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Regardless of whether you've been using an iPhone or iPod touch for a while or you've just started using your first iOS device, you're probably well aware of the App Store, the one-stop, only game in town place to browse, purchase and download apps for your iPhone or iPod touch. Yes, the iPhone and iPod touch come with some great and incredibly useful built-in applications, but let's face it, these devices are really mini, handheld computers and they are capable of so much more than just what they do out of the box. And thousands of developers have created, as I record this, over 700,000 apps and counting for iOS.
We've reached the point where if you think of something you wish the iPhone or iPod touch can do, and it's within the realm of possibility for it to do so, chances are that one or more developers have thought of the same idea and created an app for it. It's just a matter of hitting App Store and performing a search. You can find apps for getting up-to-the -minute news and weather reports, for coordinating travel plans, for managing your finances, for finding a new restaurant, for working out and of course you'll find tons of games. That doesn't even come close to doing justice of the range of applications you can find in the App Store. Now there are two ways to browse, purchase, and install apps from the App Store.
You can do it from iTunes on your computer or from your iPhone or iPod touch itself, kind of like how you can browse and purchase music and videos from the iTunes store and both iTunes or from your device. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. So let's take a look at the process starting with iTunes on the computer. Begin by selecting the iTunes Store in your source list. Once a storefront appears, click Apps at the top of the window. On the main Apps Store page, you'll always find several lists of featured applications like New and Noteworthy, Amazing on the iPhone 5, What's Hot, and, because it's currently October as I recorded this, we see Happy Halloween.
On the right-hand side, you'll see a lot of Top 10 lists for Top Paid apps, Top Free apps and the Top Grossing apps. So, this is a good page to start if you're just browsing and not looking for anything in particular. If you know what sort of app you're looking for, you can narrow down your choices by clicking the arrow next to the Apps Store button and from here, you can select from several categories of apps. Selecting a new one takes you to a page featuring just those types of apps. Typically, you'll have the Top Paid and Free apps listed in the category on the right-hand side.
More Featured or New items near the top of the page and some other lists you can look through. Each one of these categories also has a See All link which you can click, so in this case, I am seeing all the new business apps. You can also click the Sort By menu to sort the apps alphabetically by name. Some types of apps are so plentiful and popular, like games, that they have their own mini homepage, laid out a lot like the main Apps Store homepage.
Again, here you'll find New and Noteworthy apps, What's Hot, and if I scroll down, you'll see this category More Games, where you can click on over a dozen different game genres to continue your search. But let's say I'm interested in a fitness-related app. I'll select Health & Fitness and I'm taken to that page. Now I could browse my way through the hundreds or thousands of apps in this category, but since I'm looking for something specific, I probably want to perform a search instead. Let's say I'm looking for an app that will help me track my runs. So up in the Search bar, I'll type running.
Now that gives me results for Podcasts, Albums and Music as well as Apps. I'll click Apps under Filter by Media Type, so I'm just looking at Apps. Now I see six featured and popular iPhone apps. But again, I can also click See All to see all of my results. Now unless you know of a specific app you want to check out, you're still probably going to have to browse through many screens of apps to narrow down your selection. You can check out the details of any app by clicking it. I'll check out this one called runtastic. So, this is the detail screen for this app.
Every app has a detail screen where you can read the app's description, what's new in the latest version of the app, see screen shots from the app itself to get a sense of what it actually looks like and under that you'll find Customer Reviews. These are generally reviews from people who have downloaded and used the app themselves. It's a really useful way to get a sense of how good the app is beyond what the developer puts in the description themselves. Apple does screen every app that appears in the Store, but that's mostly for technical issues and to make sure an app doesn't violate any policies. So many subpar apps do make it onto the store. The Customer Reviews can be a good defense against purchasing a poorly functioning or a just plain bad app.
But if after reading the description and checking out the reviews, you're interested enough to download the app, scroll back up to the top and this is where you'll find the button to purchase the app. It will either be labeled with the apps price or it will say free app if the app you're looking is free and many of them are. Now we'll look at the purchasing and downloading process in its own upcoming movie, but that's the basics of browsing the Apps Store through iTunes. Next, we'll take a look at how the process works on your iPhone or iPod touch.
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