Most Popular Apps: Is Anyone Really Surprised?


Skylar Ravosa, Writer

Nearly 85% of the world’s population has a smartphone, but people spend this time in different ways. This accounts for there to be several popular apps a year, and some have a much more significant amount of downloads per year than others.

It would make sense that in 2020 one of the top five downloaded free apps was Zoom as during COVID almost all companies and schools relied on Zoom in order to keep moving forward with their work. After a few years, COVID has started to become less of an issue, and most schools and companies are back in person and no longer have the need for Zoom. This resulted in Zoom no longer being one of the top five downloaded apps in 2021. Similar to Zoom, there is some shuffling around on the standings each year, although the app TikTok has been able to maintain the number one spot with 850 million downloads in 2020 and 656 million downloads in 2021.



Why might TikTok be gaining mass amounts of popularity in such a short period of time?

Dr. Julie Albright, USC professor and author, claimed in an interview with John Koetsier that while on TikTok, “you’ll just be in this pleasurable dopamine state, carried away. It’s almost hypnotic, you’ll keep watching and watching.” Additionally, TikTok does not tire your attention span as it shows a person new and stimulating videos to keep them entertained and on the app. Since the average attention span of a human when watching a video is a short eight seconds, TikTok videos are a perfect way for people to get hooked on the app. Do any other apps use tactile stimulation to hook their viewers on the app? Yes, there are hundreds of apps that use things such as dopamine and stimulation to keep their viewers engaged including but not limited to Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, CandyCrush, etc.

Pullquote Photo

“you’ll just be in this pleasurable dopamine state, carried away. It’s almost hypnotic, you’ll keep watching and watching”

— Dr. Julie Albright - USC professor and author

Overall, the apps that use tactile stimulation have much more worldwide success when it comes to overall downloads and app usage as shown in the included tables and statistics.