Medicare Annual Enrollment is Happening Now! Everything You Need to Know

Read Our Guide

How to Use the Apple App Store

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use the Apple App Store for seniors.

The iPhone seems to have an infinite number of tools that come in handy for older adults. One of these is the Apple App Store. The App Store is important for seniors to be able to navigate, as it allows you access to apps of all types.

Whether you have an iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, or MacBook, the App Store is available to any Apple user. The App Store is a platform that allows users to download every app out there, both free and purchased. There are apps for just about everything these days. My grandma loves the Facebook Messenger app because it allows her to video call and message her great-grandchildren. Messaging apps are the tip of the iceberg. Seniors use apps for maps and directions, calendars, prescription discounts and refills, finances, music, books, and assistance for those with hearing or vision loss. There are even apps for medical alerts! In this guide, we'll walk you through how to use the Apple App Store to download new apps. Let's get started!

Did You Know: More than half of Americans 65 years and older use a smartphone.1

Getting to the Apple App Store

From your home screen, swipe to the left until you get to the end. You will see the option to search in your “App Library.” Type in “App” and the first icon to pop up will be the Apple App Store. Click on it.

Click the App Store icon

Click the App Store icon

Browsing the App Store

Once you are in the app store, you have two options: You can browse the apps to see what you might be interested in, or you can search for something you have in mind. If you want to browse, simply scroll down to look through the “Top Apps Right Now” list. You can also click on the bottom middle button, “Apps,” to see some popular and recommended apps.

Browsing the app store

Browsing the app store

To search for something in particular, go to the bottom right-hand side and click “Search.” Then, type in the name of the app you are looking for. You can even type in the type of the app and search through the results to see which one you want.

Type in the app name and tap

Type in the app name and tap “Get”

How to Download an App from the App Store

Set up Your Payment Method

Many apps either cost a small fee or have in-app purchases that are available. Because of this, you will need to have your Apple ID connected to a credit card. Your Apple ID is the account you set up when you first get your iPhone or Apple product. It is connected to everything you download and purchase. Even if the app you want to download is free, you still need to have a credit card linked to your account. But don't worry! You won't be charged for anything unless you choose an app with a price tag.

If you haven't already connected a card to your ID, one way you can set it up is to go into the “Wallet” app. It's as simple as scanning a picture of your card. Here's how!

  1. From your home screen, swipe to the left until you get to the end. Type in “wallet” in the search bar at the top of the page, and click the app icon. Or, you can swipe down from any page on your home screen and the same search bar will appear.

    Search for the wallet app

    Search for the wallet app

  2. Once you're in the app, click the plus sign in the top right corner to add a new card.

    Tap plus sign to add a new card

    Tap plus sign to add a new card

  3. Select the type of card that you'd like to add.

    Choose your card type

    Choose your card type

  4. Click “Continue” on the screen that appears. You'll then be prompted to take a photo of your credit or debit card, so have it on hand!


    Click “Continue” to add a new card

How to Download an App

Once you're all set up with a payment method, you can head back to the app store. Here's how to download an app.

  1. Once you find an app that you want, you will be able to tell if it is free or has a cost. If it is free and/or has in-app purchases available, it will simply say “Get.” You will click on that button.


    Tap “Get” to download an app

  2. If there is a cost to download the app, the price will be listed in place of “Get.” If you're OK with paying the listed price, you can still click and follow the same process to download the app.

    Purchasing an app

    Purchasing an app

  3. You will be prompted to double-click the side button to confirm the download.

    Double click to confirm the download

    Double click to confirm the download

  4. Then, you will see the download processing as it completes a circle.

    An app download in process

    An app download in process

  5. Once the app is done downloading, you'll see the new app icon on your home screen. Simply click it and enjoy all that your new app has to offer!

Did You Know: There are many smartphone apps that help promote cognitive function.2 These apps are great if you're a senior who is aging in place and you want to keep your brain sharp!

Voila! You are ready to visit the App Store. Whether you want to find helpful apps for doing things like printing out pictures, or you want to download a fun game to keep you feeling sharp, you have endless options at your fingertips. Interested in learning about the best apps for seniors? Check out our top mobile app picks for older adults.

Written By

Taylor Shuman

Senior Tech Expert & Editor

For over five years, Taylor has been writing, editing, and researching products and services covering topics such as senior care and technology, Internet and the digital divide, TV, and entertainment, and education. Her research on media consumption and consumer behavior has been… Learn More About Taylor Shuman

  1. Pew Research Center. (2021). Mobile Fact Sheet.

  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information. (2017). Smartphone Applications Can Serve as Effective Cognitive Training Tools in Healthy Aging.