If you use apps on your iPhone or iPad, other than those included in iOS, you get them from Apple’s App Store. Since Apple’s App Store is the only way to install apps on iOS devices (unlike with macOS where you can obtain apps from the Mac App Store or from developers) you have to use Apple to provide these apps. The App Store has lots of advantages, but also some negatives, and has been controversial lately. In this article, I’ll look at what’s good about the App Store and what needs work.
“An odd annoyance has emerged among many App Store and iTunes users. Over the last several weeks, many Apple customers have reported that they are no longer receiving email receipts for purchases they made via the App Store or iTunes.”
I’ve been having the same problem. And this is a problem, because I need receipts for software that I purchase for my business. In fact, I had forgotten about this until seeing the article this morning, and went and got a bunch of receipts re-sent.
The biggest issue with this, however, is that without receipts I won’t see any unauthorized purchases, if, by chance, someone managed to compromise my account, or if I was billed for something I didn’t buy.
When Apple removed iOS app management and the iOS App Store from iTunes, this created a problem for iOS developers. If you visited their websites on a Mac, and wanted to buy an app, or even see an app’s page in the App Store, you couldn’t do this. iTunes would not display any content from the iOS App Store.
Likewise, you couldn’t see a Mac App Store page on an iOS device.
But Apple has recently changed this. I’ve noticed in the past few weeks that if I click an iOS app link in my browser, it opens the app’s page in iTunes.
However, you can’t purchase the app, or add it to your Wish List, and you can’t even share the page from iTunes.
Similarly, if you click on a link to a Mac app on an iOS device, you can view it in your device. Here’s a story about BBEdit from the Mac App Store on my iPhone:
You’ll notice in the second screenshot above that the Get button is dimmed; you can’t purchase the app. And, as with the iOS app in iTunes, you can’t add it to your Wish List, nor can you share it.
However, you can at least view this content on other platforms. I would love to see the ability to purchase iOS apps on the desktop, and choosing to send them to a specific device, or at least make them available on your devices. The same is the case for Mac apps on iOS. Sometimes I see information about an app when I’m on my iPhone, and don’t always remember to check it out later when I’m back at my desk.
There are lots of subscriptions you can purchase from Apple. They may be for services such as Apple Music and Apple News+. You may have subscriptions for specific apps that function on a monthly or annual payment. Or you may have subscriptions to third-party services–such as HBO NOW, Hulu, Pandora, or Spotify–that you’ve purchased through the iTunes Store.
It’s easy to manage these subscriptions once you find where to go. In this article, I’ll show you how to access information about your iTunes Store and App Store subscriptions, and how to cancel them.
For seven years, the Mac App Store has been one way of purchasing apps for your Mac, and for downloading updates to those apps and to the operating system. Apple is redesigning the Mac App Store with the release of macOS Mojave this fall, providing similar content to the iOS App Store. There will notably be editorial content, in order to expose users to more apps.
You can still buy many Mac apps from individual developers as you did before Apple’s Mac App Store came around. While there are advantages to buying apps from Apple, the Mac App Store is not perfect. So you might be wondering a few things, such as should you buy Mac apps from the App Store, or instead purchase software directly from the developer’s website? Are there limitations on apps downloaded from the Mac App Store? These are all things we’ll cover below, including the pros and cons of buying apps from the Mac App Store as well as when it can be better to go directly to developers for your software.
The long-awaited new version of Scrivener (for Mac and iOS) was released a few weeks ago, and we’ve got a newly updated book to match! Take Control of Scrivener 3 by best-selling author Kirk McElhearn walks you through setting up, organizing, writing, formatting, revising, and compiling a Scrivener project, whether you’re working on a Mac or in iOS.
Scrivener is a powerful tool for managing long-form writing projects–such as novels and screenplays–and Take Control of Scrivener 3 gives you all the details you need to know to harness its potential. With Scrivener, you can start writing at any point in your work (end, middle, beginning), then easily move scenes, sections, and chapters until it’s exactly as you want. It also allows you store items such as research material, character sketches, and setting information in the same project file as your writing.
Your Mac is full of files, in fact, millions of them. You don’t need to know about most of them, because part of the operating system, called the file system, manages these files. The file system handles how files are written, read, copied, and deleted, all in the background. The file system also creates and stores a catalog of all the files on your computer, so the Finder and your apps can find files when they need them.
With macOS High Sierra, Apple has introduced a new file system called APFS (Apple File System). In this article, I’ll introduce you to this file system, and tell you a bit about how it’s different from the previous file system. I’ll also warn you about some issues that may be problematic as you negotiate this change.
The Wish List is the simplest of things: it allows you to bookmark items you may want to buy. Since the iTunes Store doesn’t have a shopping cart – you can’t save items for later, as you can with most online stores – this is the only way you can mark something that you want to come back to.
This morning, I saw an article about a game that is new to iOS; it’s called The Witness. I glance at the App Store page on my iPhone, but I didn’t have time to look closely. It’s a $10 game, so I wasn’t about to make an impulse purchase. I went to add it to my Wish List, and discovered that I can’t do that any more. So I had to make a not of it in Evernote. This sort of friction will lead to a lot of people just forgetting about apps they see, if they don’t buy them immediately.
Interestingly, when I got to my desk, I looked up the app in iTunes (I’m still running iTunes 12.6.2 on my iMac). I didn’t remember the name, and when I went to the Games section of the App Store, I didn’t see it highlighted; this is odd, because it’s on the Today section of the App Store in iOS. I had to go back to Evernote to find the name, and when I searched for it, I didn’t find it either. Here’s what turned up (the game called The Witness is not the same one):
When I did eventually find it (here’s a link), I found that I could add it to my Wish List in iTunes 12.6.2. And I can view that Wish List in the same version of iTunes. But on my Mac running iTunes 12.7, when I look at the Wish List, I don’t see apps; only music, movies, TV shows, and books.
I don’t understand why Apple is making it harder to buy apps.
Apple’s iOS and Mac app stores revolutionized software distribution. They provide one-stop shops for apps from vendors around the world, allowing software developers to offer their products without worrying about setting up distribution contracts. They also take care of the fulfillment (billing and downloads), saving developers time and hassle. In exchange, Apple takes a 30 percent cut of sales, which is fair for the service they provide.
But there’s one thing you can’t do in Apple’s app stores: you cannot provide a new version of your apps to existing customers at a discount. You can’t offer upgrade pricing.
Rogue Amoeba, the makers of the essential audio apps Audio Hijack and Fission, has just released SoundSource, a quick-access app that lets you adjust audio device settings from your menubar. You can switch devices and adjust their volume with just a couple of clicks.
There’s also a Play-Thru window, which lets you check your levels while using audio devices.
This is a great addition to my Mac, since I do a lot of podcast recording, Skype calls, and other audio tasks.
Rogue Amoeba has made a great offer to existing customers: if you have one of their apps already, you’re eligible for a free license for SoundSource. Check it out now; if you use audio devices on your Mac, this is the controller that you’ve been missing.