Back in Time

Common Sense Media says

Gorgeous textbook of 44 major events has universal appeal.





What parents need to know

Ease of play

The main menu contains an introduction to the app's purpose as well as diagrams that give basic instructions on how to access various pictures and information. Still, it takes some practice to get used to navigating between the clock, the graphic timeline of events, and the information pages. A few animations also guide users to discover the app's features. In addition to English, the app can be displayed in French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, and Chinese. The music can only be disabled in the device's settings menu.


This app is not explicitly bloody or gory, but its text and photos reflect the violence in animal and human history. Animal survival and extinction are detailed in a scientific manner, and there is a video of Venus flytraps consuming insects. Ancient and human wars are described and accompanied by photos of weapons, soldiers, and boots from victims at Auschwitz.


There are a few pictures of artistic nudes, including Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus" and Michelangelo's "The Creation of Adam."

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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Back in Time is an engaging book app that strives to present major events throughout history in an engaging way. A clock metaphor is used to show the time relation between these events -- if the universe started 24 hours ago, human evolution started 16 seconds ago. Users can move the hands on a clock back to a specific period of time, which is then displayed on a graphical timeline of history's major events. Tapping on one of the events brings the user to an information page, with several paragraphs of text about the event, several pictures that can be enlarged, an occasional video, and often an entertaining animation. The app reflects the violence in animal and human existence, but not in a gory or sensational way, and there are a few nude paintings. The app is captured well in this trailer. A similar app by the same name is available for the iPhone.

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This app does an excellent job achieving its purpose -- to convey a sense of the content and scope of history in an accessible and engaging way. The clock and graphic timeline are really fun to use, and the animations and pictures enliven the text. Kids and adults alike will enjoy exploring this app, which exudes a sense of scientific discovery and curiosity about the still unanswered questions. Of course, in the style of textbooks, this app does not include citations for its facts, so parents may want to discuss this with kids and use the app as a launching point for more research.

App details

Release date:December 2, 2011
Topics:Dinosaurs, History, Science and nature, Space and aliens
Size:556.00 MB
Minimum software requirements:iOS 4.3 or later

This review of Back in Time was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 6 year old Written bymadsmooney1214 September 17, 2012

back time

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex


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