Smartphones wouldn't be so useful and appreciated by users without all their apps. As soon as you have a new smartphone, one of the first steps you go through is searching for apps and installing them. With the help of the Store, Windows Phone offers an easy way of finding, downloading and installing apps. If you are a beginner with Windows Phone 8, you should read this tutorial. It also shares how to remove the apps you no longer use.
What to Check For, Before Installing Apps from the Store
Before going through with the steps described in the following sections, please make sure that:
- Your Windows Phone has an active Internet connection. If possible, choose to download and install apps using a Wi-Fi connection, especially if you intend to download large apps or games. This will save you money. If you need some help, read this guide: How to Connect to Data Networks & Wireless Networks On Windows Phone.
- If you intend to download an app that is larger than 50 MB, make sure you're using a Wi-Fi connection. Otherwise, Windows Phone won't let you install the app.
- You have connected your Microsoft account with your Windows Phone. You can browse the Store without using a Microsoft account, but you cannot install apps without one.
How to Browse the Apps Available in the Windows Phone Store
First of all, open the Store by tapping on its tile, on the Start screen or by tapping its shortcut in the Apps list.
The Store opens and lists several categories. Depending on your phone, the list will vary. Your phone's manufacturer may add their own category or categories of apps. For example, Nokia Lumia phones include a Nokia collection while Samsung phones include a Samsung Zone category. They are used to group and display exclusive apps, available only to users who purchased phones from that manufacturer.
The categories common to all phones are: apps, games, music and podcasts. Phones with a microSD card, will also have an SD card category, if apps are available for installation from the SD card. More details can be found in this tutorial: How to Install Windows Phone 8 Apps from the SD Card to Save Space.
To browse the available apps, tap apps.
A screen showcasing the featured app of the day is displayed.
Flick to the right and a new screen is shown, displaying six tiles. Every tile leads to a different list of apps, each list containing different apps. The lists available are: Top free, New + Rising, Top paid, Best-rated, Collections and Pick for you (this doesn't show up on all phones though).
To browse through them, tap the list you want to view. Once inside a list, flick to the right or left if you want to get to the next or previous list of apps.
To go back to the previous apps screen, tap the Back button. Then, flick again to the right to view a screen named categories, sharing all the categories of apps available in the Store. This list is long and comprehensive. Here, you can browse through apps organized in categories ranging from entertainment, music + video all the way to education or government + politics.
With a final flick to the right, you go to the spotlight screen. It shows a few featured apps, recommended by Microsoft.
This list generally contains some interesting picks.
How to Search for a Particular App in the Store
If you already know the app you want, go to the Store and tap the search button, on the bottom of the screen. You can search from anywhere inside the Store.
This opens the store search screen. Write the name of the app you want to find and tap enter. For example, if you want to install the SkyDrive app, you should write “skydrive" (without the quotes).
From the list of results, choose the app you were looking for, by tapping its name.
This opens a screen with information about the app you selected.
How to Learn More About an App in the Store
Once you have tapped on an app, Windows Phone displays several screens with information about that app. They can be viewed by flicking to the right or left. Beginning with the first one displayed and then going from left to right, the available screens are the following: details, reviews, screenshots and related.
On each screen, if the app is free, you will find the same two buttons on the bottom: install and share. If the app is not free, the buttons are try (if a free trial version is available), buy and more (the three dots). Tapping the more button gives you access to the share button. Share lets you send the app to anyone you choose, through a variety of means, like e-mail or text messages.
Let's walk through the available screens: the first – details – shares the description of the app, including its name, price (if it is a paid app), size, a short description, the languages supported by the app and its requirements.
The reviews screen lists customers' reviews for that app.
The screenshots screen displays images of the app and its features.
The last screen - related - shares several related apps. However, I often find the related apps lists strange and lacking in usefulness. For example, on my Windows Phone 8, the SkyDrive app (from Microsoft) is related to apps like Moyoko Swing (which is not even remotely related to cloud services).
Now that you have learned more about the app, it is time to install it.
How to Install an App from the Windows Phone Store
If you want to install an app on your phone and that app is free, tap the install button.
If the app is not free, you will be asked to pay for it. But, before you can do that, you need to set up your Wallet and include details about payment methods, etc. This will be covered in a future tutorial.
Next, you will be asked to allow the app to use certain phone features it requires. You can find a list of the features that may be needed by an app, here: How can I tell if an app has requirements?. If you agree, tap allow.
Windows Phone will now take you to the Apps screen, where you can briefly watch the app's install progress.
When the progress bar is no longer displayed, the app is installed on your Windows Phone.
How to Remove Apps Installed on Your Windows Phone
There are times when you want to remove an app from your phone. Start by opening the Apps screen and locating the app you want uninstalled. Then, tap and hold the app's name for a few seconds. A contextual menu like the one shown below is displayed. Tap uninstall.
You are asked to confirm the removal of the app. Tap yes.
Deleting the app from your Windows Phone takes only a few seconds. This process works for almost any app. The only apps that cannot be removed are those built by Microsoft into the operating system, like Office, OneNote, Maps or Internet Explorer.
As you can see from this tutorial, finding, downloading, installing and removing apps from the Windows Phone Store is relatively easy. Anyone can do it. Yes, a guide like this one is useful the first few times you do it but you will learn the process involved relatively quickly. As a personal note, I very much appreciate how easy it is to remove apps and especially those bundled with my Windows Phone that I do not plan to use. Many telecom providers or phone manufacturers bundle apps that are not very useful to their users. On other platforms (like Android), the process involved is much more complicated and some apps can never be removed. This is not true in Windows Phone, which is great.