The most downloaded apps of the decade have been revealed and there's one terrifying similarity

Sirena Bergman@SirenaBergman
Wednesday 18 December 2019 11:45

If there's one thing the 2010s will be known for, it's the decade that made smartphones happen.

It's pretty hard to even remember how life worked before them, but just 10 years ago, 62 million people in the US had smartphones - now it's 265 million. In the UK only 17 per cent of the population owned a smartphone at the end of the 00s; last year the number was 78 per cent, and a huge but unsurprising 95 per cent among 16-to-24-year-olds.

One of the most revolutionary elements of smartphones is the inclusion of apps. While it's hard to pinpoint exactly who invented the modern-day app, it's safe to say that they're now one of the most crucial parts of our smartphone experience. For social media in particular, they changed the game.

So when a list of the most-downloaded apps of the decade was revealed, we weren't surprised to be Facebook up top. Similarly, Facebook Messenger – which users are forced to download separately – was the second most popular.

But that's when it started to get eery. Here are the top 10 most downloaded apps of the decade, according to research by mobile data company App Annie.

(App Annie)

As you can see, the top four apps (Facebook, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram) are all owned by Facebook, Inc.

So that's our old pal Mark Zuckerberg literally owning this space in an unparalleled way.

Given the amount of data this gives Facebook about its users, and the concerning practices around protecting it, this level of power and influence makes for somewhat uncomfortable reading.

And there are some other interesting insights in the list too:

  • TikTok, which has only existed for about two years, has been downloaded more times than YouTube.

  • The top app by customer spend was Netflix, and nine out of the 10 apps we spend the most money on were video or music streaming services (including Spotify, HBO Now and YouTube)

  • However, number 2 on the highest spend list was... Tinder. No comment.​

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