HowStuffWorks App Poster Image




Popular, trusted resource covers mature topics responsibly.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn just about anything with this massive collection of articles, videos, and audio podcasts totaling more than 40,000 pieces of content. Along with the breadth of content, there's considerable depth, which can help foster a more meaningful understanding of concepts -- be it how space tourism works, what the five most mysterious monuments in the world are, or how Olympic torches work. A little more interactivity would be nice, but what's there (quizzes, etc.) is engaging. From astronomy to zoology, this app goes deep into the subjects curious kids want to explore.

Ease of play

The app is very easy to navigate, with large icons to tap, a handy search window, and swipe-to-turn pages.


Some articles and videos contain violent content. For example, a Discovery video about a Glendale apartment building shootout warns: "This program contains content that may be disturbing to some viewers. Parental discretion is advised." There are also videos about Al Capone, domestic violence, violent video games, and more.


There is a lot of sexual content to read about in this app, but it's all approached from an educational and often scientific perspective. Articles from DiscoveryHealth and American Baby discuss sexual intercourse and oral sex. A "Stuff you should know" piece is on gender reassignment. There's a sex quiz, "intro to sex education" and "underage sex" articles, how "animals have sex" factoids, and so on.


The words "damn" and "hell" can be seen here. An audio podcast about "swearing at work" has many bleeped out words.


This app is based on content available at, plus a number of Discovery Channel videos. There are also banner advertisements at the bottom of the screen.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

There is content about smoking, drinking alcohol, and doing illicit drugs. The app is an educational resource, and the content is not unlike content you might find in a public library. Article topics range from "Why some athletes use drugs" and "What is a rave?" to "What do I do if my teen is doing drugs" to "How does your body digest a cigarette?"

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that while HowStuffWorks for iPad covers mature themes -- violence, sex, racial issues, alcohol, drugs, and smoking -- it's a trusted educational resource that handles the subject matter responsibly. That said, moms and dads will need to decide whether they want their young kids accessing this information. Versions of the app are also available for the iPhone and Android phones.

User reviews

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's it about?

HowStuffWorks for iPad is a huge and reliable resource on -- yep, you guessed it -- how stuff works. It covers virtually every topic, from technology and spirituality to cooking and investing to science and automotive information. Similar to the website but easier to navigate, the app allows users to simply use their fingertip to select the desired subject matter and article of interest. Kids can also watch videos, listen to audio podcasts, and take quizzes that test what they’ve learned.

Is it any good?


HOWSTUFFWORKS -– already a popular and trusted Web resource and TV series -- is now optimized for the iPad. Use your fingertips to swipe through more than 40,000 articles -- ranging from "Five home repairs you should know how to do" to "How great white sharks work" -- along with many thousands of videos, podcasts, quizzes, fast facts, famous quotes, and more.

This collection of diverse topics should also be a goldmine for students. Every article lets you tag it as a favorite, adjust font size, share it (through email, Facebook, or Twitter) or wirelessly print the piece. Shows and video podcasts, which can play full-screen (but not in high-definition), load quickly and run smoothly -- but as you'd expect, a fast online connection is required to view this content. Internet access (3G or Wi-Fi) is also needed for articles. Those who'd like to have immediate access to a wealth of knowledge, offering incredible breadth and depth, will find this free, ad-supported app a gem.

Families can talk about...

  • Encourage kids to write their own mock HowStuffWorks article on a subject matter they're knowledgeable in, or help them research and fact-check information.

  • Monitor young kids' use of the app. Some info might not be appropriate for them, as topics include drugs, lock-picking, sex, and real-world violence (such as serial killers).

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Apps for Windows, Windows Phone
Subjects:Language & Reading: discussion, reading, vocabulary
Math: arithmetic, money, statistics
Science: astronomy, electricity, geology
Hobbies: cooking, gardening, sports
Arts: music, photography, singing
Skills:Self-Direction: academic development, identifying strengths and weaknesses, personal growth
Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, collecting data, thinking critically
Tech Skills: social media, using and applying technology
Pricing structure:Free
Release date:August 3, 2011
Size:31.40 MB
Minimum software requirements:iOS 8.0 or later; Android 4.1 and up

This review of HowStuffWorks was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?