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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Nielsen yesterday released its digital "Tops of 2012" statistics, which included the top 10 iOS apps of 2012, based on average unique users. The study took place from Q1 2012 to Q3 2012 and also happened to find that this was the first year where smartphone owners became the majority of mobile phone users with 56% by the end of Q3.

Four of the top 10 iPhone apps are stock iOS apps, as YouTube and Maps are likely referring to the versions of the app bundled in with iOS 5 and earlier rather than the newer versions that launched in the past couple of months, as the new versions likely wouldn't have had the time to make a significant impact on the statistics. Nielsen notes that Facebook Messenger was the fastest growing iPhone app.

In fact, Facebook controlled three of the top 10 in Facebook, Facebook Messenger and Instagram while Google, at this point, controlled none of the top 10.

Maps averaged 32 million unique users a month while YouTube averaged 22 million, Stocks averaged 21 million and Weather averaged 20 million uniques a month.

The study also found that Android sits atop smartphone marketshare with 52% with iOS in second at 35%. Blackberry OS came in third at 7%, Windows Phone with 2% and the rest made up the remaining 5% of the marketshare pie. The statistics come from Nielsen's Smartphone Panel, which uses on-device meters at the aggregate level to find out mobile web and app activity level.

Article Link: Nielsen Releases Top 10 iPhone Apps of 2012


macrumors 6502a
Jul 1, 2010
How does Google control none of the top ten if youtube is there? Doesn't Youtube count?


..... as YouTube and Maps are likely referring to the versions of the app bundled in with iOS 5 and earlier rather than the newer versions that launched in the past couple of months...


macrumors Nehalem
Feb 19, 2005
Stocks, that is the iOS stock app? There are so many more that excel.

I loves me some Pandora though.


macrumors 68020
Feb 16, 2012
If you think about it almost every user will go though the stock apps when they get the device - therefor their 'success' is far from meaningful. It's the third party apps that are interesting - the apps that people go and get independently.

I would be interested to see not only unique users but also time spent - I bet stocks wouldn't be so massive then.

SnowLeopard OSX

macrumors 6502a
Dec 5, 2012
Wow. Maps is already in 1st place? Wasn't it released like last week? Haha, that's crazy. Nice list, though. Hopefully that year to date % change for YouTube really sends a message to Google to finally optimize their YouTube mobile app -- it's pretty messy at the moment.

Thanks for posting this.


macrumors 604
Sep 17, 2009
Melbourne, Australia
Nah, get a tv, even bigger screen.

Nah, get a projector, even bigger screen :)


I can barely see it on my iPhone 5. Zoom does not appear to work. It's viewable, but definitely could be better.

Update: when turned to landscape it's MUCH better.

Well thats just because the zoom on your iphone isnt working, isnt it? Its not macrumor's fault.

Kingsley Aghedo

macrumors newbie
Nov 14, 2012
Smartphone owners became the majority of mobile phone users for the first time this year, growing from 49 percent of mobile subscribers in Q1 2012, to 56 percent by Q3 2012. Mobile app usage also continued to grow. Among the top 10 mobile apps, Facebook Messenger grew the most among iPhone apps, and Twitter was the fastest growing Android app.


macrumors 68000
Apr 12, 2002
The fact that Stocks is number four on the list suggests Nielsen's study is flawed. Nobody uses that.

I use it every day. Sits right there in notification center. Ditto with weather. Why would I use a stock app that doesn't go into notification center? I have TD Ameritrade, but it has to be launched.
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