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Do your favorite iPhone apps work on the iPad?



  A Person with an Apple iPad
ALife / Shutterstock

Everyone has their favorite apps. Although many of them work on iPhones and not all use the larger screen of the iPad. We'll explain how to determine which apps should work before you download them.

The Different Types of Apps

There are millions of apps on the App Store, but not all of them are created equal. To determine if an iPhone app works on your iPad, you need to know something about how apps work and the App Store.

There are four types of apps a developer can create:

  • iPhone only: These apps are designed for the iPhone and do not work on an iPad at all. The number of apps that fall into this category is low. In general, hardware is required that does not exist on an iPad.
  • iPhone Specific: These apps work on an iPhone. They were created with an eye on the iPhone screen with appropriately scaled interfaces. However, they will work in iPhone compatibility mode if they are installed on an iPad. IPhone Compatibility Mode displays apps on the iPad screen as well as on an iPhone. Users can specify that they are the same size as the smartphone display, or are enlarged and stretched to fill the larger screen of the tablet.
  • iPad only: These apps only work on an iPad. These are usually game or drawing apps that are not suitable for a smaller screen.
  • Universal: These apps work equally well on the iPhone and iPad. When installed on iPhones, the app displays a smartphone-specific interface. When installed on an iPad, the app's interface changes to one suitable for the larger display and may work with accessories such as the Apple Pencil. These are the types of apps Apple developers are pushing to create.

The best apps for iPad owners

Does your favorite iPhone app work on your iPad? If it is universal or iPhone-specific, the answer is yes. Ideally, you want a universal app, especially if you also use an iPhone. You get two apps in one and both make the most of the devices they're installed on. An iPad app is definitely sufficient if you do not use an iPhone.

The last resort is the use of an iPhone-specific app. It runs on your iPad in iPhone compatibility mode. It will not be easy on the eyes, but that's better than nothing if you're in dire straits. We recommend that you contact the developer and ask if a universal app is in progress.

iPhone-only apps can not be installed on iPads, so you do not have to worry about downloading one. You simply will not be shown in the App Store on an iPad.

How to Identify Universal Apps on an iPad

The easiest way to identify a universal app from your iPad is to look at the screenshots in the App Store. If you see iPad screenshots, you're fine ̵

1; the app is either universal or just for the iPad. In no case you have a broken iPhone surface left over.

 Cloudy iPad App Store Screenshot

Below the screenshots you can also see a list of officially supported devices. Universal apps display iPhone compatibility when the entry is displayed on an iPad.

How to Identify Universal Apps on an iPhone

The same note appears in the App Store on an iPhone. If an iPad version is important to you, check if an app is universal – if it does, it will be offered as an iPad app – before you download it.

Apps listed as "Compatible with the iPhone" in the "Information" section (at the bottom of the App Store listing) are for the iPhone only. Those who say "Compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch" are iPhone-specific, unless an iPad version is mentioned in the screenshots iPhone-specific or just for the iPhone, look for an alternative.


Most high-quality apps – with the exception of Instagram – are probably universal and should work just as well on your iPad as they do on your iPhone. Developers have been driving the development of universal apps in recent years, and there are tons more than before.


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