Software and applications are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but they do have distinct meanings.
Software refers to a set of instructions or programs that tell a computer what to do. It can include both the operating system, which is the backbone of a computer that controls the basic functions, and the various programs or applications that run on top of it. Examples of software include Windows, Linux, and macOS, as well as programs like Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop.
An application, on the other hand, is a specific program or software that performs a specific task or set of tasks. Applications are built on top of the operating system and make use of the software and hardware resources that the operating system provides. Applications can be divided into two main categories: system software and application software. System software is a type of software that supports the functioning of a computer and its various components, while application software is designed to perform specific tasks, such as word processing, graphic design, or online shopping.
In summary, software is a general term that refers to the instructions that tell a computer what to do, while an application is a specific program or software that performs a specific task.