What is an app?

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App is short for application - this can be any type of computer program.

Applications have been around for as long as computers, but the term 'app' is associated with the software that runs on a smartphone or tablet device.

How can I get apps?

Games app with rating

Step-by-step guides to downloading apps:

For more guides on using smartphones and tablet devices visit the Digital Unite website.

Apps are usually accessed by clicking or tapping on an icon on the homescreen of your smartphone or tablet.

This means you don't need to search for a program or key in the address of a website.

Many companies make their software available in app form - making it easier for customers to find and use their services.

Apps cover a whole range of different type of activities. The most popular are games, news, weather and social networks.

Many apps make use of the built-in features of the smartphone such as the camera or GPS - which is used for location-based services and maps.

Smartphones and tablets come ready loaded with basic apps, like a browser, calendar, email and chat software, but many more are available for free or at low cost.

App buying tips

You can download apps from the 'store' for your particular type of device. The store is typically an app itself, making it as easy as possible for you to download free or paid-for apps. Each manufacturer has its own store.

However, apps are specific to the system that your phone or tablet runs on so can't generally be transferred from one device to another.

The functions of some apps can be limited depending on what country you are in, or for other commercial reasons such as film or music rights restrictions.

Beware unofficial app stores as they may contain products which have not been approved by the manufacturer and could make your device vulnerable to viruses.

Watch how much you're spending

Football app with in-app purchases Keep an eye of app costs - they can quickly add up

Before you download an app, whether it's free or paid for, look at the reviews on the app store.

You'll find that many apps can be downloaded for free but then give you the option to pay for extra features once you're using them.

These costs may seem small but can quickly add up resulting in a nasty shock when you get your bill.

If you let children play games on your smartphone or tablet make sure you've adjusted the security settings on your device to prevent them from spending your cash.

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