Apple revealed its own editors’ picks for the best apps and games and the most powerful trends that drove app culture in 2019. And this year, it has new platforms such as Apple Arcade to show off the winners.

For apps and games, Apple’s editors leaned on those that help people have fun, simplify life, express their creativity, and connect to friends, family and the world beyond. In 2019, apps made their mark by reflecting the zeitgeist of society and sitting at the nexus of digital and pop culture.

“Developers around the world inspire us all with innovative apps that have the power to influence culture and change our lives, and this year that is as true as ever. The 2019 App Store Best Apps and Games winners reflect our global desire for connection, creativity and fun,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, in a statement. “We are excited to announce such a diverse group of 2019 App Store winners, showing that great design and creativity comes from developers large and small, and from every corner of the world. We congratulate all the winners and thank them for making 2019 the best year yet for the App Store.”

Best Games of 2019

Above: Sky: Children of the Light

Image Credit: Thatgamecompany

iPhone Game of the Year: Sky: Children of the Light (Thatgamecompany)
Fly across sweeping landscapes to help celestial beings find their way back to the heavens in this social quest.

iPad Game of the Year: Hyper Light Drifter (Abylight S.L.)
An action-packed reimagining of classic 16-bit adventure games, Hyper Light Drifter blends dreamlike exploration with fight-for-your-life survival.

Mac Game of the Year: Gris (Devolver / Nomada Studio)
This puzzle-platformer is a soul-stirring work of digital art — one that explores hope, grief and the triumph of piecing a life back together after tragic loss.

Apple TV Game of the Year: Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap (DotEmu)
Developed by Lizardcube with the cooperation of series creator Ryuichi Nishizawa, Wonder Boy — the beloved game from the ’80s, in which a lone half-lizard adventurer sets off on the challenge of a lifetime — gets a reboot with hand-drawn animation and a re-orchestrated soundtrack.

Game trend of 2019: Blockbusters reimagined

This year, game developers worldwide moved onto iOS with a wave of world-renowned brands, with a combo of great tech and content. Hits like Mario Kart Tour (Nintendo), Minecraft Earth (Mojang), Pokémon Masters (DeNA Co), Assassin’s Creed Rebellion (Ubisoft), Gears POP! (Microsoft), The Elder Scrolls: Blades (Bethesda), and Call of Duty: Mobile (Activision Publishing) were big original releases based on familiar intellectual properties.

Apple Arcade Game of the Year: Sayonara Wild Hearts (Simogo)

Sayonara Wild Hearts

Above: Sayonara Wild Hearts

Image Credit: Simogo/Annapurna

In 2019, Apple expanded the App Store with the introduction of an all-new tab for Apple Arcade, a groundbreaking game subscription service without ads or in-app purchases. It launched more than 100 games for Apple Arcade.

Sayonara Wild Hearts, developed by Simogo and published by Annapurna Interactive, is a hopeful, gorgeous and unique game — the kind that gets your adrenaline pumping and makes your spirit soar. Prepare to race motorcycles, wield swords and break hearts at 200 mph. I actually really liked this game as a standout among the Apple Arcade titles. It was not, however, exclusive to iOS.

Best Apps of 2019

Flow app

Above: Flow app

Image Credit: Moleskin

iPhone App of the Year: Spectre Camera (Lux Optics)
This AI-powered app leverages tech to let anyone take stunning long-exposure photos.

iPad App of the Year: Flow by Moleskine (Moleskine)
Draw and sketch in this elegant digital notebook app, whose graphite pencils, chisel-tipped markers and more have been meticulously tuned to mimic the real thing.

Mac App of the Year: Affinity Publisher (Serif Labs)
With its elegant user experience and remarkably reasonable price point, Affinity Publisher makes pro-level design accessible to everyone, whether you’re creating a photo-rich coffee table book or a flyer for your second grader’s play.

Apple TV App of the Year: The Explorers (The Explorers Network)
This app was designed to support the community of explorers, scientists and artists working toward a common goal: To create a comprehensive “visual inventory” of the natural world through photo and video.

App Trend of 2019: Storytelling simplified
In 2019, a groundswell of apps helped us fill the proverbial blank page with our memories, dreams, images, and voices—and did so with more power and personality than ever. With apps like Anchor (Anchor FM), Unfold (Unfold Creative), Steller (Expedition Travel Advisor), Over (Over, Inc) and Wattpad (Wattpad Corp), anyone can express themselves through moving podcasts, one-of-a-kind novels, and true-to-life photo collages in an easier way than ever before.

Beyond the App Store editorial picks, charts for the most downloaded apps and games of the year are here:

Most downloaded charts

Above: YouTube

Image Credit: Google

Top Free iPhone Apps

YouTube: Watch, Listen, Stream
TikTok – Make Your Day
Gmail – Email by Google
Google Maps – Transit & Food
Amazon – Shopping made easy

Top Paid iPhone Apps

Dark Sky Weather
The Wonder Weeks
AutoSleep Tracker for Watch
Afterlight – Photo Editor
Procreate Pocket
Sky Guide
Toca Hair Salon 3

Top Free iPad Apps

YouTube: Watch, Listen, Stream
Amazon Prime Video
Google Chrome
Hulu: Watch TV Shows & Movies
Gmail – Email by Google
TikTok – Make Your Day

Top Paid iPad Apps

GoodNotes 5
Duet Display
Toca Hair Salon 3
Toca Life: Neighborhood
PDF Expert 7: PDF Editor
Affinity Designer

Top Free iPhone Games

Mario Kart Tour
Color Bump 3D
Call of Duty: Mobile
BitLife – Life Simulator
Polysphere – art of puzzle
Roller Splat!

Top Paid iPhone Games

Heads Up!
Plague Inc.
Bloons TD 6
Geometry Dash
Rebel Inc.
The Game of Life
Stardew Valley
Bloons TD 5
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Top Free iPad Games

Roblox 2
Color Bump 3D
Magic Tiles 3: Piano Game
Polysphere – art of puzzle
Tiles Hop – EDM Rush
Helix Jump

Top Paid iPad Games

Geometry Dash
Bloons TD 6
Plague Inc.
Amazing Frog?
Stardew Valley
The Game of Life
Heads Up!
Bendy and the Ink Machine

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