Downloading Your First iPad App

Personalize your iPad with apps

Arrow pointing up in neon clouds

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The iPad ships with several useful apps installed on it, but to make the iPad truly yours, personalize it with apps that you use regularly. The iPad App Store is filled with free and paid apps that you can download to your iPad.

Although the instructions in this article apply specifically to iPads running iOS 12 or iOS 11, the App Store is available on every iPad except the first model.

How to Find an iPad App on the App Store

To launch the App Store on your iPad, go to the Home screen and tap the App Store icon.

App Store iCon on iPad

The App Store opens on the Today screen, which shows a curated selection of featured and popular apps. The contents of the Today screen changes daily. Scroll down to see what apps Apple suggests. Usually, this screen has an App of the Day, a Game of the Day, and several collections of related apps.

App Store Today screen

At the bottom of the Today screen (and the other App Store screens) are five icons: Today, Games, Apps, Updates, and Search. Tap one of these to go to that section of the App Store.

How to Download a Game App

If you are interested in playing games on your iPad, tap the Games icon at the bottom of the screen to go to the games section of the App Store.

Games tab in App Store on iPad

Scroll through the Games screen to see the Top Games of the Week, games the curators recommend, gaming categories, a list of the Top 30 Free Games and Top 30 Paid Games, and other collections of games.

Each game has either GET next to it, which indicates it is a free app (free apps may contain optional in-app purchases) or a price for the app. If you see an app that interests you:

  1. Tap an app to open its information screen. For example, to learn more about the Marvel Strike Force game, tap it.

    Marvel Strike Force on App Store
  2. On the information page, read the reviews and the developer notes and look at the graphics from the app. This may help you decide whether you want to download it.

  3. If you aren't interested in the app, go to the upper-left corner and tap Games to return to the Games screen and look for another app.

  4. To download the app, tap Get (or the price on a paid game) to open a download screen.

    Get button on Marvel Strike Force App Store page
  5. The screen describes the app and lists your Apple account name. Tap Install or the price to begin the download and, in the case of paid apps, to bill your Apple account.

    Install button for app in App Store on iPad

In most cases, the download time is only seconds, but the larger the file, the longer it takes. The app installs on the iPad. Look for its icon on the Home screen. To open the app, tap it.

How to Install Other Apps

The App Store has more than games. To find other apps in all categories, go to the bottom of the screen and tap Apps.

The process of selecting and downloading an app from any category is the same as downloading a game app.

App Store Apps screen

As on the Games screen, you'll see the top apps for the week, best selling apps, top free and top paid apps, editor's choices, and more categories.

If You Already Know the App You Want

If you know the name of an app you want — either because a friend recommended it or you read a review of it online — don't scroll through the apps to look for it. Instead, go to the bottom of the screen, tap Search, then enter the name of the app in the search field. Tap Search again, and the information screen for that app displays.

Want to Change an App's Location on Your iPad?

It doesn't take long to fill up the screen with apps. The iPad adds more screens as you download more apps than can fit on the original Home screen. To move between screens of apps, swipe left or right on the iPad screen.

You can also move apps from one screen to the next and create custom folders to hold apps. Learn more about moving apps and organizing your iPad.

Ready for More?

If you want to learn how to navigate your iPad, find the best apps, and delete apps you no longer want, check out the iPad 101 lesson guide.