Ask the Readers: Do You Buy Apps?

By Ashley Jacobs on 6 March 2012 (Updated 15 March 2012) 113 comments
Photo: Morgan

Editor's Note: Congratulations to Guest, Christina Martin, and Happy Love for winning this week's contest!

One of the joys of having a smartphone is the ability to download apps! From games to productivity tools, apps enhance the usefulness of any phone. While some people are willing to pay for an awesome new app, others try to only download them for free.

Do you buy apps? Why or why not? If no, do you opt to download free apps? What is your favorite app to use?

Tell us if you buy apps and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards

We're doing three giveaways — one for random comments, one for random Facebook "Likes", and another one for random tweets.

Mandatory Entry: 

  • Post your answer in the comments below 

For extra entries (1 per action):

  • Go to our Facebook page, "Like" us, and leave a comment on this article telling us you did, or
  • Tweet your answer. You have to be a follower of our @wisebread account. Include both "@wisebread" and "#WBAsk" in your tweet so we'll see it and count it. Leave a link to your tweet (click the timestamp for the individual URL) in a separate comment.

If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.

Giveaway Rules:

  • Contest ends Monday, March 12th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after March 12th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.
  • You can enter all three drawings — once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.
  • This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.
  • You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.

Good Luck!

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Guest's picture
Kacey

I rarely purchase apps, although I do download free apps. Waiting for a promotion, I've saved tons of money!

Guest's picture
PK

Like many others I know, I try the free or lite versions first. If I like it, I buy the full/ad free version. If not, I delete it and find something new to try. I do like to support the developers of great apps, so they will keep updating the apps and developing new ones :)

Guest's picture
OFG

Definitely! I do like apps that let you try a light-weight version first, but I will pay full price for something that comes highly recommended by friends or family.

Guest's picture
sarah b

I liked your FB page!

Per your question - I've never bought an app that cost more than a dollar or two. There are so many free apps that mimic paid ones, I just try a few and see which works the best. My most used apps are Instagram, Facebook, Bank of America, Flixster, My Fitness Pal and The Weather Channel.

Ashley Jacobs's picture

I use the Facebook and Weather Channel apps every day! Great apps. :)

Guest's picture
Dianne

No. I can't afford a SmartPhone. I don't use Facebook or Twitter. There's no app for me.

Guest's picture

I rarely buy apps, and only if there is no suitable free replacement. Google did run a promo in December, selling good apps for $.10, so I picked up a few there, but the only two I've paid full price for is Tasker and Tapatalk.

My favorite app is My Tracks by Google. I'm a triathlete and this app tracks my time, distance, and pace while running and biking.

Guest's picture
rm

I've purchased a few apps over the years. They have mostly been games. I try to get free apps if possible. My favorite app is evernote.

Guest's picture

I rarely buy the apps and one a free version to test first so I know what I'm getting. The majority of the apps I've bought are for my daughter such as learning games and a security app to prevent her using or deleting items on the phone.

The one exception is the Bookmooch app. This was created by a user and will not be replaced by an official version, so for the low price I decided to risk it despite no trial version.

Guest's picture
Sarah V

Actually, I wait for Lifehacker to tell me what is free this week and then I download!

Guest's picture

Very rarely will I buy an App -- I can usually find something suitable for free. But, if there's something specific that would be really, really useful, I'll buy it. It better be pretty cool, though. :)

Guest's picture
Roxy

I have only bought one app, and that one just the other day. It was a severe weather alert. we had tornadoes come through my area, and I realized if my power went out I wouldn't know what was going on. Otherwise, I only get free ones

Guest's picture
Nicholas

I don't pay for apps but I do download free apps even though they are ad based. My favorite app so far has been SoundHound. Being able to find the music you are currently listening to is nice (plus it is much better than Shazam).

Ashley Jacobs's picture

I use Shazam. I'll have to check out SoundHound! Thanks for the tip!

Guest's picture
Alex J

I tend not to pay for apps and instead opt for free apps.

Guest's picture
A

I do. I try to stick to free ones but if both the product and price are good, I will pay for the app.

Guest's picture
judyyy

I don't download apps cause I don't have a smart phone but wish I did.

Guest's picture
judyyy

I like you on facebook.

Guest's picture
Diane

So far I haven't purchased any apps, but I will if I find something I really want. I've downloaded free ones that have met my needs and been happy with them. My favorite is Aces Solitaire that I downloaded on both my android phone & Kindle Fire.

Guest's picture
Christie

Nope. I don't have a smartphone, and I probably wouldn't spend the money on them if I did. The only ones I might buy are maps or guides while I'm traveling if they seemed like they would be worth the money. But as I don't have a smartphone, it's a moot point. :)

Guest's picture
Eluros

I do purchase Apps if I believe I'll get a sufficient dollar per hour usage ratio. If I'm using an app for 15 hours, it's worth $2. If I'm using it for an hour, probably not.

Guest's picture
Jerry

I don't have a smart phone - the monthly fees are outrageous. My prepaid cell gets me all the talk time I need at about $10/month. And my laptop is a free phone anywhere there's wifi.

Guest's picture

no, I have never once bought an app for my $500 phone!

Guest's picture
Joe Ganley

I don't have (nor want) a smartphone, so no.

Guest's picture
Fuzz

I've spent about $3 in total on all of my app purchases (they all came from the $0.10 sale the Android Market place had recently). There are enough apps out there that pique my ADD-esque interest in phone-apps that i haven't felt the need to buy much.
My favorite app (aside from the default music player app) is Yelp. It feeds my food addiction.

Guest's picture
Kate

No! I only "purchase" free apps!

Guest's picture
Page

Sure do, but not before I read reviews.....I like Evernote a lot!

Guest's picture
Shannon W.

I buy apps every once in a while. Usually out of the ones that I've tried and which I feel are nicer to have ad-free. :)

Guest's picture
Nicholas

I also have you liked on facebook.

Guest's picture
Shannon W.

I "liked" the Facebook page :)

Guest's picture
Shannon W.

Also Tweeted it. :) https://twitter.com/#!/srwoodruff/status/177080517345284098

Guest's picture
Diane Cloutier

I "Liked" your fb page! Yes, I occasionally do buy apps, sometimes just because I want it or it has excellent ratings by user's. I definitely buy a FREE app if I like it, for the FULL version! :)

Guest's picture
Sneha Raghavan

I buy apps only if I can assure myself that they are more than just a novelty item- and I never spend more than $3 on apps-- there's probably a non-iPhone way to do the same thing. I figure if I lived just fine before the iPhone I can live fine without it. For instance, I'll buy an app that helps track my fitness or spending, if there absolutely isn't a free version out there- but I never buy games or entertainment apps. It's just not worth it for me.

Guest's picture
Christie

Liked the Facebook post as well as commented there!

Donna Freedman's picture

I like you on Facebook. (But not that way.)

Guest's picture

I liked on facebook.

I almost never pay for apps, because you don't really know if they're going to work for you without trying them.

Donna Freedman's picture

Dinosaur here: I don't buy apps because I haven't yet bought a smart phone. :-O
I expect that when I do buy a phone I will limit the number of apps I buy, in part because I'm frugal and in part because I'm of a different generation and look at phones mostly as, well, phones. Not that I won't check e-mail. I just doubt I'll play games et al. because I look at a screen all day and don't want to keep looking at one when I get out of the house.

Guest's picture
Ashley

I think most apps are a huge waste of money. My husband, however, disagrees with me and loves to spend money on them.

Guest's picture
Ashley

I like Wise Bread on FB

Guest's picture

I already like your Wisebread FB page - that's how I found this contest! Always have. I usually go for the free apps but will buy one on occasion. Have far too many as it is - should probably ull some from early on...
Favorite kind is productivity apps and croswords, sudoku, WWF!

Mad(elyn) in Alabama

Ashley Jacobs's picture

I'm a WWF fan too! Have you tried Hanging with Friends?

Guest's picture
Selene M.

I don't buy apps because I don't have a smart phone. But if I did, I would only get the free ones.

Guest's picture
Jennifer

I rarely find an app that I want to buy, but I do have quite a few free ones and also a few that I bought with store credit from a gift card. My favorite app is Clear, it is a really awesome to do list app that my husband found for me. I alsolove the Camera+ app.

Guest's picture
Monica

I don't buy them and usually don't mind ads.

Guest's picture
Selene M.

I Like you on Facebook as Selene Montgomery

Guest's picture
Monica

I like you on facebook!

Guest's picture
Brenda Faulkner

No, they are too expensive.

Guest's picture
Valerie

Yes, I buy "educational" apps occasionally for my kids.

Guest's picture
Valerie

I liked Wise Bread on Facebook.

Guest's picture
Carson M.

I download tons of free apps, but I haven't yet purchased any. If I ever find an app that meets an important necessity and isn't just for frivolous entertainment, then I'll consider buying.

Guest's picture

I've purchased maybe 2 apps in my life - one was a photography app for my MacBook that went on sale, and another one was a tethering app for when I travel so I can connect my phone for internet! Both are pretty useful & productive apps!

Guest's picture

Liked you on Facebook, using my free FB app ;)

Guest's picture

https://twitter.com/#!/missluckybreaks/status/177108512361558016

Guest's picture

Nope - I've had an iphone for nearly three years and I've never paid for an app. No need! There are so many great free apps out there.

Guest's picture
yvonne

Yes, for my son so he doesnt have ads to accidentally click on.

Guest's picture
Happy Love

Once in a great while I will buy an app that I have a specific need for. Usually, however, I download free apps, and I check to see what the daily free app is on my Fire every day.

Guest's picture
lostAnnfound

I do not pay for apps because I do not have a smart phone or iPod or other such device.

Guest's picture
Tracy

I've bought a few, like StarWalk, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian (on sale) and Camera+. I won a promotional code for PetersonBirds, which is a more expensive app than I'm likely to buy. But I have mostly free apps.

Guest's picture
Guest

Sometimes for my tablet, never for my phone.

Guest's picture
Guest

I liked you on FaceBook and left a comment.

Guest's picture

I buy apps, but only if I have credit from iTunes gift cards I've received as gifts. I don't pay for them myself!

Guest's picture

I like WB on FB!

Guest's picture

I tweeted! https://twitter.com/#!/junethomemaker/status/177127935231275009

Guest's picture
Judy

We have bought a few 99cent apps for the kids ipod touches, and only because we had itunes giftcards. Otherwise it is just the free apps!

Guest's picture
Melissa Hansson

I buy apps only on rare occasions, when they get great reviews from friends and family. Most of the apps I use all the time were free to begin with, like Facebook, Twitter, the Weather Channel, etc.

Guest's picture
Raina

I don't buy apps and don't own a smart phone. Seems like a waste of money to me.

Guest's picture
Raina

I like WiseBread on Faceook.

Guest's picture
ramboton

I look for free apps first, the ads do not bother me and I would rather look at the ads than pay for the aps. That said if the product is really good, or offers some special feature that I like with the paid version and the price is $1 or $2 then I will buy it.

Guest's picture
Dee Dee

I have never purchased an app.

Guest's picture
Guest

Yes, only if I can't find something free to do the job.

Guest's picture
Lynda

rarely. only for something that's useful (ie medical as i'm in the field) or camera-related (which i love)

Guest's picture
Lynda

tweeted https://twitter.com/#!/oshkoshbgosh123/status/177217869296316417

Guest's picture
Lynda

i like wisebread on fb

Guest's picture
Shari

I'm a college student with an iPod as my only app-running item. I never buy apps, partially because I can usually find a free substitute that works just the same and partially because I just don't use my iPod enough. Also, nowadays, a lot of great apps are just free, easy and simple.

Guest's picture
Guest

I've downloaded several free apps and may well purchase some in the future.

Guest's picture
Hollie

I usually download a "lite" version first to see if I like it or if that lite version will meet my needs. Some favorite apps are Cozi for the lists, journal and shared calendar and Mint for a quick look at our spending and finances. Both are free, too!

Guest's picture
Therese

I mostly just get free apps, but I have bought a few on occasion. I bought Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything app and I use it very frequently. My grandson loves the Angry Birds app when I visit him.

Guest's picture
Aaron L

Some apps deserve the money. Many do not. I think the best ones are the gems that don't require money and still deliver. Ones that I've bought include Cut the Rope and Sleep Cycle. Cut the Rope is a very fun game and I use Sleep Cycle everyday to record my sleep. But I still think Words with Friends free and most recently, Draw Free, are king.

Ashley Jacobs's picture

Have you tried Hanging with Friends?

Ashley Jacobs's picture

Have you tried Hanging with Friends?

Guest's picture
Aaron L

I like you on fb!

Guest's picture
Aaron L

https://twitter.com/#!/linjiunhan/status/177262781387653120

Guest's picture
kristina

Yes, but not often.

Guest's picture
Sjk

I love my iPhone apps! However, I am a cheapskate and have only paid for two apps: bejeweled in a moment of weakness andgood reader but that was more for work. My facorite, if I had to pick ONE is probably the kayak app.

Guest's picture
Rita

My favorite app textnow recent trip to India I could text home usa for free with wifi.
Love free travel apps with city state or country info.

Guest's picture
Derek M

My wife and I do buy apps, but are very selective about it. For anything not directly related to business/school, we always start with a free download. If it's an app we use daily, we'll fork out up to $3 to remove the ads and support the developer. A few large, full-featured apps for our tablet get used for hours each day for business/school. For these, we've paid up to $15 for when a free version was unavailable, but only after lots of research and reading through forums and comments.

Guest's picture
Verl

I usually download free versions of apps to try them out and see if I like them. Sometimes I go ahead and get the paid version, sometimes not. The last app I bought, unfortunately, was one that didn't have a free version, and I wish it had. Really poor, and it was reported on excitedly by a site that should have been more trustworthy.

Guest's picture
KelR1

I've only owned a smartphone for a few months and haven't bought any apps yet.

Guest's picture
KelR1

Like you on FB.

Guest's picture
KelR1

https://twitter.com/#!/KelRo1/status/177510390282981376

Guest's picture
Norman

Since I don't have a smartphone, you can guess what my answer is.

Guest's picture
Patrick

I have not purchased any apps. I have downloaded a few free ones, but have yet to find one that I needed enough to buy. My wife, who downloads far more apps than I do, has found plenty of free ones to keep her occupied without having purchased any to date.

Guest's picture
Rebecca B. A. R.

I don't buy apps, my phone isn't that smart!

Guest's picture
BRB

Nope, my phone doesn't even use them it is so old!

Guest's picture
Ian

I don't buy apps.

Guest's picture
Francesca

I only buy apps when they're on sale. A couple of months ago, Android Market featured 10 apps every day, each for 10 cents, so I picked up Read It Later, now one of my favorite, most used apps. Fyi, Market is now selling certain apps for 49 cents, some reduced from $5 or even $10!

But it is also easy to get free apps on Android if you just comparison shop. Between Android Market, the Amazon Appstore, and Getjar, you can find great apps to fit your every need.

Guest's picture
Yon

I agree with most of the commenters here, I hardly pay for apps, I find that most of what I need either has a free version or a free alternative all together.

Guest's picture
Betty

Most of my apps were free, but I did buy a few. I'm addicted to the games with friends!

Guest's picture
Ashish

I do purchase apps after trying them (lite versions or on a friends phone). I have a lot of apps that I bought over the last year, most of them cost under a dollar ($0.99). But I do have a few that I bought for much higher prices too.

Guest's picture
bqueen

I've purchased exactly one app in the 10 months I've owned my smartphone. The rest are free, so I can read books, check the weather, and more, all for $0.