What is an app?

What is an app?

An app - short for application - is a program that runs on your mobile phone.

Put simply, apps allow you to perform almost any task on your phone or tablet, and they’re growing in number and popularity by the second.


What sort of apps are there?

With so many apps to choose from, it's difficult to select just a few to talk about.

There are amazing apps for music lovers, like Google Play Music™ which lets you stream tunes ad-free and listen offline on the tube.

There are apps that use the camera on your device to take pictures of product barcodes, and then automatically search the internet for the best deal.

Others use the GPS on your phone or tablet to work out your location, and then tell you exactly which buses and trains you need to catch to get where you need to be.

There are finance apps, travel apps, photo sharing and editing apps like Instagram; running and sports apps that track your fitness and act as a personal trainer, and loads of gaming apps for kids and adults alike.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg…

Where do I get apps from?

Apps are downloaded from an online ‘shop’ that you’ll find on your phone or tablet. The shop is run by the manufacturer of your device’s operating system (read our article to find out about your mobile operating system).

So, for iPhone and iPad, it's the App Store; on Android phones or tablets it's called Google Play; and on Windows Phone it’s Windows Marketplace.

You can get into these shops simply by tapping the icon on your homescreen.

How much do apps cost?

Many apps are free or just few pounds; although there are some specialist, more advanced apps that cost up to £50.

Most app stores will allow you to browse specifically for free apps, but if you need to pay for one, you can register a credit or debit card. Some shops on the high street also sell gift cards for certain app stores.

What are you waiting for?

As the saying goes, there’s an app for pretty much everything and the majority are designed to make the fast-pace of modern life a little less stressful. Being able to bank, shop, map read, count calories, check the weather, and even make a meal with the leftovers in your cupboard, all at the touch of the button, is perfect for life on-the-go.

If you’re a Three customer, don’t forget to check out the Three app that allows you to manage your account and gives you support info at your fingertips.

And Three inTouch is our free app that lets you call and text whenever you're on Wi-Fi, even if there's no mobile signal.