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What is an App? And How to Download one

What is an app?

A mobile application – usually known as an ‘app’ – is a bit of software specially designed to be used on your mobile devices (like your smartphone, or a tablet).

There are lots of apps, and they can do all kinds of things! Let’s take a look at some popular types of apps:

  • Social Media. Popular social media websites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all have their own apps. This makes it easier to use each site on your mobile device when you’re out and about – or just sitting at home on your sofa.
  • Games. There are loads of apps available for playing games! Our favourites are Candy Crush and Words With Friends.
  • Health & Fitness. There are lots of different apps that can track your health and fitness. Some track the number of steps you’re taking, while on others you can jot down your food and drink intake. This helps you to stay on the right track!
  • Reminders. You can download a calendar app to keep track of events and appointments, and even set alarms to remind you when you’ve got something planned.

Okay, great! So how do I download one?

It all depends on whether you have an Apple or an Android device!

Apple devices include iPhones and iPads, while Android devices include most other types of phone or tablet. If you’re unsure, try searching for the name of your device online – and that should give you an idea.

Apple / IOS 

  1. To download an app on an Apple device, you firstly need to go onto the App Store. This is a ‘shop’ for apps that’s already on your device. It looks like a blue square with the letter ‘A’ in the middle.
  2.  If you have an app in mind, you can click the ‘Search’ option at the bottom right of the screen. This will give you a search bar to type into.
  3.  If you’d just like to browse, you can click the ‘Apps’ button, which is at the bottom of the screen in the middle. This will show you some apps in different categories, such as ‘Top Free Apps’, ‘Top Kids Apps’ and ‘New and Trending Apps’.
  4.  Once you’ve found an app that you like the look of, give it a tap with your finger. On this screen, you’ll be able to find out more information about the app – including what it does, and what other users think of it.
  5.  If you decide that you want to download the app, check to see whether it’s free or if you need to pay for it. If it’s free, the blue button beside it will say ‘Get’. If it costs money, the button will have a price on it instead.
  6.  Tap ‘Get’ or the price to download it. The app should then begin to download!
    Go back to your home screen by pressing the Home button. You should see your brand new app waiting for you. Success!


  1.  To download an app on an Android device, you’ll need to go onto the Google Play Store first of all. Like the App Store, this is an online ‘shop’ where you can buy apps. It looks like a multicoloured triangle.
  2.  If there’s an app you’d like to download, tap on it with your finger to read more information about the app, and reviews from other users.
  3.  If you like the look of the app, check to see if it’s free or if you need to pay for it. If it’s free, there’ll be an ‘Install’ option. If it isn’t, there’ll be an option showing the price of the app instead.
  4.  There’ll be an ‘Install’ option beside the picture of the app if it’s free, or a price if you need to pay for it.
  5.  Click ’Install’, or the price, to download the app. The app will then begin to install!
  6.  Go back to your home screen. Your newly installed app should be waiting for you there!

So, there you go! Now you know how to download your first apps in just a few clicks.

Why don’t you have a browse of the App Store or Google Play Store now, and see if there are any apps you’d like to have a go at downloading?

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