Apple’s iOS continues to dominate the smartphone operating systems market in the United States, with over half of the market share as of July 2023. Apps have driven consumer spending on the Apple App Store to grow by 10.6% in 2022, reaching $36.3 billion.
With such a large and engaged user base, it’s no surprise that iOS apps are in high demand. Whether you’re a startup with a unique idea or an established business looking to expand your online reach, understanding the costs of iOS app development in 2023 is essential.
Knowing the costs can also help you make informed decisions, manage your resources wisely, set realistic goals, secure the necessary funding, and avoid financial setbacks.
In this blog, we’ll walk you through the factors that affect iOS app development costs, from the complexity of features and design choices to the development team and ongoing expenses after your app launches on the App Store. By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of what to expect when creating an iOS app in 2023.
What is an iOS app?
An iOS app is a software application designed to run on Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS. iOS is the operating system that powers iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touch devices. These apps are specifically developed to be compatible with Apple’s hardware and software environment.
iOS apps can do all sorts of things, from games and productivity tools to social networking and entertainment. They’re typically available for download and installation from Apple’s App Store, which is the official platform for distributing iOS apps.
Why Develop an iOS App?
When it comes to developing a mobile app, iOS, the operating system that powers Apple’s iPhones and iPads, stands out as a promising platform. But why should you consider developing an iOS app?
Let’s explore the compelling reasons.
Lucrative Market Opportunities
Apple’s App Store is a goldmine of opportunities for app developers. With millions of iOS devices in circulation worldwide, your app can potentially reach a massive user base. iOS users are also known to spend more on apps and in-app purchases compared to their Android counterparts, making it a lucrative market for developers.
Premium User Experience
Apple is renowned for its stringent app review process, ensuring that only high-quality, well-designed apps make it to the App Store.This commitment to quality results in a premium user experience for iOS users.
Developing an iOS app allows you to tap into this reputation for excellence, which can positively impact your brand and user satisfaction.
Strong Monetization Potential
iOS apps often have higher earning potential due to the willingness of iOS users to pay for premium apps and in-app purchases. If your app offers valuable features or content, you can generate substantial revenue through paid downloads, subscriptions and other monetization models.
According to Apple, the App Store ecosystem facilitated more than $1.1 trillion in billings and sales worldwide in 2022, up from $868 billion in 2021, $643 billion in 2020, and $519 billion in 2019.
Of that total, 9%, originated from billings and sales of digital goods and services consumed on iOS apps; 81%, from sales of physical goods and services made on iOS apps; and 10%, from in-app advertising on iOS devices.
iOS is recognized for its robust security features, which help protect user data and maintain the integrity of your app. This security can build trust with your users and safeguard your app from potential vulnerabilities.
Easier Development and Testing
Developing for iOS can be more streamlined in some cases. With a limited range of devices and screen sizes to cater to, it can be easier to design and test your app. This efficiency can save you time and reduce development costs.
How Much Does It Cost to Build an iOS App?
You might be wondering, “How much does it cost to make an iOS app?” Well, just like with Android apps, it can vary a lot. Building a basic iOS app might cost around $15,000, but if you’re aiming for a fancy and complex one, it could go well beyond $300,000.
In today’s fast-changing tech world, knowing the money side of turning your app idea into reality is crucial. Understanding the costs is the first step toward a successful journey in iOS app development.
But here’s the thing: there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. The cost of making an iOS app in 2023 depends on several things. To help you figure it out, let’s take a closer look at what factors can make the cost go up or down.
Average Cost to Develop an iPhone App
The average cost to develop an iPhone app can range anywhere from $30,000 to $250,000 or more, depending on a number of factors.
Apps that are simple and have basic features generally cost less to create than those with lots of fancy stuff. Things like letting users sign in, making data updates in real-time, and adding features from other companies can make the cost go up.
Making sure your app looks great and is easy to use is super important for success. But, making it look nice might mean spending more money.
Developing an iOS app in 2023 offers numerous advantages, including market opportunities, a premium user experience, strong monetization potential, enhanced security, and ease of development and testing.
However, it’s essential to recognize that the cost of iOS app development varies based on factors such as app complexity, design, development team, maintenance, and app category.
Here are examples of the healthcare app development costs; a simple healthcare app, a medium healthcare app, and a feature-rich healthcare app:
Simple Healthcare App: Medication Reminder App
- Medication schedule set up and reminders
- Medication list and dosage information
- Push notifications for medication reminders
- Medication history tracking
- Emergency contact information
- Clean and intuitive user interface
- Easy-to-read medication schedule
- Simple user profiles
- Approximately 2-3 months
- With an average hourly rate of $50, the cost of developing a simple medication reminder app could start from $16,000.
Medium Healthcare App: Telemedicine Consultation App
- User registration and patient profiles
- Appointment scheduling with healthcare providers
- Video or audio consultations
- Prescription requests and refills
- Secure messaging between patients and doctors
- User-friendly interface for booking appointments
- Clear and secure video conferencing
- Easy access to medical records
- Approximately 4-6 months
- With an average hourly rate of $50, the cost of developing a medium telemedicine consultation app could start from $32000.
Feature-Rich Healthcare App: Health and Wellness Platform
- User registration with detailed health profiles
- Fitness and nutrition tracking
- Integration with wearables and health devices
- AI-driven health insights and recommendations
- Personalized health plans
- Secure medical data storage and sharing
- Social community for health enthusiasts
- Visually appealing and customizable dashboard
- Interactive data visualization
- Seamless integration with health devices
- Approximately 8-12 months
- With an average hourly rate of $50, the cost of developing a feature-rich health and wellness platform could start from $64,000 or more, depending on the complexity and additional features.
Please note that these estimated costs are rough estimates and can vary based on various factors, including the app’s specific requirements, the location of development, and the expertise of the development team. It’s advisable to consult with experienced app developers to get a more accurate cost estimate for your healthcare app project.
Factors that influence the iOS App Development Costs
App complexity is one of the most important factors that influences the cost of developing an iOS app. The more complex the app, the more time and resources will be required to develop it, and the higher the cost will be.
Complexity can be influenced by a number of factors, including:
The number of features
The more features an app has, the more complex it will be to develop. This is because each feature requires additional development time and resources.
The type of features
Some features are more complex to develop than others. For example, features that require real-time data processing or artificial intelligence will be more complex to develop than simple features such as a login screen or a list view.
The level of integration with other systems
If the app needs to integrate with other systems, such as a backend server or a third-party service, this can add to the complexity of the app.
Design and User Interface (UI/UX)
Design and user interface (UI/UX) is another important factor that influences the cost of developing an iOS app. A well-designed app will require more time and effort to create than a simple app.
A good UI/UX design can make a big difference in the success of an app. An app with a well-designed UI/UX is more likely to be downloaded and used by users. It is also more likely to retain users and generate revenue.
The app category can also affect the iOS development cost. Gaming apps are typically more expensive to develop than utility apps. This is because gaming apps often require complex graphics, animations, and intricate gameplay. Utility apps, on the other hand, typically have simpler interfaces and fewer interactive elements.
Here is a more detailed breakdown of the cost of developing different types of iOS apps:
Gaming apps are some of the most expensive iOS apps to develop. The cost of developing a gaming app could start from $50,000 or more. Gaming apps often require complex graphics, animations, and intricate gameplay.
Gaming apps often need to be updated frequently to keep users engaged.
- Angry Birds 2
- Pokémon GO
- Subway Surfers
Business apps are also relatively expensive to develop. The cost of developing a business app can start from $35,000 or more. Business apps often require complex features and integrations with other systems.
Lifestyle apps are typically less expensive to develop than gaming or business apps. The cost of developing a lifestyle app could start from $30,000 or more. Lifestyle apps often have simpler features and designs.
- Cash App
Utility apps are the least expensive type of iOS app to develop. The cost of developing a utility app could start from $15,000 or more. This is because utility apps typically have the simplest features and designs.
- QR Code Reader
It is important to note that these are just general estimates. The actual cost of developing an iOS app will vary depending on the specific features and complexity of the app.
Third-party integrations can add value to your iOS app by providing users with access to a wider range of features and services. However, third-party integrations can also add to the cost of developing and maintaining your app.
The cost of integrating a third-party service into your iOS app will vary depending on the complexity of the integration and the terms of service of the third-party service. Some third-party services charge a fee for their services, while others offer free or freemium plans.
iOS apps are typically more expensive to develop than Android apps. This is because there are fewer iOS developers available, and the iOS development platform is more complex.
Additionally, Apple has more stringent requirements for apps that are submitted to the App Store. This can make it more time-consuming and expensive to develop an iOS app that meets Apple’s standards.
However, there are a few things you can do to reduce the cost of developing an iOS app:
Use a cross-platform development framework
The cost of developing an Android and iOS app on seperate platforms can cost more. Cross-platform development frameworks allow you to develop an app for multiple platforms, including iOS and Android, using a single codebase. This can save you time and money on development.
Use pre-built libraries and frameworks
There are many pre-built libraries and frameworks available for iOS development. Using these can save you time and money on development.
Hire a team of experienced iOS developers
Experienced iOS developers will be able to develop your app more quickly and efficiently, which can save you money on development costs.
Development team and location
The development team and location can also affect the cost of developing an iOS app. Here is a brief overview of the different options and their associated costs:
The most expensive option, but gives you the most control over the development process.
Outsourcing to a development agency can be a good option if you are on a budget and need access to a large pool of experienced developers.
The most affordable option, but you may need to hire multiple freelancers for different aspects of your project.
$150,000 – $500,000+
$100,000 – $400,000+
$100 – $250+ per hour
$100,000 – $400,000+
$75,000 – $300,000+
$50 – $150+ per hour
$100,000 – $350,000+
$35,000 – $150,000+
$30 – $100+ per hour
$40,000 – $150,000+
$10,000 – $50,000+
$20 – $60+ per hour
Testing and Quality Assurance
Testing and quality assurance (QA) is another important factor that can affect the cost of developing an iOS app. Thorough testing is essential to ensure that the app is bug-free and performs well on all devices and operating systems.
There are two main types of testing: manual testing and automated testing. Manual testing is performed by hand, while automated testing is performed using software tools.
Manual testing is typically more expensive than automated testing, but it is also more effective at finding certain types of bugs.
Automated testing can be used to quickly test large numbers of cases, but it may not be able to find all of the bugs in an app.
Maintenance and Updates
Maintenance and updates are also important factors to consider when budgeting for the cost of developing and launching an iOS app.
Maintenance refers to the ongoing process of fixing bugs and improving the performance of an app. It is important to keep your app up-to-date with the latest iOS versions and security patches.
Maintenance can also involve adding new features and improving the user experience.
Updates refer to new versions of your app that add new features or improve the user experience. Updates are important for keeping your app users engaged and for staying ahead of the competition.
The cost of maintenance and updates can vary depending on the complexity of the app and the frequency of updates.
For example, a complex app with frequent updates will require more maintenance and updates than a simple app with less frequent updates.
iOS App Development Cost Breakdown
iOS app development can be a complex and costly process, but it’s also an investment that can pay off handsomely if done right. Understanding the various factors that contribute to the cost of developing an iOS app can help you plan your budget effectively and make informed decisions.
Before you start building, it’s essential to conduct thorough market research to understand your target audience, competitors, and market trends. Research costs vary depending on the scope and tools used.
Concept and planning
A clear concept and detailed project plan are essential. This phase includes brainstorming sessions, concept validation, and project planning.
Wireframing and prototyping
Wireframes and prototypes allow you to visualize the app’s structure and functionality before development begins. This cost-effective approach helps refine your app’s design and functionality.
A user-friendly and visually appealing design is vital for your iOS app’s success. Design costs include creating user interfaces (UI) and user experiences (UX) that enhance engagement and usability.
Graphics and multimedia
Depending on your app’s nature, you may need graphics, images, or multimedia elements. These add to design costs and can vary in complexity.
Once you have a solid plan in place, it’s time to start building your app. This is where the bulk of your costs will come in, as it requires the expertise and time of experienced iOS developers.
The cost of development will vary depending on a number of factors, including:
- The complexity of your app’s features and functionality.
- The number of screens and user flows in your app.
- The need to integrate with third-party APIs or services.
- The hourly rate of your developers.
App deployment fees
To submit your app to the App Store, you’ll need to pay a developer account fee and an app submission fee.
Marketing and promotion
To get your app noticed by potential users, you may want to invest in marketing and promotion. This could include advertising, social media campaigns, and app store optimization (ASO).
If you’re developing an app that deals with sensitive data or requires compliance with data privacy regulations, you may need to consult with an attorney.
If you plan to release your app in multiple languages and regions, you’ll need to localize the app’s text and images.
It’s always a good idea to have a contingency fund set aside to cover unexpected expenses or scope changes during the development process. Typically, this is around 10-20% of your total budget.
In-House vs. Outsourced vs. Freelance: iOS App Development Team Options
When it comes to creating your iOS app, one of the crucial decisions you’ll face is how to assemble your development team. The choice you make can significantly impact the overall cost and success of your project.
Let’s explore the different options for building your iOS app development team:
In-House Development Team
Factors to Consider When Hiring
Regardless of the option you choose, here are some key factors to consider when hiring an iOS app development team:
Skills and Expertise
Make sure the team has the skills and experience to build the app you envision. A team that is excited about your project is more likely to go the extra mile to deliver a high-quality product.
Portfolio and References
Take a close look at the team’s portfolio to see the quality of their work. This can give you valuable insights into their work ethic, communication skills, and ability to meet deadlines.
Look for a team that is willing to work with you to understand your vision and translate it into a successful app. A good team will be proactive in asking questions and getting your feedback throughout the development process.
Compare the cost structure of each option to align with your budget. Many teams are willing to work with you to find a pricing solution that fits your budget.
Look for a team that is transparent and accountable. A good team will be proactive in communicating with you about any changes to the timeline or budget.
Strategies to Reduce iOS App Development Costs
While investing in iOS app development can yield significant returns, it’s natural to seek ways to optimize your expenses. Here are some strategies to help you reduce iOS app development cost in 2023 without compromising on quality:
Prioritizing essential features ensures cost-effective development. Focus on core functionalities first, gradually adding extras as the project evolves, saving both time and resources.
Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
Start with a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) that includes only the essential features required for your app to function and provide value to users. You can always add more features later based on user feedback and budget availability.
Carefully plan and prioritize features to ensure that you’re building what matters most to your users.
Efficient Project Management
Streamline workflows, set clear goals, and maintain effective communication. Agile methodologies like Scrum or Kanban enhance efficiency, reducing overall development costs.
Adopt an agile development approach, which emphasizes flexibility and continuous improvement. This can help you make timely adjustments and prevent costly rework.
Ensure clear and consistent communication among team members to avoid misunderstandings that can lead to costly delays.
Reuse Existing Code and Libraries
Leverage open-source libraries and existing code whenever possible. This minimizes redundant development efforts and accelerates project completion, ultimately saving money.
Leverage Open-Source Solutions
Utilize open-source libraries and frameworks to reduce development time and costs. This can also enhance the security and stability of your app.
Encourage developers to write reusable code components, which can save time in future development phases.
Continuous Testing and Quality Assurance
Consistent testing and quality checks identify issues early, reducing costly bug fixes in later stages. Prioritize quality from the beginning to avoid expensive post-launch problems.
Conduct thorough testing throughout the development process to identify and address issues early. This prevents costly fixes later on.
Invest in automated testing tools and scripts to streamline testing processes and reduce manual efforts.
Optimize Design and User Interface (UI/UX)
Efficient UI/UX design eliminates unnecessary complexity, enhancing user satisfaction and minimizing redesign costs. Invest in thoughtful design upfront to save on costly revisions down the road.
Simplify UI Elements
Streamline the user interface by minimizing unnecessary elements and features. A clean design not only saves development time but also enhances user experience.
Involve users in the design process to gather feedback and make improvements early, reducing the need for design revisions later.
Consider Hybrid or Cross-Platform Development
Explore cross-platform development frameworks like Flutter or React Native, which allow you to write code that runs on both iOS and Android platforms. This can reduce development time and costs.
Offshore or Nearshore Development
Consider outsourcing development to offshore or nearshore teams in regions where labour costs are lower. Ensure that you maintain clear communication and project management.
Budget for Maintenance and Updates
Allocate a portion of your budget for post-launch maintenance and updates. Regularly updating your app can prevent major issues and security vulnerabilities down the road.
The cost of developing an iOS app can vary widely. Factors like complexity, design, and development team choice play a significant role. A company with its expertise guides you through the diverse factors that influence costs like Digimonk Solutions.
By prioritizing features, efficient project management, and considering cost-effective options, you can bring your iOS app idea to life without breaking the bank.