Apple Store’s Best of 2020 - How has 2020 Impacted our Screen-time?

Apple has released to the public its App Store Best of 2020, and we’re here to go through the list, examine some fun contenders, and maybe even discuss how they got up there in the first place.

Before diving into winners, let’s highlight the categories: there’s the App of the Year, Game of the Year, and the App Trends of the Year. Be noted that for each category, the nominees are different depending on the device in question. For example, the App of the Year for the iPhone and the iPad are different.

The App of the Year awards might just be the strangest we’ve encountered across any other Best of the Year list. Fantastical, an App of the Year, is centred around calendars, reminders, and setting up daily routine. An almost bleak contrast to “fun” apps like Flow from 2019. Another noteworthy addition is Zoom for the iPad, which seems like an obvious win, and Wakeout! for the iPhone, an application designed to keep you working out while at your desk, or in your bed.

Apple’s Game of the Year has some noteworthy inclusions, especially considering the similarities they share with some The Game Awards 2020 nominees. Genshin Impact on the iPhone is a sublime game, which actually shares some threads with the wildly popular Animal Crossing: New Horizons game. Open world, roleplaying with fantasy elements, although it did suffer from a regrettable censorship controversy. Legends of Runeterra overtakes Flow as the iPad Game of the Year for

2020, making this a very lucrative year for Riot Games (their FPS game Valorant also made it as a Game Awards nominee).

App Trends include Shine, an app centred around setting up self-care routines and Pokemon GO, which very creatively shifted game mechanics to allow for playing an outdoors game in quarantine. While we’re on the topic of trends, however, the author would like to take the time to discuss why they believe such apps are trending. Why the App of the Year awards have such a vast difference. And, as you may all have guessed, it boils down to the COVID-19 pandemic.

2020 has been a slow, pounding, burn for everyone. And in such a time of disconnect, isolated in our rooms, disconnected from family and loved one, we sought ways of connection. Open world games became gateways out of our current reality, the ultimate escapism. Apps such as Fantastical and Shine made sure that our time was being used effectively, preventing us from becoming slovenly messes. There’s no shame in admitting that you may not have been at your best in 2020. These apps, however, highlight that we didn't stop trying. Even at our worst, we as individuals still tried to do better, and be better.

Read next: The Best Android Apps of 2020 According to the Google Play Store
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