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The Most Popular App Categories of 2022

by James Musoba
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Apps continue their quest for world domination by seemingly offering a solution to every problem life can muster. We take a look at the most popular app categories of this year that have us tapping the download button in our droves.


The concept of the casual game feels almost tailor made for the smartphone – games which require very little prior knowledge or learned skill and have simpler rules. Casual gaming sessions are much shorter on average than hardcore games and are perfect for the daily commute or the wait in the doctor’s office.

When you think of casual mobile games, titles like Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, Clash of Clans and even Flappy Bird come to mind. They have mass appeal and hence their pricing strategy can be free-to-play (with in-app purchases or ads) or only a few pennies.

Conversely, this year has seen multiple ports of console and PC games come to handheld devices to considerable success. Call of Duty: Mobile, PUBG Mobile and Apex Legends Mobile feature highly in the ‘most downloaded’ charts. One of the reasons for this is that mobile tech has reached a level comparable to consoles of only a generation or two ago and are therefore more than adequate to run these newer, more complex titles.

Online Casino Apps

Perhaps more surprisingly in the gaming sphere, casino apps are having a moment in the spotlight. Poker apps continue to dominate the horizon but people have also been turning their hand to other traditional casino games.

Slot machine games have become more immersive and frankly more enjoyable, and people have been playing them in a similar way to casual games – sometimes only for fun without wagering any money. Roulette, Blackjack, Baccarat and Bingo are all equally well represented and apps from market leaders do particularly well. 

Many casino games have withstood the test of time, existing in some form or another for hundreds of years so it’s no surprise that they still hold people’s attention to this day.

Social Media

CEO of Meta (formerly Facebook), Mark Zuckerberg saw stock value take a huge hit from how the Metaverse announcement was received but social media platforms en masse are as powerful and omnipresent as ever. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are staples on most adults’ devices but even video sharing giants YouTube are considered a social media platform, which coincidentally, is the second most used search tool behind Google.

Social media brings with it various issues concerning screen time and how it warps our perception of the world but the apps continue to be popular for how they are able to connect us to one another like nothing that has existed before. Sharing experiences with friends and family, finding new like minded communities and learning/raising awareness on important issues are all available at the touch of a button.

Newcomers TikTok continues its ascension and is predicted to overtake YouTube in terms of marketing spend in the near future.

Photo Editing

Going hand in hand with Instagram is the photo editing category of apps. Software like Google’s Snapseed allow users to tweak their images, apply filters and remove unwanted ‘photobombs’ to curate their perfect timeline.


The amount of time people spend on their phones can be a point of concern but there are hundreds of educational apps that put a new skill within easy reach of much of the world. The number one language app Duolingo is helping more people in the US learn a foreign language than there are people in the entire public school system – you can even try your hand at Klingon if you wish.

Khan Academy is a non-profit learning platform offering a huge range of subjects for free. These days, tablets feature more heavily in the classrooms and there are apps aimed specifically at helping children with reading, writing and arithmetic.


Mobile tech has revolutionised the way people handle their finances. Services like Monzo and Revolut streamline the process of exchanging currencies and have made living a digital nomad lifestyle feasible for more people than ever before.


With the Swiss Army Knife capabilities of today’s devices, it’s sometimes easy to forget that phones were initially conceived to allow us to communicate with each other. But the most downloaded software tends to be communication apps.

WhatsApp and Telegram take messaging to the next level with the abilities to send silent notes (so as not to disturb the recipient), disappearing messages, voice notes and video calls to friends, family and colleagues as well as sharing files, links and gifs. Video conferencing and collaboration app Zoom has helped many students continue to learn when required to study from home.

Seeing how apps have become an essential part of our everyday lives often makes us wonder how we ever lived without them. We’re curious to see what will be the next app trend in 2023.

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