Many of the Android apps we recommend are not popular in the wider community. Of course, they’re all great, we’re not going to suggest bad apps, but oftentimes you can fit them into a specific category.
For something different, let’s step back and take a look at some of the most popular Android apps of all time on the Google Play Store. It is the most downloaded of the two billion active Android users.
Notes About Stock Android Apps
We will not include pre-loaded apps on stock Android devices. This means we exclude Google Play Services (10 billion “downloads”), Gmail (5.7 billion), Google Maps (5.9 billion), YouTube (10 billion), and several others.
We have used data AndroidRank to determine these numbers. The numbers in parentheses show the change in placement from July 2018, when we first published this list.
5.875 billion downloads
As of July 2018, WhatsApp was in third place with 2.9 billion downloads. Today, it has jumped to the top spot to overtake its previous leader, Facebook. This feat is all the more surprising, considering the app is still less popular in the US.
Nonetheless, WhatsApp – which is the world’s most popular instant messaging tool – has been under Facebook ownership since its $19 billion purchase in early 2014.
5.478 billion downloads
It’s no surprise to see Facebook is still so high up the list. Despite seemingly endless scandals, questionable privacy practices, and the #DeleteFacebook movement, he still reigns supreme.
Not everyone is happy, because this app has 10.2 million one-star ratings. Maybe it’s justified; This app is bloated with useless features that few people find it difficult to use.
Facebook Messenger (-1)
4.756 billion downloads
The presence of Messenger in the third position strengthens the control that the Facebook empire has over the smartphone application market.
Messenger has grown in popularity over the last few years, with the increasing availability of bots making the service more useful than ever. That’s down one place from July 2018.
2.796 billion downloads
Instagram is another Facebook-owned app, which the company acquired in 2012.
It has far fewer negative reviews than its big brother, with only six million (out of 95 million) giving the app one star.
Subway Surfers (+1)
1.249 billion downloads
At number five, we find our first game and it’s not Candy Crush Saga! Subway Surfers is an endless runner game where you have to run off the tracks to escape the police officer and his dog.
Has moved one place from July 2018.
Facebook Lite (+6)
1.492 billion downloads
And we’re back on Facebook. The Lite version of the app is aimed at users with low-end devices (packing 1GB or 2GB RAM) and those with only access to 2G data networks. There are some subtle usability changes, but all the main features are present and working as expected.
Facebook Lite is one of the biggest winners on the updated list; it’s up six places in the last 18 months and has doubled its total number of downloads.
1,290 billion downloads
It’s not all about social networking and games with popular Android apps. SHAREit is the first non-Google productivity app to make a list.
This app offers a way to transfer large files between devices in seconds. According to the developer, it is more than 200 times faster than Bluetooth.
Microsoft Excel (New)
1.284 billion downloads
Microsoft Excel is the first new entry in the list. It took the company a long time to make serious inroads into the mobile market (we won’t mention Windows Phone), but now it’s finally starting to find traction.
However, it is somewhat surprising that both Excel and PowerPoint have managed to garner more downloads than Word (although almost!).
Microsoft PowerPoint (New)
1.264 billion downloads
Microsoft PowerPoint is the second consecutive Microsoft Office application on the list. You may have used it at some point to create a presentation or slideshow.
Microsoft Word (New)
1.259 billion downloads
Microsoft completed the hat-trick with a Word entry. Given the popularity of Word on the desktop, it should come as no surprise that Android apps have also found a similar level of success.
Keep an eye on these three Office apps – they will almost certainly shoot higher when we next update the list.
1.165 billion downloads
Instagram might steal all of Snapchat’s best features, but the latter still manages to amass over 150 million daily users.
However, as a percentage of total downloads on Android and iOS combined, that number remains low. Is it time to start worrying about the future of apps?
Microsoft OneDrive (New)
1.151 billion downloads
Microsoft cemented its growing importance in the Android app market with the arrival of OneDrive in the 20 most popular Android apps. OneDrive is popular with Windows users on Android thanks to its ability to access any file on your desktop (assuming you set up access before leaving your home).
The OneDrive app also offers security features such as biometrics and a PIN code to keep your data safe if you lose your phone.
1.093 billion downloads
Whether Skype can still claim to be the best video calling service is open to debate. However, having become the first service to be widely adopted, it continues to benefit from significant brand recognition.
The eight-place drop, combined with just 60 million more downloads over the past 18 months, suggests consumer interest could finally wane.
Clean Master: Space Cleaner & Antivirus (-6)
1.054 billion downloads
The top 13 apps may not be to everyone’s taste, but it’s hard to claim there’s anything wrong with them. Clean Master is the first app on this list that you should avoid at all costs.
Why? First, developer Cheetah Mobile is notorious for piling bloatware and nag screens into its apps. Second, it doesn’t do anything useful. RAM cleaner and task killer actively damage your phone, so you should know how to properly manage memory on Android.
At the time of writing, Google has removed this app from the Play Store, so it may not appear on the list next time.
= 15. Twitter (-8)
1,000 billion downloads
It should come as no surprise to see social media apps have multiple entries in the list of most popular Play Store downloads.
Twitter is now the fourth most popular social app. In 2018 it was third behind Facebook and Instagram, but Snapchat has also leapfrogged it.
= 15. Candy Crush Saga (-6)
1,000 billion downloads
You might have thought Candy Crush Saga would be the most popular game in raw downloads, but it came in second.
Regardless, a billion Android users love trying to line up different colored candies. Maybe it’s time to find a new hobby?
840 million downloads
Dropbox is one of the most popular cloud storage services in the world. It lets you store documents in the cloud, access them from anywhere, and share them with other users.
It’s also the first app on the list not to hit a billion downloads.
817 million downloads
Viber offers instant messaging, video calls, group chats of 250 people, and encrypted communication. This app is one of the most popular WhatsApp alternatives in Europe and North America. Asian users still prefer LINE.
810 million downloads
LINE is the fourth most popular instant messaging app on Android, behind WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Viber.
Asia is driving its popularity. It is in the top five communication apps in Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Cambodia, and Indonesia. The app is struggling to reach the top 30 in most European and North American countries.
617 million downloads
Flipboard is a curious app. It doesn’t get the same number of headlines as many of its competitors, but as evidenced by its 600 million downloads, it’s hugely popular.
If you don’t know, the app will compile news, conversations and interesting tidbits on any topic, giving you a one-stop shop for the subjects you care about.
How Much Did You Use Most Popular Android Apps
So what have we learned from this whistle tour through the 20 most popular Android apps in March 2020? Our conclusion is:
- People love Facebook and social media in general.
- Popularity in Asia can easily propel worldwide fame.
- Candy Crush Saga is as popular as ever.
- Cheetah Mobile, somehow, remains influential.