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Alongside its top 15 picks for the greatest apps and games of 2020, Apple has published ranking lists for the most popular App Store downloads of the year.
The popularity lists illustrate just how difficult it can be for new apps to break into the mainstream. In fact, almost all of the top 20 free apps were released before this year and many of them charted on last year’s lists too. Let’s take a look…
Top free charts
The big social media platforms like YouTube and Instagram certainly aren’t letting go of their App Store dominance just yet, but it’s also interesting to note the sharp rise of a handful of apps whose success was defined by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Video conferencing app Zoom tops the charts, with the similar Google Meet rounding out the top 20. In between, we have apps for food delivery (DoorDash) and a strong showing for streaming networks (Disney+ and Netflix).
Top paid charts
The paid app charts are a little more varied, but similarly feature very few new apps. It seems all the good ideas have already been made! Top of the list is one of our personal favorites, TouchRetouch, which is used to easily remove unwanted elements from photos.
Several more of our favorites made the list too, including sketching app Procreate Pocket and productivity timer Forest. It’s also clear that as the world gets more challenging for many people, we are increasingly looking to the skies for comfort – three of the top 20 paid apps this year were stargazing apps!
Top free games
Moving onto games, the free charts aren’t exactly a hive of high-quality fare – with some notable exceptions as breakout multiplayer hit of the year Among Us takes the top spot. If you missed it, the game involves you and some friends working together on a spaceship while one randomly-chosen player tries their best to secretly sabotage the mission and kill their crewmates.
Elsewhere there’s a mix of familiar names (Call of Duty Mobile, Mario Kart Tour, UNO) and hyper-casual or brain-training fare.
Top paid games
On the premium side of gaming, the paid charts reveal a better selection. No real surprise that Minecraft takes the top spot – since its release a decade ago it has become the single best-selling game of all time.
Further down the list, there’s a combination of ports from PC and console with creative indie hits designed for iOS – but like the apps selection, few of these were released recently.
Both free and paid lists pale in comparison to Apple Arcade, which arguably has the most exciting mobile releases of 2020. Seeing the alternatives on the App Store really makes that $5 monthly subscription seem like amazing value.