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Apps Galore! The Down-Low on Downloads
Thursday, August 31, 2023 - 00:32
Pitt IT provides loads of software and mobile apps at no cost for students. It can take a while to install them onto your devices, so get it out of the way now while the term is still young. But which ones should you get? Here are our top recommendations.
Software for Your Laptop
The cloud has made it possible to do most of your work online, or you can use the Student Computing Labs machines (or connect your device to the Virtual Student Computing Lab) to use specialty software. But there are some programs that are really convenient to have right on your device.
Installing Microsoft desktop apps can be very useful in some situations. You can work offline when you don’t have Wi-Fi access, you may prefer the desktop app’s interface, and there are features (e.g., Excel Formula menu) that only work in the desktop version. Also, the Ribbon menus show more options in the desktop versions. Microsoft Teams meetings and file sharing is much easier in the desktop app if you’ll be using it for a group project or for a student job or internship. You can download Microsoft 365 apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, Outlook, Teams and OneNote) by logging into portal.office.com with your Pitt credentials and clicking Install Apps in the upper right corner.
Adobe Creative Cloud
If you rarely need Adobe apps (e.g., you just need to edit the occasional Acrobat file or make a quick edit to a graphic or video), you can use these apps from the computing labs. Students who anticipate using it more regularly for classwork and club needs can get their own Adobe Creative Cloud license at no cost. It takes a couple of days to activate the license, so be sure to go to accounts.pitt.edu and go to the Adobe tab to request a license before you need to use it. The Adobe apps can be used online or downloaded to your device. They are pretty big and can consume significant compute resources when working locally, but if you will be performing significant graphic design, video editing, web development, or photography work, then we recommend installing the apps on your device.
Zoom is widely used for group work, virtual office hours, and online events or classes. Zoom recommends using the desktop (or mobile) app rather than using Zoom through a web browser. The user controls are much more robust and easier to access on the desktop app. To install Zoom, log into pitt.zoom.us with your Pitt credentials and click Download Client from the home screen.
Apps for Your Mobile Device
You use your phone to check all sorts of things, from academics and campus events to health and dining. The Pitt Mobile App Center has tons of free apps, but here are the ones you’ll use all the time:
Pitt Mobile is the official app of the University and delivers an enhanced Pitt experience right to your phone. Easily access services and resources from the Campus Guide and create quick access to the resources you use most. Plan out your day by adding events to your in-app personal calendar.
Duo is the multifactor authentication (MFA) service when connecting to services via Pitt Passport. The mobile app is the quickest and easiest way to complete the MFA process. It sends a prompt to your phone, which you can approve with one touch. It also lets you deny prompts you didn’t initiate and report a fraudulent login attempt using your account.
Canvas is Pitt’s Learning Management System. Most of your classes will have a Canvas course that includes class resources, a calendar, assignments, and assignment and test grades. You can communicate with your instructor and turn in assignments in Canvas as well.
Pitt CX Mobile
Pitt CX Mobile is the mobile app for PeopleSoft/HighPoint Campus Experience (CX). HighPoint CX enables you to search the course catalog, add/drop classes, and plan out your schedule. It also enables you to access and manage your academic, financial, enrollment, and contact information.
If you’re using Microsoft 365 apps, it’s likely you’ll need to make a quick change or check a file from your phone while on the go. This is especially true with Outlook and OneDrive. Outlook mobile lets you read and send email, and check your calendar or add new appointments. The OneDrive mobile app enables you to open and send files, save pics or other files on your phone to the cloud, or use your camera to scan a file and save it as a PDF.
The Pharos Print app provides a Pitt Print solution for iOS and Android devices. Both versions allow you to upload print jobs, view jobs in the print queue, change print options on those jobs, and view your print quota account.
The Rave Guardian app is a safety app that provides many options for contacting the Pitt Police, accessing campus health and safety resources, and keeping each other safe. You can submit tips anonymously to Pitt Police, set a safety timer when you are alone so your friends can ensure you get home safely, or call Pitt Police directly from the app in an emergency.
Get All the Apps
Of course, Pitt IT makes dozens of software programs and mobile apps available to you. Check them all out and download the ones you think you’ll need. You can use the Software Download Service to check out your software options and the Pitt Mobile App Center to see your mobile choices. Download away!
-- By Karen Beaudway, Pitt IT Blogger