“How much does it cost to build an iOS app?” It is one of the first questions you might have if you build an iOS.
I wish the answers were also so simple and direct. But it isn’t.
The cost of building an iOS app is not fixed. Instead, it depends on many factors, such as the app’s complexity, required features, and the time needed for developing the mobile app.
In this blog, we’ll discuss seven factors you must know about to estimate the cost of an iOS app accurately. But first, let’s understand:
The Formula for Calculating the Estimated Cost of iOS App Development.
We estimate the cost of developing an iOS by multiplying the number of hours for development by the number of billable hours the resources invested. Here’s the formula:
(UI/UX Design Hours + iOS App Development Hours) * Hourly rates of resources
Although, the calculation that will come out will only be the estimated cost. Various factors would affect the cost of iOS app development.
7 Factors that Affect the Cost of iOS App Development
Building an iOS app is like building a home. The cost goes up as you add new features.
Building a simple iOS app is easy as it has fewer features and hence takes less time to develop. As a result, the cost is less for such apps.
However, the development time and cost increase as you increase the complexity level by adding more features and user elements.
Here’s a detailed breakthrough of the iOS app development cost based on complexity level:
- A simple app with essential features like a search function, list of items, and contact us button can cost between $16000 and $32000. To-do list apps, diaries, and calculators are a few examples of such apps.
- A mid-level with added features like user authentication, eCommerce functionalities, and user authentication can cost between $32000 and $ 50,000. Examples of such apps include social media, eCommerce, and cab aggregating apps.
- A complex iOS app with advanced features like artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and real-time data streaming can cost anywhere between $60000 – $150,000. Such apps include immersive video games, OTT apps, and productivity tools.
So, before you decide to build an iOS app, you must ask the following questions:
- How many features do you want to include in the app?
- How many elements (buttons, screens, and functions) does it have?
- Is the business logic of the mobile app simple or complex?
- Will the app rely on the internet?
- Do you also need to provide backend support?
2. App Design
App design can also significantly impact the iOS app development cost. Similar to app complexity, iOS apps with good design will cost you more as they require elaborative research, planning, and implementation.
Here are a few app design factors that would impact the app development costs:
- Complexity: The more elements the design includes, the more time and resources you need to create it. Hence, the higher the cost.
- Custom elements: The cost would be higher if your app requires customized elements like illustrations, icons, and animations.
- Branding: An app that needs to be consistent with your company’s branding requires additional work and cost. Hence, the cost of such an app would be higher.
- Number of screens: If an app has more screens, it needs more resources and time to design. Hence, the higher the cost.
Although, here are a few things you can do to reduce the cost of your iOS app’s design:
- Start with a clear design brief to avoid scope creep, which can increase costs.
- Use a template or framework as it reduces the cost of design.
- Outsource your iOS app’s design to a qualified designer if you don’t have in-house expertise. It is much more cost-effective than outsourcing your project to someone who charges less but doesn’t do justice to your app.
3. App Development Team Experience & Expertise
The expertise and expertise of your app development team also have a significant impact on the iOS app development cost. Less experienced development teams charge you less but fail to provide the quality you hope for. On the other hand, the more experienced iOS developers would charge you more but deliver a high-quality app.
- iOS developers charge more for their services as they deeply understand iOS development and can build your app more efficiently.
- iOS developers with specialized skills like artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and API integration charge you more as they’re in high demand.
4. Development Region
iOS app development cost significantly varies depending on the development region. It’s because developers from different areas charge different hourly rates.
An iOS developer from the US, UK, or Canada can charge anywhere between $120 and $150. On the other hand, iOS developers from regions like Eastern Europe, India, and China would charge $40-$60. Hiring an iOS developer from Eastern Europe or India is much more affordable than hiring someone from the US, UK, or Canada.
However, iOS developers charging you less doesn’t guarantee a high-quality app. You need to balance the price and the app quality and choose someone who does justice to your vision and budget.
5. Third-party Integrations
While third-party integrations can significantly enhance the functionality of an iOS, they can also improve its cost significantly. Here are a few reasons behind this:
- Developers need to spend more time integrating third-party integrations into the app, which can significantly enhance the development cost and time.
- Some third-party integrations require a licensing fee, which can further increase app development costs.
- Some third-party integrations charge fees based on the number of requests made to the API, which can add more costs.
But you can reduce the third-party integration costs in your iOS app by:
- Choosing APIs that offer the best value for your money.
- Negotiate the licensing fees to see if you can get a discount for signing a long-term contract or integrating multiple APIs from the same provider.
- Optimize the use of your APIs to reduce usage fees. For example, you can cache API result calls to ensure you don’t make the same request multiple times.
6. Development Approach
The app development route you would take also plays a critical role in deciding the cost of your iOS app. Let’s understand with an example:
- Suppose you’re living in the US and hire a local agency. Now, such iOS development team members would charge you anywhere between $120 and $150 if it took 500 hours to build the app. Total costs would be $120*500 = $60,000 to $150*500 = $75,000, which is too much.
- Suppose you hire an in-house team. You would have to pay at least $85000/year in salary. Also, there would be operational and maintenance costs, which would be too much.
- Freelancers may charge you less, i.e., $50/hour in the US. If the development time is 500 hours, the total development cost would be $50* 500 = $25,000. It is far less than hiring a local agency or hiring an in-house team of iOS developers.
- If you outsource your project to a company for iOS app development, they will charge you $18-$40 in countries like India. It means you can have an app for $12000 if the development time is 500 hours.
So, you have four different routes that influence the cost of your iOS app in four different ways. Hence, you must choose carefully to ensure you don’t make a wrong decision.
App development doesn’t just mean designing, developing, and releasing it into the market. Building an app without testing is like buying a car without a test drive. The results are often catastrophic. That’s why testing is crucial in iOS app development. It detects and eliminates issues before they become a hassle and ensures your final app is defects-free.
However, testing also leads to additional expenses as it takes time and resources to test the iOS app thoroughly. Here are other factors that influence the cost of app testing:
- Complexity: You need to spend significant time and resources testing complex iOS apps as they have more features and, hence, more potential areas for bugs.
- Type of Testing: Unit testing is less costly as you can test the app independently. On the other hand, the system is much more expensive.
- Number of Test Cases: The more test cases you create and execute for your iOS app, the higher the cost.
- Testing Tools: While most iOS app testing tools are free, some can cost you money, thus increasing its app development cost.
Generally, app testing can account for almost 30% of the cost of building an iOS app. Although you can reduce app development costs by
- Starting with a clear test plan to remain on track, avoid scope creep, and reduce costs.
- Focusing on the most important features first for testing. Save less essential test cases for later.
- Using a test automation framework to reduce the cost and time of testing.
- Outsourcing software testing to a qualified testing team if you don’t have in-house testing expertise.