10 most-downloaded apps of the 2010s: Facebook dominates the decade

Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp are among the most-downloaded apps of the 2010s.

Alison DeNisco Rayome Managing Editor
Managing Editor Alison DeNisco Rayome joined CNET in 2019, and is a member of the Home team. She is a co-lead of the CNET Tips and We Do the Math series, and manages the Home Tips series, testing out new hacks for cooking, cleaning and tinkering with all of the gadgets and appliances in your house. Alison was previously an editor at TechRepublic.
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Alison DeNisco Rayome
2 min read
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The 2010s have seen some major changes in the way we interact with the world: We now take rides from strangers via ride-hailing platforms such as Uber and Lyft, we rent other people's homes through Airbnb and Vrbo instead of booking a hotel. We also play console-quality video games on our phones with Apple Arcade and mobile releases of games such as Call of Duty. You can find one thing at the heart of all of these changes: mobile apps. 

In 2019 alone, people worldwide are on track to download a record 120 billion apps across iOS and Android devices -- a 5% increase over the year before, according to a Monday report from app analytics firm App Annie. This number only represents new downloads, not reinstalls or app updates, the report noted. Spending on apps is growing even faster, approaching $90 billion worldwide this year -- up 15% from last year. 

Read also: Best iPhone apps of 2019 | Best Android apps of 2019

Most of the spending growth was driven by mobile games, photo and video editors and entertainment apps, which is expected to continue into 2020 with the launch of new streaming and subscription services such as Disney Plus, the report said. 

Among the most-downloaded apps of the decade, Facebook and its family of apps Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram took the top slots -- despite Facebook's many privacy scandals over the past couple years. Communication and social media apps accounted for seven of the top 10 apps in terms of downloads this decade. 

Here are the top 10 most-downloaded apps of the 2010s:

  1. Facebook
  2. Facebook Messenger
  3. WhatsApp Messenger
  4. Instagram
  5. Snapchat
  6. Skype
  7. TikTok
  8. UC Browser
  9. YouTube
  10. Twitter

The year 2019 itself has seen the steady rise of social video apps like TikTok and Likee. And many of the most-downloaded apps of the year are also the most-downloaded apps of the decade, App Annie found. 

Free Fire, PUBG Mobile and Subway Surfers were the most downloaded mobile games this year. 

Here are the 10 most-downloaded apps of 2019:

  1. Facebook Messenger
  2. Facebook
  3. WhatsApp Messenger
  4. TikTok
  5. Instagram
  6. SHAREit
  7. Likee
  8. Snapchat
  9. Netflix
  10. Spotify

And the 10 most-downloaded games of 2019:

  1. Free Fire
  2. PUBG Mobile
  3. Subway Surfers
  4. Color Bump 3D
  5. Fun Race 3D
  6. Run Race 3D
  7. My Talking Tom 2
  8. Homescapes
  9. Stack Ball
  10. Call of Duty: Mobile

Read also: 25 apps that defined the decade: 2010-2019 | CNET names 2019's top tech products of the year