Many of the Android apps we recommend 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 2.8 billion active users have downloaded most frequently.
A Note on Stock Android Apps
We’re not going to include apps that come preloaded on stock Android devices. This means we’re excluding Google Play Services (more than sriwijayauniversal 10 billion downloads), Gmail (13 billion), Google Maps (12.7 billion), YouTube (13.7 billion), and a few others. We also aren’t including apps pre-installed on Samsung phones.
We’ve used AndroidRank’s data to determine the estimated downloads of these popular apps listed below. The numbers in parentheses denote the placement change from July 2022, when we last updated this list.
9.66 billion downloads
Back in July 2018, WhatsApp had 2.9 billion downloads on Android devices, placing it third on the list of the most installed apps. In 2023, it reached a new milestone of 9.6 billion downloads, showing a remarkable growth of more than 300% in five years.
WhatsApp—which is the world’s most popular instant messaging tool—has been under Meta’s ownership since a $19 billion buyout in early 2014. If you don’t fancy using a Meta-owned app messaging app, try out one of the many WhatsApp alternatives.
7.57 billion downloads
It’s not surprising to see Facebook as the world’s second-highest downloaded app. Despite seemingly endless scandals, questionable privacy practices, and the #DeleteFacebook movement, it still reigns supreme and is one of the most popular Google Play Store apps.
Not everyone is happy though, as this app has 52 million one-star ratings. Perhaps it’s justified; the app is bloated with pointless features that few people bother to use.
The presence of Messenger in this list reinforces the control that Meta’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. There are also ways to use Messenger without Facebook.
This app is now also safe for kids, as you can easily change your child’s information and use the Messenger Sleep Mode to avoid any distractions when they are studying or napping.
4. TikTok (+2)
TikTok’s ongoing growth shows no signs of abating. The app, which lets users create and share short video clips, broke one billion downloads in July 2019 and has exploded in popularity over the last four years. If you are a creator on the platform, there are several methods you can try to get more fans and followers on TikTok.
5. Instagram (-1)
Instagram is yet another Meta-owned app, which the company acquired in 2012. It is one of the most downloaded apps on the Play Store, and has significantly fewer negative reviews than its big brother, with just 30 million giving the app a single star. With features like Instagram Reels, the app has become much more enjoyable!