How much does it cost to develop a real App?

In the article, The app-driven life: How smartphone apps are changing our lives, Gaylord (2013, para. 1) points out that ‘The world has adopted smart phones and tablets 10 times faster than it embraced personal computers in the 1980s, twice as fast as it logged into the Internet boom of the ’90s, and three times faster than it joined social networks in the new millennium, according to the app-tracking firm Flurry’. Nowadays, people take their smartphones with various Apps at all times. They enjoy everything such as touch screens, cameras, tilt sensors, compasses, location tracking, and bank connections of the Apps. There is no doubt that App has become a part of our lives. Take China as an example, today, a lot of Chinese people go shopping without wallets because of an App, Alipay, a third-party online payment platform. People can use it to pay a bill by letting store seller scan the QR code on their smartphones. Meanwhile, Alipay has a connection with banks, so people can use it to shift their money from the banks to the App.

Besides the payment, Apps have changed our way of learning, dating, reading, and playing as well. People are living in an App world. Therefore, learning to develop an App looks like an important thing which should be considered as the first thing for some businessmen. In my opinion, there are innumerable Apps in Apple store, but some them are unvalued.  So, what makes an App successful? According to two researchers from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University (Merrill 2015),  Offering the app for free, continuously updating it, simplifying the use, improving the interface design and developing the mobility can add the popularity of an App. On this level, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Messenger, YouTube and Whatsapp are all successful.

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So, here is the question, how much does it cost to build a real App like Instagram or Facebook?

First of all, we need to understand that Time also should be involved in our calculation because of time is money. Take Instagram an example. In the blog How Much Does it Cost to Develop an App like Instagram?  The author points out that there are several steps for developing Instagram’s App which include Setting up authorization (around 67 hours), Creating/editing profile (around 48 hours), Messages exchange (around 132 hours), Adjusting settings (around 96-128 hours), Uploading pictures and videos (around 76-320 hours), Customizing photos (around 68 hours), Linking with different social media (around 8 hours), Integrating geolocation (around 24 hours), Search (around 64 hours) and Extra costs (around 60 hours to make everything right). Thus, the entire process of developing Instagram will spend 643 hours ( 2016). After this, the cost of building the App is around $32K ( 2016), and it will increase depending on the specific situation.

Out of curiosity, I’ve decided to make an experiment. I found a Website which can help me calculate the cost of developing an App. 

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And then, I’ve started to design my App step by step as below:

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Finally, I’ve received an email which shows me how much I need to pay for this App.

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The cost is around $65k to $98k. That’s really a lot.

In conclusion, developing a REAL App is super expensive.

References List:

Codementor Blog 2017, How Much Does it Cost to Make An App in 2017? blog, viewed 2 May 2017, <>.

Cleveroad Blog 2016, How Much Does it Cost to Develop an App like Instagram? blog, viewed 2 May 2017, <>.

Gaylord, C 2013, ‘The app-driven life: How smartphone apps are changing our lives’, The Christian Science Monitor, 27 January, viewed 3 May 2017, ProQuest database.

Hornostaiev, M n.d, How to Develop a Chat App Like WhatsApp? blog, viewed 3 May 2017, <>.

Merrill, L 2015, ‘What makes an app successful?’, Arizona Republic, 22 February, p.2, viewed 3 May 2017, ProQuest database.



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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.


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