Survey: Americans’ Top Smartphone Apps of 2022

By Neal Taparia - 12/21/2022

For most people, their smartphone can contain everything: their bank account, connection to loved ones, and a form of entertainment. With so many different apps available, we surveyed more than 1,000 people across the U.S. to find out how much Americans use their phones and their favorite apps.

Email is a main form of communication, whether it’s personal or professional, so it makes sense that the number one most used app by most Americans is Gmail. The email application is followed by Amazon, YouTube, Google, and Facebook. The top 10 is rounded out with Instagram, Google Maps, banking apps, Reddit, and Twitter.

While many apps are free, nearly 1 in 3 (31%) people pay for certain apps. The top apps Americans shell out money for are Netflix, Disney+, Amazon, HBO Max, and Spotify. Nearly 1 in 3 (30%) spend $21 or more a month on apps. 21% spend $16-20, 40% pay $6-15, and 9% spend $5 or less per month.

What types of apps do Americans turn to when they open their phone? As many might guess, social media apps take the top spot.Entertainment apps are the second most used type of app, and music/podcasts, gaming, and productivity apps round out the top 5. These types of apps all rank the same when it comes to apps Americans like the most.

While some turn to their phone for entertainment, others rely on them for productivity. Gmail not only takes the top spot for the most used app but also the top app Americans couldn’t live without. Also topping the list are YouTube, Google, Google Maps, and Amazon. When it comes to entertainment and guilty pleasures, YouTube is the number one app. The video platform is followed by TikTok, Reddit, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Nearly everyone has a smartphone, and on average, Americans report spending 4 hours every day on their device. Additionally, the average person has 44 apps. If this seems excessive it might be, as more than 1 in 4 say they’re overwhelmed by the number of apps downloaded. In fact, 83% have deleted an app just to redownload it later.

It’s no secret smartphones have an impact on our relationships with others. Whether you’re video chatting with a loved one or making plans for a dinner date, they help keep us connected. However, 57% of Americans admit to looking at their phone out of boredom when talking to someone and 43% have faked a phone call, text, or notification to get out of a social setting.

More than half (59%) of people use gaming apps. The top games include Candy Crush, Pokemon Go, Wordle, Wordscapes, and Call of Duty. Whether it’s to beat boredom or strengthen the mind, most Americans (55%) also like to play cards or classic games on their phones. Solitaire takes the number one spot, followed by Tetris, Chess, UNO, Scrabble, and Poker. Specific variations of Solitaire, like Spider Solitaire or FreeCell, did not specifically make the list. Learn more about gaming stats and trends here.

Although some people may favor social media, and others want to play games, we wanted to look at the top free and paid apps in both the Apple Store and Google Play store. When it comes to free apps, TikTok tops the list for both stores as the most popular. In the Apple Store, YouTube, Whatsapp, Instagram, and Google Maps round out the top five. Similarly, in the Google Play store, Instagram comes in second, followed by WhatsApp, Stumble Guys, and Snapchat.

The top apps Americans with iPhones are paying for include HotSchedules, Procreate Pocket and The Wonder Weeks. Among Android users, the most popular paid apps include Minecraft, Geometry Dash, and Bloons TD 6.

No matter whether you use your phone to communicate, entertain, or stay productive, there are many different apps and games available to suit your interests. In this digital world, you can find just about anything you need or want online (or in an app form)..

Methodology


In December 2022, we surveyed 1,003 Americans to get their feedback on their smartphone use and favorite apps. Respondents were 48% female, 50% male, and 2% nonbinary/transgender with an age range of 18 to 84 and an average age of 39 years old.

The most popular apps in the Apple Store were as of December 2022 and Google Play as of September 2022 for free apps and December 2022 for paid apps.

Fair Use

When using this data and research, please attribute by linking to this study and citing solitaired.com

About the author

Neal Taparia is one of the founders of Solitaired. He loves playing card games and is interested in understanding how games can help with brain training and skills building. In addition to card games, he also likes fishing and mountain biking.
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