You are ought to update your app. Even if you’re not into it, update becomes inevitable with a nearest OS update. And you’ll have to deal with them for the rest of the app’s lifetime.

OK, then how frequent those updates have to be?

Well, the more frequent – the better it is. Apple App Store gathers ratings on each update separately. Google Play Market downranks crashy and outdated apps in the search. Plus, every app update is a good reminder for user that your app still exists on his phone. At last, it just makes user think that the app undergoes constant improvements, even if it’s not.

So, minor bug fixes every 2-3 weeks – great. Big updates every 2 months – even better.

But how much will it take me?

Roughly – 15-20% of the app development cost. Precisely – I’m afraid, you’ll have to read the whole article to find that out.

Is your app native-, hybrid-, or web-based?

If you’ve built the app for more than one platform, then you’ve, probably, already faced this question. And it has the same impact on the update cost as it had on the average cost to develop an app.

Here are the major differences:

  • The priciest one, but “the best quality” award winner here. It will deliver the finest optimization and the smoothest UX and UI possible. But, it will cost you. As Swift/C# for iOS and Java/Kotlin for Android developers will be necessary for sure. Oh, and there is also Windows Mobile…
    Also, every update will have to pass through submission process on the app stores.
  • Roughly, a browser embedded within the app envelope. So, all you might need – an HTML/CSS and/or JS developer(s) with knowledge of some fancy frameworks like React Native.
    It’ll cost you way less than Native app, yet won’t provide same quality level and it’ll still be necessary to pass through submission process.
  • Basically a web page. Even with no shell on it. Therefore, you can forget about the pain with app stores! Probably, all the staff you’ll need is one front-end developer.
    But, one more thing you can forget about is decent UI/UX and optimization, OS integrity and its features, stability, etc.

So, a decent social app for both iOS and Android natively might cost you near $80.000 – $100.000. Therefore, approximate price for an updates of both native apps is near $20.000 total.

Hybrid app development – $50.000 – $60.000, so updates will cost near $15.000.

As for web app – why would you even do such thing?

Whom to hire?

The best-case scenario is if the same people who developed your app will work on its updates. No matter if that’s an agency or a freelancer. Lots of agencies provide free maintenance for some after-release period. Even some top freelancers do that. So, at least you get covered with minor bug-fixing updates.

Just like with app development, price depends on the region where you hire developers. To make it short, here is the chart with average prices around the world.

But that chart doesn’t reflect payrolls for only PMs, QA testers, designers, marketing specialists, technical writers. As somebody has to curate those developers, look for bugs, create new look, make press-releases and write technical documentation.

Yes, that’s all redundant for a “flashlight app”. But what about Uber-like app? Logic is simple: the more complex your app is and the bigger audience you have – the more staff you need. That’s all necessary to keep a good pace of update releases and maintain quality of those on a decent level.

So, for a plain, Android-native, chatting app one freelancer from eastern Europe for $10-$25/hour will be more than enough.

While for a decent social app with extensive functionality contracting some app-development agency might be a good idea. Especially if you’ve contract the same agency which developed your app. As those usually provide discounts for the products they’ve made. And all that staff besides developers is already included in final price. Also, price itself is pretty negotiable.

As for the price itself: remember that rule of thumb? Consequently, if you payed $100.000 for the app development – something between $10.000 to $20.000 is a price for a major update. However, that number is very very approximative. Best decision here is to count yourself: average payment rate in a decent agencies which starts from $20/hour for 1 developer multiplied by the approximate number of necessary for the development hours.

App stores fees

The least of all your worries. All you have to know is:

  • Google Play Market charges $25 one-time entry fee.
  • Apple App Store takes $99 a year. And 30% fee for using App store payments.
  • Windows Store – an annual fee of $49 USD for an individual or $99 USD for a company.
  • Other app stores vary drastically. Prices go from absolutely free to 20% on each app purchase, or fixed monthly/annual payments. There is just too much of them to list here.

App cost calculator (as a conclusion)

Remember, all prices in this article are very approximative. In real life you’ll rarely meet such neat round numbers like $100.000, and for sure, you won’t count the cost for update by simply figuring out how much is 20% from it. There is just too much factors to consider in every particular situation.

But what might help a lot here is some good app cost calculator. So you could come fully armed into this ruthless world of the app development.

About the Author: Alex Volski: I am a content writer at Thinkmobiles. And all this 5 years I’ve been working with mobile technologies. So yeah, I’ve seen some… things =). Currently, I’m involved in a few AR mobile app projects. Anyway, whether you’d like to ask something or just want to share some thoughts – contact me ASAP!