The Realistic Guide to Making Money on your iPhone

You can turn your iPhone into an income-generator by downloading a few apps and using your free time wisely. Here’s how.

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Updated July 18, 2024
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If you’re like most people, your phone goes everywhere with you, so why not turn it into an opportunity to increase your earnings? I use my phone to make money in waiting rooms, standing in line at the grocery store, or even watching TV while sitting on the couch.

I’ve found numerous ways to make extra cash with my mobile device, including ways to unwind, such as playing games, and ways to earn cashback just for shopping.

I’m not saying these methods make me rich, but every penny counts. I take advantage whenever I can, turning free time into a money-making opportunity.

In this article

How I make money using my iPhone

You may wonder how I can use my iPhone to increase my income or if you can copy my strategy. While you absolutely can do what I do, it’s important to find tasks you truly enjoy when learning how to make money.

When I began, I aimed to make $100 a day. I wanted some extra pocket cash for spending that didn’t fit perfectly in my budget, so I played games and completed surveys for the extra cash.

Once I realized how easily I could earn money with my iPhone, I became addicted and knew there was more to earn. I wanted to reach my goal of making $10,000 a month, so I used my phone to pick up side hustles. While I’m realistic and know I won’t make $10,000 using my phone, I can use it as a supplement to help reach my goals.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the types of apps I use to reach my goals:

  • Game apps: I play games and earn real money that I cash out via PayPal or sometimes as gift cards. I use game apps for “fun” money since I usually make $10 to $20 a month playing them.
  • Survey apps: I love to take surveys for money. I use several apps (more on this below) to have access to as many surveys as possible. At $3 to $5 per survey, I can make $30 or more a day on days I’m focused on survey invitations.
  • Cashback apps: I earn cash back through apps and platforms that reward me for everyday purchases. The cashback I earn varies. Sometimes I get 1% to 2% back, and other times I hit the jackpot and get as much as 10% to 15% back on my purchases, especially around the holidays.
  • Find a side hustle: I used the gig economy apps when I was ready to level up my efforts and make more money. This is great for those who want to supplement their full-time income. The more you work, the more you earn, but I average $15 an hour on most of them.

My favorite iPhone cash games

I’ve always used my phone to play games. They help me unwind after a long day. When I learned there were game apps that pay cash, I knew I was a good candidate. Most of the cash games I play are your standard Solitaire and Bingo games, but with a twist.

Check your state laws. Some states don’t allow cash games.

1. Bingo Clash

Bingo Clash is one of the most popular games on the App Store, with over 99,000 ratings and a 4.4 out of 5 overall rating. Think of regular Bingo but at a much faster speed. This version is skill-based, meaning you must be able to locate and match numbers quickly while strategizing boosts.

Try Bingo Clash or learn more in our Bingo Clash review.

2. Solitaire Cash

I’ve always been a fan of traditional Solitaire, and I already played it on my phone in my free time. When I found Solitaire Cash, I knew I was ready to play. The good news is that they offer non-cash and cash tournaments, so you can practice and see if you’re ready to try to win money without risking anything. You have five minutes to play each game, and there are many ways to earn bonus points, including moving cards to the top stack or finishing the game early.

Solitaire Cash paid tournaments aren’t legal in all states, so check to see if your state made the list.

Try Solitaire Cash or learn more in our Solitaire Cash review.

3. Bubble Cash

Bubble Cash is a vibrant, virtual bubble-popping game that pays real money, but it’s harder to win with this game versus Solitaire or Bingo. This game is a mixture of strategy and luck. You can’t control how the bubbles fall (luck), but you can control your bubble-popping strategy (skill).

The key is to line up as many bubbles of the same color as possible to get bubble-popping bonuses. You need a minimum of three matching bubbles, but the more you have, the higher the score. Like most cash-paying games on the iPhone, clearing the board before time runs out increases your chances of winning.

Try Bubble Cash or learn more in our Bubble Cash review.

Fill out surveys

I enjoy spending time on my phone, playing games, and surfing. But sometimes, I need a different type of diversion. That's when I turn to market research surveys.

Sharing my thoughts on products and services feels good, and it also earns me some extra cash. The best part? It's entirely up to me how many surveys I take, giving me the power to decide how much I make money taking surveys.

Set up a separate email account so you don’t miss important survey invites or get bombarded with invites when you aren’t available.

Here are some of my favorites.

4. Survey Junkie

Survey Junkie is one of my favorite survey sites because they offer a wide variety of surveys at a decent frequency. I receive points for completing surveys but can redeem them for cash or virtual gift cards. They require a minimum of 500 points to make a redemption, but I don’t have trouble reaching that threshold quickly because most of their surveys pay well.

On average, a survey takes me no more than 20 minutes to complete, and I earn an average of $3 per survey. This averages out to $15 an hour, which isn’t a ton, but when I can earn it while sitting on the couch or waiting in line, it’s worth it for me.

Try Survey Junkie or learn more in our Survey Junkie review.

5. InboxDollars

InboxDollars is one of the first survey sites I used to make money using my phone. When the company began, it paid users to read emails and watch videos (aka advertisements). Today, it offers many more ways to supplement your income, including answering surveys.

I make less money per survey on InboxDollars, but they also aren’t as time-consuming as Survey Junkie. The surveys that pay 25 to 50 cents take only a minute or two, so it’s worth it, in my opinion. The downside is that you must earn $30 before you can redeem your earnings as cash or gift cards.

Try InboxDollars or learn more in our InboxDollars review.

6. Branded Surveys

Branded Surveys is another survey-only site that I use to earn a few dollars here and there. Unlike InboxDollars, they pay me points for each survey, but the redemption is easy to calculate since one point equals one cent. They offer a transparent dashboard that makes it easy to determine if I want to accept a survey, as it shows the payment, time commitment, and survey topic.

I don’t get as many invites from Branded Surveys, so it takes longer to accumulate earnings, but they only require 500 points for a cash out. I usually let my earnings accumulate rather than cashing out just $5, but it’s nice to know they offer that option.

Try Branded Surveys or learn more in our Branded Surveys review.

7. KashKick

KashKick is another survey platform I keep in my arsenal of survey apps, but there are better-paying apps. I use this app to fill the gaps when I have downtime, and there aren't any surveys available from Survey Junkie or InboxDollars.

I love how user-friendly the platform is and that you can cash out via PayPal. Cash is always my go-to redemption option whenever possible. The downside is that you get presented with a ton of offers. While they pay you to accept them, they can get annoying after a while, especially if your focus is answering surveys.

Try KashKick or learn more in our KashKick review.

Use cashback apps

Cashback apps are a no-brainer for anyone. They're so simple to use, and if you’re going to shop online, why not earn money back? There is even an app that pays you for in-person grocery shopping, and you don't have to clip paper coupons.

Combine your cashback apps with a cashback credit card and “double dip” on the earnings.

Here are some of the most popular cashback apps.

8. Capital One Shopping

Capital One Shopping1 is a free browser extension and a mobile app that makes it feel like you have a personal shopping assistant. It works by automatically locating cashback opportunities, searching for and applying coupon codes, comparing prices at different retailers, and offering price drop alerts.

Try Capital One Shopping or learn more in our Capital One Shopping review.

9. Rakuten

The nice thing about Rakuten is that you can earn cashback by shopping online or in person. The downside is you must activate offers before purchasing, which can be a hassle when you're already in the store and ready to purchase an item.

It's also important to note that Rakuten only pays once per quarter, which can be a downside for some people. They send your earnings via PayPal or a physical check, whichever you prefer.

Don't click any other cashback offers or coupons after activating an offer in Rakuten. If you do, it voids your cashback from Rakuten. While they notify you that they deactivated the offer, it's easy to miss, and you risk not earning any cashback.

Learn more in our Rakuten review.

10. Ibotta

Ibotta is an app that pays cashback on groceries. Like Rakuten, the downside is you must activate the offers before shopping, but it typically takes less time to do this than clip coupons from the Sunday paper or online.

They require you to upload your receipts or link your store loyalty cards to get credit for purchases. You should consider linking as many store loyalty cards as possible because they automatically receive your receipt, and you don't have to worry about forgetting to upload it.

Like many apps, you must earn at least $20 to cash out. Redemption options include bank deposits, PayPal, and gift cards. Popular gift card options include Starbucks, Walmart, and Lowe's gift cards.

Learn more in our Ibotta review.

Find a side hustle

If you’re ready to level up the ways of making money using your phone, consider the most popular side hustle apps. Uber Eats, Instacart, and Neighbor are all great options.

Spoiler alert: These aren't the types of apps that allow you to earn money sitting on your couch. They require you to do some type of work, such as delivering food or groceries.

Consider mixing up the apps, so you diversify your efforts to make more money.

11. Uber Eats

If you live in an area with many restaurants and a high demand for delivery, Uber Eats can help you earn money. You work as an independent contractor, picking up orders from restaurants and delivering them to customers. You decide when and where to work and which orders you accept.

What is great about Uber Eats is the ability to earn more money with tips. Drivers keep 100% of the tips earned, so if you go out of your way to provide excellent customer service, it can work in your favor. It doesn't always pay off, but if you make even a few good tips, it can increase your overall earnings on average.

Pro tip: If you live in an area where bikes or scooters are used for delivery, Uber Eats allows it, giving you another avenue to earn money even if you don't have a car.

Try Uber Eats or learn more in our Uber Eats review.

12. Instacart

If you don't feel like dealing with restaurant orders, consider the Instacart app. This side hustle requires you to shop for a customer's grocery order and deliver it to their house.

Many people like it because you get to see new products while shopping and help people who don't have the time or physical ability to shop for groceries themselves. Like Uber Eats, tips are a key factor in your earnings. The better customer service you provide, such as communicating with customers about unavailable items, the more tips you’ll earn.

Pro tip: If you don't have a car or don't like driving around, you can work as an in-store shopper for Instacart. You'll earn a flat hourly wage and don't have to worry about tips as much.

Try Instacart or learn more in our Instacart review.

13. Neighbor

The Neighbor app is great for earning passive income. You don't have to deliver food or shop for groceries. All it takes is some extra space to rent as storage in your home. It can be inside or outside, such as a crawlspace, extra bedroom, attic, or driveway.

While it's a passive income opportunity, taking care of the tiny details is important. Since you are sharing a part of your house, you must be transparent about the tenants' access to the space, including the time and frequency of it. Include these details in the agreement so everyone is on the same page from the beginning.

Learn more in our Neighbor review.

Other useful apps you can use

In addition to the above opportunities, these two apps can help supplement your income.

14. Rocket Money

Making money is great, but you should also know where your money goes. It’s not fun wondering where that extra $100 you worked so hard for went. Rocket Money, a personal finance app, can help.

I like this app because it keeps track of my spending, helps me save, and even helps me cancel unwanted subscriptions. It also offers the option to negotiate bills to save money on your monthly expenses (for a fee).

What I love the most about the app is the automation. I link my bank accounts and credit cards, and it automatically updates my transactions in real time. I reference the app often to ensure I'm using my side hustle cash as intended and not just to increase my discretionary spending.

Visit Rocket Money or learn more in our Rocket Money review.

15. Robinhood

Another way you could earn passive income is through investments. Robinhood 2 is an investment platform that makes trading stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) accessible and affordable. They offer commission-free trading of stocks, ETFs, options, and fractional shares, so you can use your investment account even if you don't have much money to invest. The platform also offers a variety of educational resources to help you learn about investing.

Pro tip: All investments come with a risk, so there's no guarantee that you'll see a return on your investment. Learn more about how to invest money.

Visit Robinhood or learn more in our Robinhood review.

Bonus offer

I'm always looking for ways to earn more money while I sleep and finding checking and savings accounts that offer high annual percentage yield (APY) rates are among them.

I opened a SoFi Checking and Savings account (HYSA). The SoFi Savings account earns an APY rate of up to 4.60%3 with direct deposits.

HYSAs not only provide a safe place to store my money, but they also work for me by accruing interest over time. The higher the APY rate, the more money I earn by keeping my funds in the account.

Visit SoFi® or learn more in our SoFi® review.


How can you earn money from your iPhone?

There are multiple ways to earn money from your iPhone, but one of the easiest is downloading and using specific apps. Side hustle apps such as Uber Eats or TaskRabbit can help if you want to use your skills, while cashback apps like Capital One Shopping and Rakuten can offer opportunities to make money from everyday shopping trips.

Other options include playing games like Bingo Clash and Solitaire Cash for a chance to win real money, using Neighbor to rent out extra space in your home, or using Rocket Money to manage your finances.

What is the best way to make money with iPhone apps?

It depends on your preferences and financial goals. Doing surveys with apps like InboxDollars, Nielsen, and Survey Junkie could be an easy way to make extra money in your spare time, especially because they work from anywhere. But if you would rather play video games for cash, consider apps such as Bingo Clash or Solitaire Cash. Side hustle apps, including Fiverr and TaskRabbit, can also help add to your income.

Which apps pay real money?

Many apps offer opportunities to earn real money, including shopping apps like Ibotta, Rakuten, and Fetch. You can also play games for actual cash with apps like Lucktastic, Blackout Bingo, and Mistplay. If you’re interested in taking surveys for money, consider apps like InboxDollars, Survey Junkie, and Swagbucks.

Recap: how to make money on your iPhone

  1. Bingo Clash
  2. Solitaire Cash
  3. Bubble Cash
  4. Survey Junkie
  5. InboxDollars
  6. Branded Surveys
  7. KashKick
  8. Capital One Shopping
  9. Rakuten
  10. Ibotta
  11. Uber Eats
  12. Instacart
  13. Neighbor
  14. Rocket Money
  15. Robinhood

Bottom line

These are some of the most popular ways to make money on my phone. I encourage you to go through the list and see what works for you and what doesn’t. You may find other ways that you enjoy, or you can use the ideas presented here. The key is to find ways that you enjoy making money so it feels more like fun rather than another chore.

SurveyJunkie Benefits

  • Over $55,000 paid to members daily
  • Earn up to $130 a month taking 4 or more surveys daily
  • $76 million paid out to date
  • 20M+ lifetime members and BBB accreditation

Author Details

Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI®

Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI®, is credit cards specialist. For over a decade, he's leveraged credit card points and miles to travel the world. His expertise extends to other areas of personal finance — including loans, insurance, investing, and real estate — and you can find his insights on The Washington Post,, Yahoo! Finance, and Fox Business.

Author Details

Samantha Hawrylack

Samantha Hawrylack is a writer with more than five years of experience. Her work has been published in Newsweek, MarketWatch, USA Today, Rocket Mortgage, BiggerPockets, Crediful, and many more. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance and a Master of Business Administration from West Chester University of Pennsylvania, and she was previously a brokerage investment professional with Series 7 and 63 licenses at Vanguard.