Apple's third-place finish was revealed in Google's annual Year-End Zeitgeist list, which ranked the top 10 global trending searches of 2013. The iPhone 5s finished behind first-place Nelson Mandela, the South African civil rights revolutionary who passed away earlier this month, and second-place Paul Walker, the Fast and Furious actor who died in a car crash a few weeks ago.
The other smartphone appearing in the top 10 was Samsung's own flagship handset, the Galaxy S4. It came in 8th, just ahead of Sony's PlayStation 3 game console.
The rest of the top 10 subjects, finishing after Apple's iPhone 5s, were: Cory Monteith, Harlem Shake, Boston Marathon, Royal Baby, and North Korea.
Apple's performance on Google's trending searches in 2013 improved over 2012, when the term "iPad 3" ranked fourth. Last year, the third-generation iPad finished behind Whitney Houston, Gangam Style, and Hurricane Sandy.
The company had three top 10 searches in 2011, when the subjects of Steve Jobs, iPad 2, and iPhone 5 (which would actually become known as the iPhone 4S) were all ranked.