5 Best Platforms to Create Apps for Free

Posted on September 16, 2023 | Updated on September 25, 2023

As a small business, it is essential to create apps for free with little to no hassle. It seemed an impossible feat until now. Before, you had to hire a developer skilled at coding. They needed to work around your preferences and determine a strategy to meet you and your audience’s needs. Additionally, you would have to wait weeks or even months before the final product was complete. Building a mobile app took time, precision and money. 

However, all of that is irrelevant today, as you can now create apps without code and with tight budgets. Coding is a complex task within itself — however, these platforms allow you to create custom-made apps with quick-start templates and drag-and-drop functionality.

1. Appy Pie

Appy Pie is one of the most popular app builders among developers. It’s a cloud-based, no-code development platform that allows you to create mobile apps without coding knowledge. 

One of the reasons users love Appy Pie is because of its drag-and-drop functionality. A feature like this in your app-building platform makes product creation easy and intuitive.

Appy Pie also features lots of templates, so you have a library of pre-built apps ready to help you get started in your app creation journey. Just choose a template that aligns with your business’s objectives and customize it to your liking. 

Once you’ve finished building your app, you have various publishing platforms, including Google Play and Apple. So, you have opportunities to reach a wide audience from these top app stores.

Key Features of ApplyPie:

  • Drag-and-drop design interface
  • Variety of app templates
  • Monetization options
  • Real-time app updates
  • Integrated analytics 

2. BuildFire

BuildFire makes mobile app creation easy with its versatile and scalable platform. Whether or not you know all about coding, this app creator caters to your needs. You can either create your new app with its drag-and-drop interface or build it just the way you like using your developer skills. With this kind of flexibility, you can create something that easily suits your needs. 

BuildFire also has over 150 plugins in its marketplace to add to your app’s functionality. So you can build one with the top integrations for more powerful creations. 

Moreover, BuildFire lets you monetize your platform in any way you want. You can enable in-app subscription plans or sell physical products through your Shopify store. It also allows you to send custom notifications to push users through every step of their journey.

Key Features of BuildFire:

  • Plug-and-play functionality
  • High customization through coding integration.
  • Real-time preview
  • Cross-platform compatibility
  • Push notifications
  • E-commerce integration

3. Adalo

Adalo is the perfect app builder for anyone who wants to create their apps for free and pay to publish them. It allows you to create visually stunning and interactive applications without coding requirements. 

What makes Adalo unique is its focus on creating database-driven apps. Users can craft databases from scratch and use its internal builder or third-party integrations like Xano. 

Another part of Adalo is its emphasis on design. When your goal is to build beautiful apps, this platform allows for it. You can easily customize your product through numerous themes, colors, typography and layouts. The more customizable options you have, the better — since you can create something that aligns with your brand and user experience.

Key Features of Adalo:

  • Visual design interface through drag-and-drop actions.
  • Built-in database creation
  • Custom actions
  • Pre-built components marketplace
  • Native and web apps
  • Third-party integrations

4. Google AppSheet

Google AppSheet is another great no-code platform that lets you create apps for free. While it enables you to develop tailor-made apps for your business, one thing that stands out about AppSheet is it lets you build apps using data. AppSheet captures data using barcodes, photos, forms and more, which is useful for making the right app for your audience. This focus on data-first app building ensures your products are relevant and responsive to changes in real-time. 

Another highlight is its workflow automation. You can use bots to automate repetitive tasks through triggers and established workflow rules. If you build more apps than you can count, workflow automation becomes invaluable since it streamlines your development processes.

Key Features of Google AppSheet:

  • Data integration
  • Easy-to-use platform with drag-and-drop functionality.
  • Responsive design
  • Offline access and syncing when reconnected.
  • Custom branding
  • Rich UX components

5. Thunkable

Thunkable has everything you need to create an app for free. This block-based app builder was designed to empower non-developers to develop mobile apps for iOS and Android without code. With its intuitive interface and drag-and-snap functionality, you can easily piece blocks together to define your app. 

Thunkable stands out as a free app builder because of its focus on the user. The company wants a seamless experience building native apps and providing high performance for customers. Yet, if you find yourself having issues developing your app, Thunkable has tons of free learning materials and a large community for questions and tips. 

Pre-built templates are excellent for giving you ideas on how to get started. However, templates can sometimes limit your creativity and prevent your business from reaching its full potential. That’s where Thunkable makes a difference. You can start with a blank slate and build anything you desire without being confined.

Key Features of Thunkable:

  • Drag-and-snap features into place.
  • Live testing
  • Extensive library of UI elements and functionalities
  • Cross-platform development
  • Customizable design
  • Extensions through third-party apps

Create Apps for Free With the Right Platform

Choosing the right app builder is essential for creating the right app that fits well within your budget. While all of these apps are free, some require you to pay for extra capabilities. 

With that in mind, be sure to look at whether you need to create an absolutely free app. You should also choose a platform based on your other needs. For instance, if you need something with easy data integration, then Google AppSheet would be more suitable. Yet, if flexibility and pre-built components are a priority, BuildFire may give you just what you need. 

On the other hand, Thunkable is easy to use and lets you create apps from scratch or start with a template. Whichever functionalities you prefer, list them and choose one you believe is right for you.

About The Author

Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her exploring the outdoors with her husband and dog in their RV, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or curled up with a good book with her cats Gem and Cali.

You can find more of Eleanor's work at www.eleanorhecks.com.

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