How to make a photo sharing app like Instagram


500 million people use Instagram. When you see this huge number, you probably think: “No, thanks, I am not even going to try to create a photo sharing app because everybody uses Instagram”. But people like new things, so don't be afraid to make even an Instagram clone, your photo sharing app also will find its users. Here is an example: Whatsapp and Viber - two messengers with similar features but both are popular.

Another thing you are probably worried about is the cost of development. Therefore, in this article we will give you few tips and explain the strategy of creating a photo sharing app like Instagram for iOS and android step by step.

Design and Functionality


Why do people like Instagram?

  • It is easy to use.

  • It has the simple but beautiful design.

  • It has many little and nice features.

Therefore, your first step is to choose the interface and key features of your photo sharing app. You don’t need to copy everything from Instagram but some functionalities are highly important.

  • Easy registration and authorization: almost all the applications today have 3 ways of registration and authorization: via e-mail, mobile phone or social networks. We recommend using social networks authorization as it is less time consuming.

  • Profiles: there is no point in developing a photo sharing app without profiles. Keep it simple: nickname, avatar, small description and general information. Allow your users to edit, add and remove information in one click.

  • Communication: an app for sharing photos is also a social network, where people come to follow users they like and communicate with each other. Therefore, you need to add messaging, liking, commenting and following services. There is no huge amount of reposts in photo sharing apps but you can add this feature too. Another important thing – connect your app with social networks, so users can share posts and invite friends.

  • Posting: there is two ways of picture uploading – from the device gallery or “take and upload” format. Other elements of posting – post description, mentioning people and adding tags. Hashtags and geotags are quick and easy instruments of posts searching, so they are necessary.

  • Image customization: there is no need to put 100 filters and effects in your application. From the other hand, you can add few more than Instagram or other image editing apps and services have – users will appreciate it.

  • Push notifications: very useful feature applied by all social networks and apps.

These are the basic features a photo sharing app should have. However, there is a huge place for experiments and new functions. They require more time and money resources, but that is the cost of an app value.

Second step – design. Instagram has very simple but smart and stylish interface that is easy to deal with. There are only two requirements about design – user-friendly and nice looking. Stylish and easy apps are in fashion. Besides that, simple interface costs less time and money.

Developing an app for Android


Next step is actual photo sharing application development. In order to build the simplest app for Android, your local developers will need 500 hours approximately. If you will go outsource, the amount of time will be almost the same but hourly rate will vary from $50 to $150 (while local can come up even with $250 per hour). With outsourcing services the estimated cost of making and Android app like Instagram starts from $25,000 (with man-hour rate $50). Of course, the final price strongly depends on development company qualification, app design, and features. Over and above, do not forget to add marketing costs. No matter that it is not a part of development, you will need to promote your app, so it has to be included in the total cost.


Here are tools and software you will probably need to deal with in order to develop private photo sharing app.

  • JDK. Android apps work on Java, so you will need to deal with the Java Development Kit (JDK). Be sure that Development tools, “Source code” and “Public JRE” options are included.

  • IDE or Integrated Development Environment contains all the instruments for app creating. The best choice is Eclipse app from Google because it is integrated with Android software development kit.

  • Android development kit and Developer tools plugin. Now you have to get the Android development kit and special Developer tools plugin, in order to develop your application.

  • AVD. The last but not the least is the Android virtual device (AVD), which will help to test your app. You can configure it with Android Developer tools plugin, which you already have.

Developing an app for IOS


If you want to enter the market with an app for both OS, you have to make it for iPhone, after you developed an app for Android phones. The estimated development time will be about 500-600 hours and the cost $25-30,000 with the same hourly rate of $50 for outsourcing services. However, if you want to get complex app, it can take up to 700-800 hours to develop it. Here are the tools you will need to deal with, in order to develop a custom photo sharing app for iOS.

  • Xcode: IOS apps are built with the help of Хcode IDE. The trick here is that you cannot run it on Windows or Linux, so you will need to work on MAC OS device.  For iOS app development, you will need to get the latest version of Хcode and iOS SDK. IOS Software Development Kit will help you to integrate your app with iCloud and Touch ID.

  • Objective-C or Swift: all the iOS apps are written in Objective-C or Swift language. If you are already familiar with C or Java, you should have no problems in learning these languages. What is more, Swift is built on base of Objective-C but it is easier to learn and understand so we recommend to start with Swift.

  • TextMate or JEdit: these tools will help you to create and edit large arrays of code.

  • Vector graphics software:  here, CorelDraw, Adobe Illustrator, Xara Designer and Inkscape are the best ones, but if you need a free software, try DrawBerry.

  • Developer account: in order to sell your app on App Store, you need to purchase a developer account at iOS Dev Center. It will charge you with $99 per year and require your bank and tax information.

Keep in mind that IOS application development process can be more expensive than Android. You will need to buy or borrow a MAC OS device, if you do not have it, and pay for account and graphic software. It may create an extra time and money cost.

Delegate your app to professional developer team


Now you know how to make an app like Instagram for startup or business. However, if you are not familiar at all with programming, it is better to delegate it to professional developer. Why? You will save your time and money. Of course, the photo sharing app development cost is huge comparing with self-made application cost but imagine that you will spend twice more time than professional developer will. As known, time is money. From the other side, you will not make everything perfect, so will definitely need to hire a developer to correct all the bugs and mistakes. The best solution is to delegate it to professional outsource development team from the beginning.


After delegating your photo sharing app development, you can control the process of app creation but stay focused on business ideas. That’s why, Archer Software is here for you. Our goal is to help you to succeed with the best mobile app in the market. Our qualified experts will bring your application concept to life in the best way. Furthermore, our developers are specialized on mobile apps creating, so your app will work smart and fast and be one of a kind on the market. You will get full customer support and post-sale service as well. So, if you are wishing to have the best photo sharing app, get in touch with us.