How Much Does it Cost to Make An App in 2017?

These were the most popular apps in 2016. The list looks slightly different in the U.S., with Pandora Radio and four of Google’s applications squeezing into the top ten list.

If you’re considering making an app, it might be useful to consider the types of apps that flourished in 2016. Furthermore, since these apps contain certain features that are common to a wide range of apps, understanding the costs of these features is crucial to developing your own app.

How Much Does it Cost to Create an App?

App Development Cost = Development Time x Hourly Rate

A good way to investigate how much an app might cost is to start by looking at some of the most popular mobile apps in the world. Even though there’s no public data on the actual costs of developing these apps, it is possible to estimate the costs of developing similar apps. A common and straightforward way to estimate the cost is: (features x time) x hourly rate = cost:

Only local images are allowed.

It is important to understand the variations in hourly rates prior to calculating the total app development cost.

The median cost per hour of developing iOS apps (Android apps will be discussed later) in different regions is summarized in the graph below:

Only local images are allowed.

This graph suggests that the median cost of developing iOS apps in North America is around $150/hour while the cost in Indonesia is around $11/hour.

For a more in-depth analysis on U.S. vs. overseas developers read this post on the pros and cons of each.

Based on these rates, here’s a closer look at the cost of cloning an MVP for some of the top 10 apps:


WhatsApp is a real-time messaging application with a robust architecture and comprehensive features. Here’s a summary of WhatsApp’s basic features and their development time (in hours) based on sources such as djangostar and TheAppSolutions:
Only local images are allowed.Note: The setting adjustments may vary depending on the content of the “Settings” menu. This estimation includes profile settings, account settings, chat settings, notifications settings, and data usage settings.

Other costs include UI/UX design, project management, quality assurance, and DevOps. All factors combined will take somewhere between 390-495 hours.

In total, it will take somewhere around 1,157-1,484 hours to clone WhatsApp. At a rate of $150/hour (North America), WhatsApp will cost $173,550 – $222,600.


Without diving into operational storage costs, Ben Schippers, co-founder of HappyFunCorp, said

“If you asked me to build for you, I would quote you $500,000 and nine months of development and design time.”

Some of Facebook’s key features include:

  • simple registration and login procedures
  • automatic contact synchronization
  • text/photos/videos sharing
  • notifications
  • messaging service
  • other features such as groups and pages.

Facebook’s diverse features makes it significantly harder to predict its cost. However, it is still possible to come up with an estimation for the back-end and front-end development.

The most time consuming features to create are:

  • news feed
  • chat
  • video calls