Mobile app development cost breakdown - how much does it cost to make a mobile app?

    Introduction: Why is it so hard to determine the cost of a mobile app?

    In many enterprises, there is a desire to create a mobile app. One of the first questions that arise is "how much does it cost?". The problem is that the answer to this problematic question always is "it depends". In the case of a process as complicated as mobile app development, the defined cost of development will always vary depending on the complexity of the project. Therefore, in this article, I try to discuss all aspects of the app development process and their impact on its cost.

    For those looking for a short and not entirely detailed answer. I can present the average cost of creating a mobile app in the USA. The average cost of mobile app projects reviewed on the reputable platform in 2024 ranges between $10,000 and $49,000, with an average hourly rate of $25-$49.

    There are many factors that influence the cost of developing a mobile app. Starting from the choice of the target platform such as Android or iOS, ending with the costs of maintenance and development of the app after its launch. Therefore, now I will try to explain how these factors influence the final cost of developing a mobile app.

    What factors affect the cost of a mobile app?

    How does complexity and the number of functionalities affect the cost of a mobile app?

    The first and most important determinant of the price of a mobile app is the purpose of its creation. Are we creating a mobile app for an online store allowing shopping by phone, or maybe our goal is to create an app enabling the creation of virtual construction projects using AR technology?

    At the start, it may seem obvious which of the apps will be more expensive – the one using AR, of course. And here lies the whole problem of this topic, because not necessarily! Whether the app should support multiple platforms like iOS and Android, or maybe it should only support one of these operating systems can completely change the estimate. The complexity of the functionalities of an online store will also play an important role in determining the price of the app. Suppose, for example, that we are selling glasses and we want to create the possibility of virtually trying on glasses. Suddenly, it turns out that our "simple" online store app also uses AR technology, and the estimate may turn out to be larger than it looks at first glance.

    It may seem that the assumption "more functionalities = higher price" is relatively safe, but it is not entirely true, as some functionalities, depending on the type of technology in which we create the apps. May cost X or Y. Some solutions that we have to create from scratch in Swift. In technology such as Flutter, may be available off the shelf, in one of the many available libraries.

    Some more complicated functionalities may be harder to code than ten other less complicated ones taken together, which is why determining the cost of mobile apps is so complicated and the only solution is to show an approximate range of prices for types of apps. Based on the costs of creating previous apps of this type. Such as a taxi app (e.g., Uber) or a mobile app of a movie streaming platform (e.g., Netflix).

    How does the type of app affect the cost of a mobile app?

    The type of app is not the same as the type of app. By the type of app, we define whether a given app is created in native technology, hybrid, or maybe in the form of a PWA.

    What's the difference? In very short, native technology means an app that only works on one operating system, e.g., iOS. This solution is characterized by better utilization of the device's potential and in cases of very demanding apps, using advanced functionalities of the device, in which we care about the best optimization. This solution will do its job best. The main disadvantage of this solution is that such an app is dedicated to one operating system. This means as much as if we want to create apps on iOS and Android using native technologies we have to actually create two separate apps. Which automatically increases costs even twice, therefore the basic question worth asking oneself is “Do I need a native mobile app?”.

    If answering this question is difficult for you, maybe it's worth considering a hybrid app. Hybrid apps use technologies such as Flutter or React Native, thanks to which the code written in this technology works on both platforms at the same time. Apps written in Flutter may slightly lag in optimization and operating speed from native solutions. It's not a huge difference but in advanced apps e.g., Healthcare it can play a huge role.

    Similarly, writing some advanced functionalities of a hybrid app may be more difficult than in native technology. However, it is not impossible, although it must be taken into account when planning the app. If you want to learn more about these technologies, we have created an article in which we compare both of these technologies titled "Cross-platform and native apps – what's the difference and which solution to choose?".

    Another type of app worth considering are PWAs (Progressive Web Apps). PWAs are not classic mobile apps, but rather advanced web apps. PWAs combine features of websites and mobile apps. A major feature of PWAs is the ability to work offline, thanks to Service Workers. However, PWAs won't find their place in the App Store or Google Play Store. The only way to download them is to install directly from a website. Installing a PWA is very simple – we can create an interactive pop-up to add the app to the home screen.

    Example of a pop-up from a PWA in one of the apps we created Warsaw Players.


    PWAs look and behave exactly like mobile apps. However, the use of some advanced device functions may be problematic, costly, or impossible in this technology.

    If you want to compare PWAs with hybrid apps, read our article titled "PWA vs Cross-platform Apps - when and why to create a PWA?"

    Is creating an app for Android cheaper than for iOS?

    In short? - It depends.

    The average global cost of iOS app development is about $28,000, while for Android it's about $23,000. It might seem that the average development on Android could be slightly cheaper than on iOS. But it depends on many factors, including the complexity and specific requirements of the app. Android has a larger global market share of mobile devices, moreover, a huge number of Android apps are relatively simple apps, which may be why the average costs of creating such apps are lower. Everything depends on the functionality in a given app, not on the operating system itself. Why is that?


    According to again, the hourly rates of iOS, Android, and hybrid app developers are identical, ranging from $25 to $49, which shows us that the operating system for which we create apps does not play a role in the size of its price. The biggest factor determining its size is the functionalities we want to include in them.

    Native Apps – why their combined cost might be higher than hybrid solutions.

    As we wrote above, native apps are characterized by the fact that they work on only one operating system, where their hybrid counterparts do not have this limitation.

    Native technologies are dedicated to operating systems Swift – iOS, or Kotlin on Android, where technologies such as React Native or Flutter allow creating apps on both of these systems with minor changes in the code.

    This means that if we want to create apps working on both systems using native solutions, we have to create two separate apps. Thus, the development costs are doubled. In such cases, the development team plays a big role. Very often, specialists from iOS do not create Android apps and vice versa. Which can cause additional difficulties and further hidden costs – you need to hire two separate teams.

    Another issue worth taking into account is the consistency of design in apps. System differences between iOS and Android, in native solutions can make it difficult to maintain a consistent design and add additional work for designers, where in hybrid apps maintaining consistency is a bit easier.

    Hybrid Apps

    In hybrid apps created in technologies such as Flutter or React Native, app development is so much simpler that automatically without a lot of additional work, our app works on several operating systems. As I mentioned earlier, the hourly rates of hybrid developers are the same as those of native developers, therefore the costs of such an app will definitely be lower.

    The main sore point, and at the same time the biggest advantage of hybrid apps, is that it is a "one size fits all" solution, therefore, apps in this solution may slightly differ from their native solutions, and dedicated solutions in many sensitive industries such as Healthcare are recommended to be created in native solutions. Even due to the huge amount of regulations that these apps must meet. The requirements in such sectors are much higher and in such cases, the best-in-class solution will be needed, exactly what native apps are.

    Costs of PWA apps, compared to native and hybrid solutions.

    The costs of PWA apps, compared to native and hybrid solutions, differ significantly, mainly due to the specifics of each of these approaches. PWA (Progressive Web Apps) are advanced web apps that offer functionalities similar to mobile apps, such as offline operation, thanks to the use of Service Worker.

    One of the main advantages of PWAs is the ability to create one app that works across all platforms (including web), which fundamentally lowers production and maintenance costs compared to native solutions, where separate apps need to be created for each operating system (iOS, Android), effectively doubling the costs.

    Hybrid solutions, utilizing tools like Flutter or React Native, also allow for the creation of apps that run on multiple platforms from a single source code, which can be more cost-effective than a native approach, but usually comes with higher costs than PWAs due to a more complex app development and testing process. PWAs may not offer the full range of advanced functionalities available in native solutions, which can be a limitation in certain specific use cases, but they offer a fast and less expensive path to launching a functional app on the market. PWAs are particularly attractive for businesses looking for simplicity, lower initial costs, and faster time to market, while still maintaining key mobile app functionalities.

    Comparison of the disadvantages and advantages of each solution.

    When comparing the disadvantages and advantages of PWAs, native, and hybrid apps, it's important to consider several key aspects of each of these solutions:

    Native Apps


    • Optimal utilization of device capabilities, including speed and responsiveness.
    • Access to the full range of device functions, such as camera, GPS, accelerometer.
    • Better optimization for a specific operating system, which translates into higher quality and stability of the app.


    • Higher development and maintenance costs when the app needs to be available on different platforms.
    • Longer production time, as separate apps need to be created for each operating system.
    • The need to have separate teams of developers specializing in a specific platform.

    It's worth noting that if we want to create a native app for one operating system, these disadvantages are not as perceptible, and the costs may be lower than for hybrid apps.

    Hybrid Apps


    • One source code for all platforms, which lowers costs and shortens production time.
    • Faster time to market thanks to simultaneous development of the app for different platforms.
    • Easier update and maintenance of the app.


    • Limitations in accessing some device functions and potentially lower performance compared to native apps.
    • The need for design compromises to ensure the app works properly on different devices.
    • Possible issues with performance and fluidity, especially in graphically advanced apps.

    PWA (Progressive Web Apps)


    • Low production and maintenance costs, as PWAs are essentially websites.
    • Easy installation and no need to place the app in app stores.
    • The ability to operate offline thanks to the use of Service Worker.


    • Limited access to device functions compared to native apps.
    • Possible performance and responsiveness issues on some devices.
    • Lack of the possibility to place the app in the App Store or Google Play Store.

    Each of these solutions has its place in the mobile market, and the choice of the best one depends on business goals, target audience, and project budget.

    Native apps offer the best user experience and performance, hybrid apps provide a compromise between costs and availability, and PWAs represent an economical option with a quick time to market for simpler applications.

    How does the industry/sector influence the price of an app, e.g., Healthcare?

    As mentioned earlier, some sectors like Healthcare may be subject to much greater government scrutiny, and thus apps for such industries need to meet many more requirements compared to a simple online store app.

    For example, let's look at the United States and their HIPAA law; in such cases, creating an app that may be subject to a particular law will cost a bit more. Why? Because for this, we need specialists experienced in creating such an app, both legally and in terms of certain coding standards. Not every Software House will undertake the creation of such an app, therefore it can be considered that the sector from which we come with a mobile app project may influence the development costs.

    Which platform to choose for creating a mobile app?

    The choice of the platform is entirely dependent on the target audience of the app, project specifications, budget, and the industry in which we create the app.

    If we know that the majority of our target users use iOS, creating a hybrid app might be an "overkill" and unnecessary cost increase. On the other hand, creating a simple app that doesn't need all the advanced device functions in a native solution may also turn out to be an exaggeration.

    Therefore, when there is a desire to create a mobile app, it is worth consulting with a Software House, which will properly examine the business goals of this venture and, based on experience, data, success stories, and case studies, suggest an appropriate solution. In such cases, it is worth analyzing our idea "from board to board" to see if a different technological solution would not meet our requirements while being much cheaper.

    User Research and its Impact on App Development Cost

    We mentioned the target group as one of the main determinants of the price of our app. Therefore, as one might guess, conducting user research is a crucial aspect before we even start creating the first prototypes. How do such studies proceed?

    Here, the answer again is "it depends." The designer adapts the research method per project, but there are several main methods worth mentioning.

    The three ways to conduct research are as follows: interview, survey, and analysis of competitors' reports.

    If you want to learn exactly how to conduct such research, read one of our articles on User Research. The first, most broadly discussing the topic, will be the article titled "How to check the idea for a start-up? Basics of user research", and if you want to delve deeper into research techniques, you can also read the article titled "Basics of User Research – Discover Explore Test Listen (DETL)".

    How the lack of user research can affect the costs of an app?

    Not conducting user research is the first step to getting into endless costs. Very often, founders, wanting to save on additional initial costs, want to skip the stage of user research and rely only on their intuition and experiences. This is nothing but pure gambling, where the success of the app depends on our luck.

    If we do not conduct research, we may create an app that completely misses the mark with users, and even if it is functional, it may not appeal to the target users, causing them to flee from the app.

    It may happen that we create a native app for the Android platform, only to find out that most of our customers use iOS. The result? Writing the app anew in the other native technology, or rewriting it in a hybrid technology, either way, we incur additional costs.

    Additionally, apps created without user research often have many fundamental flaws, and fixing them later can be very costly. In such cases, the best solution, in many instances, is to rewrite the entire app from scratch, which can be a significant financial blow to the company.

    The Impact of User Experience (UX) on the Success of an App

    User Experience plays a massive role in the success of an app, and that’s why having a UX Designer on the team is crucial. Why? How does it affect the costs and success of an app?

    Firstly, if an app is poorly designed, it will repel users and cause them to leave, which translates into lower revenues from the app, among other things.

    Secondly, not having a designer on board carries many long-term costs. If we don't have proper prototypes in tools like Figma, developers working on the app do not have a basis to model their coding on. This brings about many negatives, the more obvious ones and the less so.

    Among the more obvious ones is the extension of the developer's working time, which translates into higher costs. One of the less obvious ones is the difficulty in making changes in the future. Imagine a simple change scenario, where we want to change the position/layout of buttons in our app. A designer in Figma will implement these changes in a few minutes, and a developer, having the prototype in front of their eyes, can add these changes in a short time.

    If we asked a developer to perform this task blindly, instead of a few hours, we might be dealing with a timeframe of a week or two – seriously.

    Additionally, even if we managed to create such an app without a designer, introducing changes in the future becomes problematic. Generally, the code in such projects is of low quality, and adding new functionalities later might prove troublesome, and the only solution might be to rewrite the app from scratch.

    Outsourcing, In-house Team, or Freelancers?

    When choosing a contractor for a mobile app, there are essentially three options.


    Outsourcing development involves commissioning the creation of a specific app to a ready-made team, which takes care of the entire app creation process. Such a team consists of a Project Manager (1 for each project), Designer(s), Developer(s) (depending on the complexity of the project), Tester, Business Analyst (helping to discover truly needed functionalities for users, so the app doesn't become a bottomless money pit).

    Outsourcing development to an external team, e.g., from a Software House, is one of the more popular methods of creating apps. And not without reason. Teams from Software Houses usually have qualified and experienced staff. They guide you through the entire development process, from user research to the app's release and its subsequent maintenance.

    This is an affordable solution, and if we do not plan to create huge projects that require 24/7 care from a whole team of specialists, it will suffice and is definitely a cheaper option than hiring your own team.

    In-house Team

    If you have a developer team in your company – great! However, most companies wanting to create their own app do not have such a team, rightly so.

    Recruiting and maintaining a team of specialists with the right experience and skills is costly and time-consuming. Moreover, the sensibility of maintaining a full-fledged developer team if we want to create an app one-time doesn't make much sense, as for later maintenance and servicing of the app, a few dozen working hours per month are entirely sufficient. In such a case, it's much better to simply outsource such maintenance to an external team from a Software House – it will be cheaper.


    Development and creation of mobile apps is a team game, requiring vast competences in completely different fields, from design, through development, to testing and app maintenance. In this process, we encounter huge amounts of work, which a Freelancer will not be able to perform as well as a specialist in a given field.

    Building a team from freelancers doesn't make much sense and will probably cause a lot of stress, wasted time, and money.

    Freelancers have their place in app development, but for building full-fledged projects, using such services is not recommended. Temptingly low costs very often go hand in hand with much lower project quality. Not to belittle freelancers' skills – creating apps is just a very complicated process, in which many different fields are combined. To do it well, it has to be a team effort.


    The cost of creating a mobile app depends on many factors such as:

    • Choice of operating platform, cross-platform or native
    • Number and complexity of functionalities
    • Experience of the team
    • User research
    • Maintenance of the app after its release
    • App security and maintenance
    • Type of team employment

    Reducing these costs is possible but depends on the project specifications. A good solution, which does not reduce costs immediately but can protect us from future expenses, is to create an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) of the app, conduct valuable user research, and then develop the app based on data, not blindly.


    Is developing a mobile app for both platforms (iOS and Android) simultaneously more expensive?

    Developing a mobile app simultaneously for iOS and Android platforms can increase the project costs, but it doesn't always mean doubling the budget. Much depends on the approach to design and implementation. Native development for each platform separately ensures the best fit to the specifications and capabilities of the given operating system but requires more time and resources since each app is built from scratch. Alternatively, using cross-platform app development tools (e.g., React Native, Flutter) allows for sharing a significant portion of the code between platforms, which can lower costs and shorten the necessary development time. However, it's important to remember that cross-platform apps may not always offer the same smooth and tailored user experience as native apps.

    How does the choice of platform affect the costs of mobile app development?

    The choice of platform (iOS, Android, or both) significantly impacts the costs of mobile app development. Native apps for iOS and Android are created using different programming languages and tools, meaning that development for each of these platforms is conducted independently, which can increase costs and the time required for deployment. iOS is often seen as a more homogeneous environment with fewer devices to test the app on, which may slightly reduce costs compared to Android, where device fragmentation is greater. On the other hand, cross-platform apps allow for simultaneous development for both systems from a single source code, which can lower costs and reduce development time, though this approach may affect the final quality and performance of the app.

    How much does it cost to create a simple mobile app?

    The cost of creating a simple mobile app can vary widely based on many factors, such as the choice of platform, the location and experience of the development team, and detailed project requirements. Generally, we're looking at a price range from a few thousand to several tens of thousands of dollars. Simple apps that do not require advanced features, such as integration with external APIs, custom animations, or complex user logic, will cost less. It's important to keep in mind that even a "simple" app requires design, testing, and maintenance, which also influences the costs.

    What are the main factors influencing the cost of creating a mobile app?

    The cost of creating a mobile app is influenced by many factors, including:

    • Complexity and functionality: The more features and more complex the app logic, the higher the costs.
    • Target platforms: Native development for iOS and Android separately can be more expensive than using cross-platform solutions.
    • UI/UX design: Custom, refined design of the interface and user experience is time-consuming and increases costs.
    • Experience of the team: The more experienced the team, the higher the potential cost, though this often correlates with quality and efficiency.
    • User research: Conducting thorough user research before development can help tailor the app to user needs, potentially saving costs in the long run by avoiding unnecessary features or redesigns.
    • App maintenance after launch: Ongoing support, updates, and maintenance add to the total cost of ownership of the app.
    • Security and maintenance: Ensuring the app is secure and well-maintained over time requires ongoing effort and expense.
    • Mode of team engagement: Costs can vary significantly depending on whether you're outsourcing, using an in-house team, or hiring freelancers.
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