Monday, May 14, 2012

Day 1 of 5 days of Favorite Freebies~ apps (iPad, iPhone/Touch)

My first "Favorite Freebie" topic this week is one of our most recent favorites~ Free apps for the iPad or iPod touch/phone. Once the big bucks are paid out for the hardware, it is time to start loading it up with apps(although, if you only have 8G, you will find that the apps quickly fill up that space!). While many apps are inexpensive, I know that those pennies keep adding up, so I'm happy to share with you how I find free apps for our devices.

The first thing to know is that there are many places to find worthwhile apps that are free for a limited time, so if you see one you are interested in you should download it right away, as it will probably be full price tomorrow....

On to the finding of those apps. There are a few free apps that offer free apps (I feel like I'm being redundant here, but bear with me!)

FreeAppADay offers 5 free apps/ day. There is more dross than gold to be found here, but every now and again you'll find a gem. :) 

FreeAppMagic offers 3 apps/day. Sometimes there is a requirement to check out another app in order to see the third app, but I've never had to actually purchase or download anything I wasn't interested in.This has been a great place to find neat photography, art and word game apps.

There are blogs dedicated to highlighting those apps that are currently free or discounted. If you are on facebook, it's handy to "like" their pages, so that you get regular notifications. Some of these blogs (And often the developers themselves) offer giveaways and "Code Tosses." 

Code Tosses are interesting events. Generally they take place on facebook or twitter. The blog or developer will announce in advance when they will have a code toss (Sometimes it's "in ten minutes," and at other times you have days of advance notice). Regardless of when it is, here are the steps you need to be successful in catching a tossed code
  1. Be at the specific page a few minutes ahead of time (you might even want to refresh the page a few times).
  2. Be sure you are logged in to your itunes account on another page.
  3. Find the "Redeem a code" link and click on that so that you are ready.
  4. When you see the list of codes posted, quickly copy one of them and paste it into the box on the "Redeem your code" page that you have open in itunes.
If you were fast enough, you will get a notice that you were successful and that the app is downloading. 
I have gotten a few great apps this way, but I only do this if I have the time to spend, and don't mind  if I miss out. There are some folks with extremely quick fingers out there! :D 

OK now, on to the sites:

AppsforHomeschooling is one I check daily. Jennifer highlights free and discounted educational apps, and she also runs frequent giveaways and "Code tosses".

Iheartthisapp is another of my favorites~ there are a number of categories~ adult, children, and educational. You have to check carefully for the free apps amongst the discounted apps, but I have found some great gems here.

Momswithapps is  "a collaborative group of family-friendly developers seeking to promote quality apps for kids and families." They sponsor AppFriday , a weekly online event that highlights new, promotionally priced and free apps each Friday. The promotions generally last until 8 PM, PST, unless extended by the developer. This one is worth setting a weekly reminder for! 

I know there are many more sites out there that are similar in scope, but these are my favorites, and since there is a limit to the amount of time I should be spending online, I tend to stick with them.

Last but not least, it is worth taking a little time to peruse the app store. I have found this to be easiest on the iPad~ 
Type in a search request  (I just did "history" for the fun of it) There were 2409 returns. Yikes! However, on the iPad, I can refine that search easily: 
  • First, I'll click "See All", then start refining. 
  • Choosing the category of Education brings back 1098 returns
  • Next I'll click a Customer rating of 3+ stars, which gives me 259
  • A price of "Free" shows 96 options~ 
  • at this point I might refine the customer rating to 4 stars which gives me 53 apps to check out.
  • Depending on the amount of time I have, I'll probably go through the 96 options to see if something strikes my fancy.
This has been a productive way for me to find some great full version apps, as well as some "lite" versions which give me an opportunity to check the app out to see if the full version is something I might be interested in. Mileage has varied on how comprehensive the lite versions are, but some of them are adequate for my purposes, and the full versions are not necessary.

Now, just to give you an idea~ here are some of the apps that we have been able to get for free using one or more of the above mentioned links/methods(Please note that the vast majority of these are not currently free, I'm just including this list to show the calibre of apps that *can* be gotten for free if at the right place at the right time):

Nostalgio   Nifty photography app that I often use for school project collages
Biblesaurus Memory verse game
Bust a Sound (Phonics game)
Adding Apples (Currently Free.. love this one, and the others by this developer!)
Rocket Math (one of my favorite "lite" apps!)
Tea Party (Miss Spider.... Currently free!)
My Brushes (Neat paint program)

I hope this gives you some ideas on how to find some great free apps for your device.

Be sure to visit my friends by clicking the banner below~ There are some great topics being talked about this week!

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