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What Were the Most Popular Apps of 2016?

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With the prevalence of smartphones, and the amount of time we spend using them, apps have become a central part of our lives: they dictate how we communicate with our friends and family, what and how we share, as well as how we spend our time. So, here’s a look back at some of the most popular apps of 2016, and what made them so vastly popular.

Facebook and Messenger

It should come as no surprise that both the Facebook app and its Messenger app were among the most downloaded apps of the year. With over one billion regular users, Facebook is the most popular social network in the world, and Messenger is its instant messaging service. With text, voice, and video messaging capabilities between individuals or groups, as well as the option to call friends around the world, Messenger has become one of the most widely used methods of smartphone communication.

Read More: A Round-Up of the Five Best Online Banking Apps


YouTube, the go-to place for video content on the Internet, was also extremely popular. According to the video hub, about 1/3 of the people who use the Internet use YouTube. Every single day people around the world watch hundreds of millions of hours of YouTube content. And the majority of them do so using their smartphones.


As of December 2016, the community boasted 600 million Instagrammers; 100 million of them joined in the last six months. It was the year that they introduced Instagram Stories, a feature that lets users post photos and videos that appear as a slideshow and last for 24 hours. The update has been widely embraced, even though it is very similar to Snapchat’s Stories feature.


Speaking of Snapchat, the photo and video-sending app was also among the most used apps of the year. The app allows users to share images and short videos that disappear after seconds, as well as slideshows that last a day. In the US, 60% of young smartphone users are on Snapchat. And now, with seemingly endless opportunities to get creative by taking advantage of filters, geotags, stickers, and drawing capabilities, it’s no wonder the app was so popular in 2016.

Pokémon Go

This app exploded onto the digital scene in 2016. Harnessing the popularity of Pokémon over the last two decades, the app uses augmented reality, which connects real-world locations and geography with virtual components. Within days of the app’s release, millions of users were walking the streets of their neighborhoods in search of Pokémon to catch. Although the initial fervor around the app has died down considerably, there’s no doubt that Pokémon Go was one of the most popular apps of the year.