Making Money With iPhone Apps

Photo (cc) by Yutaka Tsutano

With the upcoming release of iOS 5, the iPhone will be able to do more than ever. But one thing you probably didn’t know it could do is earn you a paycheck. Here are three ways you can start making money with iPhone apps.

1. Gigwalk

Gigwalk is a free app that can get you started making money in about 5 minutes. Simply install it from the iPhone store, complete a brief registration, and you’re off to work!

Gigwalk uses your iPhone’s GPS receiver to show you nearby “jobs”. A typical job in Gigwalk may involve visiting a restaurant and taking pictures of the menu, photographing red-light cameras at a specific intersection, or buying a beer and noting whether the clerk asked for ID. These jobs typically pay between $3 and $10.

Not all tasks are paying — some give you “streetcred” points, and others require streetcred points to access them — a way of rewarding diligent Gigwalkers with exclusive jobs. But of the non-paying jobs I’ve seen, you’ll probably be doing something like picking up trash to beautify a park. From an environmental standpoint, there are worse things you could be doing with your time.

Gigwalk isn’t yet available everywhere, but if you live in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, South Florida, New York City, Boston, or Philadelphia, you’re in luck. Payments are sent through PayPal.

2. uTest

For the more technically inclined iPhone user, check out uTest, where you’ll be paid to hunt down bugs and usability issues in apps currently under development.

The registration process is a little more lengthy than Gigwalk, and the best jobs typically go to those who’ve earned a reputation as a reliable, thorough tester, but you can make pretty decent money if you’re invited to test something.

In my experience (I registered and tested a few apps), I earned about $30 an hour, with the typical job taking no more than an hour. Unfortunately, with only one job every other week, the work is a little too sparse to consider as a career. But to be fair, uTest does recommend that you get active in their community forums to be invited to test more software, something I did not do.

3. Create an app

No, it’s not nearly as complicated as you might think, and doesn’t have to involve any programming whatsoever. Sites like appmakr let you create an iPhone app with very little effort, especially if you already have a blog, website, or YouTube account.

Here’s a demo app I made in just a few hours using appmakr (try clicking around the app in your web browser). It’s got everything you’d need for a MoneyTalksNews experience on your phone: stories from our website, videos we air on TV, a way to contact us with tips or questions, and of course, built in advertising from Google’s AdMob so we can pay the bills.

Creating the app wasn’t difficult. I did have to make some simple images for the app icon, splash screen, and nav bar. But once that was done, I only needed to drag and drop my way into a complete, fully functional iPhone app.

Of course, it’s nowhere near as polished as a custom coded iPhone app, but building it was easy and free. All that’s needed at this point is a $99 a year Apple Developer account, and I can submit my app for sale in the App Store.

While I used appmakr, there are plenty of other sites that offer simple tools to create your own iPhone app (though not all are free). Check out: iSites, SwebApps, CreateFreeiPhoneApps.com, App Wizard, AppBreeder, MobBase (for bands), My App Builder, or Bizness Apps. Pick the one that offers the most affordable price while including any features you think your app might need.

And if you are already making money with iPhone apps, post a comment below. I’d love to hear your story!

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