The Starlink mobile app has 2M+ downloads in 2022, per third-party estimates from 42matters, a Swiss mobile intelligence provider. The tally includes both installs on Android’s Google Play marketplace and the iOS App Store.
Starlink saw ~90,000 downloads over the weekend, 42matters’ Alexander Braelow told Payload. The spike occurred shortly after SpaceX activated Starlink in Iran.
Lest we offend the sensibilities of our stats-inclined readers, let’s get it out of the way now: correlation ≠ causation. “But the timing is suspicious,” Braelow said. “It was 90,000 downloads basically overnight, at the exact moment that the service was made available.”
Plus, there’s precedent for this. Starlink saw downloads surge in Ukraine earlier this year as SpaceX, Washington, and Kyiv began trucking thousands of terminals into the country.
Don’t read into the news too much
Iranian app stores don’t offer the Starlink app and Tehran has also reportedly throttled access to Starlink’s website. VPNs could offer a possible workaround, while nation-states don’t have much control over satellite transmissions within their borders.
But forget software and RF signals entirely for a moment. Hardware is still the gating factor. Iranians would need terminals they don’t have in order to access SpaceX’s satellite broadband service. Plus, ground stations would be located near the country.
Parsing the data at a global level
Starlink is disproportionately popular in Canada, New Zealand, and as discussed, Ukraine. The app has ~116,633, ~15,203, and ~564,548 downloads in each country, respectively.
But downloads don’t tell the full story. One could install the app without a kit or subscription. Monthly active users (MAUs) may be a better proxy.
According to 42matters, Starlink had 35,480 Android MAUs in August. That’s an 80% jump from January. The company is still processing iOS MAU data, but Braelow says he expects the number to be in the same ballpark range as Android.
- On Google Play, Starlink has 4.6 ⭐across 7,400 reviews.
- In the App Store, the app has 4.4 ⭐ across 1,200 ratings.
- The app is ranked #9 in iOS’s utilities category and #12 in Android’s tools category.
Takeaway: These aren’t official SpaceX numbers, and always take third-party estimates with a grain of salt. Still, the data gives a directional clue as to where the winds are blowing. On the manufacturing side of things, Elon Musk said SpaceX recently passed 1M production units of Starlink.