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Simple guide to downloading apps onto an iPhone or iPad

Chris Torney / 14 January 2016

Get the most out of your iPad and iPhone with our simple guide to downloading and installing apps onto your device.

iPhone with apps downloaded onto it
There are thousands of apps available on the App Store

When you take your new iPad or iPhone out of its box, it comes with a number of software applications – known as “apps” – that let you browse the web, send and receive email and take pictures, for example.

10 handy iPad tips and tricks. 

But there are countless thousands of other useful, interesting or fun programs available, often at no cost, from Apple’s App Store.

So how do you get them on to your iPad or iPhone?

Step 1: Find an app you want

If you want to use social media services, such as Facebook and Twitter, it can be easier to use their dedicated app rather than your iPad’s web browser Safari.

You might want to download popular games such as Angry Birds, or a piece of productivity software like Evernote.

There are lots of websites that recommend apps in various categories – some of Saga’s favourite free apps are here.

You can also browse the most popular and most highly rated apps on the App Store, as explained in Step 2 below.

Seven ways an iPhone could save your life.

Step 2: Open the App Store

On your iPad’s home screen is an icon for the App Store, so tap this to open it.

At the bottom of the screen, there are five options. Tap Featured to see some of the current most popular apps.

Top Charts shows the most popular free and paid-for apps, while the Explore option lists the various categories of app, from Books and Business to Utilities and Weather.

Alternatively, you can search for an app by typing in the top-right corner of an iPad or clicking on the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of your iPhone screen.

Once you’ve found the one you want, tap on it: now you can read more about the app and check other users’ reviews.

Nine essential iPad and iPhone security tips.

Step 3: Install the app

You should see a box with a price in it or, for free apps, the word “Get”. Tap on this, and then tap “Install”.

To download an app, you need an Apple ID – chances are you set this up when you first used your iPad, if not before. 

Now, type in your username and password and your app will start to download – go back to your home screen and its icon will appear there.#

What can I do if my screen cracks?

Step 4: Keep you apps up-to-date

If there is a small white number in a red circle at the top corner of the App Store icon, this means one or more of your current apps need to be updated.

Open the App Store, tap on Updates on the right at the bottom of the screen, and update your Apps as necessary.

The companies which develop Apps are constantly making small changes to correct problems and make sure their programs are compatible with any software changes in the iPad itself. 

Updates mean your apps are less likely to crash, either by freezing or suddenly closing down.

For more tips and useful information, browse our technology articles.


Saga Magazine is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site or newsletter, we may earn affiliate commission. Everything we recommend is independently chosen irrespective of affiliate agreements.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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