For every successful app, there are thousands of unsuccessful ones. The difference between successful and unsuccessful apps is not only in how they’re built — it’s also in how they’re maintained.
But, how much does it cost to maintain an app, and does it pay off in the long run?
The app maintenance cost varies depending on a number of factors, which we will explore below.
It’s important to remember that the same features that make your app expensive to maintain are also what give it value for users and potential revenue for your organization.
In this post, we'll explore what maintenance costs look like today as well as what factors affect them. But first, let’s see why you need to maintain your apps.
Table of Contents
- The Importance of Mobile App Maintenance
- Types of Mobile App Maintenance
- How Much Does App Maintenance Cost?
- Additional Factors That Affect the Costs of Maintaining an App
- 3 Tips on How To Minimize Your App Maintenance Costs
- Top Agencies to Help You Develop and Maintain Your App
- How Much Does It Cost To Maintain an App: Key Takeaways
The Importance of Mobile App Maintenance
Maintaining your app delivers numerous benefits for your business, customers, and success.
Mobile apps have become an essential part of many people's lives, providing a convenient way to stay connected and organized.
By regularly maintaining mobile apps, businesses can ensure that their customers have a positive experience and that their data is secure.
Here are the most important aspects of app maintenance:
Keeps Your App Running Smoothly
Much like a car, a mobile app needs regular maintenance to keep it running smoothly.
Over time, as new features are added and new updates are released, it’s important to ensure that your app continues to run smoothly.
Mobile app maintenance includes tasks like monitoring app performance, fixing bugs, and updating the app to take advantage of new features and devices.
By regularly maintaining your app, you can help ensure that it will continue working as intended and provide a positive experience for your users.
What’s more, regular maintenance can help you identify potential problems early on, before they have a chance to cause major damage.
Improves User Experience
Mobile app maintenance is all about providing a good user experience. As users’ needs change over time, it’s crucial that your app meets their expectations.
Mobile app maintenance can help you add new features and functionality, as well as remove any outdated features, ensuring users always have the latest version with the best performance.
If your app isn’t up-to-date or functioning properly, users will likely delete it and turn to one of your competitors’ apps instead.
Increases App Security
By regularly patching security vulnerabilities and updating the app with new features, businesses can help protect their customer data and reduce the risk of exploits.
As new security threats emerge, it’s important to ensure that your app is protected against them.
Mobile app maintenance can help you add new security features and update existing ones to keep your app safe from potential threats.
Moreover, you ensure that your app is compliant with privacy laws and regulations. This is especially important for businesses that may be subject to strict regulations governing the handling of customer data.
As you can probably tell, security is imperative for financial transactions as well. So, it only makes sense that the payment gateway should be secure and reliable if you have an app that deals with payments too.
The last thing you want is a bug in your system that could steal money from your customers' accounts or otherwise cause problems for them financially, which is where regular app maintenance helps.
Helps You Stay Competitive
As the mobile app market becomes increasingly saturated, it is more important than ever to make sure your app is current and relevant.
In today's fast-paced world, customers expect mobile apps to be constantly updated with the latest features and offer something new and exciting.
Aside from tending to the current users’ needs, maintenance helps you reach new customers, which in turn helps grow your business.
If someone downloads an app but doesn't use it or engage with it often enough, they won't see any benefits from using it or recommending it to others. That means less revenue for you.
By keeping track of how many users are using each feature within each update release (and making sure all features work properly), people will continue coming back after downloading the latest version. They may stick around long enough before needing another update.
Although the cost of app maintenance can be high, keeping your users happy is imperative. However, app maintenance can be a saving opportunity as well.
The app maintenance cost is minimal compared to the cost of developing an app. You can save money by simply keeping up with the updates and patches required for your mobile application instead of building one from scratch.
Types of Mobile App Maintenance
The mobile world has evolved into a complex ecosystem of devices and apps. When it comes to mobile app maintenance, there are different types, and these are the four main ones:
- Perfective Maintenance: carried out to improve the overall performance of an app or to add new features. It is mostly used to address any issues identified by users and boost user experience.
- Adaptive Maintenance: ensures that an app is compatible with new versions of operating systems or devices. Usually, it is used to adjust certain components of the operating system or hardware/software environment.
- Preventive Maintenance: carried out to identify, prevent, and fix issues in an app and is based on active monitoring. As such, it is used on an ongoing basis.
- Corrective Maintenance: carried out in response to reported malfunctions. It is used to fix identified issues.
How Much Does App Maintenance Cost?
It is accepted as an industry norm that the total cost of maintaining an app is about 15 to 20 percent of the original development costs.
But, the cost of maintaining an existing app depends on many factors.
There are four main categories of costs associated with mobile app maintenance:
Depending on the size and complexity of your app, hosting fees can range from $70 to $320 per month.
If you have a very simple app with no user login or database requirements, you can get by with a basic shared hosting plan.
However, if your app has more complex features like user login or an e-commerce component, you will need to pay more for dedicated or VPS hosting.
Updates and New Features
As time goes on, you will want to add new features or update existing ones.
Usually, the cost of updating an app depends on the wages of app developers. The average hourly rate for a mobile app developer in the United States is between $41 and $54.
Therefore, the cost of adding new features mostly depends on the scope of the project.
Once your app is live, you will need to provide customer support.
The cost of customer support varies depending on the number of customer service reps you need and the hours they work.
Customer support reps charge between $15 and $19 per hour, so again, the total cost depends on the project’s scope.
App Store Fees
Listing your app in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store comes at a fixed price.
You will need to pay an annual listing fee of $99 for Apple or a one-time fee of $25 for Google.
In addition, both stores take a 30% cut of all in-app purchases made through their platforms, although there are some exceptions.
Even if we take into account all those factors at a large scale, it’s nearly impossible to determine the fixed costs associated with app maintenance.
Regardless, if you want to maintain a successful mobile app, you need to be prepared to invest both time and money into its upkeep.
If you don’t have an in-house team, you can always outsource app development and get the expert help you need to maintain your app.
Additional Factors That Affect the Costs of Maintaining an App
When it comes to the app maintenance cost, it’s not all black and white. These factors also play a major role in the total cost of app maintenance:
The Size & Complexity of the App
The size and complexity of an app will have a direct impact on the cost of maintenance.
A small, simple app will require less time and effort to maintain than a large, complex app.
This is because a small, simple app will have fewer features and less code, while the latter will have more features and more code.
As such, the larger and more complex an app is, the more expensive it will be to maintain.
The Number of Users
The number of users will affect the amount of time and effort required to provide customer support and resolve any issues that may arise.
An app with a large number of users will require more resources to maintain than an app with fewer users.
This is because a large number of users can generate a lot of data, which can be difficult to manage. Of course, it can also lead to more customer support issues, increasing the cost of maintenance.
The Frequency of Updates
An app that is updated frequently will require more resources to maintain than an app that is updated infrequently.
This is because each update requires mobile app testing and deployment, which can be time-consuming and expensive.
To make things more complicated, each update also has the potential to introduce new bugs, which can also increase the cost of maintenance.
The Platform on Which the App is Built & The Operating System
An app built for iOS will require different resources than an Android app.
This is because iOS and Android are two different operating systems with different architectures and, as such, an iOS app will need to be maintained differently than an Android app.
3 Tips on How To Minimize Your App Maintenance Costs
If you want to cut your spending, you should consider:
Using a Cross-Platform App
A cross-platform app can be used on multiple operating systems, such as iOS and Android.
By using a cross-platform app, you can avoid the need to maintain separate versions of your app for each operating system.
Relying on a Managed Service Provider
An MSP is a company that provides outsourced IT services, including mobile app development and maintenance.
By using an MSP, you can avoid the need to hire in-house staff to develop and maintain your app.
Additionally, MSPs typically have economies of scale that allow them to provide their services at a lower cost than would be possible if you were to develop and maintain your app in-house.
Implementing an Agile Development Process
Agile development is a methodology that focuses on delivering software in short cycles, known as sprints.
By delivering software in sprints, you can get feedback from users early and often, which can help reduce the need for major updates down the road.
Additionally, agile development processes typically require less documentation than traditional development processes, which can further reduce costs.
Top Agencies to Help You Develop and Maintain Your App
- Location: Madhav Club Road, in-front of Hotel Shipra Residency, Freeganj, Ujjain, 456006, India
- Average Hourly Rate: $25
- Expertise: Mobile App Development, Android App Development, Website Development, Graphic Design...
Applligent Technologies is a mobile app & web app development company that creates mobile apps in iOS, Android, FLutter & Ionic Platform and are also experts in creating WebApps & Backend in MEAN/LAMP.
The agency is the trusted development partner of many of our offshore clients from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Netherland, Ukraine, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Singapore & Australia.
Clients include Sanaz A., Joe C. and Olawale.
- Location: 39899 Balentine Dr, Newark, California CA 94560, United States
- Average Hourly Rate: $100
- Expertise: Enterprise Mobile App Development, Website Development, Machine Learning, Blockchain Development
Calibraint is a young agency with the intention of producing a high-quality software product with a customer-centric approach. Pitching the market is never difficult because of their astute crew formed with Software Architects, Technology Experts, QA’s, UI/UX Experts, Business Analysts, and Marketing Team.
The team dedicatedly works towards the path of innovation that converts a righteous idea into an industry standard product.
Clients include Protected, Secured, Unkown.
- Location: No.8, Sokkanadhar Street, Thirunagar, Madurai, 625006, India
- Average Hourly Rate: $20
- Expertise: IT outsourcing, Mobile App Development, Android App Development, Enterprise Mobile App Development...
Appticz is a leading Software development company that provides end-to-end custom software development services that add value to any business. 150+ expert developers have helped startups to large companies transform their ideas into great Web and mobile app products.
Their passionate team of designers and developers can design, code, build, test, and deliver a quality product that satisfies any business needs and market demand.
Clients include Tree Bank, MMO Swap, KCC Memepad...
- Location: Suite 1-454, 7558 W Thunderbird Rd, Peoria, Phoenix, Arizona 85381, United States
- Average Hourly Rate: $50
- Expertise: Mobile App Development, Android App Development, iPhone App Development and Internet of Things...
Expert App Devs' customer base involves clients at both domestic and global levels. They invest in agency's leading-edge and sophisticated technology solutions to accomplish business operations with acquirable results.
The company specializes in developing both Android & iPhone applications that enhance productivity and user-engagement for their partners.
Clients include Nyse, Infosys and National Geographic.
- Location: Emil Racoviță, 37, Cluj-Napoca, 400165, Romania
- Average Hourly Rate: $70
- Expertise: Mobile App Development, Financial App, Software Development, Internet of Things...
Winner of the European Technology Awards for the App Development category in 2021, Wolfpack builds platforms that scale. The websites and apps that they've built now have over 4 million users/month.
Some of their apps have been featured in the AppStore. They believe in high-quality integrated systems, that delight users through stunning visuals and a smooth experience. They aim to find the optimal balance between speed & quality and commit to building products that reach your business goals and can scale.
Clients include Studio British, The Bosco, Amplicare etc.
- Location: 3rd Floor, Fusion Square, 5A &; 5B, Sector 126, Noida, 201303, India
- Average Hourly Rate: $10
- Expertise: Mobile App Development, iPhone App Development, Fintech Software Development, Software Development...
PixelCrayons are an award-winning Software Consulting & Development Firm offering end-to-end solutions to Enterprises, ISVs, Digital Agencies, and Startups. They provide end-to-end development solutions for web & mobile apps, eCommerce, CMS, Frontend, Blockchain, AR/VR, IoT, Machine Learning, etc.
Since their establishment in 2004, they have serviced 5400+ customers from 38+ countries. They have one of the best client-retention rates (97%+) across the industry.
Clients include Vodafone, Adobe, HP, Volkswagen etc.
- Location: 259 Mayflower Ln, Bolingbrook, Chicago, Illinois 60490, United States
- Average Hourly Rate: $35
- Expertise: Mobile App Development, eCommerce App Development, Android App Development, iPhone App Development...
CodeLabs is a premier software development company, offering a wide range of web and mobile solutions across the globe. They have substantial experience building custom software solutions and a deep understanding of how businesses work, making them a successful development partner.
Clients include Humwell, MyWater, Optix...
- Location: 1108 250 Consumers Road #541, North York, M2J 4V6, Canada
- Average Hourly Rate: $50
- Expertise: iPhone App Development, Android App Development, Mobile App Development, Educational App Development...
Essence Tech Labs is digital innovation and IT solution company building custom software for small and large enterprises in Canada. They provide services in mobile app development, UX/UI design, web development, startup consulting, custom software development, IoT development, web application development, software outsourcing, offshore software development, and digital marketing.
Clients include ShopIn Club, Other Ideas, Value Walk...
- Location: 1201 E Jefferson St Suite #4A, Phoenix, Arizona 85034, United States
- Average Hourly Rate: $165/hr
- Expertise: Mobile App Development, Android & iPhone App Development, .Net Development.
Sector 7 Apps is an award-winning app development company based in Phoenix, Arizona, with several years of experience in all things mobile app development.
Sector 7 Apps offers custom app development for iOS and Android devices and are experts in strategy, planning and optimization. Additionally, Sector 7 Apps tackles your project with a proven process to ensure an excellent product and create a smooth and efficient development.
How Much Does It Cost To Maintain an App: Key Takeaways
Mobile apps are the future of marketing and how business will be done in general.
As such, they are an investment that you can later profit from through mobile app monetization.
However, the only correct answer to “how much does it cost to maintain an app?” is: it depends.
There are no standard fees —the costs depend entirely on what needs to be done with each individual case.