How to Run iPhone Apps on iPad (and Why You’d Want To)

| How-To

[Note: for the sake of simplicity, all references to iPhone also refer to iPod touch.]

There are many excellent iOS apps available for download from the App Store that were specifically developed for the iPhone-size screen. With very few exceptions, these apps work perfectly fine on an iPad, and are just as useful. After all, it’s the same iOS that runs on both platforms.

The problem is that many iOS device owners are not necessarily aware of these differences. The result is that iPad owners are likely to miss an opportunity to discover everything they can do with their device. 

The App Store seen from an iPad

By default, when accessing the App Store from an iPad, you are only shown apps available for iPad

One reason for this is that, by default, when you access the App Store from your iPad, you are only shown apps available for iPad. More often than not, this results in iPad owners missing out on the functionality that an “iPhone-only” app would provide even on the larger device. 

In reality, you can indeed locate, purchase, download, install and use the vast majority of apps developed specifically for the smaller iPhone screen.  However, directly from an iPad, the way to do this may be a bit elusive. 

For example, as of this writing, the PayPal app is only available in the smaller iPhone format. By default, if you search for PayPal in the App Store directly from your iPad, you will not find any PayPal app. However, there is a way to search for the iPhone-only version, which is functional on iPad.

The App Store seen from an iPad

With “iPhone Only” selected in the App Store, you can view and download apps onto your iPad

The secret is in the drop-down menu labeled “iPad Only” located at the top of the page. Tap on it and select “iPhone Only” from the drop-down menu. The iPhone version of the PayPal app then appears as accessible, after which you can download, install and use it on your iPad. A similar mechanism is available by accessing the App Store via the Mac iTunes application.

It’s not too late to mention that all this is not much of an issue now that the iPad recently celebrated its fourth birthday. By now, many, if not most of active iOS app developers are creating so-called Universal Apps that contain the code (a.k.a. “binaries”) compiled to run natively on both iPhone and iPad.

Given the utility and ubiquity of the iPad platform, it certainly would be bad-for-business if a decision were made by a developer not to accommodate the larger device. For whatever reason though, some apps – ahem… PayPal – are still living in the iPhone-only world. Nevertheless, you may find that you need – and can certainly utilize – the functionality provided by many apps specifically made for the iPhone. 

Next: Why Would You Want to Run iPhone Apps on Your iPad?

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John Stephens™

In other news from 2009….

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