Facebook, TikTok, Instagram...What are the top 10 apps by all-time downloads during the past decade?

If Apple and Google don’t have an app store in their mobile phone system, today, ten years later, it's probably not WeChat, Taobao or Didi that determine our social relations, consumption habits and travel patterns.

For the mobile phone, which is a consumer electronic product, its intelligence also is related to a large number of mobile applications. Without them, our devices can only be regarded as a kind of communication tool. Obviously, they will not bring about any lifestyle changes, or even make you addicted to dozens of hours every day.

Towards the end of 2019, AppAnnie released a new market report, which counted the most downloaded and highest revenue mobile apps in the past 10 years.

To some extent, they are also "killer applications" born in the era of mobile Internet.

Let's take a look at the top 10 lists of downloads. Facebook alone occupies the first four positions, among which Facebook and Facebook messenger are the most downloaded mobile apps in the past 10 years.

As for the later Instagram and WhatsApp, although they are not created by Facebook, they have been sold to Mark Elliot Zuckerberg in 2012 and 2014, both of which have become members of the Facebook social matrix.

In addition to Facebook, the next six apps are from different companies, which are basically familiar to us. Among them, there are two Chinese apps, namely Douyin (TikTok) and UC Browser.

The impact of social applications can also be seen in this list. After all, whether it's a huge social network made up of Facebook or applications based on text, images or short videos such as Snapchat, Douyin (TikTok), Twitter, etc., essentially belongs to  social in nature. What's more, they also bear our contacts with various acquaintances and strangers.

Besides the download list, AppAnnie also shows another "revenue list", which includes those apps that make the most money.

Here, the painting style of the whole application category has also changed from social to video streaming media and music. For example, Netflix and Spotify are the largest video streaming media, online music and services in the world. In China, a considerable number of users have formed the habit of paying for TV dramas in Tencent video and IQIYI.

What's interesting is that Tinder, which ranks the second, is actually a dating app. According to the past financial reports, a large part of the revenue of this app comes from paid member services. It seems that modern young people are willing to spend money to make friends.

Another non-video and non-music entertainment application is Line, which ranks fifth on the revenue list. Many people think Line is just a social application, but in fact, it has a large number of businesses related to e-commerce, finance, life services and other fields. In addition, it can sell stickers and develop games by IP, which can be said to be the most social application that can do peripheral business at present.

Besides mobile applications, we can't ignore the influence of mobile games.

In AppAnnie's list of mobile games, the one with the highest number of downloads is a bit surprising. It's not Fruit Ninja, Talking Tom Cat or Temple Run, but Subway Surfers.

About the gameplay, it doesn't seem that there are too many highlights. As a game released in 2012, the gameplay of Subway Surfers is very similar to that of Temple Run, which is to operate the characters to continuously cross various obstacles, collect gold coins and finally get higher scores. And it is also the design basis of most Parkour games.


On the other hand, the touch-screen interaction of smart phones has also indirectly promoted Parkour games. After all, the operation of this kind of game only needs to slide up, down, left and right, which is more natural than directly using buttons. In addition to Subway Surfers, which ranks the first, such as Temple Run 2 and Minion Rush also belong to Parkour games, both of which are ranked third and eighth respectively.

In May this year, Kiloo, the developer of Subway Surfers, said that the cumulative download volume of the game had exceeded 2.5 billion. AppAnnie also said that the strong performance of Subway Surfers in India (the download volume in India accounts for 15% of the total download volume), also made it jump to the top of the download list.

But if you switch to the revenue list, the game that comes first becomes Supercell's Clash of Clans. Like Candy Crush Saga, Clash of Clans has a place on the download list. And there are few games that have global influence and can earn money.


At the same time, Supercell is the only company that can occupy two positions on the mobile game revenue list. In addition to Clash of Clans, the other is the 10th ranking Clash Royale. They have their own game innovation, which is also related to the long-term stable operation of Supercell.

Other works on the revenue list are also the representatives of Khorium games in various regions, such as Monster Strike, Puzzle & Dragons and Fate/Grand Order, which are very popular in Japan. And King of Glory and Fantasy Westward Journey are frequent customers of the revenue list in China, and the same as Game of War-Fire Age, which has great influence in Europe and America. Although they were launched earlier, they are still the first choice for most mobile phone users to kill time.

After ten years, these applications of mobile Internet have basically solved our needs in various fields. It can be predicted that this kind of smart phone ecological pattern formed by various applications will remain for a long time, unless a new hardware form can comprehensively innovate our living habits or create new rigid needs.

On the other hand, the stability of the pattern also means that the opportunities for new applications to appear are becoming less and less, especially in the fields of social networking, video and audio, which are basically monopolized by several large companies. At the same time, people have already formed an inseparable relationship with the services behind these applications.

Hopefully, we can see other new faces in the next decade.

This is an article from ifanr , translated by Chris Yuan.