Type a specific keyword into the App Store or Google Play, and you’ll get search results that point you to dozens of mobile apps that solve specific tasks. Popular niches like meditation or personal finance can offer hundreds of similar products.

The point is that the success of today’s product depends more on meeting the needs of the target audience than on the uniqueness of the idea or its homegrown implementation. A successful mobile application must solve people’s real problems in order to be in high demand.

But how do you know what your users need? Besides conducting thorough marketing research, you can use another method – study your competitors’ products and copy their proven working solutions.

Top of worlds most downloaded mobile apps
World’s Most Downloaded Apps In Nov 2023, source: Appfigures

Why Clone a Popular Mobile Application and What it Looks Like When Applied

All modern cars have not five, seven, or more but exactly four wheels for a reason. That also applies to numerous generally accepted solutions, like gearbox mechanisms, cruise control systems, seat belts, and many more. All these mechanisms and their functions have proven their efficiency, are essential, and will always be in demand among car buyers.

Car models from different manufacturers resemble each other in this regard, and various brands eventually copy successful solutions appearing in their competitors’ products. That is natural. So, if we talk about the mobile app market, there is no fundamental difference.

Copying a popular mobile app (like Uber, Tinder, or AirBnB) gives you several advantages:

  • It allows you to implement successful solutions popular among the target audience;
  • You can find the most necessary functions for the product you plan to develop;
  • You may attract part of the audience from your competitors;
  • You will save time and money and gain quick access to the market.

Apart from the listed pros, the approach of cloning a popular mobile app has its cons as well:

  • If you become too keen on cloning, you can eventually violate copyright and get yourself into trouble if the developers of someone else’s app notice it.
  • Users may not see how different your and your competitors’ products are and will not have an incentive to download and install yours.

Looking for a mobile app development team?

We’re up for any challenge. Contact us for a free consultation call.

Get in touch

What You Can Copy and What You Should Not

Thinking of the risks mentioned above, you have to consider how to approach the cloning of someone else’s app wisely. There are features that you can borrow, and there are also things that would be inappropriate to copy.

Below, you can find out what you should definitely avoid copying when cloning someone else’s app:

  • Photos, texts, and other content;
  • Software code fragments;
  • Graphical UI components
  • Application names, unique terms, and designations.
Design thinking - mobile app development approach

Here is a list of what you can confidently borrow:

  • Architecture and product operation logic;
  • Interesting functions designed for solving specific tasks;
  • Audience interaction mechanics;
  • Approach to development, marketing, and other holistic aspects of work on the product.

Ideally, the best practice to approach app cloning would be to take something from a competitor and modify it a bit to adapt it to your needs.

How to Protect Your Mobile App from Copying?

Imagine the following situation: you have published your app on the App Store or Google Play, and suddenly you discover that your competitor has launched an app with similar functionality, under the same or a similar name. To prevent this from happening, or to get a competitor’s app removed, you can register ownership of your developments in advance.

Check out some best practices to help you prevent your competitors from copying your mobile app:

  • Register trademarks for your app’s name and logo to prevent others from using similar branding.
  • Copyright your app’s unique design, source code, and content.
  • If your app has unique, novel features or methods, consider applying for a patent.
  • Use code obfuscation tools to make your code difficult to read and understand, making reverse engineering more difficult.
  • Use digital rights management (DRM). It can help control the distribution and use of your application.
  • Regular updates with new features or enhancements can keep your app ahead of potential copycats.
  • Regularly check app stores and the Internet for potential copies or infringements.
  • If you find a copy, you can file a complaint with the platform hosting the infringing app and consider legal action if necessary.
  • Use NDAs with employees and contractors to protect your confidential information.
  • Have clear terms of service and user agreements that prohibit reverse engineering or copying of your application.

Now you know the essence of mobile application cloning, what you can and cannot copy. It is important to understand that you need to maintain a balance when using this approach to avoid violating the ethical aspect of the matter.

 Mobile app replication is a very popular service. If you need it, our development team can help you. We are ready to become your trusted technology partner. Just contact us and let’s discuss all the details!

Andriy Nayda
Andriy Nayda Head of Web & Mobile Department at SmartTek Solutions