The 20 Most Popular Android Apps in the Google Play Store
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.
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 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 (10 billion “downloads”), Gmail (5.7 billion), Google Maps (5.9 billion), YouTube (10 billion), and a few others.
We’ve used AndroidRank’s data to determine these numbers. The numbers in parenthesis denote the placement change from July 2018, when we first published this list.
1. WhatsApp (+2)
5.875 billion downloads
In July 2018, WhatsApp was third with 2.9 billion downloads. Today, it has jumped into the top spot to overtake the previous leader, Facebook. This accomplishment is all the more surprising, given the app still lacks widespread popularity in the US.
Nonetheless, 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)
5.478 billion downloads
It’s not surprising to see Facebook still so high on the list. Despite seemingly endless scandals, questionable privacy practices, and the #DeleteFacebook movement, it still reigns supreme.
Not everyone is happy though, as this app has 10.2 million one-star ratings. Perhaps it’s justified; the app is bloated with pointless features that few people bother to use.
Download: Facebook (Free)
3. Facebook Messenger (-1)
4.756 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’s down one place from July 2018.
Download: Facebook Messenger (Free)
4. Instagram (=)
2.796 billion downloads
Instagram is yet another Facebook-owned app, which the company acquired in 2012.
It has significantly fewer negative reviews than its big brother, with just six million (out of 95 million) giving the app a single star.
Download: Instagram (Free)
5. Subway Surfers (+1)
1.249 billion downloads
At number five, we find our first game—and it’s 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.
It has moved up one place from July 2018.
Download: Subway Surfers (Free, in-app purchases available)
6. Facebook Lite (+6)
1.492 billion downloads
And we’re already 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.
Facebook Lite is one of the biggest winners in the updated list; it is up six places in the last 18 months and has doubled its total number of downloads.
Download: Facebook Lite (Free)
7. SHAREit (+4)
1.290 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)
8. Microsoft Excel (New)
1.284 billion downloads
Microsoft Excel is the first new entry on the list. It took the company a long time to make serious inroads into the mobile market (we won’t mention Windows Phone), but it’s now finally starting to find some traction.
It’s a bit surprising, however, that both Excel and PowerPoint have managed to amass more downloads than Word (though it’s close!).
Download: Microsoft Excel (Free, subscription required for some features)
9. Microsoft PowerPoint (New)
1.264 billion downloads
Microsoft PowerPoint is the second consecutive Microsoft Office app on the list. You’ve likely used it at some point to create a presentation or slideshow.
Download: Microsoft PowerPoint (Free, subscription required for some features)
10. Microsoft Word (New)
1.259 billion downloads
Microsoft completes a hat-trick with the entry of Word. Given the popularity of Word on the desktop, it should come as no surprise that the Android app has also found similar levels of success.
Keep an eye on these three Office apps—they will almost certainly shoot even higher when we next update the list.
Download: Microsoft Word (Free, subscription required for some features)
11. Snapchat (-1)
1.165 billion downloads
Instagram might be stealing all of Snapchat’s best features, but the latter still manages to rack up more than 150 million daily users.
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?
Download: Snapchat (Free)
12. Microsoft OneDrive (New)
1.151 billion downloads
Microsoft reinforces its growing importance in the Android app marketplace with the arrival of OneDrive in the top 20 most popular Android apps. OneDrive is popular amongst Windows users on Android thanks to its ability to access any file on your desktop (assuming you have set up access prior to leaving your home).
The OneDrive app also boasts security features such as biometrics and PIN codes to keep your data safe in the event that you lose your phone.
Download: Microsoft OneDrive (Free, subscription available)
13. Skype (-8)
1.093 billion downloads
Whether Skype can still 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.
Its eight-place decline, combined with just 60 million more downloads over the last 18 months, suggests consumer interest could finally be on the wane.
Download: Skype (Free)
14. Clean Master: Space Cleaner & Antivirus (-6)
1.054 billion downloads
The top 13 apps might not be to everyone’s taste, but it’s hard to claim there’s anything wrong with them. Clean Master is the first app on this list that you should avoid at all costs.
Why? First, the developer—Cheetah Mobile—is infamous for piling bloatware and nag screens into its apps. Second, it doesn’t do anything useful. RAM cleaners and task killers actively hurt your phone, so you should know how to properly manage memory on Android.
At the time of writing, Google had removed this app from the Play Store, so it may not appear on the list next time.
=15. Twitter (-8)
1.000 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 fourth most popular social app. In 2018 it was third behind Facebook and Instagram, but Snapchat has also now leapfrogged it.
Download: Twitter (Free)
=15. Candy Crush Saga (-6)
1.000 billion downloads
You probably thought Candy Crush Saga would be the most popular game in raw downloads, but it comes in second.
Regardless, a 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)
17. Dropbox (-4)
840 million downloads
Dropbox is one of the best-known cloud storage services around. It lets you store documents in the cloud, access them from anywhere, and share them with other users.
It’s also the first app on the list that hasn’t yet broken the one billion downloads mark.
Download: Dropbox (Free, subscriptions available)
18. Viber (-3)
817 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. Asian users still prefer LINE.
Download: Viber (Free, in-app purchases available)
19. LINE (-5)
810 million downloads
LINE is the fourth-most popular instant messaging app on Android, behind WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Viber.
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.
Download: LINE (Free, in-app purchases available)
20. Flipboard (-4)
617 million downloads
Flipboard is a curious app. It doesn’t garner the same number of headlines as many of its competitors, but as the 600 million downloads prove, it’s hugely popular.
In case you don’t know, the app collates news, conversations, and compelling stories around any given topic, giving you a one-stop shop for the subjects you care about.
Download: Flipboard (Free)
The Most Popular Android Apps: How Many Do You Use?
So what have we learned from this whistle-stop tour through the 20 most popular Android apps as of March 2020? Our conclusions are thus:
- People love Facebook and social media in general.
- Popularity in Asia can easily drive worldwide fame.
- Candy Crush Saga is as popular as ever.
- Cheetah Mobile somehow remains influential.
If you’d like to learn about other Android apps, have a look at our guide on the most essential Android apps that work offline.
Read the full article: The 20 Most Popular Android Apps in the Google Play Store