Comparing the Costs: Building an App vs. Software
2 mins read

Comparing the Costs: Building an App vs. Software

When discussing project costs with clients, a common question is: “Why is app development more expensive than software development?” Let’s explore the reasons behind this cost disparity.

Programming Effort: Clarifying a Misconception

It’s crucial to understand that the core programming effort for apps and software is quite similar. Whether we’re developing an app or a software system, the fundamental coding work takes about the same amount of time. So, why does app development often come with a higher price tag?

The Additional Costs of App Development

The higher costs associated with app development primarily come from extensive pre-work and post-work activities. Here’s a closer look:

Pre-Work: Before coding begins, significant groundwork is required. For software projects, we often start with a simple demo grid to illustrate functionality. Once approved by the client, we move directly into development.

In contrast, app development is more intricate. We begin with black-and-white wireframes, mapping out each screen and interaction. This step ensures the design is both user-friendly and functional. We then create detailed designs for each screen. Only after these designs are approved do we start programming.

Post-Work: After coding, app development enters a rigorous testing phase. Unlike software, which can be tested and adjusted quickly, apps require extensive testing across multiple platforms and devices, including iOS, Android, Huawei, and various versions of these operating systems.

The Rigorous Testing Process

Testing an app involves more than just verifying functionality; it ensures compatibility and performance across various scenarios:

  • Different Devices: The app must work on a range of devices, from the latest models to older versions.
  • Multiple Operating Systems: Each operating system has unique characteristics, requiring comprehensive testing.
  • Varied Network Conditions: Apps need to perform well under different network conditions, from slow to fast connections.

Each round of testing can uncover issues that need fixing, leading to additional rounds of testing. This iterative process significantly adds to the development time and costs.


In summary, while the programming effort for apps and software might be similar, the extensive pre-work and post-work required for app development drive up costs. The detailed design phase and rigorous testing across various platforms ensure the app provides a seamless user experience, justifying the higher investment.

Understanding these factors helps clarify why app development is more expensive, and it highlights the comprehensive process involved in delivering a high-quality app to users.

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