Earning a passive income online has become very popular.
However, it is also a widely misused term, and many articles that claim to show you passive ways to earn, are not really showing truly passive ways.
Also, before finding the options for you, it is important you do it with the right expectations.
This article will make it clear exactly what you can expect, what to look for, and will show you the 12 best passive income apps in 2021.
These apps will both be for iOS and Android and they will be TRULY passive ways to earn.
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Are passive income apps truly a passive way to earn?
As mention at the beginning of this article, passive income is a very overused and misused term today.
There are many articles that will claim to show you passive ways to earn on your phone or tablet through apps, but in reality they are not really passive.
Often you will see that you have to put in quite a lot of effort. In my definition, that is not really to earn passively then.
Therefore, I decided to put together this list of apps for both iOS and Android where you can earn truly passively.
This means that you can earn just by having the apps installed and not do anything extra.
However, it is very important you do this with the right expectations. So let’s go over how much you can earn by using apps like this so you can see if this is what you are looking for or not.
How much can you earn passively through apps?
If you have been looking for ways to earn passively online for a while, you have likely come across some big claims about how easy it is to earn without any effort.
Let me just make one thing clear – there is NO magic way to make a living online without effort. People and sites that claim this are trying to sell you a dream just to make money for themselves.
In general, if you want to make a living online, this is not something you can do passively. It will require a lot of effort and time.
But if you are looking for ways to make some extra cash on the side online, then it is definitely possible with apps as I will show you on the list below.
You just need to download the apps with the right expectations and know it will not be a way to make a living.
But if you download several of them, it can be a very easy and nice way to make some passive money without any extra effort.
Who can earn with these apps?
The great thing about the apps you can use to earn passively is that there are options for all.
You do not need any special skills or training to use them and you can get started right away.
On the list below, I will also include apps for many different countries. So no matter where you live, you will be able to use at least some of these apps to earn.
All you need is an Android or iOS phone or tablet and then you can get started. So let’s now get to the list.
12 best apps to earn TRULY passively
As mentioned, the list below is a list of apps where you can earn without doing anything extra so they are truly ways to earn passively.
To get the most out of these oportunities, it is best to download and create an account for several of the apps.
I will also be updating this list regularly as I come across new passive income apps, so make sure to bookmark this page and come back and check for new opportunities once in a while.
Available in: Select countries
Payment methods: Cash, gift cards
More info: Read full Nielsen Mobile Panel review
Nielsen Mobile Panel is truly an app you can use to earn passively. All you have to do is to install it and it will then anonymously collect data about your internet usage that will be used for market research.
So once you have downloaded it and created an account, you will keep earning passively as long as you have it installed. And you can even use it on several devices (also computer) to earn more.
How much you will earn and how you will get paid depends on the country you live in. You can see which countries it is currently recruiting in by clicking the join button below.
Available in: All countries
Payment methods: PayPal (via Tipalti)
More info: Read full Honeygain review
Honeygain is available worldwide and if you have unlimited internet, this can be a very easy way to earn passively.
You just install the app and set it up and you will then share your bandwidth (unused internet) and earn like this. The more you share and the more devices you install it on, the more you will earn.
Once you have earned $20, you will be able to get your earnings out in cash through PayPal (via Tipalti). And if you join through the invitation link below, you will get a $5 joining bonus just for signing up.
Available in: US, UK
Payment methods: PayPal, gift cards
More info: Read full UpVoice review
UpVoice is an exclusive app as you need to be accepted to start earning with it. But once you have been accepted, it is really easy to earn as you do not have to do anything else than just using the social media platforms you probably already use (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and more).
UpVoice anonymously gathers data about what ads are shown on social media and will pay you for helping getting this info that is used for market research.
It is currently only available in the US and UK, but if you live here it is a great app to install. You will also get a $5 joining bonus which will take you very close the the $10 payout threshold so you will quickly be able to get your first payout.
Available in: Most opportunities in US, UK, Canada, Australia, Ireland, France, Germany, Spain
Payment methods: PayPal, gift cards
More info: Read full Swagbucks review
If you have been looking for ways to make some extra money online for free, you have probably heard about Swagbucks as it is one of the biggest Get-Paid-To sites.
Let me just make it clear that the majority of the earning methods in the Swagbucks app are not really passive ways to earn as you have to continuously do tasks. But it is still on this list as it also offers some passive ways to earn as you can do your online shopping through it and get cashback and also earn just by searching online which you probably do anyway.
The exact payout threshold depends on the country you live in, but it is, in general, fairly low and you can get paid in cash or via gift cards.
Available in: The US
Payment methods: PayPal, Amazon gift cards
More info: Read full Smart App Community review
If you live in the US, Smart App Community can be a nice easy way to earn a bit extra passively. It measures your internet activity and this will be used for market research so you will earn just by having it installed.
However, you can only join through an invitation link and they do not always accept new members. Sometimes I have invitation links here on this website, so if you want to join, just click the button below.
You will be able to get your earnings out as cash via PayPal or as Amazon gift cards.
Available in: US, UK
Payment methods: Check
More info: Read full SurveySavvy review
SurveySavvy is actually a paid survey site but it also has an app called SavvyConnect that allows you to earn passively. All you have to do is to install the app and you will then earn as long as you have it running in the background.
You will earn $5 for every month you have it installed and you can install it on several devices to earn more. It is a really easy way to earn a bit extra – especially if you have several devices you can install it on.
You just need to be aware that you can only use SavvyConnect in the US and UK and you will get paid in check. You can request for a payment already when you have earned $1.
Available in: US, Canada
Payment methods: PayPal, check
More info: Read full Rakuten review
Rakuten is a really great way to earn a bit extra by just doing what you already do if you ever shop online. It is a cashback site that has agreements with thousands of online stores in the US and Canada.
So if you ever shop online, you can just do it through the Rakuten app and then you will automatically earn for every dollar you spend.
You will also get a $10 joining bonus when you complete your first purchase through Rakuten and you can earn further passive income by inviting friends to join as well.
Available in: 60+ countries
Payment methods: Gift cards, products, PayPal
More info: Read full Sweatcoin review
Sweatcoin is a unique app as all you have to do to earn is just to have it installed and have your phone with you when you walk or run.
It will then count your steps and you will earn Sweatcoins for every step you take. I will be honest and say that it is not a lot you can earn. But you also do not have to do anything else than just have your phone with you when you walk or run which you probably have anyway.
The Sweatcoins you earn can be exchanged for gift cards, products, or sometimes also PayPal cash.
Available in: More or less all countries
Payment methods: PayPal
More info: Read full PacketStream review
PacketStream is a great alternative to Honeygain and is similar in many ways as you also on this platform can earn by sharing your unused internet bandwidth.
You can join from al countries but the only payout method PacketStream currently offers is PayPal so it only makes sense to join if you live in a country where PayPal is available.
Once you have earned only $5, you can get your earnings out.
Available in: Select countries
Payment methods: Gift cards
More info: Read full MobileXpression review
MobileXpression is very similar to Nielsen Mobile Panel in the way you can earn. But it is not higher on the list because it can be a bit difficult to become a member.
They are often looking for members with specific devices and the only way to find out if they are currently looking for members from your country with your type of mobile phone is by trying to apply to become a member.
But once you are a member, it is very easy to earn as you do not have to do anything else than just have the app installed.
Available in: Select countries
Payment methods: PayPal, WebMoney, or BitCoin
More info: Read full Money SMS App review
Money SMS App is an interesting way to earn passively as you will earn just by having it installed and receive random text messages. These messages are sent by telecommunication providers to test the connection in your country.
There is no guarantee of how many text messages you will receive – sometimes you might receive one per day, sometimes several per day, and other times maybe only a few per month.
You get €0.02 per SMS you receive and once you have earned only €2 you can get paid in cash via PayPal, WebMoney, or Bitcoin.
Available in: US, select EU countries, UK
Payment methods: PayPal, charity donations
More info: Read full Slidejoy review
Slidejoy is an app that will display ads on your lockscreen on your phone. Every time you then unlock your phone, you will earn.
So it is another app where you truly do not have to do anything extra than what you are already doing. However, it will not be a lot you can earn so it takes some patience to earn.
But then again – you do not really have to do anything than just have it installed and use your phone as you usually would. Just be aware that it is only available for Android devices and not for iOS.
As you can see, there are some really great apps you can use to earn passively. As long as you do it with the right expectations and do not expect it to make you rich or make a full-time income, then it is a really great opportunity.
If you combine several of these apps and use as many as you are able to qualify for, it definitely can give some nice extra earnings on the side. So find the apps that are available in your country and that you think sound the most appealing to you and start earning without doing anything.
If you have any comments, questions, or know of any great apps to earn passively that is not on the list, I would love to hear from you in a comment below.