+ equals universal iPhone/iPad app in App Store

+ sign means universal app for iPhone and iPad in App Store

If you see a + sign next to or below an app in the iTunes App Store, it indicates that app is universal -- designed to work natively on both the iPhone and iPad.

Typically these universal apps are provided by developers when the functionality is similar on both iPad and iPhone, but due to the iPad's large screen a different interface is needed (to include sidebars, popovers, and wide views instead of deep levels).

It also means you only have to download -- and pay for -- the app once.

Sure, you can run any iPhone app on the iPad if you're okay with boxing or chunky double fuzzy 2x mode, but universal apps ensure you get the best user interface -- and user experience -- possible on all your current iOS devices.

So if you have an iPhone or iPod touch and an iPad, and you see the + sign for a universal app, you're good to go.

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 14 comments. Add yours.

Gcurrent says:

Thank You! I was trying to figure this out the other day and couldn't located an answer.

Trevor says:

Thanks Rene, I already knew this but Apple didn't explain this much. I bet there were a fair amount of people wondering.

India says:

I read it somewhere on the app store. But I stumbled upon on it by mistake. It should definitely be more visible for iPad users to notice. Now every time I shop the app store I'm always on the lookout for the little + symbol.

WilhelmR says:

Now the appstore needs to be clearer of what apps have in-app purchases. They all used to show on the left side, but now quite a few apps don't, and you only find out once you buy the app sigh

Tom Stephens says:

"It also means you only have to download — and pay for — the app once."
Twitterrific wasn't exactly a great example. They have already alienated customers by requiring them to pay twice -- once for Twitterrific Premium, and now again if users want the ad free version.

Corinne says:

THANKS YOU! I was wondering what it meant. I thought maybe it meant you can upgrade to premium, but this makes sense.

Corinne says:

And, I just woke up. That's why I can't spell this morning.

Gedeon Maheux says:

Tom,
If Apple would allow a way for us to give discounts across different products, we'd gladly have done that for Twitterrific Premium owners. As it was, it's not currently possible. In addition, this is an all new version and lots of work has gone into it. We've not charged an upgrade to Twitterrific for iPhone since version 1 two years ago. The upgrade from 1 to 2 was free. If we gave free upgrades to our products for life, we'd have to stop making software. Thanks for listening.

striatic says:

what do iphone 4 resolution optimized apps look like when blown up on the iPad?

macharborguy says:

@Striatic: surprisingly, they look about the same. I am guessing it is because the iPad is not using iOS4, and does not exactly understand the higher resolution resources, and instead just blows up the graphics instead of properly scaling them

Jason masters says:

Great idea I'm Jason and windows seven was my idea!

dloveprod says:

I was wondering what that meant lol

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