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What to keep in mind when you're downloading apps

It’s better to be safe than sorry.

APPS ARE THE lifeblood of any smartphone experience. They practically make up the entire ecosystem for users, allowing them to use their devices in a variety of different ways.

However, while downloading them is simple, it’s always good to be vigilant about the process and ensure you don’t end up with any nasty surprises. Here’s what you should keep in mind.

You don’t need to be on your smartphone to download an app

While all info can be found on your mobile screen, it’s easier to research an app first on desktop before you download it. Each store has its own desktop equivalent and allows you to download from desktop to your phone (when you have a WiFi connection).

Doing this makes it easier to find out more about an app, check reviews from external sites and see if it’s what its cracked up to be.

The Walking Dead Provided you're signed into your smartphone account, clicking install on desktop will mean your phone will begin downloading the app automatically. Source: The Walking Dead/Google Play

Where are you downloading it from?

While the main smartphone platforms (iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Blackberry) all have their own official stores, there are many more out there. Some like Amazon, Samsung and Nokia have their own official stores and can be trusted, but there are a large of unofficial stores out there

Stick to the official stores and if there is any uncertainty about the source, it’s better to play it safe and avoid it entirely.

Where did you find it?

Bear in mind that just because you see an app in an official store doesn’t always mean it’s safe. If you’ve discovered an app through the front page of a store, discovered through its official site or was recommended either by a friend or a media, then it’s likely to be above board

If you discovered it through search, exercise extreme caution and do some further investigation on it before you hit the download key.

Check screenshots and reviews

If you’re still unsure about an app, one handy way to make sure it’s legitimate is to check its screenshots and reviews. Many will include action shots of the app showing off the different features and will normally include at least four images. Those apps with next to no screenshots, or vague descriptions are best avoided.

Likewise, reviews will not only tell you the quality of an app, but will also warn you if there’s something wrong with the app.

Reviews Reviews are a good way to figure out if an app is legitimate. Source: Candy Crush Saga/Google Play

What do you have to pay?

Since it’s harder and harder for apps to be noticed, the vast majority of them are free to download. However, many (especially games) tend to make money through in-app purchases, which allows you to buy content within the app.

Some of these in-app purchases include in-game currency, extra features, additional content, and access to the full version depending on the type of app you’re dealing with.

If you have kids and they use your phone or tablet regularly, it’s best to keep an eye on what they’re playing to ensure no unwanted purchases are made.

IAP Walking Dead Source: The Walking Dead/Google Play

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About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

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