Many of the Android apps we’ve recommended 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.
So we wanted to 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 two billion active users have downloaded most frequently.
A Note on Stock Android Apps
We’re not going to include apps that come pre-loaded on stock Android devices. This means we’re excluding Google Play Services (5.959 billion “downloads”), Gmail (3.945 billion), Google Maps (2.488 billion), Google News (2.341 billion) YouTube (approximately 5 billion), and a few others.
We’ve used AndroidRank’s data to determine these numbers. Now, that’s enough preliminary info. Here’s the list!
4.119 billion downloads
It’s not surprising to see Facebook come out on top of the list. Despite seemingly endless scandals, questionable privacy practices, and the #DeleteFacebook movement, it still reigns supreme.
Not everyone is happy though. It has nearly 10 million one-star ratings. Perhaps it’s justified; the app is bloated with pointless features that few people bother to use.
Do you notice a theme developing? Facebook apps hold all three of the top spots. The world’s most popular instant messaging tool has been under Facebook’s ownership since a $19 billion buyout in early 2014.
Finally, a non-Facebook app. Whether Skype can truly claim to be the best video-calling service is open to debate. However, after being the first such service that was widely adopted, it continues to benefit from significant brand recognition.
As we mentioned earlier, there are a lot of WhatsApp alternatives. We like Telegram, so it’s perhaps a surprise to see LINE come in as the second most popular instant messaging app.
Asia drives much of its popularity. It’s in the top five communications apps in Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Cambodia, and Indonesia. The app struggles to make the top 30 in most European and North American countries, however.
Is this the most surprising entry on the list? All Android phones offer a native flashlight feature these days.
Sure, Super-Bright LED Flashlight provides nine illumination settings, but that doesn’t seem enough to warrant almost 600 million downloads. What’s more, flashlights are one of the categories of apps you shouldn’t download.
If your phone is old enough that it doesn’t have a built-in flashlight, you can find other apps on Google Play that don’t require any permissions or ads. While this one has ads, it thankfully doesn’t ask for access to your contacts and location like many others.
Once again, non-European/American users make up the bulk of the downloads. It’s the number one productivity app in much of Asia, South America, and the Caribbean.