A Beginner’s Guide To the Mac App Store

If you are new to Mac you may not have had the chance to use the Mac App Store very much. The App Store is a great way to get all of your software since it is more secure, a trusted payment system, and easy to find apps you need. You can look at top charts, read reviews and search for apps. Any apps you purchase can be installed on all of your Macs.

Video Transcript
So if you're new to Mac you may not know about the Mac App Store or may not have used it much yet. You can usually find the Mac App Store in the Dock by default. It's got a little symbol here. It looks like an A for app. You go into it and it's basically just a store where you can buy software although a lot of software is free.

So you can navigate it using the items at the top. The first item is Featured and it's going to show new apps, apps that have been just recently been updated, apps that are popular, and apps that Apple has reviewed and liked.

There's also Top Charts where you can go and see the top paid, the top free, and the top grossing apps. The difference between top paid and top grossing is that a lot of apps have in-app purchases. Grossing is kind of combining the initial price with any in-app purchases.

You can also dig into Categories. It shows you the top three in every category. Or you can dig down into the category itself. Notice on the right there's all sorts of special sections like Apps for Writers, Apps for Developers, Making Music. These will change periodically. You'll also find charts here for the section that you're in. So the top paid productivity apps are listed here.

There's a section for Purchased to see the ones you've purchased. If they are installed currently you can open them up. One thing to know is when you buy an app in the Mac App Store you've basically bought a license to use it whether or not you have it installed. So you can uninstall a piece of software and just go to this purchase section and it will say Download and you can download it again. So a piece of software that you may only use occasionally you may not want to actually have on your Mac all the time. Simply redownload it and reinstall it the next time that you need it.

There's also a section for Updates which will check for updates for all of the software, including some pieces that aren't actually from the app store like here, for instance, iTunes. You'll see notes here telling you what has changed. So when you get an update to a piece of software you may want to go to the Update section and read about what has changed. Sometimes there's important notes here that will help you get around in the new version very quickly.

Now when you go and select a piece of software you can read a lot about it. There's a description, there's What's New in the most recent version here as well. You can find information here on the right. If there's any in app purchases they'll be listed here. You can find ratings and reviews. Of course reviews are written by regular everyday users like you and me so sometimes the quality of the review varies. You should probably read several of them to just get an idea and kind of discard the best ones and the worst ones to get an idea. Then you have the ability to Open the software if you have it installed. If it's something you haven't purchased then you'll get the price there and you can then purchase it and it will use your iTunes account for the purchase.

Why should you purchase from the Mac App Store? Well, there's a couple of reasons. First there's security. Any developer that has an app in the Mac App Store is part of the Apple Developer Program so there's accountability. Also Apple has reviewed, to some extent, the apps that are there. It's not a complete review but there's certain things that need to be done in order for the app to be accepted in the App Store. Also, of course, if anything were to go wrong with an app Apple would pull it from the App Store where that's not true on the web where an app that is causing trouble can just remain up there.

Another advantage to using the Mac App Store is that you can use the app that you've purchased on multiple machines. So if you have say a MacBook and an iMac and they're both yours and you're using the same Apple ID on both you can download the software you've purchased on both those machines. No need to purchase two licenses for that piece of software.

One other reason you may want to use the App Store for most of your app purchases is it's just a single payment system. So you're not buying apps from all sorts of different developers, all sorts of different payment systems. You're just using your iTunes account to do it.

Comments: 7 Responses to “A Beginner’s Guide To the Mac App Store”

    Bob
    10/6/17 @ 2:53 pm

    ‘App Store’ is a good one to dump off your dock… in the real world it’s rarely if ever used for anything beyond updates; and can be quickly accessed via the Apple Menu if/when needed.

    10/6/17 @ 2:57 pm

    Bob: A lot of people access it weekly or even daily to see what is new.

    pw
    10/12/17 @ 11:31 am

    Will the App Store icon “automatically” display the number of apps needing an upgrade, or, does one need to open the app and select “update” in the lower right corner? I used to use iTunes all the time for updating and b-up of my devices; with that update function now NOT iTunes functional the need is there to act accordingly. To Bob’s point-no flag leave it in the dock to remember to upgrade and if icon is “auto-flagged” then park the icon anywhere.

    10/12/17 @ 11:37 am

    pw: In my experience, the number updates automatically, but not constantly. So sometimes when you go to the Updates screen the number changes to reflect new updates from the last time it checked. You have the option to have updates applied automatically, so you really never have to do it at all.

    Roger Mann
    10/12/17 @ 3:28 pm

    When I need an app I use the search function in the App Store. Apple makes this hard to see and Bob, the good company man that he is, doesn’t mention it.

    Joe Hagedorn
    10/14/17 @ 12:20 pm

    I cannot find the search function in Apple App, nor could I in the former app used which I cannot recall as an 82 year old. Occasionally, on different websites, a new app was mention, but rarely was a link shown. I would look for up to an hour and never find the new app.

    10/14/17 @ 12:22 pm

    Joe: The Search field is at the top right corner of the app at all times.

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