When you have the latest and greatest iPhone, then that means you can play just about any mobile game with ease—thanks to the smartphone’s sheer power and buttery smoothness. In fact, even if your iPhone is a few years old, you’ll still get a great experience gaming on-the-go.
And while there are millions of them on the Apple App Store and Apple Arcade, there’s a very useful list of the most popular games—divided by the most popular free games and paid games available for the iPhone in May 2023 (most of these titles are available as iPad games as well).
From simple match-three games to powerful MMORPGs, we rounded up the top 10 from the top free and top paid games (20 games in total) to help you navigate the App Store easily. There are a lot of winners, below:
TL;DR – These are the Most Popular Apple iPhone games
Free iPhone Games
- Monopoly Go! (Free)
- Happy Hospital: ASMR Doctor (Free)
- Royal Match (Free)
- My Doge: Puzzle Game (Free)
- Gardenscapes (Free)
- Roblox (Free)
- Subway Surfers (Free)
- Impossible Date: Tricky Riddle (Free)
- Honkai: Star Rail (Free)
- Call of Duty: Mobile (Free)
Paid iPhone Games
- Minecraft ($7)
- Monopoly – Classic Board Game ($5)
- Geometry Dash ($2)
- Bloons TD 6 ($7)
- Heads Up! ($2)
- Papa’s Freezeria To Go! ($1)
- Incredibox ($5)
- Plague Inc. ($1)
- Red’s First Flight ($1)
- Stardew Valley ($5)
Most Popular Free Games
1. Monopoly Go!
Everyone’s favorite board game Monopoly is available to play on the Apple iPhone with Monopoly Go!. It features the same gameplay as the original, but faster, wilder, and more ruthless. Play with your friends and family from around the world, while the object of the game is to buy property, build houses and hotels, collect Monopoly Money, bankrupt everyone, and destroy their properties.
2. Happy Hospital: ASMR Doctor
Run your own hospital in Happy Hospital: ASMR Doctor, a medical simulation game. Set at Central Hospital, you can play as a doctor or nurse to help your patients recover from all sorts of ailments.
If you want a larger overview, you can also play hospital administrator to build, maintain, and manage your very own hospital and staff. The more patients you help, the more money you get to upgrade the medical center and make a better hospital.
3. Royal Match
Royal Match is a match-three puzzle game where you help King Robert restore his kingdom back to glory. The more you match, the more levels you complete, and the more you restore the kingdom. Meanwhile, you can unlock bonus levels and rooms to collect coins to stay alive.
4. My Doge: Puzzle Game
My Doge is a puzzle game where you help the Doge meme by drawing shields and barriers around it in one motion, so it will stay safe from attacking bees and other dangers. There are 100 levels full of puzzles and brain teasers to save the Doge.
Gardenscapes is a swap-and-match puzzle game with hundreds of different levels where you build the garden of your dreams with the help of Austin the butler. It features loads of gardens, fountains, mazes, and more that you have to restore, while you unlock characters and mysteries along the way. You can even connect the app with your Facebook account, so you can be neighbors with your friends.
Immerse yourself in an entirely virtual experience in Roblox, a cross platform game that’s available on Apple iOS, Android, Windows, and Xbox. The app is opart-gaming and part-social media where you can play games, create your own game, or just chat with friends from all around the world with thousands of experiences—think of it as Club Penguin, but for Gen Z.
7. Subway Surfers
Set in Windy Chicago, Subway Surfer is an endless running game where you play as Jake, a graffiti artist, as he runs through subways and train yards to escape the inspector and his dog. You must dodge moving subways, poles, tunnel walls, barriers, and more to gain items and power-ups to increase your speed and upgrade your special abilities.
8. Impossible Date: Tricky Riddle
Why go on an actual date when you can play Impossible Date: Tricky Riddle on your iPhone? The mobile game is riddle-based where you solve puzzles and brain teasers to enhance romantic relationships. You can draw, erase, swipe, click, drag, and more actions to fix misunderstandings for couples who are on dates until they find true love.
9. Honkai: Star Rail
Aboard the Astral Express with The Nameless, a band of adventurers, you travel across the galaxy to find new civilizations, meet new friends, and have adventures on strange worlds in Honkai: Star Rail—a space fantasy RPG from game developers HoYoverse. Follow the Aeons, a race of godlike beings who can control reality, as they try to fight off an evil force called the Fragmentum.
10. Call of Duty: Mobile
A few years ago, Activision created a mobile version of their hit video game called Call of Duty: Mobile. This is the fourth season of the first-person shooter with various multiplayer modes, including Team Deathmatch, Domination, Battle Royale, and more. This is a cross-platform game for iOS and Android devices.
Most Popular Paid iPhone Games
1. Minecraft ($7)
Minecraft is one of the most popular games in the world and it’s available to play on Apple iPhone for just $7. It’s a sandbox game where players are free to create and explore the world to climb mountains, unearth caves, and mine precious ore to build homes, weapons, villages, and more.
You can also see our guide to how to play Minecraft for free.
2. Monopoly – Classic Board Game ($5)
Now play Monopoly with your Apple mobile device. This is the classic version of the board game with new graphics and fun animations in a fully immersive mobile experience. Roll the dice and travel around the board to buy up properties, build houses and hotels, collect Monopoly Money, and bankrupt friends and family.
You can even play as classic game pieces, including the scottie, cat, T-Rex, rubber duck, and others. And since this is the paid version at only $5, it’s ad-free with no interruptions or distracting pop-ups.
3. Geometry Dash ($2)
Geometry Dash is a rhythm-based platformer where players control shapes to jump from point-A to point-B with unique soundtracks for each level. The game even features a level editor where you can create and share your own levels. The app is just $2 and doesn’t include any in-app purchases, so unlocking new icons and characters is completely based on your skills throughout the game.
4. Bloons TD 6 ($7)
At $7, Bloons TD 6 is a top-down tower defense where players create defenses made up of hero monkeys, structures, towers, bridges, and traps to stop “Bloons,” balloon-like objects, from exiting each map. Players collect coins to upgrade their defenses.
5. Heads Up! ($2)
It’s the game “Who Am I?,” but for the digital age. Created by Ellen DeGeneres, Head Up! is charades with a twist. You place your iPhone (screen out) on your forehead, then a name or title appears on the display, your friends or family have to act out the clues, and then you have to guess the name of the character, movie title, animal, superhero, and more within 60 seconds. You can even play via Apple Facetime or Zoom. Not bad for just $2.
6. Papa’s Freezeria To Go! ($1)
Make the ultimate ice cream sundae with Papa’s Freezeria To Go!. At just $1, play as a worker at a beachfront ice cream shop, as more and more customers come in for a sweet treat during the hectic and hot summer season. Take ice cream orders and build and serve treats, while you earn points and tips for upgrades around the shop.
7. Incredibox ($5)
At $5, Incredibox is a part-game and part-music app where players can create their own music with impressive acapella audio, graffiti-and-drip-style graphics, and beatbox animations. Create the beats, effects, melodies, and voices in drag-and-drop mechanics to enhance your own tunes and sound. You can even save and download your masterpieces to share with your friends and family or just for yourself.
8. Plague Inc. ($1)
Why live through a pandemic in reality when you can play with one on your iPhone? At $1, Plague Inc. is a strategy game where you must end humanity with a deadly pathogen during a global plague. However, the people around the world are more adaptive than you think, so you have to create and evolve more and more deadly viruses to wipe away all of the people on Earth.
9. Red’s First Flight ($1)
Angry Birds are back, baby! Red’s First Flight is a remake of the classic mobile game from the late 2000s with new graphics, new levels, new features, and more. However, the goal remains the same: Launch Angry Birds to destroy greedy pigs and their structures to reclaim stolen eggs.
10. Stardew Valley ($5)
At $5, Stardew Valley is an open-world farm simulation game with elements of role-playing. Inherit a plot of land and a small house in Pelican Town from your grandfather, clear and farm the land with crops and livestock, and make money to expand and upgrade your own piece of the farmstead.
Meanwhile, Stardew Valley was the winner of Golden Joysticks’ Breakthrough Award in 2016 with more than 50 hours of gameplay and fun.
What to Look for in Apple iPhone Games
There are millions upon millions of apps and games on the Apple App Store, so it might be intimidating to start with just one to play. While the most popular game lists—either free or paid—are a good place to start, there are some other factors you should consider before you tap download. Here’s what to look for in Apple iPhone games.
First of all, if you have a very old iPhone, you should check if it’s compatible with the mobile game. Most games require your iPhone to run, at least, iOS 8 or higher—which is compatible with the Apple iPhone 4S or higher. This iPhone model was released in October 2011, so any iPhone release beforehand will not be compatible with these games.
You should also be aware of how much space you have on your iPhone. The file size for mobile games can go from a few hundred megabytes all the way up to about 20GB, so if you don’t have enough space on your smartphone, then it won’t be able to download completely on your hardware. If that’s the case, you should consider deleting a few apps to free up some space, get a new iPhone with a larger storage capacity, or think about downloading a new game altogether.
Then, you should consider the price. While there are a lot of free games available, free doesn’t necessarily mean completely free. A lot of these free games offer in-app purchases for upgrades. For example, in the game Royal Match, you have a limited number of lives to play, once you lose a life, you have to wait 30 minutes to regain it. However, if you pay, you can unlock the app to get more lives.
Unfortunately, the same thing can be said for a paid game too. Just because you have to pay for an app at first, it doesn’t mean there aren’t additional in-app purchases available. But, if a mobile game is on the pricey side, then it’s likely that the unlocked version will download to your iPhone.
Additionally, you can also get a subscription to Apple Arcade for $5/mo. to unlock all of the iOS games available with no in-app purchases to play on iPhone, iPad, MacBook, and Apple TV. If you’re an avid mobile gamer, then this is the way to go.
The final thing you should look out for in an Apple iPhone game is if it looks fun to play. If a game looks like a lot of fun or a challenge, then tap download and immerse yourself in a whole new universe and experience.
Upcoming iPhone Games
Wondering what new iPhone games are coming down the pipeline? Take a look at our guide to all of the biggest upcoming iPhone games to see what’s coming in 2023.