Does downloading and using apps confuse you? You are less alone than you think.
This apps for dummies * post is an app for I think anyone at one point in time. My mom suggested it and she can work a mac 1000 times better than me, so I think she can download and use the right apps for her. Except for the toddlers using iPads these days, we were all new to the idea of apps at one point. Even someone like me that now may or may not have around 150+ apps on my iPhone (for space reasons) and so more on my iPad…not every app is intuitive. Teenagers may correct me. I bet there are at least a few they need to click on the FAQs for though every once and a while.
Step 1 – Find your phone’s mobile app store.
First – Go to the correct app store which is typically the “App Store” for the iPhone, which is conveniently given the intuitive App Store name and should be located on the first tab/screen of your iPhone (or iPad), as one of the default apps you receive with these devices.
No iPhone? Well…then typically it is whoever makes your phone which for quite a few will lead you to Google Play. If you see Google Play on your phone and it will be pre-installed, there you go. The other two that I honestly know very little about are BlackBerry App World for BlackBerry and Windows Phone Store.
NOTE: if you do not have a smart phone then that is probably why you are not seeing any of these four types of mobile apps. Otherwise one of the aforementioned should be pre-installed when you get your device. There may be some additional ones for certain phones, but the four I just mentioned should be pre-loaded on your phone when you purchase the device and likely only one of those four will be on there (I do not think you will see App Store and Google Play on one phone but maybe they are getting along better than I thought).
Point is: look for one of these and that is your main app for buying mobile apps for your device. If you do not see any, contact your carrier and just ask! Or check the guide that came with your phone – or message me and I will be happy to look for you.
Step 2 – Now you have found your app store. Find the app you want.
- Note that not every mobile app store will offer the same apps. So if you see one mentioned and it is nowhere to be found, it is possible it is only offered for certain phones.
- If you are new to your smartphone or just downloading apps – my tip: try downloading one of the featured free apps typically featured on the home page of the mobile app store . It’s popular for a reason and a good start to play around with.
- Remember you can delete apps if you don’t like it or just need more space later. If you are new to apps you are probably good on space. (Apps can generally be deleted by going to the phones general settings)
Step 3 – Do not forget about the money!
Before downloading the app, consider the cost (if any).
Here are some possible options you may see:
Free. Awesome! Free both to download and free to play.
- Note that within this category are the “freemium” games: Free to download, free to play, but they offer in-App purchases. Ever wonder how Clash of Clans makes so much? It follows this “freemium” model. With some “freemium” apps, these in-App purchases are not required, but without them, players may have difficulty advancing past a certain level.
- Others you can advance and never spend a dime. But what if you are playing your favorite game and you ran out of turns or lives. And have to wait 20 minutes for 1 more turn to generate (AH!). If say a message pops up offering you 5 more turns that you can use right then, no wait, for $1, a lot of people opt to pay for that at least at some point in the app-playing community. There are other in-App purchases that draw players in with extra items or whathaveyou, something to offer you an advantage.
- Good news is usually the in-App purchases individually are not too bad. But beware, they can add up.
- iPhone: When using an app downloaded via the App Store, at least based on my experience, a message appears to authorize to let that app charge your Apple account. The in-app purchase is then charged to the payment method on file with your Apple account, which likely is the same as for the App Store. If you never added a payment method to your Apple ID account, then you will need to – credit card or iTunes gift card.
- Google Play: Payment instructions are available here.
- Windows Phone Store: Uses Microsoft Wallet. Instructions are available here.
- Blackberry App Store: Please find payment methods and instructions on this link.
2. Pay to download the app.
- On the App Store this is displayed right with the download button for the app you are looking at to get. I am not as familiar for the others but if in doubt – ask the help feature in the app or your phone’s carrier. From what I see, it should be stated on the page in which you download the particular app.
- May have in-App purchases as well. Same deal as the above option – except you have to pay to just get the app first as well.
3. App is free but to use it, you must make a payment within the app.
- Similar to “freemium” since downloading the app is free, but except to use it at all, you need to pay once in the app.
- Typically seen with subscription type services such as Talkspace (online therapy).
- Not really free. So pay attention once you get into the app. If it says free to download, that mean literally its online free to download but essentially useless without paying for something to use the app.
4. Pay to download the app AND in-app purchases required to use that app.
- I do not see these often. Let’s call it a combo of #3 and #4 listed above. Except two payments – so the expensive combo. Boo 🙁
Step 5 – Download the App!
- Click download on the apps main page.
- If it is free to download, it may be hard to even see if there are in-app purchases until after you download it. This information may be provided in the app’s description on your phone’s mobile app store. If not and now you see a ton of in-app purchases you need to make, you can always download the app.
Step 6 – Open the app and get going!
- If you have not installed an app for your phone’s mobile app store yet, finding the app you just downloaded should be easy as the only other apps on your phone should be those pre-installed when you bought it.
- If you have a lot of others, you may need to search around your phone (the pages or at least for iPhone if you swipe down on the screen, a search block shows up and you can enter the name of the app.
Step 7 – Using your new app.
- Many apps have frequently asked questions (FAQs), help, and or/support. These are usually found right within the app.
- They do not always answer everyone’s questions, or may only provide a direct contact option.
- No contact app for support or help? No FAQs that answer your question? Try returning to your phone’s mobile app store and go to the page you downloaded this app from. This typically has screenshots of the app as well as user reviews that can be very helpful!
- Still suck? This page should have contact information for the app’s developer or website.
- I ask questions all the time and support has typically been very helpful. If every app was intuitive and user friendly, there would be no need for usability studies.
- New apps tend to have very helpful, prompt and fast replies to questions. You won’t be the only one – especially if it is newer and Google cannot give you an answer. If you are the only one using the app, do not get too attached because it is likely not sticking around. If the app’s contact or support is less than helpful – there are plenty of apps in the mobile sea to choose from. On to the next one.
- If I mentioned this app or if you really want it but are getting no help, sound off in the comments. I will help if I can or another reader may know the answer.
- If none of these options work and you are still stuck on how to use it, this may not be a good app to use. For anyone. And its probably flopping soon.
Remember: no one is born knowing how to use every app there is and every app that will come to be. If it is unclear to you on how to use some feature, app developers typically are thankful if you pointed it out. Unless you are the one person using an app, which is heading towards failure very soon in that case, then you are not the only one with any question.
Now – next time you have a question about finding, downloading, and using an app, try out my steps. If you think of one I did not mention that helped you, OR if you feel uncomfortable with anything I said, sound off in the comments. Questions and feedback is the platform of every app. Don’t believe me? Check the ratings on the next app you look at and you will see feedback or comments on confusing aspects.
Stay tuned! Look out for my upcoming posts on some of the most user-friendly apps and websites to make money. I will post links to both when they are up :).
there is an asterisk * next to dummies because anyone can use an app, but not everyone feels comfortable. Hopefully knowing you are never the only one and there are plenty of resources that want to help you can assure you that they are worth trying. If an app isn’t worth keeping, there is a delete button for a reason.