Google Play has been around for a while as has Android itself. In fact, it’s been over 10 years now. Thus, there are actually quite a few apps that achieved true popular over the years. Many call it the three comma club, the over one billion downloads mark is one of the rarest achievements an app can have. There are over a dozen Google apps with this distinction, including popular apps like Gmail and YouTube. However, these lists always have a ton of Google apps and pre-installed apps. It’s fairly common knowledge that Google apps are the most common apps on Android anyway, so let’s not include them and look at the rest of the field instead. Here are the 15 most common apps for Android! The download numbers are estimates, by the way, and not 100% factually accurate numbers. If you want to see our sources, we have them linked at the end of the article.
Facebook’s collection of apps are easily the most common aside from Google’s own apps. Facebook (~4.5 billion downloads), Facebook Messenger (~3.8 billion downloads), Instagram (~2.1 billion downloads), Facebook Lite (~1 billion downloads), Facebook Messenger Lite (~100 million downloads), and WhatsApp (3.5 billion) have download estimates almost double that of the world’s entire population (estimated 7.7 billion). That’s seriously impressive work and there’s a reason Mark Zuckerberg is so rich. When you’re not looking at Google apps (which eclipse even these gargantuan download numbers), Facebook’s properties are easily the second most common and popular set of apps of any developer on Google Play, period, and these numbers don’t even account for iOS downloads. Facebook’s push into VR with the Oculus also helps, probably.
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Microsoft is also doing quite well these days with its venerable Microsoft Office suite of apps. Microsoft Word (est. 776 million), Excel (est. 666 million), PowerPoint (est. 674 million), and OneDrive (est. 560 million) would almost all make the list on their own. However, most people download all of these apps as part of the full Microsoft Office experience so it makes sense to put them together. It’s a bit of confirmation bias, though, because everybody already knows that Microsoft Office is insanely popular. The Office 365 subscription also works with Microsoft’s desktop apps as well as its web apps. That probably helps with its popularity quite a bit. These are easily among the most common apps on Android.
Angry Birds is a little bit like PewDiePie. It keeps setting records for popularity, but it seems like nobody except the most hardcore fans pay attention to it anymore. There are over a dozen Angry Birds games in total and all of those games contributed to its massive three billion downloads mark. This one might be a little disingenuous. The three billion mark is actually its total download count on all platforms, not just Android. Still, with Android estimates like Angry Birds Classic (~430 million downloads) and Angry Birds Rio (~390 million downloads), the series would’ve made the list anyway. This series has its own Hollywood movie among other bragging rights. The first Angry Birds was also the first mobile game to hit one billion total downloads all the way back in 2012. It’s not really popular anymore, but it had one hell of a run.
Angry Birds and Temple Run reached the one billion club first. However, Subway Surfers is the only mobile game with over one billion downloads on just the Google Play Store. The popular infinite runner achieved the feat relatively recently, actually. It received its one billionth download on March 16th, 2018. Its meteoric rise to fame is a tad surprising considering the immense number of infinite runner games, including iconic names in the genre such as Temple Run. Still, it’s an achievement to be proud of. Kiloo, the developer, hasn’t quite matched Subway Surfers’ success with any of their other games, but we think they’re probably making enough money as it is.
Skype is another older app with a lot of downloads from its early days. We rounded up to 1.1 billion so it’s actually a little lower than Subway Surfers. The communication app is an excellent cross-platform experience. You can do video, voice, and text chats. You can also call landline numbers for a nominal fee. It’s not quite as popular in terms of monthly active users. That title goes to apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, GroupMe, Discord, and others. However, we imagine many of Skype’s most active users aren’t on mobile, but on desktop. To be honest, we’re not sure why the numbers dropped off so much. It’s not like Skype can’t do stuff that the other messaging apps can do. In any case, it is what it is and 1.1 billion estimated downloads isn’t half bad.
Clean Master by Cheetah Mobile is, by far, the most popular cleaner style app on Google Play with just over one billion estimated downloads. This is one of those cases where popularity doesn’t equal quality, though. Clean Master’s aggressive cleaning functions usually work against the device and we’re honestly not entirely sure how it got this popular to begin with. In its earlier days, it was a good way to remove junk files from places like your download or screenshots folder. However, the addition of a bunch of snake oil functions like the phone booster or CPU cooler simply make this app difficult to recommend. Yet, here it is at a billion downloads. Goodness, what a bad decision so many people made.
SHAREit is kind of a dark horse on a list like this. The app lets you transfer files between Android, iOS, Windows, and (back in the day) Windows Phone devices. It supports 39 languages, and it shares honors with most apps on this list of being among the most downloaded apps of the last ten years. It was once accused of being spyware by the Indian government, but has since worked with Google to bolster its security and show that it isn’t spyware. Still, it’s insanely popular and Android Rank estimates that it should hit the official one billion download marker sooner rather than later.
Snapchat is one of the world’s most popular chat apps alongside Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger. It has over 900 million downloads (estimated), and its core audience is much younger than most messaging apps. Many of its features are copied by Facebook and Instagram, although neither seem to get that this is closer to a messaging app rather than a social media platform. In any case, Snapchat’s quick rise into relevance wasn’t without its problems and the company still has massive financial problems. It just goes to show that having almost a billion downloads doesn’t necessarily make you a billion dollars.
Twitter is one of the big two in social media long with Facebook. This should probably be higher on the list. However, Twitter actually has a decent third party app ecosystem that likely affected these numbers quite a bit. In terms of quality, Twitter is kind of awful. There are a lot of angry people on there and it is often a poisonous place with little actual human discourse. Still, being able to share a thought in less than 240 characters makes the platform charming for many people. Plus, it’s one of the few social networks with a predominately chronological timeline and that also makes it good for viewing current events. It’s not a great place, but it’s definitely a common one.
Candy Crush Saga was one of the most popular mobile games for a number of years until more recent games like Pokemon Go tore it down from the top spot. The game remains fairly popular to this day and its estimated download count of over 885 million would back that up. The game is also given credit (alongside Bejeweled) for starting the match-three puzzle game trend on mobile. It’s a simple, family friendly game with a ton of levels so you can play it for a really long time. The developers boast that players have completed over one trillion levels to date. That’s not a small number. Many remember the horrible days of this game bugging you on Facebook, but those days are gone and this game is still popular.
Line is yet another messaging service on this list. This one is predominately popular in Asia. It’s the most popular messaging app in Japan and it has a good foothold in Taiwan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, and Indonesia. The app boasts over 200 million daily and monthly active users overall. The app features text and video chats along with voice calls. There are also customization options like stickers and a sort of social network. This has the potential to blow up and get even bigger if it can leverage its social media features a little more like the other big dogs. In any case, most of our U.S. readers don’t know Line, but we assure you, it’s quite popular.
Viber Messenger is another extremely popular messaging app in places that aren’t the United States. Statista claims the app has over one billion registered accounts and estimates about 260 monthly active users. Android Rank puts its estimated Android download count at 747 million. It’s surprisingly popular in Russia where it tops out even WhatsApp. The download count seems to make sense as well, as the app hit the 500 million mark back in 2016. However, most of its active users are probably in Russia and surrounding countries, so we don’t blame you if you don’t know this one off of the top of your head.
Dropbox isn’t quite as popular as Google Drive these days. However, it’s still one of the most popular cloud storage apps that doesn’t have a whole office suite attached to it. That includes 738 estimated downloads. The app hit 500 million registered users back in 2016. All of this despite being completely censored in China. This kind of breaks our rule to not use pre-installed apps because Dropbox is (or at least used to be) pre-installed on some devices. It’s not quite as common as it was back in the early 2010’s, though. Thus, we think these download numbers are a little bit juiced from the pre-installs, but that’s okay. Everybody knows Dropbox even if not everybody uses it.
UC Browser is the third most popular browser in the world behind Google Chrome and Apple’s Safari. It credits most of its popularity to a very localized portion of the world, including China, India, and Indonesia. UCWeb also makes UC Browser Mini, another popular browser with over 100 million downloads. Thus, UC as a whole is probably more popular and common than we’re indicating here. To add some context, Mozilla Firefox has 200 million downloads (estimated) and Google Chrome has an estimated 3.9 billion. So there is quite a gap between UC, Firefox, and others and Google Chrome. However, again, Chrome is pre-installed and UC Browser is not so its download numbers are slightly more impressive overall.
The My Talking Tom series is another very popular mobile game franchise. You know this series. You play with an anthropomorphic talking cat. Sometimes it’s Tom and sometimes it’s Angela. The first and second My Talking Tom games have an estimated 1.1 billion downloads between the two of them with My Talking Angela adding 341 million on top of that. That easily puts the whole series above the one billion mark. However, the developers do have over a dozen games so that number should actually be much higher. We have it way down here because the original My Talking Tom only reached 600 million downloads. Still, this is one of the legends in this space, even if it is old and nobody pays attention to it much anymore.
If we missed any of the most common Android apps, tell us about them in the comments below! You can also click here to check out our latest Android app and game lists. Finally, here are the sources we used for this article:
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