In the past, I’ve seen some developers — most notably Jared Sinclair — open up regarding the living they’ve made off the App Store. I’ve always found these sorts of posts fascinating (see also Pomplamoose’s recent tour dissection). Here’s the lifetime financials of my recently discontinued app, Fast Text.
|Year||Total Apple Payments|
It’s worth noting that Fast Text didn’t debut in the App Store until late June 2010. Additionally, it was only updated a few times. The only “major” update was to add support for sending e-mails (in addition to text messages). Otherwise, the app has mostly remained stagnant since 2010.
|2010||Apple iOS Developer Membership||$99|
|2011||Apple iOS Developer Membership||$99|
|2012||Apple iOS Developer Membership||$99|
|2013||Apple iOS Developer Membership||$99|
|2014||Apple iOS Developer Membership||$99|
I used Opacity Express in order to generate my awesome icon. Otherwise, the only thing I paid for was the annual Apple iOS Developer Program membership.
I don’t consider WWDC as an expense related to Fast Text, though I’ve gone from 2011-2014. Of those four times, only once have I paid my own way; the rest of the times work paid for me to go.
Let me start by saying that I earned $295.39 from Fast Text during its lifetime. That certainly isn’t bad, but broken down a bit, the picture is less rosy.
Let’s take the total duration of time Fast Text was in the store as 4.5 years, though it was actually slightly less. With that in mind, let’s look at some averages:
Yearly Profit: $65.64
Monthly Profit: $5.47
Weekly Profit: $1.26
Daily Profit: $0.18
That… isn’t that much. Surely more than nothing, and I’m thankful to finally be in the black. However, that almost wasn’t the case.
In 2013 and 2014 both, Fast Text was mentioned on ATP. That led to huge spikes in downloads:
Before those two mentions, Fast Text was not actually profitable at all. In fact, it wasn’t profitable until at least its third year in the App Store, after the first spike.
To Be Clear…
- The app was $0.99 for its entire run. The price was never changed.
- I didn’t market the app outside of a couple mentions on ATP.
- I didn’t put near enough care into it, hence it getting discontinued.
- The app was really simple. Far simpler than many other $0.99 apps.
- Not updating your app is undeniably not the path to financial success.
My experience may not be yours. It may be better. It may be worse. If nothing else, it’s just another data point.