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The Top 25 Money-Making iPhone Apps of All Time

In this article, see the top 25 revenue earning iPhone apps of all time and learn what made them each so successful na skyrocketed them to the top of the charts and sales.

To learn how to be the best, you have to know what the best is all about. With apps, to create something special, you have to understand what people want. And that’s as simple as taking a look at what apps are successful out there, and then dissecting each and every single one of them to figure out exactly why.

Is it because of the app marketing or monetization strategies? Is there an irresistibly addictive aspect to it? Does it perform a function that renders it indispensible in the life of a daily user? These are all things to consider when studying and learning from other successful apps out there.

To help you on that endeavor, here is AppClover’s list of the top 25 highest grossing iPhone app sensations of all time:


1.Instagram – (Burbn Inc)

Sold for $1 billion to Facebook, Instagram has been downloaded 60 million times since its launch in October 2010. Why Was It Successful? A great concept (super-fast image editing) mixed together with excellent marketing and the fact that the founders had brilliant connections.


2. Angry Birds – (Rovio)

Downloaded a billion times or more, with earnings of over $250 million since December 2009. Why Was It Successful? Brilliant, challenging concept, fun graphics and unlimited game time.


3. Draw Something – (OMGPop)

More than $200 million earned from 100 million downloads since February 2012. Why Was It Successful? Instantly, fun collaborative game that connects people.


4. Cut The Rope – (ZeptoLabs)

With 120 million downloads, and $56 million in the bank since October 2010, Cut The Rope is a big one. Why Was It Successful? Perfect iPhone functionality, and a really fun concept.


5. Pocket God – (Bolt Creative)

With income of around $10 million, after 5 million downloads, since its launch in January 2009. Why Was It Successful? A lengthy game, changed to suit the iPhone and based on a proven model.


6. Tap Zoo Classic or Tap Pet Hotel – (Pocket Gems)

Earned $50 million from 60 million downloads since April 2011. Why Was It Successful? They’re free to download, but use a clever in-app purchase system.


7. Doodle Jump – (Lima Sky)

Launched in April 2009 with 13 million downloads, and over $16 million dollars earned. Why Was It Successful? Simple, never ending gameplay and stylized graphics.


8. Paper Toss – (Backflip Studios)

A tasty $8 million for 8 million downloads since launch. Why Was It Successful? Interesting skill-based game that never ends!


9. Restaurant Story – (Storm8)

Earned $22 million from 10 million downloads since October 2010. Why Was It Successful? Addictive gameplay, with must-have in-app purchases.


10. Flight Track – (Ben Kazez)

Over $5 million in revenue from 2.3 million downloads since September 2008. Why Was It Successful? First of its kind, and extremely useful to a large percentage of people.


11. Camera+ – (TapTapTap)

Over 8 million downloads, earning above $8.9 million in revenue since June 2010. Why Was It Successful? Made by a serious company that has many other successful titles.


12. Flick Fishing – (Freeverse)

Earned $5 million dollars, with over 2.5 million downloads since November 2008. Why Was It Successful? Unique way to play with a touchscreen.


13. SoundHound – (SoundHound Inc.)

A huge 85 million downloads, with over $10 million in revenue since April 2010. Why Was It Successful? Extremely cool and useful app for identifying music, one of the first of its kind.


14. Tiny Wings – (Andreas Illiger)

Launched in February 2011, with over 6 million downloads and an estimated $4.5 million dollars income. Why Was It Successful? Stylized animation from a designer and a great game concept.


15. Flight Control – (Firemint PTY LTD)

Downloaded 4 million times, with revenue reaching $3 million dollars from launch in March 2009. Why Was It Successful? It had the ‘addiction’ factor, was challenging and lengthy.


16. Crime City – (Funzio)

Over 1 million downloads in just 5 days and growing. An estimated several million in earnings. Why Was It Successful? Fun rewards game that goes on forever.


17. Fruit Ninja – (Halfbrick)

More than 20 million downloads and an undisclosed, but serious amount of cash earnings (millions). Why Was It Successful? First out of the gate with a unique concept, great graphics and fun gameplay.


18. Plants vs. Zombies – (Popcap Games)

Over 300,000 sold in 9 days, and counting – with millions generated in revenue. Why Was It Successful? Capitalized on an epic name, with a very hot topic – zombies.


19. Texas Poker – (Kama Games)

An estimated $22 million from 40 million downloads since June 2010. Why Was It Successful? A well designed, well marketed poker app.


20. Clear – (RealMac Software)

Earning $1.5 million dollars since its launch in February 2012, Clear was downloaded 750,000 times. Why Was It Successful? A minimalist approach to a daily problem.


21. Skee Ball – (Freeverse)

With $2 million dollars in the bank, and over 3 million downloads since its launch in September 2009. Why Was It Successful? First of its kind early on in the app store, AND it’s worth the 99c price tag.


22. Colorsplash – (Pocket Pixels)

Downloaded 7 million times, earning over $4.9 million dollars since August 2011. Why Was It Successful? Simple concept, based on something everyone would want. Worth the price.


23. Hipstamatic – (Hipstamatic)

Some 5 million downloads and over $10 million in revenue since December 2009. Why Was It Successful? Literally an app for hipster photographers, which is very big right now.


24. Akinator – (Elokence)

Over 30 million downloads and $45 million in income since April 2010. Why Was It Successful? Innovative ‘predictive’ app that you want to share with your friends.


25. Zombie Farm – (The Playforge)

More than 7.5 million downloads, and a good few million in revenue since 2009. Why Was It Successful? Another great game capitalizing on the popularity of zombies.

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  • http://twitter.com/InnerBot innerbot

    I <3 plants vs. zombies!!! I have it on my phone, tablet, and computer… but no, not on my iphone. I'd like to see an android list too, Matt. :-) Great Content, dude.

    • appclover

      Thanks Cracka – love the new innerbot site too – I’ll work on the android list too for you ;-)

  • Fahad Jahandad

    This is really great information about mobile app. I have a question, is there any game that develop in flash environment i mean action script 3 or maybe in flash builder. Thank You :D Keep it up

  • Pingback: How does being an iPhone app developer pay the bills these days? | Image Forward Blog

  • Abhishek Barnwal

    Download DM paint on ur google store for free…. its just awesome.
    and here is the link…
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dmpaintfree