Downloading Apps to the "Original" iPad

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How to Download Apps to 1st Generation iPad

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You can buy apps from iTunes by changing the store category on the right side of the Store's home screen.

Apple stopped supporting the 1st Generation iPad with the iOS 6.0 update, which leaves the device stuck on the 5.1.1 version of the operating system. But this doesn't mean the original iPad is now a paperweight. There are many good uses for a 1st Generation iPad, including watching Netflix and playing casual games. The trick is getting apps that only support a later version of the operating system on the 1st Generation iPad.

Please Read First: This won't work with all apps. Most newer apps only support iOS 7 or up, so the current version of the app won't work on the original iPad. There's a way to get an older version of the app onto your iPad, but for this to work, there must be a version of the app that supports the older operating system. It is recommended to only try this with free apps like Netflix so you don't waste money trying to get an app that won't work on your iPad.

With that said, here is a way to download apps to the 1st Generation iPad:

  1. Launch iTunes and verify that you are signed into the same Apple ID as you use with your iPad. You can view these settings under the "Store" menu. The "View Account" choice should show the email address used with your iPad. If not, choose "Sign Out" and sign in with the same account used on the iPad.  (If you don't have iTunes on your PC, you can download it from Apple.)
  2. "Purchase" the app in iTunes on your PC or Mac. This is actually very similar to downloading apps on your iPad. Once in iTunes, go to the "iTunes Store" and change the category on the right from "Music" to "App Store". The screen will change to become very similar to the App Store app on your iPad.  Get more help downloading apps in iTunes.
  3. After you click the "Get" button or the price button, the app will download to your PC.
  4. You do not need to hook your iPad up to your PC for this next part to work. The iPad allows you to download any previously purchased app, so you are free to delete apps and then download them again later when needed. In this instance, we are simply going to download the app we just purchased on the PC. Go into the App Store app, choose the Previously Purchased Tab and locate the app you just downloaded on your PC. You can tap the cloud button next to the app to download it onto your iPad.
  5. The iPad may prompt you with a message telling you that the app is not supported on your version of iOS. (If it doesn't, the app already supported the 1st Generation iPad). If there is a version of the app that supports the original iPad, you will be asked if you want to download a previous version of the app. Give the iPad a resounding Yes! to download a version of the app compatible with your iPad.

Hopefully, this should be enough to load your iPad up with some useful apps and games. Try searching Google for the best iPad apps of 2010 and 2011 to get an idea of apps that may have a version supporting the original iPad.

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