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iPhone and Android best apps and games of 2023 – what’s been awarded?

Who's in the lineup for best iPhone and Android apps of the year?
Last Updated on December 1, 2023
iPhone and Android best apps and games 2023 - awarded. Image shows the Google Play Store logo, an '&' sign, and the App Store logo on a grey background.
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The year 2023 didn’t just bring us exceptional new smartphones and devices, but an intriguing range of apps and games to go alongside them – we’re checking out the iPhone and Android best apps and games of 2023. From innovative educational tools to immersive gaming experiences, these top picks showcased the endless possibilities of the mobile technology that’s been developed across the year. 

From playing sci-fi RPGs to learning history lessons, the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store offer a huge library of useful apps and addicting games, but which ones ended up being the most popular in 2023? In this article, we’re exploring some of the best iPhone and Android apps and games, highlighting the standout performers in each category. Let’s jump in to see what App store and Google Play hidden gems may have missed your radar.

Best iPhone Apps of the Year

Here’s a brief rundown of the three apps that secured the top spot for the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, which were chosen for their design, exceptional user experience, and of course, their technical innovation.

Although these are the three App Store winners for Apple’s devices, the awards featured a new category dubbed ‘Cultural Impact Winners’. These were apps recognized by Apple for their ability to drive positive change, encouraging learning and connections across generations. You can read the full list of App Store winners here in this Apple Newsroom article.

AllTrails: Explore Nature’s Wonders

Among the top contenders for iPhone App of the Year was AllTrails, a trail guide app that caters to outdoor enthusiasts. With its extensive database of hiking and biking routes, AllTrails became the go-to companion for adventure seekers. With varying levels of difficulty and length, AllTrails is an accessible and encouraging app that gets people enjoying nature with the aid of technology.

Prêt-à-Makeup: Unleash Your Inner Artist

For those with a passion for makeup and fashion, Prêt-à-Makeup emerged as the winner in the iPad App of the Year category. This digital face chart notepad allows users to unleash their creativity by designing stunning makeup looks on both people and fantasy creatures. With a vast collection of virtual cosmetics at your disposal, Prêt-à-Makeup offers endless possibilities for makeup enthusiasts and creatives.

SmartGym: Your Personal Fitness Trainer

SmartGym took home the title of Apple Watch App of the Year, harnessing the capabilities of Apple’s smartwatch to revolutionize the way we stay fit. This fitness-centric app offers on-watch gym workouts that you can follow right from your wrist. With its comprehensive tracking features, SmartGym helps you monitor your progress and achieve your fitness goals, and was championed by users globally – hence, its achievements as Apple Watch app of the year.

Best iPhone Games of the Year

When it comes to games, the App Store got a little more competitive following the launch of the iPhone 15, whose A16 bionic chip brings even more gaming capabilities to the iPhone. Two standouts from 2023 include Honkai: Star Rail, and Lost in Play.

Honkai: Star Rail: A Sci-Fi Adventure

When it comes to iPhone Game of the Year, Honkai: Star Rail stole the spotlight. This role-playing game takes players on a thrilling journey through magical worlds, combining rich combat mechanics with an immersive storyline. With its stunning visuals and engaging gameplay, Honkai: Star Rail quickly became a fan favorite. If you’re interested in giving it a go, we’ve outlined the Honkai: Star Rail system requirements right here, as the game is available on both mobile and PC.

Lost in Play: A Charming Puzzle Adventure

The puzzle adventure Lost in Play enchanted players with its beautifully drawn artwork and captivating puzzles. Snapbreak Games originally launched Lost in Play on PC and Nintendo Switch, but it made its way to iPhones and iPads in 2023. Despite the absence of dialogue, Lost in Play tells the heartwarming story of two siblings, offering a delightful gaming experience for all with its charming style and variety of mysteries.

Best Android Apps of the Year

The launch of the iPhone 15 brought a whole range of software and hardware upgrades to the table, but that doesn’t mean that the Android market has been left in the dust. 2023 saw the release of some incredibly advanced Android smartphones, including the Pixel 8 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. Here are some of the standout apps that shone on the Google Play Store and made the most of the latest Android technology.

Imprint: Learn Visually: A New Way to Learn

Imprint: Learn Visually emerged as the Best Android App of the Year, revolutionizing the education landscape. This app presents bite-sized lessons using visual storytelling, making complex concepts easily understandable. With modules covering various subjects like psychology, history, and technology, Imprint: Learn Visually offers a unique learning experience, and found a place at the top of Android’s app market.

Bumble for Friends: Meet IRL: Connect and Have Fun

Bumble for Friends: Meet IRL took the crown in the Best for Fun category. This app offers a platform for users to meet new friends and engage in exciting activities together. In a world where we’re increasing online, it can be hard to meet new people – especially if you’ve moved to a new city or country. Bumble for Friends is an app dedicated to the forming of meaningful friendships, helping newcomers to find a safe community in their new (or current!) location.

Best Android Games of the Year

Honkai: Star Rail: A Sci-Fi Masterpiece

Honkai: Star Rail proved its dominance once again, securing the title of Best Android Game of the Year. With its impressive depth of content, breathtaking visuals, and meticulous design, Honkai: Star Rail offers an unforgettable gaming experience. The game’s integration of lore and character backstories adds an extra layer of immersion, captivating both RPG enthusiasts and newcomers alike.

Farlight 84: Multiplayer Mayhem

Farlight 84 emerged as the Best Multiplayer Game of the Year, offering an action-packed gaming experience. This game takes players into a post-apocalyptic world where they must fight for survival against other players.

What’s the #1 game on mobile?

Unsurprisingly, the list of most-played mobile games by player count pulls up some household favorites; Candy Crush Saga is up there with over 500 million players, Call of Duty: Mobile strikes a close second, and Among Us comes up third with over 485 million players. However, none of these apps got awards across the iPhone and Android Best Game of the Year. These went to Honkai: Star Rail, Farlight 84, and Lost in Play.

What’s the most downloaded game in the Play Store 2023?

According to Statista, Subway Surfers was the most downloaded game globally in 2023 on the Google Play Store. As of June 2023, the app had garnered a total of 12.82 million downloads on the Google Play Store.

What’s the Google App of the Year?

As mentioned earlier, Google awarded its overall Best Android App of the Year title to the interactive learning app Imprint: Learn Visually. The interactive lessons are condensed into small chapters that are designed to be manageable and easily digestible for our busy digital lifestyles. In just a few minutes every day, Imprint can satisfy our fundamental desire to learn something new. The only downside is that there is a paid subscription required to experience the full breadth of the app.


The year 2023 showcased the incredible advancements in mobile technology, as evidenced by the exceptional apps and games that captured our hearts and minds. From trail guides that connect us with nature, to educational tools that revolutionize learning, these apps have transformed the way we interact with our devices. This list rounds up some of the iPhone and Android best apps that have become available throughout the year, giving you a little bit of insight into how other smartphone users are enjoying their devices, as well as making a change for good in their lives.

Marla writes across a wide range of topics across PC Guide, including AI, PC hardware, and news on the latest tech releases. She's a passionate writer that's interested in the future of technology.