The True Cost of App Development in 2024: A Comprehensive Guide

How much does it cost to develop an app in 2024. How can we lower app development cost without compromising on quality? What’s the best technology to build apps on a budget?

Those are the most frequently asked questions by clients when we sit down for a discovery meeting. Having a mobile app can be a game-changer for businesses, but the financial commitment required can feel daunting to new startups and entrepreneurs.

Unprecedented new technologies are emerging almost every week in 2024. Add to that varying regional costs, the need for robust functionality, evolving user expectations, and the need to stand out in a bustling market – and you have a complex cocktail of app development costs to sort through.

Don’t you worry though, as today, we will demystify the app development process, providing detailed breakdown of app development costs, covering every aspect from initial estimates to ongoing maintenance, helping you budget effectively for your next app development project, along with strategies to optimize your budget without sacrificing quality. Whether you’re a startup looking to launch a simple MVP (Minimum Viable Product) or an established business aiming to create a sophisticated multi-platform mobile app, this guide will help you navigate the complexities of app development costs in 2024.


Unpacking App Development Costs

You could get an app developed for as low as $20,000 or go as high as $500,000. On the lower end, you could get yourself a well-customized white label app with pre-designed elements that can be wrapped in your unique branding and goals.

For $500,000, you could get a bespoke native mobile app that gives you unparalleled speed and performance, integrates hardware features and external APIs seamlessly, is designed specifically for your audience, and can handle traffic of any volume.

The point is, developing an app is like building a house. How much it costs will depend on how strong your structure is, what your design is, what building materials you use, where you hire your workers from, and much more.

Key Factors Influencing App Development Cost

Understanding the cost of app development in 2024 involves considering several key factors, including the complexity of the app, choice of tech stack, your choice of development team, and the reputation of the app development company. Additional costs arise from the quality of UX/UI design, backend infrastructure, comprehensive QA testing, and ongoing maintenance.

App Complexity:

The complexity of an app significantly impacts its development cost due to varying requirements in design, functionality, and technology integration. Simple apps with basic features are less costly as they require minimal development time and resources. As complexity increases, incorporating features such as third-party integrations, real-time data processing, or advanced user interfaces, the cost rises due to the need for specialized skills and extended development time. Highly complex apps, integrating cutting-edge technologies like Machine Learning, Augmented Reality, Blockchain, and IoT, demand extensive expertise and sophisticated infrastructure, further escalating development costs.

Simple Apps: These typically include basic features such as user login, simple data display, and basic user interactions. Development costs range from $30,000 to $50,000.

Medium Complexity Apps: These may feature integrations with third-party APIs, real-time chat, or custom user interfaces. Costs can range from $50,000 to $150,000.

Complex Apps: Apps with advanced features like Machine Learning, Augmented Reality, Blockchain, and IoT integration can cost anywhere from $150,000 to $500,000 or more.


Platform Choice

The choice of platform significantly influences app development costs. Developing for both iOS and Android platforms (multi-platform mobile app) generally increases app development costs due to the need for separate development and testing for each operating system. Each platform has its own set of design guidelines, programming languages, and testing requirements, which means that developers need to create and optimize code specifically for iOS and separately for Android. This duplication of effort results in higher labor costs and extended development timelines.

However, despite higher costs, developing for both iOS and Android can be a strategic decision, as it maximizes user reach and market penetration, catering to users across both dominant mobile platforms. Therefore, businesses must weigh the additional costs against the potential benefits of broader audience engagement and revenue opportunities.

With the right app development company, it is possible to develop for both platforms without breaking the bank. Cross-platform app development frameworks like React Native and Flutter enable app developers to write a single codebase and reuse it on both different platforms. These frameworks give you the benefit of launching your app on both Android and iOS platforms within a limited budget, and with the right development team, the apps even achieve near-perfect native quality performance, helping you control your app development costs in 2024.


Location of App Development Team 

Geographic location significantly affects app development costs due to varying hourly rates. In North America, developers charge between $100 and $250 per hour, reflecting high demand and living costs. Western Europe offers a balance of quality and cost, with rates from $80 to $200 per hour. Eastern Europe provides skilled developers at more affordable rates of $30 to $70 per hour. India presents the most economical option, with rates ranging from $20 to $50 per hour. Choosing the right region depends on balancing cost, quality, and communication to fit your project’s needs and budget.


App Development Company

The choice of an app development company plays a crucial role in determining overall costs. Established firms with extensive portfolios and a proven track record often charge premium rates. These companies justify higher costs with their ability to offer superior quality, extensive resources, and reliable project management. They bring experienced teams, refined processes, and a deep understanding of industry standards, which can lead to a smoother development process and a high-quality final product.

On the other hand, startups and freelancers typically offer more competitive pricing. While they may provide cost savings, the quality and reliability can vary significantly. Startups might bring innovative ideas and agility, but they might lack the comprehensive experience of established firms. Freelancers can offer personalized attention and flexibility, but managing a project with multiple freelancers can be challenging.

Here is a basic breakdown of the different app development services and the different costs associated with each:

  1. UX/UI Design: Investing in high-quality UX/UI design enhances user engagement and retention. Costs for design can range from $10,000 to $50,000 depending on the complexity.
  2. Backend Infrastructure: A robust backend infrastructure is crucial for app performance and scalability. This includes servers, databases, and APIs, costing anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000.
  3. QA Testing: Thorough QA testing is essential to ensure a bug-free app. This includes automated and manual testing, costing $20,000 to $50,000.
  4. Deployment and Hosting: Costs associated with deploying the app to app stores and maintaining hosting services. Hosting can cost $70 to $320 per month depending on the app’s requirements.
  5. App Maintenance: Regular updates, bug fixes, and new features are necessary to keep the app relevant and functional. Maintenance costs range from $5,000 to $20,000 per year.


Stages of App Development and Their Costs

Understanding the various stages of app development and their associated costs is essential for effective budgeting and project planning. Each stage plays a crucial role in ensuring the final product meets your expectations and market needs.

  1. Discovery Stage

The discovery stage lays the foundation for your app by defining its goals, target audience, and core functionalities. This stage involves market research, competitor analysis, a feasibility study, and the creation of a project roadmap. Costs for this stage typically range from $5,000 to $15,000, depending on the project’s complexity and the depth of research required.

  1. Design Stage

Next is the design stage, where the app’s visual appeal is conceptualized through the creation of wireframes and interactive prototypes. This stage includes UX/UI design, user flow mapping, and the development of interactive prototypes to visualize the app’s interface and user experience. The cost for this stage varies widely, from $10,000 to $50,000, reflecting the intricacy and customization of the design.

  1. Development Stage

The development stage is where the app’s functionalities are coded, and the backend infrastructure is integrated. This includes frontend and backend development, API integration, and database setup. As the most intensive phase, it incurs costs ranging from $50,000 to $200,000. The wide range is due to factors such as the complexity of the app’s features, the technologies used, and the need for scalable solutions.

  1. Testing & Deployment Stage

Finally, the testing and deployment stage ensures that the app is bug-free and ready for launch. This involves comprehensive QA testing, beta testing with real users, and deploying the app to app stores. Additionally, this stage includes setting up hosting to ensure the app runs smoothly post-launch. Costs for this stage typically fall between $20,000 and $50,000, based on the extent of testing required and the complexities of deployment.

By breaking down the development process into these stages and understanding their respective costs, you can better manage your budget and set realistic expectations for your app development project. Each stage is crucial for creating a high-quality, successful app that meets both business goals and user needs.



Emerging Technologies and Their Impact on App Development Cost in 2024

Incorporating emerging technologies into your app can greatly enhance its functionality and user experience. These advanced features may incur some increased app development costs, but in 2024, incorporating at least some of these in your app can help you maximize your reach and impact in miraculous ways.

Machine Learning

Integrating Machine Learning (ML) capabilities into your app, such as predictive analytics or personalized recommendations, can significantly elevate both the app’s functionality and its development costs. The complexity of implementing ML algorithms and the need for extensive data processing can add between $10,000 and $30,000 to your project budget. These features require specialized expertise and additional development time, but they can provide substantial value by offering tailored user experiences and data-driven insights.

Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) is increasingly popular in sectors like gaming and e-commerce for its ability to create immersive user experiences. Implementing AR features involves sophisticated graphics, real-time data processing, and seamless integration with the app’s core functionalities. This complexity can add anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000 to your project costs. However, the enhanced interactivity and engagement AR provides can significantly boost user satisfaction and retention.


For apps that require secure transactions or decentralized data management, blockchain technology is an ideal solution. However, the complexity of blockchain integration, including developing smart contracts and ensuring secure data handling, can add $30,000 to $100,000 to your development costs. This investment is often justified for applications needing high security and transparency, such as financial services, supply chain management, or any app dealing with sensitive data.

IoT Integration

Connecting your app with Internet of Things (IoT) devices involves advanced integration efforts and stringent security measures. IoT applications require the app to interact with various devices, handle real-time data, and ensure robust security protocols to protect user information. These requirements can add an extra $20,000 to $80,000 to your development budget. Despite the higher costs, IoT integration can provide significant benefits in industries like smart home technology, healthcare, and industrial automation by enabling seamless connectivity and control over IoT devices.

While these advanced features may add to your app development cost, they can greatly enhance your app’s capabilities, user experience, and market competitiveness. Therefore, we urge clients to weigh their budget and make room for investing on AI powered technologies to make their app more effective and at par with modern user expectations.


“Make room in your budget for technologies worth spending on”.

Integrating new technologies need not burn a hole in your budget. With the right app development frameworks, a suitable tech stack, and careful deliberation by your app developers, you could leverage new technology without breaking the bank.


Other Costs Involved In Developing An App In 2024

Post the launch of your shiny new app, may incur nominal additional costs on app maintenance and hosting etc. A good app development company would ideally give you a few pre-decided months of maintenance included in the app development cost. Some other charges you may incur are:

App Maintenance

App maintenance is essential for keeping your app competitive and secure post-launch. Regular updates, bug fixes, and feature additions ensure that your app remains functional and up-to-date with evolving user needs and industry trends. The annual cost for app maintenance typically ranges from $5,000 to $20,000, depending on the complexity of the app and the frequency of updates.

Hosting and Monitoring

Maintaining the app’s backend infrastructure and ensuring smooth operation is vital for user satisfaction. Hosting costs, covering server space and bandwidth, typically range from $70 to $320 per month. Additionally, investing in monitoring services to detect and address issues proactively can cost between $200 and $500 per month, ensuring optimal performance and uptime.

Engagement & Marketing

Effective marketing strategies are essential for attracting and retaining users. Investing in user acquisition campaigns, social media marketing, and content creation can significantly impact your app’s success. While costs vary widely depending on the chosen strategies and target audience, budgeting around $10,000 to $50,000 per year for marketing expenses is typical for many apps.

App Updates

Periodic updates are necessary to improve functionality and enhance the user experience. Whether addressing user feedback, adding new features, or fixing bugs, each update contributes to the app’s long-term success. Budgeting between $10,000 and $50,000 per update ensures that you can maintain a high-quality app that meets user expectations and stays competitive in the market.

Licensing Fees

Integrating third-party services and tools into your app often incurs licensing fees. The cost varies based on the services utilized, such as analytics platforms, payment gateways, or cloud storage providers. It’s essential to factor these fees into your ongoing budget to ensure continued access to essential functionalities and services, with costs varying depending on the specific services integrated.



Any app development project begins with understanding the cost of app development in 2024. Right from the initial discovery stage to post-launch maintenance, we’ve presented a breakdown of all possible costs involved in developing an app. Given the number of variables, you can plan to increase or decrease the cost by choosing the features and integrations you include in your app. A good app development company will ensure that your app is scalable, which means that you can launch with the basics at a lower cost, and all features as you go, making the process easy on the pocket as well as guided by user feedback. You could begin with a minimum viable product or MVP that could be ready to roll out within as low as $10,000. Contact us today to find out how fast you could be marking your presence in the app economy with our scalable MVP and app development services.


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Hiral Atha is the Founder and CEO of Moveoapps. With a decade of proficiency in building digital platforms that drive innovation and user engagement, Hiral has helped businesses outshine competitors and captivate audiences. Armed with a deep understanding of market dynamics and emerging trends, Hiral has implemented strategic initiatives that have positioned businesses as market leaders, capitalizing on emerging opportunities.

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