How many of these apps do you use?
I openly admit it: I am a reluctant beneficiary of technology.
I like the smell, feel, and sound of turning a weathered page of a hardcover book. I prefer writing my lists on the backs of discarded bill envelopes or pieces of scrap paper as opposed to taking advantage of my cellphone’s voice dictation capability. I have, however, become quite dependent on checking my phone’s weather app—but only after years of fighting it.
I’m a veritable dinosaur when it comes to high-tech advancements. There, I said it. And while I don’t think I’m alone, I do think I’m in the minority—and with good reason: In many instances, technology does indeed make life easier. I know, I know: There is no replacement for knowing how to get by using just your noggin. After all, computers freeze, smartphone screens shatter when they inadvertently fall off the counter, and there are many things in life that simply can’t be programmed.
But there is a heck of a lot of things that are. We can do just about everything on our phones these days. From banking to watching movies, to staying in touch with loved ones, it’s easy to see why we’ve become glued to our phones.
And, astonishingly, as Forbes magazine reported recently, the mobile industry is still growing—more than a decade after the era of the smartphone began.
Forbes found that Americans installed 37 billion apps in the first quarter of last year, which was an 11% increase from 2021. (It’ll be interesting to see what this year’s first quarter numbers show.) Most of 2022 downloads—about 28 billion to be more specific—were on Android devices, while only about eight billion were on iOS (Apple’s mobile operating system that powers the iPhone and iPod Touch). However, when it came to actual revenue, the percentages were reversed: iOS accounted for almost $2 for each dollar spent on Android: $1.80.
Regardless of whether you find these stats eyebrow-raising, you may be surprised by the following compilation of the top 10 most popular apps—worldwide—of 2022:
10. Spotify (238M users)
9. Stumble Guys (254M users)
8. Facebook (298M users)
7. Subway Surfers (304M users)
6. Telegram (310M users)
5. Snapchat (330M users)
4. CapCut (357M users)
3. WhatsApp (424M users)
2. Instagram (548M users)
1. TikTok (672M users)
Facebook dropped by more than 25%, while TikTok won big, and CapCut, a video editing software that was once considered ho-hum, cracked the top four most-downloaded apps in the world. (It’s important to note that CapCut is made by TikTok’s parent company and has since become a favored tool of influencers for creating—you guessed it—TikTok videos.)
If nothing else, the list above is an interesting metric because it sheds light on what’s happening in the world. The same can be said for the following list of the top 10 most popular apps right here in the U.S.:
10. Facebook (45.5M users)
9. Messenger (46.3M users)
8. Amazon (47M users)
7. Roblox (50.9M users)
6. Subway Surfers (51.4M users)
5. Snapchat (54M users)
4. WhatsApp (63M users)
3. Cash App (64M users)
2. Instagram (72M users)
1. TikTok: (99M users)
Adam Blacker, Director of Content & Communications for Apptopia, a leader in the app store analysis industry, says that what we’re seeing here is evidence of big changes in the mobile ecosystem and that people are spending much more time on their mobile devices. “Messenger is ceding share,” he says. “WhatsApp grew a good chunk in a big market.”
I, for one, have begrudgingly resolved to get with the program and become better acquainted with a new app (or two) this year. We’ll see how I feel come July.
But I do have tremendous incentive: I am the mother of not one but two preteens, and they can already swipe circles around me.
Any way you view this collective data, one thing is obvious. People the world over have something major in common: When it comes to communication and entertainment, our smartphones reign supreme.
Where would we be without them?
Courtney Conover is wife, mom, yoga instructor, and Chicken Soup for the Soul contributor who has called Wayne home since 1995.