What are hidden costs of maintaining a mobile application?

The mobile app business is booming and many developers are jumping head first into app development. Many without a good understanding of the true costs of mobile app maintenance.

You might think that the fees are not that high, however they can add up to a solid amount of money. There are some ongoing costs that eager developers often overlook. It might sound overwhelming, but we’ll give you a heads up on how to allocate funds for the ongoing costs and be smart up front.

Some apps are easy to maintain, but others require domains and servers and other more complex setups. For example, some communication apps require you to setup your own server, which is costly not only in development time, but also in terms of usage and space used. Game developers might need to pay for licenses on a monthly basis (for instance a pro license in Unity is 1500$/year).

Worried about your app security? Well, that comes with a hefty price-tag as well. Depending on how encrypted you want your app to be, it can cost a lot to ensure that others cannot hack it and steal your ideas or data. If you have a huge code base for your apps and want to secure it, you might want to host it privately which comes with a cost.

Due to the huge number of Android devices, your apps will require a lot more customization and time spent on tracking their issues and crashes. Not to mention the fact that Android releases platform updates regularly, which quite often involves additional work from your side, too. Furthermore, due to the huge diversity in Android hardware testing your apps properly might also cost you if you want to cover all devices in all your targeted countries.

Finally, there is a $25 one-time registration fee to use the Google Play Developer Console which allows you to publish Android apps. Free apps are distributed at no cost, but for the paid apps Google takes a transaction fee which is equivalent to 30% of the price. And don’t forget the hidden costs of your app – marketing and PR.

So, some good advice, before you start make sure to have a budget, timeline and explanation on how you will measure success. Establishing success metrics will help you to easily determine whether or not your hard work is paying off and you’ll know where you’ll need to improve for the next big launch.


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