Business Technology

A Quick Guide to Calculating Costs for iPhone App Development

If there is one skill that is critical for a successful mobile app development company to develop, it is the art of the budget. If such a development company cannot quantify both the development costs and the time investment for an app project, they will face some issues.

A good budget means that you can accurately ensure that you have enough workers available to dedicate to the project as well as ensure that the end client is correctly billed. Cost calculations going wrong are a major factor in undercharged projects, which in turn impacts the company’s profits adversely. Good financial planning starts at the budget level.

Whether you are an Android or iPhone app development company, you need to have the right facts on hand to make your budget realistic. Due to the iOS platform’s higher costs and the greater demands for Apple compliance, we have chosen to focus this article on iPhone apps, but most of the budgeting principles will translate to any app development company and platform.

What Will Influence the Costs of an iPhone App Services Development?

Development within an iPad app development company has historically proven slightly more expensive than developing for Android. This is symptomatic of the fact that Apple keeps a tight hold on the iOS platform, whereas several trusted freeware sources exist for Android. Of course, on the flip safe, iPhone apps have typically had less security issues; an aspect of Android which Google is rushing to tighten up.


Firstly, when setting a budget, keep in mind that development for multi-app platforms is always going to (approximately) double your costs. There is not much you can port between the two, so we generally advise you focus on one platform to start with, unless your budget is very large and the need for both platforms is essential to the app’s functionality or usefulness.

Will Quality Drive My Budget?

Secondly, quality costs. If you want to hire quality app development company staff to give you top end work, your app costs will be significantly higher than if you develop a quick side project in house or by non-specialists.

A low quality app will mostly work, but will also be prone to the odd crash. A normal level app will be robust and solid, with decent documentation, but it will still not win any design awards.If you are truly looking for something unconventional and out of the box, yet well beta tested and stable, you should be willing to pay for it. In the long run, it is usually worth it to hire an iPad app development company of high calibre. They are more likely to stick to your budget, deliver on time, and not need to rework aspects of the app extensively.

Budget Tip 1: If we assume a “normal” app is the standard costing, a “high-end” app will probably cost you up to double the cost of a “normal” app. However, that initial outlay (if wisely used) will likely prevent the need for updates and revisions down the line. Thus, how you choose to develop really does depend on your needs from the project.

What Will Be the Core Parts of My App Development Cost Calculations?

You need to assess a few factors for every development project. These are discussed below.The number of screens your app will have will significantly impact your costs. Less is less in this particular case. The average high-end functionality app will have around 10 screens, with simpler ones only having three.

Budget Tip 2: The average cost is around $1,000 per screen used.

Also, give some thought to the controls. For example, iOS offers a set of standard controls or you can have them customised. Of course, mobile app development is always going to be pricier than tweaking the standard system controls.

Budget Tip 3: Custom controls will likely double the app costs.

Next, you need to consider the amount of devices and number of screen orientations the app must work under. If you opt to develop your app to be optimised on smartphones and tablets, rather than optimising for one device type only, it will influence the costs. Likewise, if you need your app to work in landscape and portrait orientations, the costs will be higher than working with only one. A custom keyboard will also add to the costs.

Budget Tip 4: Add an extra third to the budget if you need to develop for both orientations, and half if you want to develop and optimise for two device types.

How Do I Budget for the Things That Do Not Affect the Core Functionality, But Will Help My App Stand out?

Not every app needs all the bells and whistles, but your app may have some need for special features. Here is how to plan around them.

Security always has a significant impact on your costs. A secure app will cost a lot more than one with normal security protocols.

Budget Tip 5: Extra security will likely set you back another third on top of the price of a normal app.

The number of languages as well as iOS platform versions catered to will affect your costing. Likewise, specialised features, such as recording user statistics on the back end, providing keychain functionality, enabling a shopping cart, allowing push notifications, and enabling web view, will increase the costs. So too will adding maps and other geographical location services to your app.

Budget Tip 6: Two platform versions is the design norm. Opting for one will limit the use of your app, but will also cut costs by about 20%. Opting for three versions will probably add another half to the costs.

Budget Tip 7: Language conversion will cost you, but not too spectacularly. Budget an extra 10% per language added.

Budget Tip 8: Enabling web view and statistics will not cost more than a couple of thousand dollars each, but most other special features will need a budget of around $5,000 to create, including maps and location services.

How Do I Budget for My Different Graphical Interfaces and for the Deployment of My App?

Does your app need video, photo or other similar functionality? This will impact the costs as well. You should also decide if you will deploy the app enterprise or opt for the app store.


Budget Tip 9: To launch through enterprise deployment and the app store will both set you back around $1,000.

Budget Tip 10: Video and audio are relatively cheap to add; you only need to budget a few thousand dollars for this. If you venture into 3D and image recognition, however, expect to pay major development costs: $20,000 plus.

What Happens to the Budget If I Add Additional Communication Types to the App?

Of course, the more ways your app communicates, the more your development costs will be. Interface to server, inter-app, database services, Bluetooth or GameCentre integration will all influence your app costs.

Budget Tip 11: Interface to server communication is particularly costly and will need around $10,000 to make it work for your app. Bluetooth is equally pricey. GameCentre and database services typically cost half of that, while inter-app communication will only cost $2,000 or so.

Now that you have a better idea of how to budget for your app development company, you will be better able to quote customers and plan for designers.

Have you had issues creating a good budget for development before? Have you nailed the perfect predictive strategy for costs? Let us know in the comments.

Bio: Shishir is the founder of ChromeInfotech, a leading mobile app development company in India. With over 10 years of experience in the mobile world, he knows every what’s what of the industry.