How to Pick Good Apps to Download


I spend a lot of time looking through the app store when preparing for my weekly app review. And, since both the Google Play Store and iTunes boasts around a million apps for users to choose from, there’s absolutely no shortage of choices. Whatever you want to do, there is probably an app for it. But, with so many apps on the market, how do you find a good app that will do what you’re looking for without stealing information, causing issues or costing an arm and a leg? Well, here are some of my tips for finding good apps to download:

Ask for recommendations

One of the simplest ways to find your next favorite app is to ask friends and family for recommendations. Most people have smartphones and apps are pretty prolific. So the next time you’re looking for a great app for something, ask people you know or do a quick internet search to find an app review somewhere.

Know what you’re looking for

With so many apps available, your best bet to finding the right app is to have an idea of what you are looking for. Do you need a new time-wasting game to play? Are you wanting a better keyboard or a less invasive flashlight app? You have to different options for narrowing down your hunt: either do a search and for keywords and hope that the perfect app has those keywords or scroll through the categories and select whichever is most likely to host the kind of app you want. Either method works equally well, depending on what you’re looking for. The second step is to decide if you are willing to pay for something, or if your wallet need to stick with the ‘Free’ section for now. Select that option, and boom! Options narrowed down considerably.

Read the app page

Surprisingly, a lot of people seem to skip this step; or perhaps they just don’t understand how to read an app page. Regardless, there are way more important things than promotional shots of the app (which, granted, are pretty useful). Here are some things you need to look at when you’re skimming the app download page:

Check the star rating – Generally, if an app has less than 3 stars, don’t waste your time. 5 stars is basically unheard of, but anything with 3+ stars is probably a reasonably solid app and worth a deeper look.

Read and understand user reviews – I always read through at least the first page or two of user reviews. While it might be a little discouraging as far as faith in basic grammar skills of the general public, it will give you a good idea of the quality of the app and any problems you can encounter.

However, be aware that there are really only a few types of people who leave reviews: those who are deliriously happy, extremely upset, or who leave pointless reviews. I can’t tell you how many 1 star reviews I’ve seen on solid apps simply because someone couldn’t figure out how to download the app or came across a bug. So, while I recommend skimming the reviews, do take them with a grain of salt.

Look for updates and developer comments – See if the app has been updated recently or not and whether or not the bad reviews received any developer comments or help. This is usually a good indication if the developer is still working with and updating the app. Phone OSes are constantly changing, so if your developer isn’t invested and updating occasionally, then there’s no guarantee that the app will work properly.

Read permissions list – You should always check the permissions list on any app before you download it. NEVER click through without at least skimming it. You keep a lot of personal information your device, so knowing what you’re giving access to is important. Check our out list of permissions to watch out for.

Trial and error

While in the long run, checking the things I’ve listed above will help weed out the really bad apps, the only way to tell if an app is worth adding to the ‘never uninstall’ list is to download and try it out or find someone who has and ask their opinion! After all, you can always uninstall an app if it’s just terrible. So, what do you look for in apps? Do you know of any super terrible or fantastic apps you can’t live without? Tell me in the comments!]]>

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