How to Build an App like WhatsApp, Instagram, Uber? 2022 Guidelines

Updated on :October 19, 2023


Want to create an app like Tinder, WhatsApp, Instagram, or Uber? See how much it costs to build an app with the help of GoodFirms below research.

Research: How Much Does it Cost to Develop Popular Apps Like WhatsApp, Instagram, Uber in 2022? (Updated)

A growing number of apps are hitting the market every day, but not every app turns out to be a success. Plenty of business owners and entrepreneurs like to go for an app for their online presence but lack the technical know-how to build mobile apps. The costs stand as the prime factor. This does not end with just the launch of the app, but the cost can continue to rise after the app is developed. Apps will undergo constant changes, either to address any OS updates, fit into any newly launched device, fix bugs, enhance features, etc. 

Meaningful metrics like the number of downloads, app average usage hours, and other factors also affect the position of apps. In short, building an app keeping all these factors needs a bit of analysis, which GoodFirms has done for you. Just follow the tips shared.

Whether you wish to build new apps for iOS or Android, it is necessary to get an idea about the cost, ideal features, testing patterns, documentation, etc., before you finalize whether to go for in-house or outsource developers. Three prominent questions pops-up in this regard;

  • How to find the right development partner?
  • How much does it cost to build an app?
  • How much time does it take to build the app?

The mobile development agencies, product incubation centers, and technology laboratories rolling out each day come to your rescue – the talent required to build your app is abundant. Appreneurs can easily find the best mobile app development partner from our Directory section that lists down top mobile app development companies - globally based on our extensive research. This answers the first question.

Now, let’s answer the second question.

Below you can find the app development cost estimate for different types of mobile apps:

A feature-rich, highly complex app like Instagram, Uber, Whatsapp, and Tinder will ideally cost anywhere between $1,00,000 to $1,85,000 approximately.

This is just a rough estimate. To help potential app clients find detailed answers to app development cost and time questions, GoodFirms have conducted multiple surveys across the app landscape. Based on this comprehensive research, we present the app development cost breakdown and time investments to create apps that have similar functionalities to popular mobile applications.

Cost and Time of Building Popular Apps

To understand how much time and money goes into developing a mobile app similar to the one mentioned above, we asked the companies to share mobile app development cost estimates that work on similar lines to (Tinder, Uber, etc.) along with time efforts. Additionally, we also tried to gauge several other elements (or upgrades to the already existing characteristics) that make the app function better.


Tinder is the world's most popular dating app. More than 65+ billion matches have been made through Tinder. Tinder is a social dating application that facilitates communication between mutually interested users, allowing them to chat and fix a date. It works on the logic that it captures the user’s location on the basis of which the user starts receiving the profiles of the opposite sex. 

This app works mainly on swiping motions, where a user swipes right for a potentially liked profile and swipes left to move to the next one. 

  • Average Cost (in US$) : $1,02,688
  • Average Time(in months) : 10

The basic features offered by the app are listed below:

  1. Facebook/ Phone Number Login
  2. Manage User profile and set discovery preferences
  3. Geolocation
  4. Search functionality based on filters
  5. Swipe right-left and up features to like, reject, and super like someone
  6. Match Feature
  7. Unlimited Chatting
  8. Add Videos in Profile
  9. Photo Verification
  10. Video Chat
  11. Personal Security
  12. Block Users
  13. It provides matches in different locations.

Features that can be added: 

The new features that can be added to a mobile application are as follows:

  1. Voice Chat
  2. Great UI
  3. Better Match Making Algorithm
  4. Advanced Content Moderation by backing up with a Robust admin panel
  5. Social Shares
  6. Heterosexual Matches
  7. Dating Feedback
  8. Navigation to Other Users
  9. Point System for non-paid users - when they use the app, they will get points and can redeem them for 1-2 days.
  10. Free Paid Membership Trials
  11. Multi-Lingual
  12. Behavior Analysis
  13. GeoTagging
  14. Gifting Market Place


Owned by Facebook Inc, WhatsApp is the most popular messaging application in the world, with over 2 billion active users. With an international pool of users, this ad-free messenger app doesn’t charge users to utilize its features. WhatsApp allows users to share text, audio, videos, images, and even live location with their contacts. It also allows making free voice calls (even international ones). The app is very intuitive and easy to use. 

WhatsApp Business, another product of WhatsApp allows users to create business profiles with tailored descriptions of their products, services, business categories, etc.  Users can mention their business website link and working hours and also create automated replies for clients.  

  • Average Cost (in US$): $184512
  • Average Time(in months): 12

The basic features offered by the app are listed below:

  1. Simple And Reliable Messaging
  2. Group Chat Feature
  3. Voice And Video Calls
  4. Whatsapp On Web And Desktop
  5. Easy Status Uploads
  6. End-To-End Encryption For Security
  7. Send Photos And Videos Instantly
  8. Voice Message Feature
  9. Document Sharing Made Easy

Features that can be added: 

The new features that can be added to a mobile application are as follows:

  1. Message reactions
  2. Scheduled messages
  3. Notes to Self
  4. Option to log out
  5. Secret Chat Feature
  6. Social Media Integration
  7. Easy search option


Launched in 2010, Instagram is a social media network and a popular photo-sharing app that allows its users to post tailored photos and videos of their daily activities as well as other personal moments. It also offers photo-editing features and filters. 

A Popular Super App: 

From photo-sharing and chatting with connections to reels and selling online, Instagram is a Super app that comes with multiple functionalities. Given the popularity of this platform, marketers leverage this super app for business promotion and customer connections. In fact, millions of businesses connect with their customers on Instagram. 

The user clicks the picture or takes the video through his mobile phone and then applies different filters to transform the photo/video. Users can search for people and photos through the app. Generally, on the page, the photos and people will be shown according to the user’s activity.

  • Average Cost (in US$): $143728
  • Average Time(in months): 13

The basic features offered by the app are listed below:

  1. Sign Up/Login and Manage User Profile
  2. Home page with Live Feed
  3. Search People
  4. Follow People
  5. Add Photos/Videos with descriptions
  6. Share Photo/Video via chat
  7. Short videos aka reels
  8. Can upload stories
  9. Various filters available
  10. Live Video Feature
  11. IGTV

Features that can be added: 

The new features that can be added to a mobile application similar to Instagram captured through our research are as follows:

  1. Downloading Reels on the device
  2. Better UX and UI
  3. Image editing within the tool
  4. Calendar and grid planner
  5. Voice comments on posts
  6. Hashtag traffic bifurcation for Instagram Business accounts


Uber is a ride-sharing app that connects passengers to verified drivers. The app works on the simple algorithm: Select the car – Notify the pickup location – Get to your destination. Once all this information is entered by the commuter, the app alerts the user about the confirmation of the ride, the driver’s name, the car number plate, the route to be taken, and the estimated time to reach the destination. 

Uber app has multiple verticals such as Uber ride, Uber Drive, Uber Deliver, Uber eats, Uber for business, and Uber freight. 

  • Average Cost (in US$): $152776
  • Average Time(in months): 13

The basic features offered by the app are listed below:

  1. Sign Up / Login and Manage your Profile
  2. Let others follow the ride in real-time
  3. Multiple drop-off points
  4. Ride rating and review
  5. Easy and Multiple Payment Options
  6. Plan ahead with Scheduled Rides
  7. Sync meetings using Calendar Shortcuts
  8. Easy And Intuitive User Interface
  9. Real-time tracking of driver
  10. Choose a driver as per your driving experiences
  11. Call and chat option
  12. Journey history

User / Commuter Application

  1. Sign Up / Login and Manage Profile
  2. User Profile
  3. Pick up Location / Drop off Location
  4. Contact Driver
  5. Map View
  6. Payment Method
  7. Cancel the Trip

Driver Application

  1. Sign Up / Login and Manage Profile
  2. Driver Profile
  3. Accept the Ride and Navigate to Destination
  4. Trip Completion Status
  5. Trip Canceled
  6. Trip Fare
  7. Payment Received

Features that can be added: 

The new features that can be added to a mobile application are as follows:

Driver-Based Application

  1. Driver in-app insurance
  2. Music Integration as per customer preferences
  3. Chat With Passenger
  4. User / Commuter movement from the booked location to pickup location
  5. Details about the passenger to report any emergency

User / Commuter Based Application

  1. Better UX and UI
  2. The ability to add a note to a pickup request
  3. Chat with Driver
  4. Real-Time Traffic Updates
  5. Alert the commuter if the Driver takes an alternate route
  6. Social integration in map

Mobile App Development Costs Comparison: 2022 vs 2018

Mobile app development costs for popular apps 2022 vs 2018

**Quiz up and Periscope are no longer available and therefore omitted from the 2022 survey. 

***For 2018 Survey data click here

Why do you see a drastic change in the time and cost to develop these apps in 2022 when compared to 2018?

The drastic change in costs and time to develop the popular apps can be largely attributed to the current app complexity, increase in development costs, and the latest feature additions to these apps. While inflation is one of the reasons behind the increased development costs in 2022 compared to 2018, the structure, interface, and features of the popular apps have also changed drastically in the last four years. 

For instance, Tinder has recently launched the background check feature that lets users run a verification drive for their connections and discover any criminal activity involving their match. This is in addition to various other features added to Tinder in the last four years, including safety tools, in-app video calls, etc. 

Disappearing messages, payments background, rejoin calls, and QR code scan to add contacts are some of the many features added to WhatsApp after 2018. Similarly, the popular Instagram reels feature was added in 2020 only and again updated to let users create reels from stories in 2022. The heavily coded reels feature itself would require efforts that one might spend in building a whole new video-posting app. 

Ride-hailing platform -Uber’s latest Uber ‘explore’ feature lets users explore city life, clubs, music events,  etc., and book a ride with one click with –the ‘ride there now’ option. 

Hence, the complexity, performance, functionality, and user experience of these apps have improved significantly in the past few years and this accounts for the price variation that is clearly visible in our survey. 

Step-by-Step Process to Build Apps like Uber, Tinder, WhatsApp, and Instagram: 

Building feature-rich apps like Uber or Instagram requires a definitive process, guided mechanism, and strategic vision. Such undertakings require detailed planning and meticulous execution for a successful outcome. Mobile apps have been helping businesses to achieve 360-degree growth in their business, yet there are only a few businesses that utilize an evolved approach when it comes to mobile app development. 

This section will cover the step-by-step process of building popular and feature-rich apps such as Uber, Instagram, Whatsapp, etc. 

Process and Tips 

Conduct Detailed Market Research: Analyzing the market for demand, consumer preferences, and currently popular apps in the category is critical to shaping your app better than the competitors. For instance, a detailed analysis of other ride-sharing apps and their users is imperative for those who want to build an app like Uber, and similarly, one will require to study photo-sharing apps or chat messengers if the target apps are like Instagram or WhatsApp, respectively. 

For market research, conduct a detailed survey of consumer likes, dislikes, pain points, etc., and then evaluate all to find the gap. The identified gaps can be used as your app's USP features. 

Consumer Demographics: Create a consumer persona by detailing information on the age, gender, occupation, income, interests, etc., of your target users. The goal of creating a persona is to narrow down your target audience. For instance, Tinder matches according to age groups, Instagram is more popular among teenagers, etc. Once you have created the personas for your target audience, you can create an outline of features and content that will appeal to each persona by asking questions like- What are their goals? What do they want? How do they interact with technology?

Define all USPs and Master Features: When you are building apps like Uber, or Instagram, you have to define all elements in a systematic manner. After the market research, decide and define the unique selling proposition and master features that will set your app apart from the competition. For instance, matching via geographical proximity is the main feature of Tinder. Apart from that, you need to devise segments such as registration, subscription page, profile page, in-app chat, etc. Apps like Tinder and Instagram have AI, and ML integration to provide recommendations for matches/posts. App developers can add more value to such products by integrating more features using virtual reality, augmented reality, or mixed reality in their app strategies. 

Technology Stack: Decide on the technology stack that you will use. For instance, Instagram uses multiple technologies such as Java, Python, React Native, HTML5, etc. Uber uses highly-advanced Geo-location technology apart from the developer stacks. Your app may also require payment integration or cloud messaging, and therefore, the third-party collaboration has to be ascertained. The right selection of technology stacks can reduce the overall efforts, time, and costs required in building apps. 

Application developers can maximize the impacts and enhance user experience, by optimum usage of technology stacks in their overall mobile application strategies.

Required Platforms: You'll need to decide which platform will be best for your business. iOS, Android, or Hybrid. You have to also consider how many people have a smartphone or tablet with your particular operating system. If they don't use one of these platforms, then developing an app for one of them won't help you reach them at all. Finally, there are third-party services that offer cross-platform development for mobile apps so that you don't have to choose one platform over another -- this way; consumers can use whichever device they prefer to access your mobile app. Instagram, Whatsapp, Uber, and Tinder are all cross-platform apps and work on both Android and iOS devices. 

Budget and Timeline: Once all elements have been decided, the next step is to create a timeline of the project and set a budget. If you are considering hiring a mobile app development company, then once you discuss your requirements with the development team, they will provide you with an estimate of the overall costs and time required to complete the project. 

Create Minimum Viable Product: The minimum viable product (MVP) is the version of your app that you will release to your users. It's important that your application be as minimal as possible, and yet retain the functionality, utility, and effectiveness of the idea. 

  • Create wireframes for your app
  • Design the interface  
  • Develop a functional prototype 
  • Test your prototype
  • Release the product 
  • Map out how users interact 
  • Collect feedback from the audience

Key Findings: 

  • A feature-rich complex app like Uber, Instagram, Whatsapp, or Tinder will ideally cost anywhere between $1,00,000 to $1,85,000 approximately.
  • Building a dating app like Tinder will cost around $1.02K with a development time of approx 10 months. 
  • Building a photo-sharing app with inbuilt messenger like Instagram will cost $140K with a development time of around 13 months. 
  • A ride-sharing app such as Uber can cost around $1.52K (including the driver and passenger versions) with development time going upto 13 months approximately. 
  • A highly sophisticated chat messenger such as WhatsApp will cost around $1.84K with a 12-month development time. 
  • Conducting market research before initiating mobile app development is critical to understanding consumer preferences, identifying existing gaps, and defining master features. 
  • Optimum usage of technology stacks reduces app development time and costs and enhances user experience. 
  • Developing a minimum viable product to test user interaction is advisable before a full-scale launch of the application. 


There is a growing demand for apps that can help businesses remain relevant and up-to-date with the latest trends and market demand. Whether you are looking for a legacy app renewal or replicating the success story of an established app with more innovative features, this article guides you through the costs and steps.  The details provided in this article intend to give you a rough sketch of the cost of creating an app similar to popular mobile apps like Tinder, Instagram, or Whatsapp.

The best way to know the exact costs of developing an app is to obtain a quote range from several app development companies and pick the best firm that suits your budget and app requirements. 

Looking to build an app like Whatsapp, Tinder, Instagram or Uber?

Make an app within your budget by selecting the right app creator firm from the GoodFirms map of top Android app development companies or top iOS app development companies.

We sincerely thank our Research Partners who participated in the 2022 survey.


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