Tech Tuesday: Android Basics – Downloading Apps

Last time we learned about how to access Android settings and what they can do. Today we’re going to talk about downloading apps.

The simple version of this lesson is that all apps are downloaded through the Google Play Store.

You open the Play Store app, navigate to an app you’re interested in by tapping an icon. Or you can search for a specific app and then tap the icon of the relevant app. To put the app on your device tap the “Install” button. That’s it!

But how do you know you can trust the app? What if there isn’t an “Install” button, instead there’s a price?

If you spend a few minutes on the Play Store you might notice how overwhelming the choices are. There are about 3.5 million apps. The Play Store is not closely monitored by Google nor do apps have to pass a rigorous review process before being accepted into the store. Before downloading any app it’s a good idea to read reviews. 

Search for reviews using a search engine and spend a minute or two reading the reviews that have been posted to the Play Store. If users are noting big problems like broken interfaces, constant crashing, schemes to steal personal information, intrusive ads, or excessive requests for additional payments it might be best to try something else.

The Play Store itself is trustworthy. Some apps have a cost and they require payment through either a credit card, debit card, or a service like PayPal. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with entering your credit card information. Many paid apps are more reliable than free apps. Paid apps tend to work well because the developers have a revenue stream that doesn’t rely on advertisements or anything nefarious to pay the bills. Paying for something doesn’t mean that you can avoid being diligent – read reviews!

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