Mobile app development on its own is a difficult endeavor. 27 billion apps were downloaded from Google Play Store. Approximately 21.2 billion was spent by users on apps from Apple iTunes.
These numbers indicate that mobile app development is not slowing down, instead, it is only picking up steam with every passing day. However, there is something that every app developer and company must bear in mind. No mobile app will remain evergreen forever. It will need maintenance from time to time to continue working like a well-oiled machine.
Mobile app maintenance is essential to tackle several aspects.
- Performance updates
The first avatar of any mobile app will be far from perfect. It is with time and continuous improvisation that it gets better in performance and user experience. Mobile app maintenance helps in releasing performance updates that iron out deficiencies and introduce new efficiency.
Although unintentional, bugs do creep into app version releases irrespective of the versions. From the first version to a version release happening after the 3rd year, a mobile app will need debugging to keep it in pristine condition. That calls for app maintenance.
- Security updates
As cyber security attackers become innovative with their modus operandi, the onus is upon the app development firm to release security updates that will keep the app immune to all security threats.
- Keeping up with the trend
Like fashion, apps need continuous improvements so that they remain attuned to the latest trends in mobile app features, capabilities, and user expectations.
For all these four reasons and many others, it is necessary to invest in app maintenance. There are several factors that influence the cost of a mobile app.
Factors that influence mobile app development cost
It is not possible to predict mobile app maintenance costs with accuracy. There are several variables that make this prediction difficult, however, not impossible. By weighing these factors, we can determine an approximate estimate of mobile app development costs.
The costs for maintaining an iPhone app would be drastically different from maintaining an Android app. Maintaining iPhone apps tends to cost more because Apple imposes stringent app development and release policies that are difficult to adhere to.
Type of app
Maintaining a gaming app is going to be starkly different from maintaining an eCommerce app or a banking app. Depending on the type of app, it will also have varying functionalities which make the maintenance process cumbersome.
Similar to app development, mobile app maintenance also requires developer resources. These resources can be sourced in-house or externally through outsourcing. Setting up an in-house team or outsourcing the requirement to an offshore development has a huge say in the costs.
Most apps begin as freemium models and migrate to monetizing premium features once a strong user base is established. Introducing a paywall or setting up monetization as part of mobile app maintenance or upgrade is going to increase the maintenance costs significantly.
Types of mobile app maintenance
Mobile app maintenance is not a single task or activity. The effort, time taken, and cost involved varies significantly based on the type of mobile app maintenance.
The most common types of mobile app maintenance include:
Working on improvements, bug fixes, and features based on the feedback collected from users. In perfective maintenance, an attempt is made to perfect the app to meet user expectations.
App stores and even statutes like GDPr state the various steps a mobile app must take to ensure users’ data privacy and security. To ensure that the app adapts to such requirements, adaptive maintenance is necessary. This could be a simple change in the way the app behaves or a total overhaul of where the data is stored, how it is processed, shared, etc.
Precautionary measures are taken to reduce downtime that could happen due to various reasons, like compatibility with user devices, updates in hardware, code optimization to save resources, etc.
Despite best efforts, a mobile app might crash causing downtimes. In such scenarios, an emergency rescue operation might be essential to put the app back on its foot. This is done with the help of emergency maintenance.
Can mobile app development costs be reduced?
Every business that runs on a shoestring budget would want to keep its mobile app development costs to a bare minimum.
Here are some ways that can help you reduce your mobile app development costs to a certain extent.
Plan the app’s lifecycle in advance
An app’s lifecycle is spread over years. It will also chart how the app will grow in features over a period of time. Keeping this lifecycle in mind, decide to set up an in-house app development and maintenance team or engage an offshore development team to finish the task easily on a timely basis.
Use cross-platform app development
Cross-platform app development basically means reusing the same code base to create multiple apps across multiple operating systems. It is efficient since multiple instances of development and testing are not necessary. A single maintenance activity can be replicated across multiple variants of the app to save time and effort.
Invest in the right type of maintenance
Mobile app maintenance should be a conscious effort. It is necessary to decide which type of maintenance your app requires and at what frequency. This will help allocate the right amount of resources, money, and time for maintenance efforts. Such a planned effort will also help eliminate any last-minute decisions which lead to inflated costs.
Outsource mobile app development and maintenance
The easiest way to keep your app development and maintenance costs low is to outsource the process to an external company who is expert in it. They will have scalable resources, and the capability to complete the task in the shortest time span possible without compromising on quality.
Rounding it up
Mobile app maintenance is crucial to ensure that a mobile app is always at its prime condition. It ensures optimum performance and also eliminates any instances of downtime. Regular app maintenance is key to delivering a top-notch user experience to users.
Of course, like maintaining a vehicle, app maintenance is also going to expend your resources, both in terms of money and time. However, you can keep the costs down with the measures discussed above. Be informed, it is better to spend on maintenance than suffer huge losses due to downtime. As the old adage goes, a stitch in time saves nine.