security of private data cannot be taken lightly. Encryption of data to prevent unauthorized access is an absolute must for any mobile business app.

It means turning information into a code, and only the sender and receiver can decrypt it with keys.

For example, messages sent over Whatsapp are end to end encrypted that ensures the security of the confidential data.

7. How Much Does It Cost To Build An App: Exploring the Structure Of Development Team

The location of the development team that you hire is also an important factor while calculating the cost to make an application. The developers sitting abroad will definitely charge higher as compared to the developer charge in India.

Both will provide similar service but still the geographical factor remains the hurdle for the cost.

Below is the list of Developers across the globe who remains costly in some areas, while affordable in a few of the areas.

Title of Employee United States Latin America Eastern Europe Asia
Business Analyst $100 – $205 $45 – $55 $40 – $63 $30 – $42
Architect $195 – $295 $55 – $75 $50 – $75 $30 – $50
Project Manager $130 – $230 $56 – $67 $50 – $70 $37 – $48
Jr. Developer $100 – $115 $35 – $45 $25 – $45 $20 – $25
Mid-level developer $130 – $141 $25 – $55 $36 – $56 $25 – $38
Sr. Developer $155 – $165 $40 – $60 $50 – $70 $30 – $43
Lead Developer $175 – $185 $50 – $62 $40 – $70 $30 – $43
Junior QA $75 – $85 $30 – $40 $25 – $45 $15 – $27
Mid-level QA $100 – $105 $35 – $46 $30 – $50 $20 – $32
Sr. Quality Assurance $145 – $170 $41 – $51 $41 – $63 $25 – $37
Graphic Designer $80 – $163 $42 – $53 $35 – $55 $25 – $37

Business Analyst

Outsourcing a project could attract you to the benefit of business analysts who can understand the project requirements and define the possible technologies that can enhance the beauty of the project.

The role of the Business Analyst is as follows:

  • Gathering Information
  • Identifying problems and providing effective solution
  • Sorting out competitors
  • Defining project value
  • Writing project specification

After understanding the requirement, the business analyst prepares the scope of the project and send it to the client. This detailed study will lower the additional cost and make a successful plan for the execution of affordable app development.

UI/UX Designer

Design is something that is an integral part of the application as it has enough capability to hold the customer. A beautiful design is a reflection of a well-experienced and prolific designer.

As we have discussed earlier the BA, the designer too has roles & responsibilities.

This roles & responsibilities include:

  • Analysis of design into a similar application
  • A detailed study of preferences and pains
  • Wireframe creator
  • Final design creator

App design is a must required aspect of app development and hiring an app designer can become costly if you don’t have a detailed analysis of designers. A senior designer could charge $150 per hour, while a fresher could execute the task in $40/hour.

Mobile app engineer

The mobile app engineer is the one whom you trust and share your app idea, and the responsibility is such that it has to be properly planned and executed. The engineers are decided based on the mobile app platform, i.e., iOS or Android.

As per the scope and specification, the developers’ role is to build a robust application with all the necessary features and integration into it. The developers are the ones who charge high as they take complete responsibilities to develop an app from scratch.

Developers roles include:

  • Understanding the client’s requirement
  • Identifying Key App feature
  • Designing creative prototype for client’s reference
  • Write high-quality code to execute the project
  • Find bugs and offer an effective solution
  • Identifying deficiency & offering a solution

Quality Assurance Team

QA’s task starts when the developers’ task ends. After building an application, it goes to the QA and they perform robust testing over the application to detect the bugs, system glitch or non-performance of the application.

QA keeps an eagle’s eye on the application and that is the reason for the successful execution of the application. The QA charges around $20 per hour for performing testing and detecting and troubleshooting the application.

Project Manager

A project manager is a responsible person who assigns the task after receiving the requirement from the client and also coordinates with the client. Ideally, a project manager charges $20/hour but there are few companies that don’t charge for a project manager or business analyst.

Read also: Why Your Enterprise Needs Mobile Device Management?

8. Mobile App Development Cost Estimation In India As Per Platform Choice

What does app development cost? App development has various costs from which few are avoidable and few are unavoidable as they are the pillars of app development.

The cost may get higher if we include everything at one go but developments in version may make it affordable for early startups.

First of all, below is the comparison of the cost of app development across the globe and India. This will clear the point of view for developing an app. As a startup, it is very important to deeply understand where it would be pocket-friendly to build an application.

When planning to build an application, countries that come to mind are the UK, the USA, India, and Ukraine as they are the nations with an abundance of talent and IT solution providers. Now, let’s see  how they charge and what are their rates:

  • As per the research by Formotus, $50,000-$1,00,000 is what the UK and the US charge for app development using Swift technology. There are multiple factors that are important and should be looked into before developing an app like technology stack, architecture, scalability plans, etc.
  • Ukraine charges lower than the USA and that becomes cheap for most of the app owners. The rate is around $50/hour.
  • India is the only nation wherein you can find good freelancers as well as multiple IT companies that are affordable and provides an effective solution to any type of app development project.

Also, there are a few factors that are important and unavoidable but at the same time considered as vital while developing an app:

  • Minimum Viable Product: An MVP is said to be the reflection of the final application. It can show the evolvement of the application in the future. It is nothing but a clearer understanding of the application of how it will look after the launching of an application.
  • Development Type: Outsourcing or In-house team both can be beneficial but their pros and cons should be studied in detail.
  • Number of Platforms: For startups, it is advisable to develop an application targeting only a single platform and plow back the profit in building an app for another platform. This way you can earn and think of expanding the business.

Along with avoidable and unavoidable factors, you can also see the differences in cost for the development of application in India across platforms:

iOS App Development Platform

Building an app for the iOS platform requires following strict guidelines of Apple’s AppStore which includes language, formatting, and the requirements of the app toolkit. Instead, you can hire a mobile app developer and designer to build your app and hold on in iOS development.

Advantages of Developing an iOS App

  1. Coding is the main reason why iOS is affordable than Android because it uses Java, a programming language that required more time in coding and ultimately it increases the per hour charge of the developer.
  2. It provides higher quality app due to its strict guidelines which restrict the unnecessary tool integration or development and attract more audience to pay for the application’

Disadvantages of Developing an iOS App

  1. Regular maintenance is a must requirement for iOS applications.
  2. The most important thing is the approval of an application on the App store. The approval requires a following Apple’s strict guidelines.

Android App Development

Android is also a platform that develops an application but the major question remains as it is “How much does it cost to make an app?” The answer is important because android is the popular platform where there are millions of users because of its free availability of the application.

Pros of Crafting an Android platform

  • Cost-effective app development as compared to iOS
  • Dominate mobile web traffic and fewer updates required

Cons of Building an Android platform

  • Time-consuming in developing because it takes 2-3 times longer duration than iOS
  • There are ample of the model in Android as compared to iOS that brings multiple factors that need to be kept in mind while developing such as screen size, resolution, etc.

9. Cost To Maintain An App

After launching your app, the task does not end here. You need to invest a certain amount of money to support your application. For knowing in detail about app development, you need to analyze the Complete Guide Of Mobile App Development. It will help you a lot.

The moment you publish your app on Google Play and App Store is the moment from where the journey begins; you need to target DAU (daily active users) so that you can make people download and use your app and keep that in use for often.

The average cost of maintaining an app is about 20% of the development cost per year. For example, if an app costs $500,000, you can estimate your maintenance cost to be $100,000.

Additional features may drive up the maintenance cost, which includes:

  • Powerful servers ($20-$60)
  • Payment gateway ($150/month)
  • Emergency maintenance-depends on the nature of the emergency
  • Push notification ($10/month)
  • App store developer fee- $25 at Google Play and $99 at Apple Pay

App maintenance is vital for any type of application as the maintenance would update the application and keep the application bug free. The maintenance should be done at regular intervals of time to keep the app intact and robust.

There are certain factors that are included in the app maintenance which is as follows:

App Maintenance

  • Upgradation of operating system
  • Updating an app with new and trending technologies
  • Troubleshooting and fixing bugs
  • Improvement in coding
  • Updating and adding additional new features
  • Controlling Stability
  • Enhancement of Servers
  • Scaling Application

10. Cost Of Building An App: Real-Time Examples

How much does it cost to build an app? A real-time example would be a good fit for understanding the cost concept.

Along with the other areas to cover the cost, a real-time example is also a good option to understand the concept of app development cost.

In recent years, the applications were flooded in the market and with over 3 billion smartphone users across the globe, approximately $69.9 billion were spent on mobile games.

According to Newzoo, $92.1 billion was spent last year and this number will be $106.4 billion in almost 2 years.

Popular Apps with Highest Downloads

The above chart shows the maximum downloads of the application which became boom last year, and to build those types of application it requires a detailed analysis of cost structure.

Let’s discuss in detail about a few real-time applications and their cost structure:


It is a real-time application that has broken all the records of downloads. The basic feature and development time are shown in the below table:

WhatsApp MVP Development Time
Registration 85-100
Contract 80-110
Notification 70-85
Chat 190-240
GPS 50-85
Video Calling 225-310
Settings Adjustments 45-60
Total time: 745-990 hours

Note: The cost may vary depending upon the settings menu because it has different functions such as Profile Setting, Account Setting, Chat Setting and Data Usage Setting.

Additionally, a team has to invest 400 – 500 hours in designing and building UI/UX, QA, Project management and DevOps.

In total, WhatsApp will cost you $150,000 – $200,000 to execute the project. North America has developers who charge $130/hour which is a bit costly as compared to other continents.


Ben Schippers, an engineer who concludes that it would take approximately $500,000 and additionally nine months to build a real-time application like Facebook which is world-wide usable and has a large community who is the user of this application.

Facebook includes key features that are as follows:

  • Registration and Signup feature
  • Automatically Contact Sync
  • Text/Photo/Video Sharing
  • Notification
  • Chat and Messaging Service
  • Group and Pages features

Facebook is a giant size web-app that serves millions of people across the globe. With thousands of features and a wide variety of functions, it is difficult to estimate the cost of building such type of web-application.

It has numerous features and out of which there are few functions that consume a lot of time:

  • News Feed
  • Video Call
  • Chatting

Note: The Facebook messenger holds the Chat and Video call option but an estimated cost of building both the application is mentioned below:

As per the experts, Facebook feed takes the maximum amount of time because there is no restriction on the customization.  There is a lot of changes you can do and to develop these changes, it takes a lot of time.

From posting a feed to editing, deleting, hiding, sharing, liking, and commenting, everything on a single click but that click takes a lot of time in holding that capacity to do it and this time indirectly costs a lot of investment while building.

Also, with the news feeds, there is this new feature called “Video call and chatting,” this feature adds approximately 500 hours. real-time application sounds very cool and funky but to build such type of application involves a lot of time and money.

To conclude, both facebook and messenger applications could take around 3000  hours in building (including front-end and back-end). The average cost in North America for building such type of application would be $400,000.


How much does it cost to make an application like Instagram? Instagram is a social media platform like Facebook that connects people across the globe. With similar features, Instagram is also owned by Facebook.

Instagram was built with the idea of photo-sharing application but slowly and gradually, it has taken a shape of social media wherein people can share, like, chat and discover new things. It is not only a medium to connect to your kith and kins but also an online business portal where you can promote or advertise your business and start earning.

The influence of Instagram is so much that you can buy/sell the products globally and connect with millions of users across the globe.

The below chart will show the popularity of Instagram since its inception on the platforms. It describes how fast an app has covered the market and gained millions of users.

Instagram monthly active users

The popularity gained by Instagram is because of its features and functionalities. And, these features and functionalities are a combination of several factors.

The key factors that are kept in mind while developing Instagram are as follows:

  • Affordable and Economical selection of App Development Company
  • Technology Platform (Android/iOS)
  • Hybrid OR Native
  • Features & Functionalities
  • Back-end or MBaas

The app like Instagram takes more time in building as it has various features and functions that need to be developed. The first and foremost thing is MVP (Minimum Viable Product) which is a basic reflection or lookalike of an application.

The important ingredient to build an app is its unique idea, as it holds a large group of people. If you want to become an entrepreneur, you first need to understand the demand of the audience and then build an idea that could satisfy their demand.

Jumping to the cost, the app like Instagram could take up to $60,0000 from your pocket. The cost structure shown above may differ based on your hiring a developer preference.

The minimum charge of a developer in India is $10 – $15 per hour, which is affordable and at the same time quality-focused rate.

The allocation of cost varies according to the feature and functionalities. There is no fix associated with the development of App like Instagram. The more complexity and features, the higher the cost will be. So, you can plan according to that in the near future.


TikTok – A Music Video App, is a Chinese application that allows its users to record a 15-second video for their users.

Like every other application, it also has to create an MVP, and this includes:

  • Basic UI
  • Registration on the account
  • Video Creation
  • Music library
  • Posting/Uploading
  • Searching

According to research, it estimates around $80K to $100K for the development of an application. On the other hand, gaining a music license would cost additionally.

The TikTok is an application that could attract $128K to $248K for development. As it is integrated with multiple sets of features and functions. Also, in terms of hours, it takes around 985 hours.


Spotify is people’s preferred music player application that has approximately 207 million monthly users, and this app is available across the platforms – from Android to iOS user to desktops and handy laptops.

The Spotify is also built with key features that include:

  • Registration
  • Streaming Player
  • Search Option
  • Library
  • Album
  • Feedback

The Spotify clone would take around 1200 hours to build and below is the table representing in detail:

Spotify MVP Development Time
Registration 85-100
Streaming Player 150-290
Search 100-170
Library 80-160
Artist/Album 40-50
Back-end 100-190
Total time: 555-960 hours

North American developer charges $130/hour and that would sum up to $110K to $180K for the development of the project.

The music playing applications like Spotify could attract music licensing and hosting costs additionally and that could increase the cost of app development. Another way to save the cost is by using the Soundcloud route that is free of cost and users can upload their own music.


Uber, a very successful 24-hour service that offers on-demand cab service and connects drivers and riders. This type of application has two interfaces; one for riders and one for the driver.

Below is a representation of Uber features:

Uber Features
Passengers Common Features Driver
Registration Social Login Registration
Selection Car Type Push Notification Status Update
Tracking Communication Booking
Rating & Feedback Support Navigation
Cost Calculator Booking History
Live Tracking
Booking History
Automatic Payment

The above image distinguishes between Passenger and Driver, and their user interfaces. This type of application requires a payment model and that is the reason the app is integrated with the payment gateway.

Now, let’s see the user interface and its breakdown calculation with the reference of the table:

Uber MVP Development Time (Passenger Only)
Registration 50-70
Booking 100-121
Payment 30-50
Card Details 55-90
Tracking  71-85
Notification 40-55
Ride History 60-75
Total Time: 406-546 hours

The above image says that approximately 421-526 hours for the development of the user’s side interface. Also, there is a driver’s side layout which would take 308-382 hours to build.

Uber MVP Development Time (Driver Only)
Registration 50-65
Status Update 35-45
Reply to Request 65-80
Tracking 70-85
Notification 40-50
Booking History 55-65
Total Time: 315- 390 hours

You might be thinking why there is a lesser time in the driver side compared to the passenger side, but the reason behind features. Fewer features could take less time and Vice a Versa.

The total cost of building a uber-like app could sum up to $120,000 to $154,000 including all the features and functionalities. This includes 60- 80 hours of development for the admin dashboard, 120-200 hours for UI/UX design.

Note: The numbers mentioned above are the analysis of experts across the globe. The numbers may vary due to the difference in opinions and calculations.

Other Factors Related to App Development Cost

There is always another side of the coin and here, the other side is external factors related to app development cost.

Below is a list of other factors that could attract an additional cost and any entrepreneur who would want to build an application has  to consider the following requisites:

  • Application Complexity
  • iOS vs Android
  • App Developer?

App Complexity

The market is flooded with different niches of application and these niches have different complexities. A decision on how much it would cost to build an app will be finalized when the above-listed complexities are taken into consideration:

An app without web servers

The app without web servers have a drop-down menu and does not have remote data servers. The drop-down menu holds the customer to a specific option that a user has selected. The user can select the desired option where he or she wants to land from that drop-down menu.

The cost to build such types of applications is around $1,000 to $4,000 and examples for such types of apps are diet planner, calendar and email applications. The cost may hike if the GPS or payment gateway is included while building an app.

An App with web servers

The application has a separate location to save their data and is called remote data servers. Also, the apps allow users to perform searches and provide desired results. Furthermore, the cost to connect the app to remote web servers requires detailed programming and costs up to $8K to $51K approximately.

iOS vs Android

Building an Android or iOS application is debatable in terms of cost as everyone has a dilemma that building an iOS could be costly. But, the fact is that the Android App development is costly due to its Android Tax, said Ken Yarmosh.

However, there is a contradiction in this because the cost of app development between Android vs iOS is almost the same and there is a minor difference in it.

The cost differs because there is an array of sizes of screens and devices compared to iOS. The complex features of Android applications make it costly than iOS.

Application Developer

Hiring Freelancers

Hiring freelancers could allow you to reap the benefits of affordable app development with quality. Freelancers are flexible and don’t require premises to work, they can work from home.

Also, there are various platforms such as Upwork, Freelancer, and Guru that provide pocket-friendly freelancers to execute the project.

Availing the benefits could also put you into risk as the freelancers bring risks with themselves and these risks are as follows:

  • Uneducated or Less skilled Developers: This type of developers often end up creating a mess and a drain of time and money that could create frustration for the app owner.
  • Poor Code Quality: With less education and poor skills & experience, they cannot ever write proper code for the apps.
  • Reposting Projects: There are chances that the one whom you hire to execute your project may hire someone else to implement the project, and there are fewer chances of the third-person being completely educated and subject expertise.

Note: Hiring Freelancer could be either affordable or costly depending upon the geographical location. A detailed study regarding the pricing could land up in selecting the most affordable and educated freelancer to execute the project.

Concluding it with a brief, this point explains that there are 4 major points that describe the factor to determine the cost to craft your application:


The complexity to build an app has several factors that include the type of data, remote data server integration, and third-party integration, etc.


The application’s beauty depends on the feature you add on, and these features hold the customers to the application. The feature includes designing, planning, complexity level, testing, and deployment.

Human Resources

Hiring a resource to execute your idea into a virtual platform can become effective if you choose the right manpower for your project. This includes hiring an agency, company or freelancer with maximum advantage and minimum cost.


If your aim is to reach a maximum audience across the globe and are not tight on budget, then you can simply target both the platforms, i.e.,  Android and iOS. On the other hand, if you are a startup, then you can select either of the platforms to build your applications.

FAQs on Cost of Making an App

There is no fixed cost that can be associated with the development of a mobile app. It depends on the type of features that you may want to include in your business App. However, the average to develop a basic level app is around $20,000 – $25,000.

There are a number of factors that you need to take into account while calculating the cost of your mobile app. However, some of the major ones are the type of app, the complexity of the app, the region in which the development is taking place, the features, maintenance, etc.

As you know, there are two major platforms for app development – Android & iOS. It takes 2-3 times more time to develop an Android app compared to the iOS app. So, pricing for the Android app is higher than iOS which is around $50,000 – $1,00,000 in the USA.

There is a number of pros that are associated with freelancers and agency. However, the major benefit of the agency is experienced developers & guarantee of on-time project delivery. On another hand, the major benefit of hiring a freelancer is budget-friendliness.

The price to make an app varies from one country to another. In North America, the avg. price is around $150-160, while in the UK its around $70. In South America, you can develop an app for $35-40 on avg, while in India it’s $25-30. This is how the price varies.

There are a number of features (Basic Level & Advanced Level) that affect mobile app development costs. Out of that, basics general ones are Login, Navigation, Media, Push Notifications, Chat, Google Maps Integration, Payment Gateway Integration, etc.

11. How to Cut Mobile App Development Cost?

A special element that could help you in trimming your budget, and special tip for an entrepreneur to cut down the cost so that there would be less investment and less risk.

Considering the budget for early startups, below is the list of factors that can help in cutting down the cost of app development and also save a lot of time.

Cross-Platform Development

According to technopedia, Cross-Platform Development means developing an application for multiple platforms and providing a similar environment across the platforms. Developers often build such application that consists of similar software environment or products.

There are multiple technologies that could help you in building an application across the platform. Also, to fasten up the app development process, you can use Phonegap, Xamarin or other similar frameworks.

Talking about the native app development platform, it is costly and also has to write separate code for developing the app. Comparing both the app development platform, the cross-platform saves up to 30% of the budget.

The app should not depend on custom animation otherwise, the use of cross-platform is worthless. For developing an advanced application, the use of swift for iOS and Java for Android is recommended.

The differences below will clear the picture of cost for the app development:

Cross-Platform Development

  • It has PhoneGap, Monocross and React-Native that is open-source and free to use.
  • Kony and Appcelerator offers free plans
  • Overall, the application built using the above technologies will provide a cross-platform environment, and is also a budget-friendly option.

Native App Development

Design and Development by the same agency

You have an idea, budget, and requirement of an audience in your mind but this all will be worthless if you don’t have someone to execute that idea into virtual shape. That’s where an IT solution provider comes to mind.

For startups, it is advisable to not spend their entire budget on developing the application. They have to be ready for every situation. Hiring is not an easy task, especially for someone who wishes to become an entrepreneur.

Advantages of hiring a freelancer

  • Reserving a place in premises will not be your headache
  • Freelancers are generally affordable and have per hour cost quite pocket-friendly than companies
  • Flexible in working according to your time zone.

Disadvantages of hiring freelancers

  • Could not trust their expertise
  • Lack of commitment
  • May disappear anytime
  • No testing  of app surety
  • Doesn’t provide support  & maintenance

Pros of hiring a company

  • Technical expertise and surety of completion of work
  • Affordable if you choose with detailed research (includes Geographical, long-clientele)
  • They will provide you a team with good amount of experience.
  • Testing the app
  • Support & Maintenance

Cons of hiring a company

Young freshers could be assigned for the project.

  • Could not communicate directly with developers
  • Costing of recruitment could be slightly higher (If not researched properly)
  • MVP Releases

MVP also called a minimum viable product, is a testing application that is exactly a reflection of the original app that includes all the basic features which are required to run the application. The sole purpose of designing an MVP is to check the market acceptance of the application.

The idea behind building an MVP is to provide customers a basic representation of the original product and gather information through it. The information will help you in deciding whether to build a product or not.

Building a cost-effective MVP will save a lot of time and effort and increase ROI with every version release. This is a significant way to decrease the cost behind developing an app and testing the application to verify the demand of the audience.

So basically, an MVP is a pre-version of an application by installing all the basic features of the app and releasing it to test whether the application satisfies the demand of the audience.

Open-Source Framework

Open-source is a framework that will best suit for building an application for the startups. With a limited budget, an entrepreneur could plan to develop an app with the open-source framework.

The open-source framework refers to a program wherein the source code is available for the general public, and they can use it or modify it according to their design preference. This saves a lot of time and cost.


This blog is informative and all the possible efforts are taken to provide in-depth knowledge about the app cost development, but it is advised that no blog could provide you an exact number for developing an application.

eSparkBiz, a leading mobile app development company that has executed multiple projects and has a long list of clients. Hire Mobile App Developers from us who are with since the inception of the company. With over 8 years of experience, we have evolved a lot in terms of technologies and providing IT solutions.

For availing effective IT services and in-depth knowledge about technologies, kindly contact us, and also if you want a quick quote for your project, we are always ready to help you.

Hire mobile app developers

Disclaimer: We at eSparkBiz Technologies have created this blog with all the consideration and utmost care. We always strive for excellence in each of our blog posts and for that purpose, we ensure that all the information written in the blog is complete, correct, comprehensible, accurate and up-to-date. However, we can’t always guarantee that the information written in the blog correct, accurate or up-to-date. Therefore, we always advise our valuable readers not to take any kind of decisions based on the information as well as the views shared by our authors. The readers should always conduct an in-depth research before making the final decision. In addition to these, all the logos, 3rd part trademarks and screenshots of websites & mobile apps are the property of the individual owners. We’re not associated with any of them.

Jigar Agrawal

Jigar Agrawal

Passionate about exploring anything related to Android . Wants to unlock the world of mobile and Social Media where every day there is a chance of new possibility as well as innovation. Has bulk of experience of writing articles on major development which takes place in Android. Puts his pen on paper & write blogs for eSparkBiz, an Android App Development Company where you can Hire Android App Developer as per your specific needs.


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