Although thousands of apps are available for Android and iOS, a select few reign supreme and capture the attention of most users.
Each comes with distinct features that are a recipe for success.
Part of what makes an app so popular is the virality of its content and the long-term usability of what it has to offer.
There are several reasons why an app might be so popular, and this list will focus on 13 of the most downloaded apps of all time.
Most Downloaded Apps of All Time in 2023
It’s no secret that TikTok is a common part of everyday life for many people.
With a few similarities to what the Vine app was known for back in the day, TikTok takes it up a notch and puts a modern twist to it.
At a glance, it may look like any other video-sharing platform, but it’s known for a broad range of trends regarding music, dancing, and comedy.
The app features a blend of shocking and hysterical content, which is undoubtedly an addicting trait for many users.
In 2021, the app was downloaded around 94 million times in the United States alone, and this number is definitely far greater from a global standpoint.
Although some people have a love-hate relationship with the app, it continues to be the most downloaded app of all time and is very popular in our current era.
Coming in second place but not far behind, Instagram is the next most popular app in line.
Emerging on the scene back in 2010, it took a few years for the app to catch users’ attention on a broad scale.
There’s no argument that the app has changed a lot since then, but it still continues to be one of the top photo and video-sharing platforms.
It’s also important to note that meme culture has heavily driven the use of apps like Instagram and TikTok over the years, as many people use them for a good dose of comedy and relief throughout the day.
Instagram was downloaded over 64 million times in the U.S. last year, which shows that the application is clearly still going strong, even over a decade after its release.
This is one of the most downloaded apps that many consider a flagship that shifted us all into social media.
There were other social media applications before it, but Facebook was the first to capture the attention of the entire world.
With over 2.9 billion active users on a monthly basis and 416 million downloads in 2021, Facebook still stands at the top.
Some of this pertains to a lot of their associated apps, as their Meta brand has bled into many different applications.
Nevertheless, Facebook is a go-to choice for family and friends to stay connected. In the early days, the app was used predominantly by a younger crowd of users.
As time moved on, this slowly made a shift with the older crowd as they started to adopt the application as well.
Younger users are still a massive part of the platform, but this is an app that many older generations have latched onto as well.
Now a part of the Meta brand, WhatsApp has always been known as an easy way to make calls and send texts to people around the globe.
It’s one of the most popular apps that found popularity in many countries worldwide, and it wasn’t broadly adopted in the U.S. until long after its release.
The app boasts over 100 billion downloads to date and currently holds over 1.5 billion active users.
Even with new and similar applications hitting the market, WhatsApp continues to be a preferred method of communication for many people.
From texts, voice calls, and even video calls, it’s a prime way for people to stay connected between different countries.
You can also easily and securely send and receive payments through WhatsApp, which has proven beneficial for friends and family.
Users won’t be able to make phone calls or video chat, but Telegram serves a specific purpose that many people find useful.
Users can send documents, photos, and videos within a private space while creating and managing large groups around common interests.
The app also features public and private channels, and there are plenty of ways to customize how these features operate.
Telegram currently has over 500 million active users, and its relevancy only continues to increase with each passing year.
Other features include self-destructing messages, editing sent messages, and even locking conversations.
The app promotes a sense of privacy and security, which is part of why many people flock to the app to share sensitive or private information with those they trust.
Another application that has been around for quite some time, Snapchat changed the game when it first came on the scene.
Users loved the ability to send timed photos and videos that disappear after a single viewing, and they created a platform that was quick and easy to use.
It’s one of the most downloaded apps of all time and is heavily popular with individuals 34 and under, and the app had 56 million downloads throughout 2021.
Some of the main features include:
- Fun filters and lenses
- Screenshot notifications
- Timed photos and videos
- A range of AR features
This is just a glimpse of what Snapchat is capable of.
They’ve also been quite innovative over the years, as they made headlines worldwide when they released the Spectacles, which would record videos and allow you to post them directly to your Snapchat account.
However, the app isn’t as viral as it once was, but it’s still highly relevant with a young user base and continues to release new features along the way.
Primarily known as a video conferencing app, Zoom has seen a recent uptick in popularity within the last few years.
This is mainly due to the Covid-19 pandemic, as everyone was forced to work from home for quite a long time.
Of course, this meant that many people relied on applications like Zoom to stay in touch with co-workers, managers, and so on.
The app comes equipped with many different features, and its recent success has only made it more relevant in recent years.
Some of these features include:
- Recording, blocking, transferring, and forwarding calls
- Salesforce integrations
- Group calls
- Holding and monitoring calls
There are many other features users can take advantage of depending on their specific needs.
However, it should be mentioned that a few of its more intuitive features come with a price tag. To be able to host Zoom meetings, calls, webinars, or events, you’ll have to pay.
The company offers different ways to pay, but most people opt for a subscription.
You’ll find there’s a pretty decent range in pricing as it can span from $120 per year to $84,000 per year, depending on the type of service you’re going for.
8. Facebook Messenger
What once was solely a part of the Facebook app itself is now its own separate application.
Messenger makes it easy to stay in touch with those you’re connected with on the Facebook platform and offers call and video chat features.
It acts as an easy-to-use method of communication, which many people rely on to stay in touch with those they care about.
You’ll also find a range of fun features, such as stickers, gifs, and face filters, and the UI of the application is smooth, to say the least.
When Messenger first became a separate application, many users seemed annoyed by this action, but it has become a norm that people have gotten used to over the years.
Although the application has many similar features to call and text messaging applications, it still holds substantial relevancy as it’s directly tied to your Facebook account.
Most of the apps in this article are related to social networking, but Spotify deserves a spot as it’s the most popular music streaming service.
Not only does it boast a UI that people love, but it’s a go-to choice for millions of users’ favorite music.
You can easily create playlists, keep track of your favorite songs, and even set up notifications, so you never miss a new release from your favorite artist.
The company also offers a fairly modest pricing structure, but you can also use it for free if you’re okay with semi-frequent ads.
Spotify currently hosts over 320 million users every month, and over 144 million of those are paying premium subscribers.
It’s pretty clear that Spotify won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, and they continue to update and stack on new features that people enjoy.
Currently, it’s the best music streaming application on the market.
In a world where video-sharing applications are pretty common, it’s only right to have reliable video editing apps as well.
CapCut is known to be the video editing app of choice for TikTok users, as its features are perfect for the aesthetic that TikTok content is known for.
Here are a few of the app’s core features:
- Reversing videos
- Splitting video files
- Changing the speed of a video
- Integrated music library
- Numerous editing tools to customize videos
It honestly has everything you might need to edit a video on your phone and make something unique out of it.
Although it’s widely popular with TikTok users, the app can be used for any of your video editing needs.
At this time, CapCut has exceeded 20 million downloads, and this number continues to increase as time moves on.
You can’t talk about video-sharing platforms without mentioning YouTube. Now owned by Google, the platform goes all the way back to 2005, and it was entirely different back then.
However, its relevancy never dwindled among emerging video-sharing applications, as it was always considered the top choice for long-form video content.
Nowadays, you can find all types of content on the platform, and many people have built entire careers around making YouTube content.
YouTube’s features include some of the following:
- Editing and uploading videos
- Easily like, comment, and share content
- Live stream
- Create personalized video playlists
- Create and manage your own YouTube channel.
The usability of the application is fairly simple. YouTube started out as only being available on a web browser, but in the age of smartphones, they quickly adapted to a mobile application.
There’s plenty to enjoy about the platform, from news, music, movies, comedy, and many facets of entertainment.
They also now offer subscription services that help minimize ads and give you access to exclusive features, whether it’s just for you or the whole family.
12. Cash App
You’ll find a range of mobile applications that let you easily and securely send and receive money, but Cash App is known as one of the pioneers in this space.
Cash App makes it easy to keep your personal information secure, and with a few taps, you can send or even request money from other users.
This has also been highly beneficial for those who need to send and receive money to friends and family in other countries, as it bypasses many of the fees associated with the banking system.
Some people use the platform to pay their bills or trade stocks and cryptocurrency, all of which can be done with minimal effort.
There are other apps similar to Cash App, but it still stands out as a top choice for many of its users.
It’s important to mention one of the most sought-after mobile games on the market, as that’s where mobile applications really started back in the day.
When mobile apps first hit the market, most people flocked to them for the fun and interactive games they had to offer.
That’s still true today, and we’ve seen immense progress along the way.
Roblox makes the list of most downloaded apps and is a highly popular game that has seen a significant amount of longevity over the years.
Roblox can be played on PC and gaming consoles, and it’s also available as a mobile application, which Roblox fans can’t get enough of.
Its monthly user base surpasses 64 million, and there are over 178 million accounts in total.
Some of the game’s unique features include:
- Cooperative gameplay
- Customizable avatars
- 3D gameplay
- In-game chat
- World building
There are thousands of mobile games you can find in the Android and iOS app stores, but Roblox sits at the top due to its popularity and addictive gameplay.
You’ll also find a range of in-app purchases available that cost anywhere between $0.49 to $199.99.
That’s it for the most downloaded apps of all time.
It contains 13 of the most popular apps that you’re sure to recognise.
If you haven’t tried them all, now is the time to check them out.