Even if you're new to the iPad, you've probably heard of apps. The concept is simple: Apps are programs that are designed to run on your device. The iPad comes with several built-in apps, but you can download more from the App Store. The iPad also makes it easy to manage the apps on your device.
The App Store gives you access to hundreds of thousands of apps. You'll find everything from games to entertainment to productivity tools—even apps that can help you with common tasks like studying for an exam, cooking dinner, or keeping track of travel plans.
There are thousands of apps you can download for free. Many other apps cost as little as $0.99, although some may be more expensive. If you're not sure which apps to try first, the App Store can help by giving you recommendations or showing you what's popular with other iPad users.
Click the buttons in the interactive below to learn more about the App Store interface.
The Today tab is updated daily with the newest apps and games, as well as articles from the App Store's editors.
The Games tab features a variety of games you can download for your iPad.
The Apps section is for apps that aren't games. They're organized into categories you can browse.
Here, you'll find all available upgrades for the apps currently on your iPad.
Use the Search tab to search for any apps.
In the Account menu, you can change your account options, view apps you've purchased, redeem gift cards, and more.
You'll need an Apple ID and valid credit card to purchase apps from the App Store (including free apps).
When you first visit the App Store, you'll see a variety of new apps and games you can browse. If you're looking for something more specific, you can tap the Apps button and navigate to the desired category.
Within each category, a list of popular apps will appear. Each app will note its price (or it will say Get if it's free). Simply tap an app to learn more about it. The app page will appear with information on how the app works, user reviews, screenshots, and more.
You may be used to using several programs at the same time on your computer, which is also known as multi-tasking. On the iPad, multi-tasking works a bit differently. Although you can't use several apps at the same time, you can easily switch between apps without going to the Home screen.
To make multi-tasking as seamless as possible, your iPad will keep recent apps paused in the background. When you switch to a recent app, you won't have to wait for it to load. You can simply pick up where you left off.
Sometimes you may want to quickly switch between apps without returning to the Home screen. For example, you might be browsing online in Safari and decide to send a message through the Mail app.
When you switch to the Home screen, the app you're using doesn't actually close; instead, it remains paused in the background. However, if an app stops working correctly, it sometimes helps to force the app to close. This is similar to force-quitting an unresponsive program on a computer.
Keep in mind that you don't need to close apps this way unless there's a problem. Because the apps are paused, they won't slow down your iPad or drain the battery.
The iPad also uses a feature called Background App Refresh to update certain apps in the background, which can have a small effect on your battery life. If you prefer, you can turn off Background App Refresh for some or all of your apps. To modify these options, open Settings, tap General, then select Background App Refresh.
To learn more about multi-tasking, review this support page from Apple on switching apps and using Background App Refresh.
The Home screen contains an icon for every app on your device. This means it can get pretty crowded, especially if you've installed a lot of apps from the App Store. Here are some tips to customize your Home screen so your favorite apps are always easy to find.
Over time, many apps receive updates from the app's developer. Updates usually help an app run more smoothly and may even introduce new features.
By default, your iPad will automatically download these updates. However, you can turn this feature off if you would prefer to manually update your apps. If automatic updates are turned off, a notification badge will appear on the App Store icon whenever an update is available for any of your installed apps.
If you prefer, you can set all updates to install automatically.