How do Apple and Google count their app downloads?

A few weeks ago Apple announced that it had hit 50 billion app downloads in App Store. Not long after that, Google announced that it had hit 48 billion downloads on the Google Play Store. My question is – how do Apple and Google count their app downloads?! What exactly do Apple and Google mean when they announce the billions of apps downloaded? If you are curious to learn the answer, please read below. Apparently, both companies count their app downloads in the same way. Apple and Google count unique downloads of apps per user account. This means that the app is only counted once, no matter on how many different devices you install it on, as long as the devices are under the same account. Also, neither Apple nor Google count updates in its app download numbers. They are only counted as single app downloads from the App Store or Google Play Store. Apple’s pre-installed apps from iOS devices are not downloadable from the App Store – only optional downloads (such as iBooks, for example) are counted. It’s worth keeping in mind that Apple's App Store had a 4-month head start on Google Play (then called the Android Market). Also, iOS has fewer "universal apps" (that work on both iPhone and iPhone), and more apps that are specific to iPhone or iPad, which means that they will count as two downloads if the same user downloaded both. Despite those, there are not real statistics to prove how these factors have influenced the number of downloads. Anyway, it’s obvious that Google Play is growing faster than the App Store. According to Google's figures (with download rates of approximately 2.5 billion per month), it should hit the 50 billion app benchmark in less than a month. In terms of revenue, the Play Store still has a bit longer to go before catching up to the App Store. If you are curious to see the app downloads in an infographic, check out Benedict Evans' chart that uses public figures released by Apple and Google: app downloads
Published
May 07, 2014