Apple names the 16 best apps and games of 2022, with BeReal taking top honors
As the year draws to a close, we often take a moment to look back and reflect on what made the year stand out. Today, Apple honored 16 of the 3.59 billion apps on the App Store that left their mark on the entire Apple ecosystem.
Much like Apple’s own mission, the 2022 rewards seem to be trying to redefine everyday practices.
“This year’s App Store Award winners reimagined our experiences with apps that offered fresh, thoughtful and genuine perspectives,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO.
The 16 apps in the spotlight range from the popular BeReal, which invites people to embrace spontaneity in a highly calculated social media world, to Gentle Streak, the health app that reminds us that recovery is part of the fitness journey.
Highlighting the intentionality that goes into creating these apps, Cook spoke highly of the acclaimed creators, saying they “make a meaningful impact and represent the ways apps and games impact our communities and lives.”
Read on for the full list of 2022 App Store Award winners.
Also: Don’t know which iPad is right for you? We break it down
iPhone app of the year
BeReal from BeReal
With over 56 million downloads and counting, BeReal took the social media world by storm this year. A social media app that encourages people to ditch calculated poses and captions, BeReal alerts you at a different time each day to post whatever you’re doing at that moment. The app is simple in its tasks and interface. If you only allow photos in two boxes, one with the front camera and one with the back, there is no room for photo dumps or eternal photo sessions where you might look a little better.
Also: What is BeReal? Everything you need to know about this fast-growing social media app
While the app originally launched in 2020, it took until this year for the app to become not just another social media platform, but a shared moment among smartphone users. That said, it comes as no surprise that BeReal took the 2022 title of Best iPhone App.
iPad app of the year
GoodNotes 5 from Time Base Technology Limited
Pairing with iCloud, GoodNotes 5 syncs your digital notes to all your Apple devices. You can draw a complex heart diagram using iPad and Apple Pencil and then access the drawing on your Mac to create a text-based tutorial. GoodNotes 5 leans into Apple’s ecosystem and makes it easy to switch between multiple devices without leaving any thought behind or unfinished.
Mac App of the Year
MacFamily Tree 10 from Synium Software GmbH
Designed specifically for the Mac, MacFamily Tree aims to be the ultimate genealogy tool. Unlike other ancestry platforms, MacFamily Tree is a comprehensive library where you can scan family records, research records, and even publish your own. With a user-friendly interface, the interactive tree provides easy navigation and collaboration, allowing multiple people to participate. New features also include customizable editing, easy source management, and intentional person grouping.
Plus, it can use machine learning to colorize your old photos.
AppleTV App of the Year
Vix: Cine y TV en Español from TelevisaUnivision Interactive, Inc.
Developed by TelavisaUnivision Interactive, VIX Cine y TV is a free streaming service specializing in Latinx entertainment. The service offers more than 20,000 hours of on0demand content, including movies, soap operas and other TV shows in Spanish. Everything is grouped by category, making the app easy to navigate. While a free streaming service means the occasional ad, the app’s easy-to-use interface and “favorites” feature for users to catch up on their favorite shows seemingly outweighs the slight annoyance.
Apple Watch App of the Year
Gentler Streak from Gentler Stories LLC
Redefining what a workout routine can look like — especially on a smartwatch — the Gentler Streak is a fitness and exercise tracker designed to help you be gentler with yourself. The app strives to help you find balance in your fitness journey, recognizing that rest days are part of the cycle. Equipped with customizable settings, metric charts and actionable insights, Gentler Streak can prevent overtraining while keeping you at an optimal activity level. Using a friendly interface, the app makes it easy to choose a routine that adapts to your lifestyle, not the other way around.
iPhone game of the year
Apex Legends Mobile from Electronic Arts
Designed to immerse users into the Apex Legends universe, the strategic battle mobile game invites you to engage in fast-paced battles with your favorite characters. Along with incredible graphics, the app not only allows for, but promotes communication. People can connect, cooperate and compete for their similar love or interest in this game.
iPad game of the year
Moncage from XD Network Inc.
With this game, you literally have to think outside the box. Moncage, the ultimate visual puzzle takes place from just one cube. Each side of the cube contains seemingly unrelated worlds that you must somehow put together. With Moncage, you can unlock your imagination and medals to prove your problem-solving abilities.
Mac Game of the Year
Encryption from Devolver
With a card game and an escape room, Inscryption can truly be a unique game. With cards containing dark secrets for players to solve, this game promises to keep your puzzle-solving skills and your mind sharp. Rethinking how an escape room can work, this Mac game has players hooked.
Apple TV Game of the Year
El Hijo from HandyGames
It makes sense that this year’s TV game would revolve around a character. In this case, players follow a six-year-old, “El Hijo,” as he overcomes obstacles, strategizes to face his enemies, and gains confidence. El Hijo invites players to explore the Wild West with the young boy as they solve puzzles, explore abandoned cities, and use other playful tactics to further their journey. Overall, this non-violent game promotes growth and the importance of determination.
Apple Arcade Game of the Year
Wylde Flowers of Studio Drydock Pty Ltd.
Wylde flowers is a narrative sim that combines creation, narration and exploration. Playing as Tara, players can transform the Wylde family farm into a thriving garden, and even turn what they grow into “food” with hundreds of recipes available.
Game of the year in China
League of Legends Esports Manager from Tencent
Opening beta in July 2022, the mobile management game finally features players from the 2022 spring season alongside players from previous seasons as well.
Category for cultural influence
In addition to the above, Apple also recognized five apps that they felt “made a lasting impact on people’s lives and influenced culture.” The following apps keep the theme and invite users to rethink connections with themselves and others.
How We Feel from How We Feel Project, Inc.
An emotional journal and feeling log, How We Feel encourages users to take a moment to actually notice what they’re feeling instead of acting on it. Whether people want to find the right word for how they feel, track what a good day feels like, or just brainstorm, How We Feel was developed so people can look at patterns over time, so they can make changes or improve .
Review: I slept with a meditation headband. Here’s why you should too
Dot’s Home from the Rise-Home Stories Project
Combining interactive storytelling, history, and race relations education, Dot’s Home is a video game that offers a young black woman’s perspective as players travel with her through time. This game gives players a chance to learn about systemic housing issues and communities of color in a truly empathetic way.
Locket Widget by Locket Labs, Inc.
Medallion widget creates a new space for live images – right on your home screen. Now, every time you unlock your phone, you can see a friendly face that isn’t frozen in time. If BeReal is too much of a commitment for you, this can be a good option for being present with friends without needing to be notified.
Water llama from Vitalii Mogylevets
This app not only keeps you accountable for drinking water – but makes it sweet. By using adorable characters, such as its signature llama, to set drink reminders, you can stay more hydrated and more motivated to stay that way. In addition to logging your water intake, Waterllama also sets fun, healthy challenges that you can take part in throughout the day.
Inua – A story in ice and time from the ARTE Experience
Inua embraces the power of storytelling to navigate the 19th century Arctic. Following a young reporter, players will go through a historically fictionalized journey that is both educational and engaging.