American Presidents for iPad

App review by
Liz Panarelli, Common Sense Media
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Great graphics and interface make presidents come to life.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about American history by reading descriptions of the presidents. The timeline presentation gives context for historical events and figures. There's a lot of supplementary material, including texts of important speeches and documents, and portraits of the presidents. Quizzes test users' knowledge of specific time periods and people. Correct answers are displayed after each quiz, though the app doesn't track data or progress. An engaging app for strong readers, this isn't a great fit for kids who need more interaction. 

Ease of Play

The app is relatively intuitive, with the timeline serving as the primary menu. Menus on a toolbar along the bottom of the timeline facilitate jumping to the map, documents, quizzes, and instructions for using the app. The interactive map displays the growth of U.S. territory over six different time periods, including divisions during the Civil War, with a list of when various states joined the union. A few of the links provided in the descriptions are broken, but overall the app is highly functional and easy to use.


There are academic descriptions and images of a few violent events in U.S. history, such as the attack on Pearl Harbor and The War of 1812.


There is mention of a sexual harassment suit and impeachment of President Clinton in relation to "inappropriate conduct" with Monica Lewinsky, including the text of the "Clinton sinned" speech from 46th Annual Prayer Breakfast.


Teens can share a link to purchase the app via email, Facebook, or Twitter.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The text of relevant amendments mentions the enactment and repeal of alcohol prohibition.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that American Presidents for iPad is an attractive app with information about U.S. presidents and history that is best for older kids. The app contains a timeline from 1789 to present with major U.S. events, alongside the term and a cartoon representation of each president. Tapping on a president takes you to a description (of about 1500 words) of that president, his policies, and a photo gallery. Also included are descriptions of historical events, including wars, alcohol prohibition, and presidential scandals. Descriptions tend to be at least three paragraphs long, so strong reading skills are necessary. There are eight quizzes and a map showing the growth of U.S. territory. Users can share a link to purchase the app on email, Facebook, or Twitter, and the written descriptions contain links to external websites such as Wikipedia.

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What's it about?

American Presidents for iPad contains a timeline from 1789 to present with major U.S. events, including the terms of each president. Users can scroll through and tap on events or cartoon images of the presidents. Presidential pages include 1,500-word descriptions and photo galleries. There are eight quizzes and a map showing the growth of U.S. territory. Users can also use simple menus to view the text of important documents and speeches. External links suggest further exploration on sites such as Wikipedia and Real Clear Politics.

Is it any good?

AMERICAN PRESIDENTS FOR IPAD does an excellent job of presenting a ton of information in an integrated and appealing format. Kids will like the cartoon illustrations, which are supplemented by high-quality photos and paintings. The timeline format is easy to use, and it's helpful to see major events alongside presidential terms. The lack of descriptions for some significant events (such as the Civil or Vietnam Wars) is surprising. Having the amendments on the timeline along with the text of important documents and, in particular, the presidential speeches, is a great touch.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Read together about historical events and decisions immediately relevant to today, such as previous financial crises, the Bill of Rights, or the presidential election process.

  • Challenge your kid to see who can answer more quiz questions correctly, and try to track your joint progress over time.

App details

  • Device: iPad
  • Subjects: Social Studies: government, historical figures, timelines
    Language & Reading: reading comprehension
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: applying information
  • Price: $3.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Release date: August 5, 2011
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 150.00 MB
  • Publisher: Peripatetic
  • Version: 1.0
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 4.3 or later
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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