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How Much Does iOS App Development Cost in 2024?

Max Babych

Max Babych

CEO

11 min

Have you ever wondered how much time people spend on their favorite mobile apps?

According to the DataReportal, smartphone users spend about 4.37 hours per day using mobile apps.

In 2024, the digital landscape is more vibrant than ever, with mobile apps playing a pivotal role in our daily lives.

Businesses across the globe are investing heavily in mobile technology to stay competitive.

According to Statista, the global mobile app market revenue hit a staggering $935 billion in 2023. And is only going to grow.

If you’re considering developing an iOS app, understanding the costs involved is crucial to making informed decisions and planning your budget effectively.

In this article, we’ll break down the various factors that influence the cost of developing an iOS app in 2024.

After reading this article, you will get a clear picture of what to expect and how to optimize your iOS app development project.

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The Formula for Estimating iOS App Development Costs

When estimating the cost of developing an iOS app you need to keep in mind several key variables. This will help you create a more accurate budget for your project.

Here’s a formula to help you estimate the costs:

Total Cost = (Development Hours) x (Hourly Rate) + Additional Costs

The Formula for Estimating iOS App Development Costs - SpdLoad

Let’s break down each component.

1. Development Hours

This is the total number of hours required to complete the app development. It includes:

  • Planning and Research. Time spent on market research, defining requirements, and project planning.
  • Design. Time spent on creating wireframes, UI/UX design, and prototypes.
  • Development. The time app developers spend coding, including front-end and back-end development.
  • Testing. Time spent on quality assurance, bug fixing, and user testing.
  • Deployment. Time spent on preparing and submitting the app to the App Store.

2. Hourly Rate

The hourly rate can vary based on the location, expertise, and reputation of the development team.

For instance:

LocationRates
US and Canada$100 – $150 per hour
Western Europe$70 – $120 per hour
Eastern Europe$30 – $80 per hour
Asia$20 – $50 per hour

We’ll explore this point in more detail further.

3. Additional Costs

These are the extra costs that might be involved in the app development process:

  • App Store Submission. Apple charges an annual fee of $99 for developers to list their apps on the App Store.
  • Third-Party Services. Costs for using APIs, cloud services, payment gateways, etc.
  • Maintenance. Ongoing costs for updates, bug fixes, and improvements post-launch.
  • Marketing. Costs for promoting the app to reach a wider audience.

iOS App Cost Calculation Example

Let’s say you’re developing a moderately complex iOS app with the following estimates:

  • Development Hours: 1,000 hours
  • Hourly Rate: $35 (Ukraine)
  • Additional Costs: $10,000 (including App Store fees, third-party services, and initial marketing)

Using the formula:

Total Cost = (1,000 hours) x ($35/hour) + $10,000 = $45,000

Adjust the variables based on your specific project needs to create a more tailored budget.

You can also use our app development calculator to estimate the app development cost more accurately.

Now, let’s dive deeper into factors and variables that affect app development pricing.

We will cover app complexity, type, design, and maintenance requirements, as well as the development team and location.

Let’s go!

Key Factors Influencing iOS App Development Costs

Developing an iOS app is a significant investment for any business.

Before signing an agreement with the app development vendor, you need to understand the factors that influence development costs. It will help you make informed decisions and budget planning.

According to a report by Clutch, the cost to develop an app can range from $35,000 to $500,000, depending on various factors such as app complexity, features, and team location.

Here are the key factors influencing iOS app development costs.

App Complexity Levels

The complexity of an app significantly impacts its development cost.

Apps can be broadly categorized into three levels of complexity:

1. Simple iOS Apps

A basic iOS app has simple functionality, such as a single platform, simple UI, basic controls, and minimal data processing.

  • Examples: Calculator apps, note-taking apps, etc.
  • Development Time: It typically takes 2-3 months to create a simple app.
  • Cost Impact: Low due to straightforward development and minimal feature set.

2. Moderate Apps

Features include integration with APIs, more sophisticated UI, backend server support, database integration, and third-party services.

  • Examples: Social media apps, e-commerce apps, etc.
  • Development Time: Typically, 3-6 months are needed to develop such an app.
  • Cost Impact: Medium due to increased complexity and the need for more extensive testing and development.

3. Complex Apps

A complex app has advanced functionalities such as real-time user interactions, custom animations, extensive backend requirements, high-end security, multi-language support, and AI capabilities.

  • Examples: On-demand service apps, large-scale enterprise apps, etc.
  • Development Time: Typically 6 months to a year or more.
  • Cost Impact: High due to the extensive resources, expertise, and time required.

App Types and Categories

The type and category of the app play a crucial role in determining the development cost. Different types of apps require different levels of effort, technology, and expertise.

The graph below shows App Store market share percentages for the 10 most popular categories in 2024.

10 Most Popular App Store Categories in 2024 - SpdLoad

1. Utility Apps

Focus: Perform specific, simple tasks.

Examples: Flashlight apps and weather apps.

Cost Impact: Generally low, as they are straightforward and require minimal development.

2. Gaming Apps

Focus: High interactivity, complex graphics, and often require advanced programming for game mechanics.

Examples: Puzzle games and action games.

Cost Impact: High due to the need for high-quality graphics, sound effects, and advanced coding.

3. E-commerce Apps

Focus: User accounts, secure payment gateways, product listings, and order management systems.

Examples: Amazon, eBay.

Cost Impact: Medium to high, depending on features like user personalization, recommendation engines, and integration with third-party services. Check out how to build an e-commerce app.

4. Social Networking Apps

Focus: User profiles, messaging, notifications, and real-time interactions.

Examples: Facebook, Instagram.

Cost Impact: High, due to the need for real-time data processing, high security, and extensive database management.

5. Enterprise Apps

Focus: Streamline business processes, integrate with enterprise systems, high security.

Examples: CRM systems and ERP apps.

Cost Impact: Very high due to the need for complex integrations, custom and complex features, and high-level security.\

In this article, we break down how to build an app like Instagram.

Another factor that can influence app development costs is app design. Let’s break it down.

App Design

The design of an app encompasses its user interface (UI) and user experience (UX).

The quality and sophistication of the design can significantly affect development costs.

1. UI/UX Design

Simple Design: Basic, functional, with standard UI elements.

Complex Design: Custom graphics, animations, transitions, and highly interactive elements.

Cost Impact: Higher for complex designs due to the need for specialized designers and longer development times.

2. Prototyping and Wireframing

Ensures a clear understanding of the app’s structure and functionality.

Cost Impact: Initial investment can reduce costs by minimizing errors during development.

3. User Testing

A thorough testing helps to identify usability issues and improves overall user satisfaction.

Cost Impact: Additional cost for conducting tests and making necessary adjustments.

Factors that Determine the Cost of iOS App Development - SpdLoad

Maintenance Requirements

Post-launch maintenance is crucial to ensure the app remains functional and relevant.

This process requires the following activities:

1. Bug Fixes and Updates

Regular updates to fix bugs, improve performance, and add new features.

Cost Impact: Ongoing costs vary based on the frequency and complexity of updates.

2. Compatibility Checks

Ensuring the app remains compatible with new iOS versions and device models.

Cost Impact: Periodic updates are required, influencing the maintenance budget.

3. Server Maintenance

Necessary for apps with backend services.

Cost Impact: Continuous expense for server upkeep, security updates, and scaling.

All the factors we’ve described above are highly dependent on the development team’s size and location.

Let’s see the difference between collaborating with a development team from Ukraine versus working with iOS developers from the US.

Development Team Size and Location

The size and location of the development team significantly influence the cost.

1. Team Size

Small Team: A few developers might be slower but more cost-effective.

Large Team: More developers mean faster development but higher cost.

Cost Impact: Larger teams with diverse roles (developers, designers, testers) generally increase costs.

2. Location

When selecting an app development team, you have a few options: hire iOS developers in-house, outsource, or work with freelancers.

Then, you need to choose where you want to hire talent from. Is it offshore, onshore, or nearshore?

Onshore specialists usually have higher app development hourly rates, better communication, and quality assurance.

Offshore developers have lower rates, but you need to choose carefully to avoid possible communication barriers and poor quality.

Read our top 10 countries for outsourcing research.

Overall, offshore development can reduce costs but may require more oversight.

Now that we’ve decided on the team size and location factor let’s move on to another point. Is it cheaper or more expensive to build an iOS app vs Android application?

iOS vs. Android App Development Cost

As of 2024, mobile app development is a booming industry, with global revenue expected to reach $935 billion by 2023, according to Statista.

Businesses often face the dilemma of choosing between iOS and Android for their app development.

While each platform has its own advantages, understanding the cost implications can help you make a better choice.

Here are key aspects to consider when comparing iOS and Android development costs.

Development 

Developing for iOS is generally faster and can be less costly due to fewer devices and operating system versions to support.

A report by Business of Apps indicates that the average cost to develop an iOS app ranges from $20,000 to $150,000.

In contrast, Android development often requires more time and resources because of the wide variety of devices and screen sizes.

This can lead to higher development costs, with the same report suggesting Android app development can range from $25,000 to $200,000.

Design 

Designing for iOS is usually more straightforward because Apple has strict design guidelines, ensuring consistency across devices.

Android, with its diverse range of devices and manufacturers, requires more flexible and adaptive designs, which can increase design complexity and costs.

The need to accommodate various screen sizes and resolutions in Android design adds to the workload and expense.

QA and Testing 

QA and testing for iOS mobile apps can be more efficient since fewer devices and OS versions exist to test against.

This streamlined process can lower testing costs.

For Android, the extensive range of devices and versions means more thorough testing is needed to ensure compatibility and performance, leading to higher testing costs.

According to a survey by TechBeacon, QA and testing can account for up to 30% of the total development budget, and this percentage can be higher for Android apps due to the required extensive testing.

Launch Strategies

Launching an iOS app involves adhering to Apple’s strict review guidelines. It can result in longer review times but a more controlled quality check.

According to Apple, the average review time for an app in the Apple app store is about 1-2 days.

Android apps typically face shorter review times and more flexible guidelines, with Google Play reporting an average review time of a few hours to a day.

The Android platform is considered “fragmented” because it is used on a wide variety of devices with different screen sizes, hardware specifications, and operating system versions.

This diversity can create challenges for app developers in ensuring that their apps work seamlessly across all these different devices.

Imagine you have developed a new game app. On iPhones, which are all very similar in terms of hardware and software, the game runs perfectly.

However, on Android, some users with older phones or different screen sizes might face issues like crashes or the game not displaying correctly.

To fix these problems, you might need to update the app frequently, respond to user complaints, and perhaps even spend money on ads to assure users that issues are being resolved.

This means that while developing for Android can reach a larger audience, it also requires more effort to ensure a consistent and positive user experience across all devices.

These differences can influence overall launch costs and strategies for each platform.

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Strategies to Reduce iOS App Development Costs

Developing an iOS app can be a costly endeavor.

However, there are several strategies that businesses can employ to reduce development costs without compromising on quality.

Here are some effective strategies you can benefit from.

1. Clear and Detailed Requirements

Clearly outline the app’s features, functionalities, and design elements. This helps avoid scope creep, which can lead to increased costs and extended timelines.

You want to focus on essential features for the initial release. Future updates can add additional features based on user feedback and business needs.

For example, a fitness app must-have functionalities that include workout tracking, diet plans, and progress analytics.

When defining these early, both you and the development team avoid adding unnecessary features later, keeping the project within budget.

2. MVP Approach (Minimum Viable Product)

Start small: Develop a basic version of the app with core features to test the market.

This reduces initial costs and allows for early user feedback, which can guide further development.

In fact, many successful companies test their business idea with an MVP development.

Did you know that Dropbox initially launched with a basic file-sharing and storage feature?

This MVP allowed them to gather user feedback and scale their services based on user needs, saving costs on unnecessary features initially.

3. Use of Pre-built Components

Use third-party libraries, APIs, and frameworks to save time and development costs.

These pre-built components can provide essential functionalities without the need for custom development.

Let’s say you’re building a messaging app. Then, you can use Firebase for backend services instead of building a custom server.

This pre-built solution provides authentication, a real-time database, and push notifications, significantly reducing development time and cost.

4. Cross-Platform Development

Consider using cross-platform development frameworks like React Native or Flutter to build apps for both iOS and Android simultaneously.

By the way, the popular travel app Airbnb was developed using React Native. Utilizing this framework allowed the company to deploy its app on both iOS and Android platforms simultaneously, saving on development costs and time.

5. Optimize Design Process

Develop wireframes and interactive prototypes to visualize the app’s flow and design before actual development begins.

This helps to identify potential issues early and reduce rework.

Maintain design consistency across the app to simplify development and testing processes.

You can use tools like Sketch and InVision to create wireframes and prototypes.

This helps stakeholders visualize the app’s functionality and design, making it easier to identify and fix potential issues before full-scale development begins.

6. Efficient Project Management

Adopt agile project management practices to ensure flexibility, continuous improvement, and efficient resource utilization.

Communicate clearly and consistently with the development team to ensure everyone is aligned with the project goals and timelines.

In our software development lifecycle, we use agile methodology.

Regular sprints and iterations allow us to adapt to changes quickly and keep development costs under control by ensuring efficient resource utilization.

7. Hire the Right Team

Did you know that investing in skilled and experienced development teams potentially reduces long-term costs?

Consider outsourcing development to regions with lower labor costs. But first, you want to ensure the quality of their work. Explore their case studies and client reviews, conduct interviews, and give them a test task to see if your visions align.

Check out our guide on hiring developers to learn more.

8. Testing and Quality Assurance

Implement automated testing to quickly identify and fix bugs, reducing the need for extensive manual testing.

Use continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipelines to streamline the development and testing process, ensuring timely delivery of updates and fixes.

Strategies to Reduce iOS App Development Costs - SpdLoad

9. Post-Launch Strategies

Plan for regular maintenance and updates to keep the app functional and relevant. This can prevent costly major overhauls in the future.

Actively gather and analyze user feedback to make informed decisions on updates and new features, focusing on what adds the most value.

A ride-sharing app like Uber regularly collects user feedback through in-app surveys and app store reviews.

They use this feedback to prioritize updates and new features, focusing on what users value most, which helps in maintaining user satisfaction and reducing the cost of unnecessary features.

Plan your app project budget in minutes!

Use our app development calculator to estimate app cost.

Why Choose SpdLoad for iOS App Development?

Planning to build an iOS app in 2024?

We’ve got you!

Whether you need a simple or a more complex app with advanced features our iOS developers are here for you.

You can count on our expertise, 10+ years of app development experience, and transparent communication practices.

We will keep your vision and business growth in mind when planning the whole development process.

Be sure we’ll implement the most scalable and user-friendly features to help your startup grow quickly and organically.

Ready to get started? Contact us now, and we will schedule a brief intro meeting to discuss the project details.

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Have a question? Look here

How much does it cost to build an iOS app in 2024?
In 2024, building an iOS app can cost anywhere from $8,000 to $500,000. Simple apps with basic features generally range from $8,000 to $50,000, while more complex apps with advanced functionalities can cost between $50,000 and $500,000 or more.
How do features and complexity affect iOS app development price?
iPhone app development price increases with the number of features and the complexity of the app. Basic apps with minimal features are less expensive. In contrast, apps with complex functionalities like real-time user interactions, custom animations, and advanced security features are significantly more costly.
What factors influence the total Apple app development cost?
Several factors influence the mobile app development cost. The app's complexity, type, and design quality play a major role. The expertise, size, and location of the development team also impact costs. Additionally, ongoing maintenance for updates and bug fixes can add to the overall expense.
Are there any hidden costs in iOS app development to be aware of?
Yes, there can be hidden costs in iOS app development. Post-launch maintenance, which includes regular updates and bug fixes, is one such cost. Using third-party services like APIs and hosting can also add to iPhone app development cost. App Store fees, including Apple's annual developer fee and a percentage of in-app purchases or subscriptions, should be considered. Marketing and promotion costs to reach a larger audience are other potential hidden expenses.

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