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 highly useful apps already installed on it, but the only way to make the iPad truly yours is to personalize it with apps that you use regularly. That's where the App Store comes in handy. It is filled with free and paid apps that you can download to your iPad.

The iPad App Store can be intimidating at first, but after you get the hang of it, downloading apps is easy and addicting. Finding the apps you want among the almost 2 million apps in the App Store is the real trick. With so many apps, it can be challenging to locate the best ones, but once you do, downloading the app to the iPad is just a tap or two away.

How to Find an iPad App on the App Store

Launch the App Store by touching its icon on the iPad Home screen.

iPad Home screen with App Store app

The App Store opens on the Today screen, which shows a curated selection of featured and popular apps.

App Store Today screen

The contents of the Today screen changes daily. Scroll down to see what Apple suggests might interest you today. Usually, you'll see an App of the Day and Game of the Day and several collections of related apps.

At the bottom of the Today screen (and the other App Store screens) are five icons: Today, Games, Apps, Updates, and Search. A tap on any one of these takes you 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 straight to the games section of the App Store.

Games screen in the App Store

As you scroll down the Games screen, you 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 that may interest you.

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 anywhere on an app to open its information screen. For example, if you want to know more about the Marvel Strike Force game, tap it.

    App Store Games section
  2. Read the reviews and the developer notes and look at the graphics from the app on the app's information screen. They may help you decide whether you want to download it.

    Game information screen
  3. If you aren't interested in the app, tap Games in the top left corner to return to the Games screen and look for another app.

  4. If you want to download the app, tap GET (or the price on a paid game) to open a download screen.

  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.

    App Store download confirmation screen

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

How to Install Other Apps

The App Store is about much more than games. You'll find tons of other apps in all categories by tapping Apps at the bottom of the screen.

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 lots of apps in more categories than you can think of.

If You Already Know the App You Want

If you already know the name of an app you want — either because a friend recommended it or you read a review of it online — you don't need to scroll through all the apps looking for it. Tap Search at the bottom of the screen and enter the name in the search field that pops up. Tap Search again, and the App Store takes you straight to the information screen for that app.

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

It doesn't take long to fill up the screen with apps. The iPad generates additional screens as you download more apps than can fit on the original Home screen. You move between screens full of apps by swiping left or right on the iPad's screen.

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

Ready for More?

If you want to learn more about navigating your iPad, finding the best apps and how to delete apps you no longer want, check out the iPad 101 lesson guide.