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What are mobile apps?

A selection of smartphone handsets

Nowadays there seems to be an app for everything. Whether it’s checking up on breaking news, chatting with friends via social networking or even booking last minute holidays there’s an app out there to help you.

WebWise Team | 10th October 2012

'App' is short for 'application' - which is another name for a computer program. Normally, when people talk about apps they are almost always referring to programs that run on mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablet computers. There are thousands of apps available falling into many different categories.

To celebrate Get Online Week (15th - 21st October) we've created six films to help you make the most of being online using your mobile phone or tablet device.

Find out how you can get and use apps

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Where can I get apps from?

You can download apps from various sites depending on your phone. There are different stores depending on whether you have an iPhone (App Store), Android (Google Play), BlackBerry (App World) or Windows Phone (Windows Phone Store) device. You should find an icon (or shortcut) to the store on your homescreen. Normally you will be asked to set up an account before you can download anything.

5 things to look out for when choosing and downloading an app
When selecting an app from the store take the time to check it out first. Look at the ratings and comments left by other people, they can give you a good indication of whether the app suits your needs.
If you see a lot of comments posted in a short period of time make sure there isn't a fault or other issue with the app before you download.
Some apps will be charged for. Typically this is anything from 50p to £5, with most being around the £1 mark. If you are going for a paid for app you should be asked for confirmation before you can download the app.
In most cases, the app will download more slowly if you are using a 3G connection. Use free Wi-Fi if it's available to keep your costs down.
Apps sometimes come with an 'upsell'. This means once you've downloaded them you'll be offered an upgrade, extended access or more features, but with a cost attached to them. If the app requires you to supply your payment details check the settings to make sure you don't part with any cash unwittingly.

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WebWise Team

WebWise was first launched in 1998 and since then has helped people of all ages to learn about and love the internet.