Security and apps


Close lesson
You have completed 0%

Security and apps

a touchscreen device that uses fingerprint recognition security

What's coming up?

In this activity, you will read about how to use apps, see notifications, and we'll look at some security options for your touchscreen device.

Launch lesson

If you don’t have a fingerprint option, you can still set an unlock code number, known as a passcode or Personal Identification Number (PIN for short), or even a pattern. These are then requested every time the device is used.

a touchscreen displaying the passcode prompt
a person selecting the settings icon on their touchscreen

To set any of these security features you need to find the device's Settings options.

The Settings options can be different depending on which device you’re using, but they all do similar things.

Applications or Apps

One of the great things with touchscreen devices is how easy it is to get software for particular tasks. These software programs are called applications, or apps for short.

Your device will already have a place to get or purchase apps. It might be called App store, Google Play or the Microsoft Store, depending on the type of touchscreen device you own.

two different touchscreen devices - an Android device on the left and an Apple device on the right


Apps - short for applications - are programs that you can install or delete from your device. Your device will have certain important apps that come with the device so you don't need to install them yourself. On your device, you'll find such apps as Calendar, Contacts, Maps, Clock and others. You don't need to pay for them and they're ready to be used right away.

You can also get apps to play games, connect with people you know, edit pictures and probably every other task you can think of to do on a smart device. Such apps aren't always free and you'll need to be careful before installing an app.

a graphic showing dollar bills next to a touchscreen to indicate that some apps need to be paid for

How to get apps

You'll find lots of free apps but there are also lots that you need to pay for.

Often, paid apps have more features but it’s best to check that you really need them before you buy them.

Check apps before you buy

Always check reviews and ratings for apps, especially for apps that you need to pay for.

Checking what other people think can be a good way of finding out if you'd be better off with a free app or paying for one.

a touchscreen showing an app with three stars indicating it is a popular app
a touchscreen device displaying an app with the app supplier's details highlighted

Check who created the app

Look at who has created the app too. If an app is for a major company, like your bank, it's probably going to have been created by them too.

Lots of smaller companies create apps, but ones from companies you've heard of are likely to be safer and easy to use.

An icon of a padlock

eSafety tip

Do a little research into an app before downloading it - don't download just any app.

Ensure you're downloading phone or tablet applications from the authentic app store for your device, such as Apple's App Store for iPhone or iPad, or Google Play for Android devices. Read the reviews before downloading an app.

For a full guide on apps, we have our All about apps topic available in the Be Connected Topic library.


Apps can make using your touchscreen easier. One of the ways they do this is with little messages, known as notifications.

Notifications on touchscreen devices can vary depending on the device.

One of the most common notification methods is for a small symbol to be displayed at the top of the screen.

an app displaying a notification by using the number 1 in a red circle
a smartphone showing a list of notifications on the screen

On most devices, you will be able to use the swipe motion, by placing your thumb or finger at the top of the screen and dragging down, to show all of your notifications.

Next, you’ll be able to tap any of them to see more details about that notification.

Home button

Most mobile devices have a Home button. This can vary depending on which device you're using. The Home button is good to get back to the main screen of the touchscreen.

On older Apple devices, the Home button is a circular button below or to the side of the screen. On more recent versions and on an Android device it’s also a small circle but this time, it’s on the screen itself.

For more information on the location of buttons on your smart device, you can find our very informative courses in the Be Connected Topic library on:

a close up of the home button on a mobile device
a diagram showing how to drag an app to the bottom of a Windows touchscreen.

Too many apps!

When you're using a touchscreen, if you have too many apps running at the same time it can start to slow things down. You can avoid this by closing apps when you're not using them.

The procedure for closing apps is different depending on the device you are using. Let's look at them next.

Closing the app in Apple devices

For older devices with a physical Home button, quickly press the home button twice. Find the app you want to close and swipe up. This app will disappear from the screen. Tap the Home button once more to return to the Home screen.

For Apple devices without a physcial Home button, drag your finger up from the bottom of the screen and hold it for a moment until all the open apps appear as panels. Find the app you want to close and swipe it up. The app will disappear from the screen. Tap anywhere on the screen outside of the app panels to return to the Home screen.

a diagram showing how to swipe an app to the top of an Apple touchscreen.
a diagram showing how to swipe an app to the side of an Android  touchscreen.

Closing the app in Android devices

Tap the small square at the bottom of the screen. This will show you all the apps that are currently open. Long tap an app and swipe to the side. Letting go will close the app.

Hamburger menu

Displaying lots of content on a small screen, such as on a smartphone or tablet, can be challenging. Things like menus on websites are an example of content that doesn't need to be displayed all the time, so when viewing the website on a small screen, they are temporarily hidden.

You can still access them when you need them, however. Most websites use a small image of three stacked horizontal lines to show that there's a hidden menu. This image is referred to as the Hamburger menu, as it looks a bit like a hamburger. Tapping this hamburger symbol, or icon, will open the hidden menu.

a close up of the menu icon, known as a hamburger menu
a couple watching content on their touchscreen device

Well done!

You've completed the Security and apps activity.

You've learned that it is possible to secure your device, install and close apps and how to use the hamburger menu when using the internet on your device.

This is the end of the Using a touchscreen course, but there are many other interesting courses on the Be Connected website that you can visit next, including games and practice area activities specifically designed to help you use a touchscreen. You can find these, and more, in the Topic library on this website.