How Much Does It Cost To Develop a Mobile App? A Complete Guide

Finally! You’ve found the perfect app development business idea to try out but for it to thrive, you’ll need to answer an important question: How much does it cost to develop a mobile app? The cost of a mobile app can vary depending on the size and complexity of the app.

Therefore, the more complex and feature-filled an app is, the more expensive it is to develop. So, before committing to develop any app, you’ll have to decide how much you’ll be willing to spend. You wouldn’t want to start developing an app and stop halfway due to lack of funds.

In this article, we will answer various questions like:

  • What factors affect mobile app development costs?
  • How much does it cost to develop a mobile app from scratch?
  • What is the cost breakdown of some popular apps?
  • What are the different app development cost calculators available?
  • How can I reduce my mobile app development costs?

From our answers, we are sure you’ll have a proper idea of how much it will cost to develop a mobile app. Without further ado, let’s get into it!

8 Factors That Affect Mobile App Development Costs

You must have an idea of how much it costs to develop a mobile app before thinking of starting an app development business. This is because it will help you stay within your budget. It will also make it easy for you to achieve your goals.

However, various factors affect mobile app development. Some of the factors you should consider are;

1. App Type

One of the first things you’ll have to consider when thinking of how much it costs to develop a mobile app is your app type. If you’re thinking of developing a fitness app, you’ll have to figure out the various features needed to solve the problems you have in mind.

However, the more features you need in your app, the more complex the process will be, thereby increasing the development cost. There are various categories of mobile apps. Some of these categories include:

2. Operating System Platforms

When creating an app, you’ll have to know the operating system that your audience uses the most. Depending on your research, you can decide to create a mobile app that works for both operating systems or you can develop an app that’s suitable for one of the operating systems.

However, before deciding on the operating system for which you’ll be developing an app, you’ll need to know your budget. Doing this will help you decide on the app development platform to use. Once you’ve found out your budget, you can choose between:

  • Developing A Mobile App That Works For Both Operating Systems

If you decide to develop a mobile app that works on both operating systems, you will be required to make use of a cross-platform framework. A cross-platform framework uses a single code for both operating systems.

This means you’ll not have to create different codes for each OS. This method of development is cost-efficient and requires less effort.

  • Developing A Mobile App That Works For Only A Single Platform

To develop a mobile app that only works on a single operating system, you’ll have to make use of the Native App framework.

This framework requires that you employ different developers to create an Android and iOS version of your app.

Contrary to popular belief, this app development method will require more effort and cost. This is because you’ll have to pay the developers and other individuals who will work on the app.

However, you can choose to develop a mobile app for iOS or Android only. But doing this will only give you access to a limited target audience.

3. Regional Differences

The amount you’ll spend to develop a mobile app can be greatly affected by the region in which the app is being built.

For example, regions like Asia and Eastern Europe have low labor costs, while regions like North America and Western Europe have higher labor costs.

So, if you’ll be employing an app developer you’ll have to consider their location. Later on in the article, we’ll show the different costs developers charge based on their location.

4. Mobile App Features

For any mobile app you wish to develop, you’ll need to decide how many features will be implemented. The more features you add to your app, the more complex it will become, thereby increasing the development cost.

Additionally, the complexity level of your app depends on the features that you wish to add.

  • If you wish to create simple apps, you’ll have to make use of fewer features. An example of this app is a calendar. For this app, the basic features required are login, signup, search, messages, admin panel, and notifications.
  • For a mid-level app like a food delivery app, you’ll need to add more features like In-app purchases, security, geolocation, or social media integration. When developing a mid-level app, you’ll have to consider the size of your target audience.
  • This will help you determine the price and cost of your app. Also, it is important to note that, the more features you add to the app, the higher the development cost.

Lastly, for complex apps like trading platforms, the development cost can exceed your budget. This is because more elements will be needed to put the app together.

Additionally, the process of developing this app will require an adequate amount of research and planning.

5. App Design

This process is a very important stage in the app development process. It involves planning the app visuals, how the app will work, and the perfect copy to sell the app.

When estimating the design cost, you’ll have to consider a few things:

  • UI Design

UI(user interface) is simply how the app looks to the users. To have an idea of what your mobile app would look like, you can create a mockup. The more appealing your app looks, the easier for it to be seen by other users.

When thinking of your app’s UI, you should pay attention to how you’d want the following to look: layout, screen, colors, typography, shapes, elements, and Items. Additionally, don’t forget to put your budget into consideration when you’re thinking of how amazing your app visuals should look.

  • UX Design

User experience is simply about how the mobile app works. This process aims to make your app easy to use. So, when going about this process, you’ll need to consider your audience, goals, and objectives.

This process will require you to work with some tech savvy to decide on how to make your app easy. The amount spent on this process can fluctuate depending on your research.

  • UI/UX Writer and Copywriter

Hiring a copywriter is important to produce copies that can compel your audience to make use of your app. You’ll also need a UI/UX writer who can write content to help users have an idea of how to use your app. This is very important because a lack of understanding of how your app functions can reduce user interaction.

6. App Maintenance

When developing a mobile app, it’s important to consider the cost that will be needed to keep the app running. This process can be on-demand or routine, or you can choose to do both.

Irrespective of your choice, you’ll need to constantly maintain your app in order to keep up with new market trends and update OS versions, and new devices. Doing all this comes with a cost.

When planning on maintaining your app, you’ll have to consider how much you’ll have to spend on:

  • Adjusting your app design
  • Fixing bugs
  • Cloud hosting services
  • Tech support team
  • Third-party integrations

7. Mobile App Security

Users need to trust that you’ll secure their information whenever they make use of your app. No one wants to have their privacy invaded. So, when developing your mobile app, you’ll need to take your users’ privacy into consideration.

You can plan to conduct quality assurance at every stage of development or decide to use different security methods on your app. Whatever approach you take should depend on your cost. If you decide to conduct quality assurance, you’ll have to hire a team.

8. Development Team

Developing a mobile app can’t be done alone. You’ll need a group of tech-savvy individuals to help bring your idea to life. These individuals will need to be hired, but before doing so, find out the areas in which you really need help. Doing this will help you decide on which talents you’ll need for your project.

Now that you’ve understood the various factors that can affect app development costs, it’s time to answer the big question: how much does it cost to develop a mobile app?

How Much Does It Cost To Develop A Mobile App?

How Much Does It Cost To Develop A Mobile App?

In this section, we’ll be doing an app development cost breakdown based on various factors.

Cost Breakdown Based On App Type

The development cost for each app type was obtained from an app development calculator and clutch.

App TypeEstimated CostEstimated Development Time
Educational App$25,000-$250,0003-6 months
Gaming App$10,000-$600,0002 months year or more
Travel App$25,000-$300,0003-8 months
Health and Fitness App$50,000-$250,0004-6 months
Social Media App$50,000-$500,0006-12 months
E-commerce App$30,000-$500,0004-12 months
Productivity App$25,000-$250,0003-6 months
On-Demand App$50,000-$300,0004-8 months
Augmented Reality App$100,000-$250,0001,600 hours
Dating App$50,000-$350,0001,400 hours
Food Delivery App$40,000-$150,000900 hours
Language App(Duolingo)$60,000–$225,000900 hours
Taxi App$50,000-$400,0001,600 hours

Cost Breakdown Based On OS Platforms

Operating System PlatformsEstimated Cost
iOS Platform$75,000-$500,000
Android Platform$50,000-$500,000

Cost Breakdown Based On Regional Differences

The various hourly costs were obtained from Quibit-labs.

RegionHourly Cost
Central Asia$10-$59
East and South Asia$10-$350
Western Europe$150-$400
Eastern Europe$25-$199
North America$100-$400

Cost Breakdown Based On Complexity Level

Complexity LevelEstimated CostEstimated Development Cost
Simple App$5,000-$50,0002-3 months
Mid-level App$50,000-$100,0003-9 months
Complex$120,000-$300,00010+ months

Cost Breakdown Based On App Features

App FeaturesEstimated CostEstimated Development Time(hr)
Push Notifications$1,000-$1,20025-32
Profile Completion$9,00-$1,00030-40
User Management$3,500-$4,00066-90

Cost Breakdown Based On App Design

App Design ProcessEstimated CostEstimated Development Time
UX Design$2000-$8000Simple app: 10-14 hoursMid-level: 50- 60 hoursComplex: 150+ hours
UI Design$10,000-$40,000Simple app: 14-20 hoursMid-level: 80- 90 hoursComplex: 100+ hours
App Design Research$100-$350Depends on your niche
Animation$1000-$20,000Depends on animation level 
Branding$2,500-$10,000Depends on your logo, icon choice

Cost Breakdown Based On Development Team

Factors And RequirementsSimple AppMid-level AppComplex App
Development Time2-6 months6-9 months9-15 months
Quality Assurance Specialist$8,000-$10,000$15,000-$20,000$20,000
Project Manager$5,000-$7,000$10,000-$15,000$10,000
Solution Architect$1,000-$3,000$5,000-$8,000$9,000+
UI/UX Designer$4,000-5,000$5,000-7,000$10,000-15,000
Business Analyst$2,000-3,000$5,000-8,000$8,000-10,000

Some Popular Mobile Apps And Their Development Cost Breakdown

Below are examples of some popular apps on the market that have been able to steal the hearts of various audiences. We’ve also mentioned their various development costs.



With over 1 billion users globally, Instagram boasts approximately 3.8 billion downloads. It is a popular social media app that is used for sharing videos and pictures. It is also used for sending messages to friends and family. This platform implements a two-factor authentication method to secure users’ privacy.

The average cost for developing Instagram is from $20,000 to $150,000 for iOS and $25,000 to $170,000 for Android.


WhatsApp is a social media platform owned by Meta and it is the most popular messaging app with over 2 billion active users globally. With WhatsApp, you can send audio, video, and pictures to your friends and family.

For security purposes, WhatsApp makes use of a two-factor authentication and a fingerprint method. The estimated development cost of WhatsApp is $30,000-$250,000.



This is a video hosting platform owned by ByteDance. It allows users to re-enact their favorite dance steps, movies, or scenes in a movie. TikTok has become the most-used video hosting platform, with over 1 billion active users worldwide.

The estimated development cost for TikTok is $60,000-$100,000 for a single platform and over $ 150,000 for a hybrid platform.



Netflix is the most popular streaming platform used globally. It allows users to stream various movies and shows from the comfort of their homes. However, some shows and movies on the platform aren’t accessible in certain regions.

If there’s a show you’ll love to watch but it’s not available in your region, you can make use of a trusted VPN. The estimated development cost for Netflix on a single platform is $25,000-$35,000

How To Reduce The Cost Of Developing A Mobile App

Now that you have an idea of how much it costs to develop a mobile app, you’ll need to write an app development business plan to help you get funding from investors. However, if the estimated cost exceeds your budget, you can try any of these tips below to help reduce your app development cost:

  • Create An MVP

An MVP(minimum viable product) is a lower version of an app with limited features to meet a user’s needs. As an app developer, creating an MVP is one of the best ways to reduce your app development costs.

It is also an effective way to gather feedback on your app for improvement and to market your app quickly.

  • Use Low-code/No code Platforms

Low-code app development platforms like Outsystems are now widely used by app developers because they can reduce the cost of developing a mobile app. These platforms have pre-designed templates and components that allow developers to develop a mobile app without manually coding it.

  • Make Use Of Open-source Software

Another way you can reduce your app development cost is by making use of open-source software. Open-source software is a computer program whose source code can be viewed, modified, and used by anyone.

App Development Cost Calculators

If you don’t wish to consult an app development company to calculate the cost of your app, you can use an app development cost calculator. Some available app development cost calculators are Digitalya, Choicely, Uptech, and so on.


How much does it cost to develop a mobile app? Well, from our detailed guide, you’d have noticed that there’s no clear amount for developing a mobile app.

The cost of developing a mobile app varies depending on the complexity of your app, app type, OS platforms, or based on your development time. After finding out how much it will cost to develop your app, you’ll have to choose the monetization model that’s best for your app.

Lastly, if you don’t want to go through the stress of calculating the cost of developing your app, you can either consult an expert or use an app development calculator.

Click here to find out the best ways you can make money from your mobile app after it’s been launched.

How Much Does It Cost To Develop a Mobile App: FAQs

1. Can I Build An App For Free?

Yes, you can develop an app for free with various software. Some of these software include App Maker, Google AppSheet, Andromo, and so on.

2. What Is The Cheapest Way To Build An App?

The cheapest way to build an app is by making use of freelance app developers. You can find them on Upwork, Fiverr, or LinkedIn. However, if their prices exceed your app development cost budget, you can try using no-code or low-code platforms.

3. How Much Does It Cost To Develop A Mobile App On Average?

The minimum app development cost is $5,000- $50,000.


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Sifon Philip

Writer & Blogger

I'm Philip Sifon Emmanuel, a content writer with experience in tech, B2B, technical and bottom-funnel content. I'm currently working with Techdella as a Tech writer to write amazing content that resonates with our audience. To me, putting out amazing content, involves enjoying what you do and never neglecting your audience. When I get stressed from work, I check out new AI tools to review, watch Kdramas or subscribe to newsletters in my niche. To get more of my content, you can connect with me on LinkedIn.

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