Zoom and Among Us dominate Apple’s most downloaded charts in 2020

2020 was a year when people around the world were forced to find new ways to connect, and that trend is clearly visible when you look at the most downloaded apps on Apple hardware. Today the company revealed the most popular apps on its platforms for the year, and two names in particular stand out: video chat tool Zoom and social game Among Us, which were the top free app and game on both the iPhone and iPad.

Neither name should be a big surprise. Despite launching in 2018, Among Us has become arguably the biggest game of 2020, regularly topping Twitch charts and even luring politicians to the world of streaming. The mobile version is particularly popular since it’s free to download. Similarly, Zoom has seen massive growth as it became a de facto social space for people and businesses looking for face-to-face connections during the pandemic. The rest of the charts are somewhat less surprising, though the consistently-popular social space Roblox does make an appearance. And yes, Minecraft is still the best-selling paid game. (You can see the complete charts at the bottom of this article.)

This trend of connectedness can also be seen in Apple’s annual app awards. In fact, the company even introduced a new series of awards based around what it calls “helpfulness.” Here’s the complete list of all 15 winners:

iPhone App of the Year: Wakeout
iPhone Game of the Year: Genshin Impact
iPad App of the Year: Zoom
iPad Game of the Year: Legends of Runeterra
Mac App of the Year: Fantastical
Mac Game of the Year: Disco Elysium
Apple TV App of the Year: Disney Plus
Apple TV Game of the Year: Dandara: Trials of Fear
Apple Watch App of the Year: Endel
Apple Arcade Game of the Year: Sneaky Sasquatch
App Trend of the Year: Shine for helping users practice self care
App Trend of the Year: Explain Everything Whiteboard for helping bring remote classrooms to life
App Trend of the Year: Caribu for connecting families to loved ones
App Trend of the Year: Pokémon Go for reinventing the way we play
App Trend of the Year: ShareTheMeal for helping users make a difference

Many of these games and apps were released prior to 2020, but saw a new life as users turned to their smart devices for distractions and connection. Pokémon Go, for instance, had a huge year as it adapted to let users play indoors, and just saw its biggest update so far. The digital-only Pokémon Go Fest proved especially popular. “The excitement for Go Fest was pleasant to see,” Niantic’s Matt Slemon tells The Verge. “There’s a challenge when we try to recreate these outdoor experiences knowing that some of our players can’t get out there, especially for those who have attended in-person Go Fests before, trying to make sure we live up to their expectations.”

For Jesse Ringrose, one-half of the team behind Apple Arcade launch title Sneaky Sasquatch, he found that the game’s themes became more relevant in 2020. “Most of this game is based on our childhood,” Ringrose tells The Verge. “We think what might be resonating with a lot of the kids is that they’re not able to have this normal childhood, like going outside and fishing and canoeing, so they’re playing our game to get a slice of that.”

Many of these games and services were forced to adapt to the current state of the world by adding new features or capabilities designed around social distancing. But for Caribu, an interactive video chat app originally designed for parents to talk to their kids, that hasn’t been the case. The app was ideally suited for this moment: the developer’s main challenge was to scale to meet the demand. “I didn’t pivot, I had to expand,” Maxeme Tuchman, CEO and co-founder of Caribu, tells The Verge. “Caribu before the pandemic was mainly used by traveling parents and grandparents, but now it’s kids who are being virtually babysat, or watching on-demand videos, or talking to their cousins and friends who they haven’t seen in school.”

Apple’s 2020 awards and most popular apps serve as an ideal snapshot of how people spent their time in 2020. Much of that time involved a screen, but also other people. You can check out the full most-downloaded list below:

Top free iPhone apps

  1. Zoom
  2. TikTok
  3. Disney Plus
  4. YouTube
  5. Instagram
  6. Facebook
  7. Snapchat
  8. Messenger
  9. Gmail
  10. Cash App

Top paid iPhone apps

  1. TouchRetouch
  2. Procreate Pocket
  3. Dark Sky Weather
  4. Facetune
  5. HotSchedules
  6. AutoSleep Track Sleep
  7. The Wonder Weeks
  8. SkyView
  9. Shadowrocket
  10. Sky Guide

Top free iPhone games

  1. Among Us
  2. Call of Duty: Mobile
  3. Roblox
  4. Subway Surfers
  5. Ink Inc.
  6. Magic Tiles 3: Piano Game
  7. Brain Test: Tricky Puzzles
  8. Brain Out
  9. Coin Master
  10. Cube Surfer

Top paid iPhone games

  1. Minecraft
  2. Plague Inc.
  3. Heads Up
  4. Monopoly
  5. Bloons TD6
  6. Geometry Dash
  7. NBA 2K20
  8. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
  9. The Game of Life
  10. True Skate

Top free iPad apps

  1. Zoom
  2. Disney Plus
  3. YouTube
  4. Netflix
  5. Google Chrome
  6. TikTok
  7. Amazon Prime Video
  8. Gmail
  9. Hulu
  10. Google Classroom

Top paid iPad apps

  1. Procreate
  2. GoodNotes 5
  3. Notability
  4. Duet Display
  5. Teach Your Monster
  6. LumaFusion
  7. Affinity Designer
  8. Toca Hair Salon 3

9: Toca Life: Hospital

  1. Toca Kitchen 2

Top free iPad games

  1. Among Us
  2. Roblox
  3. Magic Tiles 3: Piano Game
  4. Ink Inc.
  5. Call of Duty: Mobile
  6. Subway Surfers
  7. Dancing Road: Color Ball Run
  8. Tiles Hop: EDM Rush
  9. Mario Kart Tour
  10. Save The Girl

Top paid iPad games

  1. Minecraft
  2. Monopoly
  3. Bloons TD 6
  4. Plague Inc.
  5. Geometry Dash
  6. The Game of Life
  7. Five Nights at Freddy’s
  8. Human: Fall Flat
  9. Stardew Valley
  10. Terraria

Top Arcade games

  1. Sneaky Sasquatch
  2. Hot Lava
  3. Skate City
  4. Sonic Racing
  5. Pac-Man Party Royale
  6. SpongeBob: Patty Pursuit
  7. Oceanhorn 2
  8. Crossy Road Castle
  9. What the Golf?
  10. Lego Brawls