Mobile App Development Cost & Time: A GoodFirms Comprehensive Research

This GoodFirms research gives informative insights into how long does it take & how much does it cost to build an app.

Research: How much does an app cost in 2018?

In the mobile application world, new ideas are often alteration and iteration of already existing ones or a mix of thoughts picked from here and there. The mobile app development companies hear from their clients that they would like to build an app similar to XYZ app for a completely different audience fulfilling a purpose that suit their needs. Once the idea is in place, the nightmare arrives:

How to find the right app development company?
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 centres and technology laboratories rolling out each day come to your rescue – the talent required to create an app is abundant. However, picking the right app development partner from this sea of options is a herculean task. Recognizing the concern of app service seekers, GoodFirms has curated a list of industry-leading top mobile app development companies that provides outstanding app solutions.

Now coming to second and third question:

“You can’t create a product without understanding how similar products were created earlier.”

So, to solve the other two concerns of prospects, GoodFirms decided to conduct an exhaustive study of how much time and money goes in developing a mobile app that have similar functionalities as some popular apps. We asked the participating app development companies to share mobile app development cost estimate that works on similar lines to (Tinder, Periscope, Uber etc.) along with timeline. Whilst this process, we also tried to gauge as to what additional elements (or upgrades to the already existing characteristics to make the app function better) would they offer to their clients.

Research Participants:

GoodFirms surveyed 55+ app development companies across geographies to determine the budget and timeframe to develop apps similar to few famous mobile applications like Tinder, Whatsapp, Uber, Periscope and QuizUp. Participated developers belonged to countries that include: India, Ukraine, Canada and the United States of America.

The participants included Dev Technosys, iCoderz Solutions, Debut Infotech, iQlance Solutions, Fluper, Techugo, Sannacode, iQuinceSoft Consulting, Konstant Infosolutions and Matellio.

Summary of Research Findings:

With diligence and hard work, our research team was able to put all the collected data on the drawing board and come up with statistics that we are confident would be of great interest to businesses and potential app entrepreneurs.

From the below image, it can be derived that mobile app developers ideally take as low as 2 months to develop an app like Tinder and as high as 1 year for an app like Uber. The cost ideally starts from $6000 for Tinder like app and can go as high as $150000 for an app similar to WhatsApp.

App Development Cost

App Development Cost:

  • A feature-rich highly complex app like Instagram or Uber ideally cost anywhere between $70,000 to $100,000.
  • Medium complexity compelling apps like WhatsApp or QuizUp most likely cost between $61,000 to $69,000.
  • User-friendly app with least-functionality like Tinder or Periscope cost anywhere between $40,000 to $60,000.

App Development Time:

  • A feature-rich and complex cab booking app like Uber or most followed Instagram app take anywhere from 3 months to 1 year.
  • An app similar to one of the top rated instant messaging and chatting mobile apps like WhatsApp takes between 2 to 7 months to develop.
  • A user-friendly app with minimal but efficient functionalities like the Tinder app takes about 2 to 5 months to finish.

The other strong point that this research revealed was - app cost calculator or app development cost estimation tools available online do not provide exact Android app development cost or iOS app development cost.

Detailed Research About Individual Apps:

Based on the comprehensive research, we present the mobile app development cost breakdown and time investments to create apps that have similar functionalities to world’s hottest mobile applications.


When it comes to apps like WhatsApp, we all know that the app was started initially just as a text string and soon the app progressed to include chatting facility with image sharing, status update, voice calling, video calling etc. Today, with nearly 1 billion users across 180 countries, the app is ruling the home screen of many smartphones. The survey conducted by GoodFirms revealed the cost and time involved to develop an app like WhatsApp in today’s time.

Average Cost & Development Time:
Whatsapp app development cost

The survey reveals that on an average, it can take up to 4 months to develop an app similar to WhatsApp and can cost initially around $43,500.


Think of Uber and one thing that strikes all of us today is “ride at the push of a button...” A simple idea of two youth - Kalanick and Garrett Camp grew up with a mission to bring transportation for everyone and everywhere. Developing an app like Uber is complex as it involves perfect wireframing, precise location tracking with seamless payment gateway integration. Its investment in demand prediction algorithm is said to be huge. Registration – both riders and drivers, selecting a cab, live tracking, booking history, in-app notification, push notification etc are other sets of tasks that the developers had to take care of. UI/UX design and development is again critical in this case.

The app allows its users to:

  • Request
  • Ride
  • Pay and Go
  • Send status
  • Split fare
  • Gain Fare estimates and much more

The survey conducted by GoodFirms revealed the cost and time involved to develop an app similar to Uber in today’s time.

Average Cost & Development Time:
Uber app development cost

It was revealed that on an average, it can take up to 5 months to develop an app similar to Uber and can cost you approximately $38,000.


Hook-up App like Tinder is a big hit among those who like to socialize and date. Swiping right and left, and liking in Tinder is fun among users. The app has key features like subscription, common connections, swiping etc. that are time consuming for developers. Today, the app also serves as social media app other than dating. GoodFirms’ survey revealed the cost and time involved to develop an app like Tinder in today’s time.

Average Cost & Development Time:
Tinder app development cost

The survey conducted with ten of the above mentioned companies unveiled that on an average, it can take up to 3 months to develop an app similar to Tinder and can cost you approximately $27,000.


Broadcasting and exploring the world through live videos has been a great experience for many with the Periscope App. This live streaming video app is also into social networking. Acquired by Twitter, many of its features are integrated with Twitter app. Key features of this app include;

  • Live streaming
  • Interactive viewing experience
  • Map View
  • Replays for up 24 hours after the initial broadcast
  • Download video stream
  • Twitter integration
  • Ephemeral: Content posted on Periscope is available only for a limited time

So, how much will it cost to develop an app similar to Periscope? Follow the image below;

Average Cost & Development Time:
Periscope app development cost

According to the survey, it takes on an average nearly 3.7 months to develop such an app and the cost can be nearly $35,000.


Instagram is one of the top social engagement apps available today. With more than 500 million active users, the app stands second top social networking platform in the World. The app’s popularity is growing day-by-day. The functionality, its novelty, its visually effective features are the key reasons that makes this app popular. If you are wondering how much it would cost to develop a similar app, then have a look at the following survey conducted by GoodFirms.

Average Cost & Development Time:
Instagram app development cost

On an average, it can take up to 4.6 months to develop an app similar to Instagram and can cost you nearly $43,000.


Connecting people through shared interest is easier in QuizUp, the mobile game app. This multiplayer game allows users to play against friends in real-time, discover like-minded people to play with. There are nearly 1200 topics to choose from for the players and seven rounds to complete. The app today allows users to share photos and posts, and it also has a newsfeed section. The survey conducted by GoodFirms revealed the cost and time involved to develop an app like QuizUp in today’s time. Look at the following image to understand the findings of GoodFirms that reveals the cost and time involved to develop an app like Tinder in today’s time.

Average Cost & Development Time:
QuizUp app development cost

On an average, it can take up to 3 months to develop an app similar to QuizUp and can cost you nearly $34,000.

Other Key Takeaways from GoodFirms’ Research:

  • Features like news feed, chat, video calls, in-stream, in-app abilities; GPS etc. that are found in social networking apps like Facebook are both time and cost consuming tasks as developers have to buckle lot of working hours towards creating such features. Cost also goes up with these added features. In today’s demand, if you intend to make an app like Facebook, you may have to dedicate approximately 2800-3000 hours spending $440,000 - $500,000.

  • A significant amount of time goes into making of a hospitality service app like Airbnb; starting from project setup till implementation. The app will require provision to create personal profile; filters (place, check-in dates, number of guests, room type, amenities and other options) ;search features; guide; maps; translation; in-app messages; push notifications; hosts features; payment gateways etc which are big time consumers. Other backend operations to develop such app also have to be considered. If you intend to develop a similar app, remember, globally, the price can differ as developers and designers charge different rates in different location.

  • Developing a mobile gaming app is a different kettle of fish as; 1) It is challenging 2) the coding stage is time consuming. Once you decide on the type of the game and the storyline, your developer will take the lead and decide on the programming language, platform, device specification, design, graphics, features, functionalities and other aspects. With an initial budget of €100,000 and a time frame of 8-9 months in hand, Rovio succeeded in developing a mobile gaming app like Angry Birds. Understand, this is a visually rich gaming app with complex technicalities. Developing such apps can cost you higher than other normal games. There are simple mobile gaming apps like Solitaire developed as low as $50 thousand. Pick the type depending upon your budget.

Our Take:

The mobile app market has seen explosive growth. There is so much to learn about app development process before you hire any app developer for your mobile app project. Most importantly, time and cost are the key criteria that need to be considered for any new app project.

The details provided in this research will give you a rough sketch of the pricing and timeframe of creating an app similar to popular mobile apps like Periscope, Instagram or WhatsApp. However, do remember that mobile app development time and cost largely depends on the type, platform, design, features, infrastructure, integrations and other administrative parameters. Also, globally, the cost and time will vary depending upon the location and the capability of the developers.

Since now through this comprehensive research, you have got a basic idea about the cost and timeframe for developing apps similar to certain market-favourite apps, it is time to take the next big step! Go ahead and pick a reliable app partner from GoodFirms collated list of top Android app development companies or top iOS app development companies and turn your app idea into a winning product in App Stores!

More to Learn:

It is imperative for potential appreneurs to understand the key drivers that affect the pricing of mobile app development. That’s why GoodFirms has put together a detailed report on the ‘Key Factors of Mobile App Development Cost’.

Keep following our Research section as we will soon be coming out with more similar studies!

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