How to Create an Augmented Reality App in 4 Simple Steps

Want to learn how to make an AR app from scratch?
You are on the perfect blog.

Before that, imagine this.

You want to purchase sunglasses online for yourself. You do not have any idea how it will look on you. But having AR technology will enhance your shopping experience. With a few taps, you can try different sunglasses on your picture to see whether the desired sunglasses look great on you or not.


Source: Warby Parker Website

Isn’t it impressive to try on virtual 3D glasses through the Warby Parker app? Surely it is. Many entrepreneurs have already started to grab this opportunity, including Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook.

In 2019, CNBC reported that Facebook started working on glasses that allow people to project digital images onto the physical world.

Thus, if you have also decided to build your own AR app for your business but do not know how to create an augmented reality app, then this blog is for you. Shall we start?

How to Develop an Augmented Reality App for
Android and iOS

Taking smaller steps at a time will help you to make an app even with new technology. Being an entrepreneur, consider mentioned steps for developing your app. Let’s see all the steps one-by-one.

  1. Market Research

    The best way to research the market is by checking related applications on Google Play Store and App Store. Download related apps to check their features, and make a list to see where you can improve.

    Check their performance, UI/UX design, speed, feedback, and ratings. So, you will identify where they are lacking and find ways to improve the features that you can include to give the best user experience to your customers.

    Additionally, you can also get feedback from friends, coworkers, or anyone whose opinion is valuable and trustable to you. Check whether they find the idea helpful, and according to them, which features are missing.

  2. Set Your Requirements

    Once you do market research, set your requirements. Here is the list of requirements that you need to consider for app development. It will also be easy for you to explain your requirements to potential app developers.

    • Features that you want to include
    • The type of mobile app, such as native and hybrid
    • Your choice of platform, such and iOS, Android, and AR platforms
    • Any specific technology, programming language, or tools like (Vuforia, ARKit, RealityKit)
  3. Start Working on Your App

    At this stage, you will need to contact the AR experts, who can understand your requirements and also fulfill them as suggested. But before that, you will need to hire a professional company that has hands-on experience in developing AR apps.

    To select the best AR development company, consider the following factors.

    how to select app development company

    Once you hire developers, you and developers can start working on your AR application to give your potential customers the best solutions. Please ensure you have clarified your queries with the development company and made them understand your requirements. Thus, it will be an essential stage of the development process.

    Publish Your App

    • Title
    • Description
    • Category
    • Keywords
    • Launch Icon
    • Screenshots

The process to submit your app to App Store may take a few days, depending on the app’s quality and the way you have followed the iOS development guidelines. On the other hand, Google Play Store doesn’t have a review process, and your app will be available within a few hours after the submission.

Build Your Augmented Reality Application

Have an idea? Not sure where to start? Book a free call with our technical AR expert.

Cta Image

How Much Does it Cost to Develop an AR App?

Various factors influence the app development cost of an AR application, and one of them is the types of AR apps. Find out the cost for each type of AR app.

Note: Please know that this is a rough estimation from one of our technical experts. He estimated the rough cost based on different features and functionalities of an AR app type.

TypeFeaturesEstimated Cost
Marker-based AR
  • Through the smartphone’s camera you can scan QR codes, icons, and cards
$2000 – $4000
Marker-based App with Animation
  • Use a camera to augment the virtual object onto the physical world
  • Add intuitive audio with the image
$2600 – $3500
Marker-less AR
  • Make different combinations of styles and objects
$10,000 – $11,500
Projection-based AR
  • Simplifies complex manual tasks of manufacturing operations
$6000 – $8000
Superimposition-based AR
  • Helps to replace the object with an augmented view
  • For example: Helps to superimpose an X-ray view of a broken bone on a real image to identify the damage
$7000 – $8500
Outlining-based AR
  • Recognizes the boundaries of the road, showcase buildings, and supporting pillars through AR
$4200 – $5000
Recognition-based AR
  • Scan an image or QR code
  • Provides detailed information about objects
$2600 – $3500
  • Helps to recognize 3D models and 3D objects, does instant tracking, scene recognition, and overlay digital interactive augmentations
$10000 – $12000

Now, we will check the app development cost based on the complexity. Where a simple AR app can cost around $10,000 to $25,000 and a complex app will charge you $200,000 – $2,000,000 due to advanced features. The mentioned cost is the estimation that varies, depending on the app size, features, and functionalities you want.

AppFeaturesEstimated Cost
Simple App
  • Sign In/Sign Up
  • Catalog
  • Sharing
  • Cart
$10,000 – $25,000
Complex App
  • Sign In/Sign Up
  • Catalog
  • AI-based Recommendation
  • Sharing
  • Recognition System
  • 3D model
  • Push Notifications
  • Payment System
  • Messaging Feature
  • Access to phone contacts and gallery
  • Feedback and Support
$200,000 – $2,000,000

We have discussed some of the factors that influence app development costs. Moreover, there is another significant factor, which is the location of developers. Yes, the location-based factor also plays an essential role in the app development cost. Let’s quickly find out the cost based on the different locations.

LocationEstimated Cost of App Developers
USA & Canada$100 – $250 per hour
Western Europe$80 – $150 per hour
Eastern Europe$25 – $100 per hour
Asia$20 – $50 per hour

After analyzing the data, an AR app costs you between $2,000 – $2,000,000. But what about the timeline to develop an AR app? Do not worry; we have covered that in our next section. Please take a look.

How Long Does it Take to Develop an AR App?

We have shared a rough estimation for the timeline to develop an MVP (minimum viable product) AR app. Refer to the table, where we have shared the top features of an MVP app and stated the average number of hours to develop an iOS and Android app.

FeatureEstimated Man Hours
Sign in/Sign up18 hours14 hours
Catalog24-50 hours24-50 hours
Sharing4 hours4 hours
Cart8 hours8 hours
Employing 3D Models2-3 hours2 hours
Image Recognition System50 hours50 hours

Apart from the features, we have also shared the timeline based on various factors. Check out those factors in the next table with their estimated timelines.

FactorEstimated Man Hours
Programming50+ hours45 – 50+ hours
Designing and Wireframing15+ hours15+ hours
3rd Party API15 hours per API15 hours per API
Back-end Development10 – 12 hours10 hours
AI-based Recommendation100 – 150 hours100 – 150 hours
App Launch8 – 48 hours4 – 24 hours

This list does not just end here. We have also shared an estimated timeline based on the types of AR mobile apps. Please take a look at their estimated timelines.

TypeEstimated Man Hours
Marker-based AR80 – 200 hours80 – 200 hours
Marker-based App with Animation110 – 250 hours110 – 250 hours
Marker-less AR400 – 510 hours400 – 510 hours
Projection-based AR240 – 360 hours240 – 360 hours
Superimposition-based AR280 – 400 hours280 – 400 hours
Outlining-based AR160 – 250 hours160 – 250 hours
Recognition-based AR100 – 150 hours100 – 150 hours
SLAM AR400 – 450 hours400 – 450 hours

Next, we will see how apps have used AR technology to advance their features. Please find some of the best examples of AR apps in the next section. Let’s check them one-by-one.

Develop Augmented Reality App

Have an idea? Not sure where to start? Book a free call with our technical AR expert.

Who Needs an AR App?

Today, prominent companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook are investing huge funds in developing AR applications. Google is likely to spend $14 billion, whereas Facebook will spend more than $5 billion on AR technology for developing AR glasses.

Moreover, AR’s best thing is that it can be used in various fields and not just entertainment technology. It includes education and research, military, manufacturing, e-commerce, and many more shared in the following image.

AR usage

Source: Statista

Video games hold the maximum share amongst all by 2025, which is USD 11.6 billion of the market. Pokemon Go, a gaming application that uses GPS, is an example of AR technology, and its downloads crossed 1 billion in 2019. A pretty huge number, isn’t it?

This technology is all about giving a rich user experience as well as enhancing communication between customers and your brand. In other words, AR technology would bring you closer to your customers.

Now, check the augmented reality app development cost. We have classified the cost into different segments for better understanding. Shall we start with each segment?

Required Tools for AR App Development

Here are some of the best tools based on their ratings, price, platform support capabilities, and features. Ensure that you make a better choice of a tool based on your business requirements. Let’s see all the tools for AR one-by-one:

ToolRatings (G2)FeaturesPricePlatform Support
  • Offers a variety of trackable targets
  • Has the capability to categorized as images,
    objects, & environments
  • Widely used for cloud recognition service
  • Basic – $42/month
  • Basic + Cloud – $99/month
  • Android
  • iOS
  • Windows
Augmented realityARKit4.3
  • Combines various tasks, such as device motion tracking and camera scene capture to simplify it for an AR experience
  • Use the front or rear camera of an iOS device for augmented reality experiences
  • Free
  • iOS
  • Shared AR experience to simplify networking tasks like maintaining a consistent state
  • Uses the GPU to offer highly scalable performance
  • Free
  • iOS
Unity Unity4.5
  • Helpful in making game objects
  • Easy to deal with vector variables and timing variables
  • Best for cross-platform development and multiplatform games
  • Free
  • Unity Reflect – $690 per seat
  • Unity Pro – $1800 per seat
  • Android
  • iOS

These mentioned tools make the developing process easy. Now let’s see some examples of AR applications.

Best Examples of AR Apps

Here are the best examples of AR technology with their top features and download links.

ASOSASOS – Virtual Catwalk
  • Allows customers to try products on different size models
  • View product on a real-life model in real-time
Android iOS
  • Automatically scales products based on room dimensions
  • Lets users superimpose the virtual replicas of furniture
PokemonPokémon Go App
  • Allows the users to catch Pokemon in real-time
  • Keeps Pokemon fixed in the real-world environment
  • Allows collecting different characters of Pokemon
Android iOS
YouCamYouCam Makeup App
  • Offers a real-time virtual beauty try-on experience
  • Alleviates the concerns of the messy look
  • Visualize makeup or hair colors for the perfect look in real-time
Android iOS
google lensGoogle Lens
  • Scan and translate text
  • Help you to explore places around you
  • Easy to scan codes
  • Understand objects to find relevant searches from the web
GiphyGIPHY World
  • Add a few GIFs around you to share
  • Record videos to post on the web
  • Share links with your friends to explore your posts
Android ios

Most of the AR app examples in the above table also use machine learning algorithms to improve the user experience of their app. For example, the IKEA app uses computer vision and machine learning to place 3D models of IKEA furniture in a customer’s physical space, allowing them to see how the furniture would look in their home.

Similarly, the Google Lens app uses machine learning to recognize objects in real time, providing users with information about what they are seeing, including product information, translations, and more.

So, these days using ML and AI in mobile app development is pretty common. If you want to include such advanced features in your app then you should get in touch with an artificial intelligence development services provider.

Still have questions about the price to develop an AR app for Android and iOS or how hard it is to build an AR app; then here is a list of FAQs. Ready to get started?

Frequently Asked Questions about AR App Development

How much does it cost to develop an AR app for Android?

Based on the above estimation, it can be concluded that the AR app development cost for Android could be ranged from $2000 – $2,00,000 based on different factors, such as features, complexity, and the location of the Augmented Reality developer.

How much does it cost to develop an AR app for iOS?

Based on the same estimation, the AR app development cost for iOS could be ranged from $2,500 – $2,00,000. This estimation will vary based on different factors, such as features and functionalities, types of the AR app, and the app’s complexity.

How hard is it to make an AR app?

Much of the complexity would depend on how well versed you are in developing AR applications. Also, it depends on how complex you want your app to be. You can develop an AR app using software development kits, such as Reality Composer and Vuforia (augmented reality SDK) to simplify the AR app development process. Here is how you can get started with Vuforia (AR SDK). Take a look at this tutorial.

How hard is it to program augmented reality?

Initially, designing a great AR/VR app requires tools that are specifically built for AR/VR design. Tools that allow you to design 3D interfaces, create interactive prototypes, and enable you to perform testing prior to writing your first line of code. Additionally, to develop AR/VR apps, you should be proficient in programming skills and IDEs/SDKs.

Mainly, the AR program development highly depends upon how comfortable you are working in 3D space as well. For example, Lenevo Star Wars have launched their own AR app with hardware like a lightsaber controller to offer the ultimate experience to its users.

How to design augmented reality apps?

If you are not sure of how to develop AR applications by coding, you can start designing the AR apps using tools like Vuforia, and Wikitude. You may follow these simple steps to design augmented reality apps.

  1. Perform competitor analysis by looking at different AR apps of your competitors
  2. Research about the development platforms or the tool using you will develop an AR application
  3. AR development revolves around 3D modules, therefore you need to either make the models yourself or download the existing models.
  4. You need to create a 2D tracker for a picture to get placed on the surface and scanned by AR-based devices.
  5. It is time for you to design pictures, texts, and 3D models.
  6. Complete the development process by adding all the elements in a choice of your platform

If it is challenging to develop a complex AR app or you are not sure how to get started with your app idea, contact our AR experts team. Our team has hands-on experience in developing AR apps.

Ready to Build an AR App?

To sum up, this blog has helped you to find the best tools, essential steps, cost, and time to develop an AR app, the best examples, and the most asked questions.

Being an augmented reality app development company, we will help you to make your own augmented reality application. In case, if you need help from AR experts, who comprehend your business and suggest the best possible solution accordingly then, Space-O Technologies is a leading augmented reality app development company in the USA, and Canada.

Our team of mobile app developers has developed over 4400 apps, and just like Google Lens, our expert team has developed a Picture Translator App and QR Scanner App, an application that scans the code.

If you also want to discuss your idea with us about AR/VR or want to hire augmented reality developers, just fill-up the contact us form to reach out to our experts. One of our technical experts will get back to you and provide the best solution.

Bhaval Patel

Written by

Bhaval Patel is a Director (Operations) at Space-O Technologies. He has 20+ years of experience helping startups and enterprises with custom software solutions to drive maximum results. Under his leadership, Space-O has won the 8th GESIA annual award for being the best mobile app development company. So far, he has validated more than 300 app ideas and successfully delivered 100 custom solutions using the technologies, such as Swift, Kotlin, React Native, Flutter, PHP, RoR, IoT, AI, NFC, AR/VR, Blockchain, NFT, and more.