Know the Best Cost to Build iOS and Android App

Check why the cost to make an iOS app or an android app is entwined!

Making decisions can be rough but it’s important to keep in mind that options are always around. Even if we don’t like them (exactly), the more we practice something, the luckier we get. The way we conduct business is also an area where we define our luck. Based on hard work and smart choices, thinking like a paranoid optimist, we indulge in scenario planning which most of us (read: programmers) end-up practicing quite a bit.

I still love this concept. The only thing I’d change about my delivery here is to be a little more aggressive in telling software service providers (and service seekers) that some of our important choices have a timeline. Sometimes our doubts keep us from making correct choices in time. In this context, deciding to select Android or an iOS app first is as vital as being aware of the complexity of the app, the current requirement, technology in demand and the skills/tools/techniques at disposal.

A serious mobile app (pun intended!) must require a strong conceptual foundation, good planning, and an excellent ecosystem. An iOS or Android App developer must do their research (generate an idea, study competitors), develop their use cases, outline their target audience, decide the app development platform, sketch functional flow and define their marketing strategy, even if they make use of cloud or other mobile app development tools. We are here to establish what counts as a small app, what’s a medium-sized app and which apps can be called as large (enterprise) and simultaneously ascertain the app development cost.

Understanding App Requirement

To satisfy our purpose, let us consider a social networking/media app for the matter.

  • A smallest social networking app might feature user registration/user login, a newsfeed, a possibility to search for contacts and connect/interact with friends.
  • A medium-sized app will feature slightly more features, a better user-interface and few more sharing settings (including sharing to external platforms). These will also have geo-localization, audio/video support and some sort of integration with the device (such as access to the camera or phonebook).
  • The most complex apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp feature multiple languages, some really robust settings, photo and video editing filters, some really cool algorithms that allow receiving tailor-made content and suggestions regarding new connections, customizing newsfeeds, restricting post from certain people, sharing photos, messaging, calling, watching live videos, playing games, setting custom wallpapers, notification sounds, enjoying group calling, group chatting, Go live in public or with your followers’ group, tagging location, watch live streaming videos, get friend suggestions, Chat privately with friends and followers etc.

The most complex apps sound most reasonable but they take a longer time to develop. While we arrive on that, it is equally important to predict the time it will take or the app to be developed until developers fully grasp the entire process of app creation.

Cost to Build an App – iOS Or Android

Cutting long story short, Android apps take longer to develop, therefore the cost to make an Android app or an iOS app comes out to be almost same. When we assess the technical feasibility of the mobile app (stage 2), soon after planning/research (stage 1), we figure out initial business details, as in, checking the budget of the business owner, their previous products, milestones achieved, assets they own and key team members in the team. Soon after, we set to analyze the installable data on the app store. To accomplish this requirement, we check the number of apps by the same publisher, their installs, retention and revenue, their current growth and monetization strategies. Later, we figure out the marketing data – their public coverage, external marketing tools and particulars of paid campaigns used by competitors.

Above everything, the budget of the business owner, the size of the app to be developed, the platform for which the app is to be developed and technologies to be used are some essential factors to be considered. The complexity of features, modules, business logic, design patterns, prototyping, custom solutions, unexpected outcomes and the changes required at various stages of SDLC, will all contribute towards the cost of the mobile app.

The app development cost can be estimated by following formula:


(Features * Time) * HourlyRate = Cost (Features∗Time) ∗ HourlyRate=Cost

According to average project estimate, a very basic iOS app costs around $30k (requires 2 months to build), a slightly complex iOS app will cost $50k (requires 2-3 months to build), and an iOS app with maximum complexity might require up to 6 months to complete and cost up to $80k. Experienced iOS app developers charge an average of $150/hour in North America.

According to widely accepted norms (considering experience of developers, availability and location – a basic application (iOS or Android) costs around $25K. Medium complexity apps will cost between $40K and $70K. The cost of complex apps usually goes beyond $70K.

Itemizing Cost to Android App and/or iOS App Development Cost

Generically, a developer must choose to create an iOS app to reach a more engaged user base. They can select the Android app for a broader reach (suited for emerging markets like Asia and Africa). Let’s consider a basic questionnaire that helps us decide upon the type of app, the features we require and the simultaneous cost of creation:

Q1: What type of app do you wish to create?

A1: Android App.

Q2: Do people have to log in?

Given options: Email, Social, No Integration or I don’t know.

A2: Email (Preferable in case the app does not have strict integration with social media services like Facebook, Google + or Twitter, etc.).

Q3: Do you want users to create personal profiles?

A3: Yes.

Q4: How will app monetization work?

The upfront cost is cheaper to build than in-app purchases but in-app purchase can produce higher returns if/when you have an engaged user base.

Given options: Up-front cost, In-app purchases, free or I don’t know

A4: Upfront Cost (Preferable in case the app does not contain any in-app purchases. In other cases, later can produce higher returns if/when the business has an engaged user base)

Q5: Do users rate or review things?

Given options: Yes, No, I don’t know

A5: Yes (Ranking Systems can vary in complexity and thus impact your budget)

Q6: Does your app need to connect with your website?

A6: Yes (Develop will need to create an API for this).

Q7: How nice should your app look?

Given option: Barebones, beautiful or stock

A7: Beautiful (This will require a developer to include custom gestures, custom design controls like buttons, drop-downs (if required), font, CSS, theme, style, texture, frames and custom transitions, etc. All together will come out to be pretty expensive.)

Q8: Do you need an app icon?

A8: Yes (Designing a quality app icon typically ranges from $500 – $2,000 but this is important for you to stand out in the app store and on the device.

Average Cost of the Android app with the above features: $43,900.

As another example, let’s analyze iOS App Development Cost with slightly different features:

Q1: What type of app you wish to create?

A1: iOS App

Q2: Do users have to log in?

Available Options: Email, social media log in, no login, I don’t know

A2: Social media

Q3: Do people create personal profiles?

A3: Yes

Q4: How will you make money from your app?

Available Options: Upfront cost, in-app purchases, free or I don’t know

A4: In-app purchases

Q5: Do people rate or review things?

A5: I don’t know

Q6: Does your app need to connect with your website?

A6: No

Q7: How nice should your app look?

A7: Stock

Q8: Does your app need an app icon?

A8: Yes

Average Cost of the iOS App with above features: $28, 400

Snipping off the discussion: Still decisive to create iOS App or an Android App?

Mobile applications have constituted themselves as tools for daily use. Used for networking, commuting, entertainment, hospitality, on-demand services, logistics, emerging technologies, enterprise mobility, messengers, cloud services, directory apps and likewise. These days if Apple App store has a million downloads, Google Play Store has twice as many downloads and many more individual entrepreneurs and companies ranging from startups and enterprises continuously line up with their products and services. As an entrepreneur, you necessarily do not have the knowledge to create a mobile app from scratch. It is probable that as you try to put your steps together, competitors might soon catch up or may have their products in beta testing, only a few steps away from turning your (innovative) idea into a mere bootleg. We create digital experiences for physical places, jazz up your mobile app development routine with us and know the best price quotes instantly.

About Author
Vipin Jain

Vipin Jain

Vipin Jain is the Co-Founder and CEO at Konstant Infosolutions and is in charge of marketing, project management, administration and R&D at the company. With his marketing background, Vipin Jain has developed and honed the company’s vision, corporate structure & initiatives and its goals, and brought the company into the current era of success.



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