The demand for photo-sharing apps is on the rise. This craze began after the success of Instagram. As per Statista, the number of Instagram users was more than 800 million in September 2017.

In June 2018, this number increased to more than 1000 million. The success of this social media platform led to an increase in requests for creating a similar app.

To give our clients some information beforehand, we dedicated a blog to developing a photo-sharing app. App development is a process, and it doesn’t come directly to the cost. The first question we get is – How to make an app like Instagram?

But we want to guide you through the whole process to avoid any confusion later. As a leading mobile application development agency, we want to make sure all your queries are resolved.

Instagram needs no introduction. But we will move ahead after giving you a brief introduction to the social networking app.

About Instagram

Instagram is a free social media platform to share photos and videos. Instead of using words, it is built completely around sharing pictures and videos.

Instagram has become a part of people’s daily lives. It has more than a billion registered accounts. Almost everyone is on the platform. It was starting from individuals to professionals and small and large businesses alike.

Did you Know?

  • The average amount of time people spend on Instagram daily is 30 minutes.
  • 81% of people use it to research products and services.
  • 130 million users tap on shopping posts each month.
  • 500 million people use the Stories feature every day.

Now, these are some impressive statistics, right? After reading this, if you plan to develop a similar social media app, then we don’t blame you.

☛ Functionality of Instagram

The key functionalities of this application are as follows:

  • Authorization (via email, phone, or Facebook)
  • Create & edit profile
  • Messages
  • Image customization
  • Determination of geolocation
  • View user-profiles and follow other users
  • Personalized feed
  • Search (by posts, usernames, tags, & places)
  • Mentions
  • Analytics
  • Settings

How to Make an App and the Cost to Develop an App like Instagram:

The exact cost of mobile app development depends on a lot of factors. On the basis of factors, you would be able to manage mobile app development cost effectively. It includes the number of features, choice of platform, development team, etc. Before you decide on an app development company, know what will affect the final cost to develop an app.

1. Developing an MVP

There are a lot of photos sharing apps in the market. So, it is better to build an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) of the product first.

It will help you gather valuable feedback. Also, you not only get to test the feasibility of your idea but also save time and money.

Even though you are developing an app like Instagram, don’t copy-paste all the features. For instance, there is no need for features like IGTV.

It is already there on Instagram. Instead, add an exclusive feature to capture the attention of the audience.

2. Setting up Account Authorization

The first setup for a social media application like Instagram is starting with account authorization. The users will get choices. They can either create a new account or sign in to their existing account.

There is also an option to set up a new password if the user forgets the old one. An important point to note here is that you need to save the user’s data on the backend.

The estimated time to develop this is 65 to 70 hours. This will include registration via email, sign-in/sign-out, sign-in through social media, and registration via phone number.

3. Create & Edit Profile

The next step is to build the option to create and edit user profiles. It will allow users to share their photos and videos. Also, the users will be able to edit their profiles.

Here, the backend will require an interaction between the client and server-side of the mobile application.

The estimated time for development is 48 to 50 hours.

4. Creating the Messaging Feature

After the profile feature is ready, the next in line is the messaging feature. It is necessary that you offer a real-time messaging feature to the users. This will also need a notification feature that will make users aware of new messages.

At the same time, it is also important to protect the server from excessive loading of incoming/outcoming messages. To build this feature, you will need an estimated time of 120-140 hours.

5. Uploading the Photo & Video

The next step is to implement the photo and video upload feature. It is the most important feature in video-sharing apps like Instagram. Users can choose images/videos from the app or upload from existing ones.

At the backend, there is a different approach for Android and iOS. Mobile app developers will need 75 to 300 hours to create this feature.

6. Customizing of Editing Photos

Apart from the option to share photos/videos, editing of the same is also an important feature. The option of customized images should be available in all social media applications. Users can play with the images and show their art while editing them.

When it comes to the backend, there are two options. Either you can use any standard file or create your own files. The development team may need 65 to 70 hours for this feature.

7. Implementing the Extra Settings

This is where you give users various options to change the settings of the app. For instance, a choice to enable/disable push notifications set their language of choice, etc.

If you want to allow push notifications, then the server should be connected to the Apple or Google server.

For that, you need to register on the Google/Apple server and give an ID. The server will send notifications via ID. The estimated time of development here is 95 to 125 hours.

8. Connecting with Social Media

Even if you are creating a social media app, it is necessary to connect it to others. It cannot be a standalone application. Now, people communicate with each other via different social media platforms. So, there needs to be a link that connects with other platforms.

At the backend, link the app account ID with the social media account ID. The possible time for development is 8-10 hours.

9. Integrating the Geo-location Feature

This feature is considered to be a necessity for all social media apps. The geolocation feature enables users to give their exact location while posting photos/videos.

To add this feature, you will need the help of APIs. Again, the approach for Android and iOS devices will be different here.

The required time to develop this feature is 24-30 hours.

10. The Search Option

The search option will help users to find their friends, family, and other acquaintances on the app. They also get to know about the trending things on social media, like news about celebrities. A user will choose their preferred option, and the backend will display results accordingly.

The mobile app development team will need 60-70 hours for this feature.

11. App Design – UI/UX

Other than the basic features, the average cost to develop an app will also include the app design cost. App design means User Interface and User Experience.

Solve the user experience and user interface problem if you are struggling with the app design. You should always make a simple app. The design will become the identity of your app.

You also have to select the colors and size of the content after some thinking. Not to forget that the app name should be short. That way, the users will easily remember it and may get hooked to it too.

The estimated time to design a similar app will take 60-70 hours.

12. Instagram as an eCommerce Platform & Business App

The role of social media apps like Instagram has evolved with time. Earlier, they were just meant to be a platform for sharing photos and videos.

Now, they can be used as an eCommerce platform or business app too. Ecommerce startups can get more profits from social media tips for small business

How? Well, we all know about the shoppable posts feature on Instagram. Also, brands now add links to their products/services in their stories, IGTV, or reels.

Do you also want to explore the possibility of how to develop an app like this? It is surely possible. But keep in mind that adding such functionality will increase the total app development cost.

13. Some Other Additional Costs

The additional cost to develop an app will include hosting or publishing, app testing, maintenance, and its updates. Also, if you want to add some features later on, then that will cost you extra too.

14. The Development Team

You will need the following team of professionals to make an app like Instagram:

  • Project Manager
  • UI/UX Designer
  • Mobile Developers
  • Backend Developers
  • DevOps
  • QA Engineers

15. Final Cost Estimation of Instagram App Development

It is quite impossible to precisely answer the question – How to make an app like Instagram and how much does it cost to develop? That’s because the project requirements differ from client to client.

Generally, the final cost is calculated on the basis of the hourly rate of the developers and the total hours required to build an app. But the development team may also give you the total cost directly.

In this case, you can pay the complete amount in one go or pay in installments. The hourly price of developers will also vary according to their geographical location.

For instance, in the US, developers charge $100. In India, the same developers will cost you $20 per hour.

After taking into consideration everything, the average cost to develop an app like Instagram will range between $50,000 to $60,000.


Instagram became a worldwide phenomenon due to its simple UI, high performance, and unique features. When it came into the market, there was no other platform like it.

Currently, the market is full of similar apps. But the silver lining in the cloud is that people always look for something different. So, you can bank upon this opportunity and create an app that will keep the users hooked.

To make an app like Instagram, you will have to undergo a trial-and-error path. It is going to be a long and complicated journey but keep your patience with it.

In such a situation, if you partner with the right custom Android app development company, then it will reduce half your problems.

Last but not least, most startups fail because they copy and paste the existing idea into the market. If you want to be successful with your social media app idea, then offer something unique to the idea.

Cloning the Instagram app is no way to achieve the desired success. Hope this article will be helpful on How to make an app and its estimated cost.

Are you ready to lead the market with your own app like Instagram? Do you need some guidance on adding interesting features to your app? Whatever it is, just drop an email to us at [email protected]! Our team will get back to you with a response as soon as possible.

cost to develop an app


The time to develop an app will depend on the final project requirements. However, to develop an MVP version of an app like Instagram, you will need approximately 1,180 hours.

The total cost to create such an app will depend on a lot of factors. But if we are talking about the estimated cost to build a similar app, then it will range somewhere between $50,000 to $60,000.

There are two ways to find professionals for your project. You can either hire them individually as per their skills, or you can partner with a complete development team. If you choose to hire individuals, then there are various freelancing sites for the same.