Why a Lot of Developers are Re-skinning Apps

Starting an app from scratch can be quite tedious. You’d have to brainstorm, write down your ideas and thoughts, tap onto a developer or programmer…and the list goes on. Plus the fact that you also have to think about marketing it, on top of keeping the content updated for your users, and it’s surely enough to make you feel tired.

However, because of the huge costs of amount for developing an app from scratch, some people started to find a way to help new app developers and to penetrate the app industry. Their solution: app re-skinning.

What is app re-skinning?

app reskinningRe-skinning an app is a process wherein you would simply switch or change the graphics of a certain app, but retain the code or the programming side. It works well with almost any app, from games to some simple productivity apps.

For example, you get to buy an app source code. You then proceed to modify its graphics, the background, edit the sound effects and the music, without needing to change its nature, i.e. you retain how people actually play it. The only thing that you change is really the ‘skin’ of the app.

Why would I want to simply re-skin an app?

We have to admit that publishers and developers want one thing from their apps: profits and revenue. By re-skinning an app, you don’t have to actually go through all the hassle of programming everything. So in that sense, you get to save money because you don’t have to hire people to code for you, or to design an interface for you. You simply have to change the graphics using image editing tools. Hence, the biggest advantage of re-skinning an app would be to save costs.

The second advantage would be time. Since you already have a working code, you just need to technically put on all the graphics that you made, plus the sounds that you acquired, whether paid or royalty-free. You also need to put in your own advertising code or ID so that profits would go straight to you instead.

Without the need to start from base up, you really save time. You can easily release your own app within a month, and even in a week if you really work hard for it.

Won’t people get tired of seeing the same game all over again?

different appsNot really. You are going to re-skin the graphics, making it actually ‘different’ from the other apps out there. There is still a big chance of users actually downloading your apps. Just try to take a look in the App Store now and compare the number of apps with the same gameplay or same content, save for a few tweaks. There are actually quite a number of them. In fact, flipping apps is already an emerging trend in various app stores because it allows developers to really get their revenues up.

What about the costs? Isn’t it expensive to buy a code?

A source code can probably be bought for around $1,000. It might sound like a lot of money to others, but this is extremely reasonable for publishers and developers who easily spend $6,000 on a new app built from scratch. And if you have the opportunity to actually turn that $1,000 to $200,000 with app flipping, then it becomes a very worthwhile investment, after all.

But the app’s source code doesn’t really provide the function that I want!

Generally, developers who resort to app re-skinning really do not go after the app’s usability. They don’t think of how people will use it, and if they are willing to pay for it. Most of these apps are downloadable for free. But what makes them money is advertising within the app.

app storesIf you want to release an app with your own idea and interface, then go ahead and have it built from scratch. There’s a misconception that beautifully programmed apps would always find their way to the top. However, this is not entirely true at all. There are many unknown apps buried under thousands of other apps. And there is also a big chance that your beautiful app, which had cost you around $10,000, will just remain unknown – or you will not get your return of investment in the span of time that you have in mind.

Let’s fact it – the more users download your app, the more ads get displayed. More users also get to see the ads. That means more money for developers. Likewise, when they make more apps following the same source code or skin, they also get to display more ads.

Take this example: an app would probably earn some $20/day for one app displaying advertisement.  Take that app, re-skin it and release it again. A developer would now make $20/day. Multiply the flipped apps to ten, and he can easily earn $200/day. In a month, that would mean $6000 – and all of this was made possible by a $1000-dollar source code.

Can I use code from a former app?

reskinned appsIf you have an app built from scratch from a former project, you can actually use its source code to make more versions of that app. That way, you don’t even have to buy a new source code. All you need to do is to provide for the graphics and the sounds of your app.

Typically, games are the most re-skinned apps nowadays. There are so many games now that have the same gameplay, but only differ when it comes to the graphics and sounds. Why is that? These developers are using multiple apps to actually make their advertising channels more effective. They are using one source code to provide for 10 games, all with the same gameplay. And a lot of them make money.

With app re-skinning, you are actually decreasing your investments and increasing your profits and revenue. You also get to make it into a business opportunity, and turn it into something positive without having to risk too much money and investment.


  • Redcode October 22, 2013

    With that$1000 investment, are you buying one source code and re-skinning it 10 times? That is referring to the example $20/day multiplied by 10 to make $200/day. Or are you buying 10 cheap source codes for $1000?

  • Naim Shaikh December 2, 2013

    Very encouraging inputs for new bee like me!
    Carter, can you write something on Affiliate marketing? Specially on Amazon affiliates? I’ve setup an affiliate site http://www.digitalreviews.info and want to know how I can make it a HIT. Any suggestion is welcomed!!

  • gentleman jim January 12, 2014

    i would like to know how to make apps.I have an idea thats not out there yet..how much money would i need? and let me know who would i get in contact with.

  • viv February 9, 2014

    That’s a bubble bubbling. I believe eventually apple will step in and reign in the practice…but until then let the music continue…

  • Realist May 23, 2014

    To be honest, it isn’t as easy as buying a $1000.00 source code, reskinning it and it making $20.00 a day. Do your research before you just jump on any given source code that someone tells you to buy. In order to make that kind of money you have to figure you have the daily users to back it up. Just my thoughts.

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas May 24, 2014

    @Realist – thanks for the post. Can you explain how you would do the research to figure out daily users?

  • Johnson June 15, 2014


  • Ivan August 17, 2015

    I love ths article

  • Rob La Pointe September 3, 2015

    Re-skinning apps is the process of purchasing or licensing a source code and then creating new assets for the user interface to lay on top. It is cheaper and faster than developing custom source code—though, if you’ve already gone through the app development process, you can definitely re-use your own code (or license it to others!). In any case, re-skinning app is that act of creating a brand new app by building a new visual experience on top of an existing source code.

  • Baronboyscout February 24, 2016

    Most valuable article I read in a long time. To bad I recently figured this out on my own.

  • Chowdhury January 14, 2017

    It doesn’t matter if you are using the same source code, what matters is that you are not infringing any copyright and integrating cool graphics and sound that makes users glue to the smartphones and keep engaging. Its the Marketing of the APP or ASO that matters the most.

  • kamel mezni May 21, 2017

    Great article for beginners like me thanks

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