We live in what the Pew Research Center once defined as an “apps culture.” Over 90 percent of the activities we do on mobile devices require an app. The average mobile device user will use numerous apps each month, dedicating countless hours to them.
The reason society likes apps is that they activate a core part of human psychology. The human brain is designed to keep you alive and help you survive. Your brain tries to save energy and attempts to spend the least amount of effort and energy on any task. If your brain can save energy when you face danger or need to tackle a life-and-death problem, you will have that energy stored away.
Apps monopolize on this psychological cornerstone of human existence. Apps save time. They make it easier and more convenient to achieve things. And most importantly people love apps. And not just phone apps.
Many popular websites nowadays have their own progressive web apps to help people access them a lot faster anytime and anywhere – music streaming apps, finance-related apps, business tools, social media, and many others. Many fintech apps have followed suit, with companies like eToro – one of several popular online trading platforms – launching progressive web apps for desktop users as a means to improve user experience. With just a few clicks, people can execute financial transactions that in times past would have taken a lot of time and energy.
People Love Apps That Are All about Them
Apps are personalized to meet your needs. Many apps require you to log in. After you log in, you are presented with personalized information designed to meet your specific needs. This means that no two people using the same app will have an identical experience.
Humans love things that are personalized and that are all about them. When you look at some of the most popular apps, you see that they have been customized so that their products reach people on an individual level, improving their appeal.
Most people will purchase apps from the Google Play Store or from the Apple Store. Since COVID-19, there has been an increased reliance on apps. It’s interesting to look at the iOS and Mac OS apps that have been trending since the COVID-19 pandemic started. They provide a unique insight into the human psyche during this crisis.
COVID-19 changed most people’s online habits – some of these changes were around boredom, and other ones followed work from home routine. Apps such as gaming apps, social media apps, all kinds of apps designed for communication, even mental health trackers and stock trading apps that help you increase your income during these uncertain times – all of them recorded an increase in use during Coronavirus outbreak. Let’s find out more about it.
Popular Apps Prioritize Work and Communication
On April 1, 2020, Eric Yuan, the CEO of Zoom, said that in 2019, Zoom was hosting approximately 10 million Zoom meeting participants each day. This year they had reached 200 million daily meeting participants.
To put that in perspective, Twitter hosted around 152 million daily users. Snapchat boasts around 218 million users. Before March, Zoom was never on the top 100 popular apps in the Apple App Store. Zoom has been on the Apple App Store for nine years. Snapchat needed five years to jump from 10 million daily users to 200 million. Zoom did that in 30 days.
Now, in 68 countries, Zoom is the number one most popular iPhone app. It boasts more days at number one than games like Fortnight and Angry Birds. This level of worldwide cultural shift is unprecedented. The pandemic created mass confusion and disrupted traditional forms of communication. Zoom was the right app at the right time.
Honorable mention: business tools related apps. Apps such as time trackers, project management apps, payment-related and accounting apps helped a lot of businesses manage their remote working teams.
Using Games to Make Sense of the New Normal
Stay at home orders, quarantines, and a general fear of contamination means that more people are staying indoors now than ever before. This means that more people are playing games on their phones when they would otherwise have been outside engaging in physical activities.
One of the most popular iOS games is Plague Inc. You would think a game about a global pandemic would be the last thing people would be interested in. However, according to the statistics, this has been one of the most popular iOS apps since the pandemic.
Plague Inc. lets players bring about the end of the world. The goal is to create and then adapt to a global plague. Playing this game during a pandemic gives people a sense of calm and a feeling of being able to control something that they consciously realize is outside of their ability to control.
This game was launched on iOS in May 2012. In 2014, when the Zika and Ebola outbreaks happened, this game saw a spike in downloads. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the game has been downloaded 15 million times. This means that during the first quarter of 2020, Plague Inc. has experienced a 265 percent increase from the previous year.
Apps Designed for Mental Health and Wellness
The coronavirus pandemic has put a strain on people’s mental and emotional health. Individuals who in the past had not experienced emotional health challenges may now be dealing with them for the first time. There is obviously no app that can replace the professional advice and counsel offered by trained medical experts. However, there is a growing group of apps that focus on helping people make a valuable change in their life.
The iOS app Personal Growth produced by Mindvalley is designed to help the user focus on mindfulness. It encourages setting goals for the mind and body. The focus is on improved motivation and productivity. It includes training programs and exercises that are available as audio and video. Excerpts are included from some of the best-selling authors, coaches, and experts in the mental health and wellness field.
This is just one of many apps that focus on health and well-being. There are several popular iOS apps that are directly related to COVID-19, its treatment, its prevention, and its tracking. Other apps, such as Audible, offer information on self-help, health, and personal wellness. As people have more time on their hands and as the coronavirus is causing more people to think about their health, apps of this sort are growing in popularity.
In the same way that there have been several winners on iOS, there have been several losers. Many popular apps connected to travel, short-term lodging, and transportation have seen a precipitous dive in their popularity. It will be interesting to see how many of the apps that people have used during COVID-19 become part of their daily life even after it is gone. It will also be intriguing to notice the changes app developers make to their new products to reflect the attitudes and psyche of the public during these times.