Our look back at the evolution of Apple's mobile platform as it turns 10 this week begins with the dream of so many iOS developers over the years: Reaching the coveted No. 1 spot on the App Store charts. Sensor Tower App Intelligence data reveals that, since 2010, approximately 30,000 unique apps have achieved this goal, summiting the free, paid, or top grossing ranking in at least one country.
What follows is a look at which of these apps managed to spend the most time at the pinnacle, both worldwide and in the United States.
Starting in Apple's home territory of the United States, we identified 422 unique apps that reached No. 1 on the top free iPhone apps chart since the beginning of our analysis period in July 2010.
Facebook's Messenger spent the most time at the top of this chart in the U.S. at a combined 317 days, following its spin-off from the core Facebook app in 2011. It was one of four non-game apps to make our top 10 ranking based on the number of days spent at No. 1. Snap owned Bitmoji was a distant second at 109 days total. The number one free game in terms of days spent atop the U.S. iPhone chart was Etermax's viral hit Trivia Crack, which launched in 2013.
In terms of the worldwide chart, messaging apps in general spent the most time at the top across all the App Store territories, accounting for seven of the top 10 in our ranking. Chief among them was the now Facebook-owned WhatsApp, which was one of four apps in the top five under the social giant's auspices, the other three being Messenger, Instagram, and the core Facebook app itself.
On the paid app front—a category of app that has seen its numbers slashed dramatically since the early days of the App Store—there was one clear, very blocky winner.
Now owned by Microsoft, but originally published by its creator Mojang, Minecraft has spent more days as the No. 1 paid U.S. iPhone app than any other at 847. Another big name in mobile gaming, the original Angry Birds, is perched in second place at 311 days.
Worldwide, Minecraft was also the top paid app by days at No. 1 in any App Store region, but the global ranking is decidedly less games-heavy, including the likes of hit photo retouching app Facetune and WhatsApp, which, as many may not remember, was actually a paid app until five years ago this month.
Last but not least, we looked at which apps spent the most time at No. 1 on the top grossing chart, a ranking Apple no longer displays to App Store users post-iOS 11.
App Store revenue heavyweight Supercell walked away with the crown here, with its flagship title Clash of Clans occupying the No. 1 top grossing position for a total of 805 days in the U.S.—527 days more than even Candy Crush Saga. What's more, Supercell was the only publisher to have two apps in this top 10, the other being Clash Royale, itself a spin-off from the No. 1 app on the list. This top 10 also includes the likes of Pandora and Netflix in the top five, a testament to the chart-topping power of subscription-based apps, something not introduced on the store until 2011.
Clash of Clans was also the top app worldwide, with 1,900 days spent at No. 1 across all App Store regions. This was just slightly ahead of Zynga Poker at 1,825 days, and still more than Candy Crush Saga's formidable 1,789 days. Two more standouts here are LINE and Puzzle & Dragons, which largely have Japanese App Store users to thank for their considerable time spent at No. 1 grossing.
Be sure to check back each day this week and follow us on Twitter for more from our weeklong look back at the first 10 years of Apple's App Store. Next up: The top App Store regions by per capita spending.
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