Willrememberher

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 10, 2021
2
0
Asheville, NC
They say “No dumb questions,” so here’s my smart question: I don’t understand why my access to even the most rudimentary apps do not exist on my new Mac. Apps on my iPhone/iPad are plentiful and useful but on my Mac, I can’t get to a damn thing unless I want to play a game. Why can’t a person have access to the same apps across the board?
 

Willrememberher

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 10, 2021
2
0
Asheville, NC
Oh, If I only had started a list of them. I did make a mistake in my post because my Mac is running the most recent version. I always keep it up-to-date. As for the apps, they are so rudimentary, how can Mac not have them? I don’t understand why I can have individual apps such as Google, Google maps or apps like the Atlantic or for YouTube or Instagram on my iPad and iPhone but with Mac I have to continually get them through safari. I can’t get my bank’s app, I have to go through Safari. Patient Portals, available on iPhone/iPad, aren’t available on my Mac. Mac seems to offer very few apps, (I always use the SEARCH bar and what I want comes up empty). OR I’m REALLLY missing something. I think I’m really missing something . . . Knowledge.
 
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Rkuda

macrumors regular
May 23, 2016
149
211
There are two main reasons Mac has less apps than iOS.

1) Less marketshare
iOS marketshare is massive compared to Mac marketshare. Less marketshare the less incentive companies have to develop apps for the platform. I can't find any exact numbers on active Mac usage, but its probably somewhere around 5%-10% of iOS

2)Different API's were used to program the apps
Even though iOS and Mac use the same programming languages to make apps (ObjC or Swift) the API they have to use are different - UIKit for iOS, and AppKit for Mac.

UIKit is newer than AppKit, so it was easier to use to start with, and because of the huge sales iOS was making it was where Apple put most of their effort in improving things for developers. I have checked the AppKit stuff but honestly it looked like such a convoluted mess I gave up even trying to make a Mac app with it long ago.

Until recently* in order to support both iOS and Mac developers would have to have parts of their app in UIKit and parts in AppKit, this is a huge amount of work to undertake compared to just supporting one platform.


So we have the situation where most iOS devs did not start as Mac devs and most companies have to weigh the risk of spending a lot of time, money and effort to port to a platform where there is little benefit for them.



If we combine both the main reasons and apply it to a company like your bank we can see how it wouldn't make sense for them to make a Mac app.

1) Their developers probably only have a background in iOS, and maybe Web
2) They provide their app for free to users. So they can't make a good business case to directly put the time, effort, and money into a Mac app.
3) They already have a web site. This is good enough for most people who want to use their service on a Mac.
4) An iOS app makes sense because nearly all their potential customers have a smartphone, and web is still kinda **** on handheld devices.


* In recent years we have new options to bring iOS apps to Mac.
Either with Mac Catalyst to build and run iPad apps on Mac, or using SwiftUI - Apple's new cross platform framework.

Some caveats with them being:

- The Catalyst app must be an iPad app to enable this function. The number of iPad apps is much smaller than those made for iPhone. Also changes will still need to be made to make the app work best on Mac. And Catalyst supposedly doesn't feel as "native" as using Appkit.

- SwiftUI is very new and so some features are/were missing, and even though it's using the Swift language it is very different than using UIKit so many developers don't want to put in the effort to learn it yet.


Obviously the future of all Apple platforms is SwiftUI, Apple is putting most of its effort to improve SwiftUI as they did with UIKit in the past so places where it was lacking the year before are getting fixed and improved upon each year. As SwiftUI gains adoption we should see more iOS apps come to the Mac as the barrier to entry will be so low it won't make much sense not to make the app run on Mac
 
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DaveFromCampbelltown

macrumors 6502
Jun 24, 2020
324
757
Conversely, I have lots of apps on my Mac that I can't get on my iPhone --
  • Mathematica
  • BBEdit
  • LyX and Texpad
  • LibreOffice
  • Graphicconverter
  • VMWare
and so on.

As well as a number of apps I can get on both
  • Safari, Firefox, Brave, Google Chrome, etc
  • Acrobat Reader, Free42 Calculator
  • Dropbox, Google Drive, MEGAsync
  • VLC, Plex
 
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svenmany

macrumors demi-god
Jun 19, 2011
325
155
I experienced an abbreviated version of the OP's pain recently.

Someone in another thread asked how to download Netflix to their Mac so that they can watch while camping and without any internet connection. Of course, I thought of the Netflix application which supports those downloads.

To my dismay, I couldn't think of a simple solution to the poster because the Netflix application is not available on the Mac. The Netflix app is available on iOS and Windows.

Using browser as a substitute for a real application has compromises. One example, although not related to the Mac, is that xfinity has discontinued their iOS app and recommends you use a web browser to interact with your voice services. Because of this, I've lost the ability to see who is calling on my watch. A native application can provide more functionality than a browser-based one.
 
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fisherking

macrumors G3
Jul 16, 2010
8,159
2,767
ny somewhere
I experienced an abbreviated version of the OP's pain recently.

Someone in another thread asked how to download Netflix to their Mac so that they can watch while camping and without any internet connection. Of course, I thought of the Netflix application which supports those downloads.

To my dismay, I couldn't think of a simple solution to the poster because the Netflix application is not available on the Mac. The Netflix app is available on iOS and Windows.

Using browser as a substitute for a real application has compromises. One example, although not related to the Mac, is that xfinity has discontinued their iOS app and recommends you use a web browser to interact with your voice services. Because of this, I've lost the ability to see who is calling on my watch. A native application can provide more functionality than a browser-based one.
you have it backwards; the browser existed first, and developers, banks, etc created ios apps, by choice, for specific needs. if netflix wanted you to download content to your mac, they would make an app (or allow that in a browser).

an M1 mac should sort all this all anyway...
 
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maternidad

macrumors member
Mar 18, 2021
76
60
I believe I previously read a post you wrote. You're attempting to find your software on the Mac App Store, but not all software may be downloaded from there. Try making an internet search for what you're looking for. I'm sure you'll find it.
 
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Apple_Robert

Contributor
Sep 21, 2012
26,891
32,937
In the middle of several books.
Oh, If I only had started a list of them. I did make a mistake in my post because my Mac is running the most recent version. I always keep it up-to-date. As for the apps, they are so rudimentary, how can Mac not have them? I don’t understand why I can have individual apps such as Google, Google maps or apps like the Atlantic or for YouTube or Instagram on my iPad and iPhone but with Mac I have to continually get them through safari. I can’t get my bank’s app, I have to go through Safari. Patient Portals, available on iPhone/iPad, aren’t available on my Mac. Mac seems to offer very few apps, (I always use the SEARCH bar and what I want comes up empty). OR I’m REALLLY missing something. I think I’m really missing something . . . Knowledge.
What you are describing is a developer issue and not a Mac problem per se. A lot of developers don't want to make a Mac app like I said earlier. You should contact the respective developers and businesses that don't have a Mac app and kindly ask that they make one available.
 
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svenmany

macrumors demi-god
Jun 19, 2011
325
155
you have it backwards; the browser existed first, and developers, banks, etc created ios apps, by choice, for specific needs. if netflix wanted you to download content to your mac, they would make an app (or allow that in a browser).

an M1 mac should sort all this all anyway...

I think you're focusing on the word "substitute". I'll rephrase the sentence to help avoid unnecessary conflict: "Using a browser instead of a real application has compromises." For example, supporting downloading content in a browser has technical problems if you want to protect the content from piracy.

You're suggesting Netflix wants you to download content on your Windows machine but not on your Mac. A more reasonable point of view is that they chose not to allocate resources to a native Mac app since it wouldn't provide enough bang for the buck. If it were a triviality to port the Windows application to the Mac, they would have done it.
 
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NoBoMac

Moderator
Staff member
Jul 1, 2014
3,036
1,316
The other tasks you mention are as you say available through Safari. The Macintosh is not a phone or a tablet, it's a computer and therefore it acts like a computer (with a choice of browser) not a tablet.

And, at times, happy about this. Example: Gmail. The iOS app is pretty useless to me, but the website via Chrome has all the functionality there (eg. filters, hide/show mailboxes, and a slew of other things in Settings).
 
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Blue Quark

macrumors member
Oct 25, 2020
53
29
Probabilistic
It's my view that the main reason for the existence of a good many apps in iOS or Android is doing web versions for those form factors just wouldn't work out as well.

Besides, it's a desktop computer, not a tablet or smart phone.
 
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TiggrToo

macrumors 68040
Aug 24, 2017
3,371
7,431
Out there...way out there
The iPad has apps because it's a tablet.

The Mac doesn't need anything close to as many because the browsers are very full featured.

In addition the platforms are 100% different. The iPad is very much a consumable device with strengths in areas such as creativity.

The Mac is a full blown computer, and as such has a totally different target.

I, for one, would never expect to find my bank write a Mac application when using the browser is a far better approach. However using the mobile view on a mobile device via a browser is often less tha n desirable and the bank can make it far better by creating a native app.
 
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petvas

macrumors 601
Jul 20, 2006
4,938
1,047
Munich, Germany
Oh, If I only had started a list of them. I did make a mistake in my post because my Mac is running the most recent version. I always keep it up-to-date. As for the apps, they are so rudimentary, how can Mac not have them? I don’t understand why I can have individual apps such as Google, Google maps or apps like the Atlantic or for YouTube or Instagram on my iPad and iPhone but with Mac I have to continually get them through safari. I can’t get my bank’s app, I have to go through Safari. Patient Portals, available on iPhone/iPad, aren’t available on my Mac. Mac seems to offer very few apps, (I always use the SEARCH bar and what I want comes up empty). OR I’m REALLLY missing something. I think I’m really missing something . . . Knowledge.
I guess you do not understand what a computer running a desktop OS is. Windows is the same and you will not find Google Maps there too. You will need to use an Internet browser to access those Google sites. Actually your Mac has almost unlimited capabilities compared to an iPhone or/and iPad, but I guess you haven't invested enough time to understand how a desktop OS works and why it is so much better than iOS or any other mobile OS.
 
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