The 20 Most Popular Android Apps in the Google Play Store
Many of the Android apps we recommend aren’t popular in the wider community. Of course, they’re all excellent—we wouldn’t suggest lousy apps—but often you can file them into the “niche” category.
For something different, let’s take a step back and look at some of the all-time most popular Android apps in the Google Play Store. These are the ones that Android’s 2.8 billion active users have downloaded most frequently.
A Note on Stock Android Apps
We’re not going to include apps that come preloaded on stock Android devices. This means we’re excluding Google Play Services (10 billion “downloads”), Gmail (9 billion), Google Maps (6.9 billion), YouTube (10 billion), and a few others. We also aren’t including apps pre-installed on Samsung phones.
We’ve used AndroidRank’s data to determine the estimated downloads of these popular apps listed below. The numbers in parentheses denote the placement change from July 2021, when we last updated this list.
1. WhatsApp (+1)
8.413 billion downloads
In July 2018, WhatsApp was third with 2.9 billion downloads. In 2022, it has jumped to first place.
WhatsApp—which is the world’s most popular instant messaging tool—has been under Facebook’s ownership since a $19 billion buyout in early 2014. If you don’t fancy using a Facebook-owned app messaging app, try out one of the many WhatsApp alternatives.
Download: WhatsApp (Free)
2. Facebook (-1)
6.95 billion downloads
It’s not surprising to see Facebook as the world’s second-highest downloaded app. Despite seemingly endless scandals, questionable privacy practices, and the #DeleteFacebook movement, it still reigns supreme and is one of the most popular Google store apps.
Not everyone is happy though, as this app has 76 million one-star ratings. Perhaps it’s justified; the app is bloated with pointless features that few people bother to use.
Download: Facebook (Free, in-app purchases available)
3. Facebook Messenger (=)
5.67 billion downloads
The presence of Messenger in the third position reinforces the control that Facebook’s empire has over the smartphone app marketplace. Messenger has grown in popularity over the last few years, with the increased availability of bots making the service more useful than ever. It was also in third place in 2021 when we last published this list.
This app is now also safe for kids, as you can easily change your child’s information and use the Messenger Sleep Mode to avoid any distractions when they are studying or napping.
Download: Facebook Messenger (Free, in-app purchases available)
4. Instagram (=)
4.197 billion downloads
Instagram is yet another Facebook-owned app, which the company acquired in 2012. It is one of the most downloaded apps on the Play Store, and has significantly fewer negative reviews than its big brother, with just 28 million (out of 121 million) giving the app a single star.
With the latest features like Instagram Reels, the app has just become much more enjoyable!
Download: Instagram (Free, in-app purchases available)
5. Garena Free Fire: Rampage (New)
1.2 billion downloads
Launched in 2017, Garena free fire is a mobile battle royal game in which players fight to survive on a shrinking land. The game begins with 50 players flying over an island in an airplane. From the plane, the players can jump wherever they want and find a safe space as well as gather equipment to fight the other players. The last person to survive on the island wins.
Additionally, the game offers certain social functions, such as adding new friends and chatting with them.
Download: Garena Free Fire (Free, in-app purchases available)
6. TikTok (-1)
2.843 billion downloads
TikTok’s ongoing growth shows no signs of abating. The app, which lets users create and share short video clips, became immensely popular during the first half of 2020 as the COVID crisis forced people to stay at home.
It broke one billion downloads in July 2019 and has more than doubled in the following two years. If you are a creator on the platform, there are several methods you can try to get more fans and followers on TikTok.
Download: TikTok (Free, in-app purchases available)
7. Subway Surfers (-1)
1.438 billion downloads
We find our second game at number seven—and it’s still not Candy Crush Saga! Subway Surfers is an endless runner game that sees you flee down a railroad in order to escape from a police officer and his dog.
Download: Subway Surfers (Free, in-app purchases available)
8. Candy Crush Saga (+7)
1.214 billion downloads
You probably thought Candy Crush Saga would be the most popular game in raw downloads, but it comes in third. Regardless, 1.2 billion Android users love trying to line up different-colored candies. Maybe it’s time to find a new hobby?
Download: Candy Crush Saga (Free, in-app purchases available)
9. Snapchat (+1)
1.523 billion downloads
Instagram might be stealing all of Snapchat’s best features, but the latter still manages to rack up more than 330 million daily users, up from 280 million 12 months ago.
However, as a percentage of the total downloads on Android and iOS combined, that figure remains low. Is it time to start worrying about the app’s future or does the slight increase in rank point to a possible revival?
Download: Snapchat (Free, in-app purchases available)
10. Spotify (+7)
1.169 billion downloads
It was perhaps surprising that it took until 2021 for Spotify to make the top 20, and has now shot up to number 10.
It is yet another company that has benefited enormously from the COVID pandemic, with paid users jumping from 130 million to 160 million over the last 12 months. Indeed, the number has more than doubled since early 2017.
It has 420 million users in total.
Download: Spotify (Free, subscription available)
11. UC Browser (New)
1.00 billion downloads
This free browser has been around for a long time and can be an excellent alternative to Chrome due to its fast speed and ease of use. It supports extensions and offers a download manager that can assist you in saving multiple files. It has a high average rating on the Play Store of 4.34.
Download UC Browser (Free)
12. Facebook Lite (-5)
2.537 billion downloads
And we’re back to Facebook. The Lite version of the app is aimed at users with low-end devices (packing 1GB or 2GB of RAM) and those who only have access to 2G data networks. There are a few subtle usability changes, but all the main features are present and work as expected.
Download: Facebook Lite (Free)
13. Twitter (=)
1.440 billion downloads
It shouldn’t be a surprise to see social media apps have several entries in the list of the most popular Play Store downloads.
Twitter is now the eighth most popular social app. In 2018, it was third behind Facebook and Instagram, but Snapchat and TikTok have also now leapfrogged it.
Download: Twitter (Free)
14. My Talking Tom (New)
1.017 billion downloads
A few years ago, My Talking Tom became a viral hit, making ‘Tom’ one of the most successful animated characters in the app market. The cat repeats after you, and there are a number of things you can do with him, such as feeding, bathing, and putting him to sleep.
Performing these steps regularly also allows you to earn coins within the app, which you can use to purchase food, clothing, and other items for the cat.
Download: My Talking Tom (Free)
15. SHAREit (-4)
2.039 billion downloads
It’s not all about social networks and games with popular Android apps. SHAREit is the first non-Google productivity app to make the list. The app offers a way to transfer large files between devices in seconds. According to the developer, it’s over 200 times faster than Bluetooth.
Download: SHAREit (Free, in-app purchases available)
16. Viber (-3)
1.048 million downloads
Viber offers instant messaging, video calls, 250-person group chats, and encrypted communications. The app is one of the most popular WhatsApp alternatives in Europe and North America, although Asian users still prefer LINE.
Download: Viber (Free, in-app purchases available)
17. Netflix (-5)
1.665 billion downloads
Netflix now has almost 220 million subscribers. It saw a massive boost throughout 2020, again, thanks to COVID. The service’s blend of original content and old favorites has proved to be a winning formula, although the growth is starting to slow as streaming competition hots up.
It is the only video-on-demand streaming app to make the top 20.
Download: Netflix (Free, subscription required)
18. MX Player (New)
1.086 billion downloads
MX Player is the most downloaded Android media player with a bunch of useful features. It has a clean interface and supports almost all codecs and formats available. The app offers a free and paid version. While the free version offers almost all the features, you will have to bear with the ads. The paid version costs approximately $6.
Download: MX Player (Free, premium version available)
19. Skype (-3)
1.124 billion downloads
Skype is a fallen giant. With the release of Windows 11, Skype is no longer pre-installed on the operating system for the first time in more than a decade. The business branch is shuttered from August 2021, and it appears that Microsoft Teams is now the company’s focus. Expect it to drop out of the top 20 in 2023.
Download: Skype (Free)
20. Telegram (New)
1.48 billion downloads
Telegram was originally launched in 2013, but rose to fame after people became concerned about their online privacy on one of its competitor apps. You can create multiple accounts on the app and can access these accounts on different devices.
While it works like its competitors, its most noteworthy feature is end-to-end encryption. However, this feature is available in the ‘Secret chats’ section only, where the users are not allowed to take any screenshots or forward the texts.
Telegram’s market lead percentage has been recorded as 6.70% in June 2022.
Download: Telegram (Free)
The Most Popular Android Apps: How Many Do You Use?
So what have we learned from this tour through the 20 most popular Android apps as of July 2022? Our conclusions are thus:
- Claims of Facebook’s demise are always premature.
- Entertainment subscription services were the big winners; expect the trend to continue.
- The online discussions about WhatsApp not being secure for personal data do not seem to affect its ranking in the list.
So now you know what the most popular Android apps are. Do you have them all installed on your smartphone?