Vera Illugadóttir
Last updated: 8 February, 2013

What’s on the screens of iPhone users in the Middle East?

The iTunes App Store now boasts localised stores in twelve Arab countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Yemen. Many of the most popular apps in the Arab world are essentially the same as you would find on the home screens of iPhones all over the world. But with the growth in iOS development across the Middle East, home-grown Arabic apps are enjoying increasing popularity.

For example, according to a recent report by Wamda, five out of ten most popular paid apps in Saudi Arabian online stores were created by Arab developers. 

Regionally, the music-streaming service Anghami is doing remarkably well. Unsurprisingly, Your Middle East recently reported that the newly-launched Anghami, a kind of Middle Eastern equivalent to Spotify, is currently gaining over 20.000 new users a day.

One of the biggest benefits of vibrant iOS development is easy access to localised information. Traffic, especially, seems to be a concern for many iOS users across the Arab world. One of the most popular apps in Egypt is Social Fruits’ Wasalny, a navigational app designed to help users avoid Cairo and Alexandria’s frequent traffic congestions. The same goes for Qatar, where Masarak Traffic Monitor is the most popular free app. 

Another type of apps clearly popular with users are Arabic-specific graphics. TextArabic and ArabFont, both by Abdulrahman Alqadiri, that allows the user to write in a variety of calligraphic Arabic fonts, and InstArabic, which superimposes Arabic captions on Instagram photos, all rank highly in many countries.

Check out Wamda for more detailed breakdown of the Arab world’s most popular iOS apps.

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