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National Download Day

According to results from a 2018 survey from Fort Mason Games, National Download Day "marks the time period when the most apps are downloaded in the entire year; as Americans get smartphones for holiday gifts, they often re-download their apps and broaden their horizons with new ones." The survey found that 73% of people planned to download apps on the day and that 67% planned to download mobile games. It found that 87% of smartphone users download more than three apps a year—most of which they download between Christmas and New Year's Day.

An "app" is short for "software application," which is a type of computer program. Today an app usually refers to those used on mobile devices, but it initially referred to those on desktop computers as well. Apps became common on cell phones after phones were equipped with internet capability, touchscreens, and processing chips. They gained prominence with the release of Apple's iPhone in 2007. The Apple OS 2.0, released in 2008, had about 500 apps. The American Dialect Society made "app" their word of the year in 2010, and the popularity of apps continued to increase during the following years. Today there are about 2 million apps on the Android and Apple platforms, and thousands of new apps come out every day. Apps have changed how we live, transforming work and leisure. New jobs and companies have stemmed from them, and they have shifted culture and promoted creativity and innovation.

There are three types of apps: web apps, native apps, and hybrid apps. Web apps use mobile web browsers instead of being located directly on mobile devices. Native apps have a special source code, are geared for a specific mobile platform, and are thus used on certain devices. Hybrid apps have characteristics of both of the other apps. Early apps focused on organization assistance, such as email, calendar, and contact databases. Apps today are commonly used for communication; to access music, films, and books; for travel, assisting with finding food and transportation; to play games; and to help with organization and other tasks at places of employment. They are usually downloaded from a distribution platform—an app store—operated by the owner of the mobile operating system they are used on, such as App Store (iOS) for Apple or Google Play Store for Android. There are independent app stores as well, such as Cydia, GetJar, and F-Droid. Some apps are free, while others must be paid for. All kinds of apps from various app stores are downloaded today on National Download Day!

How to Observe National Download Day

Download some new apps from Google Play for Android, Apple's App Store, or Microsoft Store. You could also redownload old apps if you just got a new smart device, organize your apps on your device, or create an app.

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