Hidden cost of mobile app development: 8 Types of hidden cost

calender May 19, 2023
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Ravi Ranjan

Flutter & Android Developer | Agile Leader

App design, features, and developer rates are always the determining factors in the cost of developing mobile apps. You have to focus on them during the app development process. However, planning for mobile app development’s hidden costs from the beginning can help you plan the budget effectively. Start by estimating the costs associated with different operating systems in mobile apps. Android and iOS are the two significant operating systems in the mobile app market. 71.52% of the mobile operating system market share belongs to Android, while 27.83% belongs to iOS. You have to analyze the additional cost of developing mobile apps with these operating systems.

cost of developing mobile apps

Third-party Integrations

Your app can need third-party integration fees like SMS notification, push notification, and geolocation. Third-party integration tools can cost between $5000 and $10,000 (or more) annually based on your requirements. You can check some common examples below to understand how it all works.


You can use Twilio SMS API to include SMS services in your mobile application. Check the Twilio SMS pricing to see which package is best for your requirements.

Push Notifications

Push notifications are a crucial functionality in almost every app to increase user engagement and improve user experience. For example, building a telemedicine app with push notifications can help you remind users about their medicine schedule or doctor appointments. API by One Signal is the recommended choice for push notifications in mobile apps. Its professional plan for push notifications starts at 99 USD per month.


Geolocation is an essential factor when you need to build food delivery or ride-hailing apps. It is necessary for any app that delivers products/services to user locations. Google Maps API/Geocoding API are the recommended solutions to integrate it into your apps. Check the pricing to know which is suitable for your requirements.

Social Media Integration

Social media integration helps spread more awareness about your product and services on social media platforms. They help users share on social media what they like about your product or service on the app. Social media integration for a mobile app costs between $1500 and $4000.

Email Integration

Email integration is necessary for customer feedback, complaints, and queries. It also helps your app to send automated emails to users to notify them about their latest activity in the app. For example, an email about a new subscription purchased on a video streaming website. SendGrid is a highly recommended option to get email API for your app. You can check its pricing to see which plan is better for your app.

Administrative Services

Administrative services include tools for content management, analytics, dashboard, access management, updates, data segmentation, and user management. They improve data management, accessibility, and updates. A simplified content management system is necessary to add, remove, and update content in your app. The average monthly costs of such a content management system range from $10 to $25. Administrative services cost depends on the type of app and your requirements and it is something you need to consider from the early stages of app development.

App Security

Creating apps in industries like fintech, healthcare, or social media will require reliable security solutions to protect user data and privacy. It helps prevent unauthorized access, hacking, or data theft which can lead to customer defections. You must ensure that user authentication is top-tier and reliable during the app development process. Check out some free and paid app security tools to choose the best-suited one for your app.

Infrastructure Services

You will have to regularly pay the cost of the content distribution network, data storage, servers, development tools, libraries, and image data storage you use for your app.

Content Distribution Network

Content distribution networks help ensure high performance in your app by improving efficiency and personalization in content delivery. Amazon Web Services, Rackspace CDN, and Google Cloud CDN are some top content delivery network providers.


You will need to pay for servers regularly to host your app. Heroku, Firebase, AWS, Nginx, Oracle WebLogic, and Tomcat are some top application server examples. You can expect to spend between $10,000 and $16,000 for app servers.

Data Storage

Most apps now use cloud storage to get better scalability for their data storage needs. An app with scalable data storage can improve performance and content delivery. MongoDB, MySQL, and AWS storage are some options for data storage. The data storage costs may range from $3000 to $4000 annually.

Development and Media Tools

Your app will need improvements and updates from time to time and with reliable development tools. Uploading media like images and videos on your app will also require various tools. You will need to consider the cost of these tools for your requirements. Include these factors in the initial app development cost breakdown to manage the budget effectively.

App Maintenance

The cost of app maintenance comes after development and deployment. It includes fixing errors/bugs, design updates, and app functionality updates. Every app is prone to bugs, coding/design errors, and crashes/downtimes caused by them. These problems significantly ruin the user experience of an app for all users. Solving or preventing them requires regular app maintenance.

Android app maintenance is a little more costly than iOS apps, but you can expect to spend 50% of the development cost on maintenance in the first year after app deployment.

This cost will decrease by 15 to 20% after the first year with regular maintenance. For example, the annual app maintenance cost should be $10,200 if the cost of developing the mobile app is $68,000. The cost to maintain native apps will always be higher than hybrid/cross-platform apps.

App Store Requirements

You must pay a reasonable charge to submit your app on the Google Play and Apple app stores. The one-time cost to create a Google developer account is 25 USD, while the Apple developer program costs 99 USD annually.

The app stores also have requirements/policies that change frequently, and apps must make changes accordingly to meet those requirements. It means you may have to update your app, make design changes, or make changes in features. Such app changes will require additional spendings that you must plan to avoid damaging the budget.

App Marketing

An app launch is an event that should attract many curious eyes to your app. Such awareness leads to a decent user base after deployment, which gets valuable user feedback for updates and improvement. The marketing costs for launch may range from $4000 to $8000 or more based on your requirements. Google Play and the Apple app store are platforms with popular alternatives for almost any app you can make. Surviving the competition on these platforms is not easy without effective marketing strategies and PR. App marketing for these platforms may cost you between $8,000 to $25,000 every six months.


Get professional assistance to estimate the development cost for your app. It helps you better manage or lower the average cost of developing an app. Our team can also help you by estimating the mobile app development hidden costs for you. Outsourcing to our mobile app development company comes with all-in-one solutions like research, planning, design and development, testing, deployment, and app maintenance. Check out some of our top services to see how we can help you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the costs of developing an app?

The cost of building a mobile app can range from $8,000 to $150,000 depending on app complexity, platforms, UI/UX design, number and type of features, business goals, and the location of developers. You can estimate the development costs for your app only after you evaluate and determine these factors.

How long does it take to build a mobile app?

It can take 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, or even 1 year to build a mobile app. As mentioned above, it entirely depends on app complexity, the location of developers, UI/UX design, and application features. However, building an MVP app usually takes 2 to 3 months on average.

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