As the mobile industry continues to evolve, more and more entrepreneurs are looking to build their own iOS apps and publish them to the App Store. The technology has also evolved tremendously in the past few years, and there are various ways of making your app nowadays. In this article, we’re taking a stab at teaching you how to make an iOS app based on your budget.
$99 – $999
Believe it or not, you can’t publish an iOS app to the App Store without someone paying Apple’s developer subscription, which is currently $99/year. Even if your budget is extremely limited, there are plenty of reasonable approaches to make your own mobile app. Here’s what you should consider:
- Use an online app maker
- Usually, you’ll make the app yourself, by using a drag-and-drop editor (like Buildfire)
- These app makers will charge you anywhere from $10 to $200 per month.
- They have integration with WooCommerce, Shopify, WordPress, etc. which is extremely helpful if you’re porting your website to a native app
- You’ll have your app in minutes and they’ll even publish it for you to the App Store
- Unfortunately, the features they support are extremely limited and most of the existing app makers have pretty ugly designs as well as poor performance. But hey, it only costs $10 per month.
- Unfortunately, you’ll always depend on accessing their dashboard, so your app and data is not truly yours.
- Hire extremely cheap labor on Upwork
- Cheap freelancers are easy to find on Upwork these days
- You’ll need at least a designer and a developer (or someone who does both)
- You’ll need to keep your app extremely simple (6-7 screens), with mediocre UI
- It’ll take at least 3-4 weeks and maybe 3-4 iterations as well (on both design & development)
- You’ll need to come up with the requirements of the products by yourself
- For 6-7 screens, you’ll be able to find a junior designer what’ll do the design work for $200-$400 and an entry-level iOS freelancer who’ll create the app for $400-$600.
- Pro-tip: Try to find great freelancers that are still building up their Upwork profile (so they’re just getting started with their freelancing career) – you’ll achieve high-quality results, faster and at a low price.
- Buy a functional iOS app template
- Head over to https://www.iosapptemplates.com and find an app you’d like to build
- Buy the app template and follow the documentation to customize it as you’d like
- The best app templates will have backend integration with free server plans (such as Firebase).
- Pro-tip: Buy a mobile template that is fully-functional, which means that is already integrated with a backend system (Firebase, WooCommerce, WordPress, Shopify, etc.). Purchasing a template that only has the UI will be useless unless you know how to code or you’re willing to pay someone to hook up a backend to it.
- The best app templates will require zero coding in order to customize them, which means they are extremely well modularized and have great technical documentation
- You can find a ready-to-use iOS app template for $39 – $99, depending on how many features you want.
$999 – $4999
At this price range, you have obviously more options and you can create a higher quality app. You now have the privilege to optimize other aspects of the app building process as well (such as how long it will take, for example). Firstly, take a look at the previously listed options, since they apply for this price range as well.
For this budget, you’ll definitely want to avoid using an app maker, simply because you can afford to pay more than $10 per month in order to:
- own your app source code and your data
- build a beautifully looking app
- avoid unnecessary dependencies (e.g. when the app maker’s site is down or goes out of business, your app is down or goes out of business)
- avoid paying a monthly fee forever
- have maximum flexibility when it comes to features, design, future iterations, etc.
None of the app makers offer these benefits.
Now, building the app from scratch will be time consuming, especially that in general, the first 10.000 lines of code of any app is just reinventing the wheel – you’ll build user management features (login, logout, registration, FB Login, etc), server integration (fetching & storing data), networking infrastructure, basic UI components (buttons, carousels, menus, etc), chat features, and so on. You’ll just be wasting a few weeks and more than $2000, both of which can be put to better use. The same goes for the app product design process – you’ll need to come up with requirements from scratch, build the basic design blocks and only after having a minimum viable product you’ll be able to iterate more maturely.
These are the exact reasons why it’s a great idea to start off with an iOS app template – save a few thousands of dollars and a few weeks of work. You’ll be paying $99, but you are jumpstarting the development of your app and you can focus directly on customizing the app to fit your needs as well as building the desired features.
In general, you should be following these steps:
- Head over to https://www.iosapptemplates.com
- Buy an app template (or download a freebie) that’s most similar to your desired app
- Pro-tip: Additionally, you can search on Github for open-source projects that you can use for your app
- Hire a designer and a developer (on Upwork) to customize & build new features on top of the purchased app template
$4999 – $9999
At this point, I’m sure you already know what you’re doing, given you’re willing to invest a substantial amount of money into your idea. The only advice I’d have here is that you should try and check out a few app templates before you hire someone to build everything from scratch. You can acquire multiple app templates to save a ton of time, energy and money. The developer your hire can then just put together the combined features from those app templates, so they’ll finish the work much faster and more cheaply.
$9999 will achieve a lot in today’s mobile world – the technology evolved substantially and so did the developers’ velocity. We can build apps much faster and easier. Just make sure you’re smart with your time and money and hire great developers.
For any price range, there are plenty of approaches that will enable you to build an iOS native app and publish it to the App Store. Regardless of your budget, make sure you consider all the various options and use your money in a smart fashion, by avoiding to reinvent the wheel and by hiring the smartest people you can find.