Once thought of as merely for gaming and social media, now there are apps for nearly anything you can imagine! Apps are individual platforms for information and their unique format may be something that you want refer to in your paper. Just as with any other source, failure to cite is considered plagiarism, and can carry strict consequences whether you meant for it to happen or not.

However, it is important to note that if the app is simply a container for information you are citing, then you will cite the information, rather than the app itself. Think of it like a database where you find a journal article you want to cite. In that case, the database information would be included as part of your citation, but wouldn’t be the main thing you’re citing. But, if you were writing a paper about the effectiveness of different databases, the database itself could be the actual source you need to cite. The same is true for a mobile app! This guide will show you how to cite a mobile as a source.

Need help citing a mobile app for your paper? Below are guidelines for how to do this in APA format, MLA formatting, and Harvard referencing. Remember, if you’re unsure which style you should be using in your paper, ask your instructor for their preference.

What Information Do I Need to Make the Citations?

As you are using different mobile apps for your research, be sure to note which ones you reference, so that you don’t forget to cite them later. A great way to do this is to move each app into the home screen of your device, so the next time you open your phone or tablet, the apps you need are front and center.

Here is information that is typically needed to cite a mobile app. We’ve listed out an example of each piece that we will use throughout this guide. It is important to note that the exact number and combination of these may differ depending on your chosen citation style. This information can easily be found on the download page in your platform’s app store:

A Note on In-Text Citations

In-text citations are references to sources that you include within the body of your paper. These are typically in a footnote or parenthetical format. They signal to the reader when you have taken information from someone else’s work.

Like references or citations that you include in your bibliography, in-text citations look different depending on your chosen citation style.

Let’s take a look at how to cite a mobile app in three popular styles: MLA, APA, and Harvard.

How to Cite a Mobile App in APA Style

APA in-text citation:

(WordWeb Software, 2017)

Full citation:

WordWeb Software. (2017). Oxford Dictionary of English (3.5) [Mobile application software]. Retrieved https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/oxforddictionary/id602660809?mt=8.

How to Cite a Mobile App in MLA Style

MLA in-text citation:

(Oxford Dictionary)

Full citation:

Oxford Dictionary of English. Version 3.5, WordWeb Software, 2017.

How to Cite a Mobile App in Harvard Style

Harvard in-text citation:

(WordWeb Software 2017)

Full citation:

WordWeb Software, 2017. Oxford Dictionary of English. Mobile app. Version 3.5. Available from: itunes.apple.com/us/app/oxforddictionary/id602660809?mt=8. Accessed 29 August 2017.

You can make citations in thousands of different styles (like Chicago format) on Cite This For Me!