What is the difference between an old flip phone and a smartphone? The answer is simple and yet it alone makes up the bulk of the use we get out of phones nowadays; apps. Without apps, our phones are only good for making calls and the majority of smartphone owners dread calling even the ones they love.

Apps can do it all, from blacklisting telemarketers to letting you launch birds into mockingly annoying pigs in precarious wooden structures. They are so vital in our everyday lives that a phone’s internal storage is one of the highest selling points.

There are thousands of apps available in the app store and google play at our disposal. Many are downloaded, used, then uninstalled because they aren’t really all that good. You can’t judge an app by how many downloads it has because some get downloaded for a catchy name.

Luckily, comScore Mobile Metrix ranks the ten most used apps here in the U.S. The list has fluctuated from last year thanks to a rise in popularity for a few apps that swings both ways. Take a look at the list (and graph) below and perhaps you’ll find a new app you can use.


  1. Pandora

The fact that a music-streaming app showing up in the top ten is no surprise at all, but Pandora’s appearance is quite shocking. With the rise of Spotify and iHeart Radio, everyone assumes the older app had fallen off but it still hangs in there at the bottom spot with no competitors in sight.

  1. Gmail

A true staple of the internet as a whole is e-mail and has been since its humble beginnings with AOL and Yahoo! Gmail is a universally used through businesses and everyday uses by way of leisure, work, and even spam; oh, so much spam. Gmail is also preloaded on Android phones whether the owner likes it or not.

  1. Google Play

Despite it being the place you have to go in order to get these other nine apps, it still just barely makes the list and has actually gotten less used. The reason for this is most likely because people get a set number of apps that they like and just stop going to Google Play because they are flat out of room.

  1. Snapchat

There is no doubt that Snapchat would make the list year after just barely missing the cutoff last year at number 13. Snapchat has risen in popularity over the past year with 18-25 crowd and one point even surpassed Instagram for picture posting supremacy.

  1. Instagram

Speaking of which, Instagram just narrowly pushed Snap further down the list by less than a percent. Instagram has always been known as the “Twitter of pictures” but now that Twitter hasn’t made an appearance on this list at all may eliminate the need for a comparison.

  1. Google Maps

GPS has been around since the dawn of cell phones and has resulted in knocking maps off the map since we have little need for them anymore. The most widely GPS app is Google Maps and not just by a little. It is so successful because of the ability to sync with your results making for seamless directions at your fingertips.

  1. Google Search

Another pre-loaded app for androids is the world famous Google Search and it used for literally everything from finding Jack Nicholson’s birthday to getting the recipe for mushroom risotto. “Google” has grown into so much more than a search engine and has become it’s own entity in the 21st century.

  1. Facebook Messenger

When Facebook’s spin-off app was first released, many compared it to AIM but it wasn’t long until this “assistant to Facebook” was a stand alone success. Now, FB messenger is used by just as many people as Facebook itself and grows exceedingly more popular thanks to live streaming.

  1. YouTube

The streaming and recorded video service marks Google’s fifth app to appear on the top ten and for good reason. YouTube offers anything you could possible want to watch from how-to videos on car repair to a cat roundhousing a chicken; it’s all there. And with YouTube Red, it is only going to get more famous.

  1. Facebook

The top spot should come as a surprise to no one that has even heard of the internet. Facebook has been a social media juggernaut since its debut in 2004 and has since found 2 billion users. Their current stock is at $166 and has turned a wishful college kid into one of the richest men in the world.

That is the definitive list for 2016 and while there are a few missing apps that we were sure were still popular such as Twitter and LinkedIn, now you know what the mass majority of everyone else is doing while they are staring at their phone on the plane or in a waiting room.



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John Pond
John was born in Germany to American military parents. After high school he worked in auditing and management until he realized he craved adventure. He spent several years hitchhiking around the United States, stopping in various towns and getting into adventures. It was on these adventures that he learned of his passion for writing and began working on his first novel. "Clouds of Tyranny" was turned down by everyone and John eventually decided to self-publish his first fiction novel. John is currently working on two additional fiction novels and a nonfiction book about his adventures on the road. John has a deep love for new technology and has contributed to various tech and gaming sites, but Tech Digg is his favorite...by far.