How to Reskin Your App in 6 Steps

January 31, 2018

Developers lose time, money, and energy developing an app if it doesn’t perform well. App reskinning helps reduce this lost time and revenue.

App development is expensive, but developing an app doesn’t always have to be from scratch; you can, instead, reskin your app.

In this article, I will tell you how you can use the technique of app reskinning by spending a fraction of the money you spend on developing an app from scratch. You will learn the definition and examples of app reskinning and 6 steps to reskinning an app.

What Is App Reskinning?

App reskinning means enveloping an already existing source code in a new design. You can also slightly modify or develop the source code, provided that the main idea remains the same. Although this process is much more popular in gaming apps, it can be done with all kinds of apps.

When you are browsing through the app store, you might come across some similar-looking apps, ones that have a similar idea and design but are not exactly the same. Those are reskinned apps.

Here are some popular examples of what app reskinning looks like:

Talking Tom and Friends

Outfit7 is known for its app Talking Tom and Friends, a virtual cat that repeats what users say.

After the success of Talking Tom, Outfit7 reskinned it and created Talking Ben, Talking Ginger, and Talking Angela. All of these apps are similar but with different characters.

Talking Tom and Friends

Talking Tom and Friends received 300 million downloads within 19 months of the app’s launch. In January 2017, Outfit7 was sold for approximately $1 billion.

The King Sagas

King, an interactive entertainment company, has developed reskinned games such as Candy Crush Saga, Pet Rescue Saga, Soda Saga, and Bubble Witch 3 Saga.

King Sagas

Each reskinned game differs from the other just in design; the rest of the concept is the same. Yet, these reskins are extremely popular; 293 million people access a King app every month.


The app reskins of Runtastic, a company that offers a health- and fitness-tracking products, are also very popular.

Runtastic app reskins

There are different apps for runners, cyclists, and pedestrians, but each app has the same look and feel.

Why Consider App Reskinning?

The main objectives behind choosing to reskin apps are to save money, time, and labor.

Saving Money

Buying a ready-made source code is cheaper than developing it. A source code can be bought for approximately 10 to 20% of the app development cost, according to my team of developers at Enterprise Monkey. You can even find codes as cheap as $50.

Developing a mobile app from scratch can cost $20,000 to $60,000. If you had a reskin for $2,000, you could create at least 10 reskins for the cost of one app developed from scratch.

The other benefit of this includes accruing profit from targeting different audiences through reskinned apps, which saves money over creating a completely new app for a different target audience.

Saving Time

Because you are not working on code from scratch, the time creating the app is also reduced substantially.

There is no exact time frame for developing a reskinned app, as it depends on various factors such as:

  • The app’s concept
  • The quality of purchased code
  • The number of graphic elements.

This time, however, is far less than developing a project from scratch.

Be aware that complicated development projects tend to take longer.

Saving Labor

Whenever I talk about app reskinning and saving labor, I think of John Hayward-Mayhew.

Mayhew is a young entrepreneur and founder of popular casino mobile app company Toochill. Mayhew created 600 iOS apps in 4 years and gained 25 million downloads.

The most fascinating part: Mayhew cannot even code!

Mayhew built a one-man empire just by following the reskinning process. He focused on developing multiple reskinned apps instead of waiting for one app developed from scratch to find success.

So, with Mahew’s story, it is clear that to earn a good profit from app development, you don’t need to learn to code and you don’t need a large budget; what you need is a sound knowledge of app reskinning.

6 Steps of App Reskinning

I have broken the reskinning process into six steps that can serve as your checklist when you begin app reskinning.

Step 1. Use Development Tools

Gaining some knowledge regarding development tools helps you communicate your app idea smoothly to developers and designers. As a result, you will save money by requesting exactly what needs to be done.

Development tools are different for both iOS and Android.

iOS: XCode

If you want to reskin an app for iOS, then you must know how to use the tool XCode, Apple’s IDE (Integrated Development Environment) where developers write code for iOS and Mac apps.

XCode is just like Microsoft Word or Keynote; you don’t need to be a professional programmer to learn to use this. After a few tutorials, you will know the positions of important buttons and menu options, and you will also learn how to build and test your device.

Android: Android Studio

The IDE for Android apps is Android Studio.

Android Studio is where you write, edit, and save your projects and project-related files. It also gives you access to Android SDK (Software Development Kit), which helps you run programs smoothly. There are many video and text tutorials that will help you figure out how it works. Google has also made Android Studio more understandable by offering tutorials.

Step 2. Find the Source Code

A source code is the skeleton of your app. There are two ways of obtaining a source code:

Develop a Personal Code

Developing a personal code means you can develop a unique code for yourself based on your own idea. You will have the copyrights to that code.

You can either reach out to a developer or simply hire a freelancer to develop your personal code. Once the code is developed, get help from a designer and create as many reskins of your app as you wish.

Purchase the Code

Buying a code is much more frugal than having it developed; there are source codes as cheap as $50. However, buying these codes is the same as requesting a license to use them. You do not own the original code but instead receive a copy of it.

A source code can be bought through various marketplaces available online. Simply type "app source code" in Google, and you will see a variety of marketplaces, including Sell My App, Apptopia, and Codester.

There are two types of licensed code you can purchase: limited and unlimited.

A limited license allows you to reskin the app for a fixed number of times (sometimes once). The unlimited license enables you to reskin as much as you want.

The only drawback with licensed versions is that you cannot sell your app code, as you do not own the code.

Step 3. Research Trends in the App Store

You have the idea, and you have the code. Now what?

Before beginning to reskin your app, research each app store thoroughly. Focus on trending apps in a similar domain as yours, and then note everything about them.

Look for the keywords they have used, the kind of description they have written, and the type of demographics they attract. Sketch out the features your competitors lack that you can improve upon.

At this point, you will have clarity on the type of operating system you are going to choose and the audience you will target.

Step 4. Begin App Reskinning

After you have chosen the themes you want for your app, you are ready to reskin. You can either hire an app developer (Android or iOS, according to the platform you have chosen), or you can do it yourself. If you choose to do it yourself, you need to have a sound knowledge of editing programs like GIMP, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Acorn.

Always keep high-quality design your top priority. Look for the original graphic asset and the parts of the codes it refers to. You will find it in a particular folder of your app. You can either do it yourself or ask your designer to help you find those files.

Once you have access to it, note the file size, number of graphics, and dimensions for each graphic. This process is necessary to match the redesigned files with original elements and also because those graphics will later combine to form one design.

After changing the elements, don’t forget to test your app.

Step 5. Set Up Developer Account & Advertising Networks

The next step is to sign up for advertising networks and developer accounts.

Advertising Networks: A company that acts as a liaison between advertisers and app developers. They gather the ads from advertisers and sell them to app publishers and developers. Thus, they help advertisers find a space for their ads and help the developers monetize their apps.

Developer Account: After the app is made, you need a developer account to publish and manage that app in the market. To publish Android apps, a developer account is made on Google Play with a one-time registration fee of $25. For iOS apps, an account on Apple Store is made for an annual fee of $99.

After signing up for the developer account, you have to choose one or more reliable and well-paying advertising networks. It is smart to first test between two to three networks to observe the impressions. There are various ad networks you can choose from, such as, Chartboost, Millennial Media, StartApp, and InMobi.

Step 6. Market Your App

After uploading your app to your desired app store, it’s time to market it.

Your app is not going to gain success on its own. Add your optimized title, description, keywords, and screenshots of your app to increase its visibility in the app stores.

Keywords are the source through which users find an app. If you optimize your title and description based on the keywords, your app will rank and will be shown in top results for that keyword. Screenshots enable users to see the app’s functionality.

Do not forget to promote it on various platforms such as video channels, blogs, and social media. This will help earn maximum revenue from your reskin.

Save Money With App Reskinning

These tables give you a rough estimate of the cost of a reskinned app based on various parameters I’ve discussed above.

Note* The following rates vary from developer to developer and also depend entirely on the complexity of the app.

Approximate cost and time of developing an app from scratch:

Project Type Time Rate/hour ($50) Rate/hour ($150)
Simple app 400 hours 50x400=$20,000 150x400-$60,000
Medium app 700 hours 50x700=$35,000 150x700=$105,000
Complex app 1,000 hours 50x1000=$50,000 150x1000=$150,000

Here’s a rough estimate of the cost of a reskinned app based on various parameters:

Parameters Single License (in $) Multiple License (in $)
App developer program 99 99
Google Play developer program 25 25
2 hours labor (developers) 100 100
8 hours labor (designers) 360 360
App source 99 259
Total 683 843

The costs can be reduced by buying cheaper source codes or cutting the labor costs.

What if we decided to take a multiple license app and make 10 apps?

Parameters Cost (in $)
App developer program 99
Google Play developer program 25
2 hours labor per app (developers) 100x10=1,000
8 hours labor per app (designers) 360x10=3,600
App source 259
Total 4,983
Cost per app 498.30

The more apps we make, the more money we save per app with multiple app licenses.

Although I’ve taken approximate values in the table above with broad parameters, the main focus remains on the cost-cutting nature of app reskinning.

An average reskinned application can earn up to $5,000 to $11,000 per month worldwide, according to my developers.

Consider App Reskinning

If you are looking to earn high revenue from the development market, app reskinning is for you.

You can earn profits from reskinned apps, provided you do not pick cheap source codes and bad quality designs.

About the Author

Headshot of Uzair KhanUzair is the VP, Sales & Marketing at Enterprise Monkey, an Australia-based e-business consulting company that helps small-to-medium enterprises and not-for-profits and startups by providing integration, automation, and greater visibility of their business processes. Uzair possesses a comprehensive experience in B2B and B2C marketing. Pursuing his vision to help small and medium enterprises, he has successfully helped many such organizations increase their productivity and revenue.


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