How Much Does it Cost to Make an Augmented Reality App?

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How Much Does it Cost to Make an Augmented Reality App?

How Much Does it Cost to Make an Augmented Reality App:As technology continues to advance at lightning speed, you may be wondering what it takes to create your own augmented reality app. With so many practical uses across industries, these innovative apps are becoming more popular by the day. But before diving in to develop one yourself, the looming question is likely how much will it actually cost?

While complex apps can get pricey, you’d be surprised at how achievable it can be, especially if you plan smart. Getting answers to factors like features, design, and platform early on will help estimate a realistic budget. Whether you want to create a basic AR app for fun or have visions of the next Pokémon GO, this breakdown will help you map out costs.

Understanding Augmented Reality App Development

Understanding Augmented Reality App Development

To develop an augmented reality app, there are a few key things you need to understand about the process.

The Technology

Augmented reality or “AR” refers to the overlay of digital information onto the real world through your mobile device’s camera. AR apps use software and algorithms to analyze the camera feed and render graphics that make it appear as if digital elements are part of the real-world environment.

This technology relies on several components:

  • Location tracking using GPS, Wi-Fi, and motion sensors to determine where the device is located and which direction it’s pointing. This allows the app to place digital content in the appropriate location.

-Computer vision uses machine learning algorithms to detect and track objects, planes, lighting conditions, and depth. This is how AR apps can place anchors and track images, text or 3D models onto flat surfaces or track objects.

-3D rendering involves creating and animating the digital content and then mapping it onto the real world. 3D models, text, images and video can all be rendered and overlaid onto the real environment.

-Anchoring is how the digital content is fixed to a real-world location or object. Anchors are placed so the content appears fixed in the environment as the user moves the device.

-SLAM or “simultaneous localization and mapping” is used to scan and map the environment so digital content can interact with real-world objects and surfaces. This is how interactive AR experiences are created.

To develop an AR app, you need developers skilled in areas like computer vision, 3D modeling, Unity or Unreal development platforms and various AR software development kits or SDKs like ARKit, ARCore or Vuforia. The costs can range from $50,000 to $500,000 or more for a custom AR app, depending on the complexity.

Factors That Influence Augmented Reality App Costs

When calculating how much it will cost to develop an AR app, several factors come into play. The complexity of your app’s features, the platform you choose, and your developers’ rates will all affect the total price tag.

App Features

The features and functionality you want to include in your AR app will significantly impact development costs. More advanced features like multi-user interactions, 3D object rendering, and spatial mapping require specialized coding and expertise, driving the price up. Basic apps with standard features like image recognition and overlaying graphics can start around $30,000 to $50,000. Highly complex apps with custom animations, AI integrations or multiplayer capabilities will likely cost between $100,000 to $500,000 or more.


Whether you choose to develop for iOS, Android, or both also influences cost. iOS apps generally cost slightly more to build due to Apple’s stricter requirements and approval process. Cross-platform apps that work on both Android and iOS tend to be the most expensive. If budget is a concern, you may need to prioritize one platform over the other, at least initially. You can expect an AR app for a single platform to start around $50,000 to $100,000. For both iOS and Android, likely $150,000 to $250,000.

Developer Rates

The experience and rates of your developers or development team will affect your budget as well. Freelance developers charge between $50 to $200 per hour, while agencies charge $150 to $250 per hour for mid to senior-level developers. Complex AR apps can take 500-1500 hours to build, so you’re looking at between $25,000 to $300,000 or more in costs for labor alone. Make sure you hire developers with proven experience building AR apps to get the most for your money.

While the total cost to develop an AR app can vary quite a bit based on these factors, you can expect to pay at minimum $50,000 to $100,000 for a basic app, and $200,000 to $500,000 or more for an advanced, cross-platform AR experience. The key is defining your must-have features upfront so you can develop an affordable plan to bring your vision to life.

Budgeting for an Augmented Reality App Project

Budgeting for an Augmented Reality App Project

As with any custom software development project, the cost to develop an augmented reality (AR) app can vary greatly depending on the complexity and features. However, you can expect to pay between $30,000 to $500,000 or more for a high-quality AR app.

The actual development process typically takes 3 to 6 months for a small to mid-sized AR app. The major costs you’ll need to budget for include:

•AR developers and designers. You’ll want a team with experience building AR apps. Expect to pay $50 to $250 per hour for AR developers and designers. The total cost will depend on the scope and timeline of your project.

•3D assets and models. If your app incorporates 3D objects, you’ll need to budget for 3D artists to create models and animate objects. Prices range from $50 to $500 per model depending on complexity.

•AR SDKs and tools. Major AR platforms like ARKit (iOS) and ARCore (Android) are free to use. However, some AR SDKs and tools charge licensing fees ranging from $30 to $500 per month.

•QA testing. Extensive testing is required to ensure an AR experience works properly. QA testers charge between $50 to $150 per hour. Plan on allocating at least 25% of your total budget to QA testing.

•Maintenance and updates. After launching your AR app, ongoing maintenance and updates will be required to fix any issues, enhance the experience, and keep the app compatible with the latest OS and hardware updates. Budget at least 20% of the initial development costs for ongoing maintenance.

The costs can seem daunting, but a well-designed AR app can provide an engaging experience for your users and give your business a competitive edge. With proper planning and budgeting, you can build an AR app that achieves your goals without breaking the bank. If needed, start with an MVP (minimum viable product) to test the experience before investing in a more complex AR app.

Tips to Reduce Your Augmented Reality App Development Costs

To keep costs down for your augmented reality app, consider these tips:

Focus on a narrow feature set

Rather than trying to build an all-encompassing AR app, focus on a few key features that provide real value to users. Start with the minimum viable product, get feedback, and build from there. Adding too many advanced features too soon can quickly drive up development costs.

Use existing AR frameworks and libraries

Don’t reinvent the wheel by building an AR framework from scratch. Leverage existing AR software development kits (SDKs) and open source libraries, like ARKit, ARCore, Vuforia, and Wikitude. These provide foundational tools to help you build AR apps, allowing you to focus your resources on the unique aspects of your app.

Choose a cross-platform AR solution

If you want to release your app on both iOS and Android, use a cross-platform AR SDK. This allows you to build the AR experience once and deploy it to both platforms, rather than building completely separate iOS and Android versions. Some good options for cross-platform AR include Unity, Unreal Engine, and React Native.

Keep your 3D assets lightweight

The more complex your 3D models and environments, the more expensive your app will be to develop. Optimize your 3D assets to be as lightweight as possible while still achieving your desired visual quality. Use techniques like polygon reduction, texture compression, and level of detail to lower the complexity of assets.

Consider outsourcing parts of development

If some areas of development are beyond your team’s expertise or bandwidth, consider outsourcing them to specialized AR developers. For example, you may outsource 3D modeling, complex backend development, or porting your app to additional platforms. Outsourcing targeted portions of work is often more cost-effective than hiring additional full-time developers.

Following these tips will help ensure you get the most out of your AR app development budget and can build an engaging experience for your users at a lower cost. With some savvy decisions, you can create an AR app that provides value to your customers and your business.

How Much Does It Cost to Make an Augmented Reality App? – FAQs

How Much Does It Cost to Make an Augmented Reality App? - FAQs

Augmented reality app development can range quite a bit in cost depending on the complexity of your app. Here are some of the major factors that determine how much it will cost to build an AR app:

App Complexity

A basic AR app with a few 3D models or animations will cost significantly less than an app with sophisticated computer vision and machine learning capabilities. More complex apps require more time and expertise to develop, so they come with a higher price tag. For a fairly simple app, you can expect to pay between $30,000 to $150,000. A highly complex app with advanced features can cost $500,000 or more.

Development Team

The experience and size of your dev team also impacts cost. Hiring an established AR dev studio with a proven track record will likely charge higher rates than a small indie team. Larger teams can often deliver projects faster but at a premium. For most AR apps, you’ll want a team of 3-5 developers with experience building AR/VR applications.

Integrating New Technology

Apps using cutting-edge AR tech like lidar scanning, spatial mapping, and occlusion will require specialized knowledge and equipment, driving the cost up. If your app needs to integrate emerging tools and frameworks, expect to pay a higher rate for developers with expertise in those areas.

Maintenance and Updates

Don’t forget that your costs don’t end once your AR app launches. Ongoing maintenance, updates, and new feature development will require continuous investment. Plan on budgeting at least 10-20% of your initial dev costs for maintenance each year to keep your app up to date, fix any issues, and release updates.

In summary, for a high-quality custom AR app developed by an experienced team, you can expect to pay between $50,000 to $500,000 or more, depending on the complexity. The good news is that as AR technology matures, development costs are coming down, making AR apps more accessible for businesses of all sizes. With some careful planning, you can build an innovative AR experience without breaking the bank.


So there you have it. Whether you’re a startup or enterprise, making an augmented reality app is a serious investment, but the payoff in customer engagement can be huge if you get it right. Just be sure to work with a developer experienced in AR to nail down realistic costs and timelines. And don’t forget – no matter what your budget, focusing relentlessly on solving real user needs should always be priority one. With the right partnership and approach, augmented reality could take your business to the next level. So are you ready to make the leap into the exciting world of AR apps?


Augmented Reality

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