The question of app development cost arises once you have decided to go online with your business. To make a long story short, the average cost to create an app of good quality starts between $40,000 - $60,000 and may rise to $300,000+ for one platform (web, iOS, Android). Consequently, the timeline can take 2 months for a simple app and 9+ months for a complex project.

The cost of your app depends on many factors including app type, functionality and design elements and their complexity, selected IT vendor and region, and development approach.

If we use a 40$/hour as the average price tag, the cost to build an app ranges from $40,000 to $300,000+.

Cost for 1 Platform Timeline App Example
Simple app development cost $40,000 to $60,000 2-3 months Calculators, Camera
Basic app price $61,000 to $150,000 3-6 months McDonald’s Loyalty App
Complex/ custom (multi-feature) app cost from $300,000+ 9+ months, ongoing Uber, Instagram

In this guide, our software development company has evaluated a few studies and presented our experience in defining app cost ranges based on distinct factors.

You can easily predict the potential cost of your future application, understand the app development cost formation, manage your budget, and cut the cost.

So, let’s begin our journey in discovering the factors and budget necessary for you to invest in growing your app concept.

If you would prefer to get a visualization of the content, jump right into the app cost infographics at the bottom of this guide.

App Development Cost: Benchmarks

It makes a lot of sense to launch an app startup these days. The vast majority of the population utilize different mobile apps as part of their daily activities. Statista states that almost 230 billion apps have been downloaded since 2021. As a result, the idea of creating your own app is a wise strategy to pursue.

However, what is the cost to implement a mobile application these days?

Amount of Time Spent in Mobile Apps
Amount of Time Spent in Mobile Apps

The most reliable mobile app industry studies provided the following quotations for app development cost and timeline:

  • Average minimum app development project cost is between $5,000 to $10,000. The typical cost to create an app is likely to be far higher, according to Clutch.

  • The median app development cost is between $$25,275 and $114,300 for iOS app development at $100/hour, which represents 1,143 development hours based on a Clutch survey.

  • On average, the cost to create an enterprise app is $140,000 as VDC Research states.

  • The total app price could even increase to $500,000 in the case of complex functionality implementation, according to Clutch.

  • Regarding the app development timeline: over 80% of mobile apps take 3+ months to develop; 40% of apps are built in 6+ months, as Outsystems Survey indicates.

  • Available app cost calculators state a price range from $$200,000 to $350,000 for complex, multi-feature mobile apps. In case the app consists of basic features, the cost ranges from $10,000 to $50,000.

  • GoodFirm’s research in 2022 indicates that the cost to make an app with basic functionality is around $24,000 within 4.5 weeks. As for a complex application, the price increases to $137,000 and a 26-week timeline.

The most influential factors which determine the final cost to build an app are:

  • App functionality and purpose
  • Vendor type and location
  • App development process
  • Size and level of development team
  • Complexity and number of app features
  • Back-end infrastructure, connected APIs and integrations
  • Complexity of UX/UI design
  • Inclusion of additional branded visual elements
  • Development approach (native, mobile web, hybrid, etc)
  • Number of platforms to be developed (iOS, Android, web, etc)
  • Mobile platforms and devices supported
  • Ongoing maintenance plan
  • Vendor type and location

Want to create an application?

You are always welcome to reach out to our team and discuss your app concept. We will tell you details of the app development process and estimate its cost and timeline for free. By combining your creative ideas with our technical experience we can create a great product that users will love.

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Mobile App Development Cost: Update for 2022

The question is still open. How much does it cost to build an app in 2022?

The key findings suggest that the cost to develop an app ranges from just $5,000 to $500,000 based on up-to-date industry surveys.

Our team has also created a detailed investigation on the cost to build an app that lists estimates based on widely used app features, design complexity, and software development stages.

As a result, our conclusion supports the main findings regarding the cost to develop an app in 2022. An application with a core set of features costs upwards of $60,000, while the complex mobile app development cost starts at $300,000.

The table below illustrates the range of costs to build an app with timeline accordingly.

Basic App
(core feature set, 1 platform)
Full Product
(more features and more complex design, 1 platforms)
Large App
(complex app design, development, and support, 2+ platforms)
Total cost ~$60,000-$150,000 ~$150,000 -$300,000+ $300,000+
Timeline ~3-5 months ~4-9 months 9+ months (ongoing)

The characteristics of a basic app imply the creation of an app without any added-value. A basic app consists of just the core features necessary for the app to function, and includes a basic design and UI elements. The product is represented on only one platform; iOS, Android, or Web. An example would be a calculator app.

The full product represents a mid-level app for one platform with more advanced features and design and with some unique qualities, making the app stand out from competitors. This way, the app is represented on one platform, for example - the loyalty app for McDonald’s.

A complex app corresponds to an advanced product that provides a complete user experience on a few platforms. This app is an ongoing project with multifunctions and multi-users, extra UI elements, or features like online streaming, multi-user chats, etc. An example of a complex app would be Booking.com, Uber, YouTube, etc.

Cost to Develop an App: Understanding the Basics

The following elements should help you understand the app development cost, so you are able to influence the price range and set your project’s budget.

1. App Developers' Location

Location is the next major factor that can influence the cost of developing an app significantly.

The most popular app development destinations worldwide are North America (mainly the USA), Latin America, Eastern Europe (Ukraine), and Asia (India).

So, how much does it cost to create an app in these regions? Let’s review the latest data about how to hire a mobile app developer based on the hourly rates to figure it out.

Employee Title Ukraine Western Europe Eastern Europe North America
Business Analyst $30-$50 $55-$80 $35-$45 $60-$75
Architect $35-$65 $90-$120 $40-$70 $90-$130
Project Manager $30-$40 $55-$65 $35-$45 $90-$110
Jr. Developer $20-$40 $40-$50 $25-$35 $50-$70
Mid-level Developer $25-$50 $45-$65 $30-$40 $60-$80
Sr. Developer $35-$60 $65-$80 $40-$50 $75-$105
Lead Developer $35-$65 $70-$90 $40-$55 $90-$115
Junior QA $15-$25 $35-$45 $20-$30 $45-$60
Mid-level QA $25-$35 $45-$55 $30-$40 $60-$75
Senior QA $30-$45 $50-$65 $35-$45 $75-$90

App development cost in Asian countries is usually less than $25/hour. In South America, which is considered to be another popular outsourcing destination, the rates are between the ranges of Western and Eastern European rates.

The highest development costs will be required if you choose vendors from the US with $70 to $100 rate. Eastern Europe, Ukraine in particular, will offer you a more attractive average cost for app development of $ 30 to $60/hour. This region is very reasonable to work; you get good quality, for a moderate app development price and do not overpay for a company’s brand.

2. Native vs. Hybrid App Development

The app development approach definitely influences the final cost to build an app.

An application that suits the guidelines of a specific operating system is called native. Thus, you can only build a native app for each system separately. Logically, the app development price increases in proportion to the number of platforms you want to target.

In contrast, a hybrid or cross-platform app works with multiple operating systems, which means that you can save money by building only one application for all required platforms.

However, due to the technical superiority and performance of native apps, the vast majority of app development companies recommend this approach.

Graph: Invest in Native or Hybrid Mobile App
Graph: Invest in Native or Hybrid Mobile App

3. Android vs. iOS App

You may also ask if there is any difference in app development cost based on the platform. The answer is no.

Android vs. iOS Market Share 2022
Android vs. iOS Market Share 2022

These days, the app development timeline for Android and iOS apps is almost the same. If you target both platforms, your applications can be built simultaneously and use APK to iOS and Android, which allows the apps to be launched at the same time.

4. Design Complexity

App design influences the whole process of creating an app. The more complex the design, the more expensive your application becomes.

Simple app design mainly consists of standard, platform-specific elements that are quite easy to implement and will not take much time. Adding custom elements and animations increase design complexity and thus the app design cost.

Let’s look at some examples of app screens of various complexities. The first image shows what simple app design looks like:

Example of Simple App Design
Example of Simple App Design

The more advanced design of your application can be as follows:

App design of Medium Complexity
App design of Medium Complexity

If you want to design an app in a very complex way, see the following example to understand what is meant by expensive design elements:

Complex app design
Complex app design

Now you understand what the differences between the three levels of design complexity are and how they influence development cost.

5. Mobile App Development Process: Misconceptions

The two most common delusions within app development are as follows:

1. You expect your app business to become another “Uber”

The majority of digital startuppers expect good outcomes right away. Many of the requests we receive sound like: “build an app like Uber” or “I want to develop an app like Instagram.”

You would surely agree that these app-based companies have evolved over the long term. Besides, just consider the fact that Instagram received $57.5M in investments for application development in order to become successful.

So, if you want another Uber or Instagram - expect to pay!

Advice: Instead of duplicating someone’s success, it is important to concentrate on bringing something new to the market. These days, you need to build habit-forming app products.

We recommend that you read “Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products”

Everyone in Silicon Valley is talking about this book. The book is a best-seller and a must-read for anyone who wants to know what it takes to build an app into a successful business.

2. You can succeed without proper market research

It is highly necessary to evaluate the market and complete the pre-planning stage for your app concept. Do your homework carefully: study the market and find its pain points that your app idea can solve.

3. App development is a one-time thing

If you want to create a successful business, understand that the journey does not end with the app release! The app development process is an ongoing endeavor. In this regard, the question “how much does it cost to make an app” becomes tricky to answer.

Many focus only on the initial development cost and ignore the total cost of ownership, including application updates, bug fixing, and maintenance - these appear after the app creation. Thus, the truth is that app maintenance requires more time and money over a more extended period than the actual development.

In addition, one should concentrate on building long-term commitment with a team of app developers as they’ll add their expertise to the app’s growth and changes.

A piece of advice here is to take care and find capable professionals. They should understand your requirements and the necessities of your app users in the long run, not concentrate only on the cheapest option once you ask, “how much does it cost to develop an app.”

6. Reasons Behind Expensive App Development

Airplanes and cars are both types of transportation, but they are different by all means. The same can be said about software. The cost to develop an app like Uber differs significantly from the cost of an app like Today Weather, which simply uses third-party API.

Why people have a tendency to devalue software?

This confusion exists due to the following three factors:

  • Apps are intangible - as opposed to hardware, software products are seen as screens. In order to show this information, all the hard work is done in the background. An analysis of Kickstarter campaigns derives that hardware projects receive more funding as opposed to software ideas. It is suspected that hardware remains more noticeable, while software is out of sight and, therefore, unappreciated.

  • Immeasurable intellectual capital value - the creativity and thoughtfulness involved at the project’s start is hard to measure. Usually, a cross-disciplinary team is involved to ensure all the app details and processes are covered. Clients do not see the result of this work since it does not result in any tangible deliverables, just an app concept. Therefore, many people become confused by the final app price tag for a custom software development service.

  • Non-obvious benefits - some prefer elegant, simple, and intuitive products, while others search for more power and speed in their apps. This can be compared to Mac users and those who have never understood the benefits provided by Apple’s devices.

How is App Development Cost Estimated?

How can you accurately estimate the cost of mobile app development services?

The main app cost driver is the app’s features.

A feature is a special activity or task according to which the software should operate and give the expected result. This can be a sign-up button on a screen or something more complex like video-streaming integration. The number of features and complexity of their implementation directly correlates with the cost to build an app.

The formula used to calculate app development cost is as follows:

Formula: App Development Cost
Formula: App Development Cost

Before app development begins, reliable software development firms usually provide you with a rough mobile app development cost estimate. The quote is based on your project description, business and technical requirements. This information is combined and concluded in a preliminary list of features.

Companies usually estimate app development cost using:

  • Concepts - present a sum of features to accomplish
  • Stories - list all the features necessary to make a concept
  • Story Points - show the app development pace and complexity

These items are presented in the form of a product backlog.

A product backlog is a list of the features, changes to existing features, bug fixes, infrastructure changes, or other activities that a team may deliver in order to achieve a specific outcome.

In general, clients are charged for app development services based on the following options:

  • Fixed charge - a payment which implies the cost charged for a specific timeline. This may work well for smaller projects, especially those with a clear and well-defined scope of work. The advantage of this option is that the app development cost is affirmed with the client before development starts.

  • Time & material - a pricing structure that is determined by the time and materials needed for a project and thus is typically calculated based on an hourly rate. This approach provides flexibility during the app development process and fits more complex and ongoing projects.

It is necessary to understand the benefits of applying the time & material option, even though you may be anxious about it in the beginning. As this option has both an initial project estimate and the ability to change the scope during the process, this helps to control the app budget and, with this flexibility, build a product people will love.

The latter is actually your core goal, isn't it? :)

Why initial mobile app development cost estimates are not always met?

Basically, there are two reasons why the estimated app development cost does not end up matching reality:

  1. Unfaithful app quotes are provided by a software firm of low service quality. Some companies do not pay enough attention in the preparation of a good-faith estimate or are dishonest and simply want to sign the contract. Usually, these are bodyshop teams.
  2. Increase in app development scope due to changes along the way.

If your budget is limited for the first app version, you have three options:

  • Agree on specific features - set them upfront and stick to the plan. If you follow this rule, you will keep the same scope of work and the app development costs will stay the same as well.

  • Pay additional costs - with extra app functionality, be prepared for the fact that your cost to build an app will increase.

  • Drop functionality - along with your development team, you can prioritize app functionality. In this case, you may rearrange the scope of work so that it will contain necessary features and fit budget constraints. Reach a compromise so that your cost to develop an app stays at the same level.

Infographic: How Mobile App Development Cost Estimates are Calculated
Infographic: How Mobile App Development Cost Estimates are Calculated

How to know the approximate price for your app

If you want a more accurate app quote, please contact our team. We will evaluate your project idea in detail. This estimate will more realistically match your project requirements.

Get your rough app estimate for free

Cost to Build an App Based on Development Stages

In most cases, the mobile app development process consists of these five stages:

  • Pre-development (also called - discovery or research)
  • UX/UI design
  • App development
  • App testing and deployment
  • Ongoing support and maintenance

Note: Depending on the app vendor these steps can be renamed, take place in another order, or imply a slightly different format.

The majority of software development vendors (~ 70%) start a project with the pre-research/ discovery stage (Source: Clutch.co, 2017).

Our team is not an exception, since this step allows the team to clarify all the ins and outs of the app from both technical and business perspectives.

A common understanding and trust are formed with a client and software development vendor through personal meetings.

Discovery stage provides the following benefits:

  • Time and cost savings
  • Requirements validation
  • Goal-based design solution
  • Risk coverage
  • Synchronization of the Product Owner (client) with the team
  • App project task prioritization

The biggest benefit you receive after the discovery stage is an exact answer to the question: “how much does it cost to make an app for your business?” An accurate app development budget and delivery date are calculated based on user stories presented in the product backlog.

Once the discovery stage starts, a cross-functional team is allocated to the project. The team may consist of a Business Analyst, Software Architect, Designers, etc.

Among other possible Discovery Stage deliverables are:

  • Finalized project concept
  • UX/UI design
  • Product backlog
  • Project architecture plan
  • Market & Competitor analysis (optional)

Discovery Stage Deliverables and Roles
Discovery Stage Deliverables and Roles

The average cost of the discovery stage ranges from $10,000 to $15,000 with a timeline of 2-4 weeks. These costs and timeline relate to an average app project lasting 3-5 months. Depending on the project complexity, the number of platforms, and functionality, the discovery phase budget can increase to $50,000 or even higher.

The subsequent app development stages use the deliverables derived from the discovery phase. Depending on the project, the team may proceed directly with the app coding phase or finalize the app design.

It is necessary to have a visual representation of the app prior to the actual app coding. Surveys summarize that the app design costs around $5,000 for an average of 11-20 app screens. Thus, the price for app design correlates with the number of screens, design complexity, and the use of any sort of custom visual elements.

Similarly, the number of features and their complexity, as well as the app concept and type influence the cost of an app during the development stage. Ordinary features like user login/logout, push notifications, in-app search by one entity type, and basic one-to-one chat cost less. The functionality connected with the content management system (admin panel), video and audio streaming, is complex and thus more expensive.

The app testing stage ensures proper app function and quality. Logically, the cost for app testing is directly connected to the app functionality. In practice, app testing takes up around 30% of the app cost spent on client side (front-end) implementation. The front-end part of an admin panel costs less; around 10%.

The graph illustrates the average app development cost during each stage based on data collected from 102 app development firms. Each development stage adds up to the total mobile app cost.

Graph: Cost Per App Development Stage
Graph: Cost Per App Development Stage

Total Mobile App Development Cost Based on the Process

Let’s revise the cost of mobile app development services by app complexity, taking into account that an app will be built by a development team in Ukraine.

Basic version (minimum feature set, 1 platform) Full product (more features and design of a larger complexity, 1 platform) Large app (complex app design, development, and support, 2+ platforms)
UX/UI Design $5,000+ $15,000+ $25,000+
Custom Development $40,000+ $95,000+ $200,000+
Quality Assurance $5,000+ $15,000+ $25,000+
Project Management $7,500+ $15,000+ $35,000+
Business Analysis $2,500+ $10,000+ $15,000+
Total setup $60,000+ $150,000+ $300,000+
Time ~3-6 months ~4-9 months 9+ months (ongoing)

Please, remember that this app development cost breakdown is not final because each case differs.

The more a team knows about your application before you sign a contract and start working on it, the higher the chances are that their app development cost estimate will be as precise as possible.

At MLSDev, we follow a custom software development and customer-oriented approach because we value cooperation with our clients, care about their long-term success, and act with integrity. If you like these principles and are looking for someone to estimate your project well, we are always ready to help you.

Want to know your initial app development budget?

At MLSDev, we can estimate your project roughly to give you a general idea of the potential cost of your app. Interested?

Get in touch

Mobile App Development Cost Based on 11 App Types

Mobile App Development Types
Mobile App Development Types

Please note: the following app development costs are given to build a common understanding. As well, some app types may have similar functionality.

Remember: each and every project is unique, since no one has the same requirements, business context, technologies, and people involved.

1. Basic App Development Cost

  • App Cost: > ~$15,000
  • Timeline: ~1 month
  • Examples: Calculator, Camera, Clock, Local games, SMS apps, Local audio/ video players

Basic apps are simple apps with 5-6 screens and no backend or necessity for a network connection. These apps are not that common today. There should be a clear purpose to develop this type of app. These days, most apps need to operate with the Internet, as people consume lots of information online.

2. Data-driven App Development Cost

  • App Cost: ~$15,000+
  • Timeline: ~1-1.5 months
  • Examples: Calendar, Weather, Stocks, Maps

Data-driven apps are defined as those that consume and process only specific information. For instance, Today Weather app uses third-party API information.

These apps are also not that common today, but they still exist. In most cases, these apps are either the extension of a larger software product or include additional features.

Other examples of apps in this category are calendar or stock apps. Note that these apps may need some back-end work, and so the cost to build an app increases.

3. Authentication App Development Cost

  • App Cost: starting from ~$60,000+
  • Timeline: ~3-6 months
  • Examples: McDonald’s Loyalty App, Google Drive

Authentication apps need a user to log in to provide full app functionality. The app development cost for this type increases since there are many subordinate features. Here, the user has a personal account and interacts with the data, which is synchronized among devices. This also requires a corresponding admin panel for content and user management.

It is advisable to employ registration via social networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc). This is a one-step procedure that is quicker to implement. Our team has vast experience in developing apps with login functionality.

MLSDev team has a vast experience in building applications in this domain. Take a look at the project illustrated below.

McDonald’s Baltics: Loyalty App
McDonald’s Baltics: Loyalty App

Check out the case study of McDonald’s Baltics Loyalty App. in greater detail.

This is a good example of an authentication app. All the app's features are unlocked once the user is registered.

Please note that the application is not active on App Stores any longer.

4. Social Networking App Development Cost

  • App Cost: ~$60,000 - $300,000+
  • Timeline: ~3-6 to up to 9+ months for ongoing project
  • Examples: Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yummi

Logically, social networking apps imply social interactions, chats, and information sharing. Therefore, the back-end infrastructure should be planned with the intent to process lots of data.

There are also many subdued types of social apps like media sharing, apps for consumer reviews, communities, blogs, anonymous and interest-based networks, dating apps, etc.

Making a clone of the most widely used social products like Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube does not lead to greater success. These products have existed for years now and your social app simply cannot include all of their functionality. All of them started from either an MVP or a first basic version with their core features.

For example, in the beginning, Instagram was an app working with photos - adhering a photo into a square. This is known as the Instagram MVP, the key functionality which allowed Instagram to succeed in the app business. Building the first version of your future custom full product is a great approach to begin any project.

Our team has worked on an app that is very similar to Instagram in its functionality, but is a completely different social networking app concept.

Yummi Application
Yummi Application

Check out the case study of creating Yummi App in greater detail.

Yummi has been developed to create and share your eating logs, best food memories, and great places to eat.

5. E-Commerce App Development Cost

  • App Cost: ~$60,000 - $300,000+
  • Timeline: ~3-6 to up to 9+ months for ongoing project
  • Examples: Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, ASOS, GoPuff

E-Commerce apps include the functionality mentioned earlier: user registration, user account, social features. These apps are equipped with detailed product catalogs, separate product pages, and a user check-out system completed via payment transaction. For the payments, services like Braintree and Stripe are great to integrate.

The e-commerce app infrastructure is a complex one, as it requires a well-planned back-end and admin panel to manage users, orders, catalog pages, payments, inventory, etc.

We have prepared a detailed guide on an e-commerce website development with lots of useful information. To learn more, read the article: How Much Does an E-Commerce Website Cost?

6. On-demand App Development Cost

  • App Cost: ~ from $70,000 - 100,000+ (basic, per platform)
  • Timeline: ~5-7+ months
  • Examples: Uber, UberEATS, Postmates, Nimber, Melabiz

On-demand apps are thusly named as their goal is to satisfy specific needs or wants. The on-demand economy sector relates to transportation and travel apps, food & grocery delivery services, laundry or salon services, etc.

On-demand apps are thusly named as their goal is to satisfy specific needs or wants. The most well-known example of this type of app, conquering the market worldwide, is Uber. The cost of Uber’s project can be identified by simply taking a look at its funding. The information on Crunchbase states that the company received $1,300,000 solely during the seed round.

On-demand apps can have functionality like that of social apps, such as a login or communication component - chats, calls, and more.

Similar to e-commerce apps, these apps can have ordering, delivery, and payment features to purchase goods and services.

As well, these products usually consist of two apps with totally different experiences. Thus, their functionality also differs; e.g. rider and client app in Uber.

For more details about taxi-hailing service development, read the article: How to Make an App Like Uber: Complete Guide.

As a result, app development cost rises along with the development timeline. It is necessary to build two separate applications with their own logic, UX/UI design, and functionality. This is especially true if you plan to launch this type of app on both iOS and Android.

At MLSDev, we have a dedicated team working on a complex on-demand service called GoPuff. Our team has helped with Gopuff’s project growth from the initial idea to over 400+ micro-fulfillment centers in 650+ U.S. cities and 7,000+ workers. For more details, you can check out the Gopuff cases study on our website.

GoPuff Application
GoPuff Application

7. Marketplace App Development Cost

  • App Cost: ~$300,000+ (web platform)
  • Timeline: ~9+ months
  • Examples: TripAdvisor, Booking.com

A marketplace app includes features from both e-commerce and on-demand services, as it is an extensive version of these apps. The marketplace app concept has two sides of the economy - demand and supply. The logic and interaction in user experience should be well-defined. This process takes time, so the cost to develop an app of this type is higher.

For instance, Uber focuses solely on transportation services. In contrast, TripAdvisor offers hotels, restaurants, airline tickets, and more services with the help of a website and native iOS and Android applications.

8. IoT & Hardware App Development Cost

  • App Cost: starting at ~$60,000+
  • Timeline: from ~3-6 months
  • Examples: Beacons, Amazon Dash Buttons, WeMo, BELI Printing Service, Jo

Internet-of-Things apps interconnect particular physical objects or equipment with technology. Once the IoT technology is applied, these items are considered ‘smart.’ These ‘smart’ items could be medical tools, pet collars, devices for home assistance, and so on.

These apps need to connect with a device either via Bluetooth or WiFi technology. This helps to send requests and receive data.

In order to develop this kind of app, it is necessary to have a ready-made device and its comprehensive documentation. The hardware should work properly and in accordance with the documentation. It is then possible to estimate the cost to develop an app, at least roughly.

In the past, our team has worked on a few projects connected with hardware.

  1. BELI Printing Service - an app that prints order receipts directly to a printer on location with a merchant.
  2. Jo - an app that records video from a panoramic camera and converts it into a horizontal picture.

9. eLearning App Development Cost

  • App Cost: starting at ~$60,000+ (per platform)
  • Timeline: ~3-6+ months
  • Examples: DuoLingo, Coursera, Udemy, Memrise, KhanAcademy

Since the pandemic started, the tendency to learn online has grown exponentially. As a result, eLearning apps have become the third most popular category in app stores and the market of online learning will reach $350 billion by 2025, making such products interesting for investments.

The functionality of these apps can be basic and consist of registration, user profile, search, simple assessment, chats, and so on. The larger part of the app, in this regard, should be dedicated to training materials and lessons, making the app the platform for spreading educational materials.

An eLearning app should definitely involve a gamification element, for example, in-app currency, levels, achievement badges, etc. Of course, the app development cost of a complex, multi-user (teacher, student) app with the inclusion of more functionalities and design elements starts around $60,000+ for one platform.

There are distinct types of eLearning apps like apps for education courses, support tools, exam preparation apps, language apps, etc. If you are interested in building another similar eLearning app, please check out the guide on How to Develop a Custom eLearning Platform l Functionality, Tech Stack, & Costs.

10. Healthcare App Development Cost

  • App Cost: starting at ~$60,000+ (per platform)
  • Timeline: ~3-6+ months
  • Examples: Calm, MyFitnessPal, Headspace, Human Anatomy Atlas, EMT: Pocket Prep, Epocrates, mySugr, Idana

There are multiple types of systems for healthcare, including apps for meditation and fitness, telemedicine software development , EHR (electronic health record) solutions, and much more. The market of healthcare products is expanding and is expected to reach 640 billion USD by 2026.

The cost of healthcare applications also ranges based on the factors of complexity, number of users, user experience and design, functionality, and whether or not you want to innovate with cloud solutions, AI, ML, IoT, Big Data, or blockchain.

For these apps, security and data encryption is a critical element, which makes it vital to know how to work with healthcare application development standards such as HIPAA, GDPR, HITECH Act, and others.

Want to learn more about healthcare apps? Check out the following ultimate guide on Healthcare Mobile App Development: Types, Trends, & Features

In addition, our team has worked on complex, multi-user projects in the healthcare field. We have created telemedicine functionality, medical appointment booking systems, fitness apps, and more. Check out the details on the medical project that we designed and developed that helped digitize the healthcare sector in the Dominican Republic.

11. Video Streaming App Development Cost

  • App Cost: starting at ~$60,000+ (per platform)
  • Timeline: ~3-6+ months
  • Examples: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu

Video-streaming services are in high demand and more and more people have switched to online content-curation platforms and producers like Netflix, YouTube, Twitch, Hulu, etc.

While developing these apps, many difficulties may arise ranging from complex back-end architecture, video streaming protocols, network connectivity, to security and licensing matters. These specifics may add considerably to the total price of developing such an app.

If you are interested in how sites like YouTube and Netflix are created, follow the link and read the information in the detailed guide How to Create a Video Streaming Website: 10-Step Guide with Business & Technical Parts.

The MLSDev team delivered great work by designing and building ADASA, a video processing and live-streaming solution and can consult you on creating a similar product.

In conclusion, the following table summarises the key approximate app development cost and timeline information for each particular app type.

App development cost Timeline (in months) Examples
Basic app > ~$15,000 ~1-month Calculators, Camera, Clock
Data-driven app ~$15,000+* ~1-1.5 months Calendar, Weather, Stocks
Authentication app ~$60,000+* ~3-6 months McDonald’s Loyalty App, Google Drive
Social networking app ~$60,000 - $300,000+ ~3-6 up to 9+ months Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yummi
E-Commerce app ~$60,000 - $300,000+ ~3-6 up to 9+ months Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, ASOS, GoPuff
On-demand app ~$70,000 - $100,000+ (basic, per platform)* ~5-7+ months Uber, UberEATS, Postmates, Nimber, Melabiz
Marketplace app (multilevel web platform) ~$300,000+ ~9+ months TripAdvisor, Booking.com
IoT & Hardware app ~$60,000+* ~3-6 months Beacons, Amazon Dash Buttons, WeMo, DirectTV, BELI Printing Service, Jo
eLearning app from ~$60,000+* from ~3-6 months DuoLingo, Coursera, Udemy, Memrise, KhanAcademy
Healthcare app from ~$60,000+* from ~3-6 months Calm, MyFitnessPal, Headspace, Human Anatomy Atlas, EMT: Pocket Prep, Epocrates, mySugr, Idana
Video-streaming app from ~$60,000+* from ~3-6 months Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu
  • Basic version - core feature set, 1 platform, responsive design

How Much Does It Cost To Create an App: Real Examples

App development companies receive many questions from potential clients every day and the main is“how much does it cost to develop an app like Uber?” or “how to make a social media app like Instagram.”

These may seem to be simple questions to answer, but realistically, they are not. Let’s review real examples of some world-famous applications to compare approximate app development cost estimates based on our experience and the real numbers.

  • Instagram’s initial funding in the seed round was $500,000 for an iPhone app only.

  • Uber raised $200,000 during the seed funding round and this money was spent on its beta version.

  • WhatsApp messenger received $250,000 in seed funding back in 2009. This money was spent to improve its existing beta version for iPhone and led to it becoming one of the best iOS apps in 2011.

  • Postmates, a successful on-demand delivery app, was first funded by the startup incubator AngelPad ($20,000 from itself and $100,000 from two VC companies).

We have estimated the approximate budgets necessary to build these apps, their basic version. All the calculations are made with a $40/hour rate, an average hourly rate in Ukraine.

How Much does it Cost to Develop an App Like Instagram, Uber, WhatsApp or Postmates?
How Much does it Cost to Develop an App Like Instagram, Uber, WhatsApp or Postmates?

10 Hidden App Development Cost Drivers

The process of app evolution can be separated into the following phases:

  • Phase 1: Development of the first app version. This milestone includes design creation, coding the feature, quality assurance, etc. As well, the app architecture is organized for subsequent project versions including components such as hosting, proper server capabilities, databases, different supporting libraries, etc.

  • Phase 2: Ongoing app development. This phase refers to the necessary app updates, implementation of new features, app maintenance, bug fixes, and more.

Some of the elements, especially those that fall into the app architecture and ongoing development categories, can sometimes be undervalued or simply hidden from the client’s eye. This may cause confusion among clients, as these parts impact the cost to build an app noticeably.

Below is a list of elements that have some of the biggest influence on app cost:

  1. App infrastructure services (servers, hosting, domains)
  2. Assembling the app architecture: monolithic vs. microservices architecture (the latter uses more technical resources, but is also more efficient in the long run)
  3. Databases used for data storage (user data, photo and video content, etc.)
  4. Assembling back-end infrastructure (especially for further app scalability)
  5. API and third-party service integration (e.g. payments, maps, analytics, etc.)
  6. App administration (complex web portals or CMS for app management)
  7. Development tools and libraries used
  8. Data encryption to transfer data
  9. Regular app updates and bug fixes
  10. Video or audio streaming functionality

Please also take into account: Software development vendors estimate the current costs to build an app, which exclude support and app maintenance costs.

If you are planning to build a great app product, you should consider the ongoing app development cost you will have to handle.

The cost to maintain and support an app is considerably higher than the budget spent on original app development.

So, how much does it cost to maintain an app?

For starters, app maintenance could involve, but not be limited to, the following aspects:

  • Ongoing bug fixing and app updates
  • Code improvement and optimization
  • Support for third-party integrations
  • Support for the latest operating system version
  • Development of new app features
  • App updates with new technologies
  • Server improvements
  • App scalability

Recent studies regarding the ongoing app development cost state:

  • Typical mobile app development equates to around 35% of the total budget spent over the next two years (Computerworld, 2012)

  • After the app launch, expect that further support and app maintenance costs will be around $5,000 - $10,000 annually (Clutch Survey, 2017)

  • Around 50% of the app development cost will be spent on maintenance during the first year, 25% in the second, and 15%-25% each subsequent year (Outsystems Survey, 2018-19)

Thus, it makes sense to set two different mobile app development budgets; one for the first working product version, and another for app’s further support and ongoing development.

Conclusion: How to Build Your App on a Budget

We assume you now have an idea of some approximate app development costs. Here is a list summarizing how it is possible to stick to the initial app budget, as well as a couple of helpful recommendations.

1. Do your homework. Note the app requirements (technologies, platform(s)) and conduct your own market research for an app idea, solution, and target audience.

2. Choose the right app development team. Select a vendor who is experienced in your niche, has worked with well-known brands, and has a substantial portfolio.

These vendors are likely to work on minimizing the app development costs and timeline, and:

  • build and work on their own open-source libraries and use them in app development (while not breaking licenses rights). Check MLSDev’s TRON open-source library on GitHub
  • use their own best practices and ready-made solutions for the intended functionality (e.g. user registration, chats) to save time for regular operations
  • apply only proven and working libraries and third-party services with enough documentation
  • utilize effective project management processes and tools inside the company
  • apply just the right technologies and development tools to achieve the necessary results (e.g. Kotlin, programming language for Android that provides necessary functionality with fewer code lines compared to Java)

3. Take into account hourly development rates. Outsourcing to Eastern Europe (e.g. Ukraine) is preferable since it provides a good price-quality ratio.

4. Start small. Beginning with the development of the first app version is a good way to start growing your project.

5. Use simple app design. Apply laconic and intuitive app design for the first app version.

6. Monitor and be involved in the process as a Product Owner. Your feedback is highly valuable to the team and only through a combined effort can you achieve greater results.

7. Planning is key. Even though it may not have a single line of code, the app discovery stage is one of the keystones. Never undervalue this phase because it is worth the initial investment.

8. Receive a detailed project estimate. Just after the discovery stage, you should receive the core project materials and the rough app estimate should become exact.

9. Stick to the app scope. Otherwise, be prepared to pay extra or reorganize the work with your app development vendor.

Let's summarize the results of our app development cost analysis:

  • App development cost per platform ranges from approximately $15,000 to $300,000+.

  • Industry studies present the cost to build an app from $5,000 to $500,000+. This supports the fact that the app development cost is hard to predict upfront.

  • App development cost is based on factors like app development vendor, number and complexity of features, design, development approach, and platform(s).

  • Accordingly, the timeline to build an app varies anywhere from 1 to 9+ (ongoing project) months.

  • It is highly valuable to complete the Discovery stage. The stage price for the first app version is around $10,000 - $15,000 for 2-4 weeks of work. This cost may increase up to $50,000 based on the project's specifics, complexity, the number of platforms, and so on.

  • Discovery phase deliverables are a finalized app concept, product backlog listing app functionality, app design, and architecture plan. As well, an accurate app development budget is specified.

Want to know how much it will cost to build your application?

Contact our team and we will estimate your app development cost.

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! Bonus & Detailed Infographic for App Development Cost

Check this all in one infographic to have a complete overview of what makes the total cost to build an app.

How Much Does it Cost to Make an App: Infographics
How Much Does it Cost to Make an App: Infographics

Frequently Asked Questions:

⏳ How much time does it take to develop an app?
If you plan to build an app of medium complexity, the timeline to implement your application can take from 6 to 9 months. In general, the timeline to build an app varies anywhere from 1 to 9+ months. It depends on multiple factors including a number of features and their complexity, uniqueness of the design, usage of third-party services, and so on.
✅ Why do reliable app development companies recommend to develop native apps instead of hybrid?
The hybrid apps opposed to native are less expensive but this option has some considerable limitation. Native app development offers more possibilities for customization, facilitation, and optimization, provide better quality, performance, and user interaction. In its turn, this gives the most value to the target audience. At the same time, native vs hybrid app has a lower risk of the app being banned from the app stores.
🏆 How to choose a reliable app development company that will become my tech vendor?
The initial step is to study the shortlisted IT vendors by checking information like portfolio, experience, industry focus, tech specialization, client testimonials, etc. Further, when communicating with potential teams, you need to consider factors like the estimated project duration and required budget, documentation, software development tools, the number of developers assigned to the project, and so on.
💲 How much budget should I allocate for the app maintenance?
Typically, the cost to maintain an app makes 35% of the total budget spent on original app development over the next two years. Please, note that the sum won’t be less than $5,000 - $10,000 annually. The recent findings illustrate that around 50% of the app development cost will be spent on maintenance during the first year, 25% in the second, and 15%-25% each subsequent year.