How Much Does Google Pay Apple? (A Definite Guide)

Google pays Apple billions of dollars to remain the default search engine on Apple devices.

Google pays Apple $18 to $20 billion yearly to secure its status as the primary search engine on iPhones, a crucial investment for both tech giants.

That’s about 36% Google’s revenue share.

Google pays Apple 36% revenue share

This partnership is crucial for both companies as it ensures Google’s dominance in the search engine market while providing Apple with a significant revenue stream.

To understand the dynamics of this payment arrangement, we need to delve into various factors that influence the amount exchanged between these tech titans.

Annual Payment Comparison: Google vs. Apple

Here’s a simple table illustrating the annual payments from Google to Apple over the past five years:

YearGoogle Payment to Apple (in billions)Supported Apple Devices
2020$20.0iPhone 12, iPad Air (4th gen), iPad Pro (4th gen)
2019$18.0iPhone 11, iPad (7th gen), iPad Air (3rd gen)
2018$16.5iPhone XS, iPad Pro (3rd gen), iPad (6th gen)
2017$15.0iPhone X, iPad Pro (2nd gen), iPad (5th gen)
2016$12.5iPhone 7, iPad Pro (1st gen), iPad (4th gen)

Key takeaways:

  • Google pays Apple $18-$20 billion yearly.
  • It secures dominance as iPhone’s search engine.
  • A major factor affecting payment amount include market trends.
  • This partnership benefits both Google and Apple strategically.
  • Regulatory scrutiny surrounds their financial relationship.
  • Future changes could influence these payments significantly.

Search Engine Dominance & Default Deals

Google’s dominance in the search engine market is unparalleled, with 92.54% of global searches conducted through its platform.

This dominance allows Google to negotiate lucrative default search engine deals with major tech companies like Apple.

As most users prefer Google for their search queries, being the default search engine on Apple devices provides Google with a significant advantage in terms of user engagement and ad revenue.

The Estimated Amount – Past & Present

Google’s payments to Apple have increased substantially over the years, reaching an estimated $18-20 billion annually.

How much Google Pays Apple - visual chart

This staggering amount underscores the importance of the partnership between the two tech giants.

Despite the exact figures not being disclosed publicly, various industry analysts and reports provide insights into the magnitude of these payments and their impact on Google and Apple’s financial performance.

Factors Influencing the Payment Amount

The payment amount from Google to Apple is influenced by several key factors, each playing a significant role in determining the final figure.

Understanding these factors provides insights into the dynamics of their partnership and sheds light on the financial arrangements between two tech giants.

Let’s go through six of them:

1. Google’s Search Engine market share:

Think of Google as the most popular store in a giant mall. They can charge high rent for the best location because everyone goes there.

If another store gains popularity (like a competitor search engine), Google might have to lower rent (payment to Apple) to stay competitive.

2. Apple’s iOS userbase:

Imagine iOS users as a large audience at a concert. The bigger the crowd, the more valuable it is for a band (Google) to be the opening act, as they get exposure to more potential fans.

3. User engagement and search queries volume:

Google pays Apple based on the volume of search queries generated from Apple devices, reflecting user engagement levels.

Higher search query volumes result in increased payments to Apple.

For example, if Apple users frequently utilize Google’s search engine, the payment amount is likely to be higher.

4. Revenue sharing agreements:

Revenue sharing agreements between Google and Apple contribute to the payment amount.

These agreements outline how advertising revenue generated from Google searches on Apple devices is distributed between the two companies.

Typically, Google shares a portion of its ad revenue with Apple, further impacting the payment amount.

5. Market demand and advertising rates:

The prevailing market demand for digital advertising and advertising rates influence the payment amount.

Fluctuations in advertising rates, driven by factors such as seasonality and economic conditions, can affect the revenue generated from Google’s ads on Apple devices, thereby impacting the payment amount.

6. Contractual terms and negotiations:

The specific terms negotiated between Google and Apple in their contractual agreements play a crucial role in determining the payment amount.

These terms may include minimum payment guarantees, revenue sharing percentages, and other financial incentives, which can directly influence the final figure.

The Evolution of Google and Apple’s Partnership

Google and Apple’s partnership dates back to 2002 when Google became the default search engine on Apple’s Safari browser.

Over the years, their collaboration has evolved, encompassing various areas such as search integration, app development, and cloud services.

Despite occasional conflicts and competition in certain areas, the overall relationship between Google and Apple has remained strong, driven by mutual benefits and shared goals in advancing technology.

The future of Google’s payments to Apple is far from certain. Several factors could significantly reshape the landscape:

  • Competition: If alternative search engines like DuckDuckGo (which focuses on privacy) gain traction, Google may face pressure to lower payments to maintain exclusivity.
  • Regulations: Antitrust lawsuits or regulations could force Google to change its practices. They might be mandated to offer multiple default search engine options or pay smaller sums.
  • Technology: The rise of voice search and AI assistants could shift how we access information. Siri might start providing direct answers rather than simply leading to a Google results page, altering the value of default status.

Where This Money Goes: Impact on Both Companies

Google’s multi-billion dollar payments to Apple significantly influence both tech giants:

  • Google: The primary benefit is securing dominance on mobile devices where most searches occur. This translates into massive advertising revenue, outweighing the payments to Apple.
  • Apple: Beyond the direct billions in revenue, Apple likely uses this income to fund innovation, marketing, and offset the costs of developing premium products.

Controversy and Antitrust Concerns

The relationship between Google and Apple has sparked significant controversy and antitrust scrutiny. Key concerns revolve around:

  • Unfair advantage: Critics argue that Google uses its vast financial resources to stifle competition in the search engine market, limiting consumer choice.
  • Regulatory action: Authorities in the US, EU, and elsewhere have investigations or lawsuits in progress. The outcome could force changes in how Google does business, potentially altering their payments to Apple.

Why Does Apple Accept? Benefits Beyond the Cash

While the financial boost is substantial, Apple’s reasons for partnering with Google go deeper:

  • User experience: Pre-installing Google Search provides a familiar, high-quality search experience for iPhone users, contributing to overall satisfaction.
  • Integration: The deal likely provides Apple with access to Google’s data and services, enabling better integration across their devices and ecosystem.
  • Customer loyalty: The ease of switching from another Android phone to an iPhone is greater when the default search experience remains the same. This could boost retention within the Apple ecosystem.

Ripple Effects Across the Tech Industry

Google’s payments to Apple create ripple effects across the tech industry, influencing competition, consumer choice, and market dynamics.

By securing its position as the default search engine on Apple devices, Google maintains a significant advantage over rival search engines, further solidifying its dominance in the digital advertising market.

Consumer Awareness and Empowerment

Increased transparency and consumer awareness regarding default search engine deals empower users to make more informed choices about their digital experiences.

Understanding the financial relationships between tech companies like Google and Apple enables consumers to evaluate the implications of their usage patterns and advocate for greater competition and privacy protections.

The Role of Regulation and Oversight

Regulatory oversight and antitrust enforcement play a crucial role in ensuring fair competition and protecting consumer interests in the digital age.

Let’s breakdown 5 key roles of regulation and oversight, focusing on the core concepts:

1. Protection:

  • Safeguard consumers from harm (e.g., unsafe products, financial scams).
  • Ensure fair treatment for workers
  • Protect the environment from pollution

2. Maintaining fairness:

  • Promote healthy competition in markets.
  • Prevent monopolies from exploiting consumers with unfair pricing
  • Ensure rules apply equally to all businesses

3. Providing stability:

  • Prevent sudden market crashes or economic disruptions.
  • Set standards to build trust in industries (e.g., banking, food safety)
  • Manage risks to avoid system-wide failures

4. Fostering innovation:

  • Set clear guidelines for new technologies and products
  • Ensure ethical development (e.g., data privacy guidelines)
  • Help emerging industries gain acceptance

5. Addressing societal concerns:

  • Respond to changing social values (e.g., environmental protection, labor rights)
  • Implement public policies decided by elected officials
  • Balance various interests in society

Looking ahead, the evolving landscape of technology and digital commerce presents both challenges and opportunities for companies like Google and Apple.

Innovation in search technology, changes in consumer behavior, and regulatory developments will shape the future of default search engine deals.

It’ll also change their broader implications for the tech industry and society.

How the payment influences Google and Apple’s financial strategies and innovation

The Impact on Google:

  • Market dominance: The billions paid to Apple are an investment in securing Google’s position as the default search engine on the massive iOS user base. This translates into continuous advertising revenue and protects their market share.
  • Data collection: Access to iPhone users’ search behavior provides valuable insights for optimizing Google’s search algorithms and targeted advertising, further strengthening their revenue streams.

The Impact on Apple:

  • Diversified revenue: The Google payments represent a significant chunk of Apple’s revenue, contributing to their robust financials and reducing reliance solely on hardware sales.
  • R&D investment: This additional income likely fuels Apple’s innovation in both hardware and software. It could support the development of new iPhone features, enhancements to the iOS ecosystem, or the exploration of emerging technologies.
  • Shareholder value: Apple’s strong profitability, partially fueled by Google’s payments, positively impacts shareholder returns, making it an attractive investment.


The billions Google pays Apple secure its default search status on iPhones, influencing both companies’ financial health and competitive strategies.

While controversy surrounds this practice, the partnership offers benefits in user experience and innovation.

However, this dynamic relationship may face significant shifts in the future due to rising competition, antitrust scrutiny, and evolving technology.