If you have a Windows Phone, you'll need to go to the Windows Phone Store to download apps to your device. The layout and configuration of the Windows Phone Store looks different from the app stores for iOS and Android devices, but the core functionality is fundamentally identical. The Windows Phone Store has apps for social media, mobile music, photo editing, casual games and more. You can access it from your computer using a web browser or directly from your phone.
Using the Windows Phone Store From Your Computer
In the case of Google Android smartphones and tablets, it is possible to browse and search through the Google Play Store over the web and to have any chosen apps "pushed" to your device of choice. The exact same system is in place for Windows Phone. When you connect your Windows Phone to your Microsoft Account (Hotmail, Outlook, etc.), it will show up under your list of devices when you visit the Windows Phone Store through a web browser on your computer after you log in.
Finding Apps With Your Computer
From the main Windows Phone Store website, click on "Apps + Games" near the top navigation to access the range of apps and games for Windows Phone. The main page for the Windows Phone Apps+Games Store is laid out like a series of "Live Tiles," not unlike the homescreen on a Windows Phone smartphone.
- The page defaults to spotlight some of the highlighted apps. Briefly hovering over any of the app icons will bring up the app's name, review rating and price.
- Below the top section is a series of smaller sections highlighting the top free apps, new and rising apps, top paid apps, best-rated apps and recommended collections.
- To look for a specific app, use the search box in the top-right corner of the page.
- To view apps by category, click on either Apps or Games in the navigation near the top left. This will bring up another page where the different app categories are displayed in a left navigation sidebar.
Each app listing typically includes a description, screenshots and user reviews, as well as app requirements and language support.
Sending Apps to Your Windows Phone
Located directly beneath the large app icon on the left is an "install" button that can be used to push the app to your registered device. Alternatively, further down the app listing page is a link to "Download and install manually" with instructions on how to do that.
Using the App Store From Your Windows Phone
The web-based interface described above may be very useful when you are browsing on your computer, as it allows you to see the most information at the same time. That being said, it may be most convenient to browse for and download the mobile apps directly from your Windows Phone device.
Finding Apps From Your Device
The mobile version of the Windows Phone Store is organized as a series of pages that can be navigated by swiping to the left and right. The Buy/Install link can be easily found on each app's individual listing page.
- To get started, simply swipe to the left to reveal the full app listing on your phone and tap on Store.
- If you have not already logged into your Microsoft account, you will need to enter your username and password at this time.
- Browse through the same collections as those described in the web interface, like Top Free, Best Rated and so on.
- Check the Spotlight section after choosing "apps" from the main Store page to browse highlighted apps.
Tips and Tricks
Helpful tips and tricks to keep in mind when working with the Windows Phone App store via your device include:
- Swipe left and right within each app listing to read reviews and view screenshots.
- If any currently installed apps have an update available, this will be indicated on the Store main page near the bottom. There can be a delay, so check the individual app listing to see if there is an "update" option available where the "buy/install" button is normally located.
- Create a Live Tile by tapping and holding on the app name in the main app listing on your phone and choosing the "pin to start" option.
- You will be prompted twice if you have to pay for an app. Some apps have a free trial and this will be indicated with a "Try" button.
- Try to download apps only over Wi-Fi to conserve your wireless data plan allotment.
A Robust Mobile App Ecosystem
Some users have complained about the "app gap" for Windows Phone compared to the more popular smartphone platforms iOS and Android. While some apps are missing for Windows Phone, most of the major ones are available and there are apps exclusive to the OS that cannot be found elsewhere. Windows Phone is a robust system that continues to grow each day. With affordable budget smartphones like the Lumia 635, Windows Phone has secured its places as the third most popular smartphone OS in the world.