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How much does it cost to make an iOS app?

So, Product Owner, you have a project you want to develop. You’re evaluating options, thinking about what move you should make next. Most importantly, how many resources do you need? Well, you might have a cross-platform application in mind or a purely iOS one. If the former is true, likely, the Android version is further down the pipeline anyway. Statistics show that a higher number of iOS applications generally bring bigger returns than Android ones. That’s why, frankly, nobody will blame you for setting your sights on iOS first. Another factor is that all iPhones are made by one company, yet not all Android phones are. This means you have to deal with less variety and get to save time and money when making an iOS app. Either way, at this point, you are thinking about developing on Apple’s platform. That means you probably can’t wait to learn more about custom iOS app development and what it will cost you.

smartphone

There is no fixed price

Wouldn’t it be great if you could ask anybody what an app costs and they could confidently tell you: «One hundred dollars»? That’s not only a bargain – that’s unrealistic. In our complex world, there are way too many factors to take into account, any one of which might tip the scales from «affordable» to «impossible.» That does not, however, mean that the more you spend on an app, the better. It’s not as direct as that, either. But you want numbers, and that’s perfectly understandable.

What influences the cost of an app?

Let’s get down to the numbers then. Three major factors influence how much money you have to part with to make your idea come alive. These are time spent, quality, and complexity.

Time spent

Before you can evaluate how much time developers will need, you must make sure you understand what goes into making an app in general. For most projects, there are five distinct stages: ideation, research, design, development, polishing.

If you are bringing a company in on your project, you should think about how soon and how much you have done already. Usually, it helps to work with the same people from the very beginning since everyone is much more likely to be on the same page throughout development. You are already thinking of making an iOS app, so you must know what it is. Anyhow, fleshing that out and researching all the needed information to continue can take up to three weeks. Then, you have the design stage. Here you consider all the specifications and the «look and feel» of your application. Surely, you don’t want your creation to get lost on the App Store among its boring counterparts. Attention-grabbing yet easy-to-use visuals will get you places. Expect to work on it, though. This could take weeks. Depending on what you came up with, the following stage of the building may take months, just like properly testing it all afterward – weeks.

Now, taking all that into account, carefully examine hourly rates in different parts of the world. Generally, the US goes for $60-120+, South America or the Middle East may cost you in the $20-80 range, India is around $30, and there’s also Ukraine (that many such guides overlook) – well-educated experts for an affordable price of around $50 per hour. Deciding on who to work with will impact your project. Consider the language barrier, cultural differences, etc. Yet, the price does not always reflect the output, which brings us to the next point – quality.

Quality

This factor depends on the developer. How well do they do compared to others? How well do they do compared to what you had in mind? A more experienced dev picks up on your needs faster and can interpret them easier. Such professionals are also expected to take less time doing simple tasks and make fewer errors. That provides for a much smoother development experience, so the extra costs come as no surprise. If you can afford it, that is often the best way to go.

Think about it. A free app with no social integration, no connection to API of any kind, and with a bare-minimum design may lighten your pockets by anywhere from $8,500 to $10,900 when developed by an experienced company. That same company could charge up to $39,000 for a beautifully designed and more feature-rich application. Even when building the same features, execution may vary. Thus, thinking about how complex your app idea is may give you even more clarity on its price.

Complexity

Basic apps often cost a few grand, and you get what you pay for. Think of a calendar, for example. Displaying the data is simple enough – iPhones can do that. Now, imagine what you could add on top of that. Your feature list starts growing. You might wonder what technology you should use to develop these specifications. Often that impacts the budget too. And what about expanding to other markets later on? If iOS isn’t your only priority, then a development company may use Flutter for cross-platform development. If you aren’t planning to integrate with other software or to include many advanced features that need to use the iPhone’s internals, then Flutter is a good investment in the future of your project.

If simple apps cost less, then the opposite is true as well. Perhaps your app fits the finance category. That would surely mean some payment processing, live updates, system integration. The bigger your feature list, the more work you have to do to present it to users, too. User experience must not be harmed, which means more time designing it to fit the app. And where there’s money, there’s security. You already know what that means for the budget. Unavoidably, app complexity also impacts the tech stack. A development company would most likely use Swift to develop a well-performing native app that can handle complex features. Anyone who knows the difference between native and non-native development will swear by the former in this case.

By how much will all that lighten your pockets?

  • Not too complicated applications cost between $9,000 and $29,000 to make.
  • Significantly more feature-rich projects require anywhere from $39,000 to $99,000.
  • Big ones could make you cough up between $79,000 and $119,000.

Conclusion

When it comes to app development, there is no one answer to how much it costs. Yet, there are significant factors to watch out for. Consider your idea, its complexity, how much time it will take, and how well you want it done. Strike the right point in-between all that, and you’ll be on your way to conquer the App Store as soon as possible.

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