References

Apple Inc. Apple Trademark List. 2015. http://www.apple.com/legal/intellectual-property/trademark/appletmlist.html (accessed 13 May 2015)

Albrecht UV, Pramann O, Ute von J Synopsis for health apps: transparency for trust and decision making. In: Househ M US: IGI Global; 2014

NHS England. NHS Commissioning Board launches library of NHS-revised phone apps to help keep people healthy. 2015a. http://www.england.nhs.uk/2013/03/12/nhs-apps/ (accessed 13 May 2015)

NHS England. Review Process. NHS Choices. 2015b. http://apps.nhs.uk/review-process/ (accessed 13 May 2015)

NHS England. Health Apps Library. NHS Choices. 2015c. http://apps.nhs.uk/apps/pregnancy/ (accessed 13 May 2015)

London: NMC; 2015

Royal College of Physicians. Using apps in clinical practice. 2015. http://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/sites/default/files/apps_guidance_factsheet_revised_april.pdf (accessed 13 May 2015)

1983 to today: a history of mobile apps. 2015. http://www.theguardian.com/media-network/2015/feb/13/history-mobile-apps-future-interactive-timeline (accessed 13 May 2015)

The Statistics Portal. Number of mobile app users in the United Kingdom (UK) from third quarter 2013 to second quarter 2016 (in million users). 2015. http://www.statista.com/statistics/277672/forecast-of-mobile-app-users-in-the-united-kingdom-uk/ (accessed 13 May 2015)

There's an app for that—but how do we know if it's a good one?

02 June 2015
5 min read
Volume 23 · Issue 6

Abstract

Mobile phone applications or ‘apps’ are increasingly becoming an integral part of our daily lives, with the number of mobile app users in the UK predicted to exceed 43 million by 2016 (The Statistics Portal, 2015). The App and Play stores are saturated with thousands of apps that claim to cater for all elements of our lives: healthy living, education, entertainment and more. Undoubtedly apps can be a convenient way of accessing information; however, in relation to pregnancy and childbirth, how do women know whether the app they are downloading is providing high-quality, evidence-based information?

This short article outlines the history of apps, discusses potential quality and credibility issues and provides suggestions for how to navigate the apps minefield to ensure the apps you download or recommend to others are credible and trusted.

Mobile applications date back to the end of the 20th century and were typically novel additions to the core phone functions, such as a calculator or a small arcade game. But from around 2007, when Apple released the iOS operating system, these applications started to take off. Connection to the internet, using a WiFi connection or mobile data, meant that phones were able to synchronise data easily to browse the web, manage an online diary, send and receive emails.

The Apple App Store was opened in July 2008, and a quarter of the 550 apps available at the time were free. Within 3 months, 100 million downloads of the 3000 available apps had taken place. After 4 months, the Google Play Store (Android Market) opened. By July 2013, the Google Play Store had more than 50 billion downloads (Strain, 2015).

iOS and Android are two different operating systems—the software that drives the device. iOS is the mobile operating system created and developed by Apple Inc distributed exclusively for Apple hardware, and Android is the system developed and used by Google. There are other operating systems used by other phones; however, Android and iOS are the most popular. Other than the operating system, they essentially do similar things; you can make calls, send texts, download music and apps, send and receive emails, use the camera and much more. Another notable difference is cost: Apple devices tend to be more expensive than Android and so do its apps. There are also many manufacturers of devices that run Android; whereas Apple limits the design of its devices alongside its operating system.

Register now to continue reading

Thank you for visiting British Journal of Midwifery and reading some of our peer-reviewed resources for midwives. To read more, please register today. You’ll enjoy the following great benefits:

What's included

  • Limited access to our clinical or professional articles

  • New content and clinical newsletter updates each month