Starting Loop: Costs

You may be asking:

  • What does Loop cost?
  • What should I buy first?

What do you gain by investing in Loop?

Once you get Loop built and your settings fine-tuned, you may find:

  • You spend less time thinking about diabetes (Loop does it for you)
  • You have fewer low blood-glucose events and the severity of the ones you still have are reduced
  • You have fewer high blood-glucose events and the severity of the ones you still have are reduced
  • Your A1C and Time in Range improve – or if they are already pretty good, it takes less time to achieve that control

When experienced Loopers are asked, “Why do you Loop?,” the top response is better sleep/fewer alarms at night.

What do I have to buy – the “Hard” Costs


  • An Apple Developer License $99/year (you can get around this by using a free Apple Developer account, but this will require you to rebuild every 7 days and has to be done on an up-to-date Mac computer)
  • A compatible CGM
  • A compatible Pump
    • For Medtronic or Eros pumps, you also need a radio-link device to allow the phone and pump to communicate; these are typically $150.
    • This is not required for DASH users – your phone can talk to your pump directly
  • A compatible iPhone


  • If you need one, get a spare radio-link, in case yours gets dropped, washed, goes swimming, etc.
  • A computer:
    • Those using the Browser Build can use a Mac, PC, Tablet, or even their phone but it’s easier with a bigger screen
    • Those using the Mac Build will need an Mac computer capable of being brought up-to-date with a newer operating system and plenty of disk space
  • An Apple Watch, if you want to be able to see your current data and bolus from your wrist

What are the “Soft” Costs

The soft costs are about time.

Time learning about Loop

  • You will spend time reading documents like this one, watching videos, and reviewing the questions asked in forums
  • Expect to spend many hours reading and trying to understand concepts and tasks to be done before ever “pulling the trigger” by signing-up for the Apple Developer account and, if you need one, purchasing a radio-link

Time building a Nightscout site

  • To be a successful Looper, you need to be able to fine-tune your settings and Nightscout is the best way to do this
  • Nightscout captures your blood glucose, carbohydrate, and insulin delivery history
  • It takes most people a couple of hours to set up
  • About once a quarter, you need to spend about a half hour updating the software on the Nightscout site
  • There are both DIY and Software as a Service (SaaS) Nightscout options, but the easiest way to break down your options is by cost, considering both your time and money:
    Free (or almost free) Not free, but $5 or less per month More than $5 per month
    DIY (Build and Maintain yourself)

    Google Cloud


    Heroku Eco tier


    Heroku Basic tier
    SaaS (Someone else does almost all of the work)

    Nightscout Pro



    Serendipity bio

  • The functionality of each of these options is nearly identical, with the exception of T1Pal.  Loop 3’s remote commands will only work with T1Pal if you pay an additional monthly fee.

Time learning to Loop

  • You need to learn how to fine-tune your settings to work with Loop, and keep fine-tuning them as your physiology changes
  • In the beginning, you can easily spend a half hour a day:
    • Looking at what Loop is doing
    • Understanding how your settings are affecting the algorithm
    • Making changes to those settings and documenting them
  • As time goes on, most people probably spend an hour or so a month looking at their graphs to see if they need to make a change
  • Some people input their settings once and forget it; these people are likely not looping for a teen with growth spurts!

Time updating Loop software

  • In theory, you should be able to load Loop on your phone, run it for a year and forget about it
  • You will be more successful if you keep up on the software changes and periodically update Loop, either when there is a new feature you want, or when a bug is fixed that might affect your use
  • The most successful people probably update their Loop two to four times a year
    • For those who use the Browser Build method, an update takes about 5 minutes to start and then is ready to install from TestFlight in about an hour
    • For those who use the Mac Build method, this can take anywhere from an hour to a full day, depending upon whether iOS, MacOS, and Xcode versions have changed, and more time if you’re using a VM and your VMWare version also needs to be updated

Time Troubleshooting

  • As with all technology, there will be issues from time to time
  • You need to be able to follow basic troubleshooting steps and know where to look for answers
  • This Troubleshooting page provides a map to the many available troubleshooting pages
  • It varies, but initially, you can expect to spend a few minutes to an hour a week troubleshooting for the first few months until you get more familiar with the system

Time Keeping up with Loop

  • You need to budget an hour a week to looking at a source of information (see the Support page)

What should I buy first?

Apple Developer Program

It can take a few days to enroll in the Apple Developer’s program. You do that at

If you choose to use a free account:

  • You must plug your phone into your computer and rebuild Loop at about the same time every single week
  • When you decide that’s not worth the trouble and spring for the $99 per year fee, you will be building with a new user ID
    • A new user ID means you have to enter all your settings into Loop again and start a new pod (for Omnipod)

If the address on the Apple account does not exactly match the address on your credit card account, you might get into a situation with Apple in which they will never actually approve your account. The best thing to do in this case is to pick a new email address that is not at all associated with anything Apple and use it for just the developer account. When entering all the info, make sure it exactly matches the credit card. Using an Apple credit card seems to speed things through, if you have one.

There is more on the Developer program in the LoopDocs Apple Developer Program page.

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