For Adults

Adding New Apps: Do More with Your Device


05/10/2021 | tech & mobile skills

App Screen Collage

No matter what type of smartphone or tablet you have, all devices have at least a few apps already installed on them from the very beginning. An app, short for the word “application,” is a software program that’s specifically designed for a smartphone or tablet. Different brands and systems may include slightly different apps, but when you remove a new device from the box, there will be some selection of apps ready for you to use. However, there are many more apps available than just the ones your device has at the start. You have the ability to add the apps you want to your device.

Why is this Skill Important?

While many of the apps installed on your device by default can be helpful, it is difficult for anyone to anticipate all of the many ways you may need to use your smartphone or tablet. This means that you need to learn how to add new apps to your device so that you can use it to accomplish your tasks and goals. Often a company or organization may ask you to install their app to more easily provide you with a specific service. Here are a few examples:

  • A store may ask you to install their app in order to use a curbside pickup system where employees bring your order directly to your car.
  • Your employer may ask you to install an app that will give you easy access to your pay statements or tax documents right from your personal device.
  • Your healthcare provider recommends installing their app so that you can use online scheduling tools.

Android

Android phones and tablets can get new apps from the Google Play Store. Open the Play Store and use the search bar to search for an app by name. You can narrow any search to show only apps (instead of digital movies or eBook titles). You can also browse different categories of apps if you do not have a specific app in mind. Once you find an app that you want to install, you can find out more about it, such as details about features, reviews left by other users, and pictures of what it looks like.

It is easy to tell free apps apart from apps that cost money to download. Free apps have a button that says “Install” and you can tap that button to install the app onto your device. Paid apps will show a button with the app’s price on it and you can tap that button to pay for the app and install it onto your device. If you tap the Install button for a free app and you see a screen asking you to enter payment information, tap the word “skip” to continue with the free installation. Depending on your settings, your device may ask for your security PIN or other passcode before it installs a new app.

Some apps, even those that are free to download, may offer in-app purchases. An in-app purchase could be extra features or tools that you can use in an app or game. Apps that offer in-app purchases include that information in their listings. To prevent accidental in-app purchases or downloads of paid apps, it is a good idea to set up a password requirement, meaning that nothing in the Google Play Store can be purchased unless a password or other security feature is used. To learn more about requiring a password or other authentication for purchases, check out this guide from Google.

Once a new app is installed, you can tap the Open button to launch the app. You will also be able to locate your new app on your home screen or by searching your device for it. Tap the app’s icon to open it.

For more help installing new apps, check out this guide from Google.

iPhone

iPhones and iPads can get new apps from the App Store. Open the App Store and use the Search button to search for an app by name. You can also browse different categories of apps if you do not have a specific app in mind by tapping the App button in the menu across the bottom of the screen.

Once you find an app that you want to install, you can read more about it, including reviews left by other users. It is easy to tell free apps apart from apps that cost money to download. Free apps have a button that says “Get” and you can tap that button to install the app onto your device. Paid apps will show a button with the app’s price on it and you can tap that button to pay for the app and install it onto your device. Your device may ask you for your Apple ID password or other security passcodes before it installs a new app.

Some apps, even those that are free to download, may offer in-app purchases. An in-app purchase could be extra features or tools that you can use in an app or game. Apps that offer in-app purchases include that information in their listings. To prevent accidental in-app purchases or downloads of paid apps, it is a good idea to set up a password requirement, meaning that nothing in the App Store can be purchased unless a password is entered. To learn more about requiring a password for purchases, check out this guide from Apple. You can also use the Screen Time feature to completely disable in-app purchases. Learn more about those options here.

Once a new app is installed, you can tap the Open button to launch the app. You will also be able to locate your new app on your home screen or by searching your device for it. Tap the app’s icon to open it.

For more help installing new apps, check out this guide from Apple.


Practice This Skill

Practice installing an app by downloading one that can help you get more from your library! Here are three popular options to try:

  • Libby, a reading app for borrowing digital books and audiobooks from the Library's OverDrive collection
  • Kanopy, a streaming video platform borrowing films and documentaries
  • Mango, a language learning app that offers 70 world languages and dialects!

Smart Phone Basics

Use the recommended titles here to explore the features of your smartphone. Whether you have an Android or an iPhone, these recent books can help you learn to make your device work best for you! Many of the skills and topics covered here would also apply to Android tablets and iPads.

Android

Gookin, Dan

Let this friendly guide show you the ins and outs of your Android device— master the basics and get the most from your Android phone or tablet!

IPhone

Baig, Edward C.

This simple walkthrough will help you to quickly pick up the basics of using your iPhone. Explore the most important features and learn more about what your device can do!

Android Phones for Seniors

Vandome, Nick

This is a guide to using the Android interface specifically aimed at seniors. This books explains some of the different versions of Android and models of phones that are available. You can also find information about the relationship between Google and the services that can be used with an Android phone.