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Using the Apple App Store

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In this lesson, you learn to use the App Store to search and download both free apps and paid apps.
This chapter is from the book

The App Store

The iPad comes with 20 great pre-installed apps when you buy the tablet, but, just as with a computer, you have the ability to install many more applications on your iPad. You can download productivity apps, games, digital books, educational apps, and much more. And just when you think you’ve seen it all, a new app is released that is difficult to categorize.

Your gateway to all these new apps is called the App Store. To access it you use an app that’s already installed on your iPad. The easiest way to understand this app is to simply open it and try it out. So tap the app icon you see in Figure 7.1 and let’s take the App Store for a spin.

Figure 7.1.

Figure 7.1. The App Store app icon.

When you open the App Store app for the first time, you might be a bit overwhelmed by what you see. It reminds me of the view from Times Square in New York City where you’re flooded with imagery and text. (Fortunately, the App Store is quiet with no background sounds or sales pitches.)

I discuss the App Store using Horizontal View so the screen is less crowded, which makes it easier to identify things. Figure 7.2, for example, shows an animated box at the top that cycles through new and interesting apps that Apple thinks you might be interested in. Below that box you see smaller advertisements for six new apps along with their price and a rating (from 1 to 5 stars). You can tap the indicated arrow to view the next six apps on page 2, followed by pages 3 and 4.

Figure 7.2.

Figure 7.2. The App Store is all about presenting apps to you.

Use your finger to scroll down the page and the next two sections you see are shown in Figure 7.3. These include buttons that take you to specific categories (such as Games or Education) or certain paid advertisers (such as The New Yorker magazine). Below these buttons are the Staff Favorites, another four pages (indicated by the four small dots) with six apps on each page.

Figure 7.3.

Figure 7.3. View categories or Staff Favorites.

I return to the Staff Favorites section in a moment, but let’s finish up our tour of the App Store by scrolling down just a bit more to see the last few options available.

Figure 7.4 shows a set of Quick Links that can help you get some apps quickly on your iPad. Tapping the iPad Apps Starter Kit, for example, presents you with a mixture of free and paid apps that Apple feels every iPad owner should consider putting on her tablet. You can also see the iPad Games Starter Kit, a collection of games that, again, Apple thinks every iPad gamer should experience. You can also find links to the iPad Hall of Fame, Apps and Games of the Week, and a link to the iWork collection of productivity apps sold by Apple.

Figure 7.4.

Figure 7.4. Quick Links and additional App Store buttons.

Below the Quick Links section is your Apple ID, a Redeem button, and a Support button. (More on these later in the lesson.)

Finally, at the very bottom of the App Store is a toolbar with six buttons as shown in Figure 7.5.

Figure 7.5.

Figure 7.5. The App Store toolbar offers six options.

The Featured button is what you currently see. It’s often considered the App Store’s homepage. Tapping the Top Charts button, presents you with a list of the best-selling apps and the most popular free apps. The Categories button breaks down all the apps sold in the App Store to 20 categories (such as Lifestyle, Books, or Sports). Tap a category to view apps in that category. The Purchased button displays all apps that you’ve bought and offers you the chance to install them to your iPad. Simply tap the Purchased button and then tap the cloud icon next to any apps that appear to download them to your iPad.

The Genius button, when first tapped, requires you to turn on the feature. If you choose to enable it, information related to your browsing and buying habits is sent to Apple. The benefit to allowing this exchange of information is that the Genius tool provides app suggestions to you based on what it sees as your interests and needs from previous app installations.

Finally, use the Updates button to get updates (including bug fixes) to apps that you have installed on your iPad. I show you how the Updates feature works later in this lesson, but for now all you need to know is that if you see a small number (called a badge) in the upper-right corner of the Updates button (in Figure 7.5 there’s a 1 badge) that number represents the number of apps you have on your iPad that have an existing update that you can apply. Again, I show you how this works shortly.

Okay, so now that you know the basics of what is what in the App Store, go grab a free app and install it. Return to Figure 7.3 and tap on the IMDb Movies & TV app (it’s free to install). Anytime you tap the icon representing an app, you see a screen similar to the one in Figure 7.6. This is an app’s information screen.

Figure 7.6.

Figure 7.6. An app’s information screen offers more details about the app.

In addition to the price of the app (this one is free), you can read a description (click the More button to expand the Description field), read about the features in the latest version, use a swipe gesture to view screen captures of the app, and—if you scroll to the bottom of the page—read customer reviews and see an overall rating for the app (see Figure 7.7).

Figure 7.7.

Figure 7.7. Read customer reviews and view the app’s rating.

After reading some reviews, examining the screenshots, and determining from the description that you want to install the app, simply click the Free button (refer to Figure 7.6). The button turns into the Install App button shown in Figure 7.8.

Figure 7.8.

Figure 7.8. Choose to download the app by tapping the Free button, which turns into the Install App button.

After you tap the Install App button, you must provide your Apple ID password as shown in Figure 7.9.

Figure 7.9.

Figure 7.9. Provide your Apple ID and password to begin the install.

After you enter your password, the App Store app closes and the app begins to install as shown in Figure 7.10.

Figure 7.10.

Figure 7.10. Your app is installed on a Home screen.

After the app installs, you can tap the app’s icon to open it. Most apps have a Help feature or built-in instructions, so you need to consult the built-in documentation for each app to learn how it works.

I just showed you how to download a free app, but the process for buying an app is almost identical. The only difference is that instead of tapping the Free button on an app’s information page, you need to tap the price button. Similarly, instead of the Install App button, you see a Buy App button like the one in Figure 7.11.

Figure 7.11.

Figure 7.11. Buy an app by tapping the app’s price button, which turns into the Buy App button.

Tap the Buy App button and you once again have to provide your Apple ID password. To purchase apps, you also must provide a credit card number that is kept on file and charged when you make a purchase. You should have done this when you installed iTunes, but if you haven’t yet done so, consult the iTunes help documentation for the steps to save a credit card on file.

After purchasing the app, it loads on your iPad and is ready to use when the installation progress bar (indicated by the blue bar—refer to Figure 7.10) finishes.

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