There are plenty of bland holiday gift options out there: an itchy sweater, a personalized coffee mug or perhaps a Snuggie would express the proper sentiment? Or, maybe this year you want to make a statement with your gifts while still having a little cash left in your wallet at the end of the merry season. Gifting iPhone or iPad apps via the iTunes store is a fantastic way to send a gift that offers an array of benefits. What are our favorite reasons for gifting an app or two?
1. No shipping costs and no need to stand in line at the post office. Gifting an app is as easy as the touch of a button or two.
2. Apps are inexpensive. With prices starting at $0.99 and up, apps allow you to choose a gift that fits the budget for every Apple lover on your list. Whether you want to send a small token of appreciation to clients, prove to your kids that you’re tech savvy, or surprise a friend, app gifts allow you to spend as much or as little as you want.
3. An app can be a uniquely personal gift. By selecting an app that fits the personality or interest of the recipient, you can give a gift that’s way more personal than a keychain with little Susie’s name on it. If Mom loves to bake, send her a few cookbook apps. Or throw Uncle Larry a line with the gift of a fishing game. There’s something for everyone in the iTunes App Store.
4. Apps don’t collect dust. Or take up space in the closet. The people in your life who have an iPad, iPod Touch or iPhone are already making use of a vast array of apps. Adding to that collection doesn’t take up any extra space on their knick knack shelf and there’s no risk of your gift ending up in next year’s yard sale.
How to gift and iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad App
Once you decide to take the plunge, there are two different ways that you can go about becoming an App Santa. The great part is that even if you don’t own an iPad or iPhone, all that’s needed is a current version of iTunes downloaded on your computer in order to let the giving begin!
To begin giving apps via your computer, open iTunes and navigate your way to the app store. This is where the creative fun begins. Take some time to browse the app categories and find a game, utility or lifestyle app that fits the niche for your gift recipient.
Once you find the perfect app, click on the drop down arrow on the “Buy App” button and select “Gift This App.”
After selecting the “Gift This App” option, you will be taken to a screen that prompts you to fill in the gift recipient’s name, e-mail address and a personal note.
At the top of the screen, you’ll be given the option to either send the gift via e-mail, or print a certificate for the gift. This is a great option for those of you who want to throw your gift under the tree on Christmas morning, as you’ll be able to print a nifty certificate, throw it into an envelope, wrap a ribbon on it and have something tangible to show for your virtual gift!
Once you select continue, you’ll be prompted to finalize your order. Select “Buy Gift” and just like that…You’ve given the gift of an app from your computer.
This process can be repeated with each app you wish to purchase, or if you’d like to send an app to more than one person with the same personal message, simply enter multiple e-mail addresses into the gift recipient field.
For those of you who are iPhone folks yourselves, and don’t want the option of printing out a certificate, the process for gifting an app from an Apple mobile device is just as simple. Begin by accessing the app store on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch and browsing until you locate the perfect app gift. Once you have made your selection, scroll to the bottom of the app’s screen and select “Gift This App.”
The next screen will review the app you’ve chosen to purchase, where you’ll select “Next” at the bottom of the page to continue.
Just as with the computer version, you’ll need to enter the recipient’s name, e-mail address and, if you’d like, a short personal message.
After moving to the next screen you will be prompted to review the information that you entered on the previous screen for accuracy, while also being asked to review the order total and finalize the deal by selecting “Buy Gift.”
And just like that, you’ve done it! In the instance that you’d like to send the same app to another individual, you can select “Gift Again,” or head back to the app store to find more unique gifts for your list of good boys and girls.
Always Read the Fine Print
As with all most good things, there are a few important restrictions to be aware of when purchasing iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch apps as gifts.
1. The gift recipient must be in the same geographic iTunes area as the gift giver. For all intensive purposes, this means that you need to be in the same country as the person whom you are buying for.
2. iTunes credits cannot be used to purchase gift apps. Thus, if you have a balance on your iTunes account from a previously applied gift card or what not, be aware that this balance will not be used for any gift purchases, and the charges will be applied to your standard pre-set iTunes payment source.
3. Check to make sure that your gift recipient’s device is capable of operating the app that you choose. If for some reason you get an app poorly matched for the recipient’s machinery, they will be able to return it by reporting an issue, however it’s simply easier to try and gift compatible apps.
Get to Gifting!
Whether you’re a tech junkie or a just someone who doesn’t want to battle lines at the mall, iPhone and iPad apps make a great gift that the recipient is sure not to expect. Expand your shopping horizons this season and let iTunes help you give the gift of apps!