By Robyn Wright
Our devices have a lot of great apps preinstalled these days, but there are thousands more available to you in the app stores. For iOS users, that means the iTunes App Store; for Android users, Google Play; and Windows Phone users, the Windows App store.
There are apps designed specifically for smartphones, some just for tablets, and some that will work on multiple types of devices. With so many apps available, it can be a little overwhelming to find new things to try. However, all the stores have tools that can help you find just the right apps.
Register Your Device
Even if you only get free apps, you still want to create an account in your app store. This will store the apps you have download in case you get a new device. It also will help you see just those apps that are compatible with your device. If you do update your device, you can change that information in your account settings whenever you need to.
All the stores have selections made by the editors of the store that they are spotlighting. These are apps that someone who works with apps regularly has looked at and are considered worth your time. Most Editors’ Picks are updated on a weekly basis. Make a habit of checking them out to find great apps.
The stores also have top app lists. Usually there is a top free apps, top paid apps, top game apps, and even top apps for other categories. The top free and paid lists do not change dramatically, but it is worth checking periodically. The other category top lists will change more often. If there is a specific type of app that you are looking for, such as photography, productivity, or weather, then keep an eye on those lists to see what apps are peaking everyone’s interest.
Suggested App Collections
Similar to the Editor’s Picks, many stores have put together collections based on a theme. These app collections will contain an assortment of apps that fall under the theme. Examples might be Apps for Baseball Fans, Finance Apps, or Racing Fan Apps. New collections are added regularly, so be sure to check often to see if any new collections have been added that are of interest to you.
Check the User Ratings
I encourage you to take the time to rate apps that you have used yourself, because these ratings really can be helpful to others. Not all ratings are helpful; some do not give a lot of detail (good or bad), but many can really tell you quite a bit. The more ratings an app has, the more you can trust the overall rating (stars) it has. However, if there are only a few ratings, be sure to read what reviewers are saying to see why some may be high and some low. If the app is not a free app, then this really is an important step, since you have a limited time to get a refund.
Look for Last Update
An app may look great and it may even have a high rating, but that does not mean it is up to date. All the apps will show when the last update was in the description. If it has been a few years, then it may not still be that great since technology has improved so much so quickly.
App Developer Info and Web Sites
Look for the name of the developer of the app in the description. You will start to see some companies over and over again and may find some brands you really like and some you do not like. When you find a company you like, look at other apps they have developed. Some companies will have links to their website as well; go check that out to get even more information.
All of these tips utilize what is already in the app store. If you regularly check out the app store for new apps and updates, you will find it becomes easier to use with each visit. Remember, you can try out as many apps as you like (particularly the free ones), and just uninstall the ones that you are not happy with. Remember, there really is an app for that!
Robyn Wright is a social media specialist and blogs on her own blog, RobynsOnlineWorld.com, as well as several other sites. Robyn has a love for family, technology, food and lots of apps!