Top apps and games to get featured by Apple in the first half of 2019

In 2017, Apple introduced a completely new App Store with new tabs dedicated to apps Apple’s editors considered worth noticing. Since then, more than hundreds of apps got badges of App or Game of the Day or appeared on the Today tab. This featuring kicked up their visibility and downloads.

In this post, we will talk about how to get to this sacred tab, what apps and categories are being featured the most and why to aim that high. We analyzed all the apps and games that were featured in the first half of 2019 to understand what path should app developers choose when making an app.

So here are a few trends that we noticed when analyzing all the featured apps.

  1. Apps with in-app purchases are more likely to be featured. Paid and free apps were still placed on the Featured tab, but not as often. Apple, like any business, are interested in increasing their revenue, so why wouldn’t they promote apps users need to spend money on.
  2. The average rating starts at 4.2 for featured apps, and at 4.4 for games. This is why working with the average rating should be one of the fundamental parts of an ASO strategy for everyone who wants their app to appear on the main App Store tab.
  3. Apple features more apps that can be used on an iPhone, iPad, and iPod rather than just one device. This way more people can download the featured app.

Even though, featuring seems like a silver bullet for increased downloads and app’s rating, there can be some negative consequences. If your app has bugs or a server goes down, users will have a bad experience using it. Negative reviews will lower your app rating and affect your app visibility in stores.

Who is featured the most?

We analyzed apps by the number of times they became App or Game of the Day, got into Collection, Story and how many times they were mentioned in the Today tab. Geographically we looked at apps worldwide and in the US as the biggest market.

Interesting to see:

  • The most featured are apps from categories Health&Fitness
  • Games are being featured in all tabs 3 times more often in the US than in other countries.
  • Fortnite is leading in Stories, Candy Crush Friends Saga was featured the most as Game of the Day.
  • The most often mentioned free app is Nike Run Club, but Apple decreased the overall number of free featured apps.
  • Niche apps have more chances to be featured as the App of the day or in Stories of their countries.

More about ASO:


Today tab

The top category is Health&Fitness

The most mentioned app/game: Fortnite

Fortnite was never a Game of the Day but appeared in Stories 44 times (1,5 times more than VSCO that is on the 2nd place).

Top 15 apps/games are from the following categories:

  1. Health & fitness — 10
  2. Games/Adventure — 3
  3. Games/Action — 2
  4. Photo & video — 1
  5. Games/Puzzle — 1
  6. Games/Simulation — 1



Game of the Day

Candy Crush Friends Saga

Top mentioned in Collections: Marvel Contest of Champions and Minecraft.

Curious to see that Apple featured only one paid (Minecraft) and one free app (Nike Run Club), the rest have in-app purchases.

App of the Day

Spent the most days being Featured: YAZIO and Relax Melodies

Top mentioned in different countries: Elevate (284 countries)

Game of the Day

Spent the most days being Featured: Highway Heat and Sevn

Top mentioned in different countries: Candy Crush Friends Saga (290 countries)


The most mentioned: Nike Run Club

Spent the most days being featured: VSCO

The most mentioned game: Minecraft

Top categories:

  1. Health & Fitness — 11 apps
  2. Games\Simulation — 2 games


The most mentioned: Fortnite

Spent the most days being featured: Fortnite

For Stories Apple’s editors choose mostly brand new apps or major updates.

Top categories:

  1. Health & Fitness — 5 apps
  2. Photo & Video — 5 apps

United States

Today tab

Summary: Top 15 most featured are games. Apps are not mentioned often in Today tab, Stories or Collections.

The most mentioned overall: Fortnite, PUBG, Pokemon Go.

Top Categories:

  1. Action — 8 games
  2. Arcade — 3 games
  3. Sports — 2 games
  4. Simulation — 2 games
  5. Puzzle — 2 games



Minecraft and  Harry Potter: Wizards Unite that was mentioned a lot worldwide were not noticed by the US editors.

App of the Day

Canva and Hopster  (2 times each)

All apps have in-app purchases

Game of the Day

Candy Crush Friends Saga (3 times)

No free games, paid games are mentioned the most.


Top mentioned: Fortnit and PUBG (34 mentions in 6 months each)

Top categories:

  1. Action — 7
  2. Simulation — 4
  3. Arcade — 3
  4. Strategy — 3
  5. Puzzle — 3
  6. Role-playing — 2
  7. Adventure — 1
  8. Sports — 1
  9. Word — 1


Top mentioned: Fortnite

Top categories:

  1. Lifestyle — 5
  2. Social Networking — 3
  3. Productivity — 3
  4. Games/Action — 2
  5. Games/Simulation — 1
  6. Games/Role Playing — 1
  7. Games/Racing — 1
  8. Games/Family — 1

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