What would our lives be without spectacular mobile apps? These little pieces of software are designed to make our lives easier in a variety of ways, as well as serving as add-ons to enhance the functionality of our smartphones.
Although we find a large number of proposals on the market, there are several types, differing according to their function, the equipment with which they were created and other features. Below, we tell you everything you need to know about them.
What is an application?
A mobile software that runs on smartphones, tablets and portable devices is called an application, app or APK. Their main feature is that they provide useful tools to extend the functionality of these devices.
A native application is an application that is designed to run and install only on a specific operating system or environment. For example, the apps you find on Google Play are native to Android smartphones, while the apps in the App Store are only available for iOS.
Web Apps or web application
Although the term “application” can also be applied to other environments, including the web environment. The web application is designed to run on an external server, which can be run by adding an Internet address and provides all its functionality from there.
We can say that a hybrid application is an application created to run on different operating systems, also known as cross-platform. However, an Android APK can never run on iOS unless it is customized to your specifications in a different package.
Types of operating systems for smartphones
Currently, there are different operating systems for smartphones on the market. While only two remain at the top of the list as eternal rivals, there are other options that have taken a back seat. The types of smartphone OS are:
Created by Google, the operating system has been encapsulated layer by layer, initially based on JAVA and gradually adapted to its own code. It is the most important and most used in the world.
The operating system is designed by Apple to run on its smartphones and tablets. Its main feature is that it is much more difficult to modify, customize or violate than Android. Although it is dedicated to that company, it is secondary.
It was originally born from an alliance between Microsoft and Nokia, but gradually they separated and Windows Phone would work together with the original operating system, competing with Android and iOS. It is currently discontinued in the market.
Blackberry OS is an operating system released by Research in Motion Limited (RIM) for its smartphones. It once caused a stir in Latin America and the U.S., but Android quickly took it over due to the fragility of its devices and is now discontinued.
Some operating systems are not very well known, such as those found in basic equipment. We can also add to the list those modified from Android, such as CyanogenMOD or LineageOS.
What do I need to download an application?
An indispensable requirement is a smartphone compatible with a specific application. For this, you only need the official store of each operating system, either Google Play for Android or App Store for iOS, as well as Internet connection and storage space.
Another basic requirement to be able to download apps on your smartphone is a Google account for Android, since without it you will not be able to access the store. Again, you must provide permissions when installing.
On iOS, things are a bit more rigid, as the operating system is not as flexible as Google’s, meaning you can only download your apps directly from their store unless you make special software customizations, known as jailbreaking.
Differences between mobile applications and websites
A very significant difference between them is the native usability tools designed by both systems. Applications can run on specific computers and with specific hardware, while websites (not web applications) can run on any browser.
Another more important difference between an application and a website is their functionality. Web sites generally provide information, while applications have the specificity of providing additional functionality to a device or extending existing functionality.
How do free applications make money?
Ads are the main source of revenue for free apps. That’s why we see them sometimes add intrusive ads because they earn a commission for every click you make on them. However, they are not always annoying.
Another way to earn money is through donations and third-party funding. Actually, not many apps are guided this way, but if it’s a proposal for the collective good, they usually add a donate button, and that’s how they get funded.
There are even hybrid apps, as it has a free version with some features locked that you can only unlock by accessing premium payments. You will also find apps that, although free, sell digital items, just like in games.
What data can the apps on my cell phone access?
All applications will show you the permissions they need to run. By accepting the installation, you are giving it the right to log in, send messages, make calls, read files, contacts and more. That’s why you have to be attentive.
How to find out the permissions of an application?
There are several ways to find out what these permissions are. The main thing is to access the application settings from the device settings and view them from there. You can also do this at installation, or just check it in the store description.
Why do you need to know my location?
Your device’s GPS allows device manufacturers, browsers and applications to see where you are, so you can set country-specific restrictions, enable certain unique features or simply comply with the laws of that region.
For example, a banking app in your country may be restricted in other countries, so the developer will ask for your location and, if so, unlock access to the system.
The importance of updating applications
An application usually has a support team behind it that is using your system to evaluate its performance. User feedback allows you to send them possible bugs and glitches as well as suggestions and the way to fix them is through updates.
While the store is set to update automatically by default, you can also choose to update manually. This will allow you to access new application features, test performance improvements and even compatibility with your phone.
Are the comments reliable?
Most of the time, the reviews are realistic, as it is the users who have tested various features of the application and can give their opinion. The best way to know if a review is genuine and objective is to look at the amount of “likes” it receives.
Even so, it is important to read the other opinions and not settle for the first or the most outstanding in the list, as many times users rate apps negatively for not being compatible with their phone models, even in the description the developers made a clarification.
What to look for before downloading an application?
Definitely in the reviews, because based on the opinions of those who have already tried the application, you can know if it is worth downloading, taking into account the above factors. However, it is also good to do some research on our periodic reviews.
In addition, all apps come with a description box that breaks down the most basic functionality of the app, shows how it works on certain devices, and sometimes the manufacturers post illustrative videos and images to give you a good impression.
How can I prevent my children from using some applications?
You can consider various tools. For example, some apps come with parental locks for settings. You can also download apps like AppLock, which enforces a specific lock through the app so your kids can’t log in.
Although it never hurts to set a keyboard or screen lock entered into the system. On Android, there are options that include a system of patterns, pins, alphanumeric passwords and even a fingerprint lock to prevent someone from accessing the device.
On Apple, things aren’t much different, but you’ll usually find those forms of combination locks, and on newer devices, there’s a fingerprint reader pad that’s installed specifically for whoever chooses to grant permission.