How to Make Money Creating iPhone Apps

It’s been nearly 2 years since iFart for the iPhone was released and netted over $40,000 during Christmas eve and Christmas day. The Apple iTunes store makes monthly sales of upwards of $200 million for iPhone and iTouch apps alone. So you’ve got to be thinking, “how can I afford not to create iPhone apps?”. Well it’s not as easy as it sounds, for starters Apple reports that they receive an average 8,500-10,000 apps every single week. A majority of these apps either won’t make it through Apple’s screening, or they won’t make a single sale. Hope is not all lost though, if you have a creative idea for an app, whether it be a helpful utility, an entertaining soundboard, or an adventurous game, then you can still make a great deal of money. Take the lone coder, Ethan Nicholas, who developed the iPhone game iShoot completely on his own, and netted almost $600,000 in a single month. Even if you don’t have the time or patience to code or create graphics you can outsource your work to others.

Step 1: It all Starts with an Idea

It doesn’t matter how useful or entertaining your app is if it’s already been done multiple times. Apple will almost never accept anything that is racy, contains pornographic content, doesn’t enhance the iPhone experience, or if it contains duplicate or existing iPhone features and apps. So what you should have gotten from that is that your app should be appropriate for almost all ages and it should be as unique as possible. Unless you plan to hire employees, don’t shoot to high. That 100 level RPG sounds like a great idea, but will probably take a year or longer to develop on your own. Choose an idea that is practical and achievable. The developer of iShoot spent 8 hours a day creating the application as well as working a day job. So you have to ask yourself ‘how hard am I willing to work?’.

Step 2: To Outsource, or not to Outsource?

Outsourcing is basically hiring someone else to do the work for you. It’s up to you whether you want to learn and code the app yourself, or hire someone to do it for you. You should consider all of the pros and cons of both. Note: Before outsourcing, you need to make sure the app developer is completely capable of developing the application you want.



– Saves a lot of time.

– Quicker finish date.


– You don’t have control over the coding.

– Very costly.

– Less reliable than if you were to do it yourself.

Do it Yourself


– You can upgrade, tweak, and fix any code without a cost.

– Save a lot of money overall.

– Learn a new skill.


– Coding can be very difficult to learn.

– Extremely time consuming.

I may have missed some, but these are definitely the main points you should consider. If you decide to outsource your work you can head over to freelancer or elance to hire a programmer and graphic designer. If you want to learn to code head over to Apple’s developer center.

Step 3: Marketing Your iPhone App

Once you have created the app itself, you have to market it. Even if it gets accepted into the App store you probably won’t make a single sale if people don’t know it’s there. There are number of ways to market your app and have the sales start rolling in like clockwork. You should use every method as possible to get your app out there.

Make a Lite Version

Creating a free version of your app is probably one of the best marketing strategies you can use. One thing you must avoid is giving away to many features on the free version and not enough on the paid version. The lite app should be good, the paid app should be great.

Mobile Ads

You can use Admob to target ads by country, device, as well as being able to test multiple ads at once. If you’re serious about beating out the competition you should spent anywhere between $100-$2,000 on mobile ads and see what you get. If you make a profit then continue what you’re doing. If you’re not you should listen to your feedback and make any changes necessary. You should also consider tweaking your ads.

Go Global

Many developers report that 50% or more of their sales come from outside of the US. Do some research and see what countries are buying. You will also probably find that it’s cheaper to advertise in countries outside the US.