Usage share of operating systems

The usage share of operating systems is the percentage of computing devices that run each operating system at any particular time. All such figures are necessarily estimates because data about operating system share is difficult to obtain; there are few reliable primary sources and no agreed methodologies for its collection. Operating systems can be different for personal devices and desktop computers.
In the area of desktop and laptop computers, Microsoft Windows is generally above 70% in most markets and at 77% to 87.8% globally, Apple's macOS is at around 9.6% to 13%, Google's Chrome OS is up to 6% and other Linux distributions are at around 2%. All these figures vary somewhat in different markets, and depending on how they are gathered.
In the personal computing platform area of smartphones and watches Google's Android dominates with over 2.5 billion users. Other mobile phone operating systems include Apple's iOS, KaiOS and Series 30+.
Android is more popular than Windows globally; it has battled Windows for the most-used rank with them switching sides, but currently has 15% more use. On a global scale, iOS has never managed close to half the popularity of Windows; however, mobile operating systems have majority use over non-mobile, and had for close to two years, mostly because Android was and continues to be more popular than Windows. There are still countries and continents where mobile devices have never been anywhere near that popular while on all continents some countries have become mobile-majority and still are, including Ireland in Europe; the most populous countries and most populous continent, Asia as a whole, is still mobile-majority at 56.37%.
For public Internet servers, Linux is generally counted as dominant, powering well over twice the number of hosts as Windows Server – which is trailed by many smaller players including traditional mainframe OSes.
The supercomputer field is completely dominated by Linux – with 100% of the TOP500 now running on this OS.

Worldwide device shipments

According to Gartner, the following is the worldwide device shipments by operating system, which includes smartphones, tablets, laptops and PCs together.
Gartner2016 10.63% 11.2%
Gartner2015 54.16% 12.37%
macOS = 1%
11.79% 21.66%

Shipments do not mean sales to consumers, therefore suggesting the numbers indicate popularity and/or usage could be misleading. Not only do smartphones sell in higher numbers than traditional PCs but also as a whole a lot more, by dollar value with the gap only projected to widen, to well over double.
For 2015, Gartner reports for "the year, worldwide PC shipments declined for the fourth consecutive year, which started in 2012 with the launch of tablets" with an 8% decline in PC sales for 2015. Gartner includes Macs in PC sales numbers, and they individually had a slight increase in sales in 2015.
On 28 May 2015, Google announced that there were 1.4 billion Android users and 1 billion Google play users active during that month. This changed to 2 billion monthly active users in May 2017.
On 27 January 2016, Paul Thurrott summarized the operating system market, the day after Apple announced "one billion devices":
Microsoft backed away from their goal of one billion Windows 10 devices in three years and reported on 26 September 2016 that Windows 10 was running on over 400 million devices, and in March 2019 on more than 800 million.
By late 2016, Android had been explained to be "killing" Apple's iOS market share with
As of 9 May 2019, the biggest smartphone companies were Samsung, Huawei and Apple, respectively.
Gartner's own press release said, "Apple continued its downward trend with a decline of 7.7 percent in the second quarter of 2016", which is their decline, based on absolute number of units, that underestimates the relative decline, along with the misleading "1.7 Percentage point|percent " decline. That point decline means an 11.6% relative decline.
Although in units sold Apple is declining, they are almost the only vendor making any profit in the smartphone sector from hardware sales alone. In Q3 2016 for example, they captured 103.6% of the market profits.
There are more mobile phone owners than toothbrush owners, with mobile phones the fastest growing technology in history. There are a billion more active mobile phones in the world than people, explained by the fact that some people have more than one, such as an extra for work. All the phones have an operating system, but only a fraction of them are smartphones with an OS capable of running modern applications. Currently 3.1 billion smartphones and tablets are in use across the world.

Tablet computers

In 2015, eMarketer estimated at the beginning of the year that the tablet installed base would hit one billion for the first time. At the end of the year, because of cheap tablets not counted by all analysts that goal was met as:
This conflicts with statistics from IDC that say the tablet market contracted by 10% in 2015 with only Huawei, ranked fifth, with big gains, more than doubling their share; for fourth quarter 2015, the five biggest vendors were the same except that Amazon Fire tablets ranked third worldwide, new on the list, enabled by its not quite tripling of market share to 7.9%, with its Fire OS Android-derivative.

Web clients

The most recent data from various sources published during the last twelve months is summarized in the table below. All of these sources monitor a substantial number of web sites; statistics related to one web site only are excluded.
Android currently ranks highest, above Windows systems, every day of the week. Windows on mobile systems accounts for 0.51% of the web usage.
On weekends iOS tops Windows in the US, and iOS alone got even with Windows for full November 2019 month and with Android, mobile has been more popular than desktop/Windows for 6 weeks. Before iOS got most popular in any independent country, it got most popular in Guam, an unincorporated territory of the United States, for four consecutive quarters, while Android is now most popular there. iOS was also highest ranked in Falkland Islands, a British Overseas Territory, for up to one quarter, before being overtaken by Android in the following quarter. iOS competes with Windows in Sweden, where depending on the day, iOS is more used.
"Unknown" is strangely high in a few countries such as Madagascar where it's at 32.44%. This may be due to the fact that StatCounter uses browser detection to get OS statistics, and there the most common browsers are not often used. The version breakdown for browsers in Madagascar shows "Other" at 34.9%, and Opera Mini 4.4 is the most popular known browser at 22.1%. However browser statistics without version-breakdown has Opera at 48.11% with the "Other" category very small.
In China, Android got to be the highest ranked operating system in July 2016. In the Asian continent as a whole, Android has been ranked highest since February 2016 and Android alone has the majority share, because of a large majority in all the most populous countries of the continent, up to 84% in Bangladesh, where it has had over 70% share for over four years. Since August 2015, Android is ranked first, at 48.36% in May 2016, in the African continent when it took a big jump ahead of Windows 7, and thereby Africa joined Asia as a mobile-majority continent. China is no longer a desktop-majority country, joining India, which has a mobile-majority of 71%, confirming Asia's significant mobile-majority.
Online usage of Linux kernel derivatives exceeds that of Windows. This has been true since some time between January and April 2016, according to W3Counter and StatCounter.
However, even before that, the figure for all Unix-like OSes, including those from Apple, was higher than that for Windows.
; Notes

Desktop and laptop computers

Windows is still the dominant desktop OS, but the dominance varies by region and it has gradually lost market share to other desktop operating systems with the slide very noticeable in the US, where macOS usage has more than tripled from 2009 to 2017, with Windows down to 72.76% and Chrome OS at 3.33%, plus traditional Linux at 1.46%.
There is little openly published information on the device shipments of desktop and laptop computers. Gartner publishes estimates, but the way the estimates are calculated is not openly published. Another source of market share of various operating systems is StatCounter basing its estimate on web use. Also, sales may overstate usage. Most computers are sold with a pre-installed operating system, with some users replacing that OS with a different one due to personal preference, or installing another OS alongside it and using both. Conversely, sales underestimate usage by not counting unauthorized copies. For example, in 2009, approximately 80% of software sold in China consisted of illegitimate copies. In 2007, the statistics from an automated update of IE7 for registered Windows computers differed with the observed web browser share, leading one writer to estimate that 25–35% of all Windows XP installations were unlicensed.
The usage share of Microsoft's latest client operating system Windows 10 has been slowly increasing since July/August 2016, reaching around 27.15% in December 2016.
Web analysis shows significant variation in different parts of the world. For example, in North America usage of Windows XP has dropped to 2.06%, but in Africa it is still at 11.02% and Asia at 6.63% while going down, and has been overtaken by Windows 10. Conversely, macOS in North America claims 16.82% whereas in Asia it is only 4.4%.
The 2019 Stack Overflow developer survey provides no detail about particular versions of Windows. The desktop operating system share among those identifying as professional developers was:
In June 2016, Microsoft claimed Windows 10 had half the market share of all Windows installations in the US and UK, as quoted by BetaNews:

Desktop computer games

The digital video game distribution platform Steam publishes a monthly "Hardware & Software Survey", with the statistics below:
MonthMicrosoft WindowsMac OSLinuxOther
December 201996.86%2.47%0.67%
January 201995.92%3.27%0.82%
January 201898.38%1.31%0.25%
January 201795.79%3.31%0.80%
January 201695.39%3.55%0.95%
January 201595.48%3.32%1.09%
January 201494.93%3.47%0.86%0.74%

These figures, as reported by Steam, do not include SteamOS statistics.

Mobile devices


By Q1 2018, mobile operating systems on smartphones, included Google's dominant Android and Apple's iOS; which combined had an almost 100% market share.
Smartphone penetration vs. desktop use differs substantially by country. Some countries, like Russia, still have smartphone use as low as 22.35%, but in most western countries, smartphone use is close to 50% of all web use. This doesn't mean that only half of the population has a smartphone, could mean almost all have, just that other platforms have about equal use. Smartphone usage share in developing countries is much higher in Bangladesh, for example, Android smartphones had up to 84% and currently 70% share, and in Mali smartphones had over 90% share for almost two years.
There is a clear correlation between the GDP per capita of a country and that country's respective smartphone OS market share, with users in the richest countries being much more likely to choose Apple's iPhone, with Google's Android being predominant elsewhere.
StatCounter Global StatsBrowsing 2019, Sep76.24%22.48%0.17%0.02%0.02%1.07%
GartnerUnits sold in quarter2017 Q186.1%13.7%N/AN/AN/A0.2%
GartnerUnits sold in quarter2016 Q481.7%17.9%0.3%0.0%N/A0.1%
GartnerUnits sold in quarter2016 Q387.8%11.5%0.4%0.1%N/A0.2%
GartnerUnits sold in quarter2016 Q286.2%12.9%0.6%0.1%N/A0.2%
GartnerUnits sold in quarter2016 Q184.1%14.8%0.7%0.2%N/A0.2%
comScore US subscribers2016, Jan52.8%43.6%2.7%0.8%N/AN/A
StatCounter Global StatsBrowsing 2015, Mar61.94%22.64%2.27%NA6.00%7.09%
comScore US subscribers2015, Jan53.2%41.3%3.6%1.8%0.1%N/A
StatCounter Global StatsBrowsing 2014, Aug54.87%23.57%2.36%1.59%9.73%7.87%
Strategy AnalyticsUnits shipped in quarter2014 Q381.3%13.4%4.1%1.0%N/A0.2%
International Data CorporationUnits shipped in quarter2014 Q284.7%11.7%2.5%0.5%N/A0.7%
StatCounter Global StatsBrowsing 2014, Feb47.57%22.97%2.22%2.62%14.86%6.08%
comScore US subscribers2014, Jan51.7%41.6%3.2%3.1%0.2%N/A
GartnerUnits sold in quarter2013 Q279.0%14.2%3.3%2.7%0.3%0.6%
Wikimedia Browsing 2013, Mar25.93%66.53%1.85%2.02%3.03%1.12%
GartnerUnits sold in quarter2013 Q174.4%18.2%2.9%3.0%0.6%1.0%
International Data CorporationUnits shipped in quarter2013 Q175.0%17.3%3.2%2.9%0.6%0.0%

; Note
s, or simply tablets, became a significant OS market share category starting with Apple's iPad. In Q1 2018, iOS had 65.03% market share and Android had 34.58% market share. Windows tablets may not get classified as such by some analysts, and thus barely register; e.g. 2-in-1 PCs may get classified as "desktops", not tablets.
Strategy Analytics201568%22%10%<0.1%

StatCounterJul 201865.03%34.58%0.21%0.18%
StatCounterJul 201565.51%31.36%0.78%2.93%
StatCounterFeb 201566.47%29.6%1.16%2.73%
StatCounterOct 201471.67%25.62%0.08%2.63%

Since 2016, in South America, Android tablets have gained majority, and in Asia in 2017 Android was slightly more popular than the iPad, which was at 49.05% usage share in October 2015. In Africa, Android tablets are much more popular while elsewhere the iPad has a safe margin.
, Android has made steady gains to becoming the most popular tablet operating system: that is the trend in many countries, having already gained the majority in large countries and in the African continent with Android at 62.22%, with steady gains from 20.98% in August 2012, and South America at 51.09% in July 2015.. Asia is at 46%. In Nepal, Android gained majority lead in November 2014 but lost it down to 41.35% with iOS at 56.51%. In Taiwan, as of October 2016, Android after having gained a confident majority, has been on a losing streak. China is a major exception to Android gaining market share in Asia where the iPad/iOS is at 82.84% in March 2015.

Crossover to smartphones having majority share

According to StatCounter web use statistics, smartphones are more popular than desktop computers globally. Including tablets with mobiles/smartphones, as they also run so-called mobile operating systems, even in the United States are mobiles including tablets more popular than other operating systems. Windows in the US has only 8% head-start over iOS only; with Android, that mobile operating system and iOS have 52.14% majority. Alternatively, Apple, with iOS plus their non-mobile macOS has 20% more share than Microsoft's Windows in the country where both companies where built.
Although desktop computers are still popular in many countries, smartphones are more popular even in many developed countries. A few countries on all continents are desktop-minority with Android more popular than Windows; many, e.g. Poland in Europe, and about half of the countries in South America, and many in North America, e.g. Guatemala, Honduras, Haiti; up to most countries in Asia and Africa with smartphone-majority because of Android, Poland and Turkey in Europe highest with 57.68% and 62.33%, respectively. In Ireland, smartphone use at 45.55% outnumbers desktop use and mobile as a whole gains majority when including the tablet share at 9.12%. Spain was also slightly desktop-minority. As of July 2019, Sweden had been desktop-minority for eight weeks in a row.
The range of measured mobile web use varies a lot by country, and a StatCounter press release recognizes "India amongst world leaders in use of mobile to surf the internet" where the share is around 80% and desktop is at 19.56%, with Russia trailing with 17.8% mobile use.
Smartphones, first gained majority in December 2016, and it wasn't a Christmas-time fluke, as while close to majority after smartphone majority happened again in March 2017.
In the week of 7–13 November 2016, smartphones alone overtook desktop for the first time, albeit for a short period. Examples of mobile-majority countries include Paraguay in South America, Poland in Europe and Turkey and most of Asia and Africa. Some of the world is still desktop-majority, with for example the United States at 54.89%. However, in some territories of the United States, such as Puerto Rico, desktop is significantly under majority, with Windows just under 25%, overtaken by Android.
On 22 October 2016, mobile showed majority. Since 27 October, the desktop hasn't had a majority, including on weekdays. Smartphones alone have showed majority since 23 December to the end of the year, with the share topping at 58.22% on Christmas Day. To the "mobile"-majority share of smartphones, tablets could be added giving a 63.22% majority. While an unusually high top, a similar high also occurred on Monday 17 April 2017, with the smartphone share slightly lower and tablet share slightly higher, combining to 62.88%.
Formerly, according to a StatCounter press release, the world has turned desktop-minority; as of 2016, at about 49% desktop use for that month, but mobile wasn't ranked higher, tablet share had to be added to it to exceed desktop share.
For the Christmas season, the last two weeks in December 2016, Australia was desktop-minority for the first time for an extended period, i.e. every day from 23 December.
In South America, smartphones alone took majority from desktops on Christmas Day, but for a full-week-average, desktop is still at least at 58%.
The UK desktop-minority dropped down to 44.02% on Christmas Day and for the eight days to the end of the year. Ireland joined some other European countries with smartphone-majority, for three days after Christmas, topping that day at 55.39%.
In the US, desktop-minority happened for three days on and around Christmas.
According to StatCounter web use statistics, in the week from 7–13 November 2016, "mobile" alone overtook desktop, for the first time, with them highest ranked at 52.13% or up to 49.02% for a full week. Mobile-majority applies to countries such as Paraguay in South America, Poland in Europe and Turkey; and the continents Asia and Africa. Large regions of the rest of the world are still desktop-majority, while on some days, the United States, isn't; the US is desktop-minority up to four days in a row, and up to a five-day average. Other examples, of desktop-minority on some days, include the UK, Ireland, Australia ; in fact, at least one country on every continent has turned desktop-minority. On 22 October 2016, mobile has shown majority.
Previously, according to a StatCounter press release, the world has turned desktop-minority; as of 2016, at about 49% desktop use for that month, with desktop-minority stretching up to an 18-weeks/4-months period from 28 June to 31 October 2016, while whole of July, August or September 2016, showed desktop-majority. The biggest continents, Asia and Africa, have shown vast mobile-majority for long time, as well as several individual countries elsewhere have also turned mobile-majority: Poland, Albania in Europe and Paraguay and Bolivia in South America.
According to StatCounter's web use statistics, Saturday 28 May 2016, was the day when smartphones became a most used platform, ranking first, at 47.27%, above desktops. The next day, desktops slightly outnumbered "mobile".
Since Sunday 27 March 2016, the first day the world dipped to desktop-minority, it has happened almost every week, and by week of 11–17 July 2016, the world was desktop-minority, followed by the next week, and thereon also for a three-week period. The trend is still stronger on weekends, with e.g. 17 July 2016 showed desktop at 44.67%, "mobile" at 49.5% plus tablets at 5.7%. Recent weekly data shows a downward trend for desktops.
According to StatCounter web use statistics, on weekends desktops worldwide lose about 5 percent points, e.g. down to 51.46% on 15 August 2015, with the loss in web use going to mobile, mostly because Windows 7, ranked 1st on workdays, declines in web use, with it shifting to Android and lesser degree to iOS.
Two continents, have already crossed over to mobile-majority, based on StatCounters web use statistics. In June 2015, Asia became the first continent where mobile overtook desktop and as far back as October 2014, they had reported this trend on a large scale in a press release: "Mobile usage has already overtaken desktop in several countries including India, South Africa and Saudi Arabia". In India, desktop went from majority, in July 2012, down to 32%. In Bangladesh desktop went from majority, in May 2013, down to 17%, with Android alone now accounting for majority web use. Only a few African countries were still desktop-majority and many have a large mobile majority including Ethiopia and Kenya, where mobile usage is over 72%.
The popularity of mobile use worldwide has been driven by the huge popularity increase of Android in Asian countries, where Android is the highest ranked operating system statistically in virtually every south-east Asian country, while it also ranks most popular in almost every African country. Poland has been desktop-minority since April 2015, because of Android being vastly more popular there, and other European countries, such as Albania, have also crossed over. The South America continent is somewhat far from losing desktop-majority, but Paraguay had lost it as of 2015. Android and mobile browsing in general has also become hugely popular in all other continents where desktop has a large desktop base and the trend to mobile is not as clear as a fraction of the total web use.
While some analysts count tablets with desktops, others count them with mobile phones. iPad has a clear lead globally, but has clearly lost the majority to Android in South America, and a number of Eastern European countries such as Poland; lost virtually all African countries and has lost the majority twice in Asia, but gained the majority back. Android on tablets is thus second most popular after the iPad.
In March 2015, for the first time in the US the number of mobile-only adult internet users exceeded the number of desktop-only internet users with 11.6% of the digital population only using mobile compared to 10.6% only using desktop; this also means the majority, 78%, use both desktop and mobile to access the internet. A few smaller countries in North America, such as Haiti have gone mobile majority.


The region with the largest Android usage also has the largest mobile revenue.

Public servers on the Internet

' market share can be measured with statistical surveys of publicly accessible servers, such as web servers, mail servers or DNS servers on the Internet: the operating systems powering such servers are found by inspecting raw response messages. This method gives insight only into market share of operating systems that are publicly accessible on the Internet.
There will be differences in the result depending on how the sample is done and observations weighted. Usually the surveys are not based on a random sample of all IP addresses, domain names, hosts or organisations, but on servers found by some other method. Additionally, many domains and IP addresses may be served by one host and some domains may be served by several hosts or by one host with several IP addresses.
;Note: Revenue comparisons often include "operating system software, other bundled software" and are not appropriate for usage comparison as the Linux operating system costs nothing, except if optionally using commercial distributions such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux. In cases where no-cost Linux is used, such comparisons underestimate Linux server popularity and overestimate other proprietary operating systems such as Unix and Windows.


are larger and more powerful than servers, but not supercomputers. They are used to process large sets of data, for example enterprise resource planning or credit card transactions.
The most common operating system for mainframes is IBM's z/OS. Operating systems for IBM Z generation hardware include IBM's proprietary z/OS, Linux on IBM Z, z/TPF, z/VSE and z/VM.
Gartner reported on 23 December 2008, that Linux on System z was used on approximately 28% of the "customer z base" and that they expected this to increase to over 50% in the following five years. Of Linux on IBM Z, Red Hat and Micro Focus compete to sell RHEL and SLES respectively:
Like today's trend of mobile devices from personal computers, in 1984 for the first time estimated sales of desktop computers exceeded mainframe computers. IBM received the vast majority of mainframe revenue.
From 1991 to 1996, AT&T Corporation briefly owned NCR, one of the major original mainframe producers. During the same period, companies found that servers based on microcomputer designs could be deployed at a fraction of the acquisition price and offer local users much greater control over their own systems given the IT policies and practices at that time. Terminals used for interacting with mainframe systems were gradually replaced by personal computers. Consequently, demand plummeted and new mainframe installations were restricted mainly to financial services and government. In the early 1990s, there was a rough consensus among industry analysts that the mainframe was a dying market as mainframe platforms were increasingly replaced by personal computer networks.
In 2012, NASA powered down its last mainframe, an IBM System z9. However, IBM's successor to the z9, the z10, led a New York Times reporter to state four years earlier that "mainframe technology—hardware, software and services—remains a large and lucrative business for I.B.M., and mainframes are still the back-office engines behind the world's financial markets and much of global commerce"., while mainframe technology represented less than 3% of IBM's revenues, it "continue to play an outsized role in Big Blue's results".


The TOP500 project lists and ranks the 500 fastest supercomputers for which benchmark results are submitted. Since the early 1990s, the field of supercomputers has been dominated by Unix or Unix-like operating systems, and starting in 2017, every top 500 fastest supercomputer uses Linux as its supercomputer operating system.
The last supercomputer to rank #1 while using an operating system other than Linux was ASCI White, which ran AIX. It held the title from November 2000 to November 2001, and was decommissioned in 2006. Then in June 2017, two AIX computers held rank 493 and 494, the last non-Linux systems before they dropped off the list.
SourceDateMethodLinuxAIX References
TOP500Nov 2017Systems share100%N/A
TOP500Nov 2017Performance share100%N/A
TOP500Jun 2017Systems share99.6%0.4%
TOP500Jun 2017Performance share99.88%0.12%

Historically all kinds of Unix operating systems dominated, and in the end ultimately Linux remains.
SourceDateMethodLinuxUnix MixedMicrosoft WindowsBSD based References
TOP500Nov 2016Systems share99.6%0.4%N/AN/AN/A
TOP500Nov 2014Systems share97.0%2.6%0.2%0.2%N/A
TOP500Nov 2014Performance share98.23%1.67%0.06%0.06%N/A
TOP500Nov 2013Systems share96.4%2.4%0.8%0.4%0.2%
TOP500Nov 2013Performance share98.0%1.4%0.47%0.13%0.05%

Market share by category