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What are apps?

Answer: The term "app" is short for application, which is another name for a software program. Therefore, "apps" are software programs.

The term "application" is more familiar to Mac users than Windows users. This is because the Mac OS has historically referred to software programs as applications, while Windows has used the term "programs." For example, Mac OS X has an "Application" folder, which is used to store the programs installed on the computer. Windows, on the other hand, stores programs in the "Program Files" folder. Mac programs use the .APP (application) file extension, while Windows programs use the .EXE (executable) extension. Both applications and programs are executable files, they just have different names.

Mac users have referred to applications as "apps" for many years. Recently, however, the term "apps" has gained new popularity among Mac and Windows users alike thanks to Apple's App Store, which was released in July, 2008. The App Store is part of the iTunes Store and contains thousands of iPhone and iPod touch applications. All the applications available from the App Store are called "apps" and can be downloaded directly from the App Store. Thanks to the popularity of the iPhone and iPod touch, the App Store has helped make the term "apps" an everyday word.

Published: August 5, 2009 — by Per Christensson

Answer from the PC Help Center