iOS Development
Published August 26th, 2016 by

How to Estimate the Cost of Development of an iOS App?

The mobile app development market is rapidly expanding, with a number of new apps appearing in Google Play and Apple App Store every day. With such a growth rate the rivalry becomes extremely severe. Therefore, both startups and successful enterprises think through their concepts and ideas scrupulously before deciding to launch a new application.

According to Statista, the app industry is at its top now for both iOS and Android. Check the diagrams below to see how rapidly the number of products has increased recently.


Google Play Store

In this article, we will try to estimate approximate iOS app development cost and analyze the price components in detail.

Types of iOS Apps

The first point to consider when trying to estimate iOS application development cost is the kind of app you want to evaluate. All the existing iOS applications differ by category in the Apple App Store as well as by their functionality. According to Statista, most popular Apple App Store categories in 2016 are as follows:

App Apple

As for functionality, iOS apps differ in the following way:

  • Basic hierarchic functionality (the easiest option to develop and design, the app is like a set of layered screens where everything is categorized);
  • Dynamic functionality (a more complex app with a creative analysis of the content);
  • Games (the most complex type of apps where the widest variety of skills is required);
  • Improvement of standard firmware (to make such an app, you pick a standard device function and enhance it by adding more features or bettering its functionality;
  • Completely dynamic apps depending on external information entirely (Flipboard, Pinterest, Weheartit, etc.);
  • Other apps.

It should come as no surprise that the richer the functionality of an app gets, the more you will have to pay for its development. More features also demand more time, which adds to the expenses as well, since developers usually charge on an hourly basis. That’s why we recommend preparing detailed and comprehensive documentation that explains every screen, every button and all possible interactions. Thinking that something is self-understood is dangerous here, it is better to talk over all the details.

As for the team size, you will need minimum one or two iOS developers, one UX/UI designer, a backend developer (optional) and a quality assurance engineer. An expanded team for quicker development would consist of several developers, a project manager, a UX/UI designer, a QA engineer and a backend developer.The last is optional.

It’s All Billable

If you would like to approximately evaluate the cost of iOS app development for a certain type of app, you should know about the things you will have to pay a development company for. Some of them are obvious and clear, while others can be left out as insignificant by mistake and lead lo unexpected considerable expenses in the long run.


So, after you have decided to build your app and prepared all the descriptions and technical specifications, it is time to choose an app development company. Based on the company’s geographical location, type, skills and reputation the hourly rate they charge can vary greatly, from as little as $12 per hour for India to as much as $250 per hour for local developers in the Silicon Valley. “The cheaper the better” does not work here. When making your choice, you should consider solutions that would be best for your business, not only for your wallet. Saving money on design is a poor decision, since users hardly ever become engaged in the apps that look like DIY. High-quality custom design will attract users and boost the retention.

What are the real numbers? For example, if we take the rate $50 per hour, building an MVP of a photo-sharing app like Instagram will cost from about $12 800 to $22 400 for iOS. Backend development will amount to $9 900 – $17 600. An MVP of an educational app like Duolingo will cost about $41 200 – $66 800 with the same rate. The cost to develop an iOS app for food delivery services will be somewhere between $40 000 and $60 000 for its MVP version. This proves that there is no set price for the creation of an iOS app. We recommend you to interview at least several development companies before choosing one.

Development costs usually include payments for:

  • Functionality;
  • Design.

We talked about the functionality of an app earlier, and now it is high time to dwell on design. Its constituents in a mobile app are wireframes, visual design, user experience and user interface design.

Wireframes show the structure and layout of each screen generally, in a simplified way.

Visual design of an application is the set of all icons, logos and images that need to be created particularly for the app.

User experience design is the process of ensuring that the app complies with the platform standards for the OS, and that it is easy and pleasing to use.

User interface design is the process of optimizing the interface according to the needs of users. Depending on the type of app you build and its complexity, the design stage can take from days to months of work. The skills of designers matter as much as the accuracy of the task.

You may also have to pay for:

  • Market analysis;
  • Business consulting;
  • Project management;
  • Quality assurance.

Market analysis is important for making sure that an app you are about to build does not exist yet. It also helps you realize where your product would stand, who your competitors will be and how you should plan your promotional strategy. You will either need to perform it by your own or ask the development company for assistance.

Business consulting is another significant constituent of creating a unique and successful product. Find a good business analyst who will help you set the priorities and get the product to the market. A skilled professional in this sphere will be your navigator not only to help you keep up to your course, but also to assist when the course will need to change.

Quality assurance, or simply testing, is needed for ensuring that all functions of the app work properly, that the application runs as intended and its overall performance is flawless. Many development companies include QA into their development cycle, and this phase can take up from 10% to 30% of the total time spent on the app development. The costs will be corresponding.

When your app gets to the App Store, Apple will charge you $99 per year. The company will also take 30% from your every sale, which will add to your expenses too.

Before you go

iOS app development price varies greatly from country to country and from case to case. Of course, there is always a possibility to find an all-inclusive company that will build an app for you quickly at a minimum cost. However, you should be careful and choose skilled professionals to work for you. What is more, it is your duty to arrange promotional activities for your product to make sure that the potential customers will be waiting for it and know when it is out. Therefore, focus more on your strategy and marketing, after you have settled on your reasonable development cost.



MLSDev specializes in providing all-in-one solution in mobile and web development.

The company follows Lean principles and works according to agile methodologies to deliver the best results reducing the budget for development and its timeline.

The team is passionate about their work and ready to help with building products users will love.

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