How Much Does It Cost to Create an iOS App?

In creating your own iOS mobile app, there are three kinds of costs you need to consider – design costs, development costs, and publishing costs. Design costs stem from how the app is created aesthetically.

Meanwhile, development costs come from the actual programming of the mobile app. Lastly, publishing costs arise from placing your app in the iTunes app store.

iOS app store

iOS App Design

Investing in a good design for your mobile app is essential because it impacts the initial impression viewers get from your app screenshots. This ultimately affects you app’s conversion of viewers to downloaders.

Furthermore, a good design influences the user experience of your app users, and this affects the regularity of their usage. Thus, it is highly preferable to hire a mobile app designer – one who is well versed in the user flow and space restrictions of mobile devices.

What do you get?

Designs of mobile apps often come in the form of packages. These packages will contain all the necessary pieces of images, which are usually PNG and PSD files, needed for your app. For example, an app icon should come in 4 different sizes for a universal app.

How much does it cost?

An app design package for an iPhone-only mobile app can cost as little as $500 to as much as $10,000. This design package comes in a base level design that a developer would need in encoding the app. To make the process more convenient for your developer, it would be practical to ask him for his desired file names for the images.

app moneyAn app design package for an iPhone 4 compatible mobile app can cost 25% more than the standard iPhone app. Images in this package are to be sized at 960×640 pixels, versus the 480×320 pixels of earlier iPhones. Remember however that a standard iPhone only app is often not compatible with the retina display of the iPhone 4. Retina display compatibility would require images with higher resolution.

An app design package for an iPad mobile app usually costs 50% more than the standard iPhone app for apps with a similar layout and user experience framework. Oftentimes, new designs are needed for the iPad version to adjust to the size, speed, and user flow of the tablet.

To get more detailed and up-to-date information on how to hire a developer and not pay too much, be sure to ask someone inside Bluecloud Select.

iOS App Development

While design deals with the art part of creating apps, development deals with the programming and encoding part of it. Different kinds of apps require different development costs, and thus it is important that you clarify with your developer as to what kind of app you would like to develop. Below are the ballpark figures for developing simple, table-based apps, native apps, and game apps.

How much does it cost?

A simple, table-based app would cost around $1,000 to $4,000 to develop. This is with the presumption that all content and sample apps are provided for by the client. Providing the design on top of these can potentially bring down the cost to $1,500. Additional fees may be required for features such as social network integration and GPS locators.

A database or native app would cost around $8,000 to $50,000 to develop. This cost covers crafting the user experience within the app as well as the architecture of its game play. Again, the client generally provides for all content and media. These content are then plugged into the app as it is programmed.

angry birdsA game app could cost as little as $10,000 to as much as $250,000. It is quite difficult to provide a ballpark figure for developing a game, however, to provide a benchmark, the popular mobile game Angry Birds cost between $125,000 and $180,000 to develop.

Meanwhile, racing games are often quoted at around $125,000 for encoding. It is important to remember however that no matter how simple your game can be, you will most likely need to factor in features such as integrating with the Apple Game Center, collecting and publishing top scores, and creating an online community.

These features can potentially complicate the development of your app and therefore make it more costly. While games are among the categories most downloaded, it is important to weigh your potential revenue against your costs to ensure that you get return on your investment.

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What about additional features?

There are additional features that you can include in your app such as in-app purchasing, web services, game center integration, and share capabilities. Below are the ballpark figures in adding these features in your mobile app.

In-app purchasing costs approximately $1,000 to $3,000. This feature will let your user purchase content within the app (e.g. additional “lives” for games) or purchase the full version of the app. The cost for adding this feature would depend on the variety of in-app purchasing you would want to make availability and the complexity of your in-app purchasing procedure.

Web services is a feature offered to app creators that will allow them to update the content in their app through a remote access point instead of actual code changes. This ultimately makes the maintenance of your app much more convenient. These services cost approximately $1,000 to $5,000, depending to the degree of web services you need. If you plan on updating your app regularly, this add-on feature is highly recommended.

Integrating your app into the Apple Game Center costs around $1,000, while share capabilities cost around $500 to $1,500. Share capabilities normally covers social media and email.

iOS App Publishing

app publishingPublishing your app into the iTunes store requires an iTunes Connect account, which costs $99 every year. If you are considering creating multiple apps and publishing these onto the iTunes store, you will need just one account.

In addition to the account registration fee, you will be required to fill out necessary information regarding your iOS app, including app descriptions, pricing, and icons.

In exchange, iTunes Connect provides you with data analytics regarding your applications, including number of downloads and the amount of money you are making. These data are especially useful not only in monitoring the success of your apps, but also in making the necessary adjustments to make your apps event better.


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