How to Reskin Your App in 6 Steps |


Updated 03/25/2022

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.

Why Consider App Reskinning?

There are huge perks to opting not to build a completely new app from scratch. The 3 main objectives behind choosing to reskin apps are the following:

  • Reskinning apps saves money
  • Reskinning apps takes less time
  • Companies can reskin an app with less labor

Reskinning an app is a strategic approach that can save businesses time and resources. 

1. Reskinning Saves Money

Buying a ready-made source code is cheaper than developing it.

A source code can be bought for approximately 10%–20% of the app development cost, according to my team of developers at Enterprise Monkey. You can even find codes as cheap as $50.

Here’s what reskinning apps can save companies with different budgets and price points:

Cost of a new app$10,000$30,000$60,000$100,000
Cost to reskin the app instead$1,500$4,500$9,000$15,000

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.

2. App Reskins Save Time

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

App development companies estimate that it takes an average of 3–9 months to build an app from scratch. Reskinning requires fewer resources, so development time will be significantly less than this average for those who opt to reskin.

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.

3. Reskinning Saves 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 6 steps that can serve as your checklist when you begin app reskinning. Here are 6 steps to reskinning an app for time, money, and labor savings:

  1. Use development tools
  2. Locate source code
  3. Research trends in the App Store
  4. Start reskinning 
  5. Create developer and advertising accounts
  6. Market your app

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 interface for iOS developers

Source: Apple Developer

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 for app reskinning

Source: Android Developer

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.

2. Find the Source Code

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

  • Creating code on your own
  • Buy 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. Many companies opt to outsource development tasks to a dev firm. 

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, perhaps surprisingly, 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.

examples of source code for sale online for app reskins

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

  • Limited license: allows you to reskin the app for a fixed number of times, sometimes only once.
  • 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.

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.

App Store app catagories

Source: App Store

You can start by taking a look at the apps rankings in app categories similar to your product. Creating a puzzle app? Check out the “games” category to see what you’ll be competing with once you go live. 

Pro Tip: Pay Attention to Keywords

Look for the keywords other app developers have used in their descriptions and marketing.

The kind of description they have written and the type of demographics they attract will say a lot about who your true competition is. 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.

4. Begin App Reskinning

After you have chosen the themes you want for your app, you are ready to reskin.

Here are your options for getting this done:

  • Hire an app developer: connect with an experienced, skilled app development company to handle the process for you. Contact either an Android or iOS firm, according to the platform you have chosen
  • Do it yourself: you’ll 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.

5. Set Up Developer Account & Advertising Networks

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

Advertising Networks

Advertising networks are companies that act as a liaison between advertisers and app developers.

Advertising networks handle the following tasks:

  • Gather the ads from advertisers
  • Sell ads to app publishers and developers.
  • Make ad placements strategically

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.

The exact app publishing process varies depending on which platform you’re using to distribute:

  • Android apps: a developer account is made on Google Play with a one-time registration fee of $25.
  • 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,, and InMobi.

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. Here’s a shortlist of features you’ll need to optimize before gaining tracking on app marketplaces:

  • Title
  • Description
  • Keywords
  • Videos of your app
  • Screenshots of your app 

Each of these will help to increase your visibility on 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 TypeTimeRate/hour ($50)Rate/hour ($150)
Simple app400 hours50×400=$20,000150×400-$60,000
Medium app700 hours50×700=$35,000150×700=$105,000
Complex app1,000 hours50×1000=$50,000150×1000=$150,000

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

ParametersSingle License (in $)Multiple License (in $)
App developer program9999
Google Play developer program2525
2 hours labor (developers)100100
8 hours labor (designers)360360
App source99259

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?

ParametersCost (in $)
App developer program99
Google Play developer program25
2 hours labor per app (developers)100×10=1,000
8 hours labor per app (designers)360×10=3,600
App source259
Cost per app498.30

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.

3 Examples of Reskinned Apps

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

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. Runtastic

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.

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.

Thinking of starting an app development project? Partner with one of Clutch’s top-rated teams. 

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. Team

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