Here’s which apps are people’s favorite picks:
If you ask a hundred people this question, you’ll get a lot of answers.
But, if you ask a billion people this question, then one answer will very likely rise to the top, and it will be TikTok.
It’s probably the most loved app in the world right now, but if it isn’t, there are seven more apps that are quite popular.
So if you want to learn all about people’s favorite apps, then you’re in the right place.
Let’s get started!
How Do You Pick Your Favorite Apps? (3 Criteria)
Here are some of the all-time favorite apps.
With some research and a little math, I can justify saying that some apps are clearly loved more than others.
I have a list of eight apps that made the cut.
Feel free to skip down to the list if you like.
Before I go through each app, I’m going to explain how I rated them.
Basically, I looked at how many people have installed the app, how much they use the app, and how much money the app makes.
By comparing those statistics, I think I can reasonably say which apps get the most love.
#1 Number of Installs
One of the easiest ways to determine how much people love an app is to see if they install it.
You’ll find that every app on my list is among the most downloaded and installed of all time.
Now, the list doesn’t exclusively consider the number of installs, but everything you’re going to read today has been installed hundreds of millions of times.
Some of these apps have been installed multiple billions of times.
That said, there’s a reason we have to consider more than just how many times an app is downloaded.
Have you ever been annoyed with an app and deleted it, only to reinstall it later?
If so, then you’re not alone.
This happens a lot, and because of it, the very most popular apps tend to have inflated installation rates.
If a billion people use an app, then millions are probably going to delete it and reinstall it at some point.
It’s just a numbers game.
So, installation statistics will be a part of what you read, but there’s more to all of this.
#2 Money Spent
There are a few ways to look at this.
Some of the biggest apps in the world are completely free to use.
Despite that, they make a ton of money.
Oftentimes, that money is ad revenue, but some popular apps have premium services and such that you can buy.
There’s an old saying that people vote with their wallets.
I think there’s some merit to that idea.
If 4 billion people download an app and then forget about it, is it really the favorite app?
By tracking money spent on the app (whether by users or advertisers), we can get a better idea of how people value the app.
So, money statistics were considered for the list I have below.
It’s not the number-one metric, but it does matter, and you’ll find that these apps are also the most valuable apps (for the most part) in terms of revenue and business valuations.
#3 Active Users
The number of downloads and money spent on an app tells you a lot, but arguably, the very most important metric is the active user base.
The biggest apps make money by having lots of users.
As an example, Facebook likes to show you advertisements.
If a lot of people use Facebook a whole lot every day, then it can make more ad revenue.
So, the very biggest apps are really pushing to have an active user base that spends a lot of time on the app.
When it comes to the very top apps, there are hundreds of millions and sometimes billions of daily active users.
These apps are absolutely dominant in this respect, and I weigh this metric heavily.
I didn’t use an exact formula to round out the list of favorite apps, but active users was probably more important than the other two metrics.
So, What Are People’s Favorite Apps? (8 Winners)
That covers the selection criteria.
Let’s get into the favorite apps.
I didn’t put these in ranked order, but since the title refers to a single favorite app, let me pick one now.
I put it at the top of the list so you could see my justification from the start.
It’s pretty easy to list TikTok first.
It has the numbers in every metric (not necessarily the very highest number in every metric, but ridiculously high numbers in every category).
It is its own cultural phenomenon at this point, and it got there by doing something very different from the other apps on this list.
TikTok was not the first of its kind. It didn’t reinvent social media.
It didn’t revolutionize how we use our phones or live in this world. It did something that plenty of other apps had been doing for over a decade. It just did it in a way that people dramatically preferred.
TikTok was released in 2016, and as you very likely already know, it focused on providing a platform for short video posts.
Vines had already been doing this for years, and other apps like Facebook had made short video posts pretty accessible.
Despite that, TikTok pretty quickly took over the world.
As of writing this, the app has been downloaded more than 2.6 billion times.
That’s more than half of all of the people in the world who use the internet.
It’s hard to do better than 2.6.
To be fair, Facebook has been downloaded more than 5 billion times, but TikTok did this in a world that already had billions of Facebook users, and TikTok is easily the fastest-growing app in the whole world right now.
That’s not all, though; TikTok puts out additional impressive numbers.
The app has more than 1 billion active users.
Some of you might come back to this and notice that Twitter isn’t on the list.
Part of the reason for that is that roughly 75% of Twitter users don’t send a single tweet in an entire year.
It doesn’t have an active base.
Meanwhile, roughly half of TikTok users are active on a given day.
It’s incredible participation.
That’s still not the end of what makes TikTok so dominant.
It’s also heavily used.
The average TikTok user spends 95 minutes on the app each day.
That blows most other apps out of the water.
Facebook has a pretty interesting spot on this list.
You can hardly call Facebook a beloved app, and yet, by the metrics, it very much deserves to be here.
People love to give Facebook a hard time, but they seem unable to stop using it.
Facebook is one of the social media pioneers.
Many people would call it the first massively successful social media platform in history.
You can argue that point, but there’s not getting around the fact that Facebook introduced many of us to the concept of social media.
It was originally released in 2004.
The Facebook of those days was considerably different from the app on your phone today, but regardless, it’s been around for almost 20 years now.
When I throw some statistics at you, they’re going to feel like they contradict some of the claims about TikTok.
There are two things to keep in mind.
First, the numbers aren’t as direct of comparisons as they seem.
TikTok reports daily users.
Facebook reports monthly users.
That’s going to skew the data a bit.
Second, Facebook had the largest base in the world when TikTok was launched.
TikTok has taken that title away largely by flipping Facebook users into TikTok users.
So, Facebook has some numbers that seem insurmountably large, but for what people are using today, TikTok is the more popular platform.
With that covered, let’s talk about users.
Facebook has 2.9 billion monthly active users.
That’s more users each month than TikTok has total downloads (keep in mind that this includes Facebook website users and not Tiktok website users).
Even with these massive numbers, there were 416 million Facebook downloads in 2021.
That’s a year when over a billion people were already using the app.
The company also makes a lot of money.
Facebook generated $117.9 billion in revenue in 2021.
That’s not a small amount of money.
Have you noticed the trend yet?
The most loved apps are social media apps, by a pretty large margin.
Instagram is another social media giant.
It’s not the oldest ever, but it’s still been around for more than a decade (it launched in 2010).
Before I hit you with some numbers, there’s an important fact to keep in mind.
Instagram was purchased by Facebook in 2012.
So, that might feel like a conflation, but Instagram is still clearly a distinct app with its own user base and user statistics that we can compare.
Instagram has had more than 2 billion unique users over the years.
That’s a slightly different statistic from total downloads, but every company and organization chooses to count things a little differently.
It’s part of the grain of salt we have to apply to these kinds of statistics.
In addition to a huge overall user base, Instagram still sees posts from more than 500 million users every day.
For anyone underestimating, that’s still an absolutely massive number.
Lastly, Instagram users spend roughly 30 minutes each day using the app.
Those aren’t TikTok numbers, but when 500 million people spend half an hour on an app, it’s adds up to huge overall usage.
We’re at the fourth entry on the list, and we’re still very much in social media apps.
Snapchat is not as big as the other three social media giants, but it’s still a massively popular app.
It was launched in 2011, so it’s still got more than a decade of use and development.
In that time, Snapchat has built up user statistics that make it belong on this list, but this is the first app that is clearly in a lower echelon as compared to the big three.
Snapchat currently has more than 319 million active users.
That’s not as many as the apps above, but it’s still more that the population of any country in the world (excluding China, India, and the United States).
What’s interesting about Snapchat is user activity.
The average time spent on Snapchat is a little over 30 minutes a day, making it more used than either Facebook or Instagram (but still falling way behind TikTok).
On top of that, the 319 million users create more than 5 billion snaps every day.
That means that Snapchat engagement is still very high among the people who use the app.
At long last, we found an app that isn’t exactly social media.
Spotify is definitely one of the most used and loved apps you can find.
While there are elements to Spotify that might make you think of it as a social app, the primary purpose is not communication between people.
Instead, Spotify is all about listening to music.
Sure, there’s more to the app, but listening to music is the major hook.
You might not know this, but Spotify was created in 2006.
It’s actually one of the older apps on this list.
And, over the years, it has put together some impressive user statistics.
The active user base for Spotify includes 422 million people.
It’s clearly not the biggest, but there aren’t that many apps with more users.
Among those users, 182 million are subscribers, meaning that Spotify is one of the biggest apps in terms of paying users.
But, Spotify’s biggest number comes in terms of usage.
The average Spotify user has the app running for just shy of two hours every day.
Even TikTok is jealous of that amount of usage.
Considering people use Spotify to listen to music (and audiobooks and podcasts and more), it’s not surprising that it has such high usage.
Regardless, Spotify is a monster in this category, and it’s why it’s one of the most loved apps in the whole world.
Like Spotify, YouTube is one of those apps that some people would consider social media.
It’s not quite like Facebook and such, but there are definitely social elements to YouTube.
Regardless of how you feel about that, YouTube is easily one of the most used and loved apps of all time.
It started as a website in 2005 where people could go to watch all kinds of videos.
Google purchased it later that same year, and since, it has undergone more evolutions than a Pokemon.
Let’s get into the numbers.
YouTube claims more than 2.5 billion people use it each month.
That’s already absolutely massive, but once again, we have to remember that YouTube is often used without the app.
There are still a lot of website users, and this number doesn’t differentiate.
Another amazing number for YouTube is that the user base collectively watches more than a billion hours of videos every single day.
At that rate, users will have watched more hours of video than the earth is old by 2025.
That’s impressive, right?
Here’s what might be the craziest of all.
YouTube hits these numbers while being completely banned in China.
That’s a billion internet users who can’t use YouTube, and it’s still this gigantic.
WhatsApp is another seasoned app that is doing great these days.
For those who haven’t used it, it’s a communication app.
While there are some social media-esque elements, WhatsApp is really designed for direct communication.
You can call, text, video chat, and conference call people with the app.
While it’s not ancient like YouTube, WhatsApp was created in 2009.
Since then, it has garnered a massive following, and in many places, people use WhatsApp to avoid having a cell phone plan.
The statistics for WhatsApp make it a very competitive member on this list.
More than 2 billion people have downloaded WhatsApp over the years, and those users create 100 billion messages every day.
That’s a huge crowd actively and regularly using the app.
While all of those numbers are impressive, here’s the real catch.
WhatsApp is also owned by Facebook.
If you add Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp statistics together, you get something larger than the rest of this list combined.
But, as I said before, I’m considering each app separately, and WhatsApp clearly has the numbers to be here.
Last on the list today is WeChat.
Many of you reading this might not be very familiar with WeChat, and that’s because I’m writing this in English.
In other words, WeChat is an app giant in another part of the world.
More specifically, it’s the most popular instant messaging tool in China.
It also has social media elements and mobile payment tools.
So, it offers a lot.
Despite being primarily a Chinese app, it has more than 1 billion users.
In other words, this app absolutely dominates the market in China (which has a population of about 1.4 billion people).
Daily usage for WeChat is quite impressive.
The average user spends about 82 minutes on the app every day.
That makes it one of the most loved on this list.
The only thing really holding WeChat back from being the top app in the world is that it really caters to Chinese users.
It’s designed specifically for approval from the Chinese government, and there has been little effort made to adapt it for markets outside of China.
That hardly seems a problem, though, because WeChat is still one of the biggest and most used apps on the planet.