The end of the year (and decade) is almost upon us, so it’s list-making time when it comes to the top-performing iOS apps and games of the year. We’ve all got our own opinions about which of the many hundreds of apps and games that flooded the App Store over the past eleven and a bit months have reigned supreme, however, Apple has just dropped its official lists of the iPad and iPhone bestsellers for 2019.
Key gaming releases this year have included 2K’s NBA 2K20, which now features over 400 player cards from the likes of co-favorites to win the Western Conference, the LA Clippers and LA Lakers, the iPhone 11’s flagship Action RPG game, Elder Scrolls: Blades and the return of everyone’s favorite Italian plumber in Mario Kart Tour and Dr. Mario World.
Elsewhere, productivity apps have continued to rise in popularity; while innovative apps like Anchor, Steller, Over, Wattpad, and Unfold have made it possible for anyone anywhere to engage with new digital mediums.
December’s big hitters
Kicking off the month, December’s top 5 most downloaded app lists for both the iPhone and iPad looked a little something like this:
- Heads Up! (iPhone) / Procreate (iPad)
- Bloons TD 6 (iPhone) / Notability (iPad)
- NBA 2K20 (iPhone) / Notability (iPad)
- Geometry Dash (iPhone) / Bloons TD6 (iPad)
- Ink Inc. – Tattoo Drawing
- Five Hoops
- Stump Me (iPhone) / Rescue Cut – Rope Puzzle (iPad)
- Push ‘em all (iPhone) / Square Bird (iPad)
But how much influence have they had on the rankings for Apple’s top-selling apps of the year, if any? And does 2019’s list look any different to the 2018’s?
Apple’s top five apps of 2019
Well… some influence and at the same time no, not really.
This year, Apple has released a separate list for the bestselling gaming apps (paid and free), but taking the top spot once again as the most downloaded free iPhone app is YouTube. Additionally, Instagram and Snapchat are in second and third place for the second year running.
There is one surprise entry into the top 5, TikTok. The viral video app has climbed an impressive eleven places since 2018, outperforming Gmail, Netflix, and Facebook. However, when you take into account that it hit one billion downloads and was consequently ranked #3 in the App Store back in February, it perhaps isn’t that much of a surprise.
On the gaming side of things, despite the phenomenal success of the Fortnite World Cup in the summer – the hit battle royale game’s debut eSports tournament, which awarded over $30 million in prizes – the Fortnite gaming app has been knocked from the top spot by Mario Kart Tour, and now ranks in eighth position.
As for the bestselling paid iPhone games, Minecraft was the most downloaded game by iPhone users in 2019, with Heads Up! and Plague Inc. bringing up the rear.
It’s clear from the success of Minecraft and the two Mario releases that re-imagined blockbusters have become a significant trend this year. Gamers certainly have an appetite for original and innovative releases that incorporate familiar characters, locations and other intellectual properties.
The top five free and paid games and apps for both iPhone and iPad of 2019 are as follows:
- Instagram (iPhone) / Netflix (iPad)
- Snapchat (iPhone) / Amazon Prime Video (iPad)
- TikTok (iPhone) / Google Chrome (iPad)
- Messenger (iPhone) / Hulu (iPad)
- Facetune (iPhone) / Procreate (iPad)
- HotSchedules (iPhone) / Notability (iPad)
- Dark Sky Weather (iPhone) / GoodNotes 5 (iPad)
- The Wonder Weeks (iPhone) / Duet Display (iPad)
- AutoSleep Tracker for Watch (iPhone) / Toca Hair Salon 3 (iPad)
- Mario Kart Tour (iPhone) / Roblox (iPad)
- Color Bump 3D (iPhone) / aquapark.io (iPad)
- aquapark.io (iPhone) / Paper.io 2 (iPad)
- Call of Duty: Mobile (iPhone) / Color Bump 3D (iPad)
- BitLife – Life Simulator (iPhone) / Magic Tiles 3: Piano Game (iPad)
- Heads Up! (iPhone) / Geometry Dash (iPad)
- Plague Inc. (iPhone) / Bloons TD 6 (iPad)
- Bloons TD 6 (iPhone) / Plague Inc. (iPad)
- Geometry Dash (iPhone) / Amazing Frog? (iPad)