Where have all the fart apps gone?
Once upon a time, fart apps were the bread and butter of mobile app stores: They frequently were among the most popular apps, always looking slightly out of place next to apps like Amazon Mobile and BBC News.
Lately, however, fart apps appear to have fallen out of favor: They no longer grace the top 10 lists of either the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, and the amusement factor seems to have since worn off. I was curious as to what had happened to these once-towering titans of appdom, so I decided to get in touch with the developers of both iFart and Fartdroid—currently two of the most popular fart apps on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, respectively—to see what they had to say on the matter.
iFart was one of the first apps to be submitted and approved for the Apple App Store, and it was the most popular paid app in the store for a nine-day stretch in 2009. Joel Comm, the developer of iFart, told me that at one point there were over 200 iFart knock offs in the App Store—though that number most likely dropped when Apple started rejecting and banning new fart apps back in 2010. At the height of its popularity, iFart was even featured on The Daily Show with John Stewart, and was downloaded more than 39,000 times in a single day. To date, iFart has been downloaded more than 800,000 times.
When I asked Comm if people were still buying his app, he told me that iFart still gets downloaded between 50 and 100 times per day. He went on to say that the app still gets attention in the mainstream media, and that most recently George Clooney had mentioned that he was a fan of the app during an interview.
Comm explained to me that fart apps were still popular, but that they just aren’t displayed as prominently as they once were in the App Store. It was much easier to sell a novelty app back in the early days of the Apple App Store, mostly because there were relatively few apps in the store to choose from. Fart apps are still there and people still download them to their iPhones and iPads, though there’s practically no chance you’ll see one of them show up in the Featured section of the store any time soon.
The creator of Fartdroid—known only as Josh—gave me a similar story: FartDroid started off as a project to learn the basics of Android app development, and it ended up landing a spot in the top 100 entertainment apps for two full years. Josh told me that he’s not surprised that his app was popular—in fact, it’s still popular to this day. Fartdroid has been downloaded more than 2.5 million times, and Josh is still making money off the project.
I asked Josh why he thought his app was such a hit. “In general, everybody thinks farts are funny,” he said. “Fart humor is universal and almost always gets a laugh…As long as people are using Android devices fart apps will get downloaded every day.”