How to Install an App or Game on Your iPhone

Estimated read time 5 min read

So you’ve just got your first iPhone—or you’ve only used your phone for simple tasks—and you haven’t installed an app before. With apps, an iPhone can do so much more than just call, text, or snap photos. Here’s how to install them.


To download or purchase apps on your iPhone, you need to have an Apple ID with a form of payment (such as a credit card) set up with Apple. Your iPhone also needs to have any restrictions that might prevent downloading apps turned off (such as restrictions in Screen Time or kiosk mode). And finally, you’ll need to have enough free storage space available on your iPhone to hold the apps you are going to download.

RELATED: How Much Storage Space Do You Need on Your iPhone?

Types of Apps: Free, Paid, or Subscription


Before installing an app on your iPhone, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with the three main types of apps on the App Store:

  • Free Apps: These apps are free to download at first, but they usually support themselves through in-app advertising or in-app purchases, which allow you to pay for features later. In the App Store, you’ll see a button that says “Get” beside them.
  • Paid Apps: These apps cost money to download as a one-time purchase, and you get free updates as long as the app remains supported by the developer. Pad apps are less likely to contain in-app purchases or advertising, but it’s still possible. These apps have a price listed in a button beside their name.
  • Subscription Apps: These apps can be free or paid apps that support themselves through a paid subscription that regularly charges your payment method on file with Apple over time, such as once a month or once a year. Be careful, because some apps feature unreasonable predatory subscriptions that charge too much for a simple service.

RELATED: What Is an In-App Purchase?

How to Install Apps on iPhone

First, power up your iPhone and unlock it. On the home screen, tap the icon for the App Store, which has a blue icon with a stylized “A” on it.

Tip: If you can’t find the App Store icon, it’s possible that the App Store is disabled due to parental controls in Screen Time (See Settings > Screen Time > Content & Privacy Restrictions > iTunes & App Store Purchases). You can also search for the App Store using Spotlight.

When the app store opens, you’ll see an overview screen. Using the row of buttons on the bottom of the screen, tap on the section of the store you’d like to visit. Here’s a description of what each button means:

  • Today: This includes ads and promotions for apps that Apple wants you to see first.
  • Games: This section features games you can play on your iPhone.
  • Apps: This is for apps that aren’t games, such as productivity apps, media streaming apps, and utilities.
  • Arcade: This is for Apple Arcade, a paid subscription service that features games without ads or in-app purchases.
  • Search: This section allows you to search the App Store for a particular app.

iPhone App Store buttons at the bottom of the screen.

Locate an app you’d like to install by browsing the store or performing a search. To download and install it to your iPhone, tap the “Get” button beside it. Or if it has a price (such as “$4.99”), tap the price button to purchase the app and install it.

In the iPhone App Store, tap "Get."

Next, you’ll see a pop-up asking if you want to install or purchase the app. Tap “Install,” then confirm you’d like to download or purchase the app using your Apple ID password, Touch ID, or Face ID.

Tap "Install' in the App Store.

After that, you’ll see a circular download progress indicator beside the app’s name as the app downloads and installs to your iPhone.

While the app downloads, you'll see a circular progress indicator.

When the download is complete, exit to your home screen and swipe left or right until you see the icon for the app. Tap the app’s icon to launch it.

If you don’t see the app on any one of your home screen pages, it’s possible that your iPhone is configured to send new apps directly to the App Library instead. In that case, swipe left until you see the App Library, and you can launch it from there. Or you can open Spotlight Search, type the app’s name, and open the app quickly.

If you want to remove an app you downloaded, you can delete it from your iPhone by holding down your finger on the app icon until a menu appears. Select “Remove App” in the menu, and the iPhone will uninstall the app. You can download it again later in the App Store at any time. Happy downloading!

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