Blog Post

The best place to buy iPhone apps is now on your iPad

If you want to shop for real-world goods, often you’ll give your business to the store that offers the best shopping experience, price and convenience of location being equal. That is exactly how I feel when shopping for apps in the iOS App Store (s aapl). The iPad version just works better, especially now that it can serve the iPhone directly.

Searching for the best apps in the App Store

With over 300,000 apps to choose from, anything that can help you filter through all the choices is a good thing when shopping for apps. The iPad has more filters available than the iPhone in the App Store, so it’s a much better place to narrow your focus. The ability to filter search results based on category, release date, customer rating, price and device exists only on the iPad version of the App Store, making it a better place to start your quest.

It’s also better to browse the App Store on the iPad because it provides more screen real estate, and you can see more at once. As with reading, the iPad is easier on the eyes, and the experience is generally more pleasant than trying to negotiate the iPhone.

Downloading new purchases

Since you’re purchasing apps for your iPhone on your iPad, you now need to get them installed on your iPhone. There are three basic ways to do this:

1. Sync to your Mac. When you sync your iPad to your Mac you will also transfer the app purchases you’ve made. If you sort your apps by their purchase date, you will see the most recently purchased ones at the top of the list. Just drag and drop your newly purchased apps from this list onto your iPhone in the iTunes sidebar the next time you plug your iPhone in.

2. Manually download from iPhone. When you are in the App Store on your iPhone, go to the Updates tab. You will see a new item at the top of the screen titled Purchased. Here you can find a list of all the App Store purchases you have made. You can even filter the list to show only apps not installed on your iPhone, and you can then install those to your device.

3. Automatically download to iPhone. Take a look at the Store section in your iPhone’s settings app. Here you will see three options to automatically download new purchases for music, apps and books to the device, with an option to allow them to be downloaded over a cellular connection. With this setting turned on, any purchase you make on your iPad will automatically be installed on your iPhone.

Hopefully, with upcoming iOS releases, the subtle differences between each App Store will fade away. Until then, I will be shopping on my iPad when I need something new on my iPhone.