How to buy and download an app for someone else

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by HDMe, Nov 15, 2012.

  1. HDMe macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2009
    Kittrell, NC
    I didn't see any threads, unless there was something really old, so forgive me if I missed something in the search.

    I have an iMac. My sister has an iMac. I have internet, she does not.

    For her iPhone, she can drive somewhere that has WiFi to purchase apps and upgrade her phone and such... but this is not convenient to do with her iMac desktop.

    So I was wondering... is there any way to buy apps and download them for another user's Apple ID and then transfer those apps to that user's computer?

    Not looking to do anything shady here... just trying to find a way for her to upgrade her OS X (I already upgraded mine months ago) and buy some apps for her desktop without having to pack up her iMac and drive it over here to do so.
  2. prdmtltor macrumors newbie

    Nov 15, 2012
    Here's my suggestion. Sounds like she already has an Apple ID. Add a user account to your machine and attach her Apple ID to it. Whenever you need to buy her stuff switch users and buy and download using her account then copy to a portable drive to take with you. I've done this successfully with various apps and even the installation packages for Lion and Mountain Lion (you have to catch them before they start the installation though which will be a problem for you if you have already upgraded - you can search for tips on creating OS X installation disks if necessary).

    The caveat here is that while I have two computers (1 in Montreal and 1 in Toronto that I do this with regularly) both are connected to the internet so I cannot be 100% sure that when you copy to her computer it won't attempt to authorize via the net before 'accepting' the copied app (applies only to Mac Store apps obviously). I certainly haven't noticed any such behaviour tho and assume that as long as the download computer and the target computer share the same Apple ID that you should be fine.

    Let me know if this helps.
  3. HDMe thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2009
    Kittrell, NC
    Thanks for the suggestion. I'm a little leery for just that reason, that she still might not be able to use a purchased app without her computer being able to authenticate it that first time... and any solution to that would also involve bringing her computer to a WiFi access point... and if she did that, she might as well make the purchase and download it then too.

    It's not a huge thing, but I was kind of hoping there might be a legal workaround.

    It has been a while since I lived without broadband access, so I'm glad I don't have to figure this out for myself... hopefully she will get broadband sooner rather than later and can skip past this hurdle if there's not a clean way to do it before then.

    On a related note... Are the copies of applications (and the O/S too for that matter) actually DRMed to the account that downloads them?

    Another way around this, that I thought of... was IF you could gift an app through iTunes (or the Mac App store) and then if it was an app I've also bought for myself, could I then copy that app file?

    Again, not trying to steal anything... but if it is an app I've already bought, and could gift it to her through the Store, it would be nice if that would be a work-around too.
  4. Pharmscott macrumors 6502a


    Dec 13, 2011
    Sacramento, CA
    Yes, they are DRMed to the account that downloads them. But, you can authorize up to 5 accounts (e.g. computers) to use them for sharing within a household. But, as pointed out above, I don't know about the first use authentication. You could test it by downloading a free app (any old junk app) and then copy the file to her computer and see if it works or wants to authenticate. If that works, I think you're safe to move on to paid apps. Upgrading the OS will be tricky though.

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