The journey of a mobile app doesn't end at its launch; in fact, it's just the beginning. Even the most well-conceived apps face the inevitable reality of bugs and glitches post-launch.

These issues, if left unresolved, can impact user experience and invite poor reviews, leading to a dwindling user base. Here's where regular app maintenance steps in, not just as an important task, but as a critical necessity.

However, a key question to ponder is - what does this maintenance entail, and more importantly, how much does it cost in 2024?

Dive into this comprehensive guide to uncover the importance, types, and cost of mobile app maintenance. Let's ensure your app continues to shine brightly in the ever-competitive mobile app universe.

App Maintenance Cost – Setting the Context

Today, mobile apps fuel our digital world. By 2025, the number of smartphone users in the US is predicted to surge to 311 million, presenting an enormous opportunity for app developers.

When it comes to mobile apps, there is a heavy emphasis on the coding phase.

However, those who ideate and develop apps understand that behind the glamour of development lies a rigorous saga of effort and innovation.

This saga involves successfully publishing your app on Google Play or the Apple App Store, and strategically marketing it.

Does the story end with development?

Definitely not!

A resilient app demands a robust plan for maintenance, a process not unlike maintaining our electronic devices. Monitoring the performance and ensuring users receive regular upgrades is vital.

Consider this: You’re engrossed in an edge-of-the-seat movie, and the screen abruptly goes blank. Naturally, you'd be frustrated, and if you’ve paid for the movie experience, you’d demand a refund.

The same principle applies to a compelling mobile app—users expect a seamless experience devoid of disruptions.

Regular app maintenance is key to preventing such interruptions, and this does incur additional costs. Neglecting mobile app maintenance could be a cause of your app’s failure, leading to the dreaded app uninstalls.

Statistics reveal that while new mobile apps appearing in the store are growing, the obsolete apps being removed also cause concern.

Why Maintaining and Updating Mobile Apps Matter

As a business owner, prioritizing long-term maintenance can prevent your app from becoming outdated.

1. Ensuring Mobile Apps Stay Updated and Reducing Uninstalls

It's wise to stay attuned to user preferences and tailor features that echo their likes and dislikes.

Studies reveal that over 71% of users uninstall apps due to intrusive notifications.

This indicates that users are highly cognizant of functionality and benefits, and they may delete your app if it doesn't meet their expectations.

Hence, it's essential to continually monitor user preferences and expectations—and update your app accordingly.

App stores maintain stringent quality guidelines, and if your app listing falls short, they may reject it.

A decline in your app rankings might prompt the platforms to remove your app during their periodic cleanup. Proactively updating your app with new features and APIs is a sound strategy.

2. Offering Superior User Experiences

There's no magic formula for your app’s success and growth. Delivering superior user experiences (UX) is essential.

An exquisite user experience helps you:

  • Enhance User Retention: A flawless UX can substantially enhance your app's user retention rate. Smooth navigation, minimal loading time, and user-friendly interface—all these factors influence the user experience and their likelihood to continue using your app.
  • Increase Revenue: A superior UX can attract more users, leading to increased in-app purchases or ad revenue.
  • Improve Ratings and Reviews: Happy users are more likely to leave positive reviews, contributing to better app store rankings.

Also Read: How Much Does it Cost to Build A Mobile App?

3. Increased ROI in the Long Run

When you regularly update your app, you can get plenty of financial benefits, such as maximizing ROI. It will also help to continually look for innovative ways to decrease costs and acquire new users. How can regular maintenance help?

It’s quite simple! When you fix that occasional bug, you can spread the costs of fixing bugs over a more extended period.

4. Curtailing Downtimes and Revenue Losses

Any downtime could spell substantial revenue losses. Big companies like Bank of America Online Banking, Blackberry, and Amazon Web Services have suffered significant revenue losses due to downtime.

When your team proactively handles such downtimes, it’s quite simple that you’d have curtailed heavy losses and also earned happier users.

Also Read: What Businesses Can Learn from the Iowa 2024 App Disaster?

5. Addressing Security Concerns

As technology evolves, so do security threats. Regular maintenance and updates can ensure that your app remains secure against potential breaches and vulnerabilities. This also includes complying with the privacy policies of the platform (Google or Apple) and local regulations like GDPR or CCPA.

6. Staying Relevant in the Market

Keeping your app updated with the latest technological trends and user preferences is critical to stay relevant and competitive in the market. This could mean integrating new technologies, redesigning the interface, or introducing new features.

Types of Mobile App Maintenance

Mobile app maintenance type and cost

Emergency Maintenance: This type of maintenance is necessitated by unforeseen problems that occur unexpectedly and require immediate attention. These issues are often unpredictable and can significantly disrupt the smooth functioning of your app, emphasizing the need for swift resolution to ensure a seamless user experience.

Perfective Maintenance: As user requirements evolve and new mobile features become popular, your app must adapt to keep up with the changes. Perfective maintenance involves proactively responding to feedback and modifying the app's source code as necessary to enhance the user experience continually.

Adaptive Maintenance: To keep your app in sync with changing technological environments, adaptive maintenance is crucial. This may involve updating the app to ensure compatibility with new operating system versions, hardware upgrades, or changes in the software environment that could affect the app's performance.

Preventive Maintenance: This maintenance strategy focuses on preempting potential errors and reducing the app's complexity to improve its maintainability. Preventive measures may include code restructuring, code optimization, and documentation updating to enhance the app's efficiency and prevent future issues.

Corrective Maintenance: Corrective maintenance addresses existing flaws, faults, and defects in the app's functions. This includes resolving issues related to design, coding, and application logic to ensure the app functions as intended.

As app owners, understanding these maintenance categories is crucial for comprehensive planning and budgeting. While estimating the costs of app maintenance, consider these different types of maintenance requirements to ensure the longevity and effectiveness of your app.

How Much Does App Maintenance Cost?

When considering the costs involved in app maintenance, various factors such as server management, push notifications, and payment gateways come into play.

Once your app is live on platforms such as Google Play and Apple App Store, it's essential to track key metrics such as Daily Active Users (DAU), which highlights the number of app installations and engaged users. Additionally, monitoring Monthly Active Users (MAU) provides a broader overview of app engagement. High DAU and MAU are usually indicative of your app's success.

In the app development lifecycle, the maintenance stage comes after development and publication. This phase often incurs additional costs, which can reach up to 50% of the total development cost during the first year. This figure usually decreases to about 15-25% in the subsequent years.

Moreover, if your app supports multiple operating systems, such as Android and iOS, the maintenance costs might increase slightly. On average, app owners should expect to spend around $2,000 to $2,500 a month initially to keep the app running optimally.

A general guideline is to budget 20% of the initial development cost for maintenance. For instance, if your app development costs were $200,000, you can expect to spend about $40,000 per year on maintenance.

Let's explore some common recurring expenses during the maintenance phase:

Table 1. Expenses at the App Maintenance Stage

Expense Head Cost ($) per month
Servers $100-$200 per month
Push Notifications $10
Payment Gateways Up to $149 (or more), which also includes a certain percentage of each transaction
Emergency Maintenance Depends on the nature of Emergency
App Stores Developer Fee $25 at Google Play, $99 at Apple App

Here are some more items that you need to keep in mind when taking the cost of app maintenance into account:

1. Hosting

The server cost for mobile apps and app hosting prices is a critical expense head in the app maintenance costs. You would need to consider what kind of server you need for your app and then calculate the associated app hosting costs.

Depending on the type of app data, you can plan out the server resources. You can check out if the app data is more text-based or static or if you are handling audio, video, and other massive chunks of data being sent or received by users.

You will need more server CPU, memory, and disk space for more extensive data, which will lead to increased costs. An app hosting server can range in price anywhere from $70 per month up to $320 per month, which largely depends on factors such as the content, the number of active users, and projected growth.

You will find multiple hosting options, such as a cloud-based environment. Cloud services like Amazon Web Services (AWS) are typically less expensive as you only pay for what you use, and there the maintenance cost of the server itself is lesser.

2. Analytics

Mobile app bugs, crashes, and other glitches need to be monitored and analyzed—and you’d need tools like Google Analytics that provide insights to help you make better decisions.

You inevitably check out your users’ preferences and expectations so that you can make quick decisions. You will find plenty of free tools but some advanced tools that may cost to provide critical insights.

The monitoring and decision-making also involve a cost in time, and you’d need to plan to choose tools that suit your business needs.

3. Bug Fixing and Updates

Regular updates can help resolve and quickly fix bugs and enhance the UX. If you look at any app, then you’d find that there are updates for the app. The cost of the updates varies—and depends on a lot of factors.

Consider you have one bug that requires a quick fix in the line of code—it would cost you around $50. What if you need to update a functional aspect?

It could take you a couple of weeks to fix, and the costs could be around $1,000-$2,000. The prices are typically dependent on the size of the app and the nature of changes in the functionality. As an app owner, you’d need to consider the maintenance of such facets.

4. Third-Party

While developing your app, you may choose to use licensed technology at a fee. So anything in your app that comes from someone else involves a monthly cost. You’d need to consider calculating such third-party costs.

5. Customer Support

Let’s think of the movie experience, if you would have a sudden disruption in the movie screening—you’d have angry customers.

Similarly, if users have any complaints, then it would be great if they can voice their concerns and have a pleasant complaint resolution experience. You may consider investing in customer support, which will be an ongoing cost but can have benefits such as positive reviews.

The more feature-rich your application is—you could expect additional expenses. The costs of maintaining your mobile app would be dependent on various factors, including the app's functionality, and it is prudent that you budget for the expenses.

As you mull over bringing value through your mobile app usage, it would be best to chalk out and follow some of the best practices in the industry.

Best Practices for App Maintenance

With best practices, you can ensure that your users have a seamless and excellent app experience. Here’s what you can consider:

1. Adding New Feature Updates

It’s a great idea to monitor and check out improvement areas and new features that will add value to your app.

2. Keeping User Interface (UI) Updated

With trending styles and usage habits, you’d need to keep track and keep the user interface updated, which is essential to your app’s success. The more trendy your app, the happier your existing users are.

3. Monitoring Performance

It is critical to check your app performance. So look at the loading times, lags, and responsiveness issues and stay updated with the help of analytics reports.

It is vital that you know your retention and churn rates, analyze patterns of customer usage, and track your engagement and conversion rates.

4. Scheduling System Maintenance

When you schedule regular system maintenance, it is an excellent way to avoid missing out on issues or bugs. You can inform users beforehand about having the system down for maintenance and keep your app up-to-date.

As Peter Rojas, Co-founder of Engadget and Gizmodo, says, “In my opinion, the future of mobile is the future of everything.” As app owners, you have a responsibility to curate the future of mobile by ideating app maintenance and implementing it efficiently.

An Experienced Technology Partner for App Maintenance

If you want to create excellent app experiences—then you must plan out app maintenance. If you’re an app owner, who needs help with budgeting and maintaining your mobile apps, get in touch with us.

We are an award-winning team of web and mobile application developers with vast experience in emerging technologies like AI and IoT.

Let’s talk.

Author

Michael Georgiou

Frequently Asked Questions

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