Google and Apple 'crush' competition with default apps: Study

Google Apps 1
Google Apps 1 (Image credit: Brandon Lee / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • A new Comscore study claims Google and Apple's preinstalled apps dominate their respective mobile platforms.
  • Google Play is apparently the most popular app on Android, with 87 million monthly active users.
  • The report was commissioned by social media giant Facebook.

According to a new study from Comscore, the vast majority of the "most-used" mobile apps in the U.S. actually come preinstalled by either Google or Apple. The study was commissioned by Facebook and shared exclusively with The Verge.

Comscore Study Most Used Apps Us

Source: The Verge (Image credit: Source: The Verge)

The report highlights how preinstalled apps heavily dominate basics such as weather, photos, and clocks. Google Photos is the only photo app in the list of the top 20 most-used Android apps, while Apple Photos is the third most popular iOS app overall.

However, as can be seen in the list above, not all default apps are supremely popular. Apple Maps and Apple Music are both nowhere to be seen on the iOS list. Similarly, YouTube Music isn't the most popular music streaming app on the best Android phones.

Comscore says it prepared the report in December 2020 using data from apps and websites, along with a survey of approximately 4,000 people. The results of the study reveal that 60% of the most popular apps on Android in the U.S. were made by Google, while Apple made 75% of the top 20 apps on iOS. The only third-party apps on the iOS list were YouTube, Facebook, Amazon, Instagram, and Gmail. It is also worth noting that the top four apps on both lists were made by either Google or Apple.

Facebook says it commissioned the study to call attention to the "impact of preinstalled apps on the competitive app ecosystem." Apple, however, has dismissed the findings of the study and called it "seriously flawed." A company spokesperson told The Verge that the study was "narrowly tailored to give the false impression that there's little competition on the App Store."

Android Central reached out to Google, but the company declined to comment.

Have you listened to this week's Android Central Podcast?

Android Central

Every week, the Android Central Podcast brings you the latest tech news, analysis and hot takes, with familiar co-hosts and special guests.

  • Subscribe in Pocket Casts: Audio
  • Subscribe in Spotify: Audio
  • Subscribe in iTunes: Audio (opens in new tab)
Babu Mohan
News Writer
8 Comments
  • There's nothing to crush... They're doing their own thing for their platforms... not necessarily a monopoly.
  • I think it is hysterical that Facebook is crushed by Apple Calculator and Clock on iOS. What first party app is Facebook having to compete with on iOS and Android anyway? Google actually has some 1st part social networking options, but they don't appear above Facebook. All this tells me is people use their devices for stuff other than Facebook. Good.
  • Yep, FB is going to be 'crushed' by anything that isn't FB. I'm just glad to see FB mind-share and relevance continue to diminish.
  • When a study like this is commissioned by Facebook, take all this with a pinch of salt.
  • This is pretty silly. Is the takeaway that people use default apps a lot? Great study. Would have never guessed.
  • Why are Apple users more interested in the weather than Android users?
  • No one has given me a reason to not use the stock Android apps. Sure there are many browsers, email clients, cloud services, etc. However, the Google versions work very well for me on Android. 🤔
  • And thank you to sites like Android Central for helping feed this monopoly. Anytime an OEM like Samsung dares to make their own default apps (like Samsung Email, Browser, and Gallery), AC roasts them for being "bloated" because they also have the mandatory Google-force-fed Email, browser, and gallery apps. Instead of celebrating the benefits of apps that are tailor-made for a manufacturers phone, sites like AC largely ignore the benefits of apps like Samsung's amazing web browser and push people to not even try it, and just use the monopoly-created versions and literally shame Samsung for not falling in line and using Google's generic versions.