Most app based businesses start with this question: How much it will cost to make an iPhone App?

However, almost all kind of businesses need app now: news channels, print newspapers, and even likes of McKinsey and Bain are creating different apps to support their businesses. Creating app can suit various purposes. It can be used for brand awareness, educate customers, drive traffic, or simply facilitate revenue growth.

According to business2community, 42% of all mobile sales are generated by leading 5oo merchants came from mobile app. This information indicates that having an app for the business is the game changing tool of marketing which can drive you to the top.

While this all sounds great, having an idea of how much your iPhone app will cost is useful information. It can help you estimate ROI on your app investment. So let’s try to figure out how much you might expect to give away for your new iPhone app.

What are we building?

This is a crucial question. You cannot go anywhere in cost estimation without having a clear idea of what you want to create. In fact, this would be the first question your app development agency will ask you.

You need to have an idea about necessary app functions, the desired quality of user experience, and the type and size of audience you wish to reach.

It is easier to figure out the cost of the app by identifying what we want to build.

IPhone app is segregated into three types:

1. Basic table functionality

These app are simple and easier to design. Such apps display basic static information in the form of hierarchy.

First, the screen has a list of broadest topic and each button open a slightly narrower category. For example, think of the iPhone “Note “app.

The cost of making this app depends upon whether you want to add additional feature into this app like social media or GPS locator. Price for building this app is between $1000-4000.

2.  Database app (Native)

These kinds of apps are advance and complex in design and functionality. In such apps, the user can use functionalities as saving the list, sign in and register, sync data across multiple device or to use and manage content.

The cost for developing this app may get higher because this app is data driven and it requires lots of work from the developer to make this app.

The cost for developing this app may fall in the range of $8,000-50,000.

3. Games

Building a game app for the iPhone is one of the most challenging and expensive task. It includes the cost of catchy graphics, user experience, a point scoring system and a quick social media integration. You cannot afford to build a game that is not user friendly.

The market for developing a game app for iPhone isn’t cheap. And the app may fall in the range of $10,000-250,000.


What other functionalities can increase cost?

Yes, iPhone app development includes additional cost that you should be ready for. Here are the lists of the additional costs for iPhone.

1. In-app purchasing

This feature in iPhone app allows users to buy new content or full version of the app. The cost of this feature depends upon the complexity. It will cost you $1,000-$3,000.

2. Web services

This additional feature is used for taking the content to a remote access point so that you can update your app with an XML file instead of raw code changes. The cost applies for theses feature can range between $1,000 and 5,000.

3. Game center

This feature allows a player’s device to connect to the Game Center service and exchange information. For this feature, you have to pay $1,000.

4. Share capabilities

This feature mostly used for social media and emailing, but there can be other integration with these features and this will cost you $500-$1,500.

5. SDKs like chart-boost

SDKs play a crucial role in tracking our apps and making money off them. Generally you can get any SDK at very low cost, but more you are with your SDK the more expensive it gets.

SDK that you may want to include in your iPhone app development are Google Analytics, Chartboost,Applovin, Xplode, AdMob, and Tapjoy.


Finding the right team for your app development

After finalizing which type of iPhone App you want to build, now it’s time to move on to most tricky part of the iPhone app development process “Finding the right team”.

You will need a project manager, a UI/UX designer, at least two developers, and a quality assurance engineer. If the app requires a backend infrastructure to develop an API, then a backend developer should also join the team.

Obviously, you will need money to hire them because they are not coming for free.

What you can do for your iPhone app development?

  • You can hire a newbie programmer.
  • You can get some random programmer for your iPhone app development.
  • You can hire a reputable company to do that task for you.

No doubt any of these can fix your problem, but each of these solutions has its own downside.

If you want to save your money then option A and B is a good choice but do you really think that you will open a door and you will find your programmer standing in front of the door. It’s not easy to find the right developer.

Similarly, option C is calling out for you “Show me the money” means you have to invest, if you want to develop an iPhone app from reputable company.

Here is the price range for iPhone app development by the reputable company.

  • “somewhere between $100,000 and $300,000” —Applico
  • “anywhere between $150,000 to $450,000” –Savvy Apps
  • “as little as $150,000 … as much as $500,000” —Fueled

Apart from this, there is also testing charge for ensuring that you are design work well on agreed design.

Other factors that can influence pricing

1. Technical complexity

Another key driver of increasing the cost of the iPhone app development is the Technical complexity of the app. More the complex feature, more the cost development cost.

Here are some of the common examples:

Third party integration

You cannot build everything by yourself; you need to take the help of the third party. Some functionality in mobile app requires third party integration.

For example, to implement real time chat you can take the help of Layer, Pubnub, or Actor. And this not come in free, you need to pay them for their help.

Backend development

Most apps are not simply stored on a device to interact solely with the user and the device. App features often pull data from or interact with Web-based APIs.

For example, a PayPal payment within the app will interact with the PayPal API to verify the payment without the user having to leave the app.

API integration can be rather costly depending on the complexity of the API that needs to be developed, or if the necessary API already exists, what the permissions are and how clear and up-to-date the documentation is.

Admin panel development

Admin panel development is very useful tool which operate apps, manage users and content, view stats, and more.Such as to push new content to the app or to manage users, will be more costly as the complexity of that backend increases.

2. Number of device and iOS

When it come in developing iPhone app, it’s important that we should keep in mind that it should be ideally compatible with the latest and the previous versions of iPhone (e.g. iPhone 6, 6S, 5C, 5S), and support the latest and previous iOS versions (e.g. iOS 9 and iOS 8)

Obviously, more devices means more money spent on adapting the various screen size, resolution, hardware specification, and testing.

3. Design cost

The design of your iPhone app is going to make huge difference in your ROI and user experience. The design will help convert viewers to downloads from the screenshots you decide to upload and will help people using your app feel more engaged.

The cost of the design depends upon the quality of the design. For example highly detailed and customized design can cost you more than using readymade or minimalistic design. Hiring a designer with creative designing may be more costly.

4. Marketing cost

If you want your app to stand out from the competitors then you need to save some budget for marketing because:

  • 80% are not generating enough revenue with their app to support standalone business.
  • 59% are not earning enough money to break even with the development cost.

Marketing is important because no one ever will know that you have created something awesome, you need to put effort in letting the world know that you have created something awesome and this can only possible if you had saved some penny for marketing.

Let’s say I want an app like Uber…what would that it cost?

It’s always useful to discuss a real life example. So, let’s talk about Uber. But before we get into the pricing, just for the sake of clarity (and considering you haven’t used the app) we must understand what Uber app really does.

About Uber

Uber is a mobile app which allows its user to submit a trip request by using their smartphone. The app automatically sends a trip request to the driver nearest to the consumer, alerting a driver to the location of the customer.

The Uber automatically calculate the fare and transfer of payment to the driver. And also shows the nearest route to the destination.

So, yeah, a lot of processes are happening.

What key features does Uber app has?

  • Personal profile editing
  • ‘Active / Inactive’ option. Active drivers are visible on the map, inactive aren’t
  • Activity alerts. The app informs the driver when he is chosen and displays the estimated ride fare
  • Calling to a passenger from the app
  • Generating daily / monthly reports of past bookings and earnings
  • Manage personal information
  • Book a taxi as needed
  • Call or text the driver right from the app
  • Personal discount
  • Track an approaching taxi
  • Automatic payment execution with possibility to split the fare with a fellow traveler
  • Rate the driver after the ride

How much does it cost?

Now is the right time to get into cost.

Artem Fishman  Vice President of Engineering at Huge said:

“Based on its early rounds, a minimum viable product for Uber cost about $1 to $1.5 million to develop.”

Just one more info. Uber is available on Android as well as Apple. So roughly, you can distribute the cost between the Android app and the iPhone app. By taking the app costing stats mentioned earlier and mapping it on each and every feature mentioned, you will get a similar costing results.

Well…what about maintenance?

Yes, that’s probably the most ignored aspect of iPhone app development. And even a web app or software development. Any app is like a business. If you want it to be successful, it needs to be improved with time.

Once you launch an app on the App Store, with new downloads you will be bombarded with feedback and reviews. Users might demand new features. There might still be bugs and errors your testing team might have missed. And there are hundreds of other experiences your users might share.

You need to take that all those into account and keep improving the app. Your iPhone app maintenance is critical to success.

According to industry norm, app maintenance can cost somewhere between 15-20% per year of the total development cost. So, if your iPhone app development cost $50,000, the maintenance cost would be $10,000 per year.


It is certainly not easy to answer the question we started with: What really goes into estimating your iPhone App development cost? But we are sure this article will give you actionable insights into estimating the iPhone app development cost.

The key here is to understand the requirements–what will your app do, what key features it will have, and how many active users you think will use the app?

The better you answer these questions, the more prepared you will be to estimate the budget for your iPhone app project.

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