What is the Apple App Store?

What is the Apple App Store? This is important to understand for anyone with an iPhone, iPad, or Mac.

Learning how to use the store can help people customize their devices, with easy access to apps they want.

What is the App Store?

The Apple App Store is an app that comes preinstalled on all iOS and MacOS devices. It looks like a white A with a blue background.

The App Store is exactly that, the place to go to download apps for your device. All of the apps in the App Store have been vetted by Apple and should be secure. They should also work well on your device.

Each type of device will display only apps that can run on that operating system. Because of this, the apps displayed will be different on the App Store on an iPhone from the apps displayed on a Mac computer.

The apps that are sold (or free) on the App Store are programs for accessing company’s sites, reading news, watching videos, playing games and more.

Today Tab

Typically, when a user clicks on the App Store, the Today page will be displayed. Because most apps open to where they last left off when being used, the App Store may open to another tab. Tap Today on the bottom of the screen to open the Today Tab.

This tab shows app suggestions based on your prior app usage, and apps that are popular right now.

The other tabs at the bottom of the screen offer 5 different ways to view apps:

  • Today
  • Games
  • Arcades
  • Apps
  • Search

Tap on each icon to see the suggested apps. In each tab there are different ways to find an app. You can also just browse within a section and see if any apps are interesting.

Apps Tab

Within the apps tab the user will see categories of apps. Categories are things like favorites and popular, as well as entertainment, fitness, banking, and other subject terms.

Apps that say “Get” are free to download.

Many apps will say “In-App Purchases” under the word Get. This means that there will be opportunities to purchase functionality while using the app. Sometimes this is about buying a more detailed version of the app, and other times an app requires a payment after a free trial period.

The image above shows the difference between apps that are free to download, and apps that require payment. In-app purchases can apply to both free and paid apps.

Search Tab

When searching for a specific app on the app store there are a few things to keep in mind. Most searches will result in an advertisement being shown as the first result. Ads will always be identified with a blue icon saying Ad.

The app in the ad is not always the app the user is searching for.

In the image below we searched Google Drive but it is offering the Google app first. When looking past the ad, it can be seen that the next app displayed matches what was searched for.

Sometimes the store will also show an app twice, if the company has purchased an ad for that search term. This means the same app will display in the ad slot as well as underneath it. When this is the case either can be selected to get the desired app.

Games and Arcade Tabs

The Games tab is where users can browse through game apps that are available on this device.

Here users can find free games, games that are free to download but require payment after, and paid games.

Many games offer in-game currencies (money) that the user pays for and many are required to play the game.

The main difference between the Games and Arcade tabs is that Apple Arcade is a paid subscription service. For people who subscribe to Arcade, there are 200+ free games — all without ads or in-app purchases. The games are typically available for use as long the subscription remains active.

Many apps on mobile devices give users an easy to use alternative to going directly to a company’s website. These apps may only exist on mobile devices.

MacOS Store

On Apple desktop and laptop computers there is also an App Store that has the same icon as the iOS version.

App Store icon on the dock

Here users can get access to any apps created for Apple computers.

iPhones, iPads and Macs have many similar apps, although not all of them will be available for both devices.

If you don’t find an app in the App Store, search the web for it. Some programs might be available as downloads from the company’s website.

If you have any questions about the Apple App Store or our terminology isn’t clear, please use our contact form to send us a message. Thanks!

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