Best of 2020: Apple reveals top apps of the year

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Apple, the US-based iPhone maker, has announced its highly awaited annual list of 2020’s best apps and games.

As in previous years, the winners were chosen by App Store editors based on variables such as the quality of the app, creative design, usability and use of Apple technology, among other things.

Helped storm the pandemic

This year’s “Best of 2020” winners include a number of apps that helped individuals adapt to a life spent at home. For example, home workout app Wakeout! won iPhone App of the Year, while Zoom snagged the top spot as the iPad App of the Year.

The apps helped users stay fit and mindful, kept students on track and helped mitigate global hunger. Their “impact was meaningful”, the US-based tech giant said. Developers “overwhelmingly” led a trend towards “helpfulness” in 2020, it said.

“More than ever before, some of our most creative and connected moments happened in apps,” Apple fellow Phil Schiller said. “Around the world, we saw remarkable efforts from so many developers and these winners are outstanding examples of that innovation.”

Disney+, which helped families keep kids entertained during coronavirus lockdowns, won for Apple TV App of the Year. The streaming service had just won “best app” in Google Play’s User Choice category, announced recently alongside its other Play Store winners.

Apple selected a handful of apps to reflect these “app trends,” including self-care app Shine, remote learning app Explain Everything Whiteboard, family messaging app Caribu, charitable giving app SharetheMeal and the revamped Pokémon GO, which shifted to support indoor gaming.

The “Best of” winners this year will receive the first-ever physical App Store Best of 2020 award, featuring the logo of the App Store set in 100 percent recycled aluminum with the name of the winner on the side.

Most downloaded apps and games

Apple also unveiled the year’s most downloaded apps and games, which are a showcase of actual market demand, unlike its “best of” editorial picks.

Not surprisingly, these lists included must-haves such as Zoom and Gmail, a range of escape games and “metaverse” platforms for children such as Minecraft and Roblox, along with the regular collection of top social apps led by TikTok and not a Facebook-owned app.

The top free iPhone apps are ZOOM Cloud Meetings, TikTok, Disney+, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Messenger, Gmail and Cash App.

The top free iPhone games are Among Us!, Call of Duty: Mobile, Roblox, Subway Surfers, Ink Inc. – Tattoo Drawing, Magic Tiles 3: Piano Game, Brain Test: Tricky Puzzles, Brain Out, Coin Master and Cube Surfer.

As Apple explained in its announcement, apps are a reflection of culture. And this year, they reflected people’s focus on self-care and mental health, remote work and learning, staying connected with family and friends, interactive and social gaming, and more.