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How Much Does it Cost to Create an App?

How Much Does it Cost to Create an App?


App Development Cost = Development Time x Hourly Rate

A good way to investigate how much an app might cost is to start by looking at some of the most popular mobile apps in the world. Even though there’s no public data on the actual costs of developing these apps, it is possible to estimate the costs of developing similar apps. A common and straightforward way to estimate the cost is: (features x time) x hourly rate = cost.


It is important to understand the variations in hourly rates prior to calculating the total app development cost.

android cost



The median cost per hour of developing iOS apps (Android apps will be discussed later) in different regions is summarized in the graph below:

regions android cost


This graph suggests that the median cost of developing iOS apps in North America is around $150/hour while the cost in Indonesia is around $11/hour.

What Are Some Other Factors to Consider?

Now that you have an idea of how much a top 10 apps cost to build, here are some other budget factors you need to consider when getting your app built:

How complex is your app?

One of the reasons why it’s so difficult to answer the question, “how much does it cost to make an app”, is because there are so many different kinds of apps. Though it is virtually impossible to describe all the existing apps on the market, there are three broad categories that outline apps’ complexity:

  • Apps without web serversApps without web servers do not have remote data servers. They often display information on different “lists.” These apps often have dropdown menus (master table) that allow users to select from. Once the user has selected an option, he or she may be presented with a second, more specific list. The user may continue to do so until he or she lands on a page with the desired information. Some common examples of table functionality apps include diet planners, calendar apps, and email apps. The cost of developing these kinds of apps fall somewhere between $1,000 and $4,000. Some possible features that could drive up the costs of such apps include geolocation and third-party app integrations (i.e. social media platforms).
  • Apps with web serversUnlike the first category, these apps house their data on remote data servers. The data for these apps are relayed between client side and server side. Furthermore, these apps often allow their users to perform searches and input data to produce the desired results. Since connecting apps to remote web servers requires more sophisticated programming and an API, the costs of these apps are higher and could range anywhere from $8,000 to $50,000.
  • Gaming appsThough “gaming apps” seem somewhat self explanatory, it is the hardest category to put a price tag on. This category covers simple PONG type functionality all the way up to complex virtual reality games. For example, the developer of Flappy Hen, a clone of Flappybird, a popular game that is no longer available for download, spent around 40-50 hours creating his app. If you multiply 40-50 by $150, the app would cost $6,000-$7,500. However, a racing game that utilizes a gyroscope can easily cost up to $125,000 to create. A broad estimation of gaming apps would be $6,000 – $250,000.

Some other common features that increase technical complexities and drive up the cost of your app include: third-party integrations, admin dashboard, and use of hardware components such as Bluetooth, GPS, barometers etc. Having a clear idea of your scope would get you a more accurate cost estimation.

When creating the MVP for your app, you’ll also need to keep your long-term goals in mind. Are you developing a simple prototype that will most likely be rewritten later? Will this app be the backbone of your startup? These are all factors to consider before diving into cost estimation.

freelancer cost


Do you want to make an iOS or Android app?

Is it more expensive to develop iOS or Android apps? This is a highly debated issue that many disagree on.

For instance, Ken Yarmosh, the founder and CEO of Savvy Apps, a mobile design and development company in Washington D.C., believes that building Android apps are more expensive — he termed the extra cost for developing Android apps as “the Android Tax.” However, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Airbnb, and Uber spent less money on developing their Android MVP apps. Do these statistics contradict Yarmosh’s claim? How can the discrepancy in the data be explained?

The truth is, the cost per hour for developing iOS and Android apps are pretty much the same.

However, because there is a wider variety of Android devices and sizes of screen, both the design and the development sides are more complex compared to iOS. What this means is that the time it takes to develop Android apps may be 2 to 3 times longer than that of iOS apps. If we multiply the hourly rate by the time that it takes to develop respective apps, we can conclude that it is indeed more expensive to create Android apps. This is why many companies, including the top 10, choose to develop iOS apps before tackling Android apps.

Final Thoughts

To recap – there are 4 aspects you should consider when you’re determining the cost to build your app:

  • Complexities (type of app, remote data servers integration, third-party integrations etc.)
  • Features (planning, design, features, infrastructure, app admin., testing, deployment)
  • Human resources (i.e. internal app team, agency, freelancers)
  • iOS vs. Android development

There are also other factors that we haven’t discussed that lie beyond the scope of the initial creation of your app. If you’re serious about bringing an app to the market or using it to build a startup, you should also evaluate the cost of support (i.e. hosting), marketing and advertising, human resources, and much more.

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