Before the launch of the iPhone, Apple’s then CEO Steve Jobs was against the idea of allowing third-party apps to be loaded onto the device, wanting instead for developers to create web-apps for the Safari mobile browser. A compromise was reached in 2008 after backlash from developers, with Apple announcing an SDK and the iPhone App Store.
The iPhone App Store launched alongside the iPhone 3G in July 2008, with 500 applications available. In comparison to how the App Store runs today, at launch a large percentage of apps were paid, as Apple did not allow in-app purchases until a year later.
In-app purchases, or microtransactions, quickly surpassed paid apps as the most popular way for apps to earn income. For the first few years, this was often a one-time payment made in-app to remove ads, access more levels or premium functionality. It has since developed into subscriptions, cosmetics, and other multi-layered payment options.
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Apple App Store grew alongside the iPhone, which has become one of the most recognisable brands in the world. By 2016, it housed 2.2 million apps and games, covering every sector and sub-sector. Apple started to invest more time into culling non-compliant apps from its store in 2016, although it reached a new peak in 2023 with 2.24 million apps and games.
While the Apple App Store is dwarfed in size by the Google Play Store in terms of number of users and downloads, it remains responsible for the majority of app consumer spending. In 2022, it generated more than double what the Google Play Store brought in, despite having less than half of the number of annual app downloads.
Over the past few years, Apple has been embroiled in several cases regarding its high in-app purchase fee, which was 30 percent for all developers. It has since changed that to 15 percent for developers for the first $1 million revenue, which includes the vast majority of developers on the Apple App Store.
Still, large companies such as Epic Games, Netflix, and Spotify have called out Apple for its charges, with two of those companies taking Apple to court. It is reportedly planning to allow third-party app stores in the near future, if EU legislation forces the company to allow other app stores to compete with its own.
We have collected data and statistics on the Apple App Store. Read on below to find out more.
Key Apple App Store statistics
- Apple App Store consumer spending reached $86.8 billion in 2022, a 1.9% increase on the previous year
- Downloads of apps and games on the Apple App Store increased by 0.9% in 2022
- There were 2.18 million apps and games on the Apple App Store in 2022
- Honor of Kings was the top grossing app on the Apple App Store with $1.6 billion in consumer spending
- TikTok was the most downloaded app on the Apple App Store with 212 million downloads
Apple App Store app and game revenue
Apple App Store consumer spending increased by 1.9% in 2022, the store’s lowest annual percentage growth. In the past half decade consumer spending has increased by 125%.
Quarterly Apple App Store app and game revenue 2016 to 2023 ($mm)
Annual Apple App Store app and game revenue 2016 to 2022 ($mm)
Sources: data.ai, Sensor Tower, App Data Report
Apple App Store gaming app revenue
Apple App Store consumer spending on games declined by 4.3% in 2022, the store’s first annual decline. It generated a solid $50 billion in 2022.
Quarterly Apple App Store game revenue 2016 to 2023 ($bn)
Annual Apple App Store game revenue 2016 to 2022 ($bn)
Sources: data.ai, Sensor Tower
Apple App Store app revenue
Apps have kept consumer spending on the Apple App Store growing, with a 10.6% increase in 2022 to $36.3 billion.
Quarterly Apple App Store app revenue 2016 to 2023 ($bn)
Annual Apple App Store app revenue 2016 to 2022 ($bn)
Sources: data.ai, Sensor Tower
Apple App Store app and game downloads
Apple App Store had a slight increase in total annual downloads in 2022, after a slight decline the year before.
Quarterly Apple App Store app and game downloads 2015 to 2023 (bn)
Annual Apple App Store app and game downloads 2015 to 2022 (bn)
Sources: AppFigures, Sensor Tower, App Data Report
Apple App Store game downloads
Game downloads on the Apple App Store declined for the second year in a row, dropping to 8.4 billion downloads.
Quarterly Apple App Store game downloads 2015 to 2023 (bn)
Annual Apple App Store game downloads 2015 to 2022 (bn)
Sources: AppFigures, Sensor Tower
Apple App Store app downloads
Downloads of non-gaming apps increased in 2022 to 24.3 billion, the same figure as 2020.
Quarterly Apple App Store app downloads 2015 to 2023 (bn)
Annual Apple App Store app downloads 2015 to 2022 (bn)
Sources: AppFigures, Sensor Tower
Apple App Store Download Distribution
The vast majority of apps in the Apple App Store have been downloaded less than 1,000 times, with 23.2% receiving less than 100 downloads.
Apple App Store app distribution by number of downloads 2023 (%)
|Downloads||Percentage of apps|
Apps and games in the Apple App Store
Apple App Store had 2.18 million apps and games on its store in 2022. In 2016, Apple started culling its store of non-compliant apps, which led to several dips in the total number of apps on the store in 2019 and 2021.
Apple App Store quarterly apps and games 2009 to 2023 (mm)
Apple App Store annual apps and games 2009 to 2022 (mm)
|Year||Apps and Games (mm)|
Sources: 42matters, PocketGamer
Number of Publishers on Apple App Store
Over 700,000 publishers have launched apps on the Apple App Store. This value increased by 1.1% in 2023.
Number of publishers on Apple App Store 2017 to 2023 (mm)
Top Grossing Apps on Apple App Store
Honor of Kings, a popular mobile game in China, was the top grossing app on the Apple App Store in 2022. TikTok came second with $1.3 billion in consumer spending, primarily from China.
Top Grossing Apps on the Apple App Store ($mm)
|Honor of Kings||1652|
|Candy Crush Saga||498.9|
|Romance Three Kingdoms||445|
Most Popular Apps on Apple App Store
TikTok was the most downloaded app on the Apple App Store in 2022, with 212 million downloads. YouTube was in second position with 133 million downloads.
Most Downloaded Apps on Apple App Store 2022 (mm)