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March 01, 2013

How to Cite a Mobile App

Chelsea blog 2

by Chelsea Lee APA Concise Dictionary

Mobile applications, or apps, are a type of software 
that runs on devices such as smartphones and tablet computers (such as iPhones, iPads, and Androids) as well as web browsers (such as Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Firefox). Apps serve a multitude of purposes, from entertaining you while you wait in line to providing you a way to look up medical information without having to lug around a stack of books. 

When you use information from an app in a paper, cite the app in APA Style. The general citation format is as follows:

Rightsholder, A. A. (year). Title of Software or Program (Version number) [Mobile application software]. Retrieved from http://xxxxx

Note that the rightsholder may be an individual but is often a group or company, as shown below, and that the date reflects the year the version you used was released, even though previous versions may have been released in different years.

Here is an example citation for a whole app:

Skyscape. (2013). Skyscape Medical Resources (Version 1.17.42) [Mobile application software]. Retrieved from http://itunes.apple.com

If the app is a reference work (like a dictionary, encyclopedia, or medical reference), it’s also possible to cite an entry in the app, just like you can cite an entry in a print or electronic reference work. The title of the entry goes at the beginning of the reference, followed by the year that version of the app was released and then information about the app itself.

Here is an example citation for an entry in a reference work app:

Diabetes. (2013). In Epocrates Essentials for Apple iOS (Version 5.1) [Mobile application software]. Retrieved from http://www.epocrates.com/mobile/iphone/essentials

For further information and more examples of not only apps but all sorts of electronic references, check out the APA Style Guide to Electronic References (pp. 28–30). 

 

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