COVID apps dominate UK downloads

Mobile health (mHealth) apps have played an important role in mitigating the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response. However, there is no resource that provides a holistic picture of the available mHealth apps that have been developed to combat this pandemic.

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COVID apps dominate UK downloads


Our aim is to scope the evidence base on apps that were developed in response to COVID-19.


Following the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines for scoping reviews, literature searches were conducted on Google Search, Google Scholar, and PubMed using the country’s name as keywords and “coronavirus,” “COVID-19,” “nCOV19,” “contact tracing,” “information providing apps,” “symptom tracking,” “mobile apps,” “mobile applications,” “smartphone,” “mobile phone,” and “mHealth.” Countries most affected by COVID-19 and those that first rolled out COVID-19–related apps were included.


A total of 46 articles were reviewed from 19 countries, resulting in a total of 29 apps. Among them, 15 (52%) apps were on contact tracing, 7 (24%) apps on quarantine, 7 (24%) on symptom monitoring, and 1 (3%) on information provision. More than half (n=20, 69%) were from governmental sources, only 3 (10%) were from private organizations, and 3 (10%) from universities. There were 6 (21%) apps available on either Android or iOS, and 10 (34%) were available on both platforms. Bluetooth was used in 10 (34%) apps for collecting data, 12 (41%) apps used GPS, and 12 (41%) used other forms of data collection.

This review identifies that the majority of COVID-19 apps were for contact tracing and symptom monitoring. However, these apps are effective only if taken up by the community. The sharing of good practices across different countries can enable governments to learn from each other and develop effective strategies to combat and manage this pandemic.

The average daily hours spent in apps in Q2 2021 for the UK was 3.8 hours, according to the latest figures by App Annie shared via email.

COVID-related apps continued to dominate the UK app market with the NHS app at #1 and the NHS COVID app in second spot in terms of downloads.

A growing number of consumers are turning to these apps to ear travel and for track and tracing.

The NHS app has been downloaded some 7.2 million times now while the COVID app has seen downloads of 15 million times.

Food and drink apps are also still performing strongly.

TikTok sits in the fourth position in the UK

But the charts are slightly different for apps in terms of revenue. Disney+ ranked in first spot in the UK as consumers spent more than 1 trillion hours in video streaming app on Android phones in 2021.


The top games in terms of downloads and revenue were Hair Challenge followed by Bridge Race and Count Masters.

When it comes to revenues, Roblox still leads the charts. The app allows players to socialise and play together.

Pokémon GO continues to rank in the top 10 for gaming revenues.

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