Telegram the Most Downloaded App Globally in January, WhatsApp Slides to Fifth: Sensor Tower

Telegram was the most downloaded non-gaming app worldwide in January 2021, with 24 percent of the total downloads coming from India, according to the latest data from Sensor Tower. The messaging app was downloaded 63 million times last month (which means India saw around 15 million new Telegram users in January, going by the percentage given), 3.8 times its downloads in January 2020. The sudden increase in downloads could be attributed to WhatsApp’s privacy policy controversy that sparked outrage among its users and pushed many to switch to Telegram. While TikTok came in a close second followed by Signal and Facebook, WhatsApp slid to the fifth position from its earlier third place, in January.

In its latest blog post titled ‘Top Apps Worldwide for January 2021 by Downloads’, Sensor Tower announced that Telegram trumped TikTok and Signal to become the most downloaded app globally in January this year. While the largest installs were from India at 24 percent, Indonesia came in second with 10 percent of the total downloads.

TikTok was a close second with 62 million downloads with China accounting for 17 percent of the downloads, followed by the US at 10 percent. TikTok is still banned in India after the government’s decision last year to block several Chinese apps.

TikTok was the most downloaded app in December 2020, according to Sensor Tower, with Telegram not even in the top five list. The privacy policy controversy surrounding WhatsApp likely pushed users to switch to Telegram in the month of January as WhatsApp slid from the third position in December 2020 to fifth in January 2021. Signal and Facebook took the third and fourth positions in January 2021, respectively, according to Sensor Tower.

Instagram took the sixth position in the list of most downloaded non-gaming apps in January 2021, according to the report, followed by Zoom, MX Taka Tak, Snapchat, and Messenger. Sensor Tower says that its estimates include downloads for both the App Store and the Google Play store worldwide between January 1, 2021 and January 31, 2021.


Does WhatsApp’s new privacy policy spell the end for your privacy? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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