to your iPhone
Finding and Buying Applications
Logically grouping your
applications together can make it easier to find the app you
want in the future.
Part of a series on the Apple iPhone - please
also visit the other articles listed on the right.
This article is a
continuation of the preceding article,
How to Choose Extra Apps for your
The good news about the iPhone
is also the bad news - with so many applications that can be
added to enhance its basic functionality, it becomes difficult
to find really good applications and to choose between them all.
In addition, it is possible to
add so many applications to your phone that you may forget what
they are all for, or where to find them on your iPhone.
But with it being very easy to
add and/or subsequently delete applications (unlike your Windows
based computer!), maybe this isn't a worry at all.
Buying and Installing
If you're used to buying and
installing programs for Windows, you know both that programs can
be expensive and also can be difficult to install.
Generally, neither is the case with the iPhone.
Its simple (but sophisticated)
operating system makes installing new programs almost automatic,
and if you wish to subsequently uninstall a program, that too is
completely simple, and there are no orphan registry entries or
other hassles and messes left behind to interfere with the
ongoing performance of the phone.
This is an amazing and
wonderful contrast to the hassle factors involved in adding and
removing programs from a Windows computer, and definitely makes
it easier for us to consider experimenting with new
iPhone apps are inexpensive
but usually nonrefundable
Apple iPhone applications tend to be
very low priced - indeed, many are free. Others range in
price from 99¢ up to sometimes more than
$100, but most are less than $10 and many are only a couple of
dollars or less.
cost of applications, and the ease of installing and possibly
uninstalling them encourage you to experiment and try new
applications come in both a free and a not free version.
You can download the free version and try it out, and if you
like it, you can then more confidently proceed to purchase the
pay version. Needless to say, the version you buy
generally has more features in it than the free version,
although sometimes they are close to identical, with the
difference being that the free version has advertising in it,
while the version you pay for does not.
the small size of the iPhone's screen, wasting some of it on
advertising is regrettable, so avoiding the ads - something that
doesn't really matter much on a full size computer screen -
might be worth paying a couple of dollars for.
One slightly negative
factor, though. Generally, if you buy an application and
don't like it, you won't be able to get a refund. So be
sure to read the reviews and comments before buying anything too
expensive, and perhaps research the developer's website too.
Note also that generally
there is more information and it is easier to read through when
browsing through applications through the iTunes store on your
computer, rather than when browsing through the App Store on
Interpreting User Reviews
The user reviews about an
app are interesting, but need to be treated with the same grain
of salt you'd use when considering TripAdvisor reviews.
One suspects that some reviews are from the developer and his
friends, unrealistically praising the product; while other
reviews may be from competing product developers, unfairly
panning the product.
In addition, some people give bad
reviews just because they misunderstood what a program is or
because they can't understand it, even though the problem is not
with the app but with the user/reviewer.
Something I sometimes do (this
is easily done through the iTunes store) is to click on a
reviewer's ID to see other reviews they've written. This
can help to identify people who might be shills, reviewing a
product unfairly, either positively or negatively (ie people who
have only ever written one review, in extreme terms).
So read the reviews, but
try and read between the lines too.
How and Where to Find
The good news is also the
bad news. There are over 105,000 different official applications
(often called just 'apps' - this is short for application, not
for Apple!) available for the iPhone, and the number is
increasing by a thousand or more every week (averaging almost
2,000 a week for nearly a year now).
In November 2008 there were
just 10,000 apps available. Probably no-one ever expected
the number of apps to skyrocket up to 100,000; and now some
commentators are speculating that there might be as many as
250,000 apps by November 2010.
The problem is that Apple's
own process for listing and showcasing the available apps for
the iPhone was never designed to handle such a profusion of
apps. Even with 'only' 10,000 apps, it was struggling to
give each app a fair exposure, and now there are 100,000 and
more every day, it is becoming increasingly unwieldy for both
users such as ourselves and program developers.
sort through all those applications to find good ones is close
to impossible, and the design of Apple's iTunes program is
surprisingly unintuitive and only presents you with the most
popular programs in any of only a very few broadly defined
categories. This tends to make for self-fulfilling
prophecies - the most popular programs are presented first, so
people are more likely to buy them, and so they remain most
popular (even if undeservedly so).
There are some independent websites
that offer various degrees of assistance, and
even applications that can run on your iPhone too, that attempt
to make this easier for you.
One application to add to
your phone to help you find other applications (that sounds like
a rather circular piece of logic, doesn't it) is
to be confused with the 'must have' app Pandora).
This program is free, and
not only provides a new view into all the apps out there, but
also highlights apps which are currently on promotional
specials. As a way to try and get a product move up the
popularity index and into the first few pages of product
listings, developers will sometimes discount a product (perhaps
all the way to free) for a short term to boost their popularity
index. So this is a good way of seeing what bargains might
be out there.
A different approach is
offered by another free program,
Fluke. This program
randomly offers you apps - you can make it slightly less random
by selecting only certain categories of apps and either free or
paid apps. This can be a very compelling application that
you keep paging through, marveling at the creativity of some of
the app developers, and continuing to look for that elusive something that
you absolutely 'must have' yourself.
Another source of
information is user reviews, which are available for all the
apps that are in the iTunes store. If you've found an
interesting app, before you rush to download and/or purchase it,
you should try and see if there are other similar apps that do
the same thing, and which might be better than the app you've
There are several ways to
ascertain this. You could search through the
entire product category, of course, but that is probably too
laborious. You could read the reviews, because sometimes
you'll find a review in which the reviewer compares the app to
another named app, which you can then go and research.
And in the iTunes store, you
can see some information on other products that users have
downloaded - maybe these are competing products.
There are of course websites
with lists of apps, and sometimes with slightly more
professional reviews than can be found on the actual app
listings. Here are three :
http://appshopper.com/ - A
seemingly definitive list of apps ( at beginning of Dec 09
showing 117530 apps) but doesn't have reviews. Has various
ways of sorting and accessing the app listings.
http://www.macworld.com/appguide/index.html - Another
massive listing, with 101639 apps listed in early December 2009.
http://iphoneapplicationlist.com/ - Messy layout, but
interesting video reviews and user comments
Managing All the Programs on
If you're like me, before
too long you may end up with 50 or even more apps on your phone.
Each page on your phone's screen can show up to 16 programs, so you
can potentially have a lot of paging through the pages to get to
any particular application. In addition, trying to find
any particular application can be difficult too.
So what I've done is I've
grouped similar applications together. For example, I have
all my news programs together, all my eBook reader programs
together, all my weather programs together, and so on.
The programs I use the most
are on the first 'home' screen, and the programs I use the least
are on the furtherest away screen.
I don't necessarily fill all
16 spaces on each page, either, so as to keep the logical
groupings of programs sensibly together.
How to Move or Delete
Simply press and hold any of
the application icons. After a few seconds, all the icons
will start to wobble, and a circled X will appear on the top
left of each icon.
To delete an icon, simply
tap the circled X.
To move an icon, touch the
icon and drag it to where you'd prefer it to be. If you
want to move it to another page, move it hard up to the edge of
the page it is currently on, and it will then jump to the next
page, and so on and so on through multiple pages until you get
where you wish to be.
When you move an icon to
somewhere else, other icons will flow to 'make space' for it and
to fill in the empty space left by the icon's departure.
It can be a hassle moving
the app icons between screens, so Apple have added a feature to
the iTunes software that allows you to manage the screen layouts
Part of a series on the Apple
iPhone - please also visit the other articles listed at the
top on the right
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4 Dec 2009, last update
26 Aug 2018
You may freely reproduce or distribute this article for noncommercial purposes as long as you give credit to me as original writer.