How to Make an iPhone App and Sell It

by Nancy Wagner; Updated September 26, 2017
Business phone

Whether you want to make an app that adds value to your other business offerings or create an app that serves as the foundation of your business, making one for the iPhone has gotten easier thanks to tools geared for non-programmers in the iOS Developer program. The key to making money from your app is to make it stand out from the more than 1.2 million apps now available in the App Store.

Become a Developer

All developers who want to offer apps in the App Store must register for the iOS Developer Program. The program provides development resources for programmers and non-programmers alike, including tools, videos, documentation and coding samples to help you develop your application. You’ll also gain access to an interface builder to make the app more attractive and easy for people to use with drop-and-drag buttons.

Test Your App

After you develop the app, test it to make sure it works the way you want. Use the iOS Developer Program to test it on your iPhone or on an iOS simulator. The simulator helps you find bugs or performance issues in your app that need more work. The program also gives you access to Apple’s Technical Support team for help refining your code and to technical documentation on debugging your app.

Upload the App

Before you can sell your app in the App Store, Apple must approve it. Read the regulations in the iOS Developer Program and follow the instructions on how to submit the app for review using iTunes Connect. After Apple approves the app, you’re ready to release it in the App Store.

Set the Price

Price your app competitively by researching similar apps to see what they cost. Apps can sell for as little as 99 cents with Apple keeping 30 percent of each sale. Macworld, a magazine about Apple products, reported that when one developer boosted the price of his app from 99 cents to $1.99, sales doubled, suggesting buyers perceived the higher priced app as better quality than the other less expensive apps available. The key is to experiment with the price until you hit the point where sales are steady.

Market Your App

Use screenshots and a strong description on your App Store page to make users want the app. Grab interest with the first sentence of your description by mentioning the main benefit of the app since that’s all readers see unless they click to read more. Encourage people to post reviews to make buyers feel confident about purchasing your app. You can offer a basic version of your app free to get people to download it and charge for an upgraded version with more features. Market the app on your website and provide links to the App Store for making a purchase. Use social media posts and send press releases about the app to publications, blogs and websites to reach their readers.

About the Author

Nancy Wagner is a marketing strategist and speaker who started writing in 1998. She writes business plans for startups and established companies and teaches marketing and promotional tactics at local workshops. Wagner's business and marketing articles have appeared in "Home Business Journal," "Nation’s Business," "Emerging Business" and "The Mortgage Press," among others. She holds a B.S. from Eastern Illinois University.

Photo Credits

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