Best Apple apps 2019: from the ultimate camera to the hottest games

Amelia Heathman
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

We’re at that time of year when we look back on all the things that took place in 2019, from the songs we streamed on Spotify, to the apps we downloaded on our smartphones.

Apple has revealed the apps and games that it says drove app culture in 2019 – from its personal favourites to the most downloaded apps across the world.

Apple’s favourite iPhone app of the year is Spectre Camera thanks to the artificial intelligence (AI) embedded in the app to let people take amazing long-exposure pictures. For the iPad, the tech company chose Flow by Moleskin – a digital notebook app that allows you to draw and sketch just as you would on paper.

The Mac app, Affinity Publisher, was also name-checked thanks to its “elegant user experience and remarkably reasonable price point.”

The biggest app trend of 2019 over on the iPhone App Store was all about storytelling. Apple said app including podcast app Anchor, the Instagram Story editing app Unfold and the user-generated story platform Wattpad, all helped people to express themselves “in an easier way than ever before”.

Whilst these were the apps Apple favourites, the most downloaded lists point to the favourite apps of Apple customers.

In the top free apps list, you won’t be surprised to see that social media drove the main downloads. YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and Facebook Messenger took the top five free slots on iOS. The main Facebook app has slipped down to number eight, whilst Amazon was the only e-commerce app in the tenth slot.

TikTok is one of the most popular social media apps of the year (-/AFP/Getty Images)

For the top paid apps, the selfie editor app Facetune was number one. Scheduling app HotSchedules came next along with weather app Dark Sky and personalised baby app Wonder Weeks.

When it came to gaming, Apple chose Sky: Children of Light as its top iPhone game. The quest game sees players fly across landscapes to help celestial beings find their way back to the heavens. The classic 16-bit adventure game Hyper Light Drifter was the iPad game of the year, whilst puzzle game Gris took the crown for best Mac game. Gris was nominated for three awards at this year’s gaming Baftas, in the categories of artistic achievement, debut game, and for music.

Mario Kart Tour was the most-downloaded game of the year – impressive considering the game didn’t come out until September and was hit with server issues in the first few days following the large numbers of people attempting to download the game.

Fortnite has slipped all the way down to eight place but the game still brings in at least 250 million monthly players as of March 2019. The revamp of the game with Chapter 2 in October has probably helped to boost that figure since.

Top Apple apps for 2019

Apple's chosen favourite apps for 2019

  • iPhone app: Spectre Camera

  • iPhone game: Sky: Children of the Light

  • iPad app: Flow by Moleskin

  • iPad game: Hyper Light Drifter

  • Mac app: Affinity Publisher

  • Mac game: Gris

Top free apps for 2019

  • YouTube

  • Instagram

  • Snapchat

  • TikTok

  • Facebook Messenge

Top paid apps for 2019

  • Facetune

  • HotSchedules

  • Dark Sky Weather

  • The Wonder Weeks

  • AutoSleep Track Sleep on Watch

Top free games for 2019

  • Mario Kart Tour

  • Colour Bump 3D


  • Call of Duty: Mobile

  • BitLife

Top paid games for 2019

  • Minecraft

  • Heads Up!

  • Plague Inc

  • Bloons TD 6

  • Geometry Dash

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