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Most Popular Apps & Games of 2021

by ,  Senior ASO Expert App Market Insights

Looking back on 2021, what apps and games dominated the top charts? Which apps were new to the App Store and Google Play last year? And what were the hottest new games users were hooked on? The most popular apps and games reflect the defining moments of 2021, a tumultuous year filled with change and shifting trends.


For the purpose of this analysis, we have selected the top 10 apps that ranked in the top 200 of the “All” category for the most days last year. All of these apps ranked in the top charts every day, and are considered as some of the most popular apps ever.

Most of the highest-ranking apps on the App Store in 2021 are the same as in 2020; on Google Play, we see more notable changes to the most popular apps compared to the previous year. For the App Store, 9 of the top 10 apps in 2020 remain on this year’s list. However, Google Maps returns as one of the top App Store apps in 2021 after being removed from the list in 2020, as people began to travel again after the initial pandemic lockdowns.

Read this blog for a review of the App Store Awards: Apple’s Top Apps & Games of 2021

On Google Play, many of the top apps that rose in the rankings mirrored trends seen in the overall market and changes in people’s daily lives. TikTok rose to the top of the list, while increased preferences for contactless payments caused the average rankings for Google Pay and Cash App to increase. Streaming apps, such as HBO Max and Disney+, grew in popularity with the amount of new content released exclusively on their platforms last year. Finally, with the rising interest in cryptocurrency, it is no surprise to see that Crypto.com and Coinbase gained rankings as some of the top apps in 2021.

App Store Google Play
Icon App Name Icon App Name
TikTok TikTok TikTok TikTok
YouTube: Watch, Listen, Stream YouTube: Watch, Listen, Stream Google Pay: Save, Pay, Manage Google Pay: Save, Pay, Manage
Instagram Instagram Cash App Cash App
Facebook Facebook ZOOM Cloud Meetings ZOOM Cloud Meetings
Snapchat Snapchat Instagram Instagram
Messenger Messenger HBO Max: Stream TV & Movies HBO Max: Stream TV & Movies
Gmail - Email by Google Gmail - Email by Google Crypto.com - Buy BTC SHIB Crypto.com - Buy BTC SHIB
Google Maps Google Maps WhatsApp Messenger WhatsApp Messenger
Amazon Shopping Amazon Shopping Disney+ Disney+
Netflix Netflix Coinbase: Buy Bitcoin & Ether Coinbase: Buy Bitcoin & Ether

Analyzing the top games separately, we can see some similarities between high-performing games on both the App Store and Google Play, with many notable differences between each store.

On the App Store, larger brand name games such as Roblox, Call of Duty®: Mobile, and Subway Surfers were the only games on this year’s list to have also been one of 2020’s highest-ranking games. Roblox increased in popularity the most over the last year and reached the top of the list. Another game that rose in popularity last year was Among Us, which resulted in a top 5 average ranking for games in 2021.

Discover our recap of all things ASO in 2021

One of the key points to mention is that, on any given day, many of the top 200 games on either the App Store or Google Play are typically hyper-casual games, which have somewhat lower production values and are monetized by ads. As a result, these games do not typically remain in the top 10 of “All” games for very long. That being said, some of these hyper-casual games were the most popular games of 2021, including Count Masters, Bridge Race, Paper Fold, High Heels!, and Arrow Fest, all making the list for both iOS and Google Play after not averaging as highly the previous year.

Overall, we saw larger brand name games, such as Roblox and Call of Duty®: Mobile, remain in the highest ranks of the top charts for the longest amount of time. Hyper-casual game rankings were much more volatile. One possible reason for this could be increased competition between similar games. As more hyper-casual games flood the market, no one specific game has ranked particularly consistently.

App Store Google Play
Icon App Name Icon App Name
Roblox Roblox Count Masters - Stickman Clash Count Masters - Stickman Clash
Project Makeover Project Makeover Bridge Race Bridge Race
Call of Duty®: Mobile Call of Duty®: Mobile High Heels! / High Heels!
Subway Surfers Subway Surfers My Talking Angela 2 My Talking Angela 2
Among Us! / Among Us! Fidget Toys 3D - Fidget Cube, AntiStress & Calm Fidget Toys 3D - Fidget Cube, AntiStress & Calm
Count Masters: Crowd Runner 3D Count Masters: Crowd Runner 3D Fidget Toys Trading: Pop It 3D Fidget Toys Trading: Pop It 3D
Bridge Race Bridge Race Paper Fold Paper Fold
Paper Fold Paper Fold Hair Challenge Hair Challenge
High Heels! / High Heels! Arrow Fest Arrow Fest
Retro Bowl Retro Bowl Stone Miner Stone Miner

Top Apps Launched on the App Store and Google Play in 2021

The following table shows the new apps that had the most successful launches of 2021. We determine “new apps” by identifying when apps began to receive their first downloads. If an app began 2021 with zero downloads and made it to the top 200 apps or games by the end of the year, it is considered “new.”

Streaming became more popular than ever last year, with established TV networks launching new streaming apps; CBS and Discovery+ both reached the top charts on the App Store and Google Play. Yet another trend is that some of the most popular app launches for both stores included new photo editing and publishing apps, such as Poparazzi, Voilà, Quick Art, Photo Editor, and Photo Repair.

Another interesting app launch was the return of Yik Yak, the social media app that was originally launched in 2013 before shutting down in April 2017. Yik Yak made a return to the App Store in 2021 for users in the US, with plans for Android and global versions in the future.

App Store Google Play
Icon App Name Icon App Name
Poparazzi Poparazzi discovery+ | Stream TV Shows discovery+ | Stream TV Shows
Voilà AI Artist Cartoon Photo Voilà AI Artist Cartoon Photo Voilà AI Artist Cartoon Photo Voilà AI Artist Cartoon Photo
Fontmaker - Font Keyboard App Fontmaker - Font Keyboard App GETTR GETTR
CBS CBS Quick Art: 1-Tap Photo Editor Quick Art: 1-Tap Photo Editor
Gauthmath-New Smart Calculator Gauthmath-New Smart Calculator CBS CBS
Yik Yak Yik Yak Fidget Games: Pop It & Dimple Fidget Games: Pop It & Dimple
Dhar Mann Dhar Mann PhotoEditor PhotoEditor
FOX Weather: Daily Forecasts FOX Weather: Daily Forecasts FOX Weather: Daily Forecasts FOX Weather: Daily Forecasts
Dream by WOMBO Dream by WOMBO Photo Repair Photo Repair

Top Games Launched on the App Store and Google Play in 2021

Finally, which new games launched in 2021 on the App Store and Google Play quickly rose to the top of the charts and were downloaded the most? In 2019, hyper-casual games won big and filled many of the top positions in the Games category for both stores. This was not particularly the case in 2020, when larger games, such as Project Makeover, Rush Hour 3D, Madden NFL 21 Mobile Football, and Among Us were some of the top games launched.

As previously noted, 2021 saw the return of hyper-casual games as the most successful launches this year. New games, such as Count Masters, Paper Fold, Arrow Fest, and Hair Challenge, made it to the top charts on both the App Store and Google Play. Other new hyper-casual games that made their mark in 2021 include Traffic Cop 3D, Run Rich 3D, and Slice It All! on iOS, as well as Fidget Toys 3D, Yes or No?! - Food Pranks, and Giant Rush! on Google Play.

App Store Google Play
Icon App Name Icon App Name
Count Masters: Crowd Runner 3D Count Masters: Crowd Runner 3D Count Masters - Stickman Clash Count Masters - Stickman Clash
Paper Fold Paper Fold Hair Challenge Hair Challenge
Arrow Fest Arrow Fest Bridge Race Bridge Race
Text or Die Text or Die High Heels! High Heels!
Hair Challenge Hair Challenge Arrow Fest Arrow Fest
Traffic Cop 3D Traffic Cop 3D Paper Fold Paper Fold
Run Rich 3D Run Rich 3D Fidget Toys 3D - Fidget Cube AntiStress & Calm Fidget Toys 3D - Fidget Cube AntiStress & Calm
Slice It All! Slice It All! Yes or No?! - Food Pranks Yes or No?! - Food Pranks
Deep Clean Inc. 3D Deep Clean Inc. 3D Giant Rush! Giant Rush!
Rocket League Sideswipe Rocket League Sideswipe My Talking Angela 2 My Talking Angela 2

While there are many apps and games that performed well on both stores, the App Store and Google Play are quite different in terms of top chart rankings and download trends. As users began to really adjust to life in the pandemic in 2021, their needs and interests began to shift throughout the year. Streaming and finance apps, as well as hyper-casual games all had their moments and were the most popular and downloaded apps of 2021.

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by ,  Senior ASO Expert

Ian is an ASO Expert at AppTweak helping apps improve their store presence. He is passionate about movies, traveling, and spending time with his dog.