Using your app store

Yesterday I gave you a basic explanation of apps. You can click here to read that article. You can click here to read that article. Today, we’ll take a look at how you get them for your phone, tablet, or PC.

The app store isn’t like the software store in the mall where you would stop in and pick up a few discs. Instead, it’s actually an app.  An app designed for downloading and purchasing apps.

You’ll find both free and paid apps available in your phone’s app store.

How many apps?  Check this out:

Android’s Google Play Store:  3 million apps.  2.8 million for free. Just over 200,000 paid.

Apple App Store:  2.2 million apps. As with Android, around 200,000 of the apps cost to download.

Let’s open the app store app for your phone.

On an Android phone, you’ll want the Play Store. The icon looks like this:



Here’s the icon for the Apple App Store.


If you haven’t already created an account with Google or Apple (depending on your phone), you’ll be asked to create one.


You may also be asked to add some payment information. This is not required. If you decide to purchase something at a later date, you can always add the payment information then.  Here, you can just tap “skip.”


First, let’s look around the Google Play Store.

There’s a lot more available in the play store than just apps. You will also find games, videos, music, eBooks, and e-editions of magazines.


You can search for a specific app by tapping the search box at the top screen.  Here I’ll search for Pandora Internet Radio, a very popular music streaming app.

See it there in the search? I just tap the icon and it goes to Pandora.


Since the app is free, there is no price listed, just the install button and a brief description.

You’ll also see the apps rating (out of 5 stars) and how many times it has been downloaded. For Pandora, there have been more than one hundred million downloads. That’s a whole lot of downloads.


Scroll down and you’ll see screenshots for the app. We can just tap on those to get a better look how the application works. You can also read the individual reviews.

I always think it’s a great idea to read both the good and bad reviews. See if there’s a particular device or operating system that an app has issues with.


If you decide you want the app you’ll tap a button in the upper right that either says Buy or Install. In the case of a free app like this, tap install and it will immediately begin the download process.


A screen will pop up showing you what types of permissions this app needs. Permissions are the types of information that app is allowed to access on your device. Common permissions include your name, your location and in the case of Pandora, your music files. Many social media apps will want your contacts.


Be careful when approving app permissions. Some apps ask for information they really don’t need to function properly. That’s because a lot of times the price you pay for free apps is information about your habits that marketers use to target advertising directly to you.

Unfortunately, at the moment, there’s not really a way to pick and choose what information you choose to share. Accepting app permissions is an all or nothing thing. If you’re willing to grant those permissions, tap Accept.

If you have a good WiFi connection the app should install in less than a minute. Just tap Open and you’re ready to use it. If it’s something like a game, you can usually start playing. Apps like Pandora or Facebook will require you to log into your existing account or to create a new one.

To update or uninstall your apps, tap the menu bar in the upper-left of the Play Store and then tap My Apps& Games.


Apps in need on an update will be displayed at the top. You can choose to update them individually or to tap update all to update all of your apps.


Tap an installed app and right underneath open, you will notice the uninstall button. That’s how you remove an app from your tablet. Just tap it and it will uninstall in less than a minute.


If you aren’t sure what kind of app you want, you can just tap apps and browse by categories like Social, Music, Games and Entertainment. If you aren’t sure what kind of app you want, you can just tap Apps & Games at the top of the screen.


Then browse by categories like Social, Music, Games and Entertainment.


A great thing about buying an app in the Play Store is that once you buy it, it’s yours. Even if you uninstall it from your tablet, it’s still waiting there in the cloud for you and you can download it again at any time.

Go to the Play Store and open My Apps & Games and click the Library tab. Find the app you uninstalled and tap to install it again.


If you lose your tablet or it fails or you just purchase another one, you can log right onto your Google Account, go to the play store and download your apps again.

If you purchase digital music, e-books or digital magazine or newspapers subscriptions through the Play Store, you’ll be able to access those purchases on other Android devices like tablets or smartphones.

Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at the Apple App Store.

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