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2023 “UnwrAPPed”: The Median Team’s top 11 apps of the year, ranked

TL;DR: Apps continue to trend upward! As we’re in the business of apps ourselves, we took the time to ask the team: what apps worked for you in 2023? Here we shine a light on user-friendly, audience-first, full-feature apps that had the Median team engaged this year.

It’s 2023 and now — more than ever — the digital landscape continues to be dominated by apps, ones seamlessly woven into the fabric of our daily lives.

From social connectivity, to food delivery, to entertainment, to wealth management, to ride sharing, these apps continue to shape how we interact with the world. They’ve become indispensable tools in streamlining workflows, simplifying processes, fostering community, and delivering personalized experiences that cater to diverse audience needs.

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What’s trending in mobile apps in 2023?

Spotify - ChatGPT - Roblox - Hinge - DuoLingo - NYT Games - Roady - Rover - Audible - TikTok - YouTube Premium

Mobile app development is witnessing a surge of innovation, adapting to the evolving needs and preferences of users. The top trends this year reflect advancing technologies in the space, and the valuing of user-centric features and experiences, creating more immersive and seamless reactions. At a high level, here’s what’s been trending in mobile apps this year:

Audience-first approaches: Winning apps are increasingly the ones that value best practices for app UI experiences. From app store descriptions and screenshots to

Developer-first technologies: Native apps may not be every developers’ or companies’ first choice anymore — increasingly, they’re seeking technologies that help them build apps without duplicating effort (which makes sense: it’s a lot easier to maintain one codebase rather than separate ones for web and native apps). Many choose to convert a website to an app, while adding powerful native plugins and features that satisfy the end user and don’t sacrifice on quality.

Powerful personalization: Personalization both inside and outside of apps are effective for ongoing audience engagement (when done correctly). For instance, companies like DuoLingo see epic engagement via its personalization (and thoughtfulness around) push notifications. AI is also is at the forefront of mobile app trends, enabling personalized experiences through predictive analytics, recommendation engines, and context-aware functionalities.

5G optimization: With the widespread rollout of 5G networks, mobile apps are optimizing for faster speeds and lower latency, unlocking new possibilities for real-time gaming, augmented reality (AR), and high-quality video streaming.

Augmented reality experiences: Augmented reality is being leveraged for enhanced user engagement, with mobile apps offering immersive AR experiences in areas like gaming, retail, and education.

These trends collectively reflect the industry's commitment to pushing boundaries, offering users more dynamic, secure, and personalized experiences on their mobile devices.

UnwrAPPed: The Median Team’s Top 11 Apps, Ranked.

Since we’ve been in the business of app development, publishing, and related services since 2014, we constantly have our finger on the pulse of many iOS and Android apps. This year, we decided to shine a light on those apps which successfully added to our day to day, improved the way we managed time, helped us reach goals, or helped us learn something.

Whether you’re a gamer, a music lover, a language fanatic, or just someone navigating through life, at least one item on this list will resonate with you. Let’s take a deeper look at what these apps are, how they stand out, and why we at enjoy using them.

1. Spotify

Spotify app screenshots from Google Play

Spotify is an audio streaming app that continues to dominate the market (and mobile phones across the globe) with its diverse library of music, podcasts, and more. It has over 500 million monthly active users globally as of 2023.

Why is Spotify so popular? Well, its user experience is so simple, it can be engaged with and enjoyed by people as young as 5. 

Other powerful Spotify’s features that we like the sound of:

  • Personalized playlists
  • High-quality audio streaming
  • Collaborative playlists
  • A user-friendly interface
  • An engaging end of year summary of your listening habits (i.e. Unwrapped!)

This native app is one of our team's favorites. For Sam, our Director of Content & Communications Strategy, Spotify is a must:

Spotify allows you to time-travel, sing along, focus, get up to speed on news, hear diverse voices, instantly change the mood of a party, or satisfy a music-hungry toddler. The app is particularly a favorite because of how personalized the listening suggestions are, how fast and responsive it is, and how easy it is to log in across several devices. -Sam Mehra, Director of Content and Comms Strategy,

Our 2024 prediction: Spotify to incorporate AI into the mix and cater custom-made playlists to your every mood, making Spotify your go-to app for audio streaming.

2. ChatGPT

Screenshots of the ChatPT app from Google Play

A revolutionary tool, ChatGPT has dominated 2023 like no other. Whether you’re a student writing an essay, a marketer writing content, or an individual looking for a job – you are likely to have a good, practical reason to use ChatGPT.

Developed by OpenAI, ChatGPT uses the power of language to engage with users in natural conversations, generating content that you can use for free.

Some of its practical features include:

  • Context-aware responses
  •  The ability to integrate for various third party content
  • Natural language processing (NLP)
  • Human-like conversational tone

With over 100 million users worldwide, this webview app is a favorite. Max,’s Publishing Advisor, is enthusiastic about the power of ChatGPT, using it as a personal assistant who has immense knowledge about any topic he can think of:

In 2023, the ChatGPT app became a go-to for me, offering quick, helpful responses that significantly boosted my efficiency. - Max Ott, Publishing Advisor,

Our 2024 prediction: ChatGPT to incorporate text-to-image feature to turn itself into a one stop spot for content marketers, making ChatGPT an undeniably fierce competitive force in the AI industry to look out for.

3. Roblox

Roblox app screenshots from Google Play

Roblox is one of the most popular gaming apps at play in 2023. What makes Rolox stand out is that it’s user-generated, allowing players to create games within the app and play games developed by other users. Some of the features Roblox offers include:

  •  Ability to create games.
  • Interact with other players via chatting options.
  • Immense gaming options for a vast virtual economy.

With over 250 million monthly active users, this hybrid app is a favorite of Hamad, our Marketing Consultant at

Living in a different country away from family can be challenging. Roblox has allowed me to create special bonds with my siblings: we play together almost every day! In addition to curing boredom, it has also given me an avenue to create new friendships. - Hamad Ibrahim, Marketing and SEO,

Our 2024 prediction: Roblox may tap into the video aspect of social interactions, allowing players to chat via video to create an even more immense gaming experience.

Speaking of human connections – next up we have Hinge.

4. Hinge

Screenshots of Hinge app from Google Play

Hinge, a dating or relationship app is geared towards people looking to find meaningful bonds with others, developed to match users' personalities and interests and form connections that will last forever.

What sets Hinge apart from other dating apps is the guarantee of finding the perfect person. Hinge features include:

  • Customizable Profile creations
  • Preference-based profile matching
  • Detailed user profiles

With over 10 million active users in 2023, this native app is our Head of Customer Success (Eamonn’s) favorite app of 2023 because: he met his partner through Hinge.

Hinge was my favorite app of 2023 because it helped me meet my partner! With that in mind, it might be the most that an app has ever influenced my "real-world" life. - Eamonn Gogan, Head of Customer Success,

Our 2024 prediction: Hinge will take over 2024 with a 60% increase in users, making it the top app for finding true love in a digital world.

5. DuoLingo

DuoLingo app on Google Play

Ready to learn a new language? DuoLingo is your go-to app for learning a new language. It is designed as a language learning app that allows you to learn through gamification — or, to play mini games within the app and learn a new language all at once.

Some of Duolingo’s features include:

  • 43 different languages to learn
  • Easy, small sized lessons
  • Gamified lessons to make language learning easy and fun
  • You can track and save your course progress
  • Engaging, humourous, and accountability-building push notifications that encourage daily engagement

With over 550 million users worldwide, this hybrid app is Sam’s second favorite app of 2023, using it to connect to her Ukrainian roots and learn the Ukrainian language as an adult.

DuoLingo has allowed me to connect more deeply with my Ukrainian roots. With DuoLingo's solid gamified UX, unique branding, and playful learning exercises, I've been able to honor and learn the Ukrainian language as an adult, feel better connected to family, and grow an incredible vocabulary in such a short time! Plus: those persistent and well-written push notifications keep me accountable and engaged – and on a nearly 365-day streak! - Sam Mehra, Head of Content and Comms Strategy,

Our 2024 prediction: More than 10 new languages will be added to DuoLingo, making it accessible to a broader audience.

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6. NYT Games

NYT Games screenshot from Google Play

A digital puzzle box for people who like to up their vocabulary game, NYT Games offers a wide range of puzzles developed by The New York Times for individuals who enjoy a little brain workout.

Some of the favored features include:

  • Daily challenges
  • 10,000 crossword puzzles
  • Multiple games like Spelling Bee, Worldle, Scramble, and Sudoku
  • Progress-synching across different devices

With over 5 million puzzle fanatics using NYT Games as an escape, this native app is one of our team members' favourites. Tyler, our Account Executive, enjoys NYT games as it gives him an avenue to enjoy the gamified process of learning new words:

NYT games is a great app that gets me thinking about new words and language. It’s helped me grow my vocabulary tremendously - Tyler Lee, Account Executive,

Our 2024 prediction: NYT Games would broaden its already wide audience by providing even more puzzles with new and thought-provoking content.

7. Roady

Roady app photos from Google Play

Roady is a navigation app used to generate routes for drivers with real-time traffic information and user presences based on those guidelines. Developed by Roady, a marketing agency in New Zealand (NZ), the Roady app allows people to access local knowledge making the most of their NZ trip.

Some of Roady’s features include:

  • Route Optimization
  • Real-life traffic updates
  • Ability to integrate with your car for easier access.
  • List of things to do in NZ.
  • Car rentals
  • Sharing your trip with other users

With over 15 million users worldwide, this native app is a favorite. Patrick, our Head of Sales, enjoys the Roady app because of how efficient it was during his trip to NZ, making traveling less stressful and more seamless.

Roady allowed me to make sure that I was making the most of my trip to New Zealand - it gave me information about popular spots to visit along with lesser-known hikes and views. This app is awesome and easy to use! - Patrick McCrory, Head of Sales,

Our 2024 prediction: Roady will focus on enhancing your driving experience by bringing in more routes and secret spots all over NZ remaining to be your go-to app for a stress-free traveling experience.

8. Rover

Rover app from Google Play

Rover is your go-to app for pet care services. If you are a busy dog owner or someone who loves dogs but doesn’t want to own one, this ones for you. Rover allows users to list pet care services for other users to choose from. This is essentially the Uber of pet care services!

Some of Rover’s features include:

  • An online marketplace with 1000s of listings
  • Comprehensive booking system all within the app
  • Services like pet sitting, dog boarding, and dog walking
  • Reliable pet sitters

With over 15 million users worldwide, this native app is one of our favorites. Natalie, our Account Executive, and resident Rover dog walker, loves the Rover app as it allows her to connect with canines while getting a healthy dose of exercise at the same time:

My favorite app of 2023 would have to be Rover. I love dogs and Rover has connected me to so many great opportunities to walk and play with the cutest dogs. Their app is easy to use and serves such a great purpose for the communities it operates in. - Natalie Diamond, Account Executive,

Our 2024 prediction: Rover will be your go-to app for pet care services providing pet owners with reliable and trust-worthy pet sitters.

9. Audible

Audible app from Google Play

Audible is an audio streaming services app for books, offering audio books and spoken-word materials for users to listen to on the go. With over 450,000 audio book titles, there truly is something for everyone in its vast library.

Some of the powerful features included in Audible:

  • 450,000+ audiobooks to choose from
  • High-quality audio
  • Books as old as 90 years
  • Exclusive content only for Audible users
  • Customizable playback options
  • Wishlist building

With over 50 millions users worldwide, this native app is a favorite. Tyler loves Audible and uses it almost every day to catch up with his favorite books on the go:

I like being able to listen to books on the go, a great way to take in information when I'm out and about. - Tyler Lee, Account Executive,

Our 2024 prediction: Audible to continue leading the audio book market by adding new books and spoken-word entertainment to its already wide library.

Speaking of entertainment, next up we have TikTok.

10. TikTok

TikTok app from Google Play

TikTok, a short-form video streaming app allows users to create engagingly creative content, whether its comedy, informational, vlogs, or music – TikTok has it all (and it is trending upward as we speak).

Some of TikTok’s features include:

  • Live streaming
  • Content creation
  • Marketing tools for businesses
  • Ability to contribute with other TikTokers
  • Community engagement via comments
  • Video editing tools
  • Our favorite: Personalized video recommendations via its “for you” page

With over 1 billion monthly active users worldwide, this native app is truly a favorite. It’s one of Hamad’s favorite apps of 2023, due to how far the reach is for content from a marketing perspective.

As marketers, there is no denying that TikTok has changed the marketing landscape when it comes to content. One viral video can bring in sales in millions. I value TikTok because it allows me to interact with like-minded people with similar interests, keep tabs on new video trends, and ‘escape’ when you need to. It doesn’t matter if you are 7 or 70 years old: you’re likely going to come into contact with TikTok content, one way or another! - Hamad Ibrahim, Marketing and SEO,

Our 2024 prediction: More brands will utilize TikTok marketing into their marketing strategy and take their business to the next level creating meaningful and overall fun content.

11. YouTube Premium

YouTube app from Google Play - Mr. Beast - Dua Lipa and more

There’s no denying that YouTube is one of the most popular and most used video streaming apps out there — but if you’re tired of ads interrupting your watch time, then YouTube Premium is the app for you.

YouTube Premium is an ad-free YouTube experience with exclusive content, offline viewing and original content. This subscriptions framework allows users to subscribe to YouTube to gain access to hundreds of movies and tv shows including YouTube Originals – content created by YouTubers for YouTube.

Some of the features of YouTube Premium include:

  • Offline download option
  • Background audio playback feature 
  •  Access to YouTube Originals
  • Ad-free YouTube videos
  • Integration with YouTube Music and YouTube Kids

Serving 101 countries and with over 150 million subscribers worldwide, this hybrid app is our CEO, Kingsley’s favorite app of 2023. Why? Because of its ad-free feature, and the ability to multitask while listening to videos in the background:

YouTube Premium (previously YouTube Red) is my longtime favorite app because I never have to wait through ads, and I can listen to the audio portion of videos with my phone locked. The amount of content on YouTube is staggering and the latest "YouTube rabbit hole" I was down listening to lectures and documentaries on ancient Egypt ... If I was ever to be on a multi-year trip to another planet, I'd be happy to go so long as I could bring a sizable portion of the YouTube catalog. Times have changed since when family road trips used to exceed the number of CDs I had for my discman. - Kingsley Gifford, CEO,

Our 2024 prediction: YouTube Originals to compete with Netflix and other streaming services by creating content with bigger celebrities and in different languages – broadening its audience base even more.

That’s a wrap

With millions and billions of users, these apps are taking over the digital world — promoting an evolving digital landscape where people of all walks of life have something digital to use. Our list is for everyone, whether you’re a gamer, a content creator, or love books, there’s something for everyone.

Want to see an extensive catalogue of other apps emerging into the digital landscape? Take a look at some of the full-feature hybrid apps built using Median.

See you next year!

*DISCLAIMER: This content is provided solely for informational purposes. It is not exhaustive and may not be relevant for your requirements. While we have obtained and compiled this information from sources we believe to be reliable, we cannot and do not guarantee its accuracy. This content is not to be considered professional advice and does not form a professional relationship of any kind between you and LLC or its affiliates. is the industry-leading end-to-end solution for developing, publishing, and maintaining native mobile apps for iOS and Android powered by web content. When considering any technology vendor we recommend that you conduct detailed research and “read the fine print” before using their services.*
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