How much does it cost to make an app? 2024 app development cost breakdown

cost of app development
Forget hailing a cab – these days, apps are everywhere, from booking a table to getting a ride. The app market is growing fast, but the rules for app stores keep changing. This article will explain exactly how much it costs to build an app in 2024, considering things like adding artificial intelligence and app store fees.


  • What’s new with app development in 2024?
  • What are the key platforms for app development in 2024?
  • How much time does it take to make an app?
  • Detailed app development cost breakdown
  • How much does it cost to make an app like…
  • Cost of app development around the world
  • FAQ

Whether you’re a business owner starting out with apps or a pro, this breakdown will give you the knowledge you need to understand the exciting world of app development.

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What’s new with app development in 2024?

App development has changed in the last five years, and here’s how. 

  • Foldable phones are a growing market. In 2021, their value was $17.6 billion. By 2031, that number is expected to jump to $174 billion, growing at a fast pace of 26% each year. App development has to adapt to foldable phone screens.
  • AI and ML: AI and ML are being incorporated into apps for tasks like personalization, chatbots, image/voice recognition, and creating smarter app experiences.
  • Blockchain technology is enabling secure and transparent data management for apps, leading to a rise in decentralized apps that operate independently of a central authority.
  • Data privacy regulations and user concerns are driving a focus on secure app development practices and transparent data collection.
  • Low-code/no-code app builders are making app development more accessible, allowing the creation of simple apps without extensive coding experience.
  • There’s a growing focus on developing eco-friendly apps that minimize resource usage and promote responsible practices.
  • Developing apps that run seamlessly across both iOS and Android is crucial to reach a wider audience.
  • Intuitive and engaging interfaces are essential for user retention and positive app reviews.
  • Apps are being designed to work with smartwatches, fitness trackers, and other wearables, expanding functionality and user reach.

But that’s not it. In April 2024, there is another thing that has just been unveiled, and it considers EU DMA and Apple’s response. Here’s a bit more.  

Apple is being forced by the EU to allow alternative app stores and payments on iPhones in Europe. This could mean lower prices for consumers, but Apple warns of potential security risks. Critics like Spotify and Epic Games argue Apple’s compliance is insufficient and its fees for alternative stores are too high, potentially stifling competition. EU regulators are still evaluating Apple’s changes and may require further adjustments. The outcome will determine if competition outweighs the potential security concerns.

Moreover, new Apple fees might be a constraint for new apps joining the market. 

What are the key platforms for app development in 2024?

The key platforms for making an app can be broken down into two main categories: native and cross-platform development platforms.

Native development platformsCross-platform development platforms
What’s that?Used to build apps specifically for one operating system. They offer the best performance and access to all the features of that particular OS.Allow you to build an app once and then deploy it to both iOS and Android with minimal changes. may not offer the same level of performance or access to all features as native apps
Key technologiesXcode (iOS): Apple's official IDE for building iOS apps. It uses the Swift programming language.

Android Studio (Android): Google's official IDE for building Android apps. It primarily uses Java or Kotlin programming languages.
Flutter (Google): Uses the Dart programming language and offers good performance and a rich set of widgets for building visually appealing apps.

React Native (Facebook): Uses JavaScript and allows developers to leverage their existing web development skills.

Xamarin (Microsoft): Uses C# for development and integrates well with other Microsoft tools.

native v cross-platform technologies

If your app doesn’t require a lot of device functionality, you might consider building a web app instead. This can be accessed from any device with a web browser and doesn’t require users to download anything.

There are also low-code/no-code platforms that offer drag-and-drop interfaces and pre-built components that allow users with little to no coding experience to create basic apps. They can be a good option for simple prototypes or internal use cases. Let’s have a closer look at this option

App builders and constructors for low-cost mobile app development

App constructors are also sometimes called no-code app builders or low-code app development platforms. They allow you to create apps without needing to write complex code yourself. The benefits? They provide faster development, they are easier to use, and they are very cost-effective.

low-cost app development

However, there are certain things to keep in mind with app constructors. First, they have limitations. Constructors may not offer the same level of customization or control as native app development. Second is pricing. While some offer free plans, advanced features often come with subscription fees. Third, app store approval is still required. Your app might still need to go through the app store approval process.

How much time does it take to make an app?

Here’s a breakdown of approximate timeframes for building an app using different methods.

how long to make an app

What about in-house development? Here, timeframes can vary depending on your team size and experience, project complexity, and development methodology (Agile approaches often lead to faster iterations and shorter development cycles). Here’s how much time you might need depending on your team size: 

Small team (2-3 developers). Add 20-50% to the traditional platform timeframes mentioned above.

Medium team (4-6 developers). Timeframes are closer to traditional platform estimates, with the potential for faster iteration due to increased collaboration.

Large team (10+ developers). May even be slightly quicker than traditional platform estimates due to greater expertise and division of labor.

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Detailed app development cost breakdown

Developing an app can be exciting, but the price tag can be a mystery. Let’s try to shed some light on the costs involved. 

Breakdown by app types

First of all, it all depends on your app’s complexity, as it directly impacts the development time and resources needed. Here’s a breakdown for different app types.

TypeSimple appMedium complexity appComplex app
ExampleA basic to-do list or calculatorSocial media or e-commerce appA game with high-end graphics or a finance app with real-time data
Cost$10,000 - $40,000$60,000 - $150,000$150,000+
(can reach millions for highly advanced apps)
BreakdownThese apps typically have limited features and functionalities.

Development might involve basic user interfaces, data storage, and minimal integrations with external services.
These apps offer more features and functionalities.

Think user profiles, in-app purchases, social media feeds, or basic content management systems. Development involves more complex interfaces, databases, security measures, and potentially some integrations with third-party services.
These apps push the boundaries of functionality and user experience.

Think real-time features, complex animations, intricate user interfaces, robust security systems, and extensive integrations with external services. Development requires highly skilled developers and potentially specialized tools.

Breakdown by development approach

Another factor that will greatly affect your price is the development approach you choose. 

TypeApp constructorsTraditional platforms
TechnologiesLow-code/No-codeNative development – Xcode, Android Studio
CostTypically more affordable with subscription plans ranging from $0 - $500+ per month.Generally more expensive due to developer expertise required. Hourly rates can vary depending on location and experience, but typically range from $50 - $250+ per hour.
BreakdownThese platforms offer pre-built components and drag-and-drop interfaces, making them easier to use, especially for beginners. However, they might require additional fees for specific features or custom development exceeding the limits of the platform.This approach offers full control and access to all features of the chosen platform (iOS or Android). It requires experienced developers who can write code specific to that platform, leading to a higher overall cost.

And again, it’s a bit trickier with an in-house team. Here, your costs will include developer salaries, benefits, project management, and tools. This can be expensive but offers maximum control over the development process. 

In other words, building an in-house team requires hiring developers, designers, and project managers. This offers the most control over the development process but comes with the highest upfront cost.

Additional cost considerations

Your app cost is not just its development, though. There are some additional expenses to keep in mind. How much does it cost to run an app?

  • App store fees. Both Apple App Store and Google Play Store charge fees for submitting apps (usually a one-time fee of $99 or $25 per year).
  • UI/UX design. A well-designed interface is crucial. Costs can range from $3,000 – $30,000+ depending on the project’s complexity.
  • Server costs. If your app requires back-end infrastructure, you’ll need to factor in server hosting and maintenance fees. These can start from $50 to $1,000 per month, depending on how much data your app stores and how many users you have. Apps with high user traffic or large amounts of data will have higher server costs.
  • App maintenance. This can range from $2,000 to $25,000 per month, depending on the app’s complexity and the frequency of updates. Simpler apps with less frequent updates will cost less to maintain.
  • Third-party services. If your app uses subscriptions to other services (like maps or payment processing), these will add to the monthly cost.
  • Marketing and user acquisition. Efforts to keep users engaged with your app can be considered running costs.

Adding these together, a basic app might cost $2,000 to $25,000 per month to run. However, this is a rough estimate. More complex apps with features like social media integration or real-time data will have higher costs.

How much does it cost to make an app like…

Let’s have a couple of examples. Understanding costs might be easier that way.

How much does it cost to make an app like the Apple Watch?

how much does it cost to make an app like Apple Watch

Even though Apple keeps its R&D spending confidential, we can make some assumptions based on industry knowledge and what we know about the Apple Watch’s features.

Estimated timeframe. The Apple Watch was first announced in September 2014 and launched in April 2015. This suggests a development timeframe of roughly 18-24 months. This timeframe would encompass various stages, including conceptualization and design, hardware prototyping and testing, software development (watchOS), integration with iPhone and health apps, and manufacturing process development.

What about costs? Again, we don’t have exact figures. These are just our speculation.

  • R&D. This could easily be in the hundreds of millions, potentially even exceeding $1 billion. It would cover hardware innovations like the digital crown and sensor technology, software development for watchOS, health app integration, and user interface design.
  • Hardware prototyping and testing. This includes creating physical prototypes of the watch, testing various components and materials, and making adjustments before mass production. Costs could range from $10 million to $50 million.
  • Software development (watchOS). Developing the watchOS involves building functionalities specific to the watch’s hardware and user experience. This could cost $50 million to $100 million.
  • Manufacturing process development. Setting up efficient and high-quality production lines for the watch likely cost tens of millions of dollars.

What’s in total? The total development cost of the Apple Watch could be anywhere from $500 million to over $2 billion.

How much does it cost to make an app like Uber?

 how much does it cost to make an app like Uber Let’s continue with something simpler. While Uber’s exact development cost figures remain undisclosed, we can explore potential breakdowns based on industry knowledge and the app’s features.

Development timeline. Uber launched in 2010, but development likely began earlier. Considering the complexity, a timeframe of 3-5 years is plausible. During this time, the company would 

  • develop the core idea of a mobile app connecting riders and drivers, 
  • build the server infrastructure to handle user data, location services, and payment processing,
  • create user-friendly interfaces for both riders and drivers,
  • implementing mapping and navigation features for efficient route planning, and 
  • build a secure in-app payment system for transactions.

Cost breakdown.

  • R&D likely involved significant investment in conceptualizing the business model, developing location-based services (such as algorithms for finding nearby drivers), integrating secure payment options within the app, and designing the UI/UX. R&D costs could easily reach $50 million to $100 million.
  • Mobile app development. Building separate apps for iOS and Android requires specialized developers. Costs could range from $100,000 to $500,000 per platform.
  • Backend development. The server infrastructure is crucial for handling user data, transactions, and real-time communication. This could cost $50 million to $100 million.
  • Mapping and navigation integration. Integrating mapping services like Google Maps or Apple Maps likely involves licensing fees and ongoing costs. The initial integration might cost $10 million to $20 million.
  • Payment system integration. Partnering with payment processors like Stripe or PayPal would incur fees, with initial integration potentially costing $5 million to $10 million.

What’s in total? Summing up these estimates, the total development cost for Uber could be anywhere from $215 million to $380 million.

How much does it cost to make an app for your business?

Let’s assume you need an e-commerce app. It is considered an app with a medium-level complexity. How much will it cost you? 

These are evaluations for a simple app offering basic functionalities like product browsing, shopping cart, checkout with secure payment processing, and limited user account features (e.g., order history, wishlist).

How long? 

Developing a basic e-commerce app might take 3-6 months. This timeframe can vary depending on the chosen development approach and features included.

Cost breakdown

The cost will depend on the approach you choose. We will focus on two common options: app constructors and traditional development for custom app development. 

Creating an app with a low-code/ no-code app constructor will cost you $10,000 – $30,000+, depending on features and chosen platform. We assume you’re using a reputable app builder with a pre-built e-commerce template and basic customization options. You might need to pay additional fees for features exceeding the platform’s free tier or requiring custom development.

Traditional development on Xcode or Android Studio will cost $50,000 to $100,000+, depending on developer rates and project complexity. The price includes hiring freelance or agency developers with experience in e-commerce app development. The cost will vary based on developer location and hourly rates.

Yet again, there are always additional costs. Be sure to budget $3,000 – $10,000 for a basic design and $500 – $2,000 for server costs.

What’s in total?

  • Using an app constructor: $14,000 – $32,300+ (including app builder fees, design, and app store fees)
  • Using traditional development: $59,000 – $107,300+ (including developer fees, design, server costs for one year, and app store fees)

Cost of app development around the world

The cost of app development can vary significantly depending on the country you choose for development. Let’s take the last example with an e-commerce app and see how much it will cost in different countries, assuming you use a traditional development approach.

cost of app development in Ukraine, Egypt, Ireland, South Africa, India

CountryHourly rateEstimated app cost
USA$100 to $200 per hour$80,000 - $160,000
Philippines$30 to $50 per hour$40,000 - $80,000
Egypt$25 to $40 per hour$30,000 - $60,000
Ukraine$30 to $70 per hour$40,000 - $105,000
Brazil$50 to $80 per hour$60,000 - $120,000
South Africa$50 to $70 per hour$60,000 - $105,000
India$20 to $50 per hour$25,000 - $75,000
Poland$40 to $60 per hour$50,000 - $90,000
Ireland$80 to $150 per hour$65,000 - $120,000

Additional costs like UI/UX design, server costs, and app store fees will remain similar across countries.

The best location for your development depends on your budget, desired skillset, and project needs. Here’s a quick recap:

  • Cost-effective development: Philippines, Egypt, and India offer the lowest development costs.
  • Balance between cost and experience: Ukraine and Poland offer a good mix of affordability and developer expertise.
  • Similar time zones and potentially shared language: Consider Ireland or the USA if these factors are important.


Of course, we haven’t covered everything in this article. Here are some additional thoughts you might like.

Is there a difference in cost between making an app for android and for iOS?

No, not really. There can be a slight difference in cost between developing an app for Android and iOS, but it’s not always a significant factor. Among potential reasons for cost differences are developer rates, as in some cases, developer hourly rates for iOS (Swift) programmers might be slightly higher than for Android (Java/Kotlin) developers. This is because there’s a larger pool of Android developers, potentially leading to more competition and lower average rates. However, this trend is not universal, and experienced developers in both domains can command high rates.

Should you trust app development cost calculators?

App development cost calculators are online tools that attempt to estimate the cost of developing your app based on the information you provide. While they can’t give a perfectly accurate quote, they can be a helpful starting point for understanding the potential cost range.

Cost calculators are quick, easy to use, and can give you a general idea of the development budget you might need. However, they can’t replace a detailed consultation with an experienced app developer. The estimates might not be fully accurate, and important factors like project complexity or unique features might not be fully captured.

How much does it cost to develop a website (USA and Ukraine)?

Making a website is usually cheaper than creating an app. Here’s a quick recap on how much websites of different complexity levels can cost you in countries like the USA and Ukraine. 

Simple website$500 - $3,000$200 - $1,500
Basic website$10,000 - $30,000$5,000 - $15,000
Average website$40,000 - $150,000$20,000 - $75,000
Complex websiteOver $150,000Over $75,000

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