Apple Calls Facebook-Commissioned Study on Preinstalled App Usage 'Seriously Flawed'

The majority of apps used by iPhone and Android users are made by Apple and Google, according to a study commissioned by Facebook that was shared with The Verge.

Facebook Feature
The first-of-its-kind Comscore study ranks the popularity of preinstalled iOS and Android apps alongside third-party apps, indicating that the most popular apps are preinstalled. The results show that on iOS, stock apps such as Weather, Calculator, and Clock, are more popular than YouTube, Facebook, and Amazon. The statistics are similar for Android, where pre-installed Google apps dominate the rankings.

According to the findings, 75 percent of the top 20 apps on iOS in the U.S. were made by Apple, while Google made 60 percent of the top apps on Android. The top four apps on both platforms were made by their respective parent company.

The unique study reveals a number of quirks including the fact that Apple's Calculator app has more users than Gmail on Android. Facebook is the only third-party developer with more than one app on the iOS list of apps and the only developer with three apps on the Android list.

top 20 applications on ios and android
Comscore procured data from apps and websites last December to produce the study, alongside information from a study of 4,000 people that asked about the default apps they used during November 2020. The study excluded browsers in the rankings and "embedded operating system features" such as voice assistants.

Facebook said that it paid for the Comscore study to show the "impact of preinstalled apps on the competitive app ecosystem," hinting at the apparently anti-competitive nature of Android and iOS. Facebook has found itself increasingly at odds with Apple, criticizing the company's limitations on third-party developers, privacy measures such as App Tracking Transparency, the inability for Messenger to be selected as the default on the ‌iPhone‌, and more.

The report suggests that some app categories that already have a pre-installed app, such as Weather, are difficult for other apps from third parties to compete in. However, it is worth noting that default apps do not win out in every category; for example, Apple Maps and Apple Music do not appear in the rankings at all, while Gmail is represented alongside Apple Mail.

Speaking to The Verge, Apple scolded the report as "seriously flawed in a number of ways."

This Facebook-financed survey from December 2020 was narrowly tailored to give the false impression that there's little competition on the App Store. In truth, third-party apps compete with Apple's apps across every category and enjoy large scale success.

The spokesperson for Apple criticized the report's methodology and said that the results contradicted Comscore's recent April 2021 rankings on app usage, even if those previous rankings excluded pre-installed apps.

Nevertheless, Facebook clearly hopes that the study will point to the power platform owners have over what apps users choose to use on their devices.

Top Rated Comments

Robin Bonathan Avatar
3 weeks ago
Well FB, make your own phone and operating system.
If people want it they can buy it.
I wont be one.
Score: 51 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving Avatar
3 weeks ago
Facebook? And false impression… what do you expect.

I don’t remember Facebook complaining about being unfair when they had a good relationship with Apple.

Sounds like they are crying and lieing all over the place now.
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HiVolt Avatar
3 weeks ago
Soooo? Facebook, make your own phone with your own preinstalled apps?

Oh wait... :D
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dynamojoe Avatar
3 weeks ago
To re-hash the car analogy: I'm sure GM-made car seats are the predominant car seats in GM vehicles. Does that mean GM should offer a selection of third party seats for use in their vehicles?
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
subi257 Avatar
3 weeks ago
The bulk of those apps on either platform are basic apps that make the hardware functional.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
madmin Avatar
3 weeks ago
I would never purchase a device with pre-installed Facebook apps unless I could immediately delete them.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

app store blue banner

App Store Ecosystem Responsible for Estimated $643 Billion in Billings and Sales in 2020, According to Apple-Commissioned Study

Wednesday June 2, 2021 10:00 am PDT by
The App Store ecosystem facilitated an estimated $643 billion in billings and sales in 2020, an increase of 24 percent year-over-year, according to an Apple-commissioned study done by Analysis Group economists. [PDF] The study, "A Global Perspective on the Apple App Store Ecosystem," comes as Apple awaits a decision in its ongoing trial with Epic Games, much of which focused on App Store...
siri glow

iOS 15 to Limit Siri Functionality With Third-Party Apps

Wednesday July 28, 2021 3:42 am PDT by
Starting with iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, and watchOS 8, Apple will cut back on integration between Siri and third-party apps, drastically reducing the type and number of commands users will be able to invoke through the virtual assistant for third-party apps. On a developer support page, Apple says that a number of SiriKit intents and commands will no longer be supported with the...
apple watch series 6 product red back

Researchers Struggle to Use Apple Watch in Studies Due to Sudden Algorithm Changes

Tuesday July 27, 2021 7:03 am PDT by
Researchers are rethinking plans to use the Apple Watch in studies after finding inconsistencies in the data gathered by the device (via The Verge). Inconsistencies in the Apple Watch's heart rate variability data are reportedly caused by Apple tweaking the device's algorithms, meaning that data from the same time period can change without warning. Associate professor of biostatistics at the ...
apple watch ecg

Apple Launches Study into Whether Apple Watch Can Detect COVID-19

Wednesday April 14, 2021 4:51 am PDT by
Apple is launching a study into whether the Apple Watch can be used to detect respiratory illnesses such as coronavirus or flu, in partnership with the University of Washington and the Seattle Flu Study. Apple initially announced the study at its Time Flies event in September last year, it but has only recently launched, as spotted by Apple Insider.The goal of the study is to see if the...
appstore

Australian Watchdog Wants iOS Users to Have More Control Over Preinstalled Apps

Wednesday April 28, 2021 2:04 am PDT by
In an report related to its ongoing investigation into Apple and Google app marketplace dominance, Australia's consumer watchdog has warned both companies that it wants consumers to have more choice when it comes to preinstalled apps on Apple and Android devices (via ZDNet). Specifically, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) wants Apple and Google to give users more...
homescreen ios14

Apple Faces Antitrust Probe Into Pre-Installed Apps, App Store, and More in Germany

Monday June 21, 2021 2:52 am PDT by
Germany's Federal Cartel Office, the Bundeskartellamt, today initiated proceedings against Apple on the claims of anti-competitive behavior related to the App Store, its products, and other services, according to a press release. The proceeding against Apple announced today will determine whether the Cupertino tech giant holds a "paramount significance across markets" and whether, through...
app store blue banner

EU Competition Chief Tells Apple Not to Use Privacy as a Shield Against Competition

Friday July 2, 2021 10:13 am PDT by
In ongoing antitrust discussions about App Store competition, Apple has maintained that allowing users to install apps outside of the App Store would have dire privacy consequences, but European Union digital competition chief Margrethe Vestager said today that Apple must not use privacy excuses to limit competition. In an interview with Reuters, Vestager said that privacy and security are...
Facebook Watch Feature

Facebook Working on Smart Watch With Detachable Display and Two Built-In Cameras

Wednesday June 9, 2021 1:30 pm PDT by
Facebook has been working on a new smart watch for the last several months, and The Verge today unveiled new details about the device, which will compete with the Apple Watch. The Facebook smart watch will have a detachable display with two built-in cameras for taking pictures and videos to share on Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. A camera on the front of the watch's display will be...
app store safe secure

Study Finds Up to 2% of Top 1,000 Paid Apps on App Store Were Scams

Monday June 7, 2021 6:33 am PDT by
Apple has used its app review process as a bulwark in recent legal assaults on its App Store policy, and put particular emphasis on the security benefits for iOS users when buying apps. However, an investigation has found that almost 2% of the top 1,000 highest grossing apps on a given day were some sort of scam. According to The Washington Post, which conducted the investigation, scam apps...
app store blue banner

U.S. Antitrust Legislation Would Require Users to Be Able to Delete All Pre-Installed Apple Apps [Updated]

Wednesday June 16, 2021 11:26 am PDT by
Update: Bloomberg inaccurately interpreted the original comments and has since drastically changed the wording of its article. The original Bloomberg piece said that Apple would be prohibited from pre-installing its own apps on iPhones. The updated Bloomberg article has been rewritten to clarify that the antitrust legislation prohibits Apple from preventing users from removing Apple-created...