This Week in Apps - Sherlocked!

Ariel Ariel
9 minute read Jun. 14

This Week in Apps is a short, no-fluff, round-up of interesting things that happened in the mobile industry. Here are our top highlights.

U.S. Revenue Index (30 Day)

App Store
481.30 +8.0%
Google Play
269.84 -2.7%


1. Investigating the Apps (That Could Be) Made Redundant by iOS 18

It's become sort of a guessing game come every WWDC — which app (or type of apps) will Apple “sherlock” in the latest version of iOS. (The term comes from the early 2000s when the Cupertino giant introduced Sherlock 3 and was accused of copying elements of a similar third-party application called Watson; iOS and MacOS have subsumed the functionality of many apps since.)

As it turns out, with iOS 18, Apple isn't potentially replacing an app or type of app with built-in functionality, but potentially multiple, mostly due to the capabilities of Apple Intelligence.

Before moving on, we should note that we looked at apps of each type with more than 1K monthly downloads worldwide. Only apps that will have their core functionality reproduced were considered. We based our analysis on the past 12 months of Appfigures download and revenue estimates.

All told, potentially affected apps have grossed an estimated $393M (about $275M to developers) and been downloaded an estimated 58M times in the last year.

Deducing the Likely Victims

The largest group getting the "Sherlock treatment" isn't at risk of being displaced by Apple's AI endeavors. No, those are running/hiking trail apps led by the king of the hill, AllTrails. (iOS 18 adds similar functionality, including offline trail maps, recommendations, etc.)

These apps account for the vast majority of potentially "sherlocked" revenue (78%) and the single largest group by downloads (40%). In May, that worked out to an estimated $28.8M gross spent by users and 2.5M downloads.

Those numbers have been steadily growing, too. User spending in trail apps is up 28% from a year ago and downloads are up 32%.

Grammar helper apps, which will compete head to head with Apple's similar, AI-based tools integrated deeply in iOS 18, are represented by their flagship, Grammarly. Altogether, they grossed $35.7M in the past 12 months and saw 9.4M downloads.

They brought in an estimated $3.5M last month, and that was up 40% from a year prior. (Downloads have grown 23% year-over-year.)

Math-solving apps, which generate about $23M in yearly spending and 9.5M new installs based on our estimates, and emoji makers with their relatively small $7M grossed annually with 10.6M downloads, are also poised to compete with Apple Intelligence features.

Like trail apps, password managers aren't at risk of losing users from Apple Intelligence, but rather traditional software features. In their case, iOS 18 will introduce a built-in Passwords app that works across the full Apple ecosystem seamlessly.

Password managers for iOS have been growing in popularity at an impressive rate. Downloads last month were 48% higher than 12 months earlier at 457K and gross revenue rose 38% to approximately $2M.

Time to Retool?

A potential lifeline for some of these “at risk” app types is the promise of a vastly improved Siri in iOS 18 that's capable of controlling apps more or less like a human user. This means that not only can developers make their apps more attractive than Apple's alternatives through new, innovative features, but whatever they do will be accessible to Apple Intelligence.

In other words, just because these new features are coming, developers aren't about to see their apps made obsolete overnight. In fact, Apple's features largely won't be as fully featured as third-party alternatives — they will “just” be integrated directly into the operating system.

Yes, some app types will no doubt feel the full "sherlock" sting (looking at you especially, grammar helpers and emoji makers) while others will find growth more challenging. That said, developers who invest in ensuring their apps offer substantial value beyond whatever iOS 18 has built-in will continue to win over users, potentially with Siri's long-overdue brain transplant to thank (and Apple Search Ads).

This insight was written by our Head of Insights, Randy. I hope you like Randy's style.

2. The Future of Social Platforms is... Small?

I noticed a new name inching its way up the top charts last week - ten ten.

The app calls itself a walkie-talkie for your best friends and joins the wave of apps meant to connect you to a smaller subset of people, like BeReal.

If you've been around apps long enough, you know this isn't the first app to turn your phone into a walkie-talkie. That was a big trend many years ago that died out also many years ago.

is it coming back?

The downloads suggest it could.

ten ten managed to rise up to the 6th position on the top downloaded apps and games in the US App Store last Wednesday, a rank it held for exactly two hours. It's dropped quite quickly since, ending the weekend at 215th place overall.

The downloads started climbing earlier in the week, very slowly, and in that week, ten ten got almost a half million downloads.

The majority of those downloads, 42%, came from the US with all other countries adding single-digit shares.

ten ten's differentiator is its lack of "social" network. You can only walkie-talkie with your "family" (which really means anyone you add, but family sounds better). We've seen many apps using this to differentiate and compete against established platforms like Instagram.

While ten ten may not be the next breakout success it's interesting to see "social" shrinking. I expect we'll see a lot more of that and that Meta will try to get into that in some fashion as well.

3. BeReal Finally Got its Exit - But Why?

While most of us were busy checking out iOS 18, popular hyper casual game developer Voodoo Games announced it had acquired social app BeReal for €500M.

My first thought was "Wow", and before that thought faded the next was "Why???".

In case you don't remember, BeReal took teenagers by storm in 2022 with its incredibly simplistic random check-ins you share with your friends.

The "feature" that was an app exploded in popularity in late 2022 and although the popularity mostly faded, the app is still getting downloads. But for an app that isn't even monetizing, that's a lot of money!

Probably a lot of users, you might respond - and you may be right. According to our estimates, BeReal collected 107M downloads across the App Store and Google Play. The majority of the downloads came between July of 2022 and January of 2023 - BeReal saw 53% of its all-time downloads in that period.

During that period, monthly downloads peaked at 12M, but the run didn't continue. Right after the peak downloads started sloping down and within six months dropped to 3M. BeReal ended May of 2024 with 1.2M downloads, according to our estimates.

Voodoo, the publisher behind some of the most popular hyper-casual portfolios on mobile, could have bought BeReal to gain access to those 100M+ users. It's unlikely that all of them are active, but we're still talking about a lot of eyeballs.


Did you know Voodoo also has a social network?

Voodoo's Social Play

Wizz, Voodoo's social platform, has been around since 2019 and has amassed 18M downloads, according to our estimates. It had a nice growth sprout in late 2022 but has seen its trend slope down as well. 18 < 107, so Wizz has a lot to gain now.

According to the announcement, Wizz's CEO will take over running BeReal, which is... interesting. We might see Voodoo transitioning BeReal's users over to Wizz.

According to rumors, only a third of the grand total was actual payment with the rest being tied to performance, leading me to believe a user shift is indeed in the cards for BeReal. Ultimately, a great outcome for an app built around a feature.

And fun fact, many of Wizz's reviews are very negative yet have a 5-star rating (like this one and this one). I won't speculate why...

4. The King is Back on Top - The Most Downloaded Games in the World

I crunched the numbers and ranked the most popular mobile games on the App Store and Google by downloads.

I'm happy to report order was restored in May!

Subway Surfers was the most downloaded game across the two platforms combined in May with 22M downloads, according to our App Intelligence.

After one blip, the king is back on top, continuing its multi-year rein, but only by a touch.

Pizza Ready, April's winner, was the second most downloaded app with just a few more downloads. Looking at the trend, downloads are down but not by much so it can easily come back.

Ludo King, Roblox, and Wood Nuts & Bolts round out the top 5 games in May.

Yes, 3 of the top 5 games are hyper-casuals - get ready for a fun summer.

Moving our attention to the App Store, I noticed two interesting bits.

Happy Fishing Adventure, a China-only title I had as "Joyful Fishing Adventure" last month and am not entirely sure which translation is more accurate, the top game on the App Store in April, dropped to 5th place in May.

Supercell's Brawl Stars was the most downloaded game in the App Store, ending May with 4M downloads, according to our estimates.

Our App Intelligence shows that together, the top 10 most downloaded games on the App Store and Google Play saw 153M downloads. That's a 14% increase over April's total and a great lead-in to the summer season.

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5. Game Revenue is Still Growing, But Slower - The Highest Earning Games in the World

I crunched the numbers and ranked the highest-earning games across the App Store and Google Play by net revenue - what the publishers get to keep after Apple and Google deduct their fees.

The first thing you'll notice when looking at May's charts is that China is in the lead!

King of Glory, a China-only title, was the highest-earning game in the world in May with $131M from the App Store, according to our estimates. China's ability to drive revenue continues to amaze me. King of Glory was also the highest-earning game in the App Store, obviously, and isn't the only China-only title that made the charts in May - 4 games did!

Monopoly Go was the second-highest earner in May with a healthy haul of $116M in net revenue, according to our estimates. In case you were wondering, Apple and Google, though mostly Apple, earned about $50M from Monopoly Go in May.

Royal Match, Peace Elite, and Candy Crush round out the top 5 highest earners in May. And if you're comparing this list to April's you'll notice the ranks are identical but the revenue isn't - the top 4 earned more and Candy Crush dropped a bit.

Supercell's Brawl Stars ranked across all three lists in May, earning the most ever in the game's history. Looking at the trend, which is really pretty, I'd say it's on track to do the same in June.

And one more thing I noticed is that there are four China-only titles on the App Store's top 10 list in May. That not exactly new, we've seen it happen more often earlier in the year, but it hasn't happened since February. I think it's safe to say this trend is here to stay.

Our App Intelligence shows that the top 10 highest-earning games across the App Store and Google Play earned $791M of net revenue in May, about 2% higher than April which isn't bad because the summer is right around the corner.

App Intelligence for Everyone!

The insights in this report come right out of our App Intelligence platform, which offers access to download and revenue estimates, installed SDKs, and more! Learn more about the tools or schedule a demo with our team to get started.

Are you a Journalist? You can get access to our app and market intelligence for free through the Appfigures for Journalists program. Contact us for more details.

All figures included in this report are estimated. Unless specified otherwise, estimated revenue is always net, meaning it's the amount the developer earned after Apple and Google took their fee.

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