The cost of custom iOS development

Every once in a while, I get asked how much it would cost to make an iPhone app by someone with an idea but no experience in custom software development. The response is typically shock when they hear that even a pretty basic app can cost as much as a new car. Custom development on any platform can be very expensive. Most development that happens is for “in house” business software. In that environment, clients can adjust the cost by reducing the quality of design or ease of use. Software intended for end customers, particularly on the app store, can’t get away with that tradeoff. Both the customers and Apple demand a high level of polish, so the 80% solutions for 20% cost is not possible. In addition to the core functionality, there needs to be code written to deal with all the various corner cases. Art assets have to be created. User interface design work has to be done. Many other little details need to be taken care of. Here are a handful of resources that do an excellent job of estimating app development cost:

While it’s possible to find developers who will take on the job for significantly less than what the links estimate, don’t expect the kind of quality that makes for a successful app. It might not even be possible to get the app through the approval process to get into the store in the first place. I’ve found that the best way to reduce the risk of custom software development is to distill the idea down to it’s essence and build a very focused minimal app. This is also called the “Minimal Viable Product” (MVP) in Lean Startup parlance. Indeed, the first step may even be beginning a marketing campaign and collecting contact information before even starting development at all. If you want an iOS application developed and you haven’t been scared off by the cost to make it happen, drop me a line at and we can discuss your idea and if it’s a good idea to pursue it!

[1] EDIT Oct 9, 2015: Added link

Last modified on October 9, 2015. This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The cost of custom iOS development

  1. evgens says:

    nicen unden postenerun

  2. Nice read! You can also check our blog on app development cost that will give you better insight on app development cost estimation. Please check this out:

  3. ronald says:

    Nice read! Thanks for posting this type of article

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