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The Online Mom provides internet technology advice and information to help parents protect their kids, encourage responsible behavior and safely harness the power of technology in the new digital world. Social networking, photo sharing, video games, IM & texting, internet security, cyberbullying, educational resources, the latest on tech hardware, gadgets and software for kids 3-8, tweens and teens, and more.

How to find the right apps



Apps are everywhere. So why is it so hard to find apps that we like?

Most people will tell you to just look in the appropriate app store for your device to find new apps. But while sometimes it’s fun to browse, it’s also time consuming. And you may have to weed through a lot of junk to get to the apps that you want.

An alternative approach is to ask your friends and colleagues what apps they use. Not just the apps they think are cool, but what they actually use. Make a note of the precise name of the app, because there are many similarly named apps in the stores.

And while you are asking them what they like, also ask them which apps they were not happy with. There may be apps they paid for and then found out they were not worth the money. Some apps just do not match up to their descriptions. Use your friends’ experiences to help you.

Another place to find apps is from businesses you already deal with. Does your bank have an app? What about your favorite store? Most companies will advertise their apps because they spent money to create them. Now just because they have an app doesn’t mean it’s good, but it is something to check out since you already like the brand.

If you do find yourself looking in the app stores for new apps, there are some things you can do to help your search. First, narrow down the selection by category. Do you want a new game? A photo app? An expense tracker? Once you are in the right category, you may be able to look at top apps in that area – both top paid apps and top free apps. I love a good free app, but there are many paid apps that really are worth the money.

Regardless of where you hear out about the app, make sure you do your own research. Read the entire description to see if it will do what you expect it to do. Look at the screen shots of the app. Be sure to check out when the app was last updated and who the developer is. Many apps are abandoned, so that update date is important. Paying attention to the developer name will help you notice the ones that produce consistently good apps and the ones to avoid.

Finally, read the customer reviews. If there are many, then the overall rating (stars) might be helpful. If there are few, then it might be because it’s a new or niche app. You will always find a few reviews that say the app is a bust but without giving any details. Don’t waste your time on those. Read the more in-depth reviews that give you the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Remember, if you do get a dud, you can always uninstall it. But if you find an app you like, take the time to add your own review. Great apps are out there waiting for you!

This article first appeared in Family Buzz, a VerizonInsider blog on the exciting and ever-expanding world of mobile technology.



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