Since it is established that free apps are not actually free and take up your personal information in return, read on to find out the ways how free apps earn money:

Man using smartphone on the floor
  1. Online games
    Applications like WeChat (a messaging app in China) earn money through their online games which require purchases to unlock special features.
  2. Advertisement
    Online advertising is a big business, and it is driven by the personal data that you share to a free app. Most free apps also earn money through advertising the products that you are most likely to purchase.
  3. In-app purchases
    Some applications allow the user the download the application for free, but require money to unlock special features.
  4. Add-on services
    Many free applications like LinkedIn earn by offering add-on services. They obtain revenue from providing a platform for these add-on services.