The Most Popular Apps Of 2016

by Megan Grant

If you have a pulse and a smartphone, odds are you have at least a shortlist of apps you visit on the daily. I myself enjoy surfing Instagram while my dogs have their breakfast. Now, Nielsen has released the top 10 apps of 2016, and I have to admit: Some of the results surprised me. I figured that because we're so immersed in social media, social media apps would dominate the higher spots on the list. I figured wrong. While they did make an appearance more than once, it would seem that we're spending more time doing things that don't involve bookmarking the hilarious Instagram posts on Bustle's page.

Noticeably absent from the list? Twitter. A major bummer in my eyes, because I love the simplicity of it and that they've stayed true to their 140-character, say-it-but-make-it-snappy feel. Another no-show in the top 10 apps list? "Pokemon Go." A week after its release, the augmented reality app broken the app store record for most downloads in a single week. You might be catching 'em all, but don't expect "Pokemon Go" to catch a spot on Nielsen's list of 2016's most popular apps. (See what I did there?)

So, who made the cut? Let's take a closer look at how we've all been wasting time on our phones over the past year:



Hang on — let me put on my surprised face. To the utter shock and dismay of no one, the Book of Face was the reigning champ, with 146,027,000 average unique visitors and a 14 percent year over year (YOY) change. If you're one of the four people left who hasn't downloaded the Facebook app yet, here you go. It's a great tool for staying in touch with loved ones. Also, they have a dog doing the Mannequin Challenge. You're welcome.


Facebook Messenger


Yep: A second Facebook app, Messenger, made the number two spot, with 129,679,000 average unique visitors and a whopping 28 percent YOY change. It's not all that surprising, when you consider recent updates like Secret Conversations and the grueling soccer games.



Ah, yes. The YouTube app, aka where I go to watch Friends bloopers and become even more confused about contouring and highlighting. And apparently so did 113,738,000 other visitors this year.


Google Maps

Good news: I'm not the only person who can't find her way out of a paper bag. Around 105,749,000 other unique visitors are in the same boat (a boat I like to call, "Isn't this the third time we've passed that gas station?").


Google Search

103,959,000 average unique visitors used the app to check the news, weather, sports updates, and more. Plus, you can even use it hands-free with nothing but your voice. Technology!


Google Play

Google Play, the official app store for Android devices, was a-hoppin' in 2016, with 99,773,000 average unique visitors.



I expected Gmail to be closer to the top; but with 88,572,000 unique visitors, the email app came in at numero seven. It's probably for the best that more people aren't using it, since research has found that checking your mail too often can reduce productivity.



What happened here? Is no one else watching fitness videos and drooling over foodporn on the Buzzfeed Tasty Instagram? Instagram was near the end, with 74,672,000 average unique visitors.


Apple Music

The music streaming service attracted 68,392,000 average unique visitors in 2016, earning it the number nine spot on the list of the year's most popular apps.


Amazon App

Sorry, Carrie Bradshaw, but 65,511,000 of us took to Amazon's app to do our shopping with the click of a button. While Amazon came in last in the top 10, it also saw the biggest YOY change: 43 percent!