Apple's Top Apps of 2013: 10 Insights from the Most Popular Downloads

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2013-12-20 Print this article Print

Apple recently announced its most popular apps of 2013. Each year, the company examines what applications and games attracted the most interest from buyers and puts the results in a single repository that software shoppers can check out. These findings reveal a lot about user preferences, the importance of games in Apple's lineup and, by inference, what applications are most useful or reliable. Games dominate the top apps of 2013 as they did in previous years. But there's still much more to be learned from this list.  Perhaps, some of the more interesting findings will help developers determine what types of applications to create for the 2014 software market or how to improve their current app lineup to attract more buyers. This eWEEK slide show will examine what were the hottest programs in Apple's App Store in 2013 and highlight some of the trends that appear to be developing in the company's marketplace. So look through Apple's App Store 2013 Year in Review to see what interesting points you can glean from this list.

  • Apple's Top Apps of 2013: 10 Insights from the Most Popular Downloads

    By Don Reisinger
    Apple's Top Apps of 2013: 10 Insights from the Most Popular Downloads
  • Candy Crush Saga Dominates

    Candy Crush Saga, a game from developer led the App Store's Game section in total downloads. The game was also the top free app of the year, and thanks to in-app purchases, cemented itself as the top-grossing app of 2013.
    Candy Crush Saga Dominates
  • YouTube Is Sorely Missed

    It appears iOS owners miss YouTube. According to Apple, the app was the second most downloaded free program on the iPad in 2013. YouTube was previously bundled with iOS, but after Apple's falling out with Google, the company nixed that. It appears iOS owners are more than happy to bring it back.
    YouTube Is Sorely Missed
  • Communication Apps Make a Splash

    On the iPhone, especially, communication and social apps have proven very popular. Vine took the fourth spot for most downloaded free apps in 2013 while Snapchat, another sharing app, came in sixth. Instagram and Facebook followed. It was a big year for social apps that help users communicate.
    Communication Apps Make a Splash
  • Games Still Matter Most

    Ultimately, games are what drives the bulk of Apple's App Store downloads, according to the data the company provided. The top-selling apps, as well as the top free apps, were overrun with games, ranging from the previously mentioned Candy Crush Saga to Minecraft. For developers who want to make a splash, going for gaming might not be a bad idea.
    Games Still Matter Most
  • iTunes Radio Faces Competition From Pandora

    Apple might now be competing in the music-streaming space with iTunes Radio, but at this point, its users seem content with either using Pandora or complementing Apple's offering with the popular music app. Pandora came in ninth place in Apple's listing of free apps, outpacing any other streaming-music app in 2013.
    iTunes Radio Faces Competition From Pandora
  • The Old Winners Are There

    No surprise here: The apps that have been popular in years past are still going strong in 2013. Netflix and Facebook are among the top apps of the year, along with Twitter, Pandora and even Flashlight. If anything, the App Store's data this year proves it's hard to unseat the leaders.
    The Old Winners Are There
  • Kindle Puts iBooks In Question

    Apple's iOS users might find some value in the company's iBooks ebook service. But the popularity of the Amazon Kindle app on the iPad indicates folks are also seeking that app out. In fact, the Kindle app came in 11th place on the iPad's listing of free apps this year, putting at least some pressure on iBooks.
    Kindle Puts iBooks In Question
  • Angry Birds and Star Wars: A Match Made in Heaven

    Rovio seems to have the secret to attracting gamers to its titles. The game's Angry Birds Star Wars HD came in fourth place for top-paid apps on the iPad, while Angry Birds Star Wars II came in sixth place. Rovio also had a winner on its hands with Bad Piggies, which took the seventh spot.
    Angry Birds and Star Wars: A Match Made in Heaven
  • The Enterprise Is on the Outskirts

    Where is the enterprise in this year's collection of top apps? A glimpse at both iPhone and iPad apps reveals that business apps aren't nearly as popular as some corporate users might think. Perhaps, that's because they're targeting a niche audience. But it calls into question exactly what enterprise users are doing with the App Store once they get an iPhone or iPad in-hand.
    The Enterprise Is on the Outskirts
  • Disney Animated a Hit With Apple's Editors

    Each year, Apple's editors, who are responsible for keeping the store's inventory up today, pick a program that they believe is the very best. This time around, it's Disney Animated. The $10 app provides a "tour of Disney's … film vault" and provides "interactive character models." It's a nice app for Disney fans and kids, alike.
    Disney Animated a Hit With Apple's Editors
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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