The 20 Most Popular Android, iPhone and Windows Phones Apps Right Now (And Our Favourite Alternatives)

Today’s smartphones are filled with features straight out of the box. They’re pre-loaded with dedicated apps for social networking, photography, travel and more. But no matter what phone you own, there are thousands of great apps in each platform’s online store.

This is the latest instalment in Gizmodo Australia's big Smartphone Buying Guide rolling-out Mondays and Wednesdays in October.

Main app image from Shutterstock Whether you’ve got an iPhone, Windows Phone or Android phone, we’ve put together lists of the most popular paid and free apps on each app store. Plus cross platform info and our favourite alternatives.

If you’ve got a secret weapon app — or even if you want to suggest several faves — let us know in the comments!

Note: App rankings may have changed since we started piecing this story together over the last week.


Android

Android's list of the top free apps is dominated by social networking, photography and chat services, and all the big names like Facebook and Instagram and Snapchat are present.

Top Android Free Apps
App Name Category iOS? Windows Phone? Our Favourite Android Alternative
1 Facebook Social Yes Yes Atrium [Free]
2 Candy Crush Saga Game Yes No Bejeweled Blitz [Free]
3 Skype Social Yes Yes Google Hangouts [Free]
4 Snapchat Social Yes No Wink [Free]
5 eBay Shopping Yes Yes Droid Auction eBay [Free]
6 Pet Rescue Saga Game Yes No Dots [Free]
7 Viber Social Yes Yes Tango [Free]
8 Instagram Social Yes No Flickr [Free]
9 Gumtree Australia Shopping Yes No Quicksales [Free]
10 Facebook Messenger Social Yes No IM+ [Free]

 

The most popular paid apps on Android is skewed towards tools that change the Android experience — like the SwiftKey Keyboard and Nova Launcher Prime — and hugely popular smartphone games like Angry Birds.

Top Android Paid Apps
App Name Category iOS? Windows Phone? Our Favourite Android Alternative
1 SwiftKey Keyboard Productivity No No Swype Keyboard [$0.99]
2 Worms 2: Armagedon Games Yes No Armored Strike Online [$2.92]
3 TripView Sydney Travel Yes Yes Transport Info [Free
4 Minecraft Pocket Edition Games Yes No Survivalcraft [$3.99]
5 Nova Launcher Prime Personalisation No No Action Launcher Pro [$3.99]
6 Weatherzone Plus Weather Yes No Pocket Weather Australia
7 Angry Birds Star Wars II Games Yes Yes Orbital [$4.00]
8 Titanium Backup PRO Tools No No Helium [Free]
9 Plants vs. Zombies Games Yes Yes Anomaly: Warzone Earth HD [$3.69]
10 Swype Keyboard Productivity No No SwiftKey Keyboard [$3.99]

iOS / iPhone

The recent iOS 7 launch means the iPhone top list is split evenly between new iPhone wallpapers and guides, and free-to-play games — with a preference for child-friendly apps.

Top iPhone Free Apps
App Name Category Android? Windows Phone? Our Favourite iOS Alternative
1 Deer Hunter 2014 Games No No Deer Hunter Reloaded [Free]
2 Guide for iOS 7 - Tips and Tricks Reference No No iPhone Secrets Pro [$1.99]
3 Grand Theft Auto: iFruit Games No No Grand Theft Auto V: The Manual [Free]
4 The Human Body by Tinybop Education No No Human Anatomy - Free [Free]
5 Wallpapers iOS 7 Edition Catalogues No No Wallpapers HD+ [Free]
6 Where's My Water? 2 Games No Yes Cut The Rope Free [Free]
7 ScreenMotion Wallpapers iOS 7 Entertainment No No Wallpapers HD+ [Free]
8 Hanger Games Yes No QWOP for iOS [$0.99]
9 Turbo Racing League Games Yes Yes Real Racing 3 [Free]
10 Pet Rescue Saga Games Yes No Dots: A Game About Connecting [Free]

 

Games are by far the most popular iPhone paid apps, with big-name titles like Minecraft and Worms 3 obvious entries. It’s also not surprising to see Minecraft appear on the top lists of both Android and iOS.

Top iPhone Paid Apps
App Name Category Android? Windows Phone? Our Favourite iOS Alternative
1 Angry Birds Star Wars II Games Yes Yes Fragger [$0.99]
2 Infinity Blade III Games No No Infinity Blade II [$7.49]
3 Sky Guide: View Stars Night or Day Reference No No Sky Walk HD [$2.99]
4 Heads Up! Games Yes No Unspeakable [Free]
5 Minecraft - Pocket Edition Games Yes No Survivalcraft [$4.49]
6 Asphalt 8: Airborne Games Yes No Real Racing 3 [Free]
7 TiltShiftGen2 Photo & Video No No VSCO Cam [Free]
8 Quick Maths Education No No Excel General Mathematics Quick Study [$2.99]
9 Worms 3 Games No No Fragger [$0.99]
10 Pimp My Keyboard for iOS 7 Utilities No No Fleksy [Free]

Windows Phone

It’s interesting to see that Windows Phone’s top free apps are ones that are almost universally available on iOS and Android as well, although the opposite isn’t true. Social apps feature heavily here.

Top Windows Phone Free Apps
App Name Category Android? iOS? Our Favourite Windows Phone Alternative
1 Facebook Social Yes Yes WP Facebook [Free]
2 Adobe Reader Tools + Productivity Yes Yes PDF Reader [Free
3 YouTube Music + Video Yes Yes YouTube HD [Free]
4 Skype Social Yes Yes IM+ [Free]
5 WhatsApp Social Yes Yes IM+ [Free]
6 Flashlight XT Tools + Productivity No No Flashlight Free [Free]
7 Viber Social Yes Yes IM+ [Free]
8 Carsales Lifestyle Yes Yes eBay [Free]
9 Kik Messenger Social Yes Yes IM+ [Free]
10 6tag Social No No InPic [Free]

 

There's a leaning towards more professional paid apps on the Windows Phone platform — travel and business productivity tools are common, along with paid music and video apps. There’s not much cross-over between paid Windows Phone apps and any other platform, paid or free.

Top Windows Phone Paid Apps
App Name Category Android? iOS? Our Favourite Windows Phone Alternative
1 TripView Sydney Travel + Navigation Yes Yes Maps [Free]
2 Metrotube Music + Video No No YouTube [Free]
3 Week View 8 Tools + Productivity No No MyNextDays [$1.99]
4 Splashtop Personal Business Yes Yes RemoteDesktop [$2.49]
5 Instagraph Social No No 6tag [Free]
6 Brisbane Bus & Train Pro Travel + Navigation No No Brisbane Transport [Free]
7 FlashVideo Music + Video No No Metro Browser [$2.49]
8 Amazing Weather HD Weather No No Weather Flow [Free]
9 MP3 Downloader+ Music + Video No No Free YouTube Downloader Plus [Free]
10 Weather Flow Weather Yes No Amazing Weather HD [Free]


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