I’ve heard from some readers lately who wanted to know why a particular program will work on their PC, but can’t be installed on their phone. Or how come they can’t play a particular game app on their PC. Or sometimes why a favorite Windows game doesn’t work on Mac or an iPhone app can’t be used on a Galaxy phone.

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That’s because programs are designed to run on particular operating systems. Think of Windows as a vehicle that runs on regular gas, Mac as a diesel engine, Android as an electric car, and iOS as a moped. Each of these vehicles has a very different engine and the parts just aren’t interchangeable.  No one is going to be able to make one battery that fits a semi, a mini van, an electric car, and a moped. There have to be different versions of that battery.

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In some cases, you have to purchase separate version of that software for each device. The program or app you want might not be available for multiple devices. Designing a proram for an OS is a lot of work. Developers have to start from scratch and figure out how to make features from that app work with a completely different set of rules, Ut might not be financially viable for a company to make four kinds of batteries. So they’ll just stick to their successful moped battery business instead of investing millions in a battery that electric car owners may or may not like.

Some subscription programs, like Microsoft Office 365, work more like your AAA membership. They are good to use on all of your devices, though you will have to download different versions of the program to you individual device. You can use an Office subscription on up to 5 devices. In this case, since Microsoft is a huge company, they can afford to make a different part for multiple devices.

If you’ve got something installed on your Windows PC, that you’d love to have on a Mac or your phone. Check the app store for your device to see if it’s available. If it’s not, there may very well be something very similar that you can use.

I hope this clears things up.

~ Cynthia