Which OS has the most popular apps: iOS, Android or Windows Phone?

Choosing between a Samsung Galaxy, iPhone 5 or Nokia Lumia is more than choosing between devices; it’s about choosing a platform that can offer you the best user experience. If you need help deciding which OS would suite you best, we’ve compared the availability of 30 essential apps for three of the most popular mobile operating systems for smartphones.

More than just fancy phones with internet, smartphones now offer real app ecosystems. Wedged between the mobile tech giants (namely Google, Apple and Microsoft) who create the OS, we find app developers. As these companies vie for the developers’ attention, the developers are the ones who decide if their apps will be available on Windows Phone, Android or iOS.

If you’re in the market for a new smartphone, check out the table below to see if some of those most essentials apps are available on the platform you’re learning towards. To find more information about each app, you can click the link.

App / Service
Facebook
Twitter
Spotify
WhatsApp Messenger
Instagram BETA
Skype
YouTube
Kindle
Snapchat
Shazam
Vine
VLC
Amazon Mobile
eBay
Flickr
Facebook Messenger
NetFlix
Pinterest
Dropbox
BBM
WeChat
Google Earth
Viber
LINE
Google Maps
UC Browser
SkyDrive
TuneIn
Evernote
Runtastic

Although these are the most popular apps for iOS, Android and Windows Phone users, keep in mind that the quality of each app can differ on each different platform. Spotify for Windows Phone, for example, has been strongly criticized.

Our opinion

Windows Phone has been accused of not having many good apps, but that’s changed quite a bit lately. Microsoft has been working hard to attract some of the best app developers, and as you can see, is only missing 8 of the top 30 apps from our table. Dropbox and Snapchat are a few notable apps still not officially available for Windows Phone.

Both iOS and Android offer all of the top 30 best apps for smartphones. It’s true that Apple’s App Store, often considered the best app store, offers some apps exclusive to the platform, like YouTube Capture, Sunrise Calendar and others, but they tend to have the highest popularity among hardcore tech geeks.

The same goes for the Google Play Store; developers only offering  popular apps such as WhatsApp or Dropbox for iOS, as was the case in the past,  in no longer an issue.

Thinking about buying your first smartphone?

For a first smartphone, the choice of OS shouldn’t be a decisive factor. The above comparison of the three main mobile operating systems shows you that no matter what you pick, you should be covered for the basics.

You already have a smartphone, but want to upgrade?

In this case, mid-range iPhone or Android phones should suit you best. If you like taking pictures, you should also consider a Windows Phone, but keep in mind that in terms of ecosystem, Microsoft’s mobile OS hasn’t traditionally been the strongest.

The geek in you wants to buy a high-end phone?

If you’re determined to buy a Windows Phone, you should know that there are many unofficial apps for services that are still missing. Some developers offer, for example, unofficial versions of Dropbox.

Which OS do you think is the best for smartphones?

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