From an app store named after the Persian word for ‘apple’ to a payments platform called ZarinPal, Iran’s most popular apps are strikingly similar to their Western equivalents

International sanctions imposed on Iran over the last two decades have made access to technology difficult for Iranians.

While much of the world has taken advantage of the creation of iPhones and technology platforms like Netflix and Uber, Iranian citizens have been somewhat left behind in rise of the global tech.

Restricted access to mass market apps and platforms, however, has prompted developers inside the country to get creative and meet the growing demand for new technology from Iranians who want to order food and transport from their phones, and watch movies on their computers.

Many of the most popular apps in Iran are eerily similar to those at the top of the charts in the West, often using similar color schemes, fonts, and interfaces to their Western counterparts.

For example, because of sanctions Iranians aren't able to access Apple's App Store, but they can use Sib, an Iranian app store with an apple for a logo and a name meaning "apple" in Persian.

Here are a list of popular Iranian apps and their Western counterparts side by side.

There are several messaging apps on the Iranian app market. They work in a similar way to applications such as WhatsApp, one example is iGap.

WhatsApp messenger (top) and the Iranian messaging application iGap

Youtube/Whatsapp and GooglePlay/iGap

Domestically-made messaging apps such as iGap are steadily growing in popularity in Iran, according to a report from BBC Monitoring.

Aparat is a video sharing website and mobile application on the Iranian app market, it works broadly in the same way as Youtube.

Youtube (top) and Aparat (below)

aparat.com and youtube.com

According to Aparat's website, 10.5 million videos are streamed on the site every day.

Content is broadly similar to what's on YouTube — funny videos, sports highlights, and kids shows among the most popular content. Like YouTube, Aparat is available to view on both desktop and mobile devices through an app.

Bike-sharing app Bdood, which translates into English as "without fumes" allows people in Tehran to rent bikes around the city. It aims to bring a more eco-friendly mode of transportation to an infamously polluted city.

Uber's bike and scooter-sharing application Jump and Iranian bike-sharing app Bdood

Youtube/Uber and Instagram/bdood.bikes

Bdood works largely in the same way as Uber Jump, whereby people are able to rent a bike to travel from one part of the city to another.

The orange and silver color scheme on the bikes is strikingly similar to that of Mobike, the Chinese bike-sharing giant.

Read More: A buzzy Iranian app is trying to bring bike-sharing to Tehran, but women are having a hard time signing up.

Taxi hailing app Snapp is one of the most successful tech companies in Iran.

Uber (top) and Snapp (bottom)

Youtube/Uber and Youtube/CNN Business

The company, which has been dubbed the "Uber of Iran" launched in 2014, and according to Bloomberg operates in 34 cities across the country and partners with 1.5 million drivers, generating two million fares a day.

Snapp also has a subsidiary application Snapp Box, a service whereby users can send food or other items to another address.

Uber Eats (top) and Snapp Box (below)

Youtube/Uber Eats and Youtube/Kelakettv

Like its Western counterpart Uber, Snapp offers customers the chance to have food delivered through its app. It also offers grocery deliveries and a travel booking service.

Another subsidiary of Snapp is Snapp Trip. It works largely in the same way as the US-based travel aggregator and search engine Expedia.

Expedia and SnappTrip

Zillow is a US-owned online real estate database. Iranian app Manzeland offers a similar service to Iranians.

Zillow (top) and Manzelan (below)

Zillow homepage and Manzelan on cafe bazaar

Digikala is the biggest e-commerce startup in Iran. It launched in 2006 and functions largely in the same manner as Amazon in the US.

Amazon (top) and Digikala (bottom)

Youtube/Amazon and Instagram/Digikalacom

Waze is a GPS navigation software application owned by Google. It is used by some in the country, but domestically-made application Neshan is a popular alternative.

Waze (top) and Iranian navigation app Neshan (bottom)

Youtube/Waze and Instagram/neshan_navi

Netflix is available in 190 countries globally, including several countries in the Middle East. Iran, however, is not one of them.

Netflix (top) and the a movie streaming service (IMVBOX)

Netflix.com and imvbox.com

The Iranian website IMVBox offers a similar service and has acquired rights to 1,600 Iranian films that are free to watch on its website.

Although IMVBox focuses on Iranian content, it's layout and red and black color scheme are strikingly similar to that of Netflix.

Melovaz is a music streaming website in Iran with music from artists inside the country, as well as the likes of Rihanna, Beyoncé, and Taylor Swift.

Album artwork by Spotify (left) and Melovaz (right).
Melovaz

The artwork on the left is from a playlist from Spotify, however Melovaz have their own version which is edited to exclude Rihanna's face.

Other female singers such as Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande have also been removed from their album covers on the site.

Read more: Fans are calling out an Iranian music streaming site for erasing women from their own album covers

Iran's answer to Google is Parsijoo. The company describes itself as an independent knowledge-base internet company operating a Persian language search engine.

Google and Parsijoo

Cedar maps is an Iranian alternative to Google Maps.

GoogleMaps and Cedarmaps

US-based event management and ticketing website Eventbrite also has its own Iranian equivalent — Evand.

Eventbrite.com and Evand.com

Paypal can be said to have revolutionized the e-commerce world by making online sales safer and easier for people wanting to purchase goods and services online. The somewhat similarly named ZarinPal hopes to bring the same to Iranian e-commerce.

Paypal and Zarinpal

According to the Google Play store, Zarinpal enables you to perform simple and secure financial transactions on the internet.

Iranian app Dunro follows in the steps of Foursquare. It provides personalized recommendations of places to go, such as restaurants and cafes with the user's location in mind.

Foursquare and Dunro

Kikojas is Iran's answer to Yelp—the US business directory and review forum.

Yelp and Kikojas

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